On Being THAT Guy …

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You know, the Shakespeare nerd in people’s lives.

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.

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‘Dews of blood’: Hurricane Ophelia, 16 October 2017

BH ophelia 2Working in a school, of course I met several people who seemed genuinely frightened by the eerie sky that only half-illumined our collective journey to work on Monday – some, only some, of them were pupils …

Conditions really were awe-inspiring up here in the frozen North of England.

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PTS 07/039: (Find Me) Somebody To Love

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Ponytail Shakespeare read-through – Richard III (Act I, scene i)

Larger than life.  One of a kind.  Brash on the outside, to mask an inner vulnerability.  The ultimate showman, whose memory lives on long after his death.  Freddie Mercury is all these things, too

I’ve arrived at Richard III, the first play in my read-through that I know well, with a sense of awe, almost a fear of not doing him justice.  Unusually, I’m as tentative as I might have been had I met him with a pathetic autograph book in my hand (or Mercury, whose death in 1991 touched me as few other celebrity deaths have:  Prince and Sir Terry Pratchett are the only others that I register, emotionally).  My relationship with Richard grows more obssessive and complex every time I teach him, and my recent book-buying seems unconciously centred round the historical Richard and the major players in his accession and downfall.  I’ve also realised there is no way I can do this in the usual 1,000-ish-words-per-act format, so all I’m going to do is try to avoid 1,000 words-per-scene, if I can.

How has Shakespeare done this to me?

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PTS 06/035: The Rally of Revenge

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Titus decides to deploy his ultimate weapon …

Titus Andronicus, Act III

Bear with me on this: I’m an English teacher, and I talk – no think – in similes and metaphors.  “It’s what I do!”, as David Mitchell might say in BBC‘s Upstart Crow.

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PTS06/033: Thou Shalt not Suffer A Queen To Live

(Ponytail Shakespeare read-through) Titus Andronicus:  Act I

My experience of Shakespeare’s Rome is the city where Cinna the Poet is torn apart by the mob for his ‘bad verses’ (Julius Caesar, III.iii), and the antagonistic opening to Coriolanus. So, what first struck me as the play opened was just how thin the veneer of civilisation proved to be.

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PTS 05/029: Would I Lie To You?

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Ponytail Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act III.

Like so many of Shakespeare’s villains (and here perhaps I have Iago uppermost in mind) Proteus is a decent dissimulator, and Act III begins with his breathless betrayal of his best friend.

How does Shakespeare make Proteus credible?

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Quote of the Week: 24 July 2017

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Alison Weir, The Princes In The Tower (London: The Folio Society, 1992)

A slight rearrangement of this section.  Instead of one huge sticky post, it’s easier to post as and when I come across something worth sharing.  You can see the previous mega-post by clicking here.

This week’s quotation is attributed to Elizabeth Wydville, widow of Edward IV.  She was, at this stage, in sanctuary with her youngest son, and determined to preserve their lives – and hers – by keeping the two boys separated.

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