Monday, 15 June 2020

We're all mad here!

The Mad Hatter*
Madness, people, that's what's on my mind, as it were. Not that I think I'm mad, you understand -  would I know? - it's just that the world has gone a bit crazy. You don't need me to tell you why.

Have you been watching the National Theatre At Home? What a treat these YouTube presentations have been, although I did baulk at Coriolanus. The current production, available until 7pm on 18th June, is The Madness of King George III. Of course, you had me at Alan Bennett, for it is his play. If you've seen the film and think you know this work, you don't. Watch the theatrical version. Mark Gatiss is extraordinary. It's all a long way from Mr Chinnery, the hapless vet in The League of Gentlemen.

As I type this, I have the Queen song in my head: 'I'm Going Slightly Mad', which I repeat I'm not. Apologies if I've just introduced an earworm, by the way.

One of the few quotes I can remember from school is 'Great wits are sure to madness near alli'd / And thin partitions do their bounds divide' from John Dryden's 'Absalom and Achitophel'. I love this. It's the explanation for mad professors and eccentric geniuses.

Sidenote: John Dryden was born in Aldwincle, which is village not from where I live, a fact I discovered when doing research for Harmonium, a project I did with Deep Roots Tall Trees dancetheatre.

A more recent quote I have taken to heart comes to me via Rebecca Solnit's book Wanderlust (as mentioned here last week), in which she quotes Leslie Stephen (Virginia Woolf's father): 'Walking is the best of panaceas for the morbid tendencies of authors.'

You see? I'm not mad, I'm a genius. And even if I were going slightly mad, I only need go for a walk to shake it off.

Pass me my boots.

*Image from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Children's Press, 1967 edition


  1. So really, really smart people have to go for lots of walks or they'll go mad. I actually have an ear worm right now because they had soft, elevator-type music at the store where I went earlier today. Now Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" is stuck in my head!

  2. As you know so well we are definitely "all mad here" ... sending much love over and looking forward to reunion times!