Yes, you're right, that is an ironical reference to yesterday's post in which I went into full-on Grumpy Old Man mode because the media was filled with nothing but waffle about some pop star of whom I knew nothing. Today, they will be filled with tales of William Shakespeare, a country boy who made it big time in the big city as a theatrical scribbler. Honestly, they should make a Hollywood film about him - oh, they have already! Anyway, today, as if you didn't know, is the 400th anniversary of his death, or at least, we think it is but it could have been yesterday or even tomorrow because, like just about everything concerning this irritating man, we just can't be sure exactly when he died, let alone why he died. Is it any wonder that my favourite saying concerning Master Shakespeare is that 'he was a man about whom we know very little but who seemed to know everything about us'!
Needless to say, in this state of irritating ignorance, it is all too easy to assign qualities to the man which, by total coincidence, of course, are just those qualities which we particularly admire. It would be too, too upsetting if it transpired that he was, in fact, a sly, greedy, temperamental 'luvvie' with an ego the size of the Globe Theatre. It can't be ruled out because if you dwell for even a moment on some of the very greatest musical composers the world has ever known they turn out to be what our 'cousins' might call "batshit crazy"! I really don't think Master Shakespeare, who no doubt had his faults and weaknesses, was anything like that, not least because the few words we have of him from his contemporaries who had personal knowledge of him are mostly very admiring and favourable.
Of course, with Shakespeare "the play's the thing" and at this point it is necessary not only to thank him profusely for writing them but also to raise a grateful glass in memory of Masters Heminges & Condell, two of his King's Men Company actors who, after Shakespeare's death, went to the considerable trouble of gathering together the scripts of all but two of his plays and publishing them as what we call today the First Folio. Without those two, not only would we be ignorant of much of Shakespeare's personal life but also of most of his plays!
There is no accounting for genius. In the 'great game' of human existence where the genetic dice are rolled a zillion times a day, somewhere, sometime, someone is going to throw six sixes. It happened in Stratford-on-Avon in April 1564 and in April 1616 those particular dice stopped rolling. What can one say except - thank you, Master Shakespeare.