Saturday, 26 March 2016

Grave Issues.

There was a documentary about the Brontës on the TV tonight, but the description in the listings magazine sounded rubbish so I didn’t watch it.

Mind you, I never watch things about the Brontës anyway, nor adaptations of their works. The problem is mostly down to Emily, you see. Dear, dear Emily has always been the problem, ever since her discarnate self took up occupation in my house a few winters ago and said ‘Why don’t you go to Haworth and dig me up? That would be fun, wouldn’t it? And while you’re at it, do tell the readers of your journal what Wuthering Heights is really all about.’ Since dearest Em is buried under concrete in Haworth church and I don’t have a pneumatic drill, I only undertook the second of her suggestions (and that one was an order anyway.)

I find that people who write documentaries and essays and articles and movies and TV adaptations which have any bearing on the nature of Emily Brontë or her magnum opus always look in a different place than me, and so they don’t see what I do. And being the only person alive who understands her is a tough burden to shoulder.

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What I did watch was a documentary about William Shakespeare’s head. Seems it might be missing. An hour’s worth of convoluted interpretation of a GPR investigation on his grave lends serious credence to a long-held notion that some friends of Burke and Hare stole his skull back in the 19th century and now nobody knows where it is. No doubt it’s languishing somewhere, infinitely jesting like Yorick and just waiting to be found so someone can say:

‘What have we here, Horatio?’

‘Someone you knew?’

‘Nope. Let’s throw it back.’

And shortly after the programme finished I composed a neat little silly ditty in my own head entitled Poor Willy’s Head is Missing, only now I come to write the damn post I can’t remember a word of it except the first line. Which isn’t much use, is it? Tough.

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And while we’re on the subject of heads and their prospects, I feel like Sydney Carton in his kneeling phase at the moment.

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And why do the makers of movie adaptations of Jane Eyre always make Rochester handsome? He wasn’t. Jane was quite specific on that point.

2 comments:

Madeline said...

I wasn't convinced. Maybe the writer of the head stealing story didn't know that Shakespeare was supposed to have been buried in a vault (when did that idea become common anyway?). The need to add more support to the floor doesn't necessarily indicate disturbance of the grave (floors - and graves - sink all the time, for non-grave robbing reasons). And even allowing that the grave was disturbed, they don't know that it was by grave robbers. Disturbing graves was a fairly common activity. It was a compelling story biut I am still skeptical.

JJ Beazley said...

Yet another example of the fact that TV documentaries are written for the ignorant and gullible, not the knowledgeable. They have to play up the mystery and sweep the counter view under the carpet. Even I found bits of it questionable.

It's interesting that documentaries (at least British ones) on more outlandish subjects like the paranormal and conspiracy theories tend to go the other way - emphasising the 'rational' view and playing down the unanswerable questions. I saw one once which claimed to prove that the Kennedy assassination involved only one gunman. It took only a single brain cell to see that it proved nothing of the sort.

But then TV documentaries are a favourite subject of mine. I have a whole list of Daft Things I Remember from TV Documentaries (like the one in which the narrator said 'At the time of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire stretched from North Africa in the south to Hadrian's Wall in the north.')