Some big ticket Shakespeare items recently, and I don’t just mean Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. And I am definitely not bitter I don’t have tickets. Not at all.
First up – Boris Johnson has apparently been given a substantial advance to write a book about Shakespeare. I can’t understand how they possibly came to overlook me* but Boris does have a lot of writing experience – it’s easy to forget that, amongst the bluster, the zip-wires and the blonde hair, he used to be editor of the Spectator. Still I reckon this take on it is one of the best…
Secondly, Shakespeare was a stoner. Maybe. At least, someone who left their pipes in Shakespeare’s garden used them to smoke weed. South African scientists did an analysis on pipes dug up in Stratford from various locations, including Shakespeare’s garden and found traces of cannabis and cocaine in some of them. The results were first published some years ago – the lead professor has jumped on the Country Life bandwagon to link the herbal’s description of “henbane of Peru” to coca leaves and Sonnet 76’s “invention in a noted weed” to, well, weed. Naturally everyone is falling over themselves to label Shakespeare as a stoner** and I won’t discount the idea that he did smoke it occasionally – these things were definitely not illegal back then.
In the really random section – King Lear with Sheep sold out before I could get tickets (boo)***, Natalie Imbruglia would like to do a Shakespearean comedy and you can wrap your loins in Bard-printed underpants (that one might be a bit specialist interest). Enjoy!
* Or an actual, you know, Shakespearean expert.
** Yes I know I did that too!
*** I’ve just double-checked the website and they are doing a second run in Se[tember/October. Yay!