PTS 015/090: Crusade My Arse

henry iv jeremy irons

1 Henry IV:  Act I, scene i

It’s almost impossible to check in my earlier hostility to Henry Bolinbroke at the door; I take grim satisfaction at the suggestion that he’s ‘shaken’, or ‘wan with care’ as the play opens. [a]  He deserves it.

Not that I believe him …

Actually, looking back, I promised to crucify you (Henry) at the end of Richard II … OK, here goes.

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Forensic Friday 014: 3 Henry VI (III,ii)

skywalker-4

To understand Richard, Duke of Gloucester, you must know him.  Really know him …

And to know him, I think it’s essential we don’t look at his eponymous play in isolation.  Think of it as a season finale.  And like Margaret of Anjou, Richard’s character has been developing towards this climax – in my read-through, I’ve likened his journey to that of Anakin Skywalker from ‘freckled whelp’ to Sith Lord …

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QotW (#79): 17 June 2019

father and son

Like so many annual festivals, Father’s Day is, I suppose, all about perspective.  It certainly has a different resonance now I am a father myself, and with my eldest son getting married soon, there might come a time when it means something else entirely …

A little research suggests that the secular celebration is less than a century old in the US (far after Mother’s Day was established, incidentally), and only common in the UK after the Second World War!  That said, Catholics have been commemorating the Virgin Mary’s husband, St Joseph, since before Shakespeare’s day.  And of course, we shouldn’t forget the fifth of the Ten Commandments: ‘Honour thy father and mother‘.

Rather than write something mawkish about the way I am turning into my dad, or about my sons, I wanted to think about fathers in the 16th Century …

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QotW #78: 03 June 2019

shepheardes calendar JUNE
Can we send the Y11s on study leave yet, Headmaster?  They’re getting restless … [image:  June, The Shepheardes Calendar]
Today marks the beginning of one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the school year … the final summer half-term.  The countdown’s on, for teachers at least: 7 weeks; 35 working days; a maximum of 28 lessons with each of those classes.

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PTS 014/089: The Merchant of Venice Soundtrack Album

bh-wurlitzer

Every play needs a proper send-off as I amble through the PonyTail Shakespeare read-through – bearing in mind my current pace, there’s no telling when I might read them again.

As ever, the selection is a little, erratic, and I’m already feeling the need to disown any implied connection to number 3 …

 

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Half Term Book Haul (May 2019)

carrying too many books
Too many books?
I think you mean ‘not enough shelves‘ …

It’s become a habit, when visiting a second-hand and/or independent bookshop, never to leave empty-handed.

I think that’s all the more worth thinking about this week, when the Guardian reports that two ‘iconic’ British bookshops are closing.  Like our libraries, it’s so obviously ‘use them or lose them‘ …

So, my travels taking me a little further afield than normal, I wanted to give a bit of free publicity to the excellent two bookshops I came across:

Broadleaf Books, in Abergavenny; and

Second Chapter Books, in Shrewsbury (who have a highly respectable – and rare – Science Fiction section)

 

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PTS 014/088: With This Ring … ?

brand

RICHARD: Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

ANNE: To take is not to give.’ (RIII, I.ii)

PTS read-through:  The Merchant of Venice, Act V

Occasionally, actually quite often if you’re me, you say things in class which get far more of a reaction than you anticipated. One of those moments came recently, when I suggested that an engagement ring was a symbol of ownership, not so different from a brand on a cow, if you thought about it.

Silence invaded the room’, as Steinbeck might have said.

The students were either reappraising their world-views, or they were reappraising me. It’s never easy to tell which.

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