Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second celebrated her ninetieth birthday yesterday and odds are she’ll soldier on for years to come before she falls off her pony, Gawd bless ‘er. But, the internet went into meltdown today as William Cedric Shakespeare became the latest in a long list of celebrities to die. The world was devastated by news that England’s greatest wordsmith had, as his main man Hamlet so beautifully put it, ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’ and everyone rushed to social media: “Oh no! Not Will as well. Go, Grim Reaper, go..!” Reports of Shakespeare’s death came just days after the passing of Minnesotan rock
dwarf legend Prince and comedy favourite Victoria Wood – she has left her aprons to charity, it would seem. Last month, Ronnie Corbett died, while earlier this year we lost David Bowie, just days after he was seen dressed as Aladdin Sane outside a pub in Manchester, Motorhead singer Lemmy, (who?) and even dear old Terry Wogan, or Wogie, as Sir Les Patterson once famously called him. Even the artist formerly called Snape is dead. Social commentators are in a permanent state of mourning and black flags are everywhere. (Can I say that? No, you can’t.) At this rate, there’ll be no more A list funerals to go to.
Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter exploded as really ordinary people with the IQ of a watermelon paid their respects to Da Man, who wrote knockout bestsellers such as Egglet and Hamlet, Twelve Nights of Rock and Roll, As You Like It Or Not plus a few others which were basically flops like Timon of Athens. Courtney Splice who was once famous for about ninety seconds, wrote on Facebook: “RIP, Shakespeare. I woz not a fan of yr stories at school, but I’m sorry u died. Legend.” John McGaunt from Glasgow used Photoshop to make a poignant picture of Lady Macbeth crying by adding little teardrop shaped bubbles to her face. He added: “Cannae believe anither’s away. Whit’s gun oan wi’ 2016?” It was retweeted over half a million times. Hundreds more kept an emotional vigil, gathering in silence, waving their GCSE English qualifications like flags outside Shakespeare’s London home, The Globe. They stayed for hours, sharing some of his best lines, and laying flowers outside the front door. Some lit candles, while others shed fake tears for the cameras. Everyone agreed, yeah, that it was absolutely ridiculous, yeah, that so many famous peeps had died already in 2016, and that people should wrap Ronnie Wood in cotton wool to make sure he stays with us a bit longer. Stay strong, Ron.