Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 35 - Searching for Dr. Who and finding diversity

Doctor Who first appeared on BBC television at 17:16:20 GMT on 23 November 1963, which means this year is the 50th Anniversary of the series.  The BBC has scheduled an anniversary program to air on November 23, 2013 entitled "Day of the Doctor," written by Steven Moffat, who also serves as the series producer.

Of course the 50th Anniversary has generated a lot of merchandise, books, toys, magazines, etc.  We received a request from the USA for one of the magazines that was published in May, 2013.

So, we went on a treasure hunt to see if we could find a copy.  First stop was Forbidden Planet,  the world’s largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer and the largest UK stockist of the latest comics and graphic novels.

Forbidden Planet Megastore in London
Though they had a lot of Dr. Who books, DVDs and magazines, they did not have the BBC issue.  So next we went to Foyles Bookstore.

Foyle's Bookstore
Unfortunately, they recommended we try Forbidden Planet. We're off to Cambridge tomorrow, so maybe we'll have better luck there.  In the meantime we walked up and down Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road in our search.

Shaftesbury is known for theatre, and Charing Cross is known for books, however, both streets offer a lot more. For example, on the corner of Charing Cross and Old Compton Rd, on the same block as Foyles, is Molly Moggs.

Molly Moggs
Though Molly Moggs is listed as a traditional pub with a relaxed atmosphere situated in the heart of London, serving real ales and also have a juke box and fruit machines, it is indeed much more than that.  Their website claims they have been entertaining Soho since 1731, but a retelling of the pub's history is still missing from their site. http://mollymoggs.co.uk/index.html

Julie Paid - A Molly Moggs Diva
In the early 18th century, Gay, Swift and Pope were regular customers to the Rose Inn public house in Wokingham, which was run by John Mogg (though John Timbs identifies the public house as the Rose Inn in Covent Garden) On one visit, they were forced to stay in the inn longer than planned due to a storm. To pass the time, they wrote verses about Molly, the attractive eldest daughter of the landlord.

The pub on Old Compton Street took its name from the landlord's daughter, but the entertainers at Molly Moggs, which is publicized as being the only bar in Soho with free cabaret 7 nights a week, are all men dressed as women.  We've been tempted to stop in for a drink one day, but as yet have not found the courage to do it.

A little further up the block on Charing Cross is Soho Original Books complete with a Licensed Sex Shop downstairs.

We did summon enough courage to step in and browse the street or ground floor, but didn't wander downstairs.  Maybe before we leave.  We did, however, take a picture of the floggers.

Soho Original Books Merchandise
Nearby (a little north and east) is St. Giles-in-the-fields church.  A house of prayer has existed on the site since 1101, when Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I, founded a leper hospital here.  At this time, St Giles stood outside the city of London with the lepers isolated from the population as a whole; the chapel probably became the church of a small village, which serviced the hospital. Since then at least three different buildings have been erected on the spot.

St. Giles-in-the-fields church
By the early eighteenth century, the church building found itself in a poor condition due to damp, which was probably caused by the large number of plague victim burials that took place in the churchyard during the plague years of 1664-1665.  At the same time the population of the area was booming with the development of Bloomsbury.

After initially being refused a grant to rebuild the church, because St Giles was not a new foundation, the parish was eventually allocated £8,000 and a new church was built in 1730-34, designed by the architect Henry Flitcroft in the palladian style (Flitcroft went on to design Woburn Abbey, the seat of the Dukes of Bedford, one of the principal landowners in this part of London). At the same time the elegant Vestry House was built, for meetings of the Vestry, the council of laypeople and clergy who managed parish affairs.  The new church was consecrated Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, on Christmas Day 1733.

So, within easy walking distance of our flat you can go to the theatre, catch a gay cabaret show, go shopping for classical books or Dr. Who memorabilia, pick up a flogger and visit church.  A very diverse afternoon indeed, I'd say.

That's it for today.  Should have lots of pictures for you tomorrow from Cambridge, so until then.  Night.


  1. You do have some adventures! Coming from L.A. and San Francisco (particularly San Francisco), I can say that I've been in a few drag clubs. They're always very friendly places and quite entertaining. You'll be welcomed with open arms, I assure you. Take a few pictures with the "ladies". They'll love it and you'll have another story to tell.

    1. Thanks for the advice. If I can convince the hubby, we'll give it a try.