Bye bye Britain, Britain bye bye …

The consequences of people feeling there is no legal, peaceful alternative might be grim … Shakespeare shows us that  in Titus and elsewhere.

BH bye bye britain
Thanks to the Bay City Rollers for this classic …

 

I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.  (PRINCE HAL:  1 Henry IV. I.ii)

I’d love to ascribe these lines to our leaders, but I reserve them for myself today …

Continue reading “Bye bye Britain, Britain bye bye …”

Quote of the Week: 27 November 2017

Are our masters “fettered with chains of gold”? Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42) thought so. Perhaps we could ask Theresa May …

BH Sanders OXford History

Andrew Sanders, The Short Oxford History of English Literature (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)

(A book I rescued – for under 50p – from a Greater Manchester library who had withdrawn it because it was not being taken out …)

I’m going to step back a little to someone who operated before Shakespeare lived, but will have influenced the development of poetry up until our boy arrived on the Shake-scene.

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 27 November 2017”

I’ve … seen things …

It often takes something (we consider) sub-human to remind us of our humanity …

BH blade runner

‘… you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die.’

Not that you needed me to complete the speech, I dare say … I’m also guessing you want to watch it again (I had to), so here it is.

The weekend brings an exciting reward for my ‘holiday’ week’s hard marking. On consecutive nights I’ll be watching Bladerunner: The Final Cut, and then Bladerunner 2049.  And I’ve got my tattered copy of Philip K Dick‘s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep‘ (1968) out – the first non-Shakespeare/EMP book I have read in weeks, or perhaps even months …

Yet there is, because there always is, an opportunity for me to connect to Shakespeare.

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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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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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