Alas. Poor William, I knew him Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
[OK, OK, so, I didn’t know him. But then again, you’re not Horatio are you? So stop pretending you are. Look we’ve both been caught out now, so let’s move on ... ]
It’s 400 years today since Shakespeare died.
Well today-ish as no one really knows the exact date.
[I guess no one put a death notice in the Evening Gazette about him; meaning all the Jacobean Grandmas probably didn’t go around asking everyone to 'guess who died'. “You know who I mean . Oh you do. Nice lad, liked making up stories. John and Mary’s son. The one with the earring …”.]
Anyway … I couldn’t let the occasion pass without saying something Shakespearean here. And, regular readers will undoubtedly be able to guess which 9 words I’m going to start with. Ready ... OK all together on 3, 2, 1 go …
When I went to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet … [you guessed correctly didn’t you? Thought so.]
Yeah, so, when I went to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet, well it was before I went actually, my sister took on the mantle of offering me some sage advice which she was particularly well placed to give.
- Not only had she visited London in general more often than I had, like me, she’d done so to see one of her favourite actors, this time David Tennant, play Hamlet.
- And … she’d followed that up by seeing another of her chosen ones – Tom Hiddleston – play Coriolanus. [So she’s one up on me. Not that I’m counting.]
So here it is alongside other famous advice-related Hamlet quotes namely from Act1 Scene 3 where Polonius doles out his fatherly wisdom to Laertes. Feel free to compare and contrast at your leisure:
Advice from Polonius to Laertes:
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Jo’s sisterly advice to me:
"Wear your walking shoes. You might think you want to wear something nicer but you’ll be so glad if you just wear the comfy ones.”
I wore the comfy ones.
[Except when I went to the theatre when I wore wedges. And got a blister. Don’t tell her that part.]
Advice from Polonius to Laertes: "Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar."
Jo’s sisterly advice to me: “Wear perfume”.
Jo and ‘Tom’ sitting in a tree ...
Advice from Polonius to Laertes:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Jo’s sisterly advice to me: “Buy a programme.”
Advice from Polonius to Laertes: "This above all- to thine own self be true."
I know right? That’s from Hamlet. Another of the dozens of phrases from that play that we still rely on to funnel life’s clamouring mess into a single meaningful phrase.
And with that in mind … I share with you my sister's final - and perhaps most profound - piece of Hamlettean advice in the hope that one day it too becomes legendary.
Jo’s sisterly advice to me regarding pre-theatre consumption: “Eat something. Line your stomach. You don’t want to be sick on Benny.”
I did. And I wasn’t.
[Which is just as well really as – considering how hard they clamped down on people taking photos of the performance - I can only imagine what their response would have been to someone vomiting on the leading man from the front seat of the upper circle.]
|The 115 year old edition of the play that Jo gave me for my birthday this year.|