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Monday, 20 October 2014

Man Delights Me Not

Gary Oldman and Tim Roth as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
"I have of late - but wherefore I know not-lost all my mirth
forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, 
the Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to 
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, 
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights me not: no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling you seem to say so."

This is Hamlet describing his melancholy to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Of course, William Shakespeare had a genius gift with words but he also had great psychological insight into the human mind. Although I read these words quite often they take on a whole other perspective when heard spoken by great actors. I have selected some You Tube examples of how the speech comes alive and a final special treat!.

1) Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet
2) Iain Glen as Hamlet in 'Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead'
3) David Tennant as Hamlet
And finally a wonderful sung version from the musical 'Hair'
4) What a Piece of Work is Man

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Boroughs of London (2): Barnet

This the second in my new series which looks at the London Boroughs in alphabetical order:
The place name Barnet is derived from the Old English word  bærnet meaning "land cleared by burning". It is the second largest of the 32 Boroughs by population and covers over 33 square miles. Various parts of the area were mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book and the 1471 Battle of Barnet was very important during the Wars of the Roses when the House of York defeated the House of Lancaster to place Edward IV on the throne. At that time Barnet was a small town to the north of London.
The Battle of Barnet 1471
In 1588 Elizabeth 1st granted Barnet the right to hold the annual Barnet Fair. In Cockney Rhyming Slang 'Barnet' means hair as an abbreviation of Barnet Fair.
Hampstead Garden Suburb, within the borough was set up in the early twentieth century and is a fine example of early town-planning. The philanthropist couple Henrietta and Samuel Barnet were instrumental in it's formation but now, contrary to the original conception, it is one of the wealthiest districts in the country.
Hampstead Free Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb
With respect to the Borough and it's residents I have to say that it's not the most exciting part of London although it does have some 'nice' residential areas.
Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's: The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ very loudly! Listen on You Tube.