The Churchill of Playwrights: the first draft of Boris's Shakespeare biography

SHAKESPEARE. Bill Shakespeare. William Wordsworth Shakespeare. Am I at the wordcount yet? Blast. Have these chapter outlines and give me some money: 

Chapter one: Wherefore art thou, Shakespeare?

In fair London do we set our tale, where our bard made a name for himself through his skill, charisma and flowing blonde locks. We visit the Globe, the Daily Telegraph of its day, where plays were almost as respected as mildly satirical weekly columns are in our more enlightened age.

Chapter two: Taming the Shrews

One thing no Shakespeare expert can deny is that, like all great Englishmen, he loved to put it about. Ladies, fair maidens and the occasional wench, Shakespeare went through them left right and centre, and was well respected for it. Music was the food of love, and by music I mean a good solid rogering, and he did play on.

Chapter Three: The Many Wokes of Windsor

Ivory tower academics like to sneer at the Bard of Avon, saying that he was a bit racist here or a pinch sexist there. But the lesson old Shakey teaches is that no matter what you say, where it is published or who claims to have recordings of you saying it on his blog, time will make fools of them all.

Chapter Four: A Plague on Both your Houses

In the face of contagious disease and ruin, Shakespeare embraced the Blitz spirit and ploughed on regardless. Like any great man, he showed everyone that the best way to deal with a pandemic is to never mention it in anything you write or say and pretend like it never happened.

Chapter Five: To be or not to be Shakespeare?

That is the question. One can, however, safely say that Shakespeare was. With his actors his…centurions and Hamlet his Brexit, Shakespeare absolutely was a man of…the Union Jack. Truly he was the Churchill of playwrights. Big type, massive margins and that’s a book. Done.

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How to talk to your single friends about your amazing relationship

LOVED-UP? Want to boast to your perpetually single friends, but not sure how? Let sickeningly happy couple Eleanor Shaw and Joseph Turner explain: 

Make them a slideshow

Joseph: Single people’s brains are less well-developed than those in happy relationships – scientists suggest they may be warped by years of eating ice cream alone on their sofa and masturbating in a single bed.

Eleanor: So presenting your relationship to them in slideshow form can be very helpful to them. Use plenty of pictures so they understand just how happy and photogenic you two are.

Use your words gently

Eleanor: No-one likes to be reminded that they’ve yet to find a love quite like yours. Approach the subject delicately, like you’d break the news of a pet’s death to a small child.

Joseph: I get a lot of use out of empty platitudes like ‘There’s a fish in the sea for everyone’, even when you know for a fact that isn’t true, especially not for my weird mate Mark.


Joseph: It may well be that, like us, you have a stellar relationship that couldn’t possibly be improved upon. Nevertheless, sad singletons like to hear that it’s not all sunshine and roses.

Eleanor: Invent a story about your partner doing something awful, like accidentally buying your second-favourite flowers. That should make them feel less bad about the yawning emptiness of their lives.

Invite them along on dates

Eleanor: The lonely people like to feel included. If your unattached pal is constantly moaning about having nothing to do of an evening, ask if they want to come along on your weekly couple’s date night to give them a taste of what real relationships are like. It’s nice for them to pretend.

Remind them of their positives

Joseph: It’s not all about rekindling their hope in relationships by demonstrating how incredible yours is. Turn the conversation around by asking about the pathetic hobbies that fill their time. Is she still playing Dungeons and Dragons? How sad.

Eleanor: I say ‘Wow, you’re so lucky, bingewatching boxsets! We barely cuddle through a whole episode before we have great sex.’ And I think that helps.