Tag Archives: music

Morrissey’s Autobiography and the Problem With Defining A Classic…

Today my colleague sent me an interesting article from Publishing Perspectives which asked, if Morrissey is a Penguin Classic, why not Elton John?

The article makes some interesting points about devaluing a respected brand to soothe a celebrity’s ego and you do have to wonder what the editor was thinking. Did Morrissey demand to have his autobiography published in the Penguin Classics series? Is the publication of Morrissey’s biography in the Penguin Classics some kind of stunt? Does it matter anyway?

Neither my colleague or I have read the Morrissey autobiography but it did lead to an interesting discussion about what can be considered a classic. I argued that a classic has to have gained some sort of critical praise from readers across a significant period of time, it’s not a label which can be instantly applied- in the same way that you can’t call a book which has yet to be released a bestseller. But that’s a pretty vague and fuzzy definition in itself.

What makes a book a classic for you?


Shakespeare’s Birthday Playlist

Shakespeare's Birthday Playlist Happy 499th birthday, Mr Shakespeare! Following on from my post about my favourite Shakespeare Inspired Songs last year, I thought I would really liven the party up with a Shakespeare inspired playlist from my Spotify account. Let me know if there’s anything great that I’m missing and I’ll make sure I add it (Phantom Siren sent me some great suggestions last year).





So we have a mixture of songs about Shakespeare plays, songs inspired by Shakespeare lines and a few sonnets set to music… Now all we need is some Shakespeare style party food and we’ll have a good thing going.

Look what I found in Waterstones…

On Saturday I went into Waterstones, Oxford and found myself in the middle of a Regency style musical performance. I was a little annoyed that the crowd which had formed around the performers meant that I could get nowhere near the fiction books I’d planned to spend half an hour browsing, but when I heard Austentation (there to mark 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice being published) performing Greensleeves– which is one of my favourite folk songs- I quickly forgave the disruption!

Austentation Oxford

No chance of getting at those books without the right costume!

Top 5 Shakespeare Inspired Pop Songs

April 23rd was an important date in the life of Mr William Shakespeare- he died 396 years ago today, and is estimated to have been born 448 years ago today as a record of his baptism was dated April 26th 1564 though the actual date of his birth is unknown.

To celebrate this date in a slightly different way, I thought I would share with you a playlist of my Top 5 Shakespeare Inspired Songs. And yes, it’s a little dominated by Romeo and Juliet but that’s because it’s cool, okay?

1. Dire Straits- Romeo and Juliet

This is my absolute favourite Shakespeare inspired song, and with lines like “You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin. Now you just say, “Oh Romeo, yeah, y’know I used to have a scene with him,” how could I not? A bit of a bittersweet one for me because it reminds me of a good friend who is no longer in my life.

 MC Lars- Hey There Ophelia

If you haven’t experience MC Lars yet, you need to check him out of Spotify or Facebook then buy his albums. So many of his songs are funny, clever takes on classic literature, but this is one of my favourites. An emo retelling of Hamlet, this is brilliant example of textual transformation but with a damn catchy chorus. I just love the end:

“If you’re ever up in Denmark on a moonlit night
You’ll hear Ophelia’s sad song when the full moon’s bright
Baby I’m sorry I messed up, good night my sweet princess
May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” –MC Lars

 Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More

Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, it depends whether I’m after a tragedy or comedy but I just can’t get enough of B+B’s love hate relationship. I also love Hey Nonny Nonny. I especially enjoy singing it to the tune I learned in the Kenneth Brannagh version. Quoting almost directly from the play in places, Mumford and Sons have created their own eerie take with this song which to me follows some of Claudio’s character progression.

 Taylor Swift- Love Story

Okay, so Taylor may have changed the story a little bit in this song? But who cares?! I studied this play through school and university, taught it to numerous classes when I was teaching and have seen it performed countless times. And I still hold out hope that fate will let the star-crossed lovers wriggle through her net.

 We The Kings – Check Yes Juliet

If Romeo had ever been in a power pop band… okay, it’s a little more tenuous than the others, but don’t let that bother you. Just turn it up, jump around the bedroom singing, “Forever we’ll beeeeeeeeeee, you and me.” Try it. You’ll like it.

What are your favourite Shakespeare inspired songs? I’ll add them to my playlist, cos I’m cool like that…