They were bewailing the decision of English Heritage to outlaw any further excavations on the buried ruins of the theatre. The empty Grade II listed building that stands above it is to be converted into luxury flats and English Heritage say further excavations would mean the building's demolition. Nonsense, says Rylance. They would not disturb the flats at all with the minimal drilling that the research needs. But English Heritage is adamant and Southwark Borough Council has decreed "the permanent burial and commemoration" of the Globe's remains.
The research into the original Globe would have determined the size and shape of the stage of Shakespeare's theatre. Rylance's eyes blazed as he compared it to finding a new play. Cutting off this research mid-stream is something we might expect of property developers, but of the government's advisory body on preserving our heritage! It is simply scandalous. I would go much further than Rylance and ask why there has to be a building above the original Globe at all. Aren't there enough luxury flats in London? Shakespeare's theatre should be excavated completely and become a tourist attraction and centre of scholarship and historical research in itself. It would be in America, where they seem to honour England's heritage rather more than does English Heritage.
Here is a joke told at the Comedy Store in London last Monday. What do you call a cloud with legs? Answer: a sheep. And it wasn't even the way he tells 'em. The Comedy Store was hosting an evening of German humour with a gathering of German comedians giving a bemused, if not always amused, audience an insight into that country's famous funny bone. Here is another joke that failed to have them wetting themselves. "Captain Kirk had to get the Starship Enterprise fixed. He asked Scotty how long it would take. Scotty answered, four weeks." Geddit? I'll explain anyway. Apparently waiting four weeks to have even a terrestrial contraption fixed in Germany is unthinkable. Not surprisingly, this concept didn't translate very well. The funniest moment for me came when one of the German comedians questioned the Comedy Store management backstage about the billing for the evening which was called: "They always win on penalties." It's just a joke, he was assured. "But it's not true. We have a better football team," the baffled comic insisted. Euro-comedy may be one area where we will never get a single currency.
A press release arrives from architect Sir Norman Foster saluting the success of a campaign he "launched last year" to clear car-parking from Horse Guards Parade in London. Could this campaign be in any way related to the campaign we launched in The Independent in 1994 to clear car-parking from Horse Guards Parade in London? Sir Norman is not alone. At least one other newspaper has claimed the campaign as its own. C'est la vie.
More importantly, it is worth remembering that our campaign to clear parked cars from cultural and historic buildings and surrounding spaces has not yet had total success. Horse Guards is a victory, despite the squeals of anger from Downing Street civil servants who parked there. The Royal Academy and the Courtauld Institute are certainly on the way to removing cars from their historic forecourts. But the British Museum, our biggest tourist attraction, is proving intractable. Its forecourt, which could have sculptures and an outdoor cafe, is blocked with staff cars. Shame on them.Reuse content