@DrSamuelJohnson’s Dictionary Launch

Sep 11, 2010 by

I can’t believe it’s taken over a week to get around to telling you about this, but the life of an 18th-century multimedia actress is sometimes a busy one. Still, there’s been plenty of nice outings to places such as London and Liverpool of late and one of the best events that Mr Woffington and I attended recently was the launch of Dr Johnson’s brand new Dictionary of Modern Life: a glittering affair at his home in Gough Square.

For those unaware of Dr Johnson’s recent activities (though I’ve mentioned them a few times), in 2009 he reemerged on Twitter and began publishing an entertaining stream of definitions on the parlous state of the modern world (a recent example: “Bestival (n.) Island Prison to which London does exile its many Fops for an annual Trial by RAIN-FALL”). Needless to say, these are now available in book form, published by the charming people at Square Peg (an imprint of Random House).

Anticipation was high when we arrived in the Great Cham’s hallway and deposited our coats in the gift shop; sadly nobody had chanced full 18th-century dress, but we were led to believe that many personalities from the Twittersphere (@Discombobul8er, @CherylKerl, @SirAlanChaffing etc.) were there – though it was tricky getting to know who was who. Both wine and canapes flowed, though, and the author gave an entertaining speech. We also enjoyed a chat with the Chairman of the Johnson Society of London and the gentlemen of The Quietus, who are currently publishing excerpts of the book.

As the evening progressed, wine flowed freely and you must forgive me for not remembering a great deal more (there were some sore heads the next morning)… except to say that it was a rare pleasure to meet some digital counterparts in the real world. I believe that @Discombobul8er has also published an account of the evening here.

Photographs © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

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