Perfect Nonsense

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbmSAQEg8ic In December, I had the delightful privilege of seeing Perfect Nonsense on tour at the Theatre Royal in Bath. For anyone not already aware, Perfect Nonsense is a stage adaptation (by David and Robert Goodale) of The Code of the Woosters. It's been well received by West End audiences since opening in 2013, and …

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Jeeves and the Aspiring Novelist

I'm an aspiring novelist myself. In between posts here, I bash away at the keyboard, developing my own half-baked comedy adventures. I've not attempted Wodehouse (yet), but I was delighted and impressed with this piece by 'SloopJonB'. He captures the tone of Wodehouse very well, and his Jeeves makes some astute observations about modern writing. …

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The Wipers Times (and Wodehouse?)

In my earlier piece, ‘Suffering from Cheerfulness’, I suggested that Wodehouse’s infamous radio broadcasts should be considered as part of a wider tradition of British humour in the face of adversity, particularly during wartime. My inspiration for writing was a volume of selected pieces from The Wipers Times. So I was delighted to discover another piece on this subject at the excellent blog: ‘Great War Fiction’. This one considers the possible influence of Wodehouse on the Wipers Times.

HP

Great War Fiction

Next week on BBC TV there’s a promising-looking film about The Wipers Times. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are the authors.

It will tell the story of how they found a printing press under the blasted ramparts of Ypres, and put it to use to create a very witty paper.  I Like Newman’s comments on the aim of the film:

I imagine viewers might be expecting to see a tragic tale of lives lost in a futile war, and we’ve had a lot of films like that and some of them are very, very good. But this is another side to this story of the First World War, and I think it’s a particularly British thing that we tend to laugh in adversity and this is about the triumph of the human spirit in adversity. It shows how a group of men managed to survive the First World War…

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Wodehouse and Wittgenstein

The philosopher most often associated with Wodehouse is surely Spinoza. We know Jeeves preferred him to Nietzsche, whom he famously proclaimed to be ‘fundamentally unsound’ (Carry On, Jeeves). Jeeves’ views on the philosopher Wittgenstein are less clear, but it seems Wittgenstein was fundamentally sound in his appreciation for P.G. Wodehouse – as discussed in this lovely piece by George Simmers. My thanks to George Simmers for his kind permission to reblog here.

HP

Great War Fiction

During my Dornford Yates talk at the Newcastle Great War and Popular Culture conference earlier this year, I got an unexpected laugh (as well as some chuckles I’d planned for). It was when I quoted Wittgenstein saying:

I couldn’t understand the humour in Journey’s End.… I wouldn’t want to joke about a situation like that.”

I suppose people thought I was having a dig at humourless Teutons, or over-serious philosophers, but I didn’t intend this, actually.

In fact, Wittgenstein seems to have had a serviceable enough sense of humour when not in his most intellectually savage moods, and was a fan of P.G.Wodehouse (full details can be found in Ludwig Wittgenstein : Personal Recollections, ed. Rhees, Rush, Oxford 1981).

According to the memoir, Wittgenstein named Wodehouse’s Honeysuckle Cottage as the funniest thing he’d ever read. Not perhaps one of P.G.’s most famous works, it’s one of the…

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NOT SO FUNNY

the true life romance of a Wodehouse lover

In keeping with the current Plumtopia theme of Wodehouse and romance, I am delighted to share this piece by ‘wiseguy from the east ‘. It is the touching, true story of his own romance, and how P.G. Wodehouse helped his wooing.

I am keen to share as many stories from Wodehouse readers as possible in this series. Please see my introductory piece on the Great Wodehouse Romances for details.

HP

Idyll Dreams of an Idle Fellow

Recently at a friend’s house I met a stand up comic, who strongly resembled the laughing Buddha figurines. He was brilliant in his repartees and had all of us in tears with his quips. He was accompanied by a very attractive young woman, obviously in love with him, and we learnt that she was defying family pressures to be his muse and life mate.

I offered them a piece of unasked advice, sharing a warning that my wife has been giving my daughters.

To explain this shared wisdom, I have to tell a story.

In my teens I was a dark skinny bespectacled gangly boy, shy and nerdy, enthusiastic but indifferent at games, and absolutely addicted to reading. This did not make me popular among the boys of my peer group, and the girls I liked were all fictional. For self preservation amongst the denizens of the jungle that is…

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Great Wodehouse Romances: Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend (by Ken Clevenger)

My heartfelt thanks to the inimitable Ken Clevenger for contributing a wonderful and very fitting first piece in this Valentine's series dedicated to the  Great Wodehouse Romances. * * * Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend by Ken  Clevenger "Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend” is the great Wodehousian romance, most worthy of a special …

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Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

I recently came across this lovely review of the latest West End Wodehouse adaptation, ‘Perfect Nonsense’ – written by CATIEWRITES at One Stop Arts.
I’m hoping to get to the show soon too.

HP

In a Merry Hour: Caitlin E McDonald

Repost: with One Stop Arts closing, I migrated this review here.

In Perfect Nonsense Matthew Macfadyen, Stephen Mangan and Mark Hadfield serve up – on a silver platter – an evening of dulcet-toned, dinner-jacketed fun. Robert and David Goodale provide a fresh and lively take on the much beloved Wodehouse characters Jeeves and Wooster. At the Duke of York’s Theatre.

Gentle reader, you may already realise how difficult a thing it must be to successfully adapt Wodehouse. Though a successful lyricist and playwright, his novels are largely narrative-driven, with dialogue taking a secondary role. This makes for a challenging translation into dramatic form. How impressive the feat, therefore, of not only doing this, but also assigning the full cavalcade of characters from The Code of the Woosters to a cast of just three.

The Goodale brothers have made strengths of these two potential Scylla and Charybdises by presenting us with…

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