If we paid something forwards, maybe especially Shakespeare, once in a while, the world would be a better place …
It’s hard to believe this is post 150 at The Boar’s Head.
Google ‘150’ and the images aren’t especially inspiring, unless you are Canadian, it seems. This one – representing the 150 million horny spiders invading the homes we warm up as autumn approaches (according to Metro.co.uk) – is only here because I’m an arachnophobe.
Some genuine questions for Shakespeare-deniers, prompted by Ivor Brown’s labour of love …
Ivor Brown, Shakespeare (The Reprint Society: London, 1951)
This was a real find, as I’m discovering, at £1 from a second-hand bookshop in North Wales.
Brown has a wonderful writing style, self-deprecating and witty, subtly acerbic at times. In this book he reminds me of an English (although to be precise he was born in Penang) version of Bill Bryson.
He freely admits that there is simply no need for yet another book on Shakespeare, but that it is a labour of love. I think I feel the same way.
It often takes something (we consider) sub-human to remind us of our humanity …
‘… you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.’
Not that you needed me to complete the speech, I dare say … I’m also guessing you want to watch it again (I had to), so here it is.
The weekend brings an exciting reward for my ‘holiday’ week’s hard marking. On consecutive nights I’ll be watching Bladerunner: The Final Cut, and then Bladerunner 2049. And I’ve got my tattered copy of Philip K Dick‘s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep‘ (1968) out – the first non-Shakespeare/EMP book I have read in weeks, or perhaps even months …
Yet there is, because there always is, an opportunity for me to connect to Shakespeare.
Christ, this is IT […] THIS is why I do it. All of it.
W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up (Penguin: London, 1992)
Today’s post is all about one simple fact: the world-wide-web existed centuries before the Internet. Before electricity, in fact. And I want you to plug into it.
I find it apposite, and slightly ironic that writing about Shakespeare, and without any deliberate choice on my part – I promise you – I’m listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack as I type this. My other literary love is Science Fiction, and again, the point I’m making relates to that intoxicating cocktail of the 16th and 26th centuries, with a dash of the present thrown in.
Stewed-ants, too-daze lessen his a bout de weighs inn witch spiel-chequers cant bee deep-ended own.
I dedicate this to all the Y12 and Y13 students whose typed submissions I am marking at the moment. You deserve something in return for the frequent face-palms and occasional belly-laughs you are giving me …
In some ways, this post feels like a partner to yesterday’s …
Survive in teaching long enough – it IS a question of survival, and of course many do not – and your students grow up, and they leave ‘the nest’ that is your classroom. Some you never hear from, or indeed see, again, and all you can hope is that the The Long Goodbye … applies.
Others stay in touch. It’s one of my chief joys this year that some of my Year 11 class from last year pop in and say hello every now and then, even though, or perhaps especially where they haven’t chosen English at A Level. Don’t tell them that. Oops.
Eventually, some become friends. And James is one of mine.
I think I might finally have achieved critical mass. One of my students (thanks, Struckers) pointed out today that I’ve got a Shakespeare quotation for every occasion. That pleased me quite a bit, in the way that only an unabashed nerd can take pleasure from their weird obsession being recognised by others (even if they are being gently mocked) …