Lunedi Lunacy

(Another) tempest in a teapot.

And it appears there is much out there these days that gives offense, as warrant a little episode here on the Island in the past few weeks.

It’s become pretty standard for bars and restaurants to put out sidewalk signs with (occasionally witty) little tag lines denoting the good times to be had within. During our very successful Gay Pride celebrations Terre Rouge, a restaurant here on Queen Street, put out this sign:

Just as a sidebar this was not the first version of the sign that appeared. That one used the appellation “Newfie” and someone complained so it was changed.

For my friends in less fortunate parts of the world who did not learn “I’se the B’y” in Mr. Hewitt’s grade two music class I will explain that as we travelled across Canada on our musical education just as “Aloutette” represented Québec “I’s the By” was the musical signature of our newest Province (1949).

Now I happen to find this funny but there were people who did not. Several complained that it was “homophobic” and at least one gentleman threw the sign on the street because he saw it as supporting those “godless fruits”. At least they found common ground in being “offended”. Now the irony is that the joke originated with the transgender cook and the manager and communication director of the restaurant are a gay couple.

But in our offending and offensive world it didn’t end there. The following week a staff member came up with this sign:

And you guessed it – someone was offended by the sign about being offended. ‘Tis indeed a mad world, my masters.

August 12th is Middle Child’s Day – time to binge watch Malcom in the Middle????? What ever happened to Dewey?

Lunedi Lunacy

Pam Ayres is a rather unlikely British entertainer: she reads her poetry on stage. Her 44 year careers as a UK favourite began when she appeared on Opportunity Knocks (an earlier, kinder version of Britain’s Got Talent without all the needless manufactured hysteria) and won first place. Since 1975 she has toured her one-woman show extensively, had her own TV series, done Royal Command performances, produced records and DVDs, written six books and been a guest on every major British talk show. Sadly her gentle take on the comedy of life has never transferred to North America – I’m not sure it would play well here but I happen to love her.

As well as writing poetry Pam has a way with a story – I have to admit it took me a bit to get use to her almost self-conscious delivery but I find that part of her charm.

There is a longer clips on YouTube of one of her concert performances: it’s worth a look just to hear her tell the story of how she got into show business in the introductory minutes.

August 4th is Work Like A Dog Day so get to it you lot! And I’m not sure how people who go commando do today but it is also National Underwear Day.

Lunedi Lunacy

I am writing this fully expecting that my faithful readers – both of them – have a sense of humour where Momma Mia and ABBA are concerning. Now I enjoyed the stage show as much as anyone when they did it here at the Confederation Centre as part of the Charlottetown Festival two years ago. As for the movie – well I mean I had seen the stage show and danced my buns off at the end so surely the obligation stops there? Right? RIGHT? Please dear god tell me I’m right? And as to Momma Mia 2, well … let’s no go there okay?

I might add that the Charlottetown Festival is reviving Momma Mia starting later this week. I’m going to see Anne of Green Gables.

July 29th is Lasagne Day and Chicken Wings Day as well as Lipstick Day. And somewhere in there we have to fit International Tiger Day. Any suggestions?

Lunedi Lunacy

In a comment on a recent in-depth posting on Shakespeare by my friend Debra in deepest darkest Alberta someone mentioned a piece by Robert Benchley the American humourist, journalist, and actor. Benchley is perhaps best know for a telegram he sent to his editor when he arrived in Venice. “Streets flooded. Please advised.”

In the following little vignette he out-scholars the scholars.

SHAKESPEARE EXPLAINED

Carrying on the System of Footnotes to a Silly Extreme

PERICLES
ACT II SCENE 3

Enter first Lady-in-Waiting (Flourish, [1] Hautboys [2] and[3] torches[4]).

First Lady-in-WaitingWhat [5] ho![6] Where[7] is [8] the[9] music?[10]

NOTES:

1. Flourish: The stage direction here is obscure. Clarke claims it should read “flarish,” thus changing the meaning of the passage to “flarish” (that is, the Kings), but most authorities have agreed that it should remain “flourish,” supplying the predicate which is to be flourished. There was at this time a custom in the countryside of England to flourish a mop as a signal to the passing vender of berries, signifying that in that particular household there was a consumer-demand for berries, and this may have been meant in this instance. That Shakespeare was cognizant of this custom of flourishing the mop for berries is shown in a similar passage in the second part of King Henry IV, where he has the Third Page enter and say, “Flourish.” Cf. also Hamlet, IV, 7: 4.

2. Hautboys, from the French haut, meaning “high” and the Eng. boys, meaning “boys.” The word here is doubtless used in the sense of “high boys,” indicating either that Shakespeare intended to convey the idea of spiritual distress on the part of the First Lady-in-Waiting or that he did not. Of this Rolfe says: “Here we have one of the chief indications of Shakespeare?s knowledge of human nature, his remarkable insight into the petty foibles of this work-a-day world.” Cf. T. N. 4: 6, “Mine eye hath play’d the painter, and hath stell’d thy beauty’s form in table of my heart.”

3. and. A favorite conjunctive of Shakespeare’s in referring to the need for a more adequate navy for England. Tauchnitz claims that it should be pronounced “und,” stressing the anti-penult. This interpretation, however, has found disfavor among most commentators because of its limited significance. We find the same conjunctive in A. W. T. E. W. 6: 7, “Steel-boned, unyielding and uncomplying virtue,” and here there can be no doubt that Shakespeare meant that if the King should consent to the marriage of his daughter the excuse of Stephano, offered in Act 2, would carry no weight.

Drawing by Gluyas Williams

4. Torches. The interpolation of some foolish player and never the work of Shakespeare (Warb.). The critics of the last century have disputed whether or not this has been misspelled in the original, and should read “trochies” or “troches.” This might well be since the introduction of tobacco into England at this time had wrought havoc with the speaking voices of the players, and we might well imagine that at the entrance of the First Lady-in-Waiting there might be perhaps one of the hautboys mentioned in the preceding passage bearing a box of troches or “trognies” for the actors to suck. Of this entrance Clarke remarks: “The noble mixture of spirited firmness and womanly modesty, fine sense and true humility, clear sagacity and absence of conceit, passionate warmth and sensitive delicacy, generous love and self-diffidence with which Shakespeare has endowed this First Lady-in-Waiting renders her in our eyes one of the most admirable of his female characters.” Cf. M. S. N. D. 8: g, “That solder’st close impossibilities and mak’st them kiss.”

5. What—What.

6. Ho! In conjunction with the preceding word doubtless means “What ho!” changed by Clarke to “What hoo!” In the original Ms. it reads “What hi!” but this has been accredited to the tendency of the time to write “What hi” when “what ho” was meant. Techner alone maintains that it should read “What humpf!” Cf. Ham. 5: O, “High-ho!”

7. Where. The reading of the folio, retained by Johnson, the Cambridge editors and others, but it is not impossible that Shakespeare wrote “why,” as Pope and others give it. This would make the passage read “Why the music?” instead of “Where is the music?” and would be a much more probable interpretation in view of the music of that time. Cf. George Ade. Fable No. 15, “Why the gunnysack?”

8. is—is not. That is, would not be.

9. the. Cf. Ham. 4: 6. M. S. N. D. 3: 5. A. W. T. E. W. 2: 6. T. N. I: 3 and Macbeth 3: I, “that knits up the raveled sleeves of care.

10. music. Explained by Malone as “the art of making music” or “music that is made.” If it has but one of these meanings we are inclined to think it is the first; and this seems to be favored by what precedes, “the music!” Cf. M. of V. 4: 2, “The man that hath no music in himself.”

The meaning of the whole passage seems to be that the First Lady-in-Waiting has entered concomitant with a flourish, hautboys and torches and says, “What ho! Where is the music?”

July 22 is Casual Pi Day – People in countries that write their dates correctly in the date/ month format celebrate Casual Pi Day on 22 July or 22/7. Go figure – repeatedly.

Lunedi Lunacy

My last post featured actress Joyce Grenfell in two of her more “serious” sketches so I thought I’d start the week off with one of her more light-hearted vignettes.

Like her cousin the American monologuist her portrayals were never derisive or mocking – a gentle fun was being poked but always with affection and care.

July 15th is Gummy Worm Day as well as Cow Appreciation Day – I was trying to find something witty say about chewing cud but nothing worked. So go out and hug a cow and chew a gummy worm.