On This Day, August 12

Posted on 12th Aug 2012 by ian under On This Day | No Comments »

Welcome to Monday!

It was on this day in 30BC Cleopatra committed suicide, aged 39.  While she ruled over Egypt and romped about with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony she probably springs to mind first as looking like Elizabeth Taylor.  She probably wasn’t as classically beautiful but she was certainly witty, charming, sexy and seductive.

I was fortunate enough to see a production of Antony and Cleopatra at Stratford on Avon, starring Glenda Jackson as Cleo.  Jackson wasn’t what you would call a classic beauty either but she was enthralling, seductive and brilliant.

And it isn’t one of Shakespeare’s best plays.  Incidentally, folklore has it that Cleo died after she whacked a nasty little serpent called an asp to her breast.  It is possible that this was poetic license on Shakespeare’s part and that she got it to bite her arm, with the veins giving a quicker outcome.

In 1851, Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his new-fangled sewing machine.  I wonder what happened to the antique ones in my grandmother’s house?  They were probably taken to the tip when the newer-fangled electric ones came onto the market.  Dammit.

In 1883, in a zoo in Amsterdam, the last quagga died – it was a close relation to the zebra.  Sad.

To those born on this day…

In 1931, one of the best American screenwriters, William Goldman – in case you missed him in the credits – Harper, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, The Princess bride, Misery, A Bridge too Far…

In 1949, British songwriter and guitarist, Mark Knopfler.  Yes, his band, Dire Straits, had all the hits but my favourite guitar piece is his solo, Going Home, from the movie Local Hero. here is a lovely live version… both pensive and uplifting

And finally, in 1963, American rapper, Sir Mix-a-Lot – don’t know what he did but just love that name.