Hippies, Dragons and Cruikshank

17 Jan

Well get ready because here comes my next post. It’s been a few days now, and to be honest far too much has happened for you to care to listen to each tidbit. But needless to say, I feel like I’m getting acclimated to living in England! I don’t want to skimp out on all the details though, so I suppose I’ll try to choose highlights.

There were a couple of orientation events for the University on Friday (Jan. 6). It was absolutely nothing like BGR, and of course as a former BGR leader, my biased instincts will tell me that it wasn’t as good. But I’m thankful I was able to go and meet new people. If that Friday were an exclusive indicator of British life, it would seem that everyone in England is American. The vast majority of people I met were from the U.S..  One girl was from Chile, and one from Canada. So…that’s three countries represented. Of course, since then I’ve managed to meet some actual English people!

On Saturday I went into Brighton on my own for the first time to wander around, get lost and pray to God that I would manage to get back home OK. Fortunately it really wasn’t as terrible as my typically horrible sense of direction led me to imagine it would be. Actually, it was a fantastic day! So if I had to choose one highlight…. well obviously the highlight any day always involves Bob Dylan or Reggae and the highlight of this day involved both. There were a number of street performers in Brighton and my favorite were these two hippies that were playing a reggae version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” with a steel drum, ukulele and harmonica!!! I gave them some money and hung around to listen to the end of the song and when they were finished we started talking. Aside from the awesome hippie-ness of them, they were actually quite fascinating. Apparently one of them is Mark Stewart! That’s right…THE Mark Stewart! OK… I didn’t know who Mark Stewart was and I don’t expect you to either. However, after he told me a bunch of fun, hippie stuff about how we’re all family and all we need is love he told me that he used to be a stuntman and was actually Christopher Reeves’ stunt double for Superman 3 and 4. Yeah, I know that isn’t 1 or 2…but at least it wasn’t Superman Returns. I looked him up on imdb afterwords, and apparently he was also Guard #4 in Tron as well as a few other things. Needless to say,  I thought they were awesome and we talked for quite a bit before this other really awkward guy joined the conversation. It was funny, because when the other guy started talking I could see the hippies starting to get squeamish because the conversation was getting too uncomfortable. Of course, maybe they got squeamish because of me, but I like to tell myself it was the other guy.

Sunday was even more incredible. I started off going to the only church by campus. The American stereotype is that so many people in England don’t have a relationship with Christ, and that most of the churches around are more postmodern than Biblical and when I walked in that was my immediate impression. There were about ten people and the service was very multi-denominational, which IMPLIED postmodernism, but after talking with the pastor for a bit I learned quickly that he had a strong relationship with Christ and understood the Gospel clearly. I met with him again today for coffee and we had a nice, long discussion about theology! He said today that God had called him to evangelize through services that can’t be rooted to a specific denomination. But anyways…back to Sunday! So after church I went with the other international students on a coach tour of Brighton, Devils Dyke and the Royal Pavilion!

Devils Dyke was really cool. We went-in the middle of January mind you, and there were hang gliders and para sailors everywhere. Oh and the Royal Pavilion…WOW! You may see some pictures of the outside, which are definitely cool, but the outside is absolutely nothing compared to the inside! I can’t do it justice through verbal explanation, but so you get an idea; there was a chandelier that was one TON of gold and crystal in the shape of a giant dragon, with other dragons, snakes and lotus flowers surrounding it. Just to emphasize that a bit more clearly; ONE TON OF GOLD AND CRYSTAL! DRAGONS EVERYWHERE!!! And that was just one chandelier! The entire thing was extraordinarily ornate and elaborate. So if any political leader tried to do anything like it today I would be furious, but since it’s long past history I’m ok. Also, on the tour aside from learning the history of the Royal Pavilion and King George IV, we saw a bunch of caricature art of King George IV by some of the people who are considered revolutionaries in the early ages of comic strips like George Cruikshank! I think that I’m the only person that cared about that on the tour…probably.

Seeing as this has gone on long enough, I’ll close in saying I’ve been in the city a few more times now and each time has been good. Oh by the way! I started class today with Art History! I think it will be an excellent class and I’ll post again later. Bye!


4 Responses to “Hippies, Dragons and Cruikshank”

  1. Mike Dale January 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Amazed to stumble on your blog and hear about Mark Stewart. He is an old friend of mine. I used to skydive with him and he took my kids to meet Christopher Reeve.
    When were you in Brighton that time? Where exactley was Mark? I live in Kent, England. Would love to see him again.
    Mike Dale

    • Gareth Rees August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      HI guys
      I was friend of Mark’s in London when he did South Pacific back in 1990 or so. I’d like to get in touch too if you ever track him down
      Gareth Rees

  2. Carl in Brighton January 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Hey Mike!
    It’s awesome that you saw this! With your comment, I appreciate my encounter with him even more. He seems fantastic!

    I have been in Brighton since January 4th, and I believe I met him Jan. 7th, he was hanging around near a bookstore and a Costa coffee in either the Lanes or the North Lanes in Brighton. I hate to say this, but I had asked him how long he was going to be around and I think he said for just another couple days and then he was moving on. I can’t remember where exactly he said he was going to, so I’m really sorry I can’t be of more help in reuniting the two of you. However, his friend that he was playing with lives in Brighton (although she will be going to University soon) I think that it may not be unreasonable to think that he will end up in Brighton again at some point.

    As I said, it’s a shame I can’t be of more help to you, but I’m sure you will have the opportunity to meet again, and if I ever see him again, I will be sure you leave another comment here (hoping you receive it.)

    • Mike Dale MRCVS January 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      Hi Carl
      Really kind of you to take the trouble to reply. I’d love to touch base with Mark. We used to tease him with this:-
      Knock knock..
      Who’s there?
      Mark who?
      …….That’s showbiz!!


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