Friday, 17 July 2009
What Janine Did in London #2
So we got to the British Museum. Of course it's been remodelled in the past few years but this is my first overwhelming memory of the place from when I was a 10-year-old kid: the Assyrian gate guardians.
I was excited then to the point of terror by their size and majesty and hyper-realism. I've been fasincated by the Near East ever since. That's why I wrote House of Dust in Enchanted.
Here's another treasure from the Mesopotamian gallery: the Ram in a Thicket, made of gold and lapis lazuli and shell. Isn't it beautiful? A mere four and a half thousand years old...
Here's something that made me so excited I nearly wet myself: the Queen of the Night teracotta relief. Old Bablylonian this time, but still the same part of the world. It's commonly identified as a depiction of the demon-goddess Lilith, but the card nearby says (without giving any particular reason) that it's more likely to be Ishtar herself. How feckin awesome is this? Look at those feet, for goodness sake!
Talking of goddesses, here's Chamunda, a particularly scary one from India:
There's a lot of Chamunda in Divine Torment.
And here's the Indian Great Goddess in more benign and sexy form:
Well, if you're an academic you have to call it a phallus so it sounds respectable. Here's a rather splendid phallus-vulva / lingam-yoni symbol, again from India:
But here's the best phallus of them all: a Romano-British windchime. It's an erection with an erection!
And if you find this in the Roman gallery, look for the tiny little statuette next to it which depicts "Two phallus-headed beings attacking the Evil Eye with a saw." Sadly I was laughing so much my hands shook and my photo came out blurry...
Coming out of the Museum at closing time I met up with editor Adam Nevill and we went for a drink in a pub that used to be frequented by the Golden Dawn magical society, back in Victorian times. Adam had some good news - for him anyway - as he has been given a two-book deal by Macmillan for his horror work. He was told this approximately 2 hours before being called in to receive the hammerblow about Black Lace. What a day...
So congratulations to Adam, and good luck to him in his writing career.