Tennis-balls, my liege …

BH tennis balls
No, YOU eat it!

(subtitled: it’s not life and death, it’s just Wimbledon, sigh.  Now can I have my radio back, please?)

It’s not that long ago that I effectively promised that the blog’s ventures into the real world would remain topical rather than political – that when major sporting events were on I would give them as much treatment as the current political situation.

I despise Wimbledon.  With a passion you could only vaguely grope at, like a sixteen-year-old boy trying to cop his first feel in the back row of the cinema.  Assuming that sort of thing even happens nowadays – they seem to be too busy on social media, throwing popcorn, or trying to record the film on their smartphones.

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

BH thinkmcfly-hello-anybody-home-think-mcfly-think

(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)

BH HC Agincourt troops
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?

BH polling station
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 03/020: The Enemy Within

BH red menace
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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A plague on both your houses …

BH The Black Death 2‘When ignorant men are overwhelmed by forces totally beyond their control and their understanding it is inevitable that they will search for some explanation within their grasp.  When they are frightened and badly hurt then they will seek someone on whom they can be revenged. […]  What was needed, therefore, was a suitable target for the indignation of the people, preferably a minority group, easily identifiable, already unpopular, widely scattered and lacking any powerful protector.’

Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, (The Folio Society, London: 1997)  Cover image:  Francis Mosley

The plague was too immediate, too visceral, for Shakespeare to include more than a passing reference to it in his plays.  In Romeo and Juliet it’s a factor in the tragedy, but at a safe distance.

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