Richard III Funeral – Benedict Cumberbatch

Its’ been a rather surreal week with the internment of the body of Richard III. A wonderful spectacle and hopefully a prompt for many schools and the public in general both in England and around the world, to learn more about King Richard III. In between many of the rather insipid ‘What do you reckon?’ interviews with various passers by (as aptly described in the Mitchell and Webb sketch below)

plus the usual regurgitation from Mr. Starkey, some of the messages about Richard III’s progressive views regarding religion, the law and publishing did come through.

The perfect choice to read this 14-line poem, written by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy especially for the service of reinterment of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral, was Benedict Cumberbatch. A happy co-incidence for Cumberbatch is that he’s playing Richard III as part of the Hollow Crown series. It has also been revealed that he’s very very distantly related. Not bad PR for Mr Cumberbatch and I certainly don’t begrudge him it, he’s a wonderful talent. (One might say that distantly almost anyone in England is related – but I can almost guarantee that won’t include me!)

Richard

My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,
a human braille. My skull, scarred by a crown,
emptied of history. Describe my soul
as incense, votive, vanishing; your own
the same. Grant me the carving of my name.

These relics, bless. Imagine you re-tie
a broken string and on it thread a cross,
the symbol severed from me when I died.
The end of time – an unknown, unfelt loss –
unless the Resurrection of the Dead …

or I once dreamed of this, your future breath
in prayer for me, lost long, forever found;
or sensed you from the backstage of my death,
as kings glimpse shadows on a battleground.

We are so cynical and superficial these days that the whole process might seems almost laughable and yet, there is something spiritually intriguing around how ceremony, rites, prayers and collective thoughts can make us feel. The man doesn’t care, he’s dead – yet if there is some place beyond the grave, has some good been done?

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Long time…..

Anne of York, Sister of Edward IV and Richard ...

Anne of York, Sister of Edward IV and Richard III, Aunt of Queen Elizabeth of York, Great-Aunt of Henry VIII and his siblings, with her 2nd husband, Sir Thomas St. Leger (Photo credit: lisby1)

No see…..

Gosh it has been a very long while since I last gave my blog any attention. Life gets busy doesn’t it? I’ve never been too busy to write but I have been busy enough to realise I have to prioritise what I write and unfortunately the blog had to go on hold.

Some amazing things have been happening over the last few months,

Finding Richard III – OK I can’t claim to have ‘done’ that, but it was a fairly major piece of news in my life. It was only a few years ago that I became so very interested in this enigmatic character and began to attempt to write about him – a fact I mainly kept to myself and those I knew had an interest themselves. It seemed strange to see him suddenly propelled into such a spotlight. Before the discovery of his body I had come to the conclusion I was not a good enough writer to create the kind of work I feel would most aptly, in my own eyes, portray the complexities of his character. I still feel that way, but the ambition is not lost, just set aside to grow quietly in the background, until I’m ready to attend to it again.

More script writing – I never had any ambition to write film scripts and yet that’s what I seem to have spent most of my time doing, certainly in the last six months. One script, ‘Watching over you’ is in production – the casting has taken place I believe and another, shorter film (probably 7mins long) is now in pre-production too. We’re having difficulty finding a convenience store or petrol station shop willing to let us film there – so if you know of anywhere (esp in the Nottingham area) please let us know!

The novel – I just don’t know what to do about this ‘thing’. It is so close to having being finished and yet I’ve stalled. Partly due to my attention being taken by the script writing, but that’s not the full story.  I intend to send some pages off to a competition, but the closing date is drawing near and I haven’t submitted. I’m also going round in circles in my own mind about whether or not to send it for a second full critique – which will cost £100s – but might be the final push I need to get it good enough to send to agents etc. But I don’t want to waste money – Ive already spent a fair amount on it, in writing courses and the first critique – but then I should have faith that its worth it. So what should I do? Stop faffing I imagine!!

When do you know it’s ready to show the world? If you’re a published writer, let me know. If you’re not, let me know if you have a theory!

Keep going writers, never give up, never surrender 🙂

The rest-less king

Apparently Richard III is the only English monarch with no known resting place. Well, that could all change very soon. Leicester University are leading an archeological search for the bones of Richard III under a council car park – thought to be the site of the old Greyfriars Church. The church was demolished by that jolly Tudor monarch, Henry VIII, after he broke with Rome to get a divorce and top up his own coffers with the church’s wealth.

I’m not getting my hopes up, I’ve seen enough episodes of Time Team, back in the day, to know it’s unlikely anything will be found – and even if something is found, proving beyond all doubt these really are the bones of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III is going to be tricky.

There is of course the old rumour that his body was thrown into the River Soar, during the ransacking of the church, by an unknown rabble – apparently a body was found when they drained the river, I don’t know what happened to these remains – so if anyone knows, feel free to comment.

http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2012/august/searching-for-richard-iii

Richard III’s demise was particularly gruesome. Having been betrayed by those he expected to aid him, and literally stabbed in the back by others, he was stripped naked, flung on his back over a horse and paraded through the town. Finally he was taken to the church to be put on display for three days. Unlike the portrayals in Shakespearean plays, he was not an old hunchback but a strong, 32 year old soldier.