Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1920 Film Screening at Temple Church

Watching a horror film in a beautiful churchTemple Church in London

Last night I had the pleasure of going to Temple Church to a screening of the 1920’s filmĀ Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The church has recently raised the funds for a brand new organ and the film was accompanied by an organist’s creative improvisation.

I ashamedly have never read Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, or seen any of the films, but had a grasp of the story.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1920 filmJohn Barrymore plays the lead role(s) in this film adaptation, and creates an atmosphere of horror mixed perfectly with humour and intrigue. I thought that being a silent film, I would feel somewhat detached from the story line and characters, but if anything the lack of spoken dialogue only gave more weight to the physicality of the actors.

Dr Jekyll 1920 film stillYou probably already know the story quite well, but Dr Jekyll exudes an air of dignity and general good-naturedness (hm… couldn’t think of another way to say it). He is a character who apparently is unable to be evil – often late home because he helps the poor in his free surgery, and is due to be wed to an upstanding lady in the community.

He is only tempted by the dark side when his bride-to-be’s father challenges him that there is a dark side to everyone, and one must give into temptation as and when it arises. Dr Jekyll is now tempted, and plans to make a physical alter-ego..

Mr Hyde 1920 film still

Following some chemical experiments Dr Jekyll finds the perfect potion to transform him into someone completely different, and he calls himself Mr Hyde. As the film goes on, Mr Hyde gets more and more hideous and commits grotesque deeds, in order for Mr Jekyll to remain a spotless individual.

The film embraces the farcical elements of the story, while also capturing the horror of his situation. I was absolutely captivated by this film, and watching it in Temple Church was an amazing experience. The church is by its nature quite cold, which added to the chill in the air!

I know that the organisers behind this screening are planning more events like these, and you can check their website to see. It’s a great thing that these churches are used for a variety of events, as these bring people into the building who may not usually go there. Also, Temple is such a beautiful part of London which is often overlooked, tucked away in the law buildings that feel so exclusive and hidden away.

You can watch Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on YouTube

I would strongly recommend watching this film, it’s a true classic. Fortunately you can find the full film on youtube here. Enjoy!

We finished off the evening by heading to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street – what a treat!


The Benefits of Seizing the Day

Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting up earlier and earlier. Setting my alarm ten minutes earlier that the day before, and clawing back some time.

This of course does mean that I am going to bed a little earlier, but I always vow to do that anyway! I am loving waking up early, when the canal is silent (in central London it isn’t a regular occurrence) and relaxing before heading to work.

Most days I just use the time to get a fire going, feed the cat, then snuggle with her and read for an hour. Even this is such a joy – I’m getting through books like nobody’s business! Some days I’m more proactive, cleaning the kitchen or getting some other jobs done early on.

Something I miss about marathon training was ‘having’ to go out at horrid-o-clock in the morning for the weekly 4 miler, when I secretly loved the feeling of freedom that comes from being up and about on empty roads before most people have had their breakfast. Strangely enough, it’s this kind I thing that’s making me consider running another marathon – something I vowed never to do again.

I don’t really know if this entry has a real point, but I know I don’t write enough on here… I just want to show how much even an hour makes in the morning – try getting up earlier and see where it takes you! Even Forbes says that early risers are more successful šŸ™‚


Five Boys, by Mick Jackson: a Book Review

Having just this minute finished Mick Jackson’s Five Boys, I have to share with the world what a piece of art it is.

Five Boys is an entrancing novel based on the story of a boy being evacuated to Devon from London. The story has many strands, which I have now read is something that puts many readers off the book, however I felt that this quality added to it’s charm.

The clever and humorous narrative stretches from the little boy and travels to all the different households in the village, just as if you are being transported right into each house and dropped in the centre of things. The narrative and dialogue are interwoven to create beautiful and funny contradictions, which only serve to give character to the villages and outsiders. Such a picture of painted of a little town which distrusts anyone entering from the outside world.

The Bee King is a real highlight – he moves into the village in the second half of the novel, and the behaviour of the Five Boys as a result of his presence is dramatically altered for the better.

I don’t want to give too much away, not because it will ruin the twist (it’s not that kind of book) but because I think it will take away from your enjoyment.

You may or may not have read Mick Jackson’s The Underground Man, but I have (one of my strong favourites) and I was worried about how he would follow such a triumph. He has.

I would recommend this book to any avid reader. I would even go so far as to say that this book may even restore someone’s faith in reading, reminding you that you really can be lost in a book.


September 2013 in Books

The Reading Commute…

Last month I perfected the art of ‘walk reading’. Walking five miles a day means I can get through 30 more pages a day as I dodge other London commuters in the rush to and from work. I must admit that I have also started getting up an hour early just so I can read and cuddle the cat before work… this all means that in September I got through three novels in a month – which I haven’t done for quite some time!

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin book reviewThe Moving Toyshop, by Edmund Crispin

I found this copy in Oxfam Books on Upper Street.Ā This novel is a delight. It’s like reading a good Poirot mystery but with a lot more humour!

It’s fun, exciting and fast-moving, and as a result is a very fast read. It’s part of a Gervais Fen series, and I’ll definitely be tracking down the rest of the books.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy and entertaining murder mystery romp.

scores on the doors


The White Queen, by Philippa GregoryThe White Queen by Philippa Gregory book review

This one I read as part of the book club at my work. In other words, I would not have chosen it myself – I don’t usually go in for historical fiction.

Taking me by surprise, I enjoyed a large chunk of this book. It was a real page-turner, speeding along with intrigue, action and romance. I enjoyed the beginning especially, with the classic romantic story of the prince and the pauper.

In the latter parts of the novel, Gregory really did delve into the ‘fiction’ part of the ‘historical fiction’ genre, supporting the conspiracy theory of the hidden prince. This worries me, because if I didn’t know better I might have been taken in and thought this was fact. This theory has been long since disproved and simply does not hold water…

She ends on a cliff hanger, but it didn’t pull me in, and I won’t be reading her other novels. Still, a lot to discuss when the book club meets again.

scores on the doors


Lord Lucan My Story by William Coles book reviewLord Lucan: My Story, by William Coles

I found this copy in the second hand area of my Dad’s bookshop, Laurence Oxley’s. After reading John Pearson’sĀ The Gamblers I was taken in by the story of the fugitive who was once a member of the Clarence Club. I’m lucky enough to be able to talk to John about these characters, and was interested to read William Coles’ take on the infamous story.

Lord Lucan: My Story is supposedly written by the infamous murderer, and details a disturbingly possible explanation of the man’s disappearance. The book is fast-moving and hard to put down, and I found myself learning more and more about the events that surrounded the murder of Sandra Rivett.

The story is skillfully peppered with anecdotes and interesting characters, and right through to the very end does not disappoint, sending chills up my spine.

I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in real crime stories, and also crime fiction, as it’s a real mixture of both.

scores on the doors


Currently Reading

My current book of choice is another by Mick Jackson. After so enjoying The Underground Man, I am now nearly finished with Five Boys, which is another triumph.

Mick Jackson Five Boys bookChad Harback the art of fielding book

I’m also soon toĀ read the next London Book Club title -ChadĀ Harback’sĀ TheĀ Art of Fielding. Not sure how I feel about this, but apparently it doesn’t matter how much you know about American baseball…


Review: The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared

Book Review: Monsieur Linh And His Child