Sunday, 4 October 2015

I Visit A Museum

I never expected to see a bottle of Carlsberg in a a glass case in a museum, but wandering around the Cultural Quarter of Northampton on a break from Cinnamon Press's 10th Birthday celebrations yesterday, I chanced on the museum and  its surprising exhibit.  There wasn't just one bottle, but a bottle on top of an unopened box of bottles.

Later, in order to enter the Carlsberg website in my quest to find out that the lager has been brewed in Northampton since 1974, I had to enter my date of birth to prove I am over 18.  I could probably have found out the 1974 information from a label next to the display in the museum, but  I was too surprised to look at the time.

The Beer Hall in the museum is not as extensive as the Shoe Hall.  As soon as I saw this I remembered Northampton's reputation as a centre for shoe-making.  When my son was at the height of his English Shoe Phase, I looked into taking him on a day trip to the factory shops in Northampton.  The Phase passed before I could get my act together, and he has since moved west and over the Atlantic into his Sneaker Phase.

On display in the Shoe Hall were all sort of things I wouldn't want to put on my feet, and not just because they were the wrong size: fetish ballet shoes; thigh length Kinky Boots; tiny Polish Kierpce style shoes singled out as the Shoes of the Month; leopard skin print shoes once worn by Corrie's Bet Lynch; a cabinetful of high heeled shoes with the mis-spelt advice in font-5-inch that the key to success for walking in heels is to "practice, practice, practice." And so, "What are you waiting for!"

As I marvelled at the range of shoe and beer-related souvenirs in the gift shop, I felt a certain relief that I live in a town, albeit half the size of Northampton, with a museum that doesn't feel the need to put a pack of Shrewsbury biscuits in a display case in a Biscuit Hall, and where the museum gift shop is able to offer a variety of (mostly dignified) Darwin-related paraphernalia.

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