Happy Birthday, Bill Shakespeare. 400 Today.
Not done one of these for a while but seeing as it’s St George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday, I thought I’d get my aging arse off my ledge and do it. I also have to confess I started it two days ago it takes that long to write one now. Every toe aches at the end, and as for the beak? Jesus. Mart had to feed me with a straw for two days after the last time. Anyway – it’s all worth it. For those of you new to Pigeon Blog, I’m sure you understand that ten years on the block is a long run for any pigeon. Still, least you’ve got ten years of stuff to wade through! Those of you who have hung in there all this time – and you know who you are – nice one, and well done! If I could send you a T shirt, I would!
Anyway, on with now. First off, Shakespeare’s birthday. Only a handful of you will remember Doug. Doug was my pal back in the day who fancied himself as a bit of an actor. He was also a total Shakespeare nut. He used to say the world would be nothing if it weren’t for ‘the beautiful Bard’. Of course with Doug, everything was a drama. Even finding a flattened pizza slice in the gutter would always get an, “Ah ha! Look forth! Such a splendid thing of beauty I bear not to touch it…” Of course by the time he’d finished wanging on, it was pretty much all gone.
Here he is on this day in 2006 celebrating the Bard’s birthday by performing the death scene from Romeo and Juliet:
“Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here’s to my love!”
Mart and I always found it hard not to laugh. Doug did take himself and his acting incredibly seriously and, if I’m being brutally honest… he wasn’t terribly good. Obviously we never said as much and always cheered loudly at the end.
Here he is doing the famous ‘Friend’s, Roman’s, countrymen. Lend me your ears.’ speech from Julius Caesar:
He would often stage his monologues on statues in order to ‘immerse his audience in the scene by encouraging a dramatic backdrop’.
He even used to hang out at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre hoping to find an opportunity to make an appearance. Far as I know, he only managed it once in the 2008 production of ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ when he landed in the middle of the stage and managed to stand there for a full five seconds before being thrown off. Said it was the best four seconds of his life. The fifth was when he got a pointy costumed toe up the arse. Always a painful moment. I’ve had a few of those in my time and it smarts for days, costumed or non-costumed.
Of course I lost touch with Doug years ago when I moved to Brighton, and now I’m back in London I’m based up West pretty much full time and barely ever go Central. Doug, mate, just wanted to say that, wherever you are, I’m thinking of you and hope you’re still giving it large on what I know is your absolute favourite day of the year.
So, onto St George’s Day. St George’s Day is supposed to be the day when, if you’re English, you celebrate all things English. Mart reckons it means bacon is obligatory to get the party going so he’s gone to look for some. Good luck with that one, Mart! Not many bacon butties flying around W4 these days!
The thing is, I’m not sure there’s anyone left anymore who is totally ‘English’. Surely by now most of us are a little bit of a mix up of all sorts? I know I’ve got Scot’s in me, and possibly a bit of Durham.
Someone told me the other day that in two months time on June 23rd, people in the UK are going to vote for whether or not they want to stay mates with the rest of Europe. WTF? Surely no-one thinks we’d be better off as a tiny little island floating cold and alone in the big blue sea? Personally I’m a big fan of Europe. Love the place. Costa the Greek was one of my best buddies for a long time.
This is Costa:
Costa arrived from Greece in 2004 and has stayed here ever since. Of course border controls make no odds to us, not that many of us can fly the channel! The ferry is usually the transport of choice, but I do think if we cut our little piece of land off from the rest, it will mean less people will want to come here, and ultimately that will mean less diversity in the pigeon world, which will be a shame. Diversity is good. I’d go as far as to say, essential. Tell you what, I had better conversations with Costa than I do with a lot of pigeons London born and bred. Just saying.
So how do I feel about St George’s Day? I’ll eat a bit of bacon if there’s any going, but won’t be partying with the rest of them. Just don’t think it should be about celebrating all the little bits, but giving it large as a whole, and that includes the big bit over the water.
Saying that, I’ve never been one to turn down a spilled tin of lager, or spinnie as we used to call them. Maybe I’ll send Mart out in search of one of those later? One’s never too old for a spinnie!
In the meantime, I’m off to rest my beak!