Don’t. Blink.

Stone Angel It is Stephen Moffat’s fault that I have taken to scouting out cemeteries when travelling. Or, indeed, when at home. Not directly, obviously. But someone on flickr started a group called Don’t Blink, with the remit that the photos had to be scary human sculptures. This is a fine flickr tradition: I already belong to Dalek!, Battersea Power Station[1] and Dalek Cakes and other (Doctor Who) monsters. That’s before we get onto the many, many London groups[2], or the many, stupid, cat groups[3]. Geeks, social networking and Doctor Who: truly, these things are made for each other.

The result of joining Don’t Blink is a new interest in wandering about graveyards, the spookier the better. I got told off by the chap for cheerfully nipping into my local churchyard at 2am in order to get a night shot of an angel which is never sufficiently spooky by day. Today, with a few hours spare, I decided the afternoon walk would be around Highgate East cememtery (official site / unofficial site), which was indeed wonderfully spooky even on a bright summer’s day with many other people wandering around. We’re now planning to go back for the tour of the West cemetery.

Despite this new urge, I may not have suggested the trip if I’d not recently read Falling Angels, by Tracy Chevalier. It’s the first of her novels I’ve read which does not include, in some way, a romantic love element, but it does revolve around the inner lives of women and is rather good. She plays with the use of voice very well, and creates a natural framework around the notion of death. It opens with the death of Queen Victoria, closes with the death of Edward and is centred upon two households in Dartmouth Park and their relationships with each other (symbolised in the closeness of their familial plots in Highgate cemetery). As with Girl With a Pearl Earring, it was a novel I had to finish. And, just like Girl with a Pearl…, I found myself rereading it within weeks. Recommended.

Over the last fortnight I have also read Wetworld, by floral shirt wearer Mark Michalowski. It has hand-holding otters and the tenth Doctor in spectacles.

[1] “There’s Battersea Power Station! But three of its chimneys are missing…” (Ian Chesterton, Dalek Invasion of Earth)

[2]Guess Where London, London Lettering, A London Beastiary, Finisterre (and Geoffrey Fletcher’s London) and London After Midnight to name a few.

[3] Cats in Bags/Boxes, Your Cat Nose, Somebody Else’s Cat and Solar Powered Cats are just a fraction of the cat fun to be had on flickr.

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