You are currently browsing the daily archive for March 8, 2013.

From the Bad Ideas That Get Worse The More You Think About Them Department:

Some frightful rotter called Sebastian Faulks has been asked to write a new version of the P G Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster novels, to be called Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.

The news is enough to make one’s knotted and combined locks part like the quills on a fretful porpentine. Sebastian Faulks may be a very brainy chap, and good at pastiching, which he did rather well in his James Bond novel, Devil May Care. But whatever name you can hurl at Ian Fleming, prose stylist is not one. Writing a version of what is technically workmanlike prose requires a workmanlike attitude.

Wodehouse, however, is the stylist of stylists, and very hard to imitate (see above). His cadenced sentences play with literature. (Bertie Wooster, for all his apparent silliness, has a large stock of quotes bubbling in his grey matter – he’s an Oxford man after all.) His plots are as finely calibrated as a miniature clock. If a cow creamer looms large on page 2, then it will return in vengeful form on pg 243. There is no (serious) violence or vileness: even Fascism is brought to its knees, in the person of the frightful Roderick Spode, merely by mentioning the name “Eulalie”.

Bingo.  Souffle?  Meet pickaxe!

Also, it’s not just the style but the substance, too:

That is expressive of an entire, Edenic world, which our own times are too cynical and ironical to be able to fully recreate. Faulk’s Wooster will no doubt laugh at himself laughing about things such as this: “No joke for a girl who thinks she’s going to be Countess of Sidcup to have the fellow say ‘April Fool, my little chickadee. What you’re going to be is Mrs Spode.’” Faulks will create a meta-Wodehouse. A what? I hear you say. Well, quite.

‘Zactly.  We are lesser people.  That “Edenic world” crack, by the bye, is lifted straight out of a quote of Evelyn Waugh’s praise for Plum, which I would imagine has appeared on just about every Wodehouse book-jacket and fly sheet since, oh, about 1945 or so.

One is left asking oneself the question:  Why?  Why on earth?

It is too late to stop the publishing juggernaut that has spawned this idea, which is no doubt intended to draw attention back to the original novels. But we should leave Mr Faulks to write novels about the State of England (something that Wodehouse would never have done), and let those lovely frolics speak for themselves, for I fear that Faulks’s attempt will be, at best, the sort of thing that would make an undertaker look twice, before trying to embalm.

Is the idea that forcing ourselves to read such a butchery will make us appreciate the genius of the originals even more?  Trick-cyclists have a name for that, you know.  By the bye,  Mr. Newspaper Critic Person, you foozled the punch-line.  It ought to read, “I fear that Faulke’s attempt will be, at best, the sort of thing at which an undertaker would take only a single look before reaching for the old embalming fluid.”

Needless to say, ol’ Robbo will pass on this.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter may recall a couple months back I mentioned that Mrs. Robbo had brought up the possibility of taking a family cruise.  Apart from some mild grumbling, I didn’t actually object to the idea, and as the initial burst of enthusiasm seemed to pass by with nothing concrete coming of it, I pretty much forgot about the matter.

Well, today I learned that ye fate is ycomme true and that August 2014 will find the Family Robbo tooling about the western Caribbean, being “entertained” in the shadow of a Goofy-wielding cat o’nine tails and made to “create memories” at the point of the Little Mermaid’s cutlass, all courtesy of the Walt Disney Corporation.

Yes, Mickey Bligh will have me at his tender mercies.

Really ancient readers from back in the Llama days may recall that about eight or ten years ago I was made to spend a week at Barad-Maus itself, about which I wrote a series of fairly cynical posts detailing the horrors of the place.  I’ve an idea the sea-based version is going to be worse in that everything that makes Disney what it is (and I don’t mean that as a compliment) will be condensed into a smaller, more claustrophobic, regimented, less-escapable setting.

On the other hand (believe it or not), I’m hoping that I may, in fact, be able to parlay this into a rayther enjoyable experience after all.  It is the water, after all, which can never be a totally bad thing.  Disney seems to have quite the reputation for its ability to disappear the kids for long periods of time on these ships.  And I have already made clear that far from being forced to go and “do” things (the mere use of the word “excursion” fills me with a nameless dread), I will be a far more cheery and companionable shipmate if I’m given a quiet corner, a stack of books of my own choosing and a steady flow of adult beverages.  (And just as an aside and back to being cranky for a second, I haven’t read the paperwork regarding what’s included in the ticket price, but I’ll bet any amount you like that it doesn’t cover the bar tab.  $14 martinis, anybody?   I think we touch in Jamaica, so I’ll have to see about smuggling some rum aboard.)

As far as my demands go, I have met little opposition.  Indeed, I actually have an ally in form of the Port Swiller Mother-In-Law, who is also coming along.  Not only does she know my habits well (she thinks I’m insane), she’s also the perfect embodiment of what one might call the lightning-rod principle, a companion for Mrs. R’s inexhaustible determination to sample all the offered “activities”  and a magnet for the gels.  With any luck, her presence will allow Robbo the comparative peace and quiet he so craves.  We shall see.

Of course, as with my last venture under the Shadow of Walt, I also insisted that the price of my coming along includes my right to blog about it.  (As Basil Fawlty says, “Just trying to enjoy myself…”) We’re still almost a year and a half out, of course, and I won’t say anything more just for the moment, but you might want to mark your calendars…..

UPDATE:  It’s been a long while since I dipped back into the prior chronicles of Mouse Hell.  Here they are.  Remember, these are from my younger days as a naive, cheerful, carefree blogger:

Fear and Loathing in Disney World, Part I – Slouching Toward Kissimmee.

Fear and Loathing in Disney World, Part II – The Mouse’s Lair.

Fear and Loathing in Disney World, Part III – How To Be Entertained Within An Inch of Your Life; Forty-Eight Hours On The Ground in the Magic Kingdom.

Fear and Loathing in Disney World, Part IV – You Kid I Not.



Blog Stats

  • 494,478 hits
March 2013