What I read in 2017, what YOU should read in 2018, and what to avoid like, ahem, the Plague …
Announcing my Ponytail Shakespeareread-through back in January did something to me; maybe several things.
Firstly, it made a public commitment. I’m just a bloke, and a busy one at that, being an English teacher, but I am still following the schedule – albeit several paces behind.
It also made me realise that however confident I might be, there was/is an awful lot I don’t/didn’t know for someone who enjoys being the ‘go-to’ at work for all matters Shakespearean – those ‘known unknowns’ were simultaneously a cause for embarrassment and a spur to do better.
These two ingredients combined to make me jump into bed with Shakespeare in 2017 …
Doormat or A-dor-ably Feisty? Luciana and Adriana swap roles in Act II …
Ponytail Shakespeare Read-Through: The Comedy of Errors, Act II
Aha! A single woman in a Shakespeare comedy – what she needs is a HUSBAND, I thought, my Jane Austen goggles firmly on. In this, I was egged on by Kent Cartwright, as I mentioned in writing about Act I, and who colluded with Jane and my previously-held assumptions.
And what a catch Luciana appears to be for our unreconstructed EMP man!
The more things change, the more they stay the same …
Neale, JE: Queen Elizabeth I (Pimlico: London, 1998)
Once again, I’m minded to say that we continue to study EMP Literature because whilst times and technology have undoubtedly moved on, human attitudes and the situations we face remain broadly the same.
Endemic Xenophobia? Check.
Effemination of rival men who dress too well? Check.
Aristocratic disdain for ‘upstarts’? Check.
‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,’ asJean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr(another foreigner*, dammit!) might say …
Inspired by some course or other on children’s literacy, I’ve been keeping a ‘reading river‘ since January 2013. It sounded infantile, but I’ve kept to it remarkably more faithfully than logging my reading on Goodreads, or anything else. It’s become a diary, of sorts, something to idly flick through and recall times, places and people, such as the stay at my parents’ when I devoured all the Earle Stanley Gardenerand other Penguin Green Series crime paperbacks I could find on my dad’s shelves in a matter of days. That year, coincidentally, I read 75 books.
The consequences of people feeling there is no legal, peaceful alternative might be grim … Shakespeare shows us that in Titus and elsewhere.
I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him. (PRINCE HAL: 1 Henry IV. I.ii)
I’d love to ascribe these lines to our leaders, but I reserve them for myself today …
What’s not to like about spreadsheets? Except they make clumsy timelines …
It feels like it needs a little refinement, but the future is here! And I feel like my friend’s daughter when she spots a park from about half a mile away! PLAYYYYYY!
For some considerable time, I’ve been known as someone who guiltily, geekily enjoys spreadsheets and will create one at the drop of a hat. I mean, what’s not to like? Especially when I get going on conditional formatting and things like that – you should see my school mark-books!
But there was one area where I felt Excel (or Numbers, actually) was letting me down.
By 5:15 we were all questioning whether we actually existed …
Like Dante, as the Inferno unfolds, I found myself at a crossroads on St Andrew’s Day, and the way forward was unclear.I had a little time to kill: I could walk round the block, or dive into a pub.Within minutes, I was soaking up the warmth in The Bluebell, a decent pub I’ve not been to in several years.
The place was almost deserted.For the rest of the world, it was that limbo between going home for tea (those who had already been drinking), and going to the pub for a couple after work.For various reasons, I fell between both those stools.So it was me, a pint of Titanic‘sPlum Porter, Aidan behind the bar, and Jamie – who had a bus to catch.