|The Chandos Portrait, National Portrait Gallery, London|
Another friend emailed "I know your birthday is the same as Hitler's but I always think of it at Shakespeare's" - which was consoling.
But actually no-one knows when Shakespeare was born. He died on 23rd April 1616 and had been baptised 26th April 1564. It was customary to baptise babies within days of their birth in the mid-sixteenth century. Hence the convenience of assigning him one date for the beginning and end of his life.
But who knows? Maybe he was born weak and "peely-wally" like me? (I was born with bronchitis and my lungs are still my weak point). Maybe he could have been born on the same day as I was? Or rather the other way round.
Whatever, I have been enjoying all the Shakespeariana in the media, especially James Shapiro's The King and the Playwright on BBC2 (Mondays at 9pm), which coincides nicely with a period currently interesting me. And Neil McGregor's Shakespeare's Restless World on Radio 4 each day at 1.45pm, where he takes an object as in The World in a Hundred Objects, as a starting point. We've had John Dee's obsidian mirror this week and a model of a bewitched ship - great stuff!
But if I had been born on 23rd April, I would not have been an Aries and I definitely am. Some horoscopes try to tell me Aries stops on 19th but I know better. - "independent, generous, optimistic, enthusiastic, courageous, moody, short tempered, self-involved, impulsive, impatient" says the first website I check and goes on about being ambitious and jealous and not the best mate for a domineering man.
Hmn. Closer to Hitler than Shakespeare, methinks.
Of course it's all nonsense but I do find myself identifying with these traits. How about you?
Do you share a birthday with someone famous and do you feel happy about it? What about zodiac sign and traits? Can you find anything to identify with there?