The drunken, promiscuous crowd at Almack's were the same people who read poetry and argued about it and wrote letters to the papers about it. Poetry was the rock 'n' roll of the Regency era, and for a time, Lord Byron was the Elvis of his generation. Like so many other rock stars, Byron lived hard and died young. He had a disastrous marriage and a noisy, ugly divorce. Too, like your typical rock star, he had a little problem with overindulgence. In his case, it wasn't drugs but sex. But then, sex was the drug of choice for his crowd. Instead of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, it was sex, drink, and poetry. He even had groupies, like Lady Caroline Lamb. He had sex with either sex and sometimes with relatives. (That's him to the left.)
Sex hasn't gone out of fashion, nor has drinking. But poetry has a hard row to hoe these days. Bright Star, the new Keats movie made us NHGs wonder about Lord Byron. Given his extravagant life and wild adventures, you'd think he'd be prime film material. But we came up with two, count 'em, two. Susan found this gem, Bad Lord Byron, from the 40s. And I was wondering how I missed the 2003 Byron. I'm going to put it on my Netflix list, but I'm not getting my hopes up. His life is in my encyclopedia under Truth is Stranger Than Fiction. It's a real challenge to take a life that was so extravagant, so theatrical, and make it believable on screen. All the more amazing that he lived that life and wrote poetry that's still deliciously readable today. Try Don Juan or Beppo, if you want a taste of great Regency era rock 'n' roll. (To the right is Keats, who died young not of extravagance but of consumption, aka tuberculosis.)
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.