Macbeth and Other Mixed Metaphors

Friday Night, Holy Night; all is calm, all is bright. My response to the various days of the week has been conditioned entirely by my school and work experience. Sundays were always dull as hell, dead as a doornail, the equivalent of mounting the steps to the scaffold, to the accompaniment of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. Monday was the sad and hopeless slide into shark-infested waters, with attacks and panic continuing into Wednesday, the halfway point in the slough of despond from which continuing is the only option as returning would be just as difficult and fraught with danger, and in the case of time of course impossible. At this spiritually dead point of the week, as Macbeth has it, ‘I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er’ (Act 3, scene 4).

However, from that point the hacking trail through the jungle, to continue mixing metaphors, is considerably easier on the mind and body. Thursday to me has always been the high point of the week because from here the weekend can be viewed as a cystalline entity, untouched as yet, for once Saturday has arrived I am already eating into the sacred thing and it is reducing and disappearing by the second, like a handful of sand on the seashore escaping through the fingers. Friday is actually the empyrean, the perfect day, and as Thursday is the day before that it makes Thursday the positively sacred axis of the whole week. By the time Saturday arrives we are back in the gravitational field of Sunday and being inescapably sucked down into the darkness of that unholiest of days and the long, dark and painful trek through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, which is Monday and Tuesday, beyond.

Now that I am a gentleman of leisure there is no need for these weekly histrionics, but the old habits die hard. I suppose the advantage in lockdown times is that the week has a very clearly defined backbone for me, rather than all the days merging into one featureless plain as they apparently do for many others. Each day too has a structure within the weekly structure. I never liked shopping, and the only thing I really miss is dining out and possibly going to the theatre. And travel of course.

With my birthday coming up, I look forward to receiving the best version of Massenet’s Werther on CD, and a biography of Sir Thomas Browne. Glancing at the zodiac, I see that I have ‘an experimental and passionate nature’ and that in all matters of life I ‘display great passion and intensity’. There you go.

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