The Plastic Hippo

June 21, 2010

A midsummer night`s dream

Filed under: Literature,Politics — theplastichippo @ 8:21 pm

For some people, midsummer’s day is a cause for celebration and claim that the solstice is part of the collective unconscious that links us to a far older time. Others, aware of the significance of a mid-point, see the longest day as the onset of approaching dark, cold winter and grumble that it will not be long until Christmas. Perhaps the human condition is such that pessimism is always present in joy.

Shakespeare knew a thing or two about the myths, fantasy and mysticism surrounding the solstice and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream lots of magical and downright strange things take place. The bard must have consumed a lot of cheese the night before he came up with the plot involving a fairy queen falling in love with a ham actor called Bottom who has the head of an ass and the use of love potions to persuade characters to marry against their will or judgement is a little far-fetched. Thankfully, the 2010 summer solstice is not accompanied by such frivolous invention; our worries are more serious.

The lad from Stratford would have to eat huge amounts of very ripe Stilton before coming up with the current plot. A coalition government introduces an emergency budget that will target the poorest and most vulnerable to pay for the greed and incompetence of bankers who continue to award themselves massive, unearned bonuses. The love potion used on Clegg makes him believe that the position of Deputy Prime Minister is in some way useful or relevant and that betraying a business in his own constituency is a good idea and that Trident isn’t so bad after all. But the would-be Lysander should remember that “the course of true love never did run smooth” and he may soon find himself alone in the enchanted forest.

At noon on the longest day, street lamps burned in Walsall and the cash-strapped council are advertising discounts to fat people who join leisure centres condemned to closure. With an obesity rate of 22% in 11-year-old children, the council closes an outdoor education activity centre; you can almost smell the Gorgonzola. But the good news from government is that council tax will be frozen ensuring that Walsall keeps its artificially high tax burden as local services wither and died.”Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

The Stinking Bishop is reserved for the Labour party who are likely to appoint a ham actor called Balls who, when in power, made a complete Jabulani of education. He shares the same background and the same waxy Kraft cheese slice complexion of the other party leaders and when they are seen together, resemble a group of sales reps from Dorking organising a golfing weekend.

Even the rude mechanicals have been at the cheese board. Sulking in the Royal Bafokeng Hotel in Rustenburg after heroically failing to score a goal against the mighty Algeria, our boys seem more worried about loosing personal sponsorship and advertising revenue than loosing a game. If they have a fear, it will be the threat of legal action from Poundland following a drop in sales of cheap, plastic flags and if they have a dream “it shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream’, because it hath no bottom”.

At the end of A Midsummer Night`s Dream, the mischievous Puck lifts the magic spells and restores some semblance of order and then persuades the confused characters that they have experienced a dream. The sprite then addresses the audience:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear;
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.”

Puck will not be around in the morning and we may find that when we wake up, the nightmare we are having is about to come true.

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