The New Newness

I’ve been living in Stratford for the past few days now, and two weeks from today, myself and a gaggle of other new students will be arriving at the Institute for the start of two weeks’ induction. Exciting, nerve-wracking, new, lovely stuff. Although, in the light of new things and new places and new newness, I’m trying to avoid turning this post into a minutiae description of what it took to get there, like some blogs do. Seriously, I just hopped on a plane from Knock, landed in Birmingham, took a train or two, THAT WAS IT. This blog does not host contemporary rewritings of ‘Old Man Travelling’, if that’s what you’re here for.

sad Wordsworth reacts to this news. maybe.

Stratford hasn’t really changed a lot since I last was here, unless you’re counting the amazingly fantastic weather. Hundreds of tourists are still pounding the pavement on Henley Street, filling its restaurants, wandering into Shakespeare’s house and gardens and into the giftshop and bookshop, and eventually trickling down onto the green outside the RSC Theatres. Seeing so many people enjoying the sunshine, replete with vendors floating in the river (coming from Ireland, I still find that incredibly novel) and buskers playing the violin or the electric guitar — it’s a sight that’s very reminiscent of Galway in the summertime. Oddly, I still feel like a tourist of some sort, but maybe that’s because I’m still finding my way around, looking for the nearest ATM, the cheapest place to buy colour shampoo, and still finding hidden crevices within the town that I hadn’t discovered before.

I can’t remember if I felt the same about Galway — the first time I had visited NUIG with the intent of studying there, to me the university appeared to be this GREAT BIG SPACE. I genuinely thought it was huge (it’s really, really not). Subsequently, when I finally moved, I barely remember if I ventured beyond the centre of town at all (getting involved in NUIG Dramsoc actually brought me into the town more, now that I think of it). I speak as someone who only first went out to Salthill in my third year, to the ridicule of many.

Anyway, such adjustment is customary, isn’t it? I like to think that I’ve learned a bit about adjusting to somewhere new four years on. The funny thing is, I’ve realised that I’ve gone from being the token Shakespearean in Galway to potentially becoming the token Paddy here. We’ll see how that works out around 17th March.

and now, a nice picture of Mason Croft, where the SI resides — admire, everyone.

As well as this, other newness currently resides in my room, in the form of Very New Books and boxes of herbal tea. That’s a non-sequitur, right there, but surely a very necessary one. Newness continues apace!

 

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On buying Shakespeare and ooooh, corgis!

I am finally getting around to reading Cymbeline. I’ve had the Arden edition for almost a year now – considering how expensive they can be, I’m glad I was able to pick one up for a fiver in the Bookmart back home in Sligo. (if you’re ever in Sligo, GO THERE. Or Keohane’s, even. Much better than Eason’s.) Still want one of those pretty Oxford World’s Classics editions though. Le sigh…

Heh heh, bewbs.

However, this did not stop me from buying a RSC edition of Henry V today in Charlie Byrne’s. (yes, the book-buying obsession is doing rather well today, thank you very much for your enquiries into the matter!) I’ve never really bought any RSC editions of any of Shakespeare’s plays before, so we’ll have to see if it matches up with the OWC ones we know and love in terms of text, introductions, useful footnotes and so on and forth. I’m torn as to whether the editions most suitable for academics are as suitable as the ones for theatre practitioners. Or is that a question not worth asking?

And now, here’s a corgi who will only respond to you if you talk like the Beatles. If you’re anything like me (i.e., very very easily amused), then you will be, eh, amused. I have to keep the cute quota up, you see.

Saturday playlist, 30/04/2011

Some few favourites from the past while. And no, it is not my fault The National have a new single out.

And Now For Something Completely Unrelated!

  • I finally got around to reading Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas this week. It is genuinely a treat to read aloud – there’s no other way to enjoy it more. The language is just sumptuous. I’m curious as to how it can be staged instead of performed on radio as Thomas originally intended it, but I suppose Google can provide some answers to that question later. Now, I have to finish reading The Good Soldier. And properly start Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. And Look Back In Anger AND We Need To Talk About Kevin. I’ll start them at some point, lads. Promise.
  • I’m going to buck trend and NOT talk about the Royal Wedding. Hah! It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just I’ve exhausted anything witty or relevant that I have to say about it…
  • Believe it or not, this is actually true. 
  • Oh yes. Glorious weather. It’s 99 season, yes?
  • I saw Moment by Deirdre Kinahan at the Town Hall Theatre last Thursday. What at first seemed to me a bog-standard kitchen sink / prodigal son story proved to be so much more – over the space of two hours this son’s arrival home and his younger sister’s reaction to it provides the ingredients for a night in which family secrets best left buried are exhumed and re-exhibited. At times witty, at times excruciating,  and Christ almighty tense as hell, I found myself fully invested.
  • And now – LOOK AT THE FEET!

    Seriously. LOOK at them.

A modest proposal

I would like to make a suggestion. Well, if I must be honest, the suggestion was made by a friend months ago, but it hasn’t been acted upon. I wish to address a crippling addiction that afflicts myself and a great deal of my friends and acquaintances.

There is a shop on Middle Street in Galway, opposite The Dáil Bar and where Mustard used to be, and up beside Sweetie Pies of Galway (have you been there? No? Then go there, the cakes are ridiculously cute) and Milano’s, and it sells books. New books. Second-hand books. Pretty books. Old books. Books on art, books on theatre, books for children, any book under the sun.

(obviously, I’m talking about Charlie Byrne’s.)

One question I’d like to ask is this: is it normal to have a bulging bookshelf made up of the books you’ve bought there over the past seven months?  Is it normal to constantly reassure myself: “ah sure, it’ll benefit my academic career in the end” after buying several books? Is it normal to have the mentality that if you haven’t bought a book (or two even. Two books there for a tenner is the usual bill for me) there at least every two weeks, there’s something wrong?

I would like to resurrect my friend Cian’s proposal that there be a support group for Charlie Byrne’s addicts. And have the meetings there in the shop, and therefore refuse to seek help for our addiction. I think that sounds about right. Who’s with me?