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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

It's Marx, undercover in London

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. Here's a look at everyone's favourite bearded Leftie, Karl Marx. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).
The Marx Memorial Library and Workers' School in Clerkenwell.
This was opened in 1933 and runs talks and walks. An interesting place.
Tours of the buidling are on Tuesday & Thursday at 1pm.
Know your Marx
Is Marx still relevant? Ask that question in a classroom and the students will be busy for hours. Ask it while waiting to collect kids from school and you may find yourself discussing Marks & Spencer.

What I love about the big theme changers of history is that they were just like us. Well, OK, a bit different. But in the case of Karl Marx (1818-43) who lived in London for many years you can piece together a picture of what he was like by a bit of detective work. It's easy to follow a trail of the places he lived, knew well and even drank at - although I find it galling that his work is very  hard to re-interpret with an ecological perspective.

The two photos are places in Islington with links to Marx - for more information about people who live or work in Islington see www.islintonfacesblog.com.

The Old Red Lion, near Angel, was one of Karl Marx's drinking spots.
The Karl Marx Pub Crawl
One pub in Islington, The Old Red Lion, is celebrating 400 years of open doors. It's a lovely pub, with an upstairs theatre and a neat little passageway that allows customers to slip from St John's Road to City Road without being noticed.  It's also a pub that Karl Marx knew well. You can follow a pub crawl from Tottenham Court Road to Hampstead - just like Marx allegedly did - as mapped out by Londonist here.

In the spirit of the useful texts Marx for Dummies, here are five random facts about Marx...

1 A good Trier
He was born in Trier in Germany. Yes, it makes me laugh.

2 Marxism means...
That states are run in the interests of the ruling classes, hence the need for a class struggle. His social, economic and political mash up - refined in The Communist Manifesto - was written by him when he was a stateless person. it must have been galling to fix your central idea on who gets to run the state when you are stateless. Perhaps if German history had been different he'd have had a dull but occupying middle class job  (after all his Dad was a lawyer and owned vineyards in Moselle), and would never have had the chance to think, write, dream, publish - and be damned.

3 Anniversaries for things Marx did
The Communist Manifesto - the political pamphlet written in German by Marx and his financially generous friend, Engels - was published in London on 21 February, 1848.  Here's a link to History Today celebrating this link.  1848 was a very hot political year in Europe - revolution broke out in France on February 22.

4 "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their... "
Marx's magnificent beard suggests that peak beard is not a new phenomena. This is the final sentence of the Communist Manifesto - a fiery synthesis of the materialistic conception of history. But thanks to the way capitalism has developed, and our familiarity with chains of stores it's easy to read a little differently.

5 Workers of the world unite!
Was Marx the first advertising slogan writer? It's catchy, alliterative and a call for action.

Over to you
There are plenty of places that can claim Marx - his homeland of Germany (he was Prussian-born), Paris, Brussels and London. But who else does? And who have the best claims? It's another question to argue robustly about as you find out more about Karl Marx.

Let me know what you find out.