Page 103. " Who's Who "

Who's Who is a reference book containing short biographies of about 33,000 notable British individuals. It is published annually in hard copy, and is also available to online subscribers.

Page 104. " a pair of marble-topped Empire tables "
Napoleon I's bedroom at Grand Trianon, Versailles
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNapoleon I's Empire-style bedroom at Grand Trianon, Versailles - Credit: Kallgan

 Empire is the name given to the architectural and decorative arts style which superseded the Louis Seize style (see bookmark for p.72), and the Directoire style (see bookmark for p.108).

It originated in France during Napoleon I's period as Emperor, which began in 1804. Subsequently, the style became popular in other parts of Europe and America, and remained in vogue until about 1830. The Empire style is sometimes referred to as the second phase of Neoclassicism, as it drew on motifs derived from the art and architecture of  Imperial Rome.

Empire style at the Château de Compiègne, France
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeEmpire style at the Château de Compiègne, France - Credit: Andreas Praefcke
Page 106. " a huge dreary tapestry showing a bacchanalian scene "

The bacchanalia were wild, alcohol-fuelled festivals in honour of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) who was the god of wine and mystic ecstasy. The festivals originated in Greece, but spread later to Rome. In Rome, they were initially women-only events, but men came to be included at a later date.

Depiction of Bacchus (1850)
Public DomainDepiction of Bacchus (1850) - Credit: Michelangelo Maestri

Eventually, the term bacchanalia came to be used as a description of any scene characterised by mad drunken revelry and debauchery.





Page 107. " it's an encoignure "
German encoignure
Public DomainGerman encoignure - Credit: Scan and post processing by Hubertl

An encoignure is a corner cupboard, or any piece of furniture designed to fit into a corner.  It is also the French word for a corner.






Encoignures at the Château of Versailles
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeEncoignures at the Château of Versailles - Credit: Myrabella



Page 108. " I picked up a little Directoire bureau there once, bombé it was "
Directoire bombé bureau (U.S. English)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDirectoire bombé bureau (U.S. English) - Credit: BBKurt

 Directoire is a style of furniture, decorative arts and fashion which arose between 1795 and 1799. These were the final years of the French Revolution, when France was governed by a group of five men known as the Directory.

Directoire-style furniture is characterised by the use of Neoclassical motifs, flat expanses of veneered wood, and decorative painting.

In French, bombé means rounded, curved or bulging. Bombé furniture has sections with curves or bulges, usually at the front and sides. In British English a bureau is a writing desk or table, with drawers; in American English a bureau is a chest of drawers.

Click here to see a Directoire period writing desk (bureau plat) which is not bombé.


Page 108. " You've done the Volunteer "
The former Colherne Arms pub, Earls Court
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe former Coleherne pub, Earls Court - Credit: Ewan Munro

Pete suggests three venues which Nick might like to visit: the Volunteer, the Shaftesbury, and the Lift.

None of these are named in current lists of gay and gay-friendly pubs and clubs in London.

Time Out list of gay and gay-friendly pubs.

Time Out list of LGBT events, shows, clubs and bars.

The picture shows the former Coleherne pub in Earls Court, London, which was a famous gay bar between the mid-1950s and 2008. It has now been re-named The Pembroke.

Page 115. " an episode of Bergerac "
Jersey tourist poster (with John Nettles seated in the red car)
Creative Commons Attribution1989 Jersey tourist poster (with John Nettles seated in the red car) - Credit: Jersey Tourism

 Bergerac was a British television detective series, set on the Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

The series ran from 1981 to 1991, and starred John Nettles in the title role as Detective Sergeant Jim Bergerac.

Page 115. " a student-made film of The White Devil "

The White Devil is a play by the English dramatist John Webster (1580-1634). It was first performed in 1612. Initially a flop, it was re-staged in 1631 to greater success.

It belongs to the revenge tragedy genre, which was particularly popular in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.

The play is loosely based on a real event, the murder of Vittoria Accoramboni, which took place in Padua in 1585. In the drama, Flamineo (referred to a few lines later) is the brother of the character Vittoria Corombona.                                                   

Page 115. " which had had a single late-night screening at the Gate "

gate cinema notting hill


The Gate Cinema  (now officially known as The Gate Picturehouse) is situated at 87 Notting Hill Gate in West London. It has an elegant interior with restored Edwardian features, and specialises in independent films for a niche market.

The cinema has a long history, and was previously known as The Electric Palace and The Embassy. It became The Gate in 1974, and underwent refurbishments in 1985 and 2004.

One unusual aspect of the cinema is that the seats now have little tables between them, and cinema-goers are permitted to take alcoholic drinks into the auditorium.


The Gate Cinema exterior in 2009
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Gate Cinema exterior in 2009 - Credit: Chris Whippet

Google Map


Page 119. " two hours of sex with Leo on Hampstead Heath "

Hampstead Heath is an area of grass and woodland in north London which extends from Hampstead to Highgate.

There are also about 30 ponds on the Heath. These appear natural, but most were artificially created by dams, some of which are up to 300 years old.

Hampstead Heath, particularly the section known as West Heath, is a popular cruising area for gay men.


Part of the West Heath, Hampstead
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePart of the West Heath, Hampstead - Credit: Martin Addison

Google Map


Page 119. " 'LBW, Badge?' said Gerald "
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLemon - Credit: Mgmoscatello

Pearl barley
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePearl barley - Credit: Rasbak
No, not Leg Before Wicket, but Lemon Barley Water!

Lemon barley water is a traditional drink made from pearl barley, lemon juice and sugar.

Click here for a recipe.

For many people, however, Lemon Barley Water brings to mind Robinson's Lemon Barley Water, a bottled, sweetened concentrate which is drunk diluted with water. Since the 1930's, this has been the 'Official Still Soft Drink' of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Page 120. " his tight Fred Perry shorts "
Statue of Fred Perry at the All-England Club, Wimbledon
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStatue of Fred Perry at the All-England Club, Wimbledon - Credit: Matthewmayer
Fred Perry logo on a pair of plimsolls
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFred Perry logo on a pair of plimsolls - Credit: Jordan Wong

 Fred Perry (1909-1995) was a highly successful English tennis and table-tennis player. One of his notable achievements was winning three consecutive Wimbledon Championships, in 1934, 1935 and 1936.

From the late 1940s onwards, he gave his name to various items of sports clothing which carried a distinctive laurel wreath logo. The Fred Perry brand and the logo are still in existence today, under the ownership of a Japanese company.

Page 121. " I don't think any of us are triskaidekaphobes "
Number 13
Public DomainNumber 13 - Credit: Pee Tern

A phobia is an irrational or exaggerated fear of a particular object or situation. In clinical psychology, specific phobias involve extreme anxiety about one particular object, while social phobias involve a more generalised anxiety about a range of social situations.

Triskaidekaphobia is an excessive fear of the number 13. As this fear is often enshrined in the superstitious belief system of many cultures, it is probably not justifiable to view it as an anxiety disorder.

Because the word phobia is Greek, phobias are named using Greek prefixes. On occasions this gives rise to some extraordinary-sounding creations: for example, a fear of the day/date combination Friday, the 13th is known as  paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Page 121. " Catherine had suffered from aichmo, dromo, keno and nyctophobia "
An aichmophobe's nightmare?
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAn aichmophobe's nightmare? - Credit: The Draco

 Aichmophobia - a fear of sharp objects, such as knives or needles;

Dromophobia - a fear of crossing roads;

Kenophobia - a fear of voids or open spaces;

Nyctophobia - a fear of the dark.


Click here for a comprehensive list of phobia names.

Page 122. " We're not living in twelfth-century Calabria "

Calabria is a region to the south of Naples, situated in the 'toe' of the Italian Peninsula. The area is characterised by its mountainous scenery and abundant agriculture.


The castle at Caccuri in Calabria
Public DomainThe castle at Caccuri in Calabria - Credit: Drnico

Google Map


Page 124. " she was a manager at Rackhams "

Rackhams was the name of a department store which had several premises in Birmingham. The company began trading in 1881, and was sold in 1955 to Harrods, which was itself taken over by the House of Fraser in 1959. However, the name Rackhams was retained for the Birmingham store until fairly recently.

In the 1970s, other stores taken over by the House of Fraser, such as those in Altrincham (Cheshire), Bradford and Sheffield (West, and South Yorkshire) and Leamington Spa (Warwickshire), were also given the name Rackhams.

The picture below, taken in 1964, shows the Rackhams store on Corporation Street, Birmingham.


Birmingham's Corporation Street, a new angle