I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Wit, persuasion, beauty, sex

I spent five hours yesterday utterly harassed, upgrading VR's laptop from Windows 8 to 8.1. The process is automatic but as time ticked by the more I agonised, fearing it would all go wrong (automatically!) and I'd have to start again.

After that, I needed a very special diversion to bring me back to normal. An entertainment with wit, persuasion, beauty and sex. What other than my third favourite Shakespeare play?

In As You Like It Orlando and Rosalind love each other. Both go separately to the forest where Rosalind dresses as a young man. Orlando attaches doggerel professions of love to the trees. They meet. Rosalind compels Orlando to pretend that he/she is not a man but Rosalind and to address him/her as such. Orlando, so much in love, does that.

It sounds artificial but it becomes real. It sounds as if there will be homosexual byplay but not so. Magically the couple’s developing love transcends man vs. man as Orlando imagines the young fellow before him to be Rosalind, and Rosalind is bathed in delight by his ability to do so.

Tears streamed from behind the glasses I am now required to wear.

Magically, too, Rosalind was played by Helen Mirren thirty years ago and she contrived to be man and woman simultaneously. Thank you Microsoft for preparing the ground.

PS: Dinner was based on a £10 free-range chicken marked down to a fiver. Plus a bottle of rioja with a strangely uninformative label - often the sign of a great vineyard anonymously offering stuff they believe to be just below the highest standard. Chicken and wine terrific. Just occasionally I am transported.


  1. Would it help me to understand the reason for tears if I knew that Shakespeare play or upgraded my laptop or maybe if I knew you in person?

  2. Ellena,

    All three would help explain the tears.

    But let me amplify. For the last thirty years I have taken every opportunity that has come my way to watch Shakespeare plays. The reason is: the more plays I see, and the more times I see each or any of the plays, the better I understand them and respond to them. There are not many people who can grasp the whole of a Shakespeare play during the first pass.

    On top of this I acquired the BBC's box-set of all the Shakespeare plays, which I had seen when they were first broadcast on TV back in the 1980s.

    Also, when I see a Shakespeare play for the first time in the theatre I always buy the Oxford University Press paperback of the script so that I can familiarise myself with what happens and check the notes that explain many of the words and figures of speech that have frequently become out-of-date during the last 350 years.

    All this probably sounds like hard work. Also suggests I'm a bit of prig and a lot of a show-off. I probably am.

    But you must remember these plays are written in poetry and poetry can reach right into your tripes, squeezing the sources of emotion.

    As You Like It is my favourite after Hamlet and Henry Fourth Part Two. AYLI is not just about love but also about how love affects people. It is also anti-sentimental (through a character called Jacques) and about word-spinning (via Touchstone). Rosalind is a marvellous role for an intelligent and sensitive woman, the sort I write about in my novels. Helen Mirren (now Dame Helen Mirren) is a great actress and has moved me before; although I had seen this performance before (it's one of my BBC box-set) she did it again.

    It probably sounds smug but I count myself lucky that I was born an English speaker. Shakespeare takes English to almost unbearable limits of emotion and I am a willing victim. If you feel you'd like to try and experience what I felt a couple of nights ago, you'll profit from preparation.

    Does this answer your questions?

  3. Thank you RR
    Hard work yes and, if poetry can move you, you cant be a prig nor a