You’d think The Elephant House were holding more magic.
But apparently the magician was finished with her spells and took her wand and wonders with her when she left. Not even the faintest trace of pixie dust stayed on the old wooden floors, and even if there had – it would be gone now. Stamped down by Japanese pilgrims, by hordes of noisy tourists, by trompeting Potterheads, all in search for something, anything to prove that magic has been created here.
We didn’t see any of it there. I think we found it an hour later at a small bookshop called The Edinburgh Bookshop. Magic needs the quiet, I think. It needs the pages of a book to come to life.
We went to Stonehenge today, and I loved it. It‘s a funny feeling, getting excited about stones. But just think, those lifeless junks of rock surpassed the ages of history. All the wars, the storms, the crises, all the malice in the world could not push them from where they are stood.
And just think, all the people that come to visit, so desperate for a little bit of mystery, for the proof of magic. And those unmoving stones just keep standing in a circle, casting shadows and marking the sinking of the sun, they are all the proof some of us need.
Just think, maybe the stones are not special at all, maybe people just made them so. Maybe fairy tales exist for those who believe in them and who are willing to look at things as if they really are magical. Just think, maybe that is the real power of the stones.
London has entire streets dedicated to all sorts of bookshops. There’s one dedicated to witchcraft and one sells hand signed first editions of Charles Dickens and one has a café in the midst of paper and ink. The tour guide called it Diagon Alley and I will stick to that (even though it is really called Cecile’s Street).
Oxford Street always makes me a hypocrate. Because I hate that people just shop to shop without needing anything that they buy, but I am one of them and I love commercialism. I bought so much and I needed nothing, and I won’t admit that it felt good.
London is a blur. I arrived, and it wasn‘t on Platform 9 3/4, and it wasn‘t magical. Just the crowded station of St. Pancras; anouncements, suitcases being pushed and pulled past me, a child crying, two lovers hugging, the music coming from some shop. I circled the top floor of the station and I circled the lower floor and when I was completely lost in my circle, Inga finally found me. She is very good at finding me (I should ask her how she does it, because I keep losing myself).
It‘s good to be nibbling at a Waggon Wheel at midnight in a stranger‘s kitchen when your thoughts slowly turn into dreams.
I haven‘t been home for a week and already I‘ve spent a day locked up in my room and curing an outrageous hangover. So goes life!
Since I‘m obviously not getting anything else done today – apart from watching Harry Potter and notoriously checking my Facebook for any kind of news or mesaages or whathaveyou – I decided to talk about a book I‘ve recently read: Matilda.
I‘m sure most of you will have read it or seen the movie, and if you haven‘t, then please do so now! I had completely forgotten how brilliant and amazing and mind-blowing this story is! I‘m not very into summarising stories, so here‘s the blurb for you:
Matilda‘s parent‘s have called her some terrible things.
The truth is, she‘s a genius and they‘re the stupid ones.
Matilda is determined to get her own back and soon discovers she has a very special power.
The story is, of course, gorgeous! But more than that, it contains so much wisdom that many adults fail to understand. For a start, Matilda decides to get back at her parents everytime they are being undeservedly nasty to her. The author points out to the reader how difficult it is for a person so small to stand up to adults.
Everybody has at some point in their lives met an intimidating bully like Matilda‘s father. And it doesn‘t always matter whether we‘re five years old or twenty-two, more often than not we forget that even though we‘re helpless against some people there are still ways to defend ourselves. Matilda doesn‘t change her parents at all, but she also isn‘t afaraid of them and finds the courage to fight back in her own ways.
There is one very beautiful passage where Matilda realises what power her mind truly has and she decides that there is absolutely no reason for her to be afraid of anything, let alone the terrifying headmistress, Mrs. Trunchbull. Later, when Matilda‘s teacher, Ms Honey tells her own story, we learn that grown-ups can be just as scared as children and that if someone has made you feel small and worthless when you were young you‘ll continue to feel that way even when you‘re an adult.
This is such an important scene to understand. In that moment, we hate Matilda‘s father so much for destroying a book that‘s not hers in the first place but also for using such raw violence when his daughter has done absolutely nothing to deserve it. But Roald Dahl tries to make the reader understand that a bully is rarely a bully by choice. Being mean is a result of jealousy or stupidity, or, in most cases, it‘s a simple circle. Matilda ends this circle by punishing him instead of someone half her age.
I am twenty-two years old and I read this book on a train journey from Stradford to Oxford. I cried on that train, so no dignity there! But I also felt that I learned so much in those two hours! Being smart is a superpower and there is no reason for anyone to be scared. And if somebody bullies you, don‘t let them get you down, because you are worth so much more than them and just, please, remember that! Being smart is a really cool and awesome character trait that everyone should be proud of, and it‘s something only stupid people laugh at!
Last not least, Roald Dahl‘s just a funny guy and reading his books is always worth the time. My personal favourite is the introduction to Matilda that always makes me giggle:
In a number of ways I think I have never quite grown up. I know how to pay my bills and I vote on a regular basis and I like alcoholic beverages. But there is no way I can keep my cool where Disney is concerned. Tangledwas the movie that I wanted to see on my 18th birthday and I have a selection of Disney princess dolls in my bedroom that my friends have brought home from their trips to London, I know the lyrics to all the songs, and it only seems natural that when I went to Paris with my wonderful friend Samantha this weekend, we also spent a day in Disneyland.
A lot can be said about Disneyland; it‘s a capitalistic structure, entrance fees could feed an entire African nation and it‘s as overrated as the original Mona Lisa painting (it‘s like staring at a stamp!). Yet, I loved Disneyland! I put on my favourite dress and my new shoes and I wore my Minnie Mouse ears all day long, and I felt like a princess arriving home when I walked through the castle. It was magical, okay?
I got extremely emotional when I met Mickey (sorry to everyone who was queueing up behind me – it took us a while!) and I cried during the parade; I really wasn‘t expecting that but I just got so very excited when I saw Peter Pan and Cinderella, and there was music, and Jesus! Just too many feels!
My favourite part of the day was the Frozen Sing-Along. I have no idea how they managed to find a guy with such an immense resemblance to Kristoff, or what kind of surgery this man had undergone – but he can have my number any time!
They say that Disneyland is the place where dreams come true. That‘s wrong. Dreams will not come true in Disneyland, it‘s just a theme park after all. But it‘s a place that will make you believe in those dreams again. We live in a world that is so hellbent on reality that we forget that we used to dream of pixie dust that makes you fly, of enchanted kisses and Jinnies. Maybe I get a little too excited about things but maybe the world would be an inherently better place if people cared more about fairies and happily ever afters.
I hope you will dream of fairies tonight and of eloping to Neverland and of kissing all the Prince Charmings (yes! all of them!).