The London Film Museum

My previous post about London led to a conversation with a friend about London, and I wanted to look at the pictures I posted in my blog post about the London Film Museum. When I went to look for the post, I discovered to my vast surprise that I never wrote a post about the London Film Museum, I only wrote a paragraph in one of my previous London posts. In August of 2012, I said the following in a longer post about London:

I quite enjoyed the London Film Museum, which had a lot of neat stuff, including Daleks, a TARDIS, the superman suit from Superman Returns, the Batman Begins batsuit, and a large variety of props from other movies.  There was an entire room of Harry Potter stuff, and a large exhibit dedicated to Ray Harryhausen, including a full sized original Bubo.  This was a highlight for me.

That’s it- just that one paragraph. All the pictures I took at the museum, which I thought I had posted years ago, were still unshared. I will now correct that oversight.

When I visited the London Film Museum, it was in a section of County Hall, right near Westminster Bridge, close to the London Eye along the Thames River. I have since learned that it moved to a location in Covent Garden in April of 2012- my visit was in July of 2012, so I suspect the museum was still moving, and I saw only a fraction of the entire exhibit. What I did see was pretty dang cool though.

Harry Potter props and costumes- A variety of items were present here, including some costumes, the Tri-Wizard cup, and Harry’s Nimbus 2000.

Star Wars stuff – London is the home of Pinewood Studios, which has been a production facility for most of the Star Wars films. There were a few Star Wars artifacts on hand during my visit. I saw much more at the Star Wars exhibit in Tokyo a few years later.

Alien – They had a sculpture of a Xenomorph and some facehuggers from the Alien franchise.

Doctor Who – A film museum in England would naturally have some Doctor Who items. Not as much as the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, but still- a Tardis and a handful of Daleks were still neat to see.

Superman and Batman – Pinewood has a long history with DC Comics, and there weer a number of Superman and Batman artifacts on hand. First up, some costumes!

Next, we have part of the ship that brought Kal to earth in Superman (1978) and a newspaper from Superman II.

Braveheart, Hellraiser, and various animation – The Dangermouse cardboard stand was my favorite in this part.

The Ray Harryhausen Exhibit – This was my favorite part, to be honest- they had a special exhibit in plae called “Ray Harryhausen: Myths and Legends.” It contained various items from Harryhausen’s stop-motion work, but I was most interested in the Clash of the Titans items, particularly the full-sized Bubo the Owl!

Have you ever been to a film museum? What’s your favorite prop that you’ve seen in person?



Danny Elfman In London

The centerpiece of the last UK trip was a show at the Royal Albert Hall, in London.  The first in a small series of concerts around the UK, and a pair of them in Los Angeles.


The show was a concert of music that Danny Elfman had composed for Tim Burton’s movies.


I’m pretty sure that every single person reading this blog has heard at least some of this music-  Batman, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas-  they all had a moment in the program.


The best part of this concert, and the reason that I went all the way to London to see it, was that Danny Elfman himself was performing- his first live performance in 18 years.  I did not take the following picture; I pulled it off the Royal Albert Hall blog.  This is Danny, doing the Jack Skellington parts in the Nightmare Before Christmas section.


When the Nightmare Before Christmas section got to Sally’s song, Helena Bonham-Carter stepped out to do that song, to the roaring applause of pretty much everyone in the theatre.  For the Oogie Boogie song, Danny did the Oogie part, and the conductor in the picture above donned a Santa hat to sing the Santa portion of the song.  Brilliant!

After the show, they brought Tim Burton on the stage for applause and accolades.  Once again, this picture is from the Royal Albert Hall blog; I wasn’t nearly this close. From left to right, Helena Bonham-Carter, Danny Elfman, and Tim Burton.  Tim Burton has really grown into that hair over the years, I think.


This picture is one that I *did* take-  you can see Danny, Helena, Tim, and the conductor standing together.  We were in the 11th row.


What’s the last concert you went to?  Did you travel to see it?

Highgate Cemetery, London

I meant to visit Highgate Cemetery on my first visit to London, and again on my second visit.  It took until my third visit before I managed to make it there.  It’s a little further from the London Tube than Pere Lachaise is from the Paris Metro.  Inside the gates, it’s not as well kept as Pere Lachaise either, but it has its own charm.

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One of the things I like about Highgate is that many of the graves show a bit of the personality of the people buried there.  For example, Gordon Bell:


One of the founders of Foyle’s Books:


Many of the graves were massively overgrown, or sunken.  There are quite a few that cannot be reached easily.


I’m guessing Thornton was a pianist?


It wouldn’t be a trip to a cemetery without spotting a black cat hanging around.  This one wasn’t as friendly as the one in Paris.


The grave of Karl Marx is very subtle.  I almost missed it entirely.


Another grave with a lot of personality.


There were many children buried in Highgate.  Some of their gravestones were unique.


The primary reason I wanted to go to Highgate was to see the grave of Douglas Noel Adams.


I realized when I arrived that it has become customary to leave a pen in the bowl in front of his grave.  I always carry a pen, so I left it there.


I liked this gravestone.  I hope when I’m gone that I’m also remembered as a wise and gentle man.  Realistically, I’ll have to settle for gentle.


This gravestone wins.  If anyone was at all unsure of their status, it’s clearly readable in the stone itself.



On my last trip to the UK, we took a day trip to Cardiff by train out of London’s Paddington Station. This makes Wales my fifteenth country visited! (Not including the US.)


Cardiff is a fascinating little city.  We didn’t see even a third of what the city has to offer, but we did take a stroll past this nifty clock down Queen Street.


At the end of the street are the outer walls of Cardiff Castle.


Through the main gate of those outer walls is the original Norman shell keep, flying the flag of Wales.


The red dragon motif is everywhere, as the symbol of Wales.  It’s also the symbol of the Brains brewery, which makes a pretty tasty beer.  I had a Brains Green Dragon at lunch when we were back in London later in the trip, and I wish I’d had a Brains while we were closer to the brewery- I’ve been told that the flavor loses something in transit.


Our goal for this jaunt to Cardiff was actually in Cardiff Bay.  From the Cardiff central station, we took a small local train to Queen Street a few stops from the main station, then changed to the smallest train ever to go to Cardiff Bay.  Seriously, it’s only got the one wagon and it just goes back and forth between Queen Street and Cardiff Bay.


From Cardiff Bay’s little train station, it’s a short walk to the Bay.  You’ll pass  the very pretty Pierhead building.


…and you’ll walk past the Wales Millennium Center.  If you watched Torchwood, this will look familiar.  This is an arts center which hosts events like concerts, opera, ballet, and so forth.  The dome is clad in steel that was treated with copper oxide, to represent Cardiff’s steel making history. It was designed to withstand the weather conditions on the Cardiff Bay waterfront.

Inscribed on the front of the dome, above the main entrance, are two lines written by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis. The Welsh version is Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen, which means “Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration”. The English is In These Stones Horizons Sing.  (Thanks, Wikipedia!)


Walking further along the bay is the World Harmony Peace Statue. You hold the handle of the torch, and make a wish for world peace.


After a little bit more walking, we arrived at the goal for this side trip:  The Doctor Who Experience, situated in Cardiff Bay until 2017.  The first part of the DWE is an interactive walk-through adventure with the eleventh Doctor in which you get to fly the TARDIS, so that’s pretty fun.  Also, you get to learn how to walk like a scarecrow soldier or a Cyberman.


After the interactive part of the Doctor Who Experience, there’s an exhibition.  I took a bajillion photographs, but I won’t bore my non-geeky readers with all of those.  I selected just seven pictures to give you a sense of the place.  If you’re not into Doctor Who, just skip down to the picture that has me in it, and we’ll pick up the post from there.

The first picture is the outfit of Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.  This was part of a row of outfits worn by each of the first ten Doctors.


Similarly, the companions each had outfits in the exhibition.  Here’s Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith outfit.


There were several TARDIS control rooms in the exhibition.  I’m pretty sure this was the fourth Doctor’s control room.


…and this was definitely Nine and Ten’s control room, brought over to the DWE in its entirety after the regeneration into Eleven.  They cleaned it up a bit, but you can still see smoke and fire damage from Ten’s fairly explosive regeneration.


No Doctor Who exhibit would be complete without  my favorite robot dog of all time, K-9.


Most of the Doctor’s adversaries were represented, but I particularly liked this Cyberman.


Of course, there were friends of the Doctor present as well.  Here’s me, hanging out with the Face Of Boe.


Ok, that’s enough geekery for this post.  Once we were done at the Doctor Who Experience, it was time to walk back from Cardiff Bay.  I had to force myself not to walk like a Cyberman.

Cardiff Bay is really a very pretty place.  Here’s a view out from the dock.


There’s a number of fascinating sculptures around the Bay.  This was my favorite- the Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial, by sculptor Brian Fell.  It’s designed to look like both a face and the bow of a ship.


Walking back up the wide sidewalks from the Bay to the little rail station, we couldn’t help but notice all the spiders that were out.  I think they were collecting food and preparing for the winter.


Last but not least, on our way out of the Cardiff Bay area, this little cutie walked right up to us, flopped over, and demanded to be loved.  Who could say no to those little paws?


Have you ever been to Cardiff? Did you learn to walk like a Cyberman while you were there?

Paddington Bear in London

If not for Bevchen of Confuzzledom, I would not have known there was a statue of Paddington Bear inside Paddington Station.  I’ve been in the station many times, and I even knew about the Paddington Bear store,  but I didn’t know there was a statue until Bev mentioned it.

I was in London over the last few days, so I made sure to find the statue for myself.   Here it is, the  bronze Paddington by sculptor and artist Marcus Cornish:

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Do you have any favorite statues to visit when you travel?