Tag Archive: death

RIP Rik Mayall

Drop Dead Fred

Comedy genius and actor Rik Mayall passed away today at age 56. I’m sure most people have no idea who he was and I probably would’ve been the same about 10 years ago. I actually first discovered him in the corny, bizarre, but really funny 1991 film Drop Dead Fredthough I had no idea it was him until years later. In fact, I for some reason always confused him with Aussie comedian Yahoo Serious. I didn’t really appreciate him until I saw him in the BBC Comedy Blackadder from the 1980s, where he played the outrageous and hilarious Lord Flashheart in the second Elizabethan-era season of the show, as well as in the fourth season as WWI flying ace for the RAF. He’s such a great character because he only appears for a short amount of time but is always more popular and steals the ladies from the main character Blackadder (masterfully played by Rowan Atkinson). Mayall is quoted as saying this after being offered the part of Flashheart, “I was surprised when they asked me. Very honouring that they asked me. ‘Alright,’ I said, ‘I’ll do it as long as I get more laughs than Rowan.'” Mayall is one of the reasons season two of Blackadder is my favorite one. He’s also really famous for the alternative comedy shows The Young Ones, The New Statesman, and Bottom. He will be missed. To see more of his best work, check out this article from The Independent. Below is my favorite clip of his:


As I said in yesterday’s post, it was World Book Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also apparently the anniversary of the death of Miguel Cervantes, author of the classic Don Quixote. “To celebrate World Book Night, the second time this event has been held, authors, booksellers, librarians, publishers and simply passionate literary fiends gave away 500,000 free memoirs, novels and non-fiction titles in the United States and 1 million in the United Kingdom, where it was started last year.” The article that the preceeding quote comes from describes how librarians stood outside New York’s Public Library last night and handed out copies of books to passersby. I think this is a fantastic idea and a good way to get people not only reading, but also into libraries themselves. If they publicized the event more, just think of how many people could be reached with these free books!

Speaking of Shakespeare, I wanted to share this link I found today. I also  figured I would talk about him a bit and share some things with you. I have not read all of his plays, but I loved reading his plays in high school and college, and my favorites would probably be Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing. My favorite movie versions of the plays are Franco Zefferelli’s 1968 Romeo & Juliet, Kenneth Branaugh’s Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, the 1999 Midsummer’s Night’s Dream (though I was very surprised to see a semi-nude very young Judi Dench as Tatania in the 1968 Royal Shakespeare Company film version), and the 1948 version of The Taming of the Shrew done as the movie Kiss Me Kate (which not only has some of the best songs in movie musical history but also some of the best dancing, courtesy of the legendary Bob Fosse, Ann Miller and Tommy Rall). Now the last film makes me want to talk about classic movie musicals, but I’ll leave that for another day’s post. What are some of your favorite Shakespeare plays and why?

Ok I will admit it. I own a Kindle, even though I said I would never own one because I loved holding real books and reading them way better. Mine, however, was free and the most I’ve paid for a book on it is $3. I like that there are so many books in one place and somewhere down the line I will probably get a fancier one (mine is a Kindle version 2 and I would like a Kindle Fire). I do not ever plan on getting rid of all of my personal collection of books though it has been weened down since we moved to the new house (out of necessity more than choice). This guy knows what I mean when I talk about actual copies of books, and I particularly like this quote from the article: “To my mind, there’s something comforting about holding a book.  It’s a tactile pleasure to feel the lightness or the heft, to see the tattered edges of a used book jacket (or the crisp, glossy cover of a new one), to savor the distinctive smell of a dusty old used tome, to flip through its pages while absorbing all the enriching literary treasures that lie within.”

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