Did Shakespeare write shakespeare?

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A new book launched this month, entitled ‘Shakespeare Unravelled. Court plays: the 1623 deception’ delves into the rich history and controversy surrounding William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. The book argues that the plays in this publication were brought together because of their significance for the Sidney-Herbert family, patrons of poets and playwrights over many generations.

Pauline Black, researcher and co-author says “A key point here is that these plays were produced for Elizabethan and Jacobean court entertainment not the popular stage. These thought- provoking dramas were written for the intelligentsia by well-educated writers –certainly not by the attributed author, Shakespeare.” The book launch coincides with William Shakespeare’s Anniversary (April 23rd) throwing new light on a highly contentious issue subject.

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Macbeth – the play which actors dare not name…

The book looks into the reasons which prompted the concealed authorship, principally the fear of Spanish domination at the time because of the impending royal marriage of Crown Prince Charles and a Spanish Princess. This outcome could incur severe repression of English freedom of expression. The Protestant aristocracy, led by William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, were determined to preserve their literary and historical heritage. This included the Tudor royal legitimacy dramatised in the English history plays. The deceased Shakespeare was chosen to avoid potential punishment of writers and editors (a duty of patrons) since he was beyond retribution for heresy or unorthodox writing by a tyrannical power.

Laurenceolivierham_2890472b.jpgShakespeare Unravelled presents a detailed portrait of William Shakespeare and the period. Shakespeare’s parents were illiterate, so were his children. The Bard had limited local schooling and no higher education. Yet the claimed author, a tradesman’s son, wrote almost entirely about royalty and the courts of Europe while displaying detailed knowledge of aristocratic life and the law. Without visiting Italy he was aware of the country’s history, geography and language. Shakespeare’s comprehension of classical texts is another mystery. For centuries there have been doubts about the authorship of the First Folio. Alongside the profile of Shakespeare, play-broker and money lender, the book throws a new spotlight upon popular theatre and its great contrast with entertainment for the court.

2016 – the death of celebrity

2016 seems to be a rotten year for anyone who grew up loving the 80s.  It all kicked off with the shock news that David Bowie had died.  I have to say that I had a Princess Diana moment when I heard the news, in that….I thought they’d got it wrong.  His album had literally just been released and so I thought it might be some kind of weird stunt.  Plus, I remember the outpouring of grief when people thought Cher was dead #now that cher is dead- which was actually about the death of Margret Thatcher, tragic or not depending upon your location.

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Confusion: Fans of Cher, left, misinterpreted the hashtag, reading it as ‘Now that Cher is dead’ rather than ‘Now Thatcher is dead’

But no, it was true David had indeed died. I remember musing at the time to an overly shocked friend how he’d had a great life and rather than mourn the loss we should celebrate the fact he’d had a stonking life and left us with some stonking songs.  Then Alan Rickman died.  I always remember that scene in the film Leon where Alan plays a bent cop who pops pills and then cranks his neck – the sound still makes me wince – until I remembered that this was actually Gary Oldman.  Rickman was in Die Hard…stupid!!!!

Then a stream of celebrities seemed to die off – first came Sir Terry Wogan – now, that was a real shock.  I like so many others, felt compelled to watch his last BBC Radio 2 show and then spent the next 10 or so hours Youtubing loads of Wogan stuff. He was dead.  All of which seemed so sad as we’d only got over Cilla Black dying and the Oxo lady. It was a shame, especially as the bad celeb’s (apart from hell fire eating Jimmy Saville) were still alive in kicking – admitted from behind the bars of their cell or living in some dodgy halfway house after being kicked out by their wives – now wishing they were dead.  But they weren’t.  They were still alive.  The ones we liked…were dying.


And then like a game of celebrity squares which had just fallen over – the rest tumbled too – we had the guy who played father Jack in Father Ted; the guy who wrote Coronation Street – who I learned was gay (probably doesn’t mean much if you straight – but when you’re gay, these little footnotes are handy for Christmas time conversations when you can drop it in when stuck with your family for 48 hours and want to rough things up a bit),  then Paul Daniels and then wee Ronnie Corbett and then my agony aunt Denise Robertson (she’d never met or communicated with me in anyway – but that doesn’t matter – she was mine and it’s how I feel about her that counts); David Guest (didn’t surprise me all that much), Victoria Wood (a real shock) – I loved Vic – she was a great British comedian – a bit like Rick Mayall, who I also thought died last year – but upon having a quick look actually died in June 2014!!! Where the hell is time going???

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So, anyway, Victoria Wood was someone a really thought was special a) because she proved that given half the chance women can be as funny as men and  d) I loved her dyslexic man joke “My boyfriend had a sex manual but he was dyslexic. I was lying there and he was looking for my vinegar”!!

Victoria now joins a very small queue of woman that I currently have which is ‘women who I think are really funny and died way too soon’.  The only other woman on the list so far is Linda Smith. I’m sure there are more…I just can’t think.

And then came the news that Prince had died.  I’m not sure if I’m starting to become immune to celebrity deaths or what – I was sad, but coming the day after Victoria Wood – I couldn’t quite splice away enough from my sadness blob for him – to adequately represent the fact that I was sad about his passing and also how impressive his career was.  But, had he died in a couple of months – assuming another celeb didn’t get in there first – I’d of been really mournful.

As it is, today I have watched loads of Victoria Wood stuff – just because, well, I’m sad.  There was a big outpouring of sadness on the news about her – a lot of people saying how wonderful they were…if she did manage to get back here some how, i think she’d be within her rights to say…”so where were all you lot when i was trying to flog bloody tickets to my theatre production???  Weren’t so keen then”.  And, I would have to bow my head because I was one of those who wanted to go and see it…but never did.  Shame on me.

Here are 20 supposed things you probably didn’t know about her  from the Torygraph

One thing that I watched of Victoria Wood’s that I hadn’t watched before but really liked was her series called Victoria Wood…

 

 

Got that 3 day work feelin’?

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A THREE-DAY-WEEK gets the best performance from workers aged over 40, a study by the University of Melbourne has found called ‘Use It Too Much and Lose It?
The Effect of Working Hours on Cognitive Ability’.

Researchers found the cognitive performance of middle-aged people improved as the working week increased up to 25 hours a week.

However, when the week went over 25 hours, overall performance for the test subjects decreased as “fatigue and stress” took effect.

article-1140673-035C7CCA000005DC-783_468x674.jpgThe report, which was published in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series, invited 3,000 men and 3,500 women in Australia to complete a series of cognitive tests while their work habits were analysed.

It was found those working 25 hours a week performed best while those working 55 hours a week showed results worse than retired or unemployed participants.

One of the three authors, Professor Colin McKenzie from Keio University told the Times: “Many countries are going to raise their retirement ages by delaying the age at which people are eligible to start receiving pension benefits. This means that more people continue to work in the later stages of their life.

“The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time long working hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions.

“We point out that differences in working hours are important for maintaining cognitive functioning in middle-aged and elderly adults. This means that, in middle and older age, working part-time could be effective in maintaining cognitive ability.”

The research comes amid moves from July 1, 2017 to increase the qualifying age for Australian Age Pension from 65 to 65 and six months.

The qualifying age will then increase by 6 months every 2 years, reaching 67 years by 1 July 2023.

 

New community radio licences awarded

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Ofcom has announced the award of five new community radio licences in south east England covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and East Sussex.

The 5 new stations are:

Bexhill FM

Bexhill FM
Who will provide a service for the whole community in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.

 

Hailsham FM

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Will be a service for the general population of Hailsham in East Sussex. Speaking via their twitter account the team said “We are hugely excited to announce that we have been awarded a 5 year FM community radio licence by today”

Red Kite Radio

Red Kite Radio

Will be for the people of Haddenham (Buckinghamshire) and Thame (Oxfordshire). Their website announced the winning bid by saying how they “won the five-year licence after convincing the body that this area deserves and can sustain a full time version of its successful Summerfest Radio broadcasts”.  General Manager of Red Kite Radio Pete MacFarlane told Haddenham.net “Summerfest Radio began nearly four years ago and has grown ever since, heavily supporting the beer festival which has grown significantly during the three summers we’ve been on the air”.  It is anticipated that Red Kite Radio will broadcast 24 hours a day with community news updates & information, interviews with community representatives, local people and organisations.

Witney Radio

Witney Radio

Will serve the community of Witney and surrounding villages in Oxfordshire.  The station tweeted their thanks to Ofcom via their twitter account and said “Proves all the hard work does pay off in the end and the community benefits are huge!”

 

Wycombe Sound

Wycombe Sound

Is for people aged 35 and over in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.  The station’s Managing Director Chris Phillips released a statement via their website stating “We’re all absolutely delighted. After completing three successful pop-up broadcasts we’re looking forward to putting the service onto a permanent footing. There’s so much going on in this town, we want to share all the good news coming from our community.”

Wycombe Sound will broadcast a mix of local interest interviews and features, together with local news and phone ins. There will be lots of great music too, plus specialist programmes and outside broadcasts.

Community Radio

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Community radio services are provided on a not-for-profit basis, focusing on the delivery of specific social benefits to a particular geographical community or a community of interest.

 

10 years of community radio

Community radio, which offers thousands of volunteers the chance to get involved in broadcasting across the UK, is ten years old.

The last decade has seen the number of community radio stations increase from just a handful to more than 230 stations, each reflecting the local needs and interests of its audience.

In March, Ofcom announced its intention to simplify the way community radio stations record their Key Commitments. This revised approach reduces the administrative burden for licensees, and provides these stations greater flexibility to serve their target communities and deliver valuable social benefits.

Almost half of us experience a ‘life crisis’

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Almost half of us experience a ‘life crisis’

The Open University urges us to pursue our dreams:

· Unfulfilled dreams and ambitions top list of ‘life crisis’ causes

· A fulfilling career and taking up interests key to overcoming ‘life crisis’

Almost half (44%) of the British public have either had or are going through a ‘life crisis’, a poll recently commissioned by The Open University reveals today. To help people restore their personal balance, The Open University is urging people to discover their ‘Plan P – their ‘Passion Plan’ – and realise their unfulfilled ambitions.

However, it’s not just those midway through their lives who have suffered a ‘life crisis’ and need to re-ignite their passions. Almost a third of those surveyed (29%) have been through a ‘life crisis’ between the ages of 18 and 30, suggesting millennials are particularly susceptible.

When asked what factors caused their ‘life crisis’, a lack of career fulfilment and unfulfilled dreams topped the list. To combat this, 39% said embarking on a new career would help solve their issues and 24% said learning something new would have the same effect.

Whilst over two thirds of those surveyed wish they spent more time pursuing their personal passions, 27% don’t think they have time to do so, with long hours of work and social pressures swallowing up free time. One in ten of those surveyed do not have any personal passions or interests outside of their career, however 41% said that taking up a new interest or hobby would help address their ‘life crisis’.

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As a result, The Open University is today urging people to explore their interests by learning something new or pursuing further study in order to address the issues associated with their ‘life crises’, start realising their ambitions and to discover their ‘Plan P’.

Clare Riding, Head of Careers and Employability Services at The Open University said: “Almost two fifths (39%) of people cited embarking on a new career as a solution to their ‘life crisis’ so whilst finding a career you love can be challenging, it is also deeply rewarding. Taking time to explore your interests, both in and out of work, will help you to realise your career ambitions and will support you in finding the role that’s right for you.”

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Alan Campbell Olympic Rower

Alan Campbell, Olympic rower and Open University student said, “As an athlete there will come a time that you can no longer compete at international standard, so there has to be something beyond sport. Not only this but in a high pressure, competitive career such as elite sport, you need to have other passions that keep your mind alert and focused outside of work. Rio 2016 will be my last Olympics but this isn’t a year of endings for me, it’s a year of beginnings too. I will complete my BA (Hons) in Leadership and Management with The Open University this year and can’t wait to see what new journey this will take me on.”

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Monday Matters Reporter Bonnie Britain was lucky enough to meet up with lead singer and writer Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling. The band members worked as session musicians for several years before coming together as a group.

Their debut album Twelve Stops and Home was released in the UK in June 2006 and their most recent album “The Feeling” was released on the 4th March 2016.

A Real Friend At the Hospital Bedside

 

Pete Harvey | Hospital Radio Exeter
Pete Harvey | Hospital Radio Exeter

New research has, for the first time, shown the true impact of Hospital Radio on a patient’s well-being.

It shows stations offer a unique service, giving patients a sense of belonging and helping their psychosocial health, from relieving boredom and loneliness to being a calming influence at what can be – for many – a difficult time, in a strange environment.

Patients, staff and volunteers from over a hundred hospitals, across the UK, were questioned and all suggested the service was a useful aid in helping a patient’s over-all recovery.

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NHS staff told the researchers that Hospital Radio can help ease anxiety during treatment, helping people relax and giving them something else to focus on, rather than the treatment itself.

Grant McNaughton, chairman of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA)
Grant McNaughton, chairman of  HBA

Grant McNaughton, chairman of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA) said: “A lot has changed in the 90 years since the first Hospital Radio station started broadcasting, and patients now have access to a whole range of different entertainment systems – including their own devices which can now store and play their own choice of films, TV programmes and music.

Despite that, Hospital Radio continues to play a strong role and, as the research proves, can make a real difference for that patient feeling isolated and away from their loved ones for a period of time.”

The report was commissioned amid fears some hospital radio stations were being closed down, as part of cost-saving measures within the NHS. Two years ago one station in Guildford was forced off air when the Hospital Trust revealed it wanted to make space available for a Marks and Spencer Store within the hospital.