Pers Books
In 2011 I was lucky enough to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much  Ado About Nothing, playing the squabbling would-be-lovers Benedick and Beatrice. The following was originally posted on my LiveJournal.

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Considering this is Catherine Tate’s Shakespearean debut, I felt she had a fine grasp of the role of Beatrice. She fairly throws herself into the role and is clearly having a fine time playing Beatrice - her witty retorts reminded me of Donna - but not intrusively so. David, of course, is an old hand not only at Shakespeare but also at playing Benedick (for the BBC Radio 4 version back in 2001). 

I have to say that the play fairly zinged along and I only looked at my watch once (in the final half hour) because I was starting to feel a bit hungry by that point.

The setting is Gibraltar, just after the Falklands War, rather than Italy, but I didn’t find it at all jarring (maybe because I’ve never seen Much Ado staged before?). The set was fairly simple, consisting of four pillars which divided the stage in two (the stage rotates, too). One almost got knocked down in the opening scene when David bumped into it with the golf cart he was driving (I hope he drives a *real* car rather better!)

And later in the play, when Ursula and Hero are gossiping about how much Benedick loves Beatrice and she’s eavesdropping, she is lurking near the pillars as one of them is being re-painted by a young man in a harness attached to a pulley. She ends up with the hook for the counterweight fixed to her belt, meaning Catherine was hauled several feet above the stage, and kept hanging there for quite a few minutes while the other two women talked. (Catherine nearly fell out of her top at this point, and I confess to hoping she wouldn’t manage to re-tie the ribbons to spare her blushes… Bad Pers!)

David and Catherine, in particular, played up to the audience’s reactions to some of their actions. It would be interesting to see how that was dealt with if this *does* get made into a film. 

The rest of the cast was very strong - and I recognised the actors playing Leonato and Verges (Jonathan Coy and Mike Grady respectively) and got extra pleasure out of seeing them both live. It was also nice to see the actors playing Claudio, Titus and Conrad were all making their professional debuts. 

# # # #

If you’re interested in seeing this, check out the Digital Theatre website.

In 2011 I was lucky enough to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing, playing the squabbling would-be-lovers Benedick and Beatrice. The following was originally posted on my LiveJournal.

# # # #

Considering this is Catherine Tate’s Shakespearean debut, I felt she had a fine grasp of the role of Beatrice. She fairly throws herself into the role and is clearly having a fine time playing Beatrice - her witty retorts reminded me of Donna - but not intrusively so. David, of course, is an old hand not only at Shakespeare but also at playing Benedick (for the BBC Radio 4 version back in 2001).

I have to say that the play fairly zinged along and I only looked at my watch once (in the final half hour) because I was starting to feel a bit hungry by that point.

The setting is Gibraltar, just after the Falklands War, rather than Italy, but I didn’t find it at all jarring (maybe because I’ve never seen Much Ado staged before?). The set was fairly simple, consisting of four pillars which divided the stage in two (the stage rotates, too). One almost got knocked down in the opening scene when David bumped into it with the golf cart he was driving (I hope he drives a *real* car rather better!)

And later in the play, when Ursula and Hero are gossiping about how much Benedick loves Beatrice and she’s eavesdropping, she is lurking near the pillars as one of them is being re-painted by a young man in a harness attached to a pulley. She ends up with the hook for the counterweight fixed to her belt, meaning Catherine was hauled several feet above the stage, and kept hanging there for quite a few minutes while the other two women talked. (Catherine nearly fell out of her top at this point, and I confess to hoping she wouldn’t manage to re-tie the ribbons to spare her blushes… Bad Pers!)

David and Catherine, in particular, played up to the audience’s reactions to some of their actions. It would be interesting to see how that was dealt with if this *does* get made into a film.

The rest of the cast was very strong - and I recognised the actors playing Leonato and Verges (Jonathan Coy and Mike Grady respectively) and got extra pleasure out of seeing them both live. It was also nice to see the actors playing Claudio, Titus and Conrad were all making their professional debuts.

# # # #

If you’re interested in seeing this, check out the Digital Theatre website.

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.
Sonnet 34, William Shakespeare.

One of my favourite sonnets from the Swan of Avon, purely because I love the fact that we Brits have always moaned about the weather - and here’s Shakespeare to prove that point!

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, herewith the first of a series of posts about the man, and his poetry and plays.

Back in 2008 I had the great privilege of seeing David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in Hamlet (playing Hamlet and Claudius respectively). What follows is my account of seeing the play (taken from my LiveJournal).

# # # #

OK. First things first - I’ve never seen “Hamlet” live before (I’ve read it about 6 times (including 3 times while I was doing it for my English degree a few years ago), I’ve seen the Gibson film (yeah, I know, but I couldn’t get hold of the OK. First things first - I’ve never seen “Hamlet” live before (I’ve read it about 6 times (including 3 times while I was doing it for my English degree a few years ago), I’ve seen the Gibson film (yeah, I know, but I couldn’t get hold of the Branagh version), and I’ve no real idea about how to talk about directing decisions, so please bear with me!

So. Having never seen “Hamlet” live before, I picked a performance with two of my favourite actors in the lead roles - David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, I’m looking at you. And boy was that a GOOD choice. These two men are bloody brilliant as Hamlet and Claudius - I don’t tend to use the word “genius” of living people because it’s a hard word to live up to, but these two men are genius actors. The play had me spellbound and I barely noticed the 3.5 hours passing by.

The stage and the back wall behind it are both mirrored (I don’t know if that’s the norm for the Courtyard Theatre - this was also my first production at the RSC in Stratford - talk about a whole heap of firsts!) – and the director (Greg Doran) makes excellent use of it in the opening scenes with the watchmen on the tower seeing old Hamlet’s ghost – they carried torches which they occasionally shone onto the floor, reflecting the light and making the whole scene incredibly spooky – just what you need to introduce a ghost!

David’s first scene is when everyone arrives on stage following the wedding of Hamlet’s uncle Claudius to his brother’s wife/Hamlet’s mother Gertrude. He came on and stood in a corner of the stage (actually about 6 – 8 feet from where I was sitting in the stalls). He had his hair slicked back and was wearing a dark suit (this is a modern dress performance), and I was immediately reminded of David’s role as Barty Crouch Jr – there was the same stillness about him, plus a slight air of menace and controlled purpose. (I’m not saying he was recreating Barty Jr – just that the look and the stillness reminded me of the HP character. Yes, I am going to reference other roles I’ve seen him in, just so you know!)

Hamlet’s stillness and dark clothes are in strong contrast to the rest of the wedding party, so he drew my eye and I found myself keeping half an eye on him even as I watched the other characters interacting.

Patrick Stewart, as Claudius, wore a 3-piece suit throughout (I think – bear with me – I had about 2 hours sleep last night and I’m feeling a bit fuzzy-headed now!), and wire-framed glasses which give him a wise and respectable air (which is, of course, completely at odds with him being old Hamlet’s murderer).

This was a great ensemble cast. The descent of Ophelia (Mariah Gale) into madness was beautifully acted and quite unnerving. Rosencrantz (Sam Alexander) and Guildernstern (Tom Davey) were really rather stupid. Laertes (Edward Bennett) didn’t really work for me in the latter part of the play: when he’s threatening Claudius, he was unconvincing – like a teenager, who’d been watching too many gangster movies, and his death didn’t really bother me. 

Gertrude (Penny Downie) was excellent – particularly during the dumbshow (which was very OTT and funny) which precedes the play-within-the-play – I saw her fidgeting uneasily throughout and her hands were never still – and during the closet scene in which she confronts Hamlet about his behaviour and he accuses her of incest, he says:

You cannot call it love; for at your age 
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble, 
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment 
Would step from this to this? 

And I noticed (and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this!) that her nipples were very visible, and I thought “Yeah, she’s not so old as all that, Hamlet, for all you’re 30!”

Horatio (Peter de Jersey) was very good as Hamlet’s friend – trying to inject some sanity and wisdom into Hamlet’s mad proceedings. Interestingly, David played Hamlet as less mad than knowing/calculating – and oh so witty and funny! I’ve never had so much of a sense of the comedy in the play as I did when seeing this production: David has amazing comic timing – which Patrick Stewart freely acknowledged during the after-show talk with (most of) the cast. The exchanges between Hamlet and Polonius (Oliver Ford Davies) were brilliantly witty and clever, showing up Polonius for the old windbag that he is. Oliver Ford Davies does a brilliant job actually – going off into mumbled asides, or losing the thread of what he’s saying.

Things that particularly stood out: the quiet intensity of the graveyard scene where Hamlet’s discussing old Yorick, whom he once knew well; the closet scene with Gertrude where David leaps up onto the bed to stand arguing with her; the sword fight with Laertes; the hauntings by the Ghost of old Hamlet; Ophelia’s scenes wherein she’s mad; Gertrude’s reaction to the dumbshow before the play-within-the-play; this exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia:

Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap? 
[Spinning a small footstool by one foot in his right hand] 
Ophelia: No, my lord. 
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap? 
Ophelia: Ay, my lord. 
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters? 
Ophelia: I think nothing, my lord. 
Hamlet: That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.

- David’s Hamlet puts great emphasis on the first syllable of “country” all the while squatting in front of her on hands and heels and thrusting his crotch at her (how any of us in the audience who fancy DT managed to restrain ourselves at that point, I really don’t know!); Horatio’s final lines to Hamlet: Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (which I’m not ashamed to say reduced me to tears).

All in all, this was a fantastic performance from the whole cast and I’m very grateful to have had the chance to see the show live and with my two favourite actors in the lead roles (hooray for early 40th birthday presents!).

# # # #

If you’re interested in seeing Tennant’s Hamlet, there is a DVD available.

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, herewith the first of a series of posts about the man, and his poetry and plays.

Back in 2008 I had the great privilege of seeing David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in Hamlet (playing Hamlet and Claudius respectively). What follows is my account of seeing the play (taken from my LiveJournal).

# # # #

OK. First things first - I’ve never seen “Hamlet” live before (I’ve read it about 6 times (including 3 times while I was doing it for my English degree a few years ago), I’ve seen the Gibson film (yeah, I know, but I couldn’t get hold of the OK. First things first - I’ve never seen “Hamlet” live before (I’ve read it about 6 times (including 3 times while I was doing it for my English degree a few years ago), I’ve seen the Gibson film (yeah, I know, but I couldn’t get hold of the Branagh version), and I’ve no real idea about how to talk about directing decisions, so please bear with me!

So. Having never seen “Hamlet” live before, I picked a performance with two of my favourite actors in the lead roles - David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, I’m looking at you. And boy was that a GOOD choice. These two men are bloody brilliant as Hamlet and Claudius - I don’t tend to use the word “genius” of living people because it’s a hard word to live up to, but these two men are genius actors. The play had me spellbound and I barely noticed the 3.5 hours passing by.

The stage and the back wall behind it are both mirrored (I don’t know if that’s the norm for the Courtyard Theatre - this was also my first production at the RSC in Stratford - talk about a whole heap of firsts!) – and the director (Greg Doran) makes excellent use of it in the opening scenes with the watchmen on the tower seeing old Hamlet’s ghost – they carried torches which they occasionally shone onto the floor, reflecting the light and making the whole scene incredibly spooky – just what you need to introduce a ghost!

David’s first scene is when everyone arrives on stage following the wedding of Hamlet’s uncle Claudius to his brother’s wife/Hamlet’s mother Gertrude. He came on and stood in a corner of the stage (actually about 6 – 8 feet from where I was sitting in the stalls). He had his hair slicked back and was wearing a dark suit (this is a modern dress performance), and I was immediately reminded of David’s role as Barty Crouch Jr – there was the same stillness about him, plus a slight air of menace and controlled purpose. (I’m not saying he was recreating Barty Jr – just that the look and the stillness reminded me of the HP character. Yes, I am going to reference other roles I’ve seen him in, just so you know!)

Hamlet’s stillness and dark clothes are in strong contrast to the rest of the wedding party, so he drew my eye and I found myself keeping half an eye on him even as I watched the other characters interacting.

Patrick Stewart, as Claudius, wore a 3-piece suit throughout (I think – bear with me – I had about 2 hours sleep last night and I’m feeling a bit fuzzy-headed now!), and wire-framed glasses which give him a wise and respectable air (which is, of course, completely at odds with him being old Hamlet’s murderer).

This was a great ensemble cast. The descent of Ophelia (Mariah Gale) into madness was beautifully acted and quite unnerving. Rosencrantz (Sam Alexander) and Guildernstern (Tom Davey) were really rather stupid. Laertes (Edward Bennett) didn’t really work for me in the latter part of the play: when he’s threatening Claudius, he was unconvincing – like a teenager, who’d been watching too many gangster movies, and his death didn’t really bother me.

Gertrude (Penny Downie) was excellent – particularly during the dumbshow (which was very OTT and funny) which precedes the play-within-the-play – I saw her fidgeting uneasily throughout and her hands were never still – and during the closet scene in which she confronts Hamlet about his behaviour and he accuses her of incest, he says:

You cannot call it love; for at your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble,
And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
Would step from this to this?

And I noticed (and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this!) that her nipples were very visible, and I thought “Yeah, she’s not so old as all that, Hamlet, for all you’re 30!”

Horatio (Peter de Jersey) was very good as Hamlet’s friend – trying to inject some sanity and wisdom into Hamlet’s mad proceedings. Interestingly, David played Hamlet as less mad than knowing/calculating – and oh so witty and funny! I’ve never had so much of a sense of the comedy in the play as I did when seeing this production: David has amazing comic timing – which Patrick Stewart freely acknowledged during the after-show talk with (most of) the cast. The exchanges between Hamlet and Polonius (Oliver Ford Davies) were brilliantly witty and clever, showing up Polonius for the old windbag that he is. Oliver Ford Davies does a brilliant job actually – going off into mumbled asides, or losing the thread of what he’s saying.

Things that particularly stood out: the quiet intensity of the graveyard scene where Hamlet’s discussing old Yorick, whom he once knew well; the closet scene with Gertrude where David leaps up onto the bed to stand arguing with her; the sword fight with Laertes; the hauntings by the Ghost of old Hamlet; Ophelia’s scenes wherein she’s mad; Gertrude’s reaction to the dumbshow before the play-within-the-play; this exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia:

Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
[Spinning a small footstool by one foot in his right hand]
Ophelia: No, my lord.
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia: I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet: That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.

- David’s Hamlet puts great emphasis on the first syllable of “country” all the while squatting in front of her on hands and heels and thrusting his crotch at her (how any of us in the audience who fancy DT managed to restrain ourselves at that point, I really don’t know!); Horatio’s final lines to Hamlet: Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (which I’m not ashamed to say reduced me to tears).

All in all, this was a fantastic performance from the whole cast and I’m very grateful to have had the chance to see the show live and with my two favourite actors in the lead roles (hooray for early 40th birthday presents!).

# # # #

If you’re interested in seeing Tennant’s Hamlet, there is a DVD available.

I want to play with her hair…

For starters, at any rate…

Nicola Benedetti plays Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending which has regained the #1 spot in the Classic FM annual Hall of Fame.

I confess to punching the air and yelling “YES!” when I realised yesterday evening that RVW’s classic ‘The Lark Ascending’ had gone back to the #1 spot in the Hall of Fame. And the reason for my delight wasn’t just that I voted for the piece this year, or that I’m a ridiculous nerd when it comes to classical music (though both of those things are true).

No, my reasons are tied closely to World War One, the 100th anniversary of which we are commemorating this year. You see, larks (and birds generally) appear quite often in World War One poetry - and in letters/memoirs from soldiers who served on the Western Front. For example, Isaac Rosenberg wrote:

Returning, We Hear the Larks

Sombre the night is.
And though we have our lives, we know
What sinister threat lurks there.

Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
This poison-blasted track opens on our camp—-
On a little safe sleep.

But hark! joy—-joy—-strange joy.
Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
Music showering on our upturned list’ning faces.

Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song—-
But song only dropped,
Like a blind man’s dreams on the sand
By dangerous tides,
Like a girl’s dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
Or her kisses where a serpent hides.

And then there’s this poem by John McCrae, probably one of the most famous WW1 poems, which is often read or recited at Remembrance Sunday services in the UK:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Larks were a reminder for many soldiers of home, particularly since Britain still wasn’t that heavily urbanised in 1914, so many men would have lived and worked on the land, or in villages or small towns where wild birds were not uncommon. And birds, of course, had a far greater freedom than poor old Tommy, stuck in the trenches, hoping for a Blighty one, hoping not to die before he could go home again.

Vaughan Williams served during World War One - he was 41 in 1914 - quite old enough to have avoided active service on the Western Front. Instead he volunteered as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and after serving as a stretcher bearer (a brutal and very dangerous task that involved trying to get wounded men back to the casualty clearing stations, often while still under fire from the Germans and their allies), he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

It was while serving as a stretcher bearer in 1914 that Vaughan Williams began composing The Lark Ascending as a piece for violin and piano. The piece was inspired by an earlier poet, George Meredith, who wrote a 122-line poem called

The Lark Ascending

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake,
All intervolv’d and spreading wide,
Like water-dimples down a tide
Where ripple ripple overcurls
And eddy into eddy whirls;
A press of hurried notes that run
So fleet they scarce are more than one,
Yet changingly the trills repeat
And linger ringing while they fleet,
Sweet to the quick o’ the ear, and dear
To her beyond the handmaid ear,
Who sits beside our inner springs,
Too often dry for this he brings,
Which seems the very jet of earth
At sight of sun, her music’s mirth,
As up he wings the spiral stair,
A song of light, and pierces air
With fountain ardor, fountain play,
To reach the shining tops of day,
And drink in everything discern’d
An ecstasy to music turn’d,
Impell’d by what his happy bill
Disperses; drinking, showering still,
Unthinking save that he may give
His voice the outlet, there to live
Renew’d in endless notes of glee,
So thirsty of his voice is he,
For all to hear and all to know
That he is joy, awake, aglow,
The tumult of the heart to hear
Through pureness filter’d crystal-clear,
And know the pleasure sprinkled bright
By simple singing of delight,
Shrill, irreflective, unrestrain’d,
Rapt, ringing, on the jet sustain’d
Without a break, without a fall,
Sweet-silvery, sheer lyrical,
Perennial, quavering up the chord
Like myriad dews of sunny sward
That trembling into fulness shine,
And sparkle dropping argentine;
Such wooing as the ear receives
From zephyr caught in choric leaves
Of aspens when their chattering net
Is flush’d to white with shivers wet;
And such the water-spirit’s chime
On mountain heights in morning’s prime,
Too freshly sweet to seem excess,
Too animate to need a stress;
But wider over many heads
The starry voice ascending spreads,
Awakening, as it waxes thin,
The best in us to him akin;
And every face to watch him rais’d,
Puts on the light of children prais’d,
So rich our human pleasure ripes
When sweetness on sincereness pipes,
Though nought be promis’d from the seas,
But only a soft-ruffling breeze
Sweep glittering on a still content,
Serenity in ravishment.

For singing till his heaven fills,
’T is love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup,
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes:
The woods and brooks, the sheep and kine
He is, the hills, the human line,
The meadows green, the fallows brown,
The dreams of labor in the town;
He sings the sap, the quicken’d veins;
The wedding song of sun and rains
He is, the dance of children, thanks
Of sowers, shout of primrose-banks,
And eye of violets while they breathe;
All these the circling song will wreathe,
And you shall hear the herb and tree,
The better heart of men shall see,
Shall feel celestially, as long
As you crave nothing save the song.
Was never voice of ours could say
Our inmost in the sweetest way,
Like yonder voice aloft, and link
All hearers in the song they drink:
Our wisdom speaks from failing blood,
Our passion is too full in flood,
We want the key of his wild note
Of truthful in a tuneful throat,
The song seraphically free
Of taint of personality,
So pure that it salutes the suns
The voice of one for millions,
In whom the millions rejoice
For giving their one spirit voice.

Yet men have we, whom we revere,
Now names, and men still housing here,
Whose lives, by many a battle-dint
Defaced, and grinding wheels on flint,
Yield substance, though they sing not, sweet
For song our highest heaven to greet:
Whom heavenly singing gives us new,
Enspheres them brilliant in our blue,
From firmest base to farthest leap,
Because their love of Earth is deep,
And they are warriors in accord
With life to serve and pass reward,
So touching purest and so heard
In the brain’s reflex of yon bird;
Wherefore their soul in me, or mine,
Through self-forgetfulness divine,
In them, that song aloft maintains,
To fill the sky and thrill the plains
With showerings drawn from human stores,
As he to silence nearer soars,
Extends the world at wings and dome,
More spacious making more our home,
Till lost on his aërial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

To me, therefore, World War One and Vaughan Williams’ piece are inextricably linked, and I am always moved whenever I hear the piece played, and I find it incredibly fitting that in this 100th anniversary year of the ‘Great War’, Vaughan William’s WW1 piece should be heading the Classic FM Hall of Fame again.

The atmosphere in the suite is jolly. Dench, in light-colored jacket and pants, and Smith, in a dark ensemble of similar style, are unfailingly charming. And they’re ready to be entertained. (Jet-lagged, they have been talking to reporters all day.) Smith has the disarming habit of collapsing into Dench’s arms whenever she’s in stitches. In our encounter, this happens often.

I am having naughty thoughts about Maggie being in Judi’s arms… I am a bad Pers - probably…

Thought of saving this news until Wednesday - but couldn’t wait!!

tayryn:

dontmesswiththeraydor:

If my boss looks like this, she can have me shot off the roof of a train if it means we’ll have electrifying sexual tension for full three hours.

If my boss looked like this…
…I’d be under her desk… kissing up to her.
:)

If my boss looked like this - I’d go to work with a song in my heart - and lust in my loins…

tayryn:

dontmesswiththeraydor:

If my boss looks like this, she can have me shot off the roof of a train if it means we’ll have electrifying sexual tension for full three hours.

If my boss looked like this…

…I’d be under her desk… kissing up to her.

:)

If my boss looked like this - I’d go to work with a song in my heart - and lust in my loins…

hajapipoca:

The Last Of The Blonde Bombshells (2000)

I love, love, LOVE this movie SO hard!!! It’s one of my fave Judi movies…

Yonder see the morning blink:
The sun is up, and up must I,
To wash and dress and eat and drink
And look at things and talk and think
And work, and God knows why.

Oh often have I washed and dressed
And what’s to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest:
Ten thousand times I’ve done my best
And all’s to do again.

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

May, A E Housman.

I confess, I still haven’t watched The Remorseful Day (nor read the book) - the last of Inspector Morse tales. I haven’t been able to bring myself to bite the bullet - but I think, after Morse’s little recitation in last night’s Endeavour, I shall have to bite.

I love this because it’s such a subtle threat… “I’ll have to take off my hat” - meaning fisticuffs are about to happen, if you don’t tell Fred Thursday what he wants to know.

thepurplekoala:

all-allam asked: his sandwich pub moment…

His face though. He misses his lunch companion…

knee-deep-in-sherlolly-feels:

There is literally only like 9 of us in the endeavour fandom. Reblog if you are one of us!!

You Are Not Alone!

Just a quick heads-up that Ken Branagh and Alex Kingston will be reprising their roles as Antony and Cleopatra tonight on BBC Radio 3. You can listen live online using the link above anywhere in the world. It starts at 7.30pm and is roughly 2.5 hours long. If you miss it tonight, you should be able to “listen again” online afterwards.

I hereby give notice that I have scheduled a dozen posts to appear on Wednesday about Shakespeare - accounts of his plays I’ve seen/heard; various of the Sonnets; and my witterings about related books.

They are intended to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. I don’t claim to possess any superior knowledge of the Bard; I certainly possess no great scholarly authority.

But I’ve been a fan of the playwright and poet for more than 34 years, and, as you’ll have noticed if you’ve been following me for more than 5 minutes, I’m passionate about Shakespeare and his work.

If you’re not, or if you’re uninterested in my ramblings, feel free to unfollow me. Otherwise be prepared for hourly Shakespeare posts from 7am on April 23!

I hereby give notice that I have scheduled a dozen posts to appear on Wednesday about Shakespeare - accounts of his plays I’ve seen/heard; various of the Sonnets; and my witterings about related books.

They are intended to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. I don’t claim to possess any superior knowledge of the Bard; I certainly possess no great scholarly authority.

But I’ve been a fan of the playwright and poet for more than 34 years, and, as you’ll have noticed if you’ve been following me for more than 5 minutes, I’m passionate about Shakespeare and his work.

If you’re not, or if you’re uninterested in my ramblings, feel free to unfollow me. Otherwise be prepared for hourly Shakespeare posts from 7am on April 23!