O strange men! That can such sweet use make of what they hate …

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(Helena:  All’s Well That Ends Well, Act IV)

What the hell is going on?

This started as commentary on the furore surrounding the staging of Julius Caesar featuring a Trump-alike, but based in England, I can’t help reflecting the fact that things have been overtaken here by the insane events near Finsbury Park Mosque in London

At what stage does it become acceptable for people to use the kind of methods they vilify – demonise, actually – in others to advance their own agendas? No, really – when is this OK?

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Bear-like, I must fight the course …

BH Project Mayhem 2subtitled, Project Mayhem approaches fruition?

They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,

But bear-like I must fight the course.  What’s he

That was not born of women?  Such a one

Am I to fear, or none.  (MACBETH:  V, vii,1-4)

How can I apologise, in fact why should I, for the current political flavour of chatter at The Boar’s Head?  I, who spend my working life pitching Shakespeare as ‘relatable’ to the next generation (despite hating the word)?  After all, I managed to wangle my non-political holiday in.  And of course, it’s my blog.  So ‘NA na-na NA na.’  When the next World Cup comes, I dare say the public bar’s chatter will relate Shakespeare’s works to penalty shoot-outs, outrageous diving and dubious red-cards … can’t wait!

In the meantime, back to Theresa May … reportedly a ‘dead woman walking‘.

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My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk (says Jeremy Corbyn)

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We happy few … who voted Labour.

I’ve got a 4-period day tomorrow, so I could do with an early night.  Instead, I put a pizza in the oven at about 11pm …

Thanks a bunch, exit polls.

Yesterday, I explored how Shakespeare might vote in today’s General Election.  Reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he and I might avoid discussing politics over our ale – a bit like I have to with my dad, to be honest.

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Who would Shakespeare vote for?

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Something for your dog to ponder as you leave him outside tomorrow

[SPOILER ALERT] There’s a UK General Election taking place tomorrow …

Setting aside my own lefty, ‘soft’ eco-warrior credentials, and using mostly contextual information or material from the plays (because, as Bill Bryson gently reminds us over the course of 200-odd pages, we know next to nothing about the man) I thought it would be fun to see how Shakespeare might have voted.

And, regardless of my – or your – political beliefs, for the love of God, please VOTE tomorrow, if you’re entitled to.  Never mind the hackneyed cliché: ‘people died so you could‘ argument – you have absolutely no right to complain about what happens over the next 5 years if you didn’t even make the smallest effort to effect a change

Anyway, I visited isidewith, and tried to answer the questions as someone who died 401 years ago … here’s a selection of the conundrums I was faced with, plus the (firmly tongue-in-cheek) result …

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PTS 04/020: The Enemy Within

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You never quite know who’s working for the other side, do you … ?

Is it me, or does the guy in the picture look like a young James Comey?

Henry VI part III: act V

So, very belatedly, we reach the end of the road for Henry VI, and of history plays for a short while.  I’m sad to say goodbye.  The comedies aren’t generally my favourites, and these three HVI plays have been ones I’ve unjustly avoided until now.  It’s been a brilliant rollercoaster ride.

Last time round, I said there could only be one, and finally, mercifully, someone does for Henry.  And we all know who that someone is, right?  Only one man for the job …

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Brașov your Shakespeare …

BH carpathian-mountains-large-view
It really WAS like this!

(with apologies to Cole Porter.  This is my all-time favourite bit of Shakespearean fan fiction – take a look here to see why …

It turned out that as well as simply bringing along the June 2017 Ponytail textTwo Gentlemen of Verona – I had packed the Complete Works with me for my trip, in my mind, at least. The plays haunted me wherever I went, fighting tooth-and-nail (if you’ll pardon the pun) against the constant impulse to declaim lines from Dracula in my best Bela Lugosi Romanian accent, to make even worse puns than the one I’ve just used, and to call my other half ‘Nadia’ (until she lost patience).

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What country, friends, is this?

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The hotel didn’t look like this in the brochure … !

Subtitled:  Vampire hunting in Shakespeare …

Five down, one to go.  The end of the penultimate half-term of the school year brings a sense of giddy euphoria.  And, just for once, I’m actually having a holiday … I’ll be spending next week in Transylvania.  This is the final instalment of a ‘Dracula’ pilgrimage which has seen me move eastwards: from actually being quite scared at the Bram Stoker museum in Dublin; to standing in schoolboyish excitement on the beach at Whitby, on the spot where the Demetr would have grounded, vomiting Dracula onto the shore in the form of a huge black dog; and now to the Carpathians

Has this got anything to do with Shakespeare?  Shouldn’t I just blog about this somewhere else?

Continue reading “What country, friends, is this?”