The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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April 2018

Rembering Doris

Stephen Clarke

One of the bonuses of producing Lunchtime Literary Hours is doing the research!

Remembering Doris, our Literary Hour for Wed 18th April, is built round favourite poems and songs of the late Doris Asher, the former churchwarden and chair of Hampstead Players,  who died on 13th Jan 2017 aged 83. One of the poems she loved was Tom O’Bedlam, an anonymous work probably composed in the early seventeenth century.  Bedlam,  the madhouse referred to in both Doris’ poem and Shakespeare’s King Lear, was founded 300 years before Shakespeare was writing. The language of Tom O’Bedlam is so powerful that scholars speculate that bits may have been written by Shakespeare himself. Other verses carry (fortunately obscure) innuendos. Doris also liked Oscar Wilde as an irreverent art critic. Nature’s sunsets are,  Wilde argues, merely inferior versions of Turner’s paintings. And who remembers poets like Edward Thomas and Harold Monro? Well, Doris did, and their poems are well worth listening to.

1pm in church. Free but with  a retiring collection for the Fabric fund

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