Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Being "444". and being awake at an unseasonable hour with a 'show' to do - I searched.

A simple enough word - Shakespeare.

Google came out with the worthies: Top of the list, MIT and the Complete Works. Strange (and not) how our cousins across the sea feature at the top - the technology maybe giving the edge. Still, it would have been nice to see an English site as top dog.

And maybe not - top dog or no, there are problems following a 'disc failure' back in 2000 (so - no more talk of millennium bug freeness!) - and the top of the list complete works is anything but complete. A nice kind link to another site (number five in its own right) - with the correct spelling of theatre giving me hope - but no, that's in a Google ad! Another American hit I'm afraid.

Wiki makes it in second - as you'd expect. Have you noticed, Wiki is frequently second? It's a bread and butter entry - several points make me bristle, but it does the job - and I've seen worse - much worse. There are plenty of cross references to keep you busy and there are even real references - something I do like - allocating blame is good!

In Bronze position is shakespeare online: Damned in the deepest of Dante! 'Nice' looking opening page - but what happens then? Well, clicked on a 'nice' looking link for Sonnet 73 ("hailed as one of the best poems in English") and what do I get - flashing advertisements at me - I search for the poem ... split by adverts and knocked sideways after line 4, the following bit squeezed between a clipart photo and more adverts for for-sale services, and 'nice' annotations of the less intelligent 14 year old student kind.

So much for quantity rather than quality filters!

In despair I try Yahoo: about one hundred and twenty three million results! (Google had only managed forty one and a bit million.)

Horror of horrors - the same three top, albeit in a different order - Wiki first, MiT second and that other one third.

What follows is quite nice - a selection of the better sites I sometimes dip into.

Past three o'clock on warm and wet spring morning - is it any wonder that after four hundred and forty four years, the little lad from Stratford features so prominantly in my life? And if the number of sites thrown up by the search engines is anything to go by - in a lot of other people's lives too.

I think not - all you need to do is watch the plays, see the faces of people in the audience and .. for the sadder ones amongst us ... even just read the texts, and you'll know what a gift the world got as the screams of a fresh from the womb bloodied brat burst out.

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