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10 November 2008 @ 08:15 pm
Moda a Firenze ...  
I live! And yes, before you ask, I did finish my Darkfest fic, though I suspect I will be annoying the world's most patient mod by sending off a slightly revised ending before today is out, now that I have slept a little.

Since arriving in Italy I have seen more fashion from more time periods, than anyone in their right mind really needs. I have been inspired, annoyed, amazed and am now filled with twin desires to go home and begin sewing experimental clothing and to go home and write airport novels to pay for cultural heritage in Italy.

The annoyance has mostly been from seeing closely how yet another government expects to reap all the benefits of cultural tourism without giving any support to it. Italy has a thriving economy, but such entrenched levels of corruption and nepotism at the higher levels that the government is unable to fund essential services well, let alone historical conservation and interpretation.

The end result has been that I have been making lists of trashy Philippa Gregory-style novels that I can write to sell for loads of cash and use the money to help support some of the conservators work that is desperate for cash. Or the Stibbert Museum ...

The conference was BRILLIANT. One dud speaker from the whole lot. I have about 100 pages of notes, hundreds of photos and an absurd desire to do a degree in fashion history. Garments that I had a passing acquaintance with now feel like old friends and new ways of reading grave clothes are now immediately apparent.  Also, new ways of publishing reports on grave clothes so that scholars who are not able to visit them can gain the maximum information.

We discovered that the reason all Italian conservators are so slender is that no lab comes without 60 stairs (Oh! My aching knees!) and realised that Janet Arnold was a one-woman linchpin for a whole textile world, as so many disparate people loved working with her or were inspired by her work.

As part of the proceedings we had access to some of the Medici apartments that are normally off limits, including the washing room, with a ceiling of girls cleaning their hair and linens, my friend whispered that they would have laughed to see us all skip blithely past gold-encrusted jewels of ceilings, only to stand gaping and frantically sketching at their laundry scenes.

And we were allowed to rampage through the Stibbert Museum with its insane late-Victorian collecting ethos (I need one of those. Oh, bugger it, I need 50 of those ...) It had items I have never seen before in very good condition despite the fact they clearly have a budget of about three euro per annum. And the grounds were absolutely delicious. If you have any interest in the decorative arts or, more essentially, in armour and Eastern items, I thoroughly recommend the trip. And if limpy old me can walk up that hill with several aged dress historians, you can, too!

Must get dressed and find some food now, it's 10.30 and I have been faffing about since 8.45. I moved to a new hotel yesterday, and it is nowhere near as nice as my old one, though still perfectly serviceable and in the centre of things. I think that I will like it more once I dress and tell them the loo has no water for flushing, I just turned the bin into a bucket this morning, which worked perfectly, but I should probably find a more permanent solution ...
nahimanaemerald_dragon8 on November 10th, 2008 09:38 am (UTC)
That sounds like a great trip! Glad to hear you're safe and sound. :)

Except it sucks that hardly any government money is going into such amazing sounding museums. :(
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
Hey you! Yes, it has been jolly good fun! And oh the bruises from carrying heavy books that I just 'need' ...

Its even worse than that with the Stibbert, the gov gives them nothing, so they rely on customers, only 22,000 per annum. I plan to write up some articles on them, and visit them again before I leave!
(no subject) - emerald_dragon8 on November 10th, 2008 09:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - emerald_dragon8 on November 10th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shu_shu_sleeps on November 10th, 2008 09:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shu_shu_sleeps on November 10th, 2008 10:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
Meredyth: Myrtlemeredyth_13 on November 10th, 2008 09:46 am (UTC)
Hey, honey! We miss you.


But you know what? I read posts like this of yours, and realise just what a cultural wasteland my education has been, and my life continues to be. I don't mean to sound like some kind of sycophantic dweeb, but I wish I could learn from people like you - learn about learning, and how to see the world and its treasures through new and better eyes.

It's so lovely to hear you so enthused and engaged in the things you're experiencing. I'm not even too clear on exactly what the conference is about, or how it ties in with your life / interests / work, but it sounds fascinating. And your excitement for it all is even more fascinating.

Long live noble endeavours and trashy novels!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)
Yes, but I have no idea where my spleen is. So it is swings and roundabouts as the business people say ...

It doesn't really tie in with my professional life, but I have a real interest in historic textiles and fashion and those were the focus of the event. Loads of 16th century clothing and accessories, bits of earlier stuff, heaps of later. And SOOooooooo much walking. Talking of which, I should get dressed and back to it as it's about to be midday Monday in 45 minutes and the world will shut up here in a few hours ;-)
The Ramblings of an often very distracted person.annes_stuff on November 10th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
Off topic quite a bit.....
I am assuming you have heard the news (or at least gleaned from various LJs), but how cool is it that Theodoric won Crown tourney, my heart was beating like a jack hammer in that last bout.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
Re: Off topic quite a bit.....
I did! Although after the last week I am an inch away from running screaming whenever I see an SCA person who is not you, Art, deense or one of about six others. The Aussies who were here were lovely, but the Americans! Eep!
Re: Off topic quite a bit..... - annes_stuff on November 10th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Off topic quite a bit..... - blamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Off topic quite a bit..... - annes_stuff on November 10th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Off topic quite a bit..... - blamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Off topic quite a bit..... - annes_stuff on November 10th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
pingridpingrid on November 10th, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
OMFG, I am so insanely jealous! My conference was, well, 5000 computer geeks in one space. Doesn't really compare! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
You are going to have so much fun here, Pin! I have LOVELY THINGS planned! Can't wait till Wednesday!!
(no subject) - pingrid on November 10th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pingrid on November 10th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
Pureblood Princess: Tee Heeraitala on November 10th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Wheeeee! I am so excited!

Please wait to go back to the Stibbert when I am there, please? I don't know how I will manage with just limited carry-on baggage. I think I will have to travel in 6 layers of clothing :D

I'll be in Florence on Wednesday around early afternoon. I'll go to the hotel and give you a bell.

The conference sounds so lovely! You'll have to give us all a digested talk of the highlights. Have I mentioned yet how excited I am? :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
I will have photos to illustrate my talk!

I am holding back on the Stibbert and Pitti until at least you and Pin are here, since you are my two mad art/dress friends. I think the Stibbert will have to be our Friday jaunt as it is closed Thursday and from 2 on Wednesday.

Embarrassingly, I have not yet made it to the Uffizi, I will try and drop in tomorrow and develop a plan of action. We also have to do a hidden passages tour through the Palazzo Vecchio, it was SO GOOD! And I want to see the Bronzino of Leonora in her little chapel again. Sigh ...

Went up to Pisa yesterday, which was very much worth the trip, but not sure I could do it again this week. In fact, I think I will just stay in Florence until I go to Rome the day before my flight ...
(no subject) - raitala on November 10th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
silent hallucination: seductressalex_s9 on November 10th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC)
You know, my friend has just posted a very cynical article about the acquaintances we make on the internet and how shallow they are. Maybe she's right, but what matters are those glimpses of other lives, other worlds that such posts like yours provide. You've just took me on a short, exhilirating trip and it was wonderful.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
It is easy to be cynical about people we call friends, but I have to say that I agree with you. We can step into the experiences someone else is going through and either have a spot of vicarious excitement, or, sometimes, lend a piece of advice or help that can really make a difference.

And if we only like a certain percentage of our online friends when we meet them in real life, so what? As Forster said, 'only connect'. Once we do that, the world is open!

More pertinently, I will put up some photos in the next few days so you can have a glimpse.
(no subject) - alex_s9 on November 10th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタックtomatoe18 on November 10th, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC)
This entry reads like a novel from the travel literature section, except that it's better because I know the author.

And funny you should mention Philippa Gregory, someone just asked me to send them a list of her novels for purchase today. I laughed out extremely loud when I saw you mentioning this author's name.

And yes, please do write airport novels. I'll buy one to help your cause.

*is not touching the issue about Italian government because I'm exhausted right now but I know exactly how you feel*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
I should make you a card that gives alternative books for those hell-bent on reading such rubbish ;-)

Right, will sit down tonight to begin my reimagining of the Arthurian saga with Guinevere as Arthur/Lancelot's 'beard' ...
silenceofcedars on November 10th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
I can't wait for you to get home and post tons of photots. I'm delighted that you are having a good time. Make sure to eat plenty of gelato and rub Il Pocellino in the straw market.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
I will try to find time for a photo post while I am here. Have realised that I have very few of actual Florence as yet ...

Today has been spend weighing loot so far acquired, washing clothes in a basin, writing up notes and obtaining groceries. I feel Very Virtuous!
Dedicated Escape Artist: Coffee Timejadzialove on November 10th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
I contend that your airport novels will be leagues better than what's already out there, and will, quite possibly, revolutionize the entire genre.

On another note:
I think that I will like it more once I dress and tell them the loo has no water for flushing, I just turned the bin into a bucket this morning, which worked perfectly, but I should probably find a more permanent solution ...

I had to do this very same thing at work on Friday. Points to both of us for resourcefulness, though your experience sounds much more glamorous, if only for the setting.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
HA! It's a trend! The students who were minding everyone at the Fondazione Cerratelli last night had to do the same thing! We are all resourceful women who demand sewers!
(no subject) - jadzialove on November 10th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
trichinopoly ash: draco: lovealdehyde on November 10th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
the trip sounds like so much fun! i think i would enjoy italy very much, especially with all the fashion and great historic sites to visit :D

what was the conference about btw?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
You absolutely would! The conference was the Janet Arnold Memorial Colloquim and filled with clothing historians, designers, curators, practitioners and pattern makers all talking about clothing. SO MUCH FUN!!
(no subject) - aldehyde on November 11th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on November 11th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aldehyde on November 19th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sassy_cissasassy_cissa on November 10th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Oh I can't wait for the photos. Your trip sounds fab so far!!

Thanks for sharing and making me feel like I'm right there next to you *which would be so cool, I'd die from the excitement* :P
Vaysh Swiftstorm: Draco_dovevaysh on November 10th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Ooh, this all sounds so fascinating. Please - I want the long version on the grave clothes!!!! And I just will have to say that it's not fair at all if you guys do all the PLANNED fun things before me and Shiv and AM arrive. Stibbert on Friday sounds good :-). And thanks for the wardrobe advice!! And congrats on handing in your darkfest!fic :-).

Three more nights, and then I'm on my way ... *hugs*
Angelinangelinadb on November 10th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
I lurk on Shiv's flist--can I friend you? Would love to hear any specifics you'll be sharing on the conference--early 16th century Venice is my OTP (One True Period). Am currently hoping the detestable Americans were not the ones from my kingdom--please say they weren't from southern California. (If they were, my apologies.)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 10th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
Ah ha! Another SCA person. I have adored most SCAdians I have met in my life, but the ones I dislike, I dislike with a fiery passion like the heat of a thousand suns. You, of course, will be in the former category.

Am I right to guess that you would be Caidian? My dear friend Mel who now lives in New Zealand was one of yours if you are. I believe the annoying lot were all from elsewhere. And I must say that the non-annoying SCA girls were DELIGHTFUL and tremendously erudite.

I will be typing up all my conference notes and will be happy to send you a copy, send me your details: blamebrampton at gmail.com and I will pop you on my list to receive them!

And of course you can friend me.
uminohikariuminohikari on November 11th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
The gov't won't reap the benefits for long.. Eventually, it'll have to start funding or lose all the benefits. :(

to see us all skip blithely past gold-encrusted jewels of ceilings, only to stand gaping and frantically sketching at their laundry scenes.
*giggles* Were the scenes really so interesting?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on November 11th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Yes! You could see the lacings and the backs of partlets, which are usually tucked inside frocks, and there was a washing line ... though you probably have to be into costume history ...
pir8fancier on November 11th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
I am just reading the lastest biography of Lorenzo di Medici. Fascinating!