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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QotW (#66): 04 February 2019

Tilley Morris PalmerThis week finds me in a sombre, reflective mood.  Maybe it’s the continuation of Dry January (day 35 without alcohol, thanks very much).  There will, mind, be ‘more cakes and (especially) ale‘, at some stage, but not for a few weeks yet.  Apparently, I was ‘more fun’ when I was drinking, so bear with me.

Then, today is my younger son’s birthday: 18 today.  If that doesn’t give a man pause for thought on how time passes and how he has spent his life, I don’t know what will.

Which brings me to Morris Palmer Tilley.  Until recently a footnote in my life, and possibly that or less in yours …

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QotW (ep.65): 28 January 2019

sussex-barn-owl
image:  Hugh Ribbans

This weekend just gone marked the 40th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.  As the ‘Upstart Crow‘ (or magpie) himself, I’m sure Shakespeare would have approved …

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QotW (#63): Monday 14 January 2019

king john donald trump
image: Mashable [a]
I mentioned the other day that I was coming into King John blind, apart from the Disney film and a vague notion of the Magna Carta.  The little I am beginning to accumulate through secondary reading and the play itself is startling.

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Christmas 2018 Book Haul

 

book christmas tree nina matthews
image: Nina Matthews

 

If I asked you, dear reader, to congratulate me on my restraint at October half-term,  you might commiserate this time round …

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2018: Shakespeare’s Lepidopterist

butterfly swarm

“There is differency between a grub and a butterfly;
yet your butterfly was a grub.” (Coriolanus, V, iv [a])

It would be too easy to blame my changed reading habits in 2018 on professional busy-ness, or on my health, but there’s no escaping a startling and depressing fact …

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QotW (#62): 03 December 2018

Telling stories ABOUT stories seems to be my stock-in-trade when it comes to teaching Shakespeare.

10th circe campfire stories

Unusually, I’m going to start with the quotation of the week, from Stephen Greenblatt, rather than work towards it:

Humans cannot live without stories. We surround ourselves with them; we make them up in our sleep; we tell them to our children; we pay to have them told to us. Some of us create them professionally. And a few of us – myself included – spend our entire adult lives trying to understand their beauty, power, and influence. [a]

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