Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Winner Is...

So did you catch the Oscars last night? That's four hours of your life you'll never get back, eh? I agreed with many of the choices for trophies, but what exactly were Anne Hathaway and James Franco trying to accomplish as hosts? I never thought I'd say this, but I want Billy Crystal back. And I really don't like Billy Crystal. I imagine Ricky Gervais is somewhere today laughing until he wets his pants.

But of course, The King's Speech was the big story of the night, and deservedly so. If you haven't seen it, it is the story of King George VI - the reluctant King of England during WWII. He was reluctant because 1) his older brother was already in line to be king and thus he had resigned himself to a life as the second son of royalty, and b) he was beset by a terrible stutter, and avoided public speaking like I avoid Billy Crystal movies. But his brother decided he wanted to marry an American divorcee - both of which are royal no-nos - and George (his name was actually Albert) becomes king. With the help of some unconventional speech therapy from a man named Lionel Logue (played superbly by Geoffrey Rush), the King overcomes his stutter and helps to inspire the British public during some of its darkest days. By the way, is Geoffrey Rush in all British movies, or does it just seem that way?

Anyway, between The King's Speech and Dowtown Abbey (my latest TV addiction), I was inspired to hit merry old England for a timeshare getaway. I am renting a timeshare at Allen House Club in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, or RBKC to the locals. RBKC is just west of Westminster - the heart of modern London - and until 1965 was two separate boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea. In its day Kensington was the traditional home of British royalty. In fact, from 1689 to 1837 the royals lived at Kensington Castle, which is a must-see attraction. This is one of the most affluent districts of London, and Allen House Club puts you in the heart of all of it, with easy access to the Metro and world class attractions like Royal Albert Hall, The Natural History Museum, and Harrods department store. There's even a life-sized statue of Peter Pan, commissioned by J.M. Barrie, the author of the Peter Pan stories.

Another fun way to take in the sights - and get a little exercise - is to take the Blue Plaques Walking Tour. All around London, homes and buildings are marked with blue ceramic plaques. A tradition dating back to 1867, the plaques commemorate the dwellings of famous London residents, starting with Lord Byron himself. You know, the Don Juan guy who was said to be "mad, bad and dangerous to know". Sounds like me. Anyway, Kensington and Chelsea are each loaded with plaques. A few notables are Howard Carter (the discoverer of King Tut's tomb), Winston Churchill, T.S. Eliot (T.S. for terribly sexy), Oscar Wilde, and A. A. Milne (the author of Winnie the Pooh), to name but a few. Hey I just made a rhyme, without even trying. Or as Pooh would say "poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you."

Well, I am off to sample some of the local lunch fare at the Famous 3 Kings pub and restaurant. In addition to a reputation for fine food and spirits, it is rumored to be one of the best places to watch football in all of London. But frankly, I cannot make sense of the schedule. It says here today is Espanyol vs. Real Mallorca. I thought it was supposed to be Steelers vs. Packers? Anyway, "it is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'"

No comments:

Post a Comment