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Friday, 25 April 2014

Letter from Christopher Marlowe

The man himself

Dear sweet people,

Through the old grapevine I hear that my almost-good friend Will.i.am Shakespeare has been making disparaging remarks about me and my contemporaries. The minx! I do believe it may be time to put the record straight on a couple of matters before things get out of hand, as it were. Or as you might say.... go from Bard to Verse! Ha! And they say I can't write comedy!

Our Will may not be what we intellectuals would call a posh boy, but by gosh he can hold his own in the best of society... and occasionally the worst of it when he needs to. He can down more flagons of ale and strong wine than other piss-artist I know,and many a sailor has been known to blush at his language. He isn't a bad old sausage though, but High Society to him is one that hasn't bathed in weeks so that even pigs walk on the opposite side of the street. On the other hand he's a reasonable wielder of the old quill and one day may even amount to something, if he keeps off the quaffable vino long enough to find his ink pot.

It would be lovely though if he came up with an original plot for a change. I mean to say.... History! That's all he seems to write about. Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses. All well documented by some old bloke called Holinshed who did all the damned work, so that Will could make it rhyme.... which he doesn't always manage to do. Ok, so he did the two star-crossed lovers thing called Romero and Julian, or something.... but so contrived! He thinks she's dead so he kills himself. She recovers and sees him dead so she really kills himself and they all die happily everafter. Sheesh! At least my heroes do real things that people can believe in, like make pacts with the Devil and meet interesting people like Helen of Troy!

Then there's the thing we have to call "the Scottish Play" because if we use it's real name, disaster will follow. I ask you, what a load of old brown stuff. What could be more disasterous than not being able to call a play by its real name? And why is the word Macbeth unlucky anyway? OMG, I've said it now.... Shriek!

Only joking.

I will say this for Mr S, his publicity machine is second to none. No sooner has he finished a play than the 10% boys spring into action getting endorsements from the aristocracy, dedications from and rumoured affairs with ladies in black, anonymous donors backing the stage version (I'm sure with a little bit of arm twisting) and multiple interviews with the ballardeers who sing his praises. It really isn't fair! All I get is a poster down the local tavern with second billing to a fire-eating juggler.

Of course, much that you may hear about Shakespeare is complete and utter fiction. The idea of him being a country lad making good in the Big City of London is unbelievable and contrary to the fact as we all know them. He actually came from the suburbs of North London. I also know of no man who has ever met his so-called wife Anne Hathaway, let alone his three children. They probably exist somewhere, but they're not his. I mean, hasn't anyone twigged that her name would be Anne Shakespeare, not Hathaway? His PR guys messed up big time there!

But enough of Willy, let me tell you about my London. It's the largest town in the country with a population of 200,000 living in cramped conditions with houses so close together you can shake hands with the people living across the road without leaving your house. That may sound nice and cosy, but it's amazing what nice comfy diceases you can pick up on a casual neighbourly handshake. Incidentally the little stream that runs down the middle of most streets is not ornamental and is usually a bit whiffy. Those are not carp swimming by either.... more of an anagram!

Fashion is such an important part of daily life, with vibrant colours, make-up, laces and velvet as the must-haves. Even some of the women make an effort, poor lambs, though let's face it, they start at a disadvantage and usually finish as a fluttering mess. I can't see that ever changing. Men will always be the peacocks strutting the catwalk of life, as is our right, and that's why women don't appear on stage, I'm sure. Poor dowdy things.... er, all except for our wonderful Queen Elizabeth, who'd have my head for a paperweight at the drop of a lace hanky! 

Dear, sweet Queenie! Rumour has it that she bathes three or four times a year, whether she needs to or not. She is such a fastidious royal person! She has her favourites though. Drake, Raleigh and Leicester are all a bunch of crawlers and they tell her anything to get a little favour... even that she has a lovely head of hair, when we all know it's a wig and she's as bald as one of Drake's bowling balls. That's another thing, Franny Drake is no sailor; he even gets sick in the bath. He has a body double to do all his onboard ship stunts and as to his expeditions to the New World, sure, his ship went, but he took an extended holiday down in Cornwall until it got back, then took all the glory.

As to Wally Raleigh... what can one say, except the man idolised by millions as the great discoverer only gave us all a bad cough and obesity. Not only that, but he had terrible dragon's breath, and he thought people turned their faces away from him because they were blinded by his glory. Silly, silly man!

Me, jealous? You bet! Knowing my luck I'll get to the age of 29 and get knifed if some pub brawl or other. Hey Ho!

Love and kisses to all my fans.

Chris M
Xxxxx


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