Mike Vickers' Blog

April 30, 2019

Hamlet – In Our Time

Filed under: Hamlet, In Our Time, Literature, Shakespeare — derryvickers @ 6:03 pm

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the play’s context and meaning, and why it has fascinated audiences from its first performance.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Shakespeare’s best known, most quoted and longest play, written c1599 – 1602 and rewritten throughout his lifetime. It is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, encouraged by his father’s ghost to take revenge on his uncle who murdered him, and is set at the court of Elsinore. In soliloquies, the Prince reveals his inner self to the audience while concealing his thoughts from all at the Danish court, who presume him insane. Shakespeare gives him lines such as ‘to be or not to be,’ ‘alas, poor Yorick,’ and ‘frailty thy name is woman’, which are known even to those who have never seen or read the play. And Hamlet has become the defining role for actors, men and women, who want to show their mastery of Shakespeare’s work.

With

  • Sir Jonathan Bate Provost of Worcester College, University of Oxford
  • Carol Rutter Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Sonia Massai Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London
  • Producer: Simon Tillotson.

For me Melvyn Bragg’s colleagues reveal so much more about Hamlet than just the revenge of Hamlet against his father in law and his compliant mother. Even Polonius comes to life and Othelia is a real person. As to poor Yorick ‘I knew him well’.

An Alliance Made in Heaven?

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 9:04 am

Well perhaps not!

A Heavenly Alliance

April 29, 2019

Two Scottish Museums

Filed under: Museum — derryvickers @ 10:18 pm

The first – the new V&A museum in Dundee. Built to look like a ship but the structure more like two upturned interlocking pyramids. You get some idea of the outline at

V&A Musuem

V & A Museum Dundee

Technical feat in concrete with concrete beans attached and steel girders tying the sides together. Still need to get to grips with architectural innovation in the construction. Situated on the waterfront right next to Scott’s Discovery. A must see. Dundee is getting to be a tourist must.

Architects Kengo Kuma and Maurizio Mucciola. They talk of ‘A Living Room for the City’. The bigger pyramid is just an open space for the future exhibits while the smaller does have some exhibits from the V&A in London, but its centre piece is MacIntosh Café interior recovered from Glasgow. Not surprisingly the present main exhibition is of computer games as Dundee is the world games centre.

Need to go back again to admire the Structure and hope that a few more exhibits have been extracted from London.

The second is the much more traditional Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Good solid stone work when Glasgow was the second city of the Empire. The attraction this time is a full-sized dinosaur in the main hall; but I can’t get too excited, but the read gem is the Leonardo Drawings from the Queens Gallery. Leonardo was above all a supreme draughtsman. Just one simple example from the 10 in all.

Drawing by Leonardo

But if like me you like the Scottish Colourists then the Kelvingrove Museum is for you.

And Glasgow just buzzes on a Sunday – The well-known expression‘Glasgow’s miles better’ or now ‘Glasgow is for people’.

PS I have now watched a programme by Foina Bruce on BBC4 covering Leonardo’s development.
The programme leads up to revealing of a new portrait of Christ.  Find it at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b016xjq6/da-vinci-the-lost-treasure

 

April 27, 2019

New Sleeper – forget Brexit and arrive refreshed

Filed under: Brexit, Personal, Railways, Scotland, Travel — derryvickers @ 8:28 pm

This post is purely personal.

Scotrail, after months of work, have now got their Sleeper Fleet together and the first journey north is from Euston tomorrow evening.

The Sleeper is the way to travel for that full day’s meeting in London or Edinburgh or Glasgow. Forget the Red Eye flight where you have to turn up at the airport at 6 am. The sleeper gets you there in comfort by 8am in plenty of time for the 9am meeting. Some may say the journey is uncomfortable and I admit I occasional wake up going through Rugby when the train slows; sometimes it has even stopped for ½ hour so as not to arrive too early but that has been the exception. But the real benefit to me is that you can board the train at 11 pm and the new service offers 10am and just go to sleep and just sleep knowing that you will be at your destination on time effortlessly.

The new service offers full Scottish Breakfast rather than the current ‘packed breakfast’.

The service is extended to Fort William and Inverness during the Summer months; which means that you can enjoy crossing Rannoch Moor from the comfort of the buffet car and even an early dram ; and if you want you can travel on from Fort William to Mallaig and Skye on the steam hauled Jacobite. Alternatively, you can go to Skye via Kyle of Lochalsh via Inverness; not so, glamourous but beautiful scenery all the same, and over the highest mainline railway at Drumochter.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-pty-pty_extension&hsimp=yhs-pty_extension&hspart=pty&p=fort+william+to+mallaig+by+steam+train#id=1&vid=9dfef8efa0bf7896e073328f8d515555&action=click

Anyway, just get a flavour of the benefits of the new sleepers at:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/27/london-scotland-revamped-train-sleeper-romance-revival

End of Personal Blog – Brexit free

April 26, 2019

The Good Friday Agreement resurrected – we can only hope on this Friday one week on

The British and Irish governments have reached an agreement to establish a new round of talks involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, starting on 7 May.

Theresa May and the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, credited the public response to the killing of Lyra McKee with the announcement on Friday of a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland.

But see the small print

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/26/northern-ireland-fresh-attempt-to-restore-power-sharing

There’s a Hole in my Bucket Dear Theresa

Filed under: Brexit, Politics, Security, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 10:46 am

“The Huawei 5G row took a very serious turn yesterday after Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured above) wrote to all ministers, special advisers and officials to demand answers on who was responsible for the leak. In what looks like the inverse of Murder on the Orient Express – “none of us did it!” – all those Cabinet ministers who were said to have raised concerns at the Chinese firm’s role (Williamson, Javid, Hunt, Fox, Mordaunt) have now put out categoric denials that they were responsible for the breach of confidence.”

“One Tory MP told me the UK’s industrial strategy should now focus on how to help Huawei’s rivals like Nokia.”

Read Paul Waugh at PAUL WAUGH <dailybrief@huffpost.com> for 26 April 2019

April 25, 2019

Hardenberger playing Haydn – A relief from Brexit and Climate Change

Filed under: Hakan Hardenberger, Music, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, World Class — derryvickers @ 10:50 pm

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra gave an excellent concert this evening in the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh.

The main soloist was Hakan Hardenberger, one of the world’s greatest trumpet players, and his playing of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat put Brexit and Climate Chamber right out of my mind for half an hour. Hardenberger and Conductor, John Storgards achieved an amazing balance between trumpet and orchestra and the audience just loved it.

April 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi on Brexit: why Irish-US diplomacy is a powerful force in border talks – Liam Kennedy

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Politics, USA — derryvickers @ 6:00 pm

Nancy Pelosi on Brexit: why Irish-US diplomacy is a powerful force in border talks – Liam Kennedy

““Let me be clear, if the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday Accord, there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement.”

For the full article

https://flipboard.com/topic/nancypelosi/nancy-pelosi-on-brexit%3A-why-irish-us-diplomacy-is-a-powerful-force-in-border-tal/a-w_Ey6CIET_CQgimrtlY0Vw%3Aa%3A2815871887-ff4a09e83f/scotsman.com

Lyra McKee, A Funeral and the Good Friday Agreement for Hope in Ireland

Filed under: Brexit, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Politics, The Troubles — derryvickers @ 1:55 pm

One can but hope for Northern Ireland

Remember the Good Friday Agreement 22 May 1996

A catholic reporter’s funeral service in a protestant church

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/24/theresa-may-to-attend-lyra-mckee-funeral

“Northern Ireland’s political parties have called a de facto truce in the region’s toxic, dysfunctional politicking. Sinn Féin and DUP leaders appeared together in Derry after the killing, drawing praise and encouragement to start talks on restoring power-sharing.”

Let’s just hope it’s a stimulus for Power Staring to begin again on 22 May 2019.

You can find more of a eulogy to Lyra McKee and the Good Friday Agreement at

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/21/killing-lyra-mckee-derry-shows-how-hard-it-is-for-wars-to-end-sinead-oshea

The Last Supper Then and Now

Leonardo's Last Supper

Greta Thunberg talking with Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn at the UK Parliament on 23 April 2019.

Greta Thunberg should be encouraged to speak to the UK Parliament as a whole.

In any case, if Trump is allowed to speak to the UK Parliament in June (and I hope Bercow succeeds again in stopping him) then Greta should be invited to follow immediately afterwards.

 

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