Corner shop crap: Alan Shakespeare

My local shop is one of those independent curiosities, packed from floor to ceiling with off-brand jars of sauce, dusty bottles of beer, and a terrifying ’10p basket’ on the floor, featuring a selection of expired Birds trifle kits.

Halfway between the warm bottles of pop and the till is a rack full of knock-off toys. This toy display has been a source of fascination to me since I moved here, but I’ve never bought any toys from the display, because I’ve always been too busy buying wine and laughing at ‘Big Wazzers Dinnerladies’ on the top shelf.

Until today! Today I couldn’t hold out any longer, and I spent actual money on some objets d’art. I won’t tell you how much money, because it’s embarrassing. Let’s just say that the total, including some other bits, was £8.02. And also I’ve just remembered that you can see the prices on the packaging. I’m a twat.

Anyway, let’s examine one of these fineries in more detail…


It doesn’t specify what kind of military these guys are from, or what time period, or what country. Therefore, I’m going to assume that this is the army from 1066, which is when guns were invented.

It is also an olden days army because it appears to include William Shakespeare, looking on wistfully. Maybe he’s sad about having been born in the past. His friend, meanwhile, gives zero fucks, mainly because he has a floating gun.


I put to you the following: the dude on the right is William Shakespeare’s brother, Alan Shakespeare.

Sick of their mum banging on about “why can’t you be more like your brother and write plays and not have the plague”, Alan decided to hit the gym and get really good at guns and war.

Alan’s was a long term plan, because he would have to wait another 100 years for guns and war to be invented. Eventually his patience was rewarded, because in 1066 both brothers were drafted into the Great Big War between Britain and that other bit of Britain we used to have, called France.

Alan proved a natural in combat, beating France single-handedly many times. However, William just used to run away and hide and write “Forsooth!” on his hand in felt tip. One day in the trenches, the lads decided it would be bantz to write “I’m a knob” on William’s forehead with his own felt tip. This made William sad and full of ennui.


When they got back from the war, Alan was such a celebrated hero that they decided to make an action figure of him.

“Hey, what about me?” said William. “Don’t I get an action figure? I invented the word ‘verily’!”

“Fine,” said the people. “But you’re going to have a sad face and a not floating gun. And we’re going to save the really talented artists for making your brother’s figure.”


And this is why, every February, we have Pancake Day.


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