Monday, January 26, 2009


A couple of Irishmen are trying to popularise Shakespeare by staging a modern version of the Scottish play. MacBecks is the story of a young lad in Elizabethan England who dreams of becoming the first pretty-boy footballer in a sport dominated by snaggletooths and wobblebottoms. Three scheming spice-witches rustle up a cauldron of perfumes and aphrodisiacs to cast a spell on the boy, enabling him to dance around his opponents like a twinkle-toed fairy. The spice-witch Poshoria then seduces MacBecks and presents him with a squirming litter of Becklings. The family migrate to the undiscovered continent of America, where they acquire fabulous riches by selling soccer-beads to the gullible natives.

It’s nice to see a Shakespearian tragedy rewritten with a happy ending, but I doubt it will be a hit. The common trait of all the Bard’s characters was their incontinent verbosity – even the stupid ones prattled on at great length about the most minor issues. The contrast with the Spice-Becks interaction could scarcely be greater. They are probably the first celebrity couple to have tied the knot without exchanging more than half-a-dozen coherent sentences. This isn’t meant to be a criticism, mind you. We of the jungle know what can be achieved with facial expressions and scent markings. I should imagine Victoria’s sultry pout told Becks everything he needed to know as he trotted off the football pitch, exuding his manly odours.

A better vehicle for the Becks story would have been a new version of Pygmalion called My Fair Laddie. The plot might go something like this:

Victoria Spice, professor of celebritology, has the world at her feet: crowds of photographers flock to take her picture when she poses in expensive yet gaudy evening gowns. Then she has a chance meeting with Becks, a ball-kicking yobbo whose dress sense is limited to tracksuits, trainers and hooded jackets. “I bet you I can turn this ragamuffin into a fashion icon that will fool the world,” she boasts to her Spice sisters. She takes Becks under her wing and dresses him in fancy clothes, teaching him to smile like a ninny for the cameras. Sure enough, his picture appears in all the glossiest celebrity magazines. But Becks was much happier kicking balls and gives the posh professor an ultimatum: “If you want me to keep doing this you better let me shag you cos it’s the only reason I let you dress me up like a poofter.” So they marry, have kids and con gullible Americans into giving them sackfuls of cash. The End.

It must be said that Shakespeare has never been popular in the Mother Continent. Most of his characters are simply too camp for a land where Nature, red in tooth and claw, is prowling about in your back garden. The only one of his plays that has wide appeal among the hairy fraternity is The Taming of the Shrew, purely because it’s about a hot-headed minx who gives people a good wallop when provoked. Fiery little women are a great simian favourite – most gorillas would love to keep one as a pet if they could afford the cosmetics and toiletries. Who would be the shrew in a modern version of the play? The Icelandic pixie Bjork obviously has the right personality, but did anyone ever manage to tame her? And Liz Hurley has certainly been tamed, but was she ever really a shrew? Artistic endeavour is full of such dilemmas.

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Liz Hurley is too tall to be a shrew. Be told Mr Bananas. *Flounces off in a huff of scarlet*
Jo Brand - firey by name and nature, if a good wallop's what you're after she's your man.
Beck in America: Much Ado About Nothing.
Oh. My. God. You have found my weak spot, Go. B. Liz Hurley walks the earth like a junior goddess on her day off. She is so talented, so clever, so knowledgeable, so charming. Well, I have no first-hand evidence, but didn't Plato* have a theory that external beauty connotes internal beauty also?

*Or some other dead Greek.
Lupe Velez, the Mexican Spitfire. She'd have made a fine Katherine. Or perhaps even a better Mrs. Dale than did Stanley Matthews.
No matter what the vehicle, if Victoria Spice is in it, it will draw my attention.

I have an apish question for you, sir. My doctor has me eating a banana a day because of some nutrients my body requires. Am I missing anything good by pealing the fruit and discarding the outer layer?
To Whom It May Concern:

I'm asking for my sackful of cash back. Thank you.

Gullible American

Jo Brand

She is a bit too large and too old for the part, although I would still see any version of a Shakespearean play she was in. Joan Rivers would have been great in the part 30 or 40 years ago.

I guess if I had to go with a shrew today, it would probably know, it's hard to say. Most of today's starlets are just drugged up or drunken trainwrecks, more likely to slur up tantrums than dish out witticisms. The rest are too subdued or boring to be interesting.

I might go with Sarah Silverman, who is more weird than sharp, but that's the best I can go with at this time.
Bette Midler would have been annoying in the part about 30 years ago. Or Sinead O'Connor would have been interesting in it 20 years ago. Now? Errr, Jade Goody?
Scarlet: You're the right size, Miss Scarlet, but you're not nearly shrewish enough!

Lulu: I think she may have mellowed since having a baby (or is it two?).

XL: Or even Much for doing almost nothing.

Inkpot: What a pity she wasted so much time with the feckless Huge Grant.

Kevin: Ah yes, a chilli-pepper senorita! But could she master the language?

Saintly Nick: I'm glad Victoria still has a few fans. We gorillas savour the skin of a banana, but the human stomach may be too delicate.

Mrs Cheeks: You can escape the worst of it by not watching Becks play and not buying any products he endorses.

Chris: Sarah 'I'm fucking Matt Damon' Silverman? I like her looks, but she didn't seem very shrewish in that video.

Gadjo: Alas poor Jade, I knew her not at all! Bette Midler had the right sort of personality, but wasn't she too plump?
have you ever heard Becks speak? he has a high ninnyish whine that automatically excludes him from any role that requires oratory.
Alas Prof Victoria didn't succeed with Beck's speech as I note nursemyra has spotted also
Did La Hurley's remake of Bedazzled make it to the Congo GB? She was rather fabulous in a 'so bad it's good' way (though a devilish 'kiss me Kate' from Peter Cook would have been more tempting ...).
My Fair Laddie sounds like a sure winner. If you could somehow splice in the music of, say, the BeeGees, it would probably be classified as a "phenomenon".
Topiary feeling quite dense for never having noticed this life parallel.

My Fair Laddie, indeed!

I'd watch both remakes, both sound great. I think MacBecks would watch them too and enjoyed them without making the right connection.

Kate LB is right, have you missed Bedazzled?? Although Liz's annoying voice disqualifies her. Paris Hilton is the perfect shrew.
What about Anne Robinson? She might make a good shrew, but may not be able to carry of the part with complete conviction.

Maybe the Becks could remake Showboatd, as a true exercise of his skills?
Kate, she was soul-drainingly good in Bedazzled. Why can't straight women see this?
Nursemyra: I've heard him, Nursie. He needs a part without any lines.

Pi: Victoria is hardly in a position to give anyone elocution lessons.

Kate: Yes, that was a great role for her. In many ways she's a female version of her ex-boyfriend Huge Grant. Let's hope they're not siblings!

Kyknoord: Would Victoria or Becks mime to How deep is your love? Difficult choice.

Topiary Cow: There are some parallels only dense people notice, Ms Cow.

Polly: Do you think Paris is a shrew? I think she is merely a spoiled brat, and not a very sexy one at that.

Madame Defarge: I would say she's more of a sadistic school mistress than a shrew. Show Boat would be an interesting idea if Becks could actually sing.

Inkspot: You like her posh voice, don't you? Liz is a great beauty, but her acting seems a bit shallow and insincere. Maybe that's part of the attraction.
Hey, new to your blog, (via Madame La Barge)very clever post.. I have two questions. Have you seen the Calvin Klein men's underwear advertisement? I think I know why Victoria is so enamored. Also, why is it she is never smiling?
Some people have very short memories. Liz Hurley is nothing more than a monobrowed clotheshorse, who wears far too much makeup and not quite enough clothing - always a sign of despair in a woman. Hugh Grant was forced to pay for a BJ in a backstreet because she obviously didn't put out, and she comes from BASINGSTOKE for fuck's sake!
I am home from Gstaad now BTW.
ha ha this is really funny. We are doing King Lear on Friday and Saturday at the Spike in Pekham. Come if you can. starts 7ish for 7.30
Touche mrs Pouncer.
Mrs P, _I_ despair, of understanding your comment. Pay for a BJ? Is Boris Johnson renting himself out to Huge Grant?
(Inky darling, I despair of being able to drive the image of Boris going down on Hugh from my poor head. Hugh is known in some quarters as Hugh Janus and 69 is now 96 due to the credit crunch. These are the jokes, folks. Sorry GB).
Anne Robinson would be the perfect shrew Mr B. Lupe Velez is a fabulous story in her own right as she drowned with her head wedged down her toilet
Gaf85: Welcome to you, Gaf85. I believe Victoria doesn't smile because it would ruin her pout.

Mrs Pouncer: Liz Hurley was perfectly adequate without any clothes at all, as the picture proves. I can well believe that she didn't satisfy Huge, they were more like brother and sister.

Dave: If you're doing a Shakespeare comedy this summer I'll fly over from the Congo to watch it. I like to think of myself as a patron of high culture.

mlj: Others prefer to say 'En garde' to Mrs Pouncer.

Beast: I think she is just pretending to be bossy, which is slightly different from shrewish.
By the way, Topiary must comment that using the terms "snaggletooth" and "wobblebottom" in the same post as the divine Ms. Hurley, is a crime against nature.

Nurse Myra and PI have both said what I was going to say, but I might as well say it again anyway: no man with a tinny whine like that is going to do justice to any major part in a Shakespeare play.

And you worry me with that 'incontinent verbosity' line. It's like you've seen right into my soul.
My Fair Laddie sounds like it would be a hit. You would, of course, have to include the numerous "chants" and "spells" of the Spice Sisters. It'll make this an even bigger hit.
Perhaps the Beckhams could make a version of Romeo and |Juliet ? isnt one of their dozens of children called Romeo?
A really interesting and thoughtful outing, Goz. Are you related to Damon Albarn's Gorillaz by any chance? Just asking.

Becks could not articulate properly to save his life if it depended on his stringing two words together to form the expression: Leave me! (exclamation mark not included, he speaks in a flat tone).

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.
Beckham was quoted by a Spanish journalist in 2005 as saying "I've never read a book in my life." I mean Victoria of course. It is common knowledge that Becks can't read. Poor lamb.
You gotta hand it to them tho. For two people villified in the Press for not being terribly bright, haven't they done well!
Topiary Cow: I'm glad you have an eye for beautiful women, Ms Cow!

Mary: There's nothing wrong with enjoying a good natter - if you can find a willing partner, that is.

Secret Agent: Yes indeed! And a few of their bum-shaking dance routines as well!

Mutley: I believe you're right, Mutley. Perhaps he might be right for the role if his vocabulary is larger than his parents'.

Cuban: Hello Mr Cuban! Is Damon Albarn a pop singer? I haven't kept up with any pop groups since The Partridge Family disbanded.

Emma: I think she made that remark shortly her own book was published. Or a book bearing her name, at any rate. There's a lesson there for aspiring authors.

Mrs Cake: You're so right, Mrs Cake. Brains aren't everything and I'm sure their children will want for nothing.
GB, if you go to see an open air production of Shakespeare, take a transparent umbrella. If you go to see it in Peckham, take a bulletproof vest as well.
Berkoff could put on an excellent Posh'n'Becks play.

This Engerland, by Steven Berkoff

An East End football changing room. Enter Becks.

Becks [kicks over shower]:

Posh [enters, dressed as a woman]: Wha'?

I'm seeing Alex Ferguson as King Duncan and Gary Lineker as Banquo. Crucially who is MacDuff- young prtetender Theo Walcott?

Sorry, I'm away to lie down...I know more footballers' names than I thought I did. I feel dizzy.
Tom Cruise would make a good shrew. He's mostly girlie after all. And he's got a temper.
But what is the message to aspiring authors? Get a woman called Pepsi Dening to write your biography for you? Doesn't that only work if you are a millionaire?
Lady Daphne: By God I'll not go to Peckham, milady! The place sounds like a pig's penis!

Mr Boyo: An East End changing room? Didn't Becks take up football to escape from the East End?

Misssy: Alec Ferguson does appear in the play, but I don't think anyone stabs him.

Ms Moi: I'd say he was more of a ferret than a shrew. I can't see why anyone would want to tame him.

Emma: The lesson is that fame sells book and being more than just a writer might give you something of interest to write about. Or your ghost writer, in Victoria's case.
Irish power!

Too bad the two writers didn't think to include an original storyline about anything other than Posh and Becks.

As for Posh or Hurley, they're alright in my book. Posh is a bit bony-arsed but I'd show them my character version of Vinnie the Impaler. Heh!
do people actually use the word 'yobbo'? because i want to BE one of those people.
Static: I know it's not a major point for you, but whose voice do you prefer out of Posh and Hurley?

Kara: Stop changing the subject, you SHREW! I'd like to keep you in a cage and feed you cookies by hand.
What's Gorilla's view of the Tempest's poor old Caliban?? and have you seen Michael B's version of Macbeth called on the Estate with Ray Winstone as a cockney King Duncan lording it over the council estate?? It is well worth a look..and perhaps heralds the possibility of MacBecks ( ps I once had a student who queried why all the characters in Macbeth had the same first name ie MAC)
I feel sorry for Caliban, Prospero was too hard on him perhaps. I would like to see the production with Ray Winstone, if only to see Shakespeare performed in cockney accents.
Those two are complete fucking twats!
U know after all that is said and done about her, I think Liz Hurley is just absolutley gorgeous!!!!!!!! Especially at her age...and in those tiny bikinis of hers! Woot!!!!

Now that Posh....she i think is just a bad influence on the younglings!
Liz was always fabulously good-looking, but her relationship with that superficial dandy Huge Grant was a big minus for me. Posh and Becks are like characters in an Archie comic.
"The common trait of all the Bard’s characters was their incontinent verbosity – even the stupid ones prattled on at great length about the most minor issues."

You could blame it on the slower pace of life during those times, I suppose.

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