I have been in an odd frame of mind this past day or two. I think I’ve been working so hard lately, I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I keep looking around for tasks and there aren’t that many. We aren’t entertaining the hordes tomorrow, the food is all in the house, the presents wrapped and although I’m sure I could find plenty to do if I really tried (cleaning the kitchen windows, anyone?) my concentration span is all over the place.
In some respects I don’t feel at all Christmassy, though I’m happy enough. In fact, several times recently I’ve been suddenly bowled over by a feeling of thankfulness, that I’ve a home and a family to enjoy the holiday with. But I’ve just kind of let the seasonal stuff wash over me and probably been a bit anti-social – certainly I haven’t rushed out to find folks to celebrate with.
It’s my first Christmas as a student since 1980! As recently as Tuesday I was in the Shakespeare Birthplace RSC Archive for the day trying to come up with a coherent argument about feminism in productions of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Coriolanus would have made a good Time Lord. He’s probably the Bard’s most arrogant character, with an absolute contempt for the lower classes – he only really feels comfortable in a war zone beating the shit out of somebody. It’s the way his mother’s brought him up. She’s a dreadful old bag called Volumnia who gives his wife pep-talks along the lines of, "I would rather have twelve sons sacrificed in battle than one surfeit on excess." She sent her darling boy off to his first war at the age of 16 and when he comes back a hero in the play all she’s bothered about is (a) how many wounds he’s got and (b) how to manipulate the Senate into making him Consul. Rather like those mothers who greet news of you getting 99% on a term paper with the question, "What happened to the other 1%?"
So here we have this interesting relationship that Freud would have had a field day with, and I have to figure out which productions focus on the politics, which on the psychology and which on the screamingly clear homoerotic subtext (there is what amounts to a love scene when Coriolanus, banished from Rome, offers himself to his sworn enemy). I’ve watched the Greg Hicks Samurai version, the Toby Wilson French Revolution version, the 1985 Brechtian National Theatre version…and I’m no clearer a clear throughline for the essay I have to hand in on Jan 14th. I think I probably need to take a few days off.
So anyway, we’re planning to have some family fun with Beatles Rock Band on the Wii and a few books that aren’t about Shakespeare, for a change. I’m trying not to think too hard about what I want from Doctor Who. I’m all to aware that the kids are having all their friends round for a New Year’s Eve party less than an hour after the finale ends, and I’ll probably be in no fit state to face anyone. But then, they’ll want me to hide upstairs anyway.
Happy Christmas, everyone! May Santa bring you all you desire (I hope you’re listening, RTD!). See you all the other side of the Gate.