The Complete Works of Shakespeare published in tag format

A prolific West Midlands blogger has revolutionised the way that the world’s major works of literature are displayed today, by publishing the entire canon of playwright William Shakespeare in metadata tag form.

‘Studying Shakespeare at school was both difficult and boring,’ claims Robert Crossley, Dudley-born author of completeworksofshakespeare.wordpress.com. ‘But by breaking down his stuff into non-hierarchical keywords it is much easier to understand what’s going on – plus there’s the advantage that tags are searchable, so you can skip the boring bits and go straight to the juicy murders.’

A typical example of Crossley’s ‘tagging’ is Shakespeare’s timeless romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, which been reduced to just nine tags (separated by commas): ‘Montague’, ‘Capulet’, ‘Verona’, ‘star crossed lovers’, ‘balcony scene’, ‘secret marriage’, ‘vile submission’, ‘coma’ and finally ‘suicide’. ‘You can read these tags in a list,’ Crossley reveals, ‘but for a much richer literary experience, check out the floating Javascript tag cloud, in which ‘balcony scene’ appears in a much larger font than the other keywords, thus boiling down this famous play into just a single metatag. Plus you can also move the words around, thus creating your own stories, which is pretty cool.’

Other works to be given the blogging tag treatment include Macbeth, that unsettling tale of ambition, bloodshed and madness, which is now pared down to the key-phrases ‘Scottish play’, ‘Thane of Cawdor’, ‘witches’, ‘prophecy’, ‘murder’, ‘is this a dagger I see before me’, ‘King of Scotland’, ‘spectre’, ‘washing hands’, ‘camouflage’, ‘battle’; and whimsical comedy The Tempest (‘Stranded’, ‘desert island’, ‘airy spirit’, ‘magic storm’, ‘shipwreck’, ‘three men of sin’, ‘reconciliation’, ‘why the hell do they call this crap a comedy anyway’.)

With the complete works of Shakespeare under his belt, Crossley has now set his sights on some of the other literary greats, including Leo Tolstoy’s seminal War and Peace (‘war’, ‘peace’), James Joyce’s Ulysses (‘no idea’) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (‘cobblers’).

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Published in: on June 10, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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North Korean atomic super-mutant ‘must play in goal’ insists FIFA

North Korea’s attempt to bolster their World Cup team up-front by nominating a specially-bred striker as their third goalkeeper has backfired spectacularly today, after FIFA insisted that the genetically engineered atomic super-mutant must actually play in goal, and not outfield as originally planned.

In an attempt to boost the nation’s attacking options against Group G opponents Brazil, Ivory Coast and Portugal, North Korean coach and political commissar Kim Jong-hun decided to name only two regular goalkeepers in his squad, with Ang Myong-Se, an atomic super-striker and by-product of Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, as the back-up.

According to official North Korean news sources, Ang was painstakingly created under the strictest of laboratory conditions to become the ‘perfect striker, with the power of an atomic warhead behind his right foot.’ ‘Our glorious scientists have endowed upon him the spatial awareness of a golden eagle,’ claimed a recent propaganda broadcast, ‘combined with the speed of a cheetah, the tenacity of a bear and the rugged good looks of our glorious leader Kim Jong-il. He will dominate and bemuse even the stoutest-hearted decadent western capitalist back four.’

However FIFA’s instance on 23 players, three of whom must be goalkeepers, has scuppered this ambitious plan. ‘If he is listed as a goalkeeper then that is the position he must play,’ a FIFA spokesman insisted, ‘regardless of how much diabolical tinkering with the very fabric of reality it took to create him. The fact that he can play keepie-uppy non-stop for over five months is neither here nor there.’

In retaliation, the North Koreans have accused the FIFA of being overly speciesist, giving ‘undue preference to pure-bred humans over the downtrodden socialist nuclear powered superman’ – a charge the governing body vehemently denies. ‘It is North Korea’s blatant attempt at rule bending that we take exception to, not their player’s biological superiority. We didn’t hold this tournament in the Rainbow Nation for nothing you know – we welcome and embrace all nations, races and super-powers.’

FIFA has also pointed to England’s national team as further evidence of their openness; ‘just look at the diversity of Capello’s squad if you don’t believe us: some players are white, some black, plus there’s a human/monkey hybrid and, if Rio Ferdinand is to be believed, a ‘fucking donkey’, up front.’

Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Call for more murders following soap opera cancellation

Downtrodden husbands across the UK are demanding that murderers and serial killers ‘step up to the plate’ after it was announced that an episode of Coronation Street had to be cancelled in the wake of a recent shooting spree.

Oldham plasterer David Shewstone, 43, is one of the many British males calling for this escalation, after being forced to record the final episode of FlashForward while his wife watched the omnibus edition of Eastenders: ‘bloody typical that my recorder went and cut off the last few minutes, so I’m still none the wiser. Now I read that Eastenders’ producers had to re-shoot a scene when some bloke tries to strangle a prostitute ‘cos of what happened in the news – well I say keep it up lads and they’ll cancel the whole bloody thing!’

Retired Maidenhead milliner Colin Thrope echoes this sentiment: ‘I don’t get a look in on our telly. If it’s not Doctors it’s Neighbours, then it’s Hollyoaks or Emmerdale. I might get to watch a bit of cricket when Eastenders is on because the wife reckons it’s not the same since Dirty Den died, but then it’s back to repeats of Albion Market on UK Gold and I’m relegated to portable in the spare room again. I few choice swathes of bloody destruction that cleverly mirrored these programs would see a whole new world of TV viewing opened up to us blokes.’

The campaign to escalate the number of violent crimes in Britain has gained a greater urgency with the forthcoming World Cup, with many husbands vying for control of the TV remote during the tournament. ‘It’s imperative that soap opera production is delayed as much as possible while the footie’s on,’ claimed one frustrated viewer, ‘unless we lose to the USA, in which case the army of raving psychopaths we’ve encouraged to let themselves loose on innocent members of society can pack up their grisly tools and go back to quietly keeping themselves to themselves whilst seething with resentment – at least until the darts is on.’

Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hollyoaks producers fail to cap flow of murderous lesbians

The residents of Chester have been told to remain on the alert today, after the producers of popular soap Hollyoaks admitted that their attempts to stem the flow of mentally unstable lesbians have failed.

Lime Pictures first reported a serious leak of sexually ambiguous teenage girls last week, after drilling operations at their studio plumbed the depths of a newly discovered reserve of lesbianism storylines. ‘We thought we had hit pay dirt,’ admitted one writer, ‘but soon we had more of them than we knew what to do with. Our plan to elicit a frisson of excitement before the watershed with a forbidden and ultimately fatal lesbian love affair has blown up in our faces.’

With psychopathic lesbians being reported as far afield as Nantwich, environmental campaigners have hit out against the production company for digging up such issues without first considering the sensibilities of the local population. ‘Cheshire just can’t cope with that many killer lesbians,’ claimed Mike Rail, spokesman for pressure group Responsible Plots for Daytime Dramas, ‘drilling for such high-yield plotlines is a risky strategy. Producers need to return to the kind of slow burn homosexual themes that sustained us in the 70’s and 80’s – Amos Brearly’s burgeoning relationship with Mr. Wilks down t’Woolpack for example. The results bear fruit: Yorkshire is hardly awash with murderers is it?’

Experts are calling this spillage the greatest soap-related environmental disaster since 1993, when a similar crisis in the East End of London was only narrowly averted when a glut of miserable bastards was successfully contained in a hastily constructed Eastenders Christmas special.

Producers are now investigating similar ways of reducing the flow of mental lesbians, and have set up a special disaster recovery team led by creator Phil Redmond to siphon a limited number into a special ‘Hollyoaks After Dark’ edition of the show. ‘If this is successful we will look to re-route lesbians into other, less popular soaps, such as Take the High Road, Pobol y Cwm and Coronation Street, where the impact of nubile if unhinged females on smaller audiences will prove less contentious,’ Redmond revealed. ‘Failing that I’ll just chuck a fucking aeroplane on them or something.’