Saturday, January 19, 2008

Life in Victorian London: The Real Sweeny Todd

From Britain's Daily Mail, an article excerpting Sweeney Todd: The Real Story Of The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street by Peter Haining, published by Robson Books at £8.99. ° Peter Haining 2007. [The picture I include here is the most frightening, terrifying, maleavolent, horrifying Sweeny Todd image that I could find. Shudder. Anyone music fan from the '70s-'80s will feel their flesh crawl....]

Sweeney Todd's name is seen in Victorian 'penny dreadful' newspapers and then 19th century melodrama, complete with his own catchphrase, "See how I polish 'em off!" .... This undercurrent of malevolence was compounded by the young Todd's bizarre interest in the instruments of torture displayed at the nearby Tower of London. To escape his parents' brawling, he lingered in the Tower's museum, where thumbscrews, racks and other macabre tools were displayed to discourage citizens from dissent.

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