The London Monster: Terror on the Streets in 1790 by Jan Bondeson.
Describes a panic in 1790 over strange attacks on women, who were apparently stabbed (seriously but non-fatally) in an apparent act of sexual fetishism. The victims disagreed over the appearance of the attacker, but eventually a suspect was arrested and imprisoned.
There are various theories over the affair. The trials were pretty dubious and the suspect had an alibi: nevertheless the attacks either stopped or were reduced after his arrests. Other theories are that there were a group of attackers, or that clumsy cut-purses would accidentally stab women while trying to rob them, or that it was purely down to mass hysteria.
The book goes through the affair in a lot of detail, with some interesting insights into the period, and the colourful characters involved. However, the context, as in sexual relations in the period, and similar spates of attacks in other times and places, is compressed into the last chapter. I would have liked to see more of the wider context.
Overall, fairly interesting.
Went to see the new Modern London Galleries at the Museum of London. Not bad. Some of the more recent stuff seems a bit padded out with vague paeans to multiculturalism, but there's some nice artefacts in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century sections. Also a few old computers for some reason.
Thought the one-room recreation of the Vauxhall Pleasure Garden was good, very famous at the time. Free entry, but a bit crowded, quite a few kids.
Also popped over the bridge and had a quick scoot around the new Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera exhibition at Tate Modern. Was very crowded on the opening weekend, so didn't stay long. Some pretty interesting content, like the surreptitiously taken photographs from the early Twentieth Century, and some of the cameras used to take them.
The porny stuff is a bit boring as you'd expect. Nobody's shocked by porn any more guys, either get really creative, get some really hot models, or give it up.
Economics. China's scale makes the miracle look more miraculous. Mostly Harmless Econometrics review.
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