Thursday, June 10, 2010

Betty and the Real World

The Doubtful Marriage:

Rauwerd takes Matilda to Oxford so that he can visit old haunts like the Magdalen Bridge, Tom Tower, Magdalen college, Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Threatre and the Rotunda etc. The Radcliffe Camera is a cool-looking round building. Tolkien remarked that the building resembled Saurons temple to Morgoth on NĂºmenor. Students call it the Rad Cam or, in the 30s, the Radder. When I was going to college, we had a old mid-century building on campus with the acronym SFLC. Cheeky students called it The Syphilis. Coincidence that it was later razed and replaced? I think not.

When looking for a job, Matilda checks the Nursing Times. Whenever I read this name I am put in mind of that scene in Airplane! when the boy is reading Boy's Life and the nun is reading Nun's Life. The Nursing Times has been in continual circulation since 1906. Other titles carried by their publisher include Heating and Ventilating News and the Journal of Wound Care.

Matilda goes to Fenwick's for her wedding trousseau--pretty clothes but not too expensive. Here's the wiki info:
The store's target market is mainly upper-middle class (above those of John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams, whose target market is the lower-middle class), although a range of products are available spanning all socio-economic groups, perhaps being an explanation for its extremely profitable nature. It distances itself from other department stores through not advertising and working entirely on a firmly established reputation and sophisticated image to attract customers.
Hm. I went to the website and it does smell a little posh. My code monkey husband had me read a book last year called Why Software Sucks. The upshot is that bad web design, by creating confusion or an unacceptable number of mouse clicks between you and your goal, causes customers to go elsewhere. Fenwick's site wasn't bad, per se, as much as deliberately cluttered with fanciness--probably appealing to a market that values exclusivity.

While in the canary Islands, they tour Arucas, a tiny town of white-washed homes dominated by a modern cathedral. It looks amazing (see left) but not particularly modern. As it dates from 1909, can we dispense with the 'modern'?

While on the island, they visit the dragon tree, Icod de los vinos. "It's reputed to be three thousand years old, and it certainly looks it." It's there on the right's very tall and most likely not as old as they say but as a tribute to good marketing, it's magnificent.

Wedding Bells for Beatrice:

Tom 'wasn't the kind of man you could ask to take you to the nearest McDonald's.' I, for one, am not shocked that The Great Betty makes a villain out of such an inflexible fellow. It makes sense for a rich Dutch doctor to go for a burger and fries (chips) since, when needs must, they duck into Happy Eaters often enough. But in all seriousness, did the Her Serene Bettyness know that it was an American chain that would, as like as not, give her mad cow disease? Maybe she thought it was Scottish.

But, of course, dinner at the Connaught is more in their line. The Connaught is a five star hotel with an interesting history.
In 1897, the Coburg Hotel duly opened, named after Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. In 1917, during World War I, the decision was made to change the name to The Connaught. The name chosen was that of Queen Victoria’s 3rd son, Prince Arthur, the first Duke of Connaught.
They recently did a renovation and put in the Coburg Bar, presumably since it's been enough years since the last time Germany attempted a wholesale annexation of western Europe. Anyway, it reminds me of that scene in Stalag 17 (which I am dying to work into a Cinema Betty. Just you wait.) when the loyalty of a German-American is questioned.

1 comment:

  1. The Journal of Wound Care? Move over, National Inquirer and The Tatler.