Wednesday 18 February 2015

There is no reality, only perception

A friend described me the other day as someone who dresses up as a character and has my photo taken, like my mad friends.

Yeah, that's you lot she was talking about, you crazy kids.

So, when I was invited to go to the pub quiz, I thought, what the hell, might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb,  I'm going as Wolf Hall*
The imagery in Wolf Hall is all very dark, a lot of it shot by candlelight for that authentic Tudor experience
For those of you that haven't seen it yet, it's an adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novels, currently being aired in the UK. My two favourite periods of British history are the Tudors and WWII, but even for a devotee like me, it offers a fascinatingly fresh insight into everyday life in the period and a completely different perspective on certain key characters.
Centre parting, brocade dress with layers underneath, pearls, fur trimmed cloak, gemstone rings, CHECK. But look! ONLY five fingers on each hand. Phew.

Never before have I seen Thomas Cromwell in such a human, multi-faceted light. Up until now he was always the machiavellian politician of a lawyer. Here we are offered the view of him as a devoted husband and family man, a loyal friend, the son of a violent domestic abuser, a lowly born blacksmith's son who grows in stature and power courtesy of his intelligence and character.
Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, played by Mark Rylance. Image credit BBC
It struck me that this has parallels with what my friend demonstrated in her description. I see myself and you as having fun with clothes, using colour to brighten up our lives and make us feel better about ourselves; she sees us as eccentric characters. It's all about our perception, a concept which I have been exploring quite a lot recently.

Anyway, I decided that the quiz was going to contain a question about the Tudors, which would have been unusual, since it's mainly popular culture, music and sports. I was wrong, but there were three history questions, which you might enjoy having a go at. I'll put the answers at the end. For non-Brits, I apologise, they are heavily biased in that direction.

1 Which British King was known as The B*stard?
2 Which royal figure was beheaded at Fotheringhay castle?
3 What was the book carried by followers of Mao Tse Tung known as?
Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall. Photo credit BBC
For me, you can't talk about the Tudors without mentioning Anne Boleyn, that one woman whose allure and determination changed forever the face of this country. She's the one I'd most like to meet, she never ceases to fascinate. Would I see her as cunning, intelligent and passionate? Or would she be  devoted, charming, a pawn in her family's quest for influence and a victim of Henry's capriciousness?

How about you? Are there any periods of history which intrigue you or specific characters you'd like to spend a day with? And why? Do tell!

1 William the Conqueror
2 Mary Queen of Scots
3 The little Red book

* Wolf Hall was the name of Jane Seymour's family home


Connie said...

Oh I actually see you as a romantic Bronte-esque heroine, dreamily stomping through the moors. This series sounds great. I wonder if it will ever come to the States. Fingers crossed. I did actually get the little Red book right so I'm feeling like a scholar. My favorite period is the 1920's. I love the fashion and the music. I love that art was high and center and women were running around with their stockings rolled down drinking gin. I would love to have been in Paris hanging with Gertrude Stein and Fitzgerald and Isadora Duncan and the gang. Or in Hollywood as a member of the DeniShawn modern dance troup. Sigh....

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Tania,

Such an intriguing proposition you pose that there is no reality, merely what is constructed for reality by each individual. That is surely true since it is so odd how, in the company of others, one can have as many varieties of reality as there are people present. One often wonders where the truth lies.......

And, how interesting to learn of your fascination with all things Tudor. We have to confess that the historical novel, even when written by the supremely talented Hilary Mantel, holds no allure for either of us. But, you construct those Tudor days so beautifully here, transporting us back through the decades to the dimly lit rooms, the candle glow and the fur and fabric layers to stave off hypothermia. It all suits you so perfectly.

We are delighted that you left a comment on our last two posts since that is how we have found you and we have very much enjoyed reading your cleverly written posts. We have made reply but you will have to 'load more' to see them. We have signed as followers in order not to miss out on future posts for we shall most definitely return.

Miss Magpie said...

I haven't read the books but I am enjoying Wolf Hall, I wasn't sure after the first episode but I've got into it now. I do have a soft spot for the Tudor era too having been dragged around many a stately home as a kid it was an era that appealed to me even then.

mondoagogo said...

It's good to see you back! I'm quite intrigued about your perceptive explorings (which you also mentioned in your recent comments on my blog) because it's a subject that fascinates me, too. Cultural perception/bias is so insidious, most people don't even realise they have it, let alone question it... but almost all great art/culture comes out of doing just that, doesn't it? As you can see, I can burble on about the subject for ages... :)

I haven't seen Wolf Hall, but I'm going to iPlayer right now to download it!

Vix said...

I loved Wolf Hall and didn't have a clue that it was being televised, better get Jon on the case.
Our O Level history teacher wasn't the most inspiring and its down to Hilary Mantel for making the era a lot more fascinating.
You look wonderful in your costume, you'd give that minx, AB, a run for her money! xxxxx
PS 3 outta 3!

Ivy Black said...

Hello gorgeous!
I loved Wolf Hall and was pleased to see that Mark Rylance had the role of Cromwell. Cracking actor.
I am fascinated with the Tudor period too as well as the Restoration era. I do love a bit of costume. I've you do...that they've toned down the cod pieces for the tv adaptation. They were much bigger, especially Henry's!
I'd like to spend an afternoon with Nell Gwynne. Not a whole day. That would be exhausting!

Curtise said...

Well, you already know I'm loving Wolf Hall. I found the first two books impressive, so completely believable and utterly intriguing. As you say, Mantel casts a different light on well-known characters; we've all grown up with the Man for All Seasons version of Thomas More, haven't we? I'm waiting impatiently for the final part of the trilogy, though it's not going to end well, is it? And I'll be devastated... Mark Rylance's performance is an acting lesson for all the chewing-the-scenery types, I love him. I always worry about screen adaptations of favourite books, but this has been done so well.

And look at you, Princess Tania by candlelight, just as bewitching as the Lady Anne. Playing dress-up is a bit eccentric to many people, I suppose, even though it's just everyday fun-with-clothes to me or you. A friend's daughter commented the other day that she liked my "costume" (I was wearing a lurex maxi). I laughed with delight!

Yep, got those questions OK, I just wish I could do better at our pub quiz, the Ladies of the Purse did appallingly last night. But I did know who England's first Queen regnant was (why, none other than Mary Tudor, of course!) Oh got to love those Tudors, in all their dangerous, desperate glory, though I don't think I'd want to be playing along with them, not for such high stakes - I'm much too scared and attached to my head for that! xxx

Lally said...

SO FAB! I am bit addicted to Wolf Hall too. I too am a bit of a tudorphile (is that a thing?!), the tudor galleries at the NPG are probably up there in my top 5 places in the world (I spent a lot of time whilst I was at university in there trying to breath and not feel worried by the mountain of impending essays!) I was very very terrified of Anne Boleyn as a child due to her six fingers!

I love that you wore this to a pub quiz, definitely the sort of thing people should do more of. Your friend's description is great too!

Lally X

p.s the clogs that you couldn't see will make an appearance very soon I promise! They are truly great and probably deserve a post all of their own.

Fiona said...

I've heard nothing but good things about Mantel's Wolf Hall, unfortunately I've not seen it, shift work has seen to that. At first glance you look quite authentic in your brocade and pearls, bathed in candlelight. How were you received down at the pub? Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn's childhood home is a few miles down the road from me, wonder if you made it there last year? xx

Peaches McGinty said...

I'd like to meet Anne Boleyn too, it was her speech just before her execution that struck me, I can't image the terror and fear she felt yet, there, with nothing to lose gives this stoic speech with great integrity - I haven't watched Wolf Hall, I haven't heard of it, not unusual for me though, I miss out on so many great shows - you are beautiful and bewitching in candlelight dressed in your brocade and robes x x x

Kylie said...

Lovely to see a post from you Princess Tania - it's been a while and I've been thinking about you...
Three weeks in to my new job and I am exhausted! I am a bit of a wreck actually - too knackered to write my own (blog).
My favourite Anne is Genevive Bujold, but what's that got to do with the price of eggs I'm not too sure?! but it's the best I can come up with at the mo.
You look beautiful in brocade and I hope you are well x

Sue said...

Isn't life all about having fun? If dressing up and taking our photos is our fun then I think we are truely on to something. I don't want to be a bland boring blend into the back ground person as I get older. I plan to be noticed until I die!! I quite fancy the medieval times, castles, real men, and those frocks that push your boobs up high so no one gives a toss what the rest of your body looks like because your boobs have got their attention!!

Anonymous said...

Great post and, in your finery, you would fit seamlessly into the Tudor period. Am also enjoying the BBC production of Wolf Hall.
There are so many fascinating historical figures worth going back in time to meet. I would definitely choose a visit to the Brontes and Thomas Hardy, pop into the Globe for a show and join the suffragettes on a march. The list goes on!!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I can so see you fitting seamlessly into this time period :)

Helga said...

Ooo, I must get hold of these Hilary Mantel books, I heard about them a while back but then forgot. It'll be ages before we see any tv adaptions.
I have always been fascinated with the Tudors, most especially Henry VIII, like everyone else, but also poor old Jane S. But, if I had an opportunity to spend time in a certain epriod of history, it would perhaps be the late Victorian era I would pic, or the Belle Epoque because I love the clothing (so shallow)....and characters? Real, or fiction? Real, Jane Austen (for conversation) and Frida Kahlo(to drink with) Fiction-probably the "heroine" of Wildacre-what a little cow!
Hmmm, funny, I always used to think of myself being in costume, as a character, but not anymore! I even perceive myself as quite normal, although G tells me I'm anything but. Normal for me, I guess!
I love a quiz, but they never have enough questions about what I know about and far too many on sport! Haven't been to one in ages!