Books: Michelle spends Bloomsday in Bed

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Izzie finds a good use for Ulysses
How it’s New York: I was in me bed upstate!
How it’s Irish: the BBC produce an all-day radio adaptation of Ulysses on Bloomsday
Bloomsday was almost a month ago. This summer is flying by! One voice not heard from in all of our posts- this one on the luncheon, this one on the readings at Ulysses Folk House, and this one on the re-enactment of the obscenity trial!) was that of Books Editor Michelle Woods. Now the truth comes out: she was lying in bed with the dog and cat…listening to Ulysses on the radio!

The headline says it all. If I’d been Ulysses, even Poseidon would have given up. Molly would have had nowhere to shout Yesyesyes, because I would have been hogging the bed.

Having never suffered from insomnia before (mixed with a nice dose of jetlag) the last two or three weeks have been tough. But, as dawn broke (rosy-fingered, let’s go all Homer here) on Bloomsday, the one advantage to being awake was listening in to BBC Radio 4’s all-day adaptation of Ulysses. From 9am through to midnight (4am till 5pm NY time), the BBC ran a seven-hour version, interspersed by live programs from Dublin and various Joyceana inbetween.
The wonderful Henry Goodman starred as Leopold Bloom – Goodman has an amazing turn as Shylock in a National Theatre DVD version of The Merchant of Venice

Humane, cunning, distraught. Andrew Scott – who plays a very camp Moriarty on the BBC’s Sherlock– was pitch-perfect as Stephen. Insufferable but low-key. His straight delivery of some of the big lines – cracked looking glass, history is a nightmare – you know the stuff – made me laugh out loud. It was the first time I really heard them as funny.  I kept missing Niamh Cusack as Molly, but have the podcast for later. Stephen Rea narrated.

Michelle and Lenny

There were some odd moments. The 9am live magazine program, Saturday Live, had a couple of the first episodes from Ulysses, some short segments from Dublin, but in between they had some of their typical type of guests. An exorcist bishop – a deadpan Episcopalian – described the process. He was preceded by a screenwriter who told a story about going to meet a literary agent, when the agent’s young assistant came in with coffee. It was none other than the daughter the screenwriter gave up at 16 – the assistant recognized her name. I felt like Bloom perusing the papers.
Also, check out the BBC podcast for the program In Our Time – the endearingly grumpy Melvyn Braggdoes a good roundtable of academics on various subjects and last week’s was on Ulysses.
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