Wednesday, 12 February 2014

“To Not Be, Not To Not Be" (Explained)

So this is how I explained the whole “To Not Be, Not To Not Be” to our Betty on the way back from the first night of Hamlet…

Life or death! That’s what it boils down to. 

Is it better to put up with all the bog-water what people drop on you? Or to take a swing at them even if they end up knocking your block off! So basically “Put up or be shut up!” As dead as a doornail, pushing up the daisies and resting in peace. No, better than resting. Completely free from all the pains you get in life - like when your back gives out if you do any heavy lifting (or like my having to listen to you going on and on about it) 

(Course I didn’t say that bit to her)

Now, there’s something I wouldn’t half wish for! To be dead and having a right good kip! And while kipping having some lovely dreams (Like that one I have about me and the barmaid from the Duke’s Head!) 

(Didn’t say that bit to our Betty either or else there would have been a whole world of pain!) 

Ah! But then that’s the problem ain’t it!  Exactly what do we dream about when we’ve popped our clogs? Makes you stop and think don’t it! And it’s that stopping and thinking what makes living to a ripe old age be such a ripe old pain in the Arras! 

Think about it! Would you put up with all the problems we have in life? Like Old Man Turner always having a go at us for not paying the rent? Or Nelly Punkwit making out she’s so much better than you just cause she’s still got five of her own teeth? (Or the barmaid at the Duke’s Head slapping me every time I so much as say hello!) Or Paying taxes or cow towing to all those toffs swanning up here from the West End? Why put up with all that when one quick slash from a naked blade would set you up with a nice quiet after-life?

Who would bear his fardels (certainly not me in my condition) and live with all that? Except… Except for the fact that if you were to top yourself something even worse might happen to you ‘after’ death! (Yes! Even worse that Nelly Punkwit!) Because let’s face it, when was the last time you had a chat with someone who’d passed over? 
“Oh! Hello our Nan! How are things with you?” 
“Oh, just fine dear! It’s lovely up here. I was only saying to that Angel Gabriel yesterday…”
You see it’s that not knowing that muddies the water. Call me a coward if you like but I say “You know what? I think I’d rather stick with Old Turner and his tongue lashing than meet Old Nick and his pointy pitchfork!” (Because I don’t want that anywhere near my fardels! Thank you very much!)

And so it is that no matter how red you get in the face you’ll always end up a cowardly-custard yellow! And why people heading for Peckham Rye often get lost in Acton! (Or summit like that!)

Daniel Smallpiece, Firkin Bottom Knocker (Retired), London 1601ish

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Monty Python - Hospital For Over Acting

Quote #039

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"
Hamlet - 'Hamlet', Act I Scene 4

All the World's a MOOC

What's a MOOC?

It's a Massive Online Open Course (no joke) and I have been once more indulging my love of Shakespeare by trying one out with the relatively new FurtureLearn.

The course I'm currently enjoying is called 'Shakespeare's Hamlet' and is run in partnership with the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute at Stratford upon Avon. My review of the first night of Hamlet in an earlier Blog entry was an exercise on the course. Unfortunately there are only two more weeks but you may still be able to join or if they should repeat it I would recommend it to anyone.

If not then there is also another Shakespeare course coming up in March called 'Shakespeare and his World' which is coordinated by the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

So if you want to learn more about Billy-Boy Bard come and join the party...