Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Schoolgirl sex

Just been re-reading Romeo and Juliet and realised that under present law Romeo would be arrested for child molestation. He is clearly considerably older than Juliet (in his late teens - old enough to be banished). Though in the original source of the play Juliet is 16, Shakespeare makes her 13, going on 14 – the age of Nabokov’s Lolita!  When she wakes after their wedding night it’s quite clear that she has been well and truly, um, made love to. Incidentally, Juliet’s nurse, always portrayed as an old or at least middle-aged woman, is only 26 – and she lost her maidenhead at 12. What a fun place Verona must have been! I suppose one of the youngest Juliets was Olivia Hussey in Zeffirelli’s film (15). Leonardo Di Caprio’s Juliet looks about 18. No producer would dare to show the play as Shakespeare obviously intended . . . but why did he make Juliet so young? Was the boy actor who first played her particularly young? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Musical Christmas Day

Given three hours from four o'clock on the afternoon of Christmas Day, to fill with music - what does one do? Since the programme is entitled 'Christmas On Stage' I've fixed on a suite from The Nutcracker, Act I of La Traviata, a suite from Petrushka, Act II of La Boheme and Act II of Fledermaus. On with the dance, let joy be unconfined! Anyone coming across this can tune in to the programme at 05:00 GMT from

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Mr Lilly thinks of Sagittarius

Qualities of the Signe Sagittarius   Is of the fiery triplicity, East, in nature fiery, hot, dry, Masculine, Cholericke, Diurnall, Common, bycorporeal or double-bodied.
Diseases   It ruleth the Thighes and Buttocks in the parts of mans body, an all Fistulas or Hurts falling in those members, and generally denoteth blood heated, Feavers Pestillentiall, fals from Horses, or hurts from them or four-footed Beasts; also prejudice by Fire ], Heat and intemperatenesse in Sports.
Places Sagittarius Signifieth   A stable of great Horses, or Horses for the Wars, or a House where usually great four-footed Beats are kept; it represents in the Fields, Hils, and the highest places of Lands or Grounds that rise a little above the rest; in houses upper rooms, neer the fire.
Shape and forme of Body   It represents a wel-favoured Countenance, somewhat long Visage, but full and ruddy, or almost like Sun-burnt; the Hairs light Chestnut colour, the Stature somewhat above the middle Size; a conformity in the Members, and a strong able body.
Kingdoms, Countries and Cities subject to Sagittarius   Spaine, Hungary, Slavonia, Moravia, Dalmatia, Buda in Hungary, Toledo, Narbon, Cullen, Stargard.

-          William Lilly, Christian Astrology (1647)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Somewhere on the Somme

My father, George Nevin Parker, lieutenant in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, in a garden somewhere in France, looking fairly relaxed during the Battle of the Somme. He survived the slaughter, but never smiled like this when I asked him about it. The most he would ever say was, 'It wasn't too good.' Rather like the other survivors of the battles of the First World War, now almost a century ago. I could never persuade him to say more - except that he heard the news of the armistice and the cease-fire whole sitting in a latrine just behind the lines! He lived until 1970, luings never quite recovered from the German illegal use of gas.