Friday, 15 January 2016

Burn, bonfires, clear and bright

Bonfire night at Bolton Abbey in 2015

Fire burns and cauldron bubble

No sooner does Bowie die, but so does the elegant and gorgeously-voiced Alan Rickman, an actor I’ve long admired on both stage and screen. And both aged 69. Uncanny. Coincidental. I first got to know Alan Rickman in the RSC season where he played Achilles in Troilus and Cressida and Jacques in As You Like It. As Jacques says to conclude the “All the World’s a Stage” speech:
                             Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Alan Rickman in As You Like It and Troilus and Cressida
One fire burns out another’s burning
Memories of last November have leapt into my blog. Something about burning as a ritual of moving on, purging, cleansing... When Benvolio says “One fire burns out another’s burning,” in Romeo and Juliet, he goes on to say that
One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish....
One desperate grief cures with another's languish:
Take thou some new infection to thy eye,
And the rank poison of the old will die.
Can we forget and burn away sorrows?
Ozymandias
Does Alan Rickman’s death mean Bowie’s is less painful? Should the deaths of famous people affect an ordinary person at all? The ending of Shelley's short but perfectly formed poem Ozymandias captures the sense of life's futility:
                                     Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Why pictures of 2015 bonfire night at Bolton Abbey?

Why not? Everything turns to ashes. Ashes to ashes. But from the ashes new life can spring. And will spring. A phoenix will rise. Come on, 2016, flame on!
The Human Torch from Marvel's The Fantastic 4