Life Having established that I'm something of an introvert, you'll be unsurprised to learn that when I had the flat to myself last week, I really had the flat to myself. Once I returned home from the film preview, I didn't re-emerge into the outside world until yesterday morning because of work, a personally enforced captivity facilitated by having enough food in and putting my Lovefilm subscription on holiday so that I didn't even have to walk to the post box.
When I've tried to describe these weeks before, I've described them as hermitage weeks and I suppose it is a sort of retreat from everything, and that was especially true last week as I noted the chaos of extra expense on hot fast food bakery products and the fumbling communications of politicians leading to a fuel crisis through the audio prism of PM. Judging by reports, it was impossible to travel anywhere because the roads were clogged with queuing cars and pasty will become a dish served cold.
As you will have noticed, last week was about Shakespeare. As well as the books I've reviewed here, I enjoyed Silent Shakespeare (the BFI's release of early attempts at filming his plays replacing the text with grand gesture), Shakespeare Wallah (Merchant Ivory's fictual account of Felicity Kendall's family's life as touring players in India starring Felicity Kendall), Being Shakespeare (Simon Callow's one man show presenting a biography of the bard written by scholar Jonathan Bate).
The most fun was Thursday night when I cuddled up with the Radio 3 recording of A Midsummer Night's Dream from last September, recorded live in a real forest with Toby Stephens and Leslie Sharp's authoritative Oberon and Titania and Roger Allam's Bottom. There's always something rather magical about audio versions of this play if listened to as night descends, Oberon and Puck's final words rattling about the mind just before bedtime ("Trip away; make no stay; Meet me all by break of day").
But mainly I enjoyed the silence. Or should I say near silence since even the thick glazing on the windows can't mask the distant sound of cars of the main road, which were actually quite reassuring in their way. Each morning, between the alarm going off and turning on the radio, there was always the possibility I was waking up into a recreation of The Omega Man or an episode of The Twilight Zone. Luckily I have decent eyesight so at least I'd be able read. No Henry Bemis like end for me.
Yes, I did talk to myself, but that's also a general side effect of being an only child, a youth spent trying to find something to do that doesn't involve siblings I don't have. Not having anyone else to talk to just intensifies it. Lord knows what it must look like as I find myself shouting at a passage in a book I don't agree with or as is most often the case the radio, its digital display impassively looking on as I try and conduct a conversation with whichever political ignoramus isn't answering Eddie Mair's questions.
Since this is real life, I didn't make many great revelations over during these four or five days of solitude other than confirming my love of Shakespeare and knowing full well that if I want to spend my life doing anything it's writing and researching, that all I've really wanted to do is write and research but that I don't have the first idea how to achieve that and sustain myself physically as a human being as well as spiritually. Oh and that I need to have a proper holiday. Once I can afford one.