What I'm doing:38
Fagiolini's "Love Is A Babe". This is from an album of Shakespeare's sonnets which have been transformed into modern songs, and features the work of Robert Hollingsworth and there is also a link on this page to Cara Dillon singing 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day'.
When I was a child I used to love listening to Cleo Lane and Johnny Dankworth singing 'Shakespeare and all that jazz'. The duo had set various extracts from Shakespeare to jazz, and these became so familiar to me that whenever I hear a familiar line in a play, I feel like singing along. They are the few extracts from Shakespeare that I know. I have often thought that more quotes should be set to music. Songs are so much easier to remember than poems.
The album is coming out on April 23rd, Shakespeare's birthday and is part of the queen's jubilee celebration. There is a little more about it here.
What I watched last:
Ghosts: a film directed by Nick Broomfield for Channel 4 in 2006.
This is a fictionalisation of a tragic event that happened in Morecambe Bay in 2004. A young Chinese girl, who happens to come from the same province of China as Da Chen, pays $25,000 to be smuggled into the UK to work as an illegal immigrant. Incredibly, she travels overland in buses, lorries and, eventually, entombed in a sealed container to cross the English Channel. The journey takes 6 months. It must be gruelling. The life she finds awaiting her is unpleasant. The conditions are crowded and the work is hard. There are English sharks and Chinese sharks ensuring that the money she makes is minimal. Eventually she arrives in Morecambe Bay, and their team of pickers is forced by locals (called 'Ghosts' - a Chinese term for white people) to try and collect the cockles at night. Twenty three people are drowned when the tide comes in. The film was part of a successful campaign to raise money for the relatives of these victims to cover their unpaid debts.
It made a gripping, if harrowing, story, and I was struck by the contrasts in fortune between this poverty stricken farmer who aimed to make money by working hard, but also cheating to get into the West, and Da Chen who was equally poor, but managed to reach the United States through working equally hard but taking a more conventional route.
What I'm Reading (on my Kindle):
Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Essential background to my reading of China in the 1960s, and especially suitable for my Little Red Kindle.
What I'm Reading (on the page):
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and seeing, at last, what all the fuss was about.
What I'm Listening to (on audiobook):
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (having just finished the wonderful
Book Thief by Markus Zusak and narrated by the excellent Allan Corduner - a superb production).