QotW (#87): 02 September 2019

… and we’re back to school today, for another year’s fun and games.

Cue all kinds of traffic on Twitter and elsewhere on-line: pre-battle speeches from the veterans; advice sought by the newbies, and given by the self-styled ‘influencers’; new teaching-year resolutions declared; virtue-signalling pictures of classroom displays, and so on …

Have I got anything to add to the Babel? Not really.  I’d rather chat about Literature …

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Forensic Friday #019: 1HIV IV.i

 

northern lights gif

It seems I’m not alone in placing the Northern Lights at or near the top of my (fairly small) bucket list.  Some of my strongest, and most content, memories are of nights spent looking upwards at the indescribable grandeur and beauty of the universe (I highly recommend this corner of Reddit you need a regular fix of infinity, by the way).

Imagine how travellers in earlier ages would have tried to express seeing the Northern Lights when they returned home.  That’s where I’m headed today … considering how we describe the indescribable …

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QotW (86): 26 August 2019

 

man-writing-with-quill-pen

We all have a book in us, right?

I’d hazard that proportionately, more of us who Read (capitalisation intended), and who write blogs, believe themselves capable of writing a book.  I mean, look at The Boar’s Head – just over a quarter of a million words written since its inception in 2016.

So from about Easter onwards this year I was declaring to my older classes with increasing insouciance that this summer, of all summers, was the one that I would spend writing ‘The Book‘ …

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PTS 015/091: The Man of a Thousand Faces

lon chaney
Lon Chaney jr trailblazes Bilbo Baggins, Sherlock Holmes, Pennywise, and Forrest Gump

1 Henry IV Act I scene ii is, really, all about that devastating soliloquy in which Hal channels Lon Chaney jr.

But before that, I want to have a word about … EXPOSITION.

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QotW (#72): 08 April 2019

subtitled: ‘Sir’s rule number 1‘ …

nightwatchman

‘Who’s there?’

‘Nay, answer me.  Stand and unfold yourself.’ [a]

Bernardo and Francisco have a point.  The entire path of the scene is determined by who is on stage.  Think of the ways the conversation could go if instead of Bernardo, another unknown Dane approaches Francisco’s guard-post, or one of Fortinbras’ troops.

From Hamlet to real life, and the idea of decorum – behaving or speaking appropriately to the circumstances and audience.

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[book review] Shirley McKay: Hue & Cry

cover Hue and CryAlthough this novel (published 2011) begins the Hew Cullan mysteries, I arrived having read the latest, ‘1588:  A Calendar of Crime‘ (2016) – whose review you can read here – first.

In many ways, therefore, this felt like a prequel, assembling the cast and creating several relationships I’d already become familiar with.

Think a far superior version of Star Wars episodes I-III …

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Beethoven’s 5th, scored for (solo) Recorder

recorder

Somewhere, in the cold infinity of the internet, a voice asks if they will get as much from reading a ‘No Fear‘ version of Hamlet as they would from reading the original …

My ears prick up, and I swing round and take aim.

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QotW (#67): 11 February 2019

“this it is, when men are ruled by women” – or at least by their groins …

Claudius & Gertrude

Although I’m never going to end up on stage, I often compare teaching to acting.

Non-teachers, think for a second: up to six performances a day, with audiences who require subtly different characterisations from you.  (My timetable goes from Y12 to Y7 without interval on a Friday afternoon, for instance).  That plus the teacher persona you can only shrug off when you’re safely indoors (because even walking down the street you end up intervening when you see pupils in uniform mucking about).  To say nothing of the range of people you have to be – in five minute chunks – at Parents’ Evenings …

No wonder I’m perpetually exhausted.

But if I were asked to play a Shakespearean role, what would be my top three choices?

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PTS 13/082 As in art, in life …

brexit sledgehammer
As Donald Tusk might say, there’s a special place in hell awaiting those who smash us out of the EU without a plan …

[Warning: you might want to stop reading now, if you voted for Brexit]

Ponytail Shakespeare read-through:  King John, Act V

It’s all a bit shabby, isn’t it, at the end of the day?

Act V holds Hamlet‘s ‘mirror up to nature‘ [a]: Shakespeare might be exploring the ‘Commodity’ of the times, but I can’t avoid building synaptic bridges to the realpolitik of the shameful goings on in the UK’s parliament over the past few years.  I ought to be far too old for the kind of idealistic rage I feel, but even at a relatively young age, I’m determined to ‘burn and rave at close of day‘ [b] …

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PTS 13/080: Remind me: who’s in charge here?

266_pius
OK, I want a good, clean fight …

February 1570:  in the blue corner, Elizabeth I; in the red corner, Pius V …

Commence au festival, as the Joker might say.

Ponytail Shakespeare read-through – King John, Act III

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