While the Cotswolds cling tenaciously to their olden ways,
Stratford-upon-Avon has embraced the commercial potential of Shakespeare to its fullest extent.
May 22-23, 1999
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous exploit, or to take up arms against a sea of puns, and by opposing, so end them....
All of a sudden we experienced the crowds tourists should always expect. If Stratford-upon-Avon ever tried to resist the urge to loose its quaintness, it long since lost the battle and embraced commercialization. In the words of Iago: "therefore I tell thee put money in thy pocket!"
We noticed quickly that the tourists all shared something in common. We were all native English speakers. Not a single Asian, French or German tourist to be found. Interesting...
This was the one place everybody visited. For about 30 seconds each. This is the reported birthplace of Shakespeare and was harder to get alone than Stonehenge. (We actually had to resort to electronic tricks to remove the last pesky tourist from this frame.) Trying to get the subject alone was an experience in noticing the patterns of people. They'd smile, look it over for no more than 5 seconds. Turn to their friends, get their mug next to the plaster, say cheese, look again, then go on. Over and over again.
But if you ever come to Stratford-upon-Avon, we advise not missing the Royal Shakespeare Company. We got to see Othello and Midsummer Night's Dream and they were both excellent (though for our money the Othello production was head and shoulders above the Dream).
But this is England, so you can't squash all quaintness out of it. Here we see an old tractor pulling a sign encouraging people to "Buy local and Buy British." Do they realize how many non-British are in their target audience?
And not all the local architecture is spoilt. Here's one home dating from who knows how old which managed to avoid being plastered with signs.
Henry's holding a bag with something he bought just down the street...
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