In around 1800, a horrible old lecher called the Duke of Queensbury was obsessed with prolonging his youth and virility. Somehow or other, he got the idea into his head that sleeping with veal chops on his cheeks (which he fed to his dogs in the morning) and taking lengthy milk baths would do the trick. He had large quantities of milk delivered to his London pad, and would wallow contentedly for hours on end. A rumour soon started doing the rounds that he was then selling the milk back to the supplier, so huge numbers of people in London stopped drinking the stuff.
Stories like this tickle my fancy immeasurably and, if they tickle yours too, I bring you glad tidings: I’m writing a whole book of them.
The crowd-funded publishing venture, Unbound, has attracted brilliant writers like Monty Python’s Terry Jones and comic novelist Tibor Fischer to their ranks, and they are now pitching my book proposal via their website. It’s a bawdy romp called The GIN LANE GAZETTE, and will be an illustrated compendium of scurrilous highlights from a fictional Georgian newspaper, dealing with true stories of scandal, intrigue and oddities; a kind of Georgian Heat magazine, if you like.
In addition to gossip columns about ill-behaved eighteenth-century celebs, there will be sports reports, book reviews, obituaries, advertisements for bizarre Georgian goods, services and entertainments, and a ‘courtesan of the month’ feature for reading under the bedclothes. It will have warmth, humour, authenticity, and riotous caricatures disporting themselves across every page.
If my pitch attracts enough pledges, it will be published, and those who subscribe will have their names listed in the back of the book, and can also enjoy many splendid Georgian-themed perks, which include having yourself caricatured as an eighteenth-century belle or buck, and a Georgian pub crawl. You can come to the launch party, and even have yourself drawn into the book, if you like.
VIDEO LINK ADRIAN TEAL TALKS ABOUT THE GIN LANE GAZETTE: ade_final.mp4
This was an age when alcoholic Prime Minsiters fought duels with political opponents, equestrian entertainers rode standing on their saddles while wearing a mask of bees, and quack doctors diagnosed their patients’ maladies by licking the soles of their feet. In undertaking this labour of love I have set out to give people a taste of the exuberance, self-confidence, debauchery, elegance, bravery, villainy, inventiveness and eccentricity which characterize this glorious period of our history, and I hope you will choose to come along for the ride.
SHARED FROM SHAKESPEARE’S ENGLAND BLOG: http://www.shakespearesengland.com/2011/12/gin-lane-gazette.html