Screwball comedy, murder, cross dressers, racism, sex, infidelity, suicide... no, not another weekend on Oldham's Yorkshire St, but recurring aspects featured in the work of William Shakespeare. In January I spent a month reading a few guide books to his stories (as I sure as shit cannot be arsed trying to read the original texts), all the while attempting (again) to perform the splits.
I've tried this reading-and-splits project a number of times before, only this time I had help: Robb, an ointment for relief from pain and, weirdly, nasal congestion (something I've dealt with over the last week, if you wanted to know). Sitting down with my legs apart in front of me, with my kitchen door frame in front of my torso, I'd pull myself in closer every couple of minutes while reading a book.
I gave it a good shot, but couldn't quite beat my July '16 record of 1m 65 between my heels. 1m 62 was the closest I got. Well, I'm 35, so it's not going to be as easy as it was. I used about 2/3 of a 25 ml pot of Robb; most of this went onto my inner thighs- some under my nostrils.
It seems like I hit a plateau with flexibility, but I'm keen to give it another 2 shots with other ointments, and other books.
And on the subject of books, what did I read?
York Notes: Twelfth Night
York's straight-talking, formal GCSE-level guides clearly outline the plots, characters and themes of plays and novels. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night tells you the basics of all you need to know, but their quizzes at the end of each scene require you to have read the actual text.
Letts Explore: Othello for GCSE
Letts publishes the most accessible, clearly-presented guides with synopses, characters, themes and scene breakdowns. I prefer these.
York Notes Advanced: Othello
The advanced versions of York's books are longer and more detailed, examining the plays to A-level standard. Plot strands, themes, meanings and character analyses are that little more in-depth, but tell you everything you need to know. As a tragedy, it's a great tale of soldiers, wars, backstabbing, murder, infidelity and racism. Worth a read.
I have more reading and flexibility / exercise ideas in the pipeline, not to mention a huge pile of unread books.