Oh, no you won’t: A quick history of the British panto — Notes from the U.K. (Reblog)

Nothing except the curry is as British as the panto.  I’ve made that claim about a lot of things, and it’s true of every last one of them. And I didn’t even make up the comparison, so lots of people have made the claim about lots of things. Nothing is as unoriginal as comparing an […]

Oh, no you won’t: A quick history of the British panto — Notes from the U.K.

*Reblogged by Francis Barker 2020 — Creator: blogger, writer, poet, artist, astrologer

So Who Did Write Shakespeare Then? Favoured Books

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‘Who Wrote Shakespeare?’ by John Michell (Thames & Hudson) is, in my opinion, probably the best book of introduction to the ‘Shakespeare AuthorshipQuestion. However, this book is not so easy to find these days.

I have been fascinated by this Shakespeare puzzle for several years now, though I am still a long way short of doing enough research, and even further away from coming to a firm answer which sits well in my mind. It is an enigma which has occupied many individuals their whole lifetime over the last two hundred years, or more.

So why is there any doubt that the man of Stratford Upon Avon in central England is the true author of the plays which bear the name William Shakespeare? The chief problem is that the known life of William Shakespeare, or Shakspere (the spelling of his name is a subject unto itself), does not appear to be that of the greatest writer of all time.

Where is Will?

To cut a long story short, there are around half a dozen known signatures purportedly of this man, but they are all poorly written. Some say that is because all those that survive are from when he was ill at the end of his fifty two year old lifespan.

More than this, out of around seventy or so pieces of other documentary evidence, none refer to anything to do with literature, or books.

What the records do seem to show are the dealings of a business man, with a keen interest in litigation. This man does appear to be in London at the right time and involved in the theatre, though not as a writer, but as a minor player – at best. His dealings with the London stage scene of the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean times all centre around business.

Shadowy Aristocrats

These are the prime reasons for doubt. But who might have written the plays and the poems?

John Michell, who had a very find mind and wrote some fascinating, enlightening books, put the arguments across superbly. He has chapters for the prime candidates, including Shakspere (the spelling of his name is a subject unto itself) of Stratford. First comes Francis Bacon, a known intellectual of the period, a writer and philosopher with all the prerequisite knowledge and library of books to have written the works – if not the genius.

Then comes the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, who has consistently been the favourite candidate for around a century, even though he died in 1604 and the plays of Shakespeare are thought to have been written as late as 1611 with The Tempest. There is much to link his life to the works of Shakespeare, even down to a broad knowledge of Italy and other European areas which feature so prominently in Shakespeare.

Two other earls appear in Michell’s list, namely William Stanley the 6th Earl of Derby and Roger Manners the 5th Earl of Rutland. They both have intriguing links to the mystery, though we still apparently lack definitive and documentary evidence. Why are there so many aristocrats here? The primary reason is that when one looks at Shakespeare’s works as a whole, he does appear to have a deep familiarity with and love of the workings of courtly things and of history. A midlander with barely a grammar school education is far less likely to have been able to write what Shakespeare did. Yes, genius does exist, but even genius needs an education.

Nom de Plume

What is more, in those days it was rather unseemly for high ranking individuals, such as the aristocracy, to publish work in their own name – they would often use a nom de plume for disguise.

Equally intriguing is the case of Christopher Marlowe, born just two months before Stratford Will and the one man whose sheer brilliance as a playwrite and poet can stand alongside the author we know as Shakespeare, creating such masterpieces as ‘Tamburlaine’ and ‘Dr Faustus’.

A Reckoning Over A Bill

However, always a controversial figure, Marlowe’s candidacy is fatally flawed in that he officially died on May 30 1593 at Deptford, London, apparently murdered over a dispute about a bill, or ‘reckoning’. Marlowe was also an intelligence operative and much of his activity is murky. However, some feel that this story and the subsequent inquest are totally unsound, that he somehow survived and continued to write in secret with the nom de plume, William Shake-speare.

There are also proponents who believe that Shakespeare was a collaborative effort, involving two or more of the above. As strange as it sounds, at this point in my research, I tend to favour this, though as to the candidates involved I am not yet certain.

So there it is, a very fine book – if you can find it, whatever you may think of the subject. So who wrote Shakespeare? I don’t know! But I will continue to investigate, little by little. Many still close their ears and shout ‘conspiracy theorist!’ Cognitive dissonance is a feature of our times and is surely something to get over. Do we believe in freedom of thought, or not? That is the question.

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I have only skimmed over the candidates here, but I intend to write some more involved pieces about specific men – and even a couple of women. I will also bring my astrological knowledge into play where I can.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Why the Authorship Question Matters — Ripe Good Scholar (Reblog)

Over the holidays, I was discussing the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy with my father in law. He is an admitted novice when it comes to Shakespeare, but – like most of us – he has some basic experience with the plays. He was unfamiliar with the fact that there is a group of people who doubt […]

via Why the Authorship Question Matters — Ripe Good Scholar

***This is one of my interests too – The Shakespeare Authorship question is important and totally fascinating.

Haiku: The Actor In Our Midst

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A difficult part
Your dispelling of darkness
Singular triumph

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Astrology Musings: The brilliant Jean Cocteau

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Photo by Genaro Servín on Pexels.com

The remarkable, unconventional, eclectic, multi-faceted brilliance of French artist, writer, designer and producer Jean Cocteau, ought to be shown in his birth chart.

For me the most remarkable feature is his Sun, Chiron (the ‘Wounded Healer’) and the Moon’s north node very close together in Cancer in the 3rd house, with Mars nearby too.

Although this feature would have been common to individuals born around this day, it seems to be particularly personalised in Cocteau’s case by the Moon’s rulership of the 3rd house and the 5th house Moon being in good aspect to the chart ruler Venus conjunct the ascending degree in Taurus. Complicated but remarkable – I will try to explain.

A wounded self esteem

Chiron so close to the Sun in Cancer in the 3rd house indicates that his own self esteem suffered greatly early on in his life. His father (Sun) committed suicide when he was 9 and Jean was to travel about (3rd house) Europe with his mother (Cancer). Though difficult, he was clearly to learn and grow from this.

The strong 3rd house is all about communication, travel, mainly shorter distances. During WW1 he was an ambulance driver, also very 3rd house.

The north node’s inclusion in all of this hints of karmic influences playing a role too; he was meant to immerse himself in the milieu of communication, whether by everyday short distance travel, or writing, rather than through his more natural propensity for longer distance travel and philosophy, as shown by the south node in 9th house.

Saturn in the 4th house also shows difficulties, restrictions in the family, at home and harsh lessons to learn.

Practical and artistic

Taurus rising with Venus close to the ascending degree underlines the artistic practicality required to produces results from the 3rd house communicative potential; Cocteau was a brilliant stage and screen designer as well as artist and writer.

This position for Venus also indicates an attractive individual. However, Neptune is also quite close to Venus and whilst this would have introduced inspiration and a certain alluring changeable quality, which he was noted for, it’s also interesting to note that he did become addicted to opium. A prominent Neptune, although inspiring, can often also show a strong potential for drug taking and addiction – need to escape.

Another indication of constant change is his Mercury in Gemini in the 2nd house in challenging aspect to his Virgo Moon in the 5th house. Here we see a constant readjustment and probably a strong fastidious tendency in practical and creative areas.

His 4th house Saturn, ruler of 10th house of career, in good aspect to the 6th house Uranus, reveals the hard work and unconventional approach he had.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

source: Astro-Databank

*Contact me on leoftanner@gmail.com if you would like a personalised astrology report.

 

Haiku: Don’t Believe a Word

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Photo by Laurentiu Robu from Pexels

I don’t believe it
Take this absurd farce away
this mere shadow play

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: ‘Dance of Life’

This was long thought to be the only portrait ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t hold out a torch
for me, I am not free of blame. This

is the dance of life where all are
culpable, soon to be drowned in

washes, the mangling gears
of pain. But who knows, these maelstroms

might be wormholes, revealing other
worlds and tableaux of night; dressings

of props across cold stone walls, taken
and rebuilt from dishevelled remains.

And where bards once played on stages,
hidden behind arras stitchings

and nom de plumes, we are all still
mere punters in pits macabre, holding

torches for celebrity – look at them, drunk,
high up with their gods of gold

© poem copyright David F. Barker 2013

The Preview

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry, but I think you’re in my seat. OK, let’s
have a look at your ticket. Oh yes, that’s it, you
need to move along one. Thanks very much,
no harm done.

Ah, looks like it might be a full house tonight.
Maybe it’s the intrigue surrounding the play.
What do I mean? Well, you know – Cardenio,
and all that. One of his supposed ‘missing’ plays.
Apocrypha, I believe that’s the right term,
although that word always sounds so medicinal
to me! Anyhow, what I mean is, it all seems a
little too suspect, if you want my opinion,
something they’ve cobbled together from
various sources, though I’m sure it will be
enjoyable all the same. Better than reading Don
Quixote again, at any rate! What was that? You
think it is pretty close to the original? Right. Well,
we will see. I mean, who among us has read the
original? Oh, I see. Mn.

But then of course, there are still those who
believe he never wrote any of those plays.
And you must admit, you can see where
they’re coming from, can’t you? Well, he was,
after all, relatively uneducated, say compared
to Fletcher, even Ben Jonson. Could he really
have written Hamlet or King Lear, or described
places like Italy so well without ever setting
foot there? I have my doubts.

I say, are you feeling alright? You’re looking a
little off colour.

Actually, if you don’t mind me asking, have I
seen you here before? Maybe in town
somewhere. I thought so! I do apologise if I’m
staring but there’s something about your face,
your eyes. That hairline. And the beard. Wait!
Do you know, you’re the spitting image of that
portrait of… they found in Corpus Christi…

© copyright David Francis Barker 2012

* some time ago we went to see the play Cardenio at Stratford, which was based on parts of a play which may have been written by Shakespeare, which itself was based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I imagined myself in the theatre talking to the ghost of Christopher Marlowe, who some believe to be the real Shakespeare. Complicated, it is! But then real history always is, not like the myth that we are presented with most of the time at school and elsewhere…

Exciting times ahead

Milly Reynolds

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17839185

It looks as if exciting times are ahead judging by all of the events being lined up. What a pity that we have to wait for an event such as the Olympics to get such a cultural treat. Don’t we deserve a bit of culture every year?

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