Easter Approaches

Eastertime approaches, and everyone needs some relaxation – and what better relaxation than exploration in bookland?

So a few recommendations.

All of us at times find writing challenging, whether it is a bit of creative writing, or staring at a blank paper or screen trying to organise out minds for an essay. Joseph Conrad took this on as a moral issue, thinking that readers who sat and enjoyed his fluent prose were being lied to, because they did not see the torments he went through to get those words on the page. Sometimes a writer’s work is so effervescent, so full of life, that it’s difficult to believe that it is the product of puzzled head-scratching, never mind mental torture. It is interesting to read that Douglas Adams, inventor of the wild apparently improvised adventure of Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the paranoid android, struggled to write even The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Michael Rosen and his battles with Covid have been mentioned before in this blog. Now he has produced his book about his experiences, which has to rely on his medical team for part of the narrative as he was in a coma for several weeks. It’s his story, but movingly, there are parts of it that he cannot narrate. Read about it here.

In the first lockdown I recommended several productions from the fantastic range of free theatre which was provided online; the year without live audiences has prompted theatres and other performance organisations to consider in a  fundamental way how they deliver to their audiences. We have had recorded streams, live streams of socially distanced performances, performances stitched together from separate film shots in different places, even kisses through perspex. Last week the RSC pushed experimentation further, combining Shakespeare, live performance and video game technology in an immensely exciting and ambitious project. Sadly, the brief run has now ended, but you can read about it here.

And it is reviewed here. It’s fantastic to see performance pushing boundaries.