I've just remembered I'd promised some pictures from English Heritage's Festival of History 2009. Once again on the pastures surrounding Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, it was a heady mix of everything from Roman Legionaries tramping about in sandals (sinister dexter, sinister dexter) to a Hurricane appearing from over Market Harborough to help out with the Normandy Landings. Photo calls abounded, as you can see. Particular favourites were this off duty First World War couple, and gorgeous pouting ATS women serving cakes and biscuits to their khaki-clad menfolk. I was wandering about with a bag full of old cigarette packets looking for instant still life opportunities for the hopefully coming soon The Cigarette Papers, and the ATS girls were very willing for me to toss my Players onto their teatowel. But most memorable for us was the Tudor Executioner. A brilliant, informative lecture about amputations, hangings, beheadings and drawing and quartering. The adults went pale green and turned away (he even had a severed head in a basket), the children cheered and couldn't get enough of it. Apparently an English Heritage official had tried to get the hanging corpse taken down; quite rightly it was allowed to stay. We want more of this, not sealing history up into easily digestible sanitised parcels. Bring on the rack.
Stoke Newington, London
5 hours ago