Why girls disappear from blogs and why Anne Hathaway shouldn’t play Katharina*

*A take on one of my books of the week, Freakonomicswhich has chapters such as ‘Why drug dealers live with their moms’ and the likes. I confess, I’ve read this book before. Does it count as one of my 100 before the year is out?

I’m going to count it as one.

Just because I can.

I suppose pop-economics books took over where pop-science books left off, but I like them very much regardless of fashion. I did a sociology unit as part of my first degree that covered the history of sociology, and then later, I read Marx and Engels and their offshoots, simply because it would be rude not to. I’m from Manchester. I’d like to know what I started, as a Mancunian.

It’s funny that what is often sociology is often economics. Can you ever really separate the two? They seem to have great big overlapping bits. I like Freakonomics because I like to think about things differently. I’ve read a few academic and a few pop-ec books and I like to know about how things work; it’s one of the reasons I went to Cuba. It’s both a history lesson and a talking point. It’s also an amazing place where things work, but don’t work if you see what I mean.

It survives without many imports. There are no shops to speak of. There are produce markets and that’s it. Make do and mend is the endemic culture. There are no car franchises, people share lifts and use whatever ‘public’ transport there is. Sometimes, that is a truck up a mountain. The country is forced to be less dependent on petrol (though relations with Venezuela are helpful) and so people farm with teams of oxen. The soil is incredibly fertile and rich. Organic and bio-farming is the future. But it’s completely imposed. You don’t have a choice. There just isn’t any petrol spare. However, they produce most of what they need themselves. There are chickens everywhere. There are little vegetable gardens everywhere. It’s about the cleanest inhabited country ever, because where there’s no heavy industry, there’s no pollution.

Anyway, I like to think of things like these from time to time.

I also enjoyed Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s books too. And Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m not finished with Chesil Beach yet. So… tally so far is 3.

I’m on to Daughter of Fortune in Spanish next. It’s been ages since I read anything Spanish and one of my friends said my lovely gangster-style latin-American Spanish now sounds like a French person speaking Spanish, so I was alarmed and tried to rectify it. I can’t get my mouth to do the same things it used to. And that says a lot.

I love Isabella Allende. I could read her books endlessly. She’s got these epic, dreamy narratives that are just so divine. Her writing is so rich. Hmm. But what to pair with it, if I finish this for next week? I doubt I will. I had my GCSE marking start again yesterday and I’m now up to my eyes in S scripts and MMS and CMI and QMS and TMI. That’s another three weeks of my life gone.

Luckily, this time I am not doing NaNoWriMo so it’s just normal work plus a couple of hours a day. This comes easily from Garden time and Cleaning time.

So, why girls sometimes disappear from blogs is usually because of economics. Dollars have to be earned. And then, they return to their blogs and eke out a little enjoyment from the writing process.

In all honesty, it’s not blogging that particularly takes a cut, but any downloads and broadcasts. I’m very much enjoying Fringe at the moment. I like crazy scientists, even if they do destroy the fabric of the universe. Walter Bishop is a crazy genius. Typical Walter. “Either a green unicorn just raced across the lab, or I accidentally took some LSD.” So this will have to take a back seat. I only watch an episode here and there, but that helps save me some time.

And, it also scares small children.

Small children worry when you don’t have a television. I think they wonder if you’re a witch or something. An anti-social misfit.

Or, when you do, but when it is buried under clothes in the spare bedroom.

Anyway, after my Keira rant, another casting issue has occurred. Anne Hathaway is thinking of doing Katharina in The Taming of The Shrew. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Miss Anne Hathaway. She was a perfectly fine secretary in The Devil Wears Prada. Other than that, I can’t really think of a thing I’ve liked or disliked with her in it. She was an okay Catwoman. Okay. She had almost zero sex appeal or edginess, but hey ho. It was a film rich in other ways. I know some people think she was a greater Catwoman than Julie Newmar, but she’s not my cup of tea. Julie Newmar was Bailey’s – cream with a kick. Anne Hathaway was probably a cup of tea. Inoffensive, widely acceptable and rather tame.

However, she has just been cast as Katharina, my most favourite Shakespeare lady. To this, I say No, No and thrice No.

Katharina is a Marmite character. Love her or hate her. She’s edgy, she’s emotional, she’s repressed. She’s a bra burner before her time forced into corsets and ruffs. She’s Julia Stiles and Elizabeth Taylor and Simon Scardifield all in one. Simon Scardifield was actually The best Katharina in The Best production by The Best theatre company in the whole world.

I confess to being a Shakespeare luvvie. I ♥ Shakespeare. I’ve seen hundreds of productions. And the Propeller version is one of my favourite plays done to such perfection that everyone walked out of the theatre in shock at the end. The Guardian reviewer didn’t like it so much, but I think he’s an idiot. He said it should be sex-charged. I think that’s an uninspired and unimaginative view. The production went from being a kind-of-comedy with a Basil Fawlty-style husband to being the most problematic of all the problem plays. Domestic abuse at its basest. You couldn’t do this play this way with a woman playing Katharina, not without all the women walking out.

Not only that, but I touched Simon Scardifield in the Press Club in Manchester, when one of the other actors asked me and a friend to join him for a few drinks and a dance. That’s how I rolled in my Manchester life. I would tell famous thespians that I liked their appendages and they would giggle and give me their mobile number. If I’d known at the time that Simon Scardifield was going to pull out such a stonking performance as he did later that year, I’d have touched him a lot more.**

I used to plan my Shakespeare teaching around what Propeller were doing that season. That season, they made all my choices worthwhile. So, no to the anodyne Ms Hathaway

** In the interests of full disclosure, I also touched Patrick Stewart’s head, among others, and flirted with a Nobel-Prize-Winning Poet. I’ve touched lots of actors. My sixth-formers said they had never seen anyone quite as shameless as me, and if Carol Anne Duffy had a head of English like I was, then her poem would have been very different indeed. I bought Mr Seamus Heaney a Bells whisky and we talked about Julius Caesar and how he felt about having his face defaced by the youth of England in the anthology. He liked that I could quote Personal Helicon by heart and he said it was one of his favourite poems. I didn’t tell him I called him the ‘logs, bogs and frogs man’ as an A level student. I was a philistine.


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