Making things I'm John-Paul Flintoff.
I have always enjoyed working with my hands - and admired other people who do the same. This is my blog about making and makers.• Ask me anything
My friend Gary Cook’s heirloom toolbox, bearing his late father’s initials.
Always a great pleasure when you discover that somebody you know in entirely other context is a maker of some kind.
Yesterday I discovered that @ChablisPoulet has a studio for painting in oils. Here is some of her recent work.
Yup, he’s been seen on YouTube by millions already, but wanted to put on record that I do like watching @prof_elemental.
I’ve signed up for a lot of perfomance classes and days-long workshops this year already, with a view to writing about it in my next book, and God knows how I can fit any more into my diary - but I do think it might be fun to go on one with the Prof. Can anybody who has been on one tell me what it was like?
One thing troubles me, however. Is the person addressed by the Prof in this song meant to be my friend Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler, author of How To Be Free, and well known tweed-wearing ukelele player?
I so, I shall feel a bit conflicted enjoying this. (But I may keep watching all the same.)
Still on subject of Shakespeare, I rounded off his birthday yesterday by witnessing one of the most brilliant bits of theatre I’ve seen in a very long time: a one-woman show, about Will’s wife Anne Hathaway.
Now, despite my interest in Shakespeare (did I mention that I studied him for my MA?), I should confess that I have never really cared much about Anne’s story. Last night’s performance set me right, demonstrating that imagination and empathy can bring even the most shadowy historical figure to life.
Writing this hours later, it still seems quite incredible that the actress playing Ann (Johanne Murdock, pictured above, after the show) could even remember all the words, let alone deliver them with feeling, in a performance that lasted nearly 90 minutes. The Other Shakespeare, by Roy Chatfield, was not like Krapp’s Last Tape (one of my all-time favourite plays), which passes largely in silence: in Chatfield’s play Anne chatters rages frets and dreams aloud throughout. And sings.
Several bits will stick in my mind: the joyful dancing; the harrowing death of her son, and his funeral while Will was in London; the pain of knowing that all Stratford had read her husband’s lovestruck sonnets, written for somebody else; and the very funny moment when Anne, full of scorn, showed Will that she, too, could act - then roared like a medieval mummer doing Herod.
It’s extraordinary enough when actors, together with each other onstage, put something across with such conviction that you suspend disbelief and become truly absorbed. For Murdock to achieve that alone, with nobody up there to play off, and to move seamlessly through such a range of moods - as Ann’s life gradually unfolds - is frankly miraculous. This was live theatre at its absolute best. Hats off!
I’m not the only person who was impressed. Afterwards I overheard the author, who had never met Murdock, saying he felt dazed by what she’d done. (In a good way, lest there be any doubt.)
I saw the play in Oxford, at the Mitre. I understand it may be showing again soon at Oxford’s Burton Taylor Theatre, and maybe afterwards in London. If you know any producers - do tell them about it!
PS. I should perhaps note that the play was directed by my father, Ian Flintoff, pictured above left, with Chatfield. I don’t see why this should discredit what I’ve written above.
Ok, they were made to promote a bank, which perhaps some people would think discredits them. But i must say i rather like these neo-classical pots
Let’s keep doing what we can to reduce our environmental impact — to make every day Earth Day.
Next home made shirt I think
Actually, it is string from Able & Cole veg boxes. But enough to be used for small knit or crochet jobs. Have previously made purse for N, and small teddy bear. What next?
With Shakespeare’s birth/deathday coming up shortly (April 23rd) and with it my father’s years-long mission to make 2012 a festival of Shakespeare, I’ve been re-reading the Complete Works recently (yup, re-reading, because I read them all when studying for my MA in Shakespeare, so there).
I’ve also been performing many speeches into an iPad (yes, really!) in the name of grassroots Shakespeare performance for all, and suchlike. (Perhaps I will blog one or two of these rare solo performances in due course - but only perhaps.)
Anyway, I just came across this interesting post (below) that raises a tricky question: which is your favourite Shakespeare play?
I too find it hard to give a single answer, but on balance I would probably have to say it’s Henry IV Part One, for sheer all round mix of heroic seriousness and knockabout. (I would be more certain if I were allowed to add Part Two.)
I have not heard anything recently from my brother, in response to my recent request that he join me in performing some Shakespeare publicly, somewhere, on Apr 23. His own speciality was the Crispin speech from Henry V (it’s where he got his forename). Well, if he won’t perform it himself, perhaps I’ll do the Crispin speech on his behalf?
So here’s another question for you: which of all the speeches and poems Shakespeare produced would you most like to perform?
(And why don’t you, next week?)
Start with the toughest question, eh? You’re a cunning adversary tumblr challenge. Asking me to choose a single favorite Shakespeare play is like asking me to choose my favorite ice cream flavor: on a day-to-day basis, my answer might change depending on what mood I’m in. That said, the one play I…