As I write this Icky Thump month has begun. Yep, that’s right: Halloween! And outside it is cold and rainy! In October! One wonders how much it must suck to be a weatherman these days! Can they even forecast the weather anymore, other than saying that Winter will probably be colder than Summer? We were warned that there would be no Spring rain this year, a pretty safe bet considering that we have been experiencing a severe drought for the past three years. Water restrictions, the whole end of times scenario, but, yay, we are having great Spring rains and no more drought and water restrictions. So sorry, weather guys, glad you were wrong in this case. But the rain has brought some seriously cold weather with it. Well, I mean, seriously cold for a semi-tropical region, 15 degrees celsius…in Spring! Weird!


Anyway, so yeah, spooky weather for the spooky month, which brings me to my spooky topic: the play that may not be mentioned! I recently saw a movie that had Glenn Close playing an actress who was playing Lady Macbeth. The opening scene of this Merchant Ivory film, Heights (2004), features Close as a stage and screen actress of renown, is very powerful. Her character is giving a master class in Shakespeare to a group of Juilliard drama students who are acting out a scene from the play that may not be mentioned (Macbeth). She is so incensed by their passionless performance that she charges up onto the stage to give them hell. “These are fiery people!” she screams, referring to the play’s characters. She laments the lack of passion she sees in their performances and then more broadly, in the world. “We’re not passionate people, we’re tepid voyeurs!” she says of humanity. Isn’t that so true of this social media-obsessed world we live in? She ends the class by telling the students, “And, for Christ’s sake, take a risk sometime this weekend!” Close really gives an amazing performance in the movie as well as delivering some really memorable quotes:

“Shakespeare’s worst is still better than anyone else’s best.”


So why the strange traditions and superstitions associated with Shakespeare’s Macbeth?  The tragedy of Macbeth is considered so unlucky that it is never called by name inside the theatrical profession. It is referred to as that play, the Scottish play or the Bard’s Play. These are all euphemisms and reference the play’s Scottish setting or Shakespeare’s popular nickname. According to a theatrical superstition called the Scottish curse, speaking the name Macbeth inside a theatre will cause disaster. The theory goes that Shakespeare actually included actual black magic spells in the incantations of the witches (see Act IV, Scene 1):


SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.


(Thunder) Enter the three Witches

First Witch:

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

Second Witch:

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch:

Harpier cries ‘Tis time, ’tis time.

First Witch:

Round about the cauldron go;

In the poison’d entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch:

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch:

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.


Hell! Just reading those lines is enough to make a believer of me of curses and bumps and thumps and slithers and all icky things of the night! Love Shakespeare:)


Anyway, speaking about strange and unusual…again: I have just completed the second week of my fast in preparation for my performance artwork in 4 weeks times. I mentioned to a good friend of mine that I had been doing research on military conscription for my Masters dissertation and had found it a little disconcerting. My research has been bringing back a lot of memories of my time as a conscript, and my experiences in the military; some good, many bad. As I put it to her, it’s kind of like finding all of a sudden that you are still scared of the bogey man like when you were a child. And this, made all the more unreal by my fasting. Ghosts of my past haunting me…

I am going to end off by recommending a really fun Halloween movie. It is good for adults and children, and is hilarious! And it also has three witches in it! It is called Hocus Pocus (1993) and is a Disney film. Yep, good clean fun!


It has all the creepy and the scary without resorting to the blood and the gore and the just plain nasty! And that, dear reader, is my post for this Halloween:)


PS: Is it weird that I find SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker) seriously hot as a wicked, child-eating witch? Far more so then as Carrie in Sex and the City.