This is the story of the worst campaign group you have ever heard of written by its creator and creative director. That O'Connor can be pilloried for...moreThis is the story of the worst campaign group you have ever heard of written by its creator and creative director. That O'Connor can be pilloried for his passion for creating publicity it surely missing the point, would we be discussing the head of a protest group who shyed away from appearing in the press, I think not.
That O'Connor has a high opinion of him self it well understood but why not? He took the secret family courts and put them on the front page of every news paper in not only England but all of the Western World. Quite an achievement in it's self. The law has as yet to be changed and inequality between the genders in the family courts will no doubt take generations to change but Fathers 4 Justice has got the debate going after twenty years of PC man failed to generate the correct volume of protest whilst tiptoeing on egg shells.
Weather you love or loathe O'Connor and Fathers 4 Justice is not important, what is important is that you know who they are.
What leads a man to pull on a pair of tights, scale a building and indulge in petty vandalism? Fathers 4 Justice will show you why and how. Is it a plane? is it a bird? No, it's the worst campaign group you have ever heard of. Ker!Pow!
I read this straight after The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and enjoyed it all the more for it containing material that I’d not come across before...moreI read this straight after The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and enjoyed it all the more for it containing material that I’d not come across before as I’d got into Hitch Hikers through the TV series and not the original Radio Show.
Adams writing is hilarious with not only the narration but the parts that are the guide book and the priceless dialogue. My favourite line has got to be Zaphod’s exchange with Roosta ‘Who are you?’, ‘A friend!’, ‘Oh Yeah? Anyone’s friend in particular or just generally well disposed to people’.
And so after learning why the Earth, a small blue green planet, was brought into existence, we then learn why it was destroyed and finally we learn that it didn’t matter a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys. Ask why?, and everyone within ear shot will reply ‘42’ proving that although a comedy book would be unlikely to significantly change anyone’s outlook on the world it can penetrate the culture to an extent that people whom have never heard, seen or read ‘The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ still know that the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything is, of course, 42. (less)
‘Very Good, Jeeves!’ is a collection of Wooster and Jeeves stories which carries on from where we last heard from them in ‘Carry on, Jeeves’. As befor...more‘Very Good, Jeeves!’ is a collection of Wooster and Jeeves stories which carries on from where we last heard from them in ‘Carry on, Jeeves’. As before Jeeves is a resource used to sort of all manner of problems for Bertie Wooster, his great friend Bingo Little and his not so great friend Tuppy Glossop using ‘The psychology of the individual’. As usual problems are presented in the shape of Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, Uncle George and the esteemed Sir Roderick Glossop. New problems of more dramatic consequence are presented by Bobbie Wickham whom we met previously in the second volume of Mr Mulliner short stories ‘Mr Mulliner Speaking’.
Weather extracting Tuppy from the arms of an opera singer or saving Bingo from being caught putting the housekeeping on a horse Wodehouse and Jeeves never let the menagerie or the reader down. Although not as clever as the twists and turns in later Jeeves novels the short form does suit Bertie’s narrative of Jeeves successes.
As ever the Wodehouse language as over complicated by Wooster’s pen is a pleasure to behold. Bertie’s description of the game of Rugby been as ‘fruity’ a description to ever grace any publication ‘I know that the main scheme is to work the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over the line at the other end, and that, in order to squelch this programme, each side is allowed to put in a certain amount of assault and battery and do things to its fellow man which, if done elsewhere, would result in fourteen days without the option, coupled with some strong remarks from the Bench.’ Top hole. (less)
‘Lord Emsworth and Others’ is yet another anthology of P G Wodehouse short stories of which the fist and longest features Lord Emsworth who is not ent...more‘Lord Emsworth and Others’ is yet another anthology of P G Wodehouse short stories of which the fist and longest features Lord Emsworth who is not entirely blameless in ‘The Crime Wave at Blandings’. Wodehouse short stories are generally of a pretty constant length in order to satisfy the requirements of the numerous magazine editors Wodehouse would produce them for. ‘The Crime Wave at Blandings’ is nearly three times this length and the story benefits from it by allowing the plot to twist not unlike a corkscrew and allow a romance to be supported by the cast of Blandings rather than make a feature certain individuals as the short stories did in the previously published ‘Blandings Castle’. This brings out the best in the Blandings repertory company and is worth the cover charge of the book alone.
No Wodehouse anthology could be considered complete without a shaggy dog, or in this case a shaggy beard, story supplied by Mr Mulliner. The Oldest Member, of course, is also in residence giving us three (I was rather hoping for fore) tales of hearts torn asunder and reunited on the golf links.
Freddie Widgeon steps out of The Drone club to entertain not only us but the Notting Hill Mothers and various Costermongers with mixed results. Three stories about Ukridge, one of which features Battling Billson, brings the collection to a close if not to a head.
The stories are perhaps of inconsistent quality with The Blandings story been head and shoulders above the rest. Although the remainder of the stories are fairly predictable they are pleasant enough and Wodehouse by numbers is still better than inspiration in lesser writers. (less)
‘Money in the Bank’ is one of my favourite Wodehouse novels. Lord Uffenham is short of money and has had to let his country pile to big game hunter, M...more‘Money in the Bank’ is one of my favourite Wodehouse novels. Lord Uffenham is short of money and has had to let his country pile to big game hunter, Mrs Cork, however, what money he has is the family jewels which he has hidden for safe keeping. Unfortunately Lord Uffenham’s poor memory means he has no idea where he has hidden them, consequently he is posing as Cakebread, the butler, to give him the opportunity to search the rooms.
Also on hand are Soapy & Dolly Molloy and co-conspirator Chimp Twist whom we met previously in ‘Sam the Sudden’ and ‘Money for Nothing’. Having got wind of diamonds been loose on the premises they are determined to get them away from Lord Uffenham and even each other. Novelist Jeff Miller is on site to try and woo Mrs Cork’s secretary Anne Benedick who is secretly engaged to her employer’s nephew, Lionel Green.
As you can imagine with a celebrated big game hunter in attendance before the boy gets the girl or the diamonds are recovered or the thieves revealed there is to be some gun play however it is really the dialogue that hits the mark. Wodehouse, as ever, delivers a dead eye shot every time. (less)
By 1970 at the age of eighty eight I don’t think anyone would be surprised that Wodehouse was not the writer he had been and indeed two of his three l...moreBy 1970 at the age of eighty eight I don’t think anyone would be surprised that Wodehouse was not the writer he had been and indeed two of his three last novels ‘Company for Henry’ and ‘Do Butlers Burgle Banks?’ although by no means stinkers had been a blot on the old escutcheon but returning to Blandings with ‘A Pelican at Blandings’ had reengaged his muse and ‘The Girl in Blue’ is one of his greatest works.
‘The Girl in Blue’ is a Gainsborough miniature which has gone missing and the suspicion is that it has been stolen from Willoughby Scrope and transported to Mellingham hall, seat of his brother Crispin Scrope. Their nephew, Jerry, is charged with recovering the picture and though he doesn’t find it he finds love and a Broker’s man posing as a butler. All would be well in Jerry’s world except that he is already engaged to Vera Upshaw whom greatly admires his trust fund enormously and Wodehouse must disentangle him before he can join his soul mate in the best of all possible worlds.
A Wodehouse original novel which despite a casual reference to Johnny Halliday from ‘A Pelican at Blandings’ doesn’t rely on any of the masters stock characters and even if it does dip into his stock of plot mechanisms it does leave us in the pink rather than the blue. (less)
‘The Small Bachelor’ is a Wodehouse farce spanning a larger canvas than usual. George Finch has fallen in love with Molly Waddington and intends to ma...more‘The Small Bachelor’ is a Wodehouse farce spanning a larger canvas than usual. George Finch has fallen in love with Molly Waddington and intends to marry her despite her mothers ‘reservations.’ Mrs Waddington wants Molly to marry Lord Hunstanton. Hamilton Beamish has fallen in love with Mrs Waddington’s fortune teller and intends to marry her despite his distrust of love at first sight. George’s ex-con Valet has managed to marry his sweetheart pickpocket Fanny but she has disappeared from her honeymoon to avail her self of George and Molly’s wedding presents. Molly’s father is particularly keen that Fanny should get hold of the pearl necklace he’s to give Molly so that she should never discover it is a fake. The story is set in New York during prohibition and I’m assuming the love and marriage motif was caused by a lack of anything else to do.
With so much love and marriage going on the butler Ferris steals the show with his views on the matter, ‘Weren’t you happy when you got married Ferris?’, ‘No, Sir.’, ‘Was Mrs Ferris?’, ‘She appeared to take a certain girlish pleasure in the ceremony, Sir, but it soon blew over.’ Ferries finally sums up ‘Marriage is not a process for prolonging the life of love, Sir. It merely mummifies its corpse.’
Surly Wodehouse will not allow such blasphemy stand in the best of all possible worlds and bring all the couples to a happy conclusion? Either way with Wodehouse it’s the journey not the destination that is important. Wodehouse himself was fond of ‘The Small Bachelor’ and I am too, I suspect if you were to read it, you also would develop a fondness for it also. (less)
In the bar-parlour of the Angler’s Rest the efficient barmaid Miss Postlewaite was asking who was the greatest of all the Wodehouse comic creations. A...moreIn the bar-parlour of the Angler’s Rest the efficient barmaid Miss Postlewaite was asking who was the greatest of all the Wodehouse comic creations. A Port and Lemon ventured that it would be ‘Lord Emsworth’, ‘Bertie Wooster surely?’ suggested a surly Gin and Tonic, ‘What of Psmith or Ukridge or The Oldest Member?’ questioned an aggressive half of Mild. ‘But what of Mr Mulliner?’ asked a stranger in the corner, ‘surely the Mulliner family crave you inclusion?’. The bar was undecided and the conversation moved on to weather Elvis Costello’s new album was as good as his early work.
We first meet the Mulliners in this book and the jury is still out if they can be considered amongst the Wodehouse sagas as Mr Mulliner himself merely frames the stories and the family motif is really a mechanism for a short story writer not requiring ten new surnames every new volume. We meet Mulliners whom are curates to overbearing clergy, salesmen of patent medicines and even the class of men that writes detective fiction, but what do we learn from the Mulliners.
Well of course we learn nothing but we are constantly reminded of what it is to laugh. God is surely in heaven and the Larch on the Thorn, surely the Mulliner family crave you inclusion? (less)
‘Summer Moonshine’ is one of Wodehouse’s most underrated novels. Without a connection to any of the Wodehouse Saga’s it has a tendency to be overlooke...more‘Summer Moonshine’ is one of Wodehouse’s most underrated novels. Without a connection to any of the Wodehouse Saga’s it has a tendency to be overlooked, which is a shame because as Joe Vanringham would put it, it’s a ‘corker’.
To summarise a Wodehouse plot is a bit like vivisection, the whole is greater and certainly more animated than the sum of its constituent parts. However, in brief, Joe Vanringham is in love with Sir Buckstone’s daughter Jane who has had the misfortune of becoming engaged to fortune hunter Adrian Peake who is also engaged to Joe’s stepmother Princess Dwornitzchek, basing his fortune hunting on a system of probability. Joe’s brother has recently broken his engagement to Sir Buckstone’s secretary Miss Whittaker whom is now suing him for breach of promise with Sir Buckstone’s brother in law being employed to serve him with the notice.
Sir Buckstone’s country seat, Walsingford Hall, is the setting for the novel which has been taking in paying guests, but not to populate the novel with characters as these are all related to the two central families. The paying guests get little or no lines or business to justify there existence.
Despite this underused mechanical aid the novel is of the finest that Wodehouse ever wrote and I ever read. (less)
‘Not Just for Christmas’ is a novella written by Roddy Doyle for the Open Door education series of books. As a ninety page written to order story by r...more‘Not Just for Christmas’ is a novella written by Roddy Doyle for the Open Door education series of books. As a ninety page written to order story by rights it should be rubbish but unfortunately it is absolutely fantastic.
Written as a piece of nostalgia the story concerns Danny Murphy going to meet his brother, Jimmy, after an estrangement lasting over twenty years. Despite the short form of the book the childhood fights, teenage adventures and the big row that tore them apart are relived by the reader. By the time the meeting comes to its conclusion the reader has developed an emotional attachment to the Murphy brothers that most writers could hope to develop with a novel spanning a thousand pages.
Roddy Doyle’s writing captures the real emotions of other people’s lives and the warmth brings us in to enjoy them as if they were old friends or members of our own families. A fantastic piece of writing very much in the mould of ‘Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha,’ and ‘The Woman Who Walked into Doors’ both of which preceded it. (less)
Family Court Hell details Mark Harris' 10 year case to maintain contact with his daughters. That Mark could be sent to prison for breaking his contact...moreFamily Court Hell details Mark Harris' 10 year case to maintain contact with his daughters. That Mark could be sent to prison for breaking his contact order by waving at his children highlights the lunacy of the family courts. That Natural fathers requiring re-introduction to the children once contact has been broken by the courts whilst Mum's new boyfriend can move straight in is central to the questions Mark raises against the courts and the society that allows them to operate in secret.
That a fathers contact can be reduced because it appears the children are not happy at the mothers home or that an order of no contact can be made despite repeated statements from the children that they wish to see their father show a secret court failing to act in the interests of the children.
This is the case that ultimately led to the start of Fathers 4 Justice. What is incredible is not that it happened but that it didn't happen sooner. Family Court Hell shows the family courts are more Monty Python Sketch than legal system and that Justice is a concept only found outside the law.
‘Jill the Reckless’ or ‘The Little Warrior’ to use it’s American title is the tale of ‘modern’ girl Jill and her adventures after losing her fortune,...more‘Jill the Reckless’ or ‘The Little Warrior’ to use it’s American title is the tale of ‘modern’ girl Jill and her adventures after losing her fortune, her fiancé and her liberty in one swoop on been arrested for saving a Parrot from some unsavoury costermongers. It is a surprisingly well drawn heroine from the pen of P G Wodehouse for whom the fairy sex was more often than not a mere prop to give the dialogue of his male characters some reasoning.
Wodehouses' characteristic nods to the past are present with Young Threepwood of Blandings fame and the Drones club getting a mention along with George Bevan from ‘A Damsel in Distress’ but this is the story of Jill Mariner and Wally Mason with none of the masters love for sagas.
Uncle Chris has lost Jill’s fortune and is endeavouring to secure a second from the widows of New York, marrying the grim Mrs Peagrim is not his idea of a picnic but if it will restore the family fortune then sacrifice is a matter of honour. Derek Underhill steels himself to marry Jill in spite of his fearsome mothers’ objections and Freddie Rooke, as a staple Wodehouse ass, endeavours to help in a manner that is never going to trouble the course of true love.
As ever Wodehouse brings matters to a satisfactory conclusion helped with his faultless dialogue, ’How did you know that was the one hat in New York I wanted you to wear?’, ‘Oh, these things get about.’
The book has dated worse than the majority of Wodehouses’ work with the characters been accurate studies rather than timeless caricatures but the past can often make us smile with lines no one would commit to print in our PC times such as ‘Scowling is the civilized man’s substitute for wife-beating.’ A priceless entry in the Wodehouse cannon. (less)
The third and my favourite Hitch Hikers novel reunites Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Marvin the Paranoid Android, Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox with Sla...moreThe third and my favourite Hitch Hikers novel reunites Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Marvin the Paranoid Android, Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox with Slartibartfast and finally explains why the galaxy allowed the Earth to be destroyed. It turned out that although allot of people had a vested interest in the destruction of the Earth it was our glorification of the Krikket wars by creating a game as insensitive as Cricket that no-one could stomach.
This would be fine except eddies in the space time continuum have allowed the Krikket robot warriors to free the Krikket Masters and allow them to wage war on the remainder of the Universe.
Can this collection of misfits struggling with lifestyle and personality issues save Life, the Universe and Everything? The evidence of two further books in the worlds most inappropriately named trilogy would suggest so but as with hyperdrives it’s about the journey and not the destination. Recommended for carbon based life forms everywhere. (less)