Meet me on my horse in eight seconds

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From a time of life when I had leisure and limited tools, the intention to interpret deeply.

We – my peers and me, in different times, different places, and with different dubbed copies from household VCRs – watched again and again this scene, this season, this series. It became, as texts do, part of the teenage patois. Which was your favourite line?

Flashheart was both anachronism and relict of his imagined time: equal parts Renaissance shapeshifter (Marlowe walking to the tavern; Hawkins casting off for the Indies) and 70s horndog. With loudness and lust one could navigate the court and the world, turning gender and sexual tastes upside down in a manner that included, momentarily, everyone.

This miniature carnivale stayed with me, not only in its performance (the fey, innocent Bob suddenly the agent of gender confusion) but also in the dream of its writing. Here was a group of writers and performers who seemed to know something I had hoped to be true: that everyone might have a stake in desire, no matter their age or gender or social standing, and that to blow up this notion, with this character and in this way – “Woof!” – might not only be funny but also fun. Flashheart, in silliness and in chutzpah, was a man for a hopeful future.

(In memoriam Rik Mayall.)

 

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