You may have heard of Beaumarchais. He was a watchmaker, a publisher of Voltaire’s works, a gun runner for the rebels in the American Revolution, but most notably a playwright of works such as The Barber of Seville (which Mozart adapted into an opera.)
In Beaumarchais’s time, writers were not well paid. The theatres of Paris held a kind of monopoly, or cartel. They colluded together to keep writers’ fees down.
The Barber of Seville was one of the hits of 1775 and it continued bringing in audiences after that. But, despite the money that the theatres got from Beaumarchais’s popular play, his remuneration wasn’t very high.
So, in 1777, Beaumarchais led the other French writers in a strike. If they didn’t get paid more for their successful plays, they wouldn’t write at all.
This led to a scarcity of plays and forced theatre owners into negotiations.
Theatre owners now paid royalties, instead of just a flat fee for plays.
There are many great films about entrepreneurship, and the importance of a great team. Two of my favourite are the first Ghostbusters (1984) and the first Cool Runnings (1993). I haven’t seen the remake of Ghostbusters, I’m not a real fan of remakes.
Yes, Shakespeare mentioned the theatre in his plays, but none of his protagonists were full-time stage actors. Montaigne acknowledged what he was doing, but he didn’t go on and on about the craft of writing essays. Did Caxton repeatedly publish books about publishing? No. Not even film is this self-reflective of a medium.
In many cases, the medium has become the message, but not in the way that Marshall McLuhan meant. It’s not just that the Internet and social media have influenced the way we talk, they have become almost all that some people talk about. The medium is narcissistic. Continue reading “Our own version of Tay”
St Patrick’s day “a day always precious in the estimation of the Irishman, was celebrated yesterday at the Free Mason’s Tavern.” Reported the Morning Chronicle.
So the famous playright Sheridan, the Mayor of London, and a few other notables celebrated St. Patrick’s, so what? Well, unlike in previous years, British newspapers in 1812 saw trouble brewing in these celebrations.
2nd of January, 1812. London was the world’s financial capital, and “Boldero and Lushington” were one of the biggest and best known financial firms in 19th century London.
The firm started in 1738, under the name of “Thomas Miners.” In 1742, when Charles Boldero joined the firm, it became “Miners and Boldero.” As the Boldero family’s influence in the firm increased, so did both their fortunes.