This, I promise, will be the last bit of writing about Whitby on this site. For a while, at least.
Honestly, I spent less than 48 hours there and I’ve been wittering on and on about the place for weeks.
But yes, my first article for FCK LDN is all about the Whitby Museum, and the curious surrealist dislocation I experienced there.
Surrealist dislocation is quite hard to explain, but Breton explained it by way of a Lautréamont quote, who once wrote about a “chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella.”
By chance, you see two things together than do not necessarily belong together. This acts as a springboard for the sort of deep thoughts, ideas and free associations that might not otherwise have been made.
“The mind is ripe for more than the benign joys it allows itself,” wrote Breton.
The mind can therefore feast at the Whitby Museum, where fossils rub shoulders with arcane charms and steampunk augury.
Read all about it at FCK LDN, complete with many, many pictures!
When writing about Whitby by day, I mentioned that I could not find my photos of Whitby by night.
Well, I found them! Here they are!
These are some of the most atmospheric photographs I’ve ever taken, from a night where I felt more alive than I have in a long time.
After a deliciously bleak morning spent staring at the sea, we went on to explore Whitby in considerable depth.
What we found will shock you.
It won’t. It won’t shock you. But those Buzzfeed/Upworthy titles really work, and how else am I going to convince you to read on?
Whitby! Having been told over the past few years by a few different people that I’d love it here, I was rather keen to go. The plan was to combine a trip to Whitby with a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The plan worked! But it did involve driving from Belper to Watford. Then back to Belper. Then to Whitby. A total of nine hours or so in the car, spread across more than 12 hours, with an extended plod through an almost-overwhelming museum thrown into the middle of it all.
It was all right for me. I was a passenger; I could look out the window. But poor Alex, doing all the driving. She’s a warrior. A heroine.
As we approached the coast, a fog descended. She was driving us across unfamiliar, winding country roads. It was nearly midnight and the fog was so thick we couldn’t see a thing. Before us a sickly yellow mist. Behind us a hellish red glow, as the brake lights illuminated the impenetrable. When we got there I was knackered, so I can only imagine how past-it she was feeling. Next time you see her, buy her a pint. Or a cocktail.
There were a few more tests. The one-way system. The parking issue. The fact that we couldn’t find our accommodation. We weren’t lost per se, as we seemed to be on precisely the right street. But our accommodation simply wasn’t there. We were staying at no. 15, and the street appeared to end at no. 13. Turns out it was just around the corner, but I had to knock on a door and ask for help. Luckily a kindly old Yorkshireman pointed us in the right direction. It had seemed hopeless, but when we finally found the place, we found a complimentary bottle of wine and box of chocolates.
Things were immediately much better, but let this be a warning to the curious. If you want to go to Whitby, you might be required to pass The Test.
We passed. Just. We fell asleep almost immediately. And when we got up the next morning, we were rewarded with a beautiful bleak paradise.