Saturday, 4 October 2008

Historical hopscotch

Southampton - Tudor Merchants Hall & Westgate

Officially billed as the Tudor Merchants Hall, beautiful as it is, I just have to nit-pick ... The Tudor dynasty (from Henry VII to Elizabeth I) lasted for 118 years, from 1485 to 1603. (OK, if I were to be really pedantic there's a missing apostrohy too, position depentant upon whether it's one merchant or several.)

Plaque on the so-called Tudor Merchants Hall

According to the plaque and the blurb, this building was originally constructed before 1428 - possibly during the reign of Henry VI, of the House of Plantagenet - and thus well before the Tudors came into being. Even if we take the date - of 1634 - when it was demolished, moved and re-erected in its present location, that comes into the reign Charles I, the second king of the House of Stuart, the lot who followed the Tudors. And either way you look at it, Tudor it is not.

One suspects the word Tudor is used, because it's expected that people will have heard of that, where they might not have heard of the other dynasties, which, if it's true, kinda insults people's intelligence a bit, doesn't it?

So why not call it Medieval after the era, usually interpreted by historians as the period between 1066 (the Norman Conquest) and 1485 (the accession of the Tudors), into which it actually fits. Surely, people have heard of that?

To me, there should be more kudos in something being even older than Tudor, so I can't help thinking, since, as well as being on the tourist trail, this is hired out as a venue for weddings, etc., that this is a case of history re-written by the marketing department, or "sex sells": that is, sex incarnate in the most famous Tudor - and serial wedding host - of them all, Henry VIII.

Pathetic attempt to sex up history for the yooof ...

Speaking of selling sex, I cannot even begin to describe the liberties being taken with history in The Tudors. It is far too painful to watch. The New York Times calls this "a version of Tudor England that appears to have been spritzed with Febreze" and they're being quite kind to it! Actually, if you just ignore all of the purported history and dialogue that is almost universally screwed fictionalised, what's left is soft porn in period costume. Well, maybe not even soft porn, if you count all the bloodthirsty "snuff movie" stuff in it that appears unnecessarily drawn out - as slowly as a South American daytime telenovela (soap).

This is what the BBC has stooped to? And Britain!

No comments: