The bishop of Rouen tapped his foot impatiently and wiped the sweat off his mitred brow. He hated public burnings. They took forever. He wondered idly, as a jagged coronet of flame encircled the high-piled dais, if her fabled voices had finally deserted her. The voices that had given a shepherdess the words to challenge kings. The voices of a girl who led an army. As her eyes blazed at him through a chink in the roaring curtain, his soul was suddenly burned with understanding. She raised her mouth to the Heavens; and her lips formed a single fire-blackened word.
PROFILE: THE KING’S JESTER
by Helena Handcart
I have arranged with Yorick’s PA to meet him at the Nunnery, a popular vegetarian tapas bar on the outskirts of Copenhagen. The owners market it as the best place in Denmark to see and be seen, owing to their monopoly on candles.
The choice of venue surprises me. As anyone who’s seen his stand-up material will know, the country’s most famous comedian has built up a reputation for gluttony and overindulgence. One comic paroxysm away from rolling in the aisles himself, this is a man who used to end his routines by challenging hecklers to shed the first stone.
He has always been supremely comfortable in his own skin. Skin, he likes to say, which would be loose-fitting on a rhinoceros. It is in part the lightness with which he bears this colossal weight that has earned him such success on the Danish comedy circuit. ‘A fellow of infinite jest’, writes one reviewer, ‘wont to set the table on a roar,’ promises another.
Despite his recent meteoric rise to fame,Yorick still maintains a rigorous gigging schedule which, as he drily puts it, is wearing him to the bone. He has come straight from work, so is simply dressed in a tricorn hat with floppy corners and golden bells hanging from the tips. His shabby diamond-patterned onesie has already started to fade, with tobacco stains clearly visible on the red and black fabric.
He has also naturally brought his famous skull, neatly wrapped inside his famous head.