Monday, December 04, 2006

Spiritual enlightenment and huge stone tadgers on the streets of London

I was walking near the Barbican the other day when I saw a plaque that I’d never noticed before...

The Probable Site, Where, On May 24, 1738
John Wesley
‘Felt His Heart Strangely Warmed’
This Experience Of Grace Was The Beginning
Of Methodism

The juxtaposition of the plaque, commemorating the start of the spiritual Odyssey of a leading historical figure, sitting in a neglected corner of the city surmounted by a discarded apple core and an empty plastic cup tickled me a little

So I slapped a picture up on Flickr




Almost immediately somebody wrote underneath

… must have been something he ate

A good line admittedly but it also got me thinking that we have probably lost something in the intervening 200 years. Is it an entirely good thing that nowadays if someone started talking to you about their heart feeling strangely warmed or having seen angels in the trees your first reaction would be to edge away nervously and check the visionary for signs of needle marks, a hastily grabbed kitchen knife or a bomb belt?

Still, better safe than sorry

And, to be honest, there were plenty of people around, even in Wesley and Blake’s time, who had a cynical attitude to spirituality and took a considerably earthier view of things…

I was walking through Bunhill Burial Ground a few days after photographing the Wesley plaque and couldn’t help but admire the splendidly tumescent marker raised in memory of Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe. It’s a whopper. I particularly enjoy the satisfyingly domed lumps of marble placed on either side of the main the shaft...




William Blake is buried only a stone's throw from Defoe...


William Blake Money Shot


Defoe's marker is a worthy addition to my small, but select, collection of photographs of blatantly obscene tombstones ‘erected’ in cemeteries by sneaky humanists with a subversive sense of humour...



Resurgam...


The debate between the spiritual and the corporal has been raging for longer than most people realise, even when the evidence is sticking up right in their faces - quite literally

-

PS Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, should not be confused with Willem Dafoe, star of Platoon, who is still alive. However, like Defoe, Dafoe is also reputed to lie underneath an enormous obelisk. Given that Dafoe has played the role of a Messiah in a movie there may be some scope for uniting both believers and non believers under his banner at some point in the future...


Willem Dafoe - Casts a giant shadow?

-

And on the subject of spiritual faith, Little People Blogspot has surpassed itself with this picture
taken in Cambridge Circusare you a winner or a sinner?


4 comments:

Shutter said...

Rooting (ie in the sense of looking around !) many years ago in the graveyard of a church in Boston Spa I found a grave of a lady who died at the age of 19 of "sensibilities", this was apparently an 18C polite way of saying suicide.

Daniel said...

Fascinating as ever. I had no idea of this trend for Phallic tombstones! Great Photos as well.

Anonymous said...

"The juxtaposition of the plaque, commemorating the start of the spiritual Odyssey of a leading historical figure, sitting in a neglected corner of the city surmounted by a discarded apple core and an empty plastic cup tickled me a little"

In my home town, the chapel where Wesley preached has been turned into a pub. I suppose it is less painful than the traditional manner of producing mankurts [wikilink, quite informative, for added despair be sure to follow the wikilink to 'pitchcapping'].

Stef said...

mankurts are new to me

nice one...