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:

But I promised you willies, didn't I? Damn, this Greek gentleman seems to have lost his:

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.


Craig Sorensen said...

Congrats to Adam indeed.

I love the pictures from the museum.

Great gods and goddesses (I have a thing for Ishtar.) Most Greek sculptures didn't have much in the way of willies to begin with...

Jeremy Edwards said...

But here's the best phallus of them all: a Romano-British windchime. It's an erection with an erection!


Somewhere, in one of my stories, the protagonist says that something his lover does gives him an erection on top of his erection. Leave it to those ancient Romans to take it literally--and engineer the damn thing! There's probably a sophisticated system of hydraulics and spermaqueducts in there, to channel semen from Phallus Major to Phallus Minor.

Nikki Magennis said...

Wow, that Ishtar plaque is amazing! I don't know anything about her - I'll have to off and rummage in Wikipedia.

I especially like the 'reconstructed' images of how the relief looked originally, all black and red, on the museum pages.

And the flying phallus is just so cute!

I'm also very glad Adam got such good news to balance out the shit news. Best of luck to him.

Jeremy Edwards said...

(And then the ancient Britons said, "It's very nice ... but do you think you could put wind chimes on it? We need something for the garden.")

Nikki Magennis said...

(And verily, the Romans said 'Pull the other one, for it has bells on it.')

Janine Ashbless said...

It has several bell-ends on it.

I love the windchime: It's so perky. But I want to break into the British Museum and sacrifice virgins to the Queen of the Night....
(Says the most law-abiding person on the planet, who has never even got a speeding ticket and feels guilty crossing the road if the little man is red.)

Madeline Moore said...

Lovely photos, Janine. Thank you.
Happy to hear that Adam will be busy and creative. Phew.