This was going to be a post on Shakespeare and the lost-and-not-quite-but-sort-of-if-you-think-about-it-found play Cardenio, thought to have been co-quilled by the Swan of Avon and John Fletcher.
It was going to start with the marvellous observation that ‘The only evidence we have of Shakespeare’s existence, other than the poems and plays, is the portrait of a man who was clearly an idiot.’ As you can already see (because you’re not only mind-bendingly attractive but also unusually clever) the programme has changed somewhat.
Mostly because I can’t find a decent and trustworthy attribution for the quotation. It’s attributed to Martin Amis online, but I’m positive that Amis was quoting someone. I’ve searched my Amis collection but I can’t substantiate that. So I gave up. This, you might think, is a curious and rather foolish reason to abandon my original endeavour. It probably is.
But before I gave up, I checked through Funny You Should Say That, a delicious collection of humorous quotations edited by Andrew Martin. I was hoping, of course, to find a decent attribution. But I got sidetracked.
By stuff like this:
‘I read biographies backwards, beginning with the death. If that takes my fancy I go through the rest. Childhood seldom interests me at all.’ Alan Bennett.
‘A writer without a bottle of whisky is like a chicken without a god-damn head.’ William Faulkner.
On Dylan Thomas: ‘Now there’s a writer who read fuck-all BECAUSE HE WASN’T INTERESTED IN FUCK-ALL bar himself.’ Kingsley Amis.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the whole Shakespeare Cardenio thing (and you should be, if you’ve got a pulse), check out the discussion on ABC’s The Book Show with Ramona Koval. But do some googling afterwards. The interview isn’t what I’d call searching.
I’ll be busy for the next little while with Funny You Should Say That. So you can make up your own minds about it all by yourselves, thanks.