Be Sure To Keep Your Knickers On!

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~ A Rhyme for Spring ~

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Winter packed a bag for Spring
Stay warm, she said, it’s chill
And always have your knickers on
I will, said Spring, I will

Watch out for Summer, Winter said
He’ll blind you with his light
And try to get your knickers off
I might, said Spring, I might

Winter sewed a dress for Spring
Beware the wind may blow
Be sure to have your knickers on
I know, said Spring, I know

Watch out for Summer, don’t forget
He’ll take you to his bed
And then he’ll take your knickers off
I know, said Spring, you said

Winter made a cake for Spring
And put a charm inside
To make you keep your knickers on
Oh no, said Spring, and sighed

Watch out for Summer’s little tricks
And don’t be fooled, my child
He’ll want to take your knickers off
I know, said Spring, and smiled

Winter made a crown for Spring
Of light and darkness linked
Be sure to keep your knickers on!
Of course, said Spring, and winked

*

© Gail Foster March 23rd 2019

This rhyme was written for and performed at the Spring Equinox Gorsedd of Caer Abiri, Avebury, England

 

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‘As You Like It’ at The Wharf Theatre

 

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I went to the dress rehearsal for the Wharf Theatre’s production of ‘As You Like It’, directed by Liz Sharman, on Sunday.

Described as a pastoral comedy, ‘As You Like It’ is thought to have been written in 1599 and would have been played to an audience of mixed social status and varying degrees of education.  Not being familiar with the play I did some reading before I went, and not for the first time was amazed at the extraordinary level of analysis that has been applied to it over the years.

What if sometimes Shakespeare just wrote stuff for fun?

‘As You Like It’ is a story of lovers and fools, relationships and rivalry, romance and reconciliation.

Duke Senior, having been deposed by his brother Duke Frederick, has set up camp in the Forest of Arden.  Back in the court his daughter Rosalind has fallen in love with Orlando, the son of one of Duke Frederick’s enemies, during a wrestling match arranged by Orlando’s brother Oliver in order to get rid of him.

Asa result of the wrestling match both Rosalind and Orlando are separately cast out of the court.  Rosalind dresses as a man and takes to the forest with Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter, who disguises herself as Rosalind’s sister, and Touchstone, a jester.  Orlando, accompanied by his elderly servant Adam, also takes to the forest, and occupies himself looking for Rosalind and leaving appalling poetry in trees.

Other characters of note are Jacques, a fool/traveller/hermit, shepherds Corin, Silvius and Phoebe, and Audrey, a goatherd, and smaller parts include a vicar, the Spirit of Summer, singers and minor lords.

The set was simple and effective, with a plain white backdrop and flowers, and trees indicated by struts of wood and subtle coloured shadows.  Characters were dressed in a combination of Victorian and present-day dress, and the songs (there are more songs in this than in any other Shakespeare play) were folky and traditional with hey nonny nos and contemporary overtones.

Actors, then; what struck me most was the different ways they handled the complex script.  There are two ways to read Shakespeare, full on theatrical and naturalistic, and both styles were mingled here with good results.  Whilst it was easy to spot the trained actors in this show everyone delivered their lines well and there were very few hiccups.

Helen Langford played a feisty and modern Rosalind (the largest female part in Shakespeare) with admirable principal boy verve and mischief, and Lucy Upward gave a fine performance as her cousin and confidante, Celia.  Lewis Cowen was suitably regal and wise as Duke Senior, and Phil Greenaway (in his first Shakespeare role), and Duncan Delmar played Orlando and Silvius respectively in endearingly hapless and lovelorn fashion.

But it was the fools who stole the show for me.  There’s a lot about foolishness and wisdom in this play, and it is the fools and the folk of the fields who have the best lines.

‘All the world’s a stage’ muses the melancholy and world-weary Jacques, played by Oli Beech with glorious floridity, and ‘The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool’ says Touchstone, played as a charismatic Northern lad by Daz Beatson.

‘As You Like It’ is full of sage advice on love and life, comedy moments, and fine little intricate speeches.  I enjoyed Touchstone’s explanation of the seven causes and Jacques’ performance of the seven ages of man; I laughed at the vicar on the scooter and the phrases ‘country copulatives’ and ‘the horn, the horn, the lusty horn’, at Abigail Newton’s hilarious portrayal of Audrey the clumsy goatherd, at the sheep noises (not sure I was supposed to laugh at that bit), and at Orlando’s terrible poetry; I thought the wrestling was exciting, and the music wistful (credit to Stuart Mayling for his musical and wrestling skills), and I liked the wordplay.

And I looked for the grand themes referred to in my researches on Google.

Echoes of Ecclesiastes, echoes of Arcadia – oh it’s deep enough in places, and the more intellectual types in Shakespeare’s audience would have found plenty to delight them. You could analyse this play till the sheep come home (four centuries of analysis, for goodness’ sake!) but it is predominantly a wild and witty romp, and I think Liz Sharman’s wonderfully lively and watchable production hit exactly the right note.

Shakespeare wrote this for fun, and The Wharf Theatre’s production of ‘As You Like It’ is a fun show.

Shakespeare, fun?  Yes, really!

Well done.

*

© Gail Foster 11th March 2019

(review and photographs)

Health Thai Massage, Chippenham; a review

I’m sure I’m not the only person to have walked past the new Thai Massage place on Station Hill in Chippenham and made certain sniggery presumptions about seedy and stereotypical ‘happy endings’.

This isn’t that sort of place at all, and those in need of sexual relief would be best advised to walk on by.   What goes on here is authentic Thai and oil massage, delivered in a clean, safe, and comfortable environment by professional masseuses Nui, the proprietor, and Kadek, her experienced colleague.

Massage is a fascinating and intimate thing to photograph.

I would describe Sue as an advanced customer.  She’d been to yoga before coming in and is very flexible.  I watch in awe as Nui, the proprietor, bends her into shapes I didn’t know were possible, throws her around, treads all over her, pummels her, and pulls her about.  ‘It’s all about energy’ says Nui, ‘I give my energy to her’.  I watch Nui’s face as she thoughtfully considers her next move, feeling her way on Sue’s body with feet, hands, and elbows, rolling on her and pressing on particular points (‘Who does that?’ says Sue, her face a picture of radiant delight as Nui finds just the right place on her inner arm to apply pressure).

Whilst the acrobatics are interesting to watch, it’s the hands that get me.  The hands and the feet and the head.  Knots and pools of tension we don’t realise we have released from places we are rarely touched.  It’s so moving watching the effect that the massage has on Sue, and how she responds to Nui’s alternately firm and gentle manipulations.

‘Oooo!’ says Sue, as yet again Nui hits the spot, ‘Ah’ and ‘Mmm’ and ‘Oh!’.

The massage lasts an hour, during which time Sue, who had been bendy and cheerful enough when she came in, is reduced to a profoundly relaxed and blissed out jelly.

As she is leaving a Mum comes in with her little girl, and Nui agrees a half an hour session with her, and twenty minutes with her daughter.  Not everyone is as used to long vigorous massage as Sue is, and Nui will be careful to ask about health conditions and take it gently with novice customers.   They had a lady of eighty in the other day, men are booking their partners in for sessions, and couples can be booked in at the same time.

Word is clearly getting around that Thai Massage Chippenham is not just for men.

When you have a Thai massage you keep your clothes on, and when you have the oil massage, in which only pure coconut oils are used, the body is covered with towels to preserve modesty should that be required.

Security cameras are installed on the premises for everyone’s safety.

This isn’t a whore house.

Nor is it Champneys.

It’s a respectable no frills establishment in the centre of Chippenham where you can go and get a deep and powerful, or soft and sensuous (that’s sensuous, not sexual), Thai massage and know that you are in good hands.

What a wonderful thing to photograph.

Look at Sue’s face!

Health Thai Massage Chippenham.

Give it a go.

© Gail Foster 16th February 2019

(click on this link for more information)

 

My Valentine

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An erotic sonnet for Valentine’s Day

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It’s Valentine’s, and hopeful lovers wait
By letterbox and bed with bated breath
While legions of the lonely masturbate
And weep into their tea and wait for death
It’s Valentine’s, a time when teddy bears
Imprisoned in balloons are sent to say
I love you, be the answer to my prayers
And let me fuck you later on today
It’s Valentine’s. Oh go on, if I must
Bare all I’m glad to bare it all for you
I lay my rhyme before you and my lust
And naked raw desire as lovers do
My Valentine. How I burn for your cock
My Valentine. You turn me on. You rock

*

© Gail Foster 14th February 2019

Parliaments of the Absurd

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? Is there a word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
The disappointment, disbelief –
As if a word would give relief
A’s for Arseholes and Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – is there a word?

The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!
There’s unicorns upon his gown!
The Emperor! How bright his crown!
All hail! We follow him to town
(‘Dear God, he’s got his cock out!’ ‘Quite’)
The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!

There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do –
A piss up in a brewery
An Emperor, who seems to me
To have his cock out – do you see
The tumbleweed and smell the poo?
There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? There is no word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
Distrust, disgust, and disbelief –
There are no words to give relief
In Parliaments of the Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – there is no word

© Gail Foster 30th January 2019

Within the Silence and the Still, the Light

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I heard an infant crying in the night

A new born lamb come mewling to the fold

It’s writ on ancient stone in words of old

‘Within the silence and the still, the light’

The moon is high, the mistle berry white

The ice shines in the darkness, in the cold

The stars are born, as all the bards foretold

Within the silence and the still, the light

Insists itself, as soft at first and slight

White shifts within the mist upon the wold

That lift as it comes rising rose and gold

Within the silence and the still, The Light!

New born in winter, beautiful and bright

Within the silence and the still, the light

*

© Gail Foster 21st December 2018