My idea of rewriting the life of the sainted Bard has already met a few glitches. The Kindle, at 99p, looks fine, and the paperback, costing a hardly extortionate £4.25, looks even better. But on the Amazon page, I failed to point out it is a comedy – featuring Will Shakespeare as a lowly junior reporter on Ye Globe!
I’ve already had some letters saying that he was not like that at all! Judging from his later writing he was not a hapless drunken hack, but the greatest playwright of all time, despite the odd fact that he couldn’t even spell his own name.
I called Anne Hathaway Anne Hathadose as well, which didn’t help at all. Some people thought it bordered on the rude, though God knows how they would have survived Elizabeth England. Hathaway, Hathadose, Shagsper, Shaksper, Shaxpur, who gave a flying fart?
I could say that the pace of modern publishing is no great help, but I doubt that it would get me off the hook. When I recall that my first book – Albeson and the Germans – did not fall into my hot little hands until a year or more after Andre Deutsch bought it, and ‘Shakespeare – the Truth’ was turned around in three to four weeks from finishing typing to having it in paperback and in Kindle version, it’s mind-boggling.
It’s madly efficient, but it also means days off from writing are a thing of the past. I finished the first Covid Caper (Shakespeare) about a month ago, and I’ve already had to start his second adventure as an intrepid reporter on Ye Daily Globe. Momentum is the name of the game, so there’ll be at least one more (non Shakespeare) book before Will goes to Scotland to clash with bloody King Macbeth.
I can’t tell you too much about Scotch on the Rocks yet, except that it’s equally mad. And after that, I’ve got more adventures for poor Will.
Enough of whining. Here’s a bit of Chapter 2 of the first book, in which young Bill meets King Lear – and gets a very sore arse. Driving a motorbike, you see. He always was a great one for anachronisms was our William…
A married man, Will Shagsper quickly learned, had to have a trade. No good at gloving, as Mr H told everyone in the neighbourhood, not good at anything at all if you asked his wife – within the sheets or out.
‘He’s like an octopus that’s lost an arm or two,’ she told her best friend, Gossip Gertrude. ‘How many does an octopus have anyway?’
‘Just the none, but good long legs,’ said Gertrude. ‘And their eggs! Would feed an army an ostrich egg would. Oh, octopus. What’s one of those when it’s at home?’
‘I suppose we could ask Will,’ said Anne, resentfully, patting her growing belly. ‘If he knows nothing else he knows things no other bugger knows nothing about, Gertrude.’
And rude Gert smirked, ‘Like putting things in holes. Babies don’t grow on trees do they?’
‘He thinks they do,’ said Anne. ‘First time I gave him a hand in bed he thought that I was milking him to feed the baby! He’s a jackanapes.’
‘Gross,’ said Gertie. ‘But you’re Mrs Shagsper now, ain’t you? Your salad days are over, duck.’
‘Don’t call me duck, it’s low.’
‘We’re in the Midlands, though, get used to it. You’re Mrs S that’s all there is about it. Sorry.’
‘You bloody will be, duck. I’m Hathaway, and that’s an end to it.’
‘But you’re married to him! Ain’t you?’
‘Yeah, okay, alright, I must admit it. But a Shagsper I will never be, my friend. Shagsper. Shagsper! What sort of effin name is that?’
‘And he hasn’t got a job, and he hasn’t got no prospects, and he’s almost young enough to be my bleedin’ son. If it hadn’t been for them three witches I wouldn’t have touched him with a ten foot pole.’
‘Three witches? What three witches?’
‘That week in Scotland on the charabang. I got pissed one night and I met them at the crossroads. They said they’d tell me fortune for a groat.’
‘Bloody Ada, you were drunk, weren’t you? What did they say?’
‘I asked them where the lads hung out, up Scotland way. Where I could get a crafty peep behind the sporran. They went on and on and on.’