Rivalry

Ben performs Rivalry

 live at the Hackney Picturehouse, UK on March 13th, 2018.  A London SPARK event.

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March4Women London!

Good Lad Initiative joined the March4Women on Sunday March 4th! We started walking from Westminster, London, UK.

We marched for gender equality along with thousands of other women, men, children and pets. We marched from the Houses of Parliament over to Trafalgar Square, following the historic march of the Suffragettes.

Under Nelson’s column in the Square, speeches, music and celebrations were held to commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK.

The Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, spoke inspirational words to the crowd on the very spot where her great-grandmother made her history-changing speech.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, proudly said “I am a feminist” and reiterated his commitment to making London equal for all.

Annie Lennox televised her message to the Square from giant screens. So many musicians, celebrities, comediennes gave their time to speak and entertain. It was a truly inspirational atmosphere and a fantastic feeling to be there!

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What is the Good Lad Initiative? GLI runs workshops with trained facilitators in all-male school classrooms, for pupils aged 12-18. The workshops address issues of gender equality and masculinity. We encourage young men to talk openly using the media of role playing, games and exercises.

At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

Ben performs live

At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

at the inaugural launch of London’s new Perfect Liars Club, held at The Book Club, on February 20th, 2018.

[Note: Video dark-lit due to low stage lighting. Audio may need to be turned up.]

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For more videos from Ben, subscribe to his Channel at

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For more about Ben’s books, check them out here.

And don’t forget to connect with Ben – join him at
 Twitter  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads Facebook Pinterest Instagram Google+ YouTube Email

He looks forward to seeing you soon!

Lucy in the Sky

Ben performs Lucy in the Sky

 live at the Hackney Picturehouse, UK on February 12th, 2018.  A London SPARK event.

***

For more videos from Ben, subscribe to his Channel at

YouTube

For more about Ben’s books, check them out here.

And don’t forget to connect with Ben – join him at
 Twitter  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads Facebook Pinterest Instagram Google+ YouTube Email

He looks forward to seeing you soon!

Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year!

All the best from,

Ben

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes

to you and yours for the holidays!

– from Ben

London Landmarks: The Museum of London

A perfect Sunday afternoon

This was my first visit to the Museum of London that nestles against a section of preserved Roman wall, a short walk from St Paul’s Cathedral. Innovative in its design, the museum’s nine (free) galleries—that span from pre-history to the modern era—are laid out such that the visitor must follow them chronologically.

A time of mammoths and lions

The pre-history gallery (450,000 AD to 50 AD) informed me of the mammoths and lion that once roamed the marshland that was later transformed into the great city. There were plenty of bones (some carved) and skulls. Though the artefacts were crude (great cutting flints, rusted axes, battered knives), they were poignant too, as I imagined the early people that lived here. Was it a better time? A worse time? A reconstruction of a woman’s head that oozed humanity, caught my attention.

Julius Caesar

The arrival of the Romans changed everything. Astonishing delicacy of metalwork that included combes, knives, spoons and jewellery vied with sympathetically carved statues. A Roman room looked both familiar (chairs, sofa, hearth, wall decorations) and inviting. Who needs carpet when you can have an extraordinarily ornate mosaic floor?

Medieval London

Then came the medieval galleries that started with the Anglo-Saxons. They named their town “Lundenwic” (London-port), where busy merchants could beach their vessels on the riverbank and haul their fare to one of several markets. I marvelled again at the shields, spears and axes, the pottery and exquisite metalwork displayed in the jewellery cabinets.

Within the old Roman city wall, the first St Paul’s cathedral was built of timber. When the Vikings attacked in 842 and 851, the new city was abandoned.

Death, death and rebirth

The 1550s to 1650s was a period of war, plague (1665)–that may have accounted for 200 million deaths across Eurasia—and the Great Fire (1666) that started at Thomas Farriner’s bakery in Pudding Lane. Though the death toll was considered small, the fire consumed 13,200 homes, 87 churches and St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the end of the wooden city as the rebuild comprised much brick and stone. There was a model of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre that brought back memories of the plays (Othello, Hamlet) I studied at school.

1670s – 1850s

The next two centuries saw a massive expanse in the city’s size and culture. I loved the reconstructed “Pleasure Gardens”—where residents would dress up in their finest to enjoy fresh air and flirting. London was now the world’s largest city and the country’s main manufacturing centre. Great fortunes were made and lost with those on the losing end finding themselves locked up in the forbidding Debtors’ Prison, to be observed via the tiny window in the thick iron-reinforced oak door. Carvings in the salvaged cell timbers recorded many names and dates. Fortunately, there wasn’t a “Starling” amongst the prisoners.

Approaching modernity

The next gallery took us up to the modern era, and the Second World War. An impressive display detailed the 50-year struggle of women suffragettes until they were granted the vote in 1918. I understand a full gallery dedicated to this important period in history is due to open next year, to mark the centenary.

A beautifully reconstructed street, including a toy shop, a barbers and pub had me spellbound as did a 1908 taxi, resplendent in its black livery and white-walled tyres. There was Art Deco too—with a homage to that great hotel, the Savoy. It opened in 1889 and was funded from the profits of Richard D’Oyly Carte’s Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Leaving something for next time

And then it was time to leave. But no matter as the 1950s to today, and the 2012 Gallery will be awaiting me on my next visit. As will the suffragette gallery in which I’ll learn about the struggles of extraordinary women like Winifred Rix, Kitty Marshall, Emily Wilding and the mother and daughters Pankhurst.

Tourist or townie, I strongly recommend the Museum of London.