Something about Shakespeare

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Latimer: William Shakespeare.

There was a time when that name struck fear into my very soul. Years ago, when I, like so many others, was semi-scarred by compulsory Shakespeare plays on English exams.

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These plays required someone, who had studied Shakespeare in college, to go through it word-by painful-word and translate it, because Shakespearean language is just that – a different language! And it scares a young teenager, scares them bad!

Romeo and Juliet wasn’t really a great start for me.

I remember a girl in my class at the time, she got really frustrated and fidgety and just piped up in a loud confident voice:

“MISS! What use is Shakespeare? Thees and Thous – no one talks like this! I can’t go into a shop and buy milk talking like this!”

The teacher looked like a bolt of lightning had just crispy-fried someone right in front of her. She was speechless. We all laughed– what the hell was the point of this?

In hindsight I know now that poetry and stories and plays, none of them is any use in ordering milk – but it’s not about getting the milk – it’s about food for the soul. All art is pointless, as a Wild man once said 😉

Thankfully, after Romeo and Juliet, I had a break – no more Shakespeare for one year. Not much of a break as Emily Bronte stepped up to take his place for a while – ‘It’s me, it’s Cathy, I’ve come home’ (dear God, go away you crazy harpy woman!).

Then, in the school ending mega-national exam – the big guns were wheeled out– Macbeth! Nooo! NOT SHAKESPEARE AGAIN (we knew what to expect now) HOW WILL WE WRITE AN ESSAY ON THAT! DON’T MAKE ME LEARN QUOTES! NOO!

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Macbeth, initially I understood no better than Romeo and Juliet, then, again word-by-word it gets explained… and actually, I thought; hold on a minute, this play is epic! It is the ultimate story of a fallen hero, of how absolute power corrupts.

I even have this little quote that I semi consider ‘my life quote’ – Let me set the backstory… It’s Macbeth talking, he is thinking about what he’s done (killed the rightful King and plunged Scotland into anarchy by talking the crown for himself – the very land itself is festering, sickening under his unlawful rule) – Macbeth is thinking about turning back, trying to make up for what he’s done, i.e. do the right thing – ultimately this is what he decides –

“…I am in blood stepp’d in so far, that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er…”

Basically – ‘I won’t turn back, I can’t. I’ve waded out this far, that turning back now would be as difficult as continuing’. Now for him, this was a BAD choice…

…in my case, I consider this quote as my – “KEEP GOING LATIMER! Don’t give up! Going forward is as hard as going back – so keep going, keep going!”

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When we were in England, we went to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit the Bard’s birthplace.

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The town is beautiful anyway, but with the summer shining, it was glorious… England and Ireland actually look amazing in the sun (though we hardly ever see it, and universally I noticed, we all go completely mad in the sun – it’s like we fully expect to never see it again!).

We went to the Bard’s house, and got an introduction video display, narrated by Patrick Stewart about Shakespeare’s life and work.

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Shakespeare was famous even in his own time (a proper celeb). The display showed all these great actors who have acted in Shakespearean plays and how it’s almost a feather in the cap for an actor to have done one (or many). And you get really amazed by the actual amount of plays that Shakespeare wrote and you start finding yourself starting to be awed by him – just look at all these amazing quotes…

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”

“There’s no art to find the minds construction in the face”

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”

“All’s well that ends well :)”

 

Shakespeare’s house is really beautiful too and so well preserved.

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Writers from all over, down through the years, would used to visit and write their names on the windows, to show that they had been in the great man’s house. Now these signatures and, sort of property damage!, are artifacts themselves.

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There was this overflowing sense of respect, from the past and the present.

We also learned that his plays only exist for us today, because his friends collected them altogether into this epic compendium. This book of plays is why we know about Shakespeare today (otherwise we may have never known and Stratford would have a lovely car park instead of a cool piece of priceless history).

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While Ridley and I sat in Shakespeare’s garden, we wondered, was there some other fantastic playwright out there who wrote just as well, if not better, and had no wise friends with great foresight, and so was forgotten?

Do you ever wonder if there were hundreds of fantastic writers in the past, who never told that amazing story because they couldn’t write?

Or there were fantastic writers whose books were burned or lost, or never printed at all?

Think of all the forgotten stories 😦

Later that night we went to see a Shakespearean play; All’s well that ends well, in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (but of course!) in town.

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In honour of our trip to Stratford, and our Shakespeare adventure, we both bought Moomins in the town (random I know), and named them after Shakespearean characters.

Ridley’s is Hamlet Moomin… Mine is Bertram Moomin.

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We are odd, we know… but – This above all; to thine own self be true :)” (even if that does involve buying a Moomin and calling it Bertram or Hamlet!)

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One Lovely Versatile Blogger Award

We’d like to thank Livvy @ Nerdy Book ReviewsChristina and Steven Leo Campbell for nominating us for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ and the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’. We’ve had so much fun blogging over the last year. It’s fantastic and humbling to have been nominated for these awards! It also gives us a chance to share, ‘random facts about MLR’. 

These are the rules:

Nominees must: Tell seven things about themselves, pass the award on to 15 other blogs and thank the person who nominated them for the award. Also no one is obligated to take the award, so don’t feel you have to accept it.

And so it begins……….

Caesar Flickerman stepped up to the stage, the lights blinding him. He straightened his tie. A stage-hand appeared at his shoulder, talking into a headset; “1mins to go!” he warned, ducking away in a hurry. Flickerman shuffled the papers in his hand, he took a deep breath. The intro music started to play.

5…4… 3… 2…1…

He ran a hand through his blue hair.

“Show time!”

He stepped out to greet the crowd, “Are you all ready?” They cheered.

“Let’s introduce our guests! Latimer and Ridley!”

Two girls dressed in red, fiery dresses appeared on the stage. The crowd rose to it’s feet screaming…

Caesar guided the girls to their seats. “Ladies, congratulations on not one, but three nominations! How do you feel?”

“Thank you Caesar.” Ridley slipped into her seat and fanned her tears away. “We’re so happy. We’d like to give a shout-out to Livvy, Christina and Steven! Without them none of this could have happened.”

“Shout out!” Latimer screamed randomly. Ridley shushed her. “Shout out…” she whispered out of the corner of her mouth.

Caesar waved towards them with a flourish. “So, Latimer, Ridley, how about you tell us all some interesting facts about yourselves!”

Ridley scratched her head with a confused frown. “Oh, well I love ketchup! I put it on everything!” She gave a rapid nod and swung her arm. “Mash potato, curries, I’ve even had ketchup flavoured Pringles, they were lovely-“

“They were disgusting,” Latimer interrupted, punching the air.

“To you!” Ridley crossed her arms with a pout, then pressed on, “I wear fluffy socks in bed.”  She wiggled her feet, her sparkly high-heels caught the light and flashed out at the audience. The people in the front row covered their eyes with a grimace. Ridley shot them an apologetic shrug. “I recently found out this is actually weird as supposedly very few other people do this.”

“Sweaty feet! Stinky,” Latimer tittered.

“Quiet you!” Ridley coughed, “Don’t mind her. Another, semi-interesting thing about me is I have an obsession with stationary, I love pens, colouring pencils, highlighters, A4 pads, notebooks…” Her list petered off as a dreamy expression crossed her face. She shook herself from her stupor and frowned. “I hate to see pages torn out of a properly bound notebook (where the pages aren’t meant to be torn out, not like in a spiral one) Latimer knows of this particular OCD!”

“Don’t dog-ear my books; number one rule of borrowing from Ridley. I am always afraid when reading her paperbacks- must not break the spine, she’ll kill me,” Latimer added. Ridley nodded in agreement and slashed a finger across her neck with a wide grin.

Ridley pointed at Caesar. “I’m scared of clowns.”

He frowned at her. “I’m not a clown.”

“Hmmm…you’re very colourful.” Her pointing finger hovered in front of his face.

Latimer slapped her hand down. “Don’t mind her Caesar. She loves you really, she’s just a suspicious sort.”

“Of course! Of course…” Caesar gave a forgiving smile and smoothed back his blue hair.

Ridley rubbed her hand. “I find clowns quite creepy, with their wide smiles and abilities to squeeze into small spaces like mini cars. I also hate heights, which rules out all extreme sports to do with being up high and generally falling. Spiders make my skin crawl, this hatred of them started as a child. I read that in a year we all swallow six spiders in our sleep.” Everyone cringed. “As to mice, I have no problem with them, I think they’re cute and I often save them from my sadistic cat!”

“Imagine swallowing six mice a year…” Latimer added. Ridley shuddered.

Ridley scratched her head and then brightened. “My last interesting point or not…I’ve tried in the past to become a morning person, force the dawn cheeriness into me. I can really appreciate the beauty of a rising sun, however not matter how many times I’ve tried, I wander around like a bleary-eyed bear for the first few hours after getting up. I prefer night time! I think I’ll just have to stick to sunsets!”

“When we used to live together during college years, I was afraid of Ridley in the morning. I would be up eating my breakfast watching kids cartoons, and she would walk out of her room, like she was furious with the world,” Latimer nodded.

“And Latimer, tell us some interesting facts about yourself,” Caeser smiled.

“Righty-oh. Ahem; I love red things; given the chance at any option I will always pick the red thing- food, item etc. I love red me.”

She held out her hand counting off the various points. “Ridley says I look like a rabbit when I cross the road- darting and scuttling. She yanks me back from cars when they are about to run me over! Also, if other people around me start running I will automatically also start running (I don’t need to know the reason, I’ll just do it!).

I get obsessed very quickly with random things (face cream and body lotion, namely Burt’s Bees), countries (Japan..) and stories (eg. comic book characters backstories). I will find out everything about said obsession- I will often tell people, I am a fountain of useless information.A sponge for the unimportant.

“It’s true. A giant sponge.” Ridley held her hands out wide.

Latimer tapped her chin with a long pale finger.“My obsessions often have no rhyme or reason; currently I love Sons of Anarchy and contrasting that, I’m crazy about girly anime (shoujo) and asian dramas. 🙂 Most recently; I’m obsessed with San Diego Comic Con. We both really want to go!”

“If you win the games,” Caesar said with a grin. The crowd errupted with laughter and applause.

“Games?” Latimer glanced at Ridley. She shrugged.

“Err, okay… anyway, another random fact- I have a bamboo plant in my room… his name is Herbert.

If I lock a door, I will leave the door walk away then run back to check it’s locked, up to, but not limited to 3 times. No.. I don’t have OCD. No.. I don’t have OCD. No.. I don’t have OCD….

Once I did a tandem sky-dive and a canyon swing- I didn’t ever realise it, but I could be an adrenaline junkie if I lived in a place that had these things on the doorstep! Ridley will watch me fall from the sky with an expression on her face that says she’s going to be sick. I’ll scream ‘look at me!!!!!!’ as I plummet with a smile on my face.”

“Death wish…” Ridley muttered with a shiver.

“I often make up words; when I go to bed, I don’t say goodnight to people, I say good-noooot… and sometimes I say ‘good-noooot lemon spoot’ I don’t know why.”

“Cause you’re nuuuuts….” Ridley giggled with a hand over her mouth and then gasped as she got a sharp elbow in the stomach from Latimer. “Ooh, me intestines…”

“That’s pretty much all I can think of,” Latimer said with a thoughtful look. There was a small pause, Caesar smiled at them both. Ridley had started playing with her dress, spinning the cloth and making small fires dance up her leg.

“Pretty…”  she sighed. When she looked up and the crowd was staring, she patted the fires down with a dreamy smile, “Haha, yep, nothing more to add.”

Caesar clapped and the crowd joined in, bringing the interview to an end. Flickerman leaned forward in his chair, the leather creaked.

“One final question ladies… are you ready to play the Hunger Games?”

Ridley smiled, “Of course…” She looked confused for a moment, her expression unsure. Her eyes widened and she turned sharply. “Wait… what?”

Latimer jumped to her feet, a manic look on her face. Diving off the stage, she shoved all the strangely dressed people out of the way, screaming,  “I’m out of here! You’ll never take me alive!!”

Ridley scrambled away from Caesar. Her heels snagged on her dress and she fell face first off the stage. Leaping up, she stared round with wide eyes at the vibrant colours and weird outfits of the audience and shrieked. “Aah, clowns!”

She hitched up her dress and raced after Latimer.

“Wait for me rabbit girl!!”