Fleet Folios.

Books The Folger Shakespeare library has sent eighth of its First Folios on a tour of the US, covering all fifty states, reports the New York Times.

It's the first time a copy of the Folio has visit many of these areas and although I've always been cautious about just what you can gain from seeing just two pages open in a book, and find exhibitions of volumes frustrating for this reason, the power of this object is stronger than most because it's a piece of the past, a way for us to touch a moment (or at least look at it through glass) within living memory of the man who invented many of those words:
"The book, on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, drew a steady stream of visitors last Saturday, including Amy Redhage, who had driven seven hours from Lowden, Iowa, with her five children.

“I went to Stratford-on-Avon with my high school orchestra, but I don’t think we got to see anything like a First Folio,” she said with a touch of reverence.

Other pilgrims have shown flashes of outright Shakespearemania, like a college student who visited later that afternoon and announced her intention to get a passage from “Macbeth” tattooed on her side.

“She stood next to the Folio and tried to keep herself from crying,” said Patricia Bornhofen, the museum’s communications manager, who was keeping watch over the exhibition."
For my part, I'm resting watching my way through the 1001 (odd) film list and instead having a go at the canon again beginning with Peter Hall's ravishing 1969 film of A Midsummer Night's Dream starring Helen Mirren, David Warner, Diana Rigg, Michael Jayston, Helen Mirren, Clive Swift, Ian Richardson, Judi Dench and Ian Holm (which I didn't even realise existed until I saw this tweet).  It's available to hire as a stream from Amazon Video.

Third Party Shakespeare.

TV Small tipbit in amongst this blog post about the process of working towards the emergence of third party content on the BBC iPlayer. My emphasis:
"We already have some experience of showcasing third party content with S4C on BBC iPlayer and over the next few months we are planning to dip our toe in the water further by undertaking some small scale pathfinder projects to get a better understanding of the issues and questions we will need to address. This will start next month with content to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death where our plans include a digital event on 23rd April hosted in Birmingham and co-curated by the BBC and the British Council, in collaboration with some of the nation’s greatest performing arts institutions."
Apart from the fact this was just the sort of thing which would have been broadcast on television back in the day (see Fanfare for Europe, "a celebration in words and music from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden to mark the formal entry of the United Kingdom into the EEC, in the presence of the Queen and Prince Philip. Introduced by Tom Fleming.") it is nevertheless exciting to see the event receiving a national airing.

It is of course, the event mentioned in the press release back in 2015 but the fact of it being hosted on the iplayer rather than in clips boxes on the website is what makes this interesting, a potential flood of content that hasn't been broadcast on television - and being attached to this third party content initiative.

The BBC Trust's restrictions seem fair.  Essentially it has to be material which is connected to what the BBC is already doing or more specifically the kind of thing the BBC has already done.  At best this could be a way for performance material to be seen without it having to be broadcast and contextualised for television broadcast.  We'll see.

The Exorcism of BBC Three.

TV BBC Three's promo channel and ghost version with a schedule is coming to an end at the close of the month reports a516digital. Just you be ready in pub quizzes of the future to argue the toss over whether Gavin and Stacey was the last programme to be aired by the channel on television:
"BBC Three has been broadcasting a secret schedule of favourites from the BBC Three archives since the channel made its move from linear TV to an online service in February. Initially, the channel broadcast three hours of programming every night, dropping later to two a night, a move required for the channel to keep its channel slot on Sky. The remaining hours have been filled by a looped promotional video advertising the move online."

"Episodes of Murder in Successville are scheduled to run between 2 and 4am on Thursday 31st March 2016, before the channel is removed for good from linear TV platforms."
There you have it, BBC Three on television has decided to go out with some bitter irony, at least in title terms.

The A-Z list of the channel's programme content continues here now linked from the front page of BBC Three iPlayer page again, albeit at the bottom.

Most of the new stuff has expiries of three to twelve months but it'll be interesting to see what's left when the ghost BBC broadcasts go completely at the end of April.

 a516digital thinks that the channel is only really broadcasting two hours of regular content a week at the moment, which would be the drama Thirteen and Sex In Strange Place, the Stacey Dooley documentary.  Both have five month expiries so after a while the selection will pile up again, but the channel has to be careful to look like it has a richer offering if it's to prove that going online can work as a viable option and haven't simply replaced a television channel with a content rich blog.

On my blog: Twitter at ten.

About The social media microblogging website "Twitter" has reached its tenth anniversary today. I have mixed feelings about Twitter. On the one hand, I can't imagine what being online would be like in 2016 without Twitter, and as you'll see, the number of opportunities and events which have happened to me because of this social media microblogging website mean that I can't be anything but pleased about its existence. Except, part of me wonders what's been lost as, along with the rival "Facebook", it's become the backbone of just the internet and how we interact with the internet but also society.

Before Twitter, all this was discussion boards, email, blogs and RSS feeds and part of me wonders if they experience then was richer simply because everything was simply more purposeful because in order to fully utilise them you required much greater agency, you genuinely felt like you were surfing. Now everything is sort of pushed through a pipe that drips at a hundred and forty characters at a time, it's more like standing under that pipe with a bucket. And the problem is, if you try and stop, because everything falls down the mountain into that pipe now, you'll end up dehydrated even though there's enough water around to drown but you're ignoring because it feels so damn hard.

Anyway, for all that, let's celebrate by looking at some of the ways this blog has interacted with Twitter across the past ten years.

My Favourite Film of 1954.

Film In 2009, I undertook to watch all of Alfred Hitchcock's films in order and somewhat review them on this blog. That endeavour is all posted here, including a brief survey of my favourite, Rear Window, which even more than the director's consensus best, Vertigo, seems to be a near perfect film in that it contains all of the suspense and psychological rigour but also a modicum of humour and Grace Kelly.  It's also the film I relate to most given my highrise living and proximity to other buildings through which you can see other lives even though you must not, also making you conscious that people might just be able to see how you conduct yourselves.  It's a conspiratorial privacy augmented with blinds and curtains when absolutely necessary.

This need to work through lists is born of a restless, distracted interest in culture which requires taming, of being, as I say in my Twitter profile of being intensely interested in everything and so needing guidance so as not let the entirety of culture topple in on me.  So there I am watching acting and directing careers in order, the adventures of a Time Lord across media, visiting art institutions and the boxed sets of television, the endless boxed sets.  At the moment, in what I intend to the list to end all lists, I'm working through 1001 films to watch before I die, which typically is actually more like a thousand and a half due to annual updates and of course I'm trying to see them in chronological order, one per day.  I'm in the 1940s now.  I've been at this nearly six months.

Every one is a challenge and there always moments when I hit the wall.  There are abandoned projects.  There was a moment whilst listening to In Our Time in order when I realised that my interest in everything didn't stretch to evolutionary psychology or literary modernism and that indeed my inability to really understand what any of these people were saying was making me depressed.  Attempting to follow This American Life from the start also foundered at the end of the Your Radio Treehouse era because that was the moment when show re-emerged fully formed and I was falling behind on new episodes.  That's also a factor.  These projects tend to work best when there's an obvious end point or a single body of work. Part of me wishes Woody Allen would stop for this reason.

None of these are achievements exactly.  My personal Everest was returning to a red brick university for an MA and I'm quite content that being my great achievement, at least for now.  But there's still a sense of pleasure at completing especially if you feel like you've learnt something.  Only until I watched my way through Hitchcock's career did I notice that he utilised roughly the same plot over and over through much of his career, of the wrongly accused on the run but that it wasn't until he shifted away from this that his true classics emerged.  So perhaps there is something to be said for not relying too much on linear thinking.

Shakespeare on Merseyside.

Radio The BBC has announced local radio's contributions to their Shakespeare festival which includes Radio Merseyside and would you believe:
"BBC Radio Merseyside will be delving into the story of actress Sarah Siddons who played Hamlet in Liverpool in 1778. At a time when actresses were still associated with prostitutes, Siddons took pains to lead an exemplary life as a respectable married woman.

Although her husband was a respected actor, she was really the family’s breadwinner, the brighter talent and the bigger draw at the box office.

Siddons’ ground-breaking Hamlet extended the possibilities for actresses on stage and paved the way for a flock of others to follow suit.

Frances De La Tour and Maxine Peake are just two of the actresses who’ve tackled the role of Hamlet while Fiona Shaw and Frances Barber have played other male roles."
Which seems like is going to be a documentary, but all I've found is this longer story (which is still well worth reading).  Nevertheless there's a page at the Shakespeare on Tour website collecting stories connecting Shakespeare to Merseyside.