Reading my history books the thought occurred to me that I would very much like to time travel and visit a number of festive occasions throughout history.
The first time this thought occurred I was watching The Tudors and thought how amusing attending a court ball or feast in the reign of King Henry VIII must be, especially at Christmas. The aristocracy in their fancy dresses, the beautiful chamber music and a feast! I found this video on YouTube, then it was taken down for copyright violation and I just discovered it is up again. Here it is although it will probably disappear once more.
While I’m time traveling I’d also like to visit a few gentlemen’s clubs of Victorian England where I’d smoke a pipe, discuss affairs of the Empire, drink some scotch, all while wearing an absolutely smashing three piece suit. That would be a jolly good time indeed mate!
Should it be wartime I’d like to take see what a ball was like for the officers in Nazi Germany. Again, my interest is piqued by watching old movies, although I forget which ones. I’d like to hear the things they talk about and try to dissect/understand the contrast between having a good time all while they are murdering people. This is something I cannot comprehend and feel I could learn a lot by listening to the officers discussions directly instead of through history books. I imagine they would have someone sing “Morgen!” or Opus 27, Number 4 by Richard Strauss while they sipped recently confiscated French Champagne.
Speaking of French Champagne, here is a spot in the video of my Grandfathers WWII experience speaking about how his division in the 10th Mountain Division captured a warehouse of French Champagne that the Germans had confiscated and stored for their own consumption.
I’d also like to visit WWII Japan and have been afforded a glimpse into such parties from the book Memories of Silk and Straw. This book was written by a Japanese doctor who tended to the aged who were on their death bed. He found their stories so fascinating he wrote them down in this book. The Japanese are much more stoic and their ‘parties’ were usually in Geisha houses and much more subtle affairs. The memories of one Geisha was recorded and she said that those sent on the Kamikaze missions seemed rather sad. This is in direct contrast to the propaganda these pilots are portrayed as from both sides of the conflict. I’d like to speak with them myself to understand what was going through their minds during their last big ‘party’ on this earth.
I plan to add more to this post as I come across other balls and festivals that I would have like to attend. I’m sure there are more than a few in France during the reigns of the various King Louis and I’m certain the Valois through plus de quelques fêtes extraordinaires!
I’ll be back to this post eventually to add them.