The Saturday Sonnet


FROM fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light'st flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

[Translation, Analysis]

Scene Unseen:
Being John Malkovich: Spike Jonze Interview

Film  Don't you hate those dvd interviews which are advertised on the box, usually in big letters and usually at great length which sound like they will offer a real insight into the film making process but turn out to be something recorded at the time the film was being shot, for the electronic promo guide which is sent out to journalists featuring the star or director telling the story you've just watched saying how much they love the other talent involved and how it was the best experience of their lives. Apart from anything else, including this rubbish on the disc means that the actual quality of the picture and sound of the thing you've actually purchased -- the film -- is reduced to accomodate them.

Whether by chance or design, this is the ultimate intidote. On the box, its listed as 'Spike Jonze Interview' which I suppose technically it is. But it's also one of the most bizarre dvd extras I've come across. Jonze is videod drives a car, in the style of the British sitcom Marion and Jeff or the Iranian film 10. He seems nervous as he relates how he's just finished shooting the film, but from the outset something is wrong. He doesn't look like a well man. And as the interviewer piles on such difficult questions about were he got the talent and what it was like working with Malkovich he progressively gets iller. This isn't one continuous shot, its a patchwork of moments obviously edited together to offer the impression that Jonze either hates interviews or might explode. Eventually his train of thought grinds to a hault. He stops the car. Gets out and chunders all over the freeway. He gets back in continues driving, the bits of carrot and mush still visible as he shuts the door. Interview ends. We've learnt precious little about how he went from directing videos for Norman Cook to scripts by Charlie Kauffman. But for some reason this is a more satisfying moment than a hundred EPG reconstructions because its doing something different, new and inkeeping with the film which has been purchased.

While I'm here, does anyone actually read the descriptive blurb on the back of dvds? I never do which is why I just have to bring to you what the man at Columbia Tristar decided to offer for this opus:
"Craig Schwartz (john cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer. In order to make some money, Craig takes a hob as a filing clerk. One day he accidentally discovers a door ... a portal into the brain of John Malkovich (played by john malkovich)! For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip -- HE is being John Malkovich! Then he's dumoped onto the New Jersey turnpike! With his beautiful office mate Maxine (catherine keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (cameron diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John's brain for just $200 a trip. See what all the critics are talking about.
Or in other words, what the hell is going on here. Why have I been left to describe this film? I'd better put some exclaimation marks in because this is a crazy! film! Oh and hang on I'd better point out that John Malkovich is played by John Malkovich and make it really clear because no one would believe me (even though his face is on the cover a thousand times...)
Shakespeare Collection of food terms used throughout the canon presented in their original context: "This informal survey of Shakespeare's use of food in his writings reveals much, I think, about Renaissance literary convention, about the Elizabethan table, and about Shakespeare himself. Mostly "low" characters express themselves in terms of appetite."
Shakespeare Another positive review for the North Shore Kiss Me Kate: Matching her intensity is the rakish masculinity of the strikingly handsome Dvorsky as ex-husband, star and director Fred Graham. Dvorsky portrays Petruchio with increasing vigor and ferocious physical manhandling as he attempts to fend off the onstage blows of his infuriated co-star. Dvorsky matches deBenedet's terrific timing, creating a believable rampage of conflicting emotions and delicious physical revenge, or as Shakespeare puts it, "For I am rough and woo not like a babe." His melodious baritone is a perfect foil to her powerful soprano as the sophisticated pair delivers one great Cole Porter hit song after another."
Shakespeare Festival in Central Ohio: "Shakespearean insulters like Branstool mocked the few hundred students, parents and siblings who attended the school's third annual Shakespeare Festival Thursday night, which was organized by senior English teacher Dana Decker. Other students performed William Shakespeare's plays, sang Elizabethan songs, served as life-sized chess pieces in a real game, prepared food from the era and stood in the stocks as festival-goers tossed wet balls at their faces. A petting zoo with a small goat, sheep and pig was set up just outside the school cafeteria."
History Good old B3ta. A history of 8-bit computing turned into a indie song. For obvious reasons I especially love the lyric 'Acorn Electron / cheaper BBC Micro'.
Music What was the director the promo for Joss Stone's new single, Super Duper Love thinking? A dayglo mix of Yellow Submarine, the old advert for Sunpat spread and the equally bizarre promo for Buggle's Video Killed The Radio Star its just wierd.
Architecture Something about this shot of the Brooklyn Museum's glass canopy reminds me of my Paris bridge photos. Perhaps all that pancake I had earlier has gone to my head.
Life The continental market has trundled into Liverpool City Centre again, a small union of Europeans in the heart of the shopping centre. I'm currently sustaining the after effects of a Bratwurst, potato provencal and waffle. Lets just say that up unti about five minutes ago, when I started sipping this nicely steaming mug of tea, my breath smelt like the inside of Alain Ducasse's oven. I also bought some red berry jam, for the pretty shameless reason that the stall holder looked like Irene Jacob and I wanted to continue the illusion that I'd walked into a French movie. True to form, what French I have picked up over the past few months deserted me as I found myself trying to parry her hard sales technique:
Me: Some red berry jam please. (I pass her the jar)
Her: You know it's three jars for five pounds
I'm mesmerized momentarily by her accent.
Me: I'll just take that thanks.
She puts it in the bag.
Her: And would you like anything from our selection of mayonneses?
Me: No thanks. Just that today.
I hand her the money. She smiles that kind of smile only French women can smile - like they know more than you do about everything and that you're missing something vitally important. She passes me the jar. I want to say 'merci'.
Me: Thanks. Bye.
Considering my history with French women and in fact anyone from the continent I think I got off lightly this time.
TV Oh dear. Considering the reports which have been appearing from the set of Van Helsing for months, you'd think that we had something with the genre-shattering potential of the first Matrix film. Now far be it from me to suggest that one negative review means that it's a dog, but how good can it be that James Verniere of The Boston Herald would open his review with the following:
"That sucking sound you hear is not Dracula draining the blood of his latest victim. It's ``Van Helsing'' opening in a theater near you and Hoover-ing the brains out of your skull. Hollywood's first salvo in this season's summer movie madness, ``Van Helsing'' is a hyperactive assault on the senses that makes no sense of its own - an ear-splitting, head-banging, far-too-violent-for-its-rating exercise in wretched excess. Not comedy or drama, it's a travesty. In response to the immortal line, ``It's alive,'' all I can say is, No, it's not."
So we look towards Rotten Tomatoes and Oh No. Sample: ""Bring your earplugs because this ungodly mess is as painfully loud as it is mind-numbingly stupid.""
Shakespeare It's easy to chide yourself for not knowing enough about y'know stuff from the past. Or rather that you know more about some science fiction shows or pop music than you do about Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Catharine Lumby, associate professor of media studies at the University of Sydney, writing for The Age, thinks that's perfectly normal and rather healthy, quoting commentators making a case for Shakespeare's theatre being the Elizabethan Big Brother:
"Indeed, Hawkes has argued that the true heir of the Elizabethan theatre isn't Tom Stoppard or even David Williamson, but television. It's a claim Australian media studies scholar John Hartley enthusiastically endorses, arguing that television is the modern vehicle for popular drama. Comparing the last Big Brother series with William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, he notes that the latter employed "various stock characters, as carefully chosen as the housemates on Big Brother, to portray familiar types in the target demographic of the popular audience" and was equally "full of stagy artifice disguises."
There isn't any doubt that Big Brother is drama of a sort, and that the programme makers are manipulating the situation and unconsciously drawing out some very human themes such as paranoia and servitude. But will it be studied in four hundred years? Possibly but only as a cultural artifact, as a way of coming to terms with were humanity was at the turn of the millenium. It lacks metatextual depth -- the actual thing itself lacks a substance which can be studied.
Shakespeare Review of a new production from the Ten Thousand Things Theatre in Minneapolis: "By mixing death's rueful sting with the tonic of pastoral relief, Shakespeare gave early form to the tragicomedy. To the mystification of early critics, he also stirred time, place, religion and structure -- using whatever convention suited the moment. Costumer Sonya Berlovitz, tasked with delineating 15 characters with six actors, takes a cue from this anachronistic vision. Initially nonplussed, one can either choose to accept fedoras and trenchcoats alongside Elizabethan collars as a necessary convenience, or not."
Shakespeare MPC Theatre Company (Monteray) presents Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead". Short article describes the many levels of the play: "You can take the play on three different levels," he explains. "If you know 'Hamlet,' you'll enjoy seeing the play from the unique and fresh perspective of its two most insignificant characters. If you're unfamiliar with 'Hamlet' you will still enjoy all the verbal word play, gamesmanship and physical humor. Plus," he said, "there are the metaphysical, existential, and philosophical aspects of the play. Free will versus fatalism. The 'why are we here?' stuff."
Shakespeare ... The Musical: "Michelle Risling loves singing and Shakespeare. The high school senior has composed a suite of choral music set to the bard's words. Risling chose lyrics from her favorite Shakespearean play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," using lines from the characters of Puck and King Oberon, as well as Queen Titania's court."
Shakespeare Shakespeares Others: Shakespeare in the Context of his Rivals and Collaborators: "Proposals for papers are welcome on a wide range of topics and issues, including: The Non-Shakespearean Canon; What Shakespeare Read; Deviant Sexualities; Performing Shakespeares Contemporaries; Literary Reputations; Non-Shakespearean Motivations; Performing Shakespeares Contemporaries; Sentiment; Heroic Cultures; Jonsonian Realism and Jonsonian Fantasy; The Rise of Revenge; Who are Shakespeares Heirs Today."
Publishing Another one goes to the great newsagents in the sky. Internet Magazine is closing. I've been on their email alert list for ages so it was a suprise to recieve this rather heartfelt goodbye:
"As some of you might have heard, Internet Magazine is closing. We’ve just finished the July issue - out on 18 May - and that will be our last. The site should remain alive for another few weeks, but it will also close soon. Magazine subscribers will be refunded or offered a subscription to another Emap title. This will be the last email newsletter you receive, and the database will be deleted.

Internet Magazine has been Emap’s only computing title for quite a while, and the company has decided it wants to focus on its core markets. Our market has been particularly tough over the last few years and there are just too few people buying Internet titles these days. It’s all very sad, but I think most of us understand why this decision has been made.

Working for Internet Magazine has been great fun and we’re all immensely proud of what we have produced over the years. We believe it has always been a top quality publication, and we know that many others will be sad to see it go.
It;s my fault of course, I didn't buy the magazine itself (preferring the more current Web User) but they are right -- there are far too many magazines on the subject out there and not all of them can survive. See you around.
dvd I was shocked to find the other day when I put my copy of the Buffy episode Restless into my dvd player that it was covered in pixalisation and was basically unplayable even though it had sat on my shelf for a year. According to Wired its a fairly common problem:
"DVDs are a bit tougher than CDs in the sense that the data layer (or layers -- some discs have two) is sandwiched in the middle of the disc between two layers of plastic. But this structure causes problems of its own, especially in early DVDs. The glue that holds the layers together can lose its grip, making the disc unreadable at least in parts. Users that bend a DVD to remove it from a hard-gripping case are practically begging for this problem, because flexing the disc puts strain on the glue.
The Buffy boxsets are series of tight cardboard pockets bound together like a book. Its actually nigh-on impossible to remove them without bending to some degree. Coincidence?
Plug! Late shifts and work on other sites (see below) account for the slow updates on here this week. But I did just want to pop in and mention that the Pevsner Architectural Guides to Liverpool has been published and is available at all good Waterstones. Apart from the local connection, its of particular interest to me because I used to work with the author Joseph Sharples. He was always patient with me when I need help with some aspect of art history I couldn't quite follow and I learnt a lot during our short association -- so in my small way I wanted to repay the favour. The text is clear, but dense with information and with the format (a series of walks through central Liverpool) a great opportunity for me to learn more about the history of my brithplace.
Shakespeare An analysis of the play with reference to modern psychiatric thought and possibility of changing our personality via prozac: "Every day, several patients ask me Macbeths question with regard to themselves—in less elevated language, to be sure—and they expect a positive answer: but four centuries before neurochemistry was even thought of, and before any of the touted advances in neurosciences that allegedly gave us a new and better understanding of ourselves, Shakespeare knew something that we are increasingly loath to acknowledge. There is no technical fix for the problems of humanity."
Shakespeare Shakespeare vs. Britney Spears- What is Art?
Shakespeare Brian Micklethwait considers the pricing of tickets for the new Hamlet at the Old Vic: "The genuinely decent seats for Trevor Nunn's Hamlet are £37.50. This is way out of my league. No offence to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet (keep reading, we'll get to offending Trevor Nunn's Hamlet quite soon now) but this is more than I can afford. What if I really like it and want to go again, to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet? What if I want to take another friend to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet. That's a whole trip to the South of France."
Shakespeare The hazards of performing in the open air: "At Theatricum Botanicum, dogs and toddlers have strolled onto the stage, owls have swooped down. I've seen bats and birds compete for audience attention, and apparently shooting stars have been known to divert viewers, too. At a Shakespeare L.A. Pershing Square show, a homeless man wandered onstage during Juliet's solo scene; a security person shooed him off. Leaves blow into teacups in prim drawing-room scenes. Once during The Seagull at Cal Shakes, the wind flung two area rugs across the stage. "You acknowledge the situation with good humor and then move on," says Marshall."
Shakespeare Rare interview with Dame Judi Dench curtailed due to traffic: "The trouble with this phone-on-the-road-interview malarkey is that Dench's answers tend to be as staccato as my questions. And when she does answer, I'm so busy diving for cover from oncoming traffic that I forget to follow up. I promise Dench that we're as good as at the book festival now. A voice in the background, says that there's only 10 minutes left so I should make the most of it. "Is there a new bloke in your life?" I ask. "Are you joking?" she says. "I'm 69." "Well, you're just a baby, so why not, and let's not fall out before we've even met." She says something about flattery that I don't quite catch because the wheels are screeching to a stop."
Shakespeare Dance at Mary Arden's house: "On Sunday, May 16, performers including the Coventry and Hereburgh Morris, Elizabethan Dancers, from Tamworth Castle, and Irish Dancers from Bidford will provide entertainment all day long."
Shakespeare A staging of West Side Story by The Trinity Repertory Company in Boston: "Dehnert and choreographer Sharon Jenkins make a number of choices, aesthetic and economic. (It's not easy for a standing repertory company to stage Broadway musicals.) Singing is a higher priority than acting. The choreography chooses sensuality over grace. The young performers, many of them making their Trinity debuts, stress innocence over experience. These may be valid artistic choices for "West Side Story," but they also prevent the musical from being all that it should be."
Shakespeare Study suggests that Will and Ozzy Osbourne may be related: "Having given the world Shakespeare, England's greatest ever cultural figure, Aston has also provided its greatest living icon in Ozzy Osbourne," said Tony Kennedy. "By a spooky coincidence Ozzy's wife Sharron is also an Arden and I do believe there is a strong resemblance between Sharron's and Ralph's eyes."
Shakespeare Just to prove that everything is a matter of taste, a new production receives this staggeringly negative review: "(Director) Kiselov plays fast and loose with Shakespeare's text, to no apparent end. That he edits it isn't the issue-- every director cuts Hamlet , if only to shorten its running time. Here, Kiselov cuts the play's entire first scene, allegedly to hasten the drama's family dynamic. Yet he loses any coherent thematic focus by the end of the first act. He reassigns dialogue from one character to another, and inexplicably alters phrases: Hamlet's famous declaration that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," oddly becomes " our philosophy." ... and also a piece which sees the editing as a positive adjustment ... "This dramatic, albeit abridged, production opens with a black-clad, grieving young Hamlet. We know something is terribly wrong from the get-go - deleting the famous traditional opening scene does not alter the dark mood at all. A solitary Hamlet against a stark background and an open grave create a foreboding strong enough to endure throughout this tragedy. The deletion shaves time and characters from the play and brings the audience into the core of the tragedy quickly and more accessibly."
Shakespeare Barry Stewart Mann plays Will in a one-man-show designed to give children a way into the canon outside the classroom: 'This will be an introduction for elementary and middle school students to the characters, stories, ideas and styles of William Shakespeare,' said the Newton County Library Systems head of children services Carol Durusau. 'The bard himself will welcome the audience aboard an amusement park ride and take them through imaginary chambers of comedy, tragedy, history and fantasy and meeting such wonderful characters as Falstaff, Puck, Richard III, Cleopatra and Romeo.'
Shakespeare Review of the musical Kiss Me Kate at North Shore Music Theatre in Boston: "Rachel deBenedet seems to have been born to play Lilli and Kate. She looks and sounds gorgeous, ends a chorus of "I Hate Men" on a note as long and loud as Ethel Merman ever hit, and manages high notes and coloratura as deftly as she barbs a line and wings it at its target -- usually her nemesis and ex-husband, Fred Graham. She's elegant even in slapstick horseplay, and there's a human side to her, too -- she establishes a neat ambiguity, because it is not clear who is taming whom."
Shakespeare Michael Portillo reviews the Old Vic new Hamlet: "Throughout, Nunn rejuvenates the text by helping his actors find new ways to deliver the most familiar lines. For example, a slight change of emphasis during the later scenes between Claudius and Gertrude suggests that she obeys Hamlet's order to shun her husband as the pressure on their marriage mounts. The queen hits the bottle, which provides a lovely double meaning when, in the duel scene, Claudius orders her not to drink. (The goblet, of course, contains poison.)"
Shakespeare Review of Fletcher's Cardenio from the Southwest Shakespeare Company of Arizona, USA: "But it’s painful to sit through a tragedy only to be overwhelmed by its silliness. Kudos to Southwest Shakespeare for giving the show a go, but let’s shoot this "Cardenio" from the "canon" or leave it buried, where it belongs."
Shakespeare The Independent newspaper reports that the next book from Peter Ackroyd, soon to be seen the BBC's new documentary series London should be a biography of Will.
Life I began the day watching the sci-fi movie Independence Day. I ended it in the back of a taxi listening to Jeff Lynne's War of the Worlds on the driver's crackly cassette radio. Who says that life doesn't have a certain symmetry ...
Shakespeare New review of Kurosawa's adaptation Ran: "'King Lear' is an old man's drama, so it's fitting that Kurosawa should have made it in his own dotage (he was 75 at the time of production). Excising the bard's iambic pentameter and the father-daughter theme, Kurosawa sets the tale in 16th Century Japan. Aging warlord Hidetora (Nakadai) is preparing to divide his land up between his three sons: Taro (Terao), Jiro (Nezu) and the youngest of the three, Saburo (Ryu)."
Shakespeare A key moment in the play is compared to the USA's current attitude towards Iraq: "When Shakespeare's Good King Harry was at war in France, and had an old drinking buddy hanged for robbing a church, he knew how much he would need the support of the populace if he were to hold his claim to rule that land, and how little it would take to lose it. The United States does not seek, we are told, to rule Iraq. But if Iraq is to be ruled by anyone friendly to the West -- or, perhaps, by anyone at all -- the reports of grotesque tortures committed against Iraqi prisoners by American and British forces must be dealt with firmly and openly."
Shakespeare Short discussion about whether Fletcher's Cardenio is in fact one of Will's lost plays: "But what of the play's origins? The handwriting expert compared an original manuscript to Shakespeare's will, one of the few documents known to have been in the Bard's own hand. The verdict was a match. The conclusion suggests Cardenio was either Shakespeare's own creation or he may have edited and critiqued Fletcher's script as a teaching tool. "
Shakespeare The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: "Welcome to the Web's first edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This site has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet community since 1993."
Shakespeare Miss June, a loose film adaptation with Peter Mullen and Courtney Love. First film for director Vincent Reagan.
Shakespeare New film version with Al Paccino in the title role. Also starring Mackenzie Crook, Joseph Fiennes, Gregor Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Andy Serkis and John Sessions. Directed by Michael (Il Postino) Radford.

Related: Shakespeare's Merchant, with Bruce Cornwell.
Shakespeare Review of the young version of Hamlet at The Old Vic: "But if this messy-haired Hamlet is most convincingly a student - (Ben) Whishaw seems constantly to be pulling up his pants as if it would be uncool to wear a belt - he's in sympathy with a production that will probably resonate most with students. Others may miss the maturity and/or nobility that such older Hamlets as Tony winner Ralph Fiennes have brought to the part."
Shakespeare An exploration of the importance of language within the plays through the work of the voice coach Andrew Wade: "How we find a way for language to go through us is the real challenge," he says. Partners switch places, and later Wade instructs, "Hands on partner's ribs. Count slowly as they exhale . . . Seated people, open your mouth and sigh out. Feel your ribs in your partner's hands like a corset. Stick your tongue out like a gargoyle: Breathe in, out. Are you more conscious?" A few heads nod affirmatively. "Now count to 10 in a whisper." The sound is like wind rustling trees. "Lean back into your partner's hands, they'll support you. Explore your own resonance."
Shakespeare Eyewitness acciount of veteran actor Jonathan McMurtry's 'Speaking Shakespeare' class at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Point Loma, San Diego: "What defines poetry anyway?" he asks to open his class. The Shakespeare text has landed in a new resting place atop an old piano in the corner of the theater ... "You have to love the words," he tells the class. "In Shakespeare, especially, what you speak is what you say. ... You say the words and you ... your character ... has to make me want to hear them. The imagery seduces the audience into listening."
Shakespeare An American travel review of Will's birthplace: "A visit to Stratford-upon-Avon is worthwhile, but keep in mind that this town knows which side its scones are buttered on. Shakespeare is the cottage industry here, and amusements range from boat rides along the river Avon to Falstaff's Experience, a bizarre tour of history hardly related to the favorite Shakespearean character. Even so, the town is a pleasant visit, with scores of Tudor half-timber buildings and Elizabethan decor in shops and restaurants. There is no Starbucks-upon-Avon."

Related: From Shakespeare with love
Shakespeare That quote rewritten for the property market: "All the world's a stage, / And all the properties merely players; / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one property in its time plays many parts."
Shakespeare  Appreciation of Jonathan Miller who amongst other things oversaw the televising of the canon on the BBC is the Eighties. In reference to a recent production of King Lear: "I'm very strongly influenced [in interpreting the play] by what [the political theorist Thomas] Hobbes said about the necessity of sovereign power. But I'm also interested in the concrete, grungy details of overdemanding fathers who want to hear their daughters say how much they love them. There's a wonderful moment, just after the king has gone raging out into the storm, and one of the daughters turns to the others and says, rather guiltily, `This house is little.' It's the most wonderful piece of suburban triviality."
Shakespeare Desperate Measures is a loose rock musical retellng: "David Friedman's musical score, an agreeable blend of soft rock and faux country, is happily wed to Peter Kellogg's lyrics. Kellogg's book moves the action from 17th-century Vienna to the 19th-century American West, where cowhand Johnny Blood is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a saloon fight. The condemned man's sister, Susanna, who is about to become a nun, urges the governor to Look in Your Heart. He responds with a mocking reprise and a wicked offer: He'll grant Johnny a pardon if Susanna will sleep with him. Not a problem. Arrange the assignation, dim the lights, substitute Bella, the local floozy, for Susanna and you have the device Shakespeare scholars refer to as the "bed trick."
Shakespeare  Will was forty years old today four hundred years ago. The Guardian suggests that by this age he was past his prime and seeking to collaborate: "About the time he turned 40, the once cockily independent Shakespeare had begun collaborating again. As John Jowett's superb new Oxford edition of Timon of Athens shows, that play was probably written in 1605, and Thomas Middleton wrote about a third of it. After Middleton, Shakespeare collaborated with Wilkins (Pericles), then John Fletcher (Cardenio, All is True, The Two Noble Kinsmen). In each case, an older man who had not had a hit in years teamed up with a young man who had just written a hit play, or several hit plays. Those young men did not need Shakespeare. He needed them. They had the juice. He didn't."
Related: World Takes to Stage for Shakespeare's Birthday
Shakespeare  Or rather ... Skinhead Hamlet
"[Enter HAMLET, followed by GHOST.]

GHOST: Oi! Mush!


GHOST: I was f*cked!

[Exit GHOST.]


[Exit HAMLET.]

[via someone at Metafilter]
Shakespeare  In Francois Truffaut's Day For Night (1973) at the wrap party for the film within a film, the Severine characters tells the following story (I'm paraphrasing): "An actor had wanted to play Hamlet all of his life so eventually he put on his own production for himself to act in. He was so awful he was met with boos from the audience every night, until he eventually stopped during one performance, in the middle of the soliloquy, turned to the audience and said, "I didn't write this shit!' "
Shakespeare One possible way to experience the play is to read it out loud. With other people. In the absence of that, you could try this handy text adventure influenced by the Infocoms of old. It's starts simply enough:
"I am in my bedroom in the palace. There is a four-poster bed, and not much else. A portrait hangs on the wall.

An exit leads north."
Now where? It can only end in tragedy you know ....
Shakespeare  This for the wierd productions file ... an English production of Hamlet featuring an all Japanese cast set in rural Russia.
Film It's's massive list of movies which feature juggling. Truly everything is available online.
Shakespeare was forty years old today four hundred years ago. The Guardian decides to celebrate by bringing him down a peg or two. He was the Sting of theatre you know, attempting to triumph in fading years by collaborating with youngsters:
"About the time he turned 40, the once cockily independent Shakespeare had begun collaborating again. As John Jowett's superb new Oxford edition of Timon of Athens shows, that play was probably written in 1605, and Thomas Middleton wrote about a third of it. After Middleton, Shakespeare collaborated with Wilkins (Pericles), then John Fletcher (Cardenio, All is True, The Two Noble Kinsmen). In each case, an older man who had not had a hit in years teamed up with a young man who had just written a hit play, or several hit plays. Those young men did not need Shakespeare. He needed them. They had the juice. He didn't."
Of course the difference is that Will picked some good writers. Sting chose Craig David. And we're still talking about the bard four hundred years later...
Film I love that we live in a decade when something like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind isn't just made but is also a major film release. Apart from having to go to a box office and say that title in order to order a ticket, its where that ticket is being sold - at a large multiplex near you. On top of 21 Grams, its as though Hollywood, looking back at the many years of film history, through German Existentialism, French New Wave and the Easy Riders of the sixties, feels some kind of continued obligation to present something intelligent and experimental in amongst its more traditional fare. Which is a great, great thing.

Not that everything within is entirely original. A woman takes the rather rash decision to buy in process in which she has all of the memories of her boyfriend wiped from her mind and in pain and spite he does the same. Deliberate memory loss is a genre stock-in trade - and the appearance of someone in their own head or someone elses rationalizing what is happening is something which has turned up in almost every tv show from Star Trek to Buffy -- hell even the Jennifer Lopez clunker The Cell hung on that very idea. But here it's about execution. And whereas in most other cases its been subservient to some greater plot-arc or subplot, here they're asking the rather bigger questions of why memories are important and how they aid in making us who we are and also how important the people we've met and our collective experiences further our understanding of ourselves.

The writer, Charlie Kauffman is probably one of the most exciting writers we have available. Like Rob Shearman, he takes what are relatively unique characters and places them within an extra-ordinary situation, and makes us care for them as they illuminate our own failings. The problem is that I can't imagine a conventional director tackling the material. So it's a good job that Michael Gondry was available. Together with photographer Ellen Kuras (of Personal Velocity) many fantastic images are created - from the bed on the beach to the bookshop in which all the paperbacks suddenly reverse themselves on the shelves, and sets disappearing along with the guys memory.

Its that ability to produce the credible within the incredible which has attracts such acting talent, and impressively makes them want to do such extraordinarily good work. This is the Jim Carrey film that its OK to like if you usually hate his stupid mugging face. Kate Winslet proves yet again that she's not all about corsets, producing a perfect extrapolation of the Holly Golightly-style fabulous person we all know (when are they going to pass a law which says that everyone should see every film she's in?) Tom Wilkinson and Kirsten Dunst are, well, Tom Wilkinson and Kirsten Dunst, it's interesting to see what Elijah Wood has been doing during The Rings and David Cross continues to be 'that guy'. Not a poor performance amongst them.

The problem is that despite all that its not a film for everyone. If you're looking for some something linear yet enjoyable you might not have the best time. But if Fight Club crossed with Vanilla Sky with a dash of Waking Life sounds like a good thing to you, you're going to love it.
Who More free 'official' Doctor Who fiction, this time at Big Finish. A Sixth Doctor story entitled Mortlake.