Wednesday, 20 March 2013

On not telling on Jack the Ripper

The half-dozen of you who've read every entry in this blog may remember Montagu Williams as one of the prosecutors in the Sidney Clay case. Sidney, the bastard child of a tobacconist and a dressmaker, was either murdered or killed by neglect. This, on the other hand, was Montagu:

File:Montagu Williams, Vanity Fair, 1879-11-01.jpg

He liked attention. He wrote about how the poor needed blankets, thought ladies should be allowed to wear bonnets at the theatre, went to Eton and fought at Sebastopol. Notice how polished his shoes are, how his trouser legs trail nearly to the ground and how glossy his hair is. I wonder if he dressed like that in court?

I've just realised this sounds like I don't like him. That's not it. He must have been a lovely man to have an affair with.

Anyway, in 1891, the year before he died, Montagu claimed that he knew who the Ripper was but couldn't tell. Here's the story:

'I have something to say in reference to the Whitechapel murders that 1 think will be read with interest by many of my readers. Without entering into the details of those horrible tragedies, I may mention that they all occurred within the Worship Street and Thames districts, and that, as I foresaw the possibility of the assassin, if arrested, being brought before me, I made it my business to personally visit all the scenes of the crimes, and to make what medical and other inquiries I thought desirable.

As my readers are aware, the murderer has not been arrested ; but a curious set of circumstances which tend, perhaps, to throw light upon the mystery came to my knowledge at the time.
For excellent reasons, I shall abstain, at any rate at present, from entering into the details of this matter.

It is not, however, that I lack the necessary permission of the person principally interested. He has placed in my possession all the documents relating to this matter, and has unreservedly given tile permission to make whatever use of them I like. The reasons for my reticence are concerned merely with the interests of justice.

I was sitting alone one afternoon, on a day on which I was off duty, when a card was brought to me, and I was informed that the gentleman whose name it bore desired that I would see him.

My visitor was at once shown in. He explained that he had called for the purpose of having a conversation with me with regard to the perpetrator, or perpetrators, of the East End murders. He had, he said, taken a very great interest in the matter, and had set on foot a number of inquiries that had yielded a result which, in his opinion, afforded an undoubted clue to the mystery, and indicated beyond any doubt the individual, or individuals, on whom this load of guilt rested.

My visitor handed me a written statement in which his conclusions were clearly set forth, together with the facts and calculations on which they were based ; and, I am bound to say, this theory-for theory it, of necessity, is-struck me as being remarkably ingenious and worthy of the closest attention.

Besides the written statement, this gentleman showed me copies of a number of letters that he had received from various persons in response to the representations he had made. It appeared that he had communicated his ideas to the proper authorities, and that they had given them every attention.

Of course, the theory set forth by my visitor may he a correct one or it may not. Nothing, however, has occurred to prove it fallacious during the many months that have elapsed since the last of this terrible series of crimes.

As I have said, I cannot take the reader into my confidence over this matter, as, possibly, in doing so I might be hampering the future course of justice. One statement, however, I may make, and, inasmuch as it is calculated to allay public fears, I do so with great pleasure. The cessation of the East End murders dates from the time when certain action was taken as a result of the promulgation of these ideas.'

My favorite Ripper theory still has Dr Watson at the culprit. Medical knowledge, criminal links, haring about rough parts of London. It's all very plausible.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Blushing unseen and all that.

I've been past the Savewell Supermarket (corner of Tollington Park, opposite Tesco's) dozens of times since Inkie painted his Mucha-like swirls and they've been on view about twice.

I'd understand if keeping the shutters up meant you could see the stock,  but you can't because the shop's windows are blocked by white panels.

I'd understand if the owners were mad because their property had been defaced, but here the landlord has graffiti artists friends and invited them to paint the shutters.

Meh. Goodness knows there's enough drab shutters on show nearby.

Anyway, there are two more paintings on the Hornsey Road side. One is a black swirly one that I've  never been able to see in full. The other is a bright cubist piece and here it was last week:

March 2013: from a distance
March 2013: closer in
This one is by Hunto. There's less about him on t'internet than there was about Inkie, but you can read a review of his 2009 show at the Rag Factory here and a preview here.

March 2013: close-up with gaping mouth

He was born in Brindisi in 1982 and reminds me for reasons I can't articulate of Repubblica's  cartoonist Altan, who's been drawing Italians resigned to lives of quiet desperation for decades.  Here's his reaction to the latest election:

Okay then.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Or you could buy flowers for yourself

It is Mother's Day this Sunday. I understand that it is customary to buy flowers. There are many flowers at With Love, on 348 Hornsey Road. Please see below photographs of said flowers.