Past It Special – The Lost Shakespeare Folio

By Sir Anthony Henry Bull

A new discovery has shaken the very roots of literature to their core. Having previously believed to have found all the known Shakespeare folios there were, a strange find appeared on an episode of ‘Cash in the Attic’ that seemed to be a lost folio.

This folio of Shakespeare plays was most unusual in that it appears to have come very late in The Bard’s life, and seems to have had its language adjusted – possibly to suit an entirely different audience. It was made blunter, brusquer, and less poetic. Gone was the pentameter and in came straight talking language.

I could proselytise about this portfolio but I think it’s best if we give you some excerpts.


Macbeth

ACT I

SCENE ISomewhere hot, Ibiza or something

                The weather’s shit and there’re three coffin-dodgers.

FIRST HAG

So when we doing this again, like?
Why do we always meet when there weather’s crap?

SECOND HAG

When everyone quits pissing around
and they all fuck each other up.

THIRD HAG

Ain’t that when the sun sets?

FIRST HAG

And where we gonna meet, like?

SECOND HAG

On the heath.

FIRST HAG

Not the one where they caught that bloke nobbing a tree?

SECOND HAG

No, not that one.

THIRD HAG

Yeah, the one with Macbeth. You remember, Macbeth?
Scottish fella? Slightly overbearing missus?

FIRST HAG

Ah, yeah I know him. I come, Graymalkin.

SECOND HAG

Paddock calls – I don’t usually answer.

THIRD HAG

I have no name!

ALL

Fair is foul, and foul is fair
So it’s just a perfectly normal Scottish day.
Hovering through the fog and filthy air.


Hamlet

ACT II

SCENE II

HAMLET

Here’s why ya backstabbing bastard. I lost us happy, didn’t I?
I stopped doing anything. I’m just sat on us arse watching Jeremy Kyle.
That’s how come I know this whole planet’s a piece of crap.
The sky? The air? Oh, aye, I bet you think they look like a cuppa Yorkshire Tea
on a chilly morning. But mate, to me it’s just wet farts.
Oh we think we’re so fooking great, right. Smart and that,
able to do just about anything. We invented digital TV!
We can do funny stuff with our bodies, like my mate Steve, right,
he can smoke a fag with his arsehole. We do so much good stuff,
like when I gave our Susan 50p for her sponsored walk.
We’re basically bloody Gods, right. The peak of evolu- evoluti-
that biology thing you learned about in school.
But to me, you’re just sodding dust.
I hate men right about now, and birds and all,
no matter what you say, you smug smiling bastard.


King Lear

ACT I

SCENE IV

KING LEAR

Cheers buddy, here’s what I owe.

Giving KENT money

                Enter Fool

FOOL

Can I have a go! Here, have a go with me hat.

KING LEAR

Hello you sexy prankster, how you doing?

FOOL

Seriously, Kent, take me hat.

KENT

Why should I?

FOOL

Because Lear’s a fucking bellend.
He’ll send you out into a storm on your own with
nothing to cover your head. He’s damned his daughters
by giving them stuff, did the other a favour by disowning her
and if you don’t leave soon I bet something dumb’ll happen
like you try to change your appearance and voice to still follow
the stupid bastard.
Ain’t that right, Lear, you daft git? Oh I wish I had two hats and two daughters.

KING LEAR

Why’s that?

FOOL

Because then I could do a better job of parenting
and job management than you.

KING LEAR

You insolent sod, I’ll whip the shit out of you.

FOOL

Oh yeah! Try it! I’ll beat your arse black and blue mate.

KING LEAR

But I’m a King and you’re a fool.

FOOL

You sure about that? Last I checked you were the fool who gave away your kingdom.

KING LEAR

You calling me a fool, boy?

FOOL

Yeah, what you gonna do about it? Pussy. You don’t even have a crown anymore.

KING LEAR

How much longer are you gonna prance about like a fairy
spouting jibberish riddles and expecting us to know what you mean?

FOOL

Quite some time, yet. If you weren’t such a massive cock
my irritating intervention would not be needed.

KING LEAR

Fair play, shall we just skip to the bit where I go mad in a storm?

FOOL

Sure, why not?

KING LEAR

Blow, winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!

FOOL

Winds don’t have cheeks, nobhead.

KING LEAR

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout.

FOOL

What the fuck’s a hurricanoe? Sounds like an Asylum disaster film.
“One was a volcano, one was a hurricane. Now they combine powers
To destroy mankind! The Hurricanoes!”

KING LEAR

Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

FOOL

Oo-er!

KING LEAR

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,

FOOL

You see, this is how we know you’re a nutter. You think fire is sentient.

KING LEAR

Vaunt-couriers to oak-Cleaving thunderbolts,

FOOL

Sounds like Yodel.

KING LEAR

Singe my white head!

FOOL

Is this an advert for Clearasil?

KING LEAR

And thou, all shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!

FOOL

King Lear’s new solution to the obesity crisis.

KING LEAR

Crack nature’s moulds, an germens spill at once.

FOOL

What is it with you English and your obsession with the germens?

KING LEAR

That make ingrateful man!

FOOL

What a load of mad-man’s bollocks you talk, nuncle.


Romeo and Juliet

ACT I

PROLOGUE

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
What? Wait? She’s like…13?
Fuck it, this bullshite nonce play is over.
And people think this is about true love?
It’s about barely-pubescent teenage lust
for crying out loud. Jesus, did you even read the thing?


As you can see, the new folios bring to light amazing new insights into Shakespeare’s writing. Yet even in this new light, The Bard is still as relevant, revelatory and passionate as ever. Thank you very much for joining me with this discovery. I have been Sir Anthony Henry Bull and I am ‘Past It’.

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