Friday, June 30, 2006

The Tie-Break

Borg v McEnroe

In any assessment of great sporting moments of the 20th Century, the fourth set tie break of the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles final between the defending champion Bjorn Borg of Sweden and John McEnroe of the USA has earned an unchallenged place.

26 years ago...

and today...

England's Best

Fred Perry

and the same Fred Perry

The Best Ever...

Lawn Tennis

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Joan Hunter Dunn

It is the Wimbledon fortnight...

A Subaltern's Love Song

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Her father's euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o'clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

The Hillman is waiting, the light's in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing's the light on your hair.

By roads "not adopted", by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o'clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl's hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I'm engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

-- John Betjeman

Plums of PGW

Coming To Life

I remember when I was a kid at school having to learn a poem of sorts about a fellow named Pig-something - a sculptor he would have been, no doubt - who made a statue of a girl, and what should happen one morning but that the bally thing suddenly came to life. A pretty nasty shock for the chap, of course, but the point I'm working to is that there were a couple of lines that went, if I remember correctly:

She starts. She moves. She seems to feel
The stir of life along her keel.

And what I'm driving at is that you couldn't get a better description of what happened to Gussie as I spoke these heartening words. His brow cleared, his eyes brightened, he lost that fishy look, and he gazed at the slug, which was still on the long, long trail, with something approaching bonhomie. A marked improvement. - Right Ho, Jeeves (1934)


At this moment, a disembodied voice suddenly came from inside one of the bushes, causing Freddie to shoot a full two inches out of his seat. He tells me he remembered a similar experience having happened to Moses in the Wilderness, and he wondered if the prophet had taken it as big as he had done.
'I'm in here!'
Freddie gaped. 'Was that Prudence?' he gurgled.
'That was Prudence,' said April coldly.
'But what's she doing there?'
'She is obliged to remain in those bushes, because she has nothing on.'
'Nothing on? No particular engagements, you mean?'

-Young Men in Spats (1936)

illustration by Paul Cox

Informal study...

Did you know? Evelyn Waugh, who lived into his sixties, once conducted an informal study demonstrating that cigar-smoking counteracts the health risks of lounging in bed all day.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Nil, Nil...

"...Mostly soccer is just guys in shorts running around aimlessly, a metaphor for the meaninglessness of life. Whole blocks of game time transpire during which absolutely nothing happens. Fortunately, this permits fans to slip out for a bratwurst and a beer without missing anything important. It's little wonder fans at times resort to brawling amongst themselves in the grandstands, as there is so little transpiring on the field of play to occupy their wandering attention. Watching men in shorts scampering around has its limitations. It's like gazing too long at a painting by de Kooning or Jackson Pollock. The more you look, the less there is to see.

DESPITE HEROIC EFFORTS of soccer moms, suburban liberals, and World Cup hype, soccer will never catch on as a big time sport in America. No game in which actually scoring goals is of such little importance could possibly occupy the attention of average Americans. Our country has yet to succumb to the nihilism, existentialism, and anomie that have overtaken Europe. A game about nothing, in which scoring is purely incidental, holds scant interest for Americans who still believe the world makes sense, that life has a larger meaning and structure, that being is not an end in itself, being qua being..."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

June 25, 1876

Battle of the Little Bighorn

Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and 647 men of the 7th Cavalry, part of the eastern column, were ordered by General Terry, south along Rosebud Creek. Ahead of the main column, Custer's 6 Crow and 39 Arikara Indian Scouts found the massive village. In the Valley of the Little Bighorn River, the Seventh Cavalry and their Indian allies attacked the village of 6,000 to 7,000 people, on June 25th,1876. After the battle was over, 263 7th Cavalrymen lay dead, including George Custer. 350 7th Cavalrymen survived.

Flashman was there...

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Da Vinci Gospel

"...Wouldn't you know, modern feminism comes into the story, albeit somewhat anachronistically. During the Middle Ages, Brown points out, the Church burned five million women as witches, less because it believed in witches than because it hated women. Five million! I'd almost forgotten that. No, wait. I don't think I'd ever heard it before, actually. Wouldn't historians have mentioned such an infamy? Wouldn't millions of men in those days have protested the roasting of their wives, daughters, and grandmothers? Or did they all say, a la Henny Youngman, “Take my wife - please”? Why did the misogynistic Church forbid men to dump their dumpy old mates and swap them for young and nubile trophy wives?..."
Read on...

The Babe's Edge

"...And Bonds? Surly, sulky, suspicious, foul-mouthed and self-pitying. Everything you don’t want your hero to be. He craves admiration, but does nothing to reward it; he has none of Ruth’s easy ability to connect with the fans. Despite his enormous success, he exudes resentment. Does he take steroids? It’s a reasonable question, and the answer is all too obvious, but he resents it. His detractors, he says, are racists. He’ll go to his grave blaming everyone but himself for the ill will he provokes. It just goes to show that the richest man on earth can always persuade himself that he’s a victim. Bonds has, to a superlative degree, what is now called “attitude”; Babe Ruth never heard of it..." Read on...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mayfair Favourites...Part 8

Diana Dors - Diana Mary Fluck, Swindon, England (1931-1984)

'Hurricane in Mink'

Measurements: 36 1/2D-24-35

As my father used to say: 'God help us'

As I say: 'Ditto'

Mayfair Favourites...Part 7

Maureen O'Sullivan - Maureen Paula O'Sullivan, Boyle, Ireland (1911-1998)

Mother of Mia Farrow. Despised working with the ape 'Cheetah' during the filming of the MGM series of Tarzan movies, and according to daughter Mia Farrow privately referred to the primate as 'that ape son of a bitch.'


As my father used to say: 'A dirty book is rarely dusty'

As I say:
'Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy'

Mayfair Favourites...Part 6

Olivia de Havilland - Olivia Mary de Havilland, British, b. 1916

Older sister of Joan Fontaine. Turned down the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), allegedly stating that "A lady just doesn't say or do those things on the screen".


As my father used to say: 'I think I could fall madly in bed with her'

As I say: '
Nothing risqué, nothing gained'

Mayfair Favourites...Part 5

Greer Garson - Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson, London, England (1904-1996)

Graduated from the University of London and studied at the University of Grenoble.

5'6" Measurements: 36 B/C- 25- 38

As my father used to say: 'Let's go for a bathe'

As I say: ' Splish-Splash'

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Last Victorian: John Buchan and the Hannay Quartet

"Author and statesman, John Buchan (1875-1940) was an extraordinarily prolific writer whose works include a four-volume history of World War I; biographies of Julius Caesar, Sir Walter Scott, and Oliver Cromwell; a textbook for accountants: The Law According to the Taxation of Foreign Income; and numerous collections of essays and poetry. But while he also held a number of influential political posts such as Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland (1933-34) and Governor General of Canada (1935-40), he is perhaps best remembered for his espionage fiction, the success of which overshadowed not only his other literary accomplishments but also the varied and prestigious work he work he carried out as a British public servant.

Buchan’s most celebrated novels are the four espionage stories featuring the prototypical Buchan hero, Richard Hannay: The Thirty Nine Steps (1915), Greenmantle (1916), Mr. Standfast (1919), and The Three Hostages (1924). And although his work in the genre is by no means confined to the “Hannay Quartet,” taken together, they provide perhaps the best examples of, not only Buchan’s reliance upon his experience as an intelligence officer, but also his marked engagement with world geopolitical events as a backdrop to his fiction..." Read on...

Writers of the Right: H. H. Munro ('Saki')

by William King

"...One of the most fundamental differences between conservatism and liberalism and socialism is in their understanding of what determines human nature. The latter two creeds both believe, indeed have to believe, that it is entirely environmentally determined: manipulate the environment and you can change the nature of Man. Conservatism by contrast appreciates that there is an hereditarian influence also at work, that nature as well as nurture plays a part in shaping our identities, and that liberal-Leftist experiments in social engineering are doomed to founder on the rocks of reality.

In The Toys of Peace Saki shows that he clearly appreciates this point. A London paper in March 1914 carried an account of how the self-styled ‘National Peace Council’ planned to prevent future war by giving small boys “peace toys” instead of toy soldiers. Saki mercilessly parodies this fatuous inanity: two boys are given a model municipal washhouse, and toy local government officers to play with, to educate them to their civic responsibilities. To the horror of their liberal benefactors the boys decide the wash-house is a fort and the local government-officers are soon re-fighting the Napoleonic Wars. Interestingly, some 75 years later, Dr Anne Moir, recounting some of the latest scientific researches into genetically determined behavioural patterns, in her book, Brain Sex, described an actual case-study almost identical to Saki's fictional event..."

Modern Manners

"...Modern Britain, like America, is a brutal, violent place, where middle-class values and elitism stick in the throats of the slobs that lord it over us. Levelling down is the message. Down with Eton and Harrow, down with good manners, down with intelligence and good taste. England’s national pastime, as the Americans would call it, mirrors the state of the culture and society. C’est tout..."

"...Male tennis now bores me, as does Maria Sharapova, her Svengali father who looks like an ex-Soviet hitman, and those grunting Williams sisters who whine as much as they grunt. I root for Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters, because they’re both cute, plump and feminine, and smile a lot. The rest are unwatchable and unbeddable, not that many female tennis players on the circuit are breaking down my doors in Cadogan Square..."

Taki's Top Drawer

Mayfair Favourites...Part 4

Deborah Kerr
, CBE - Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer, Helensburgh, Scotland b. 1921

The 'classic' English lady, in 1968, she suddenly quit movies, appalled by the explicit sex and violence of the day.


As my father used to say: 'Beauty is only sin deep'

As I say: ' I'm not against half naked girls - not as often as I'd like to be'

Mayfair Favourites...Part 3

Maureen O'Hara
- Maureen FitzSimons, Ranelagh, Ireland b. 1920

Red Hair, 5 films with 'The Duke'

5'8" Measurements: 36 1/2C-25-36

As my father used to say: 'I think she needs a porch for that swing'

As I say: Hubba-Hubba, an apron never looked so good...

'We're all going to get killed'!

Quartered Safe Out Here: A Recollection of the War in Burma
by George Macdonald Fraser

Purchase Today...

"One of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War" (John Keegan) by the creator of the Flashman books.

"A Brilliantly entertaining read, with all the narrative power, gift for dialogue and surprising twists and turns that would be expected of flashman's creator...Fraser is unrivalled at the storyteller's essential crafts..." - Gary Mead, Financial Times

"This is a book as good as anything Fraser has written...decorated with the beautifully-observed dialogue of which he is a master...A moving and penetrating contribution to the literature of the Burma campaign" - Max Hastings, Daily Telegraph

"His new book deserves to reach out to an even larger audience...The sense of front-line danger is palpable and the smell of action is remarkable. His descriptions of the sudden violent actions are breathtaking. This is battle as it is done" - Melvyn Bragg, Evening Standard

"Fraser's is quite the most vividly realistic account of the sharp end of the war in Burma that i have read...If you have enjoyed Fraser's 'Flashman' books you will enjoy the racy, pacy, utterly authentic account of far away long ago soldiering" - John Mellors, London Magazine

"A great writer has raised a memorial to a lost generation" - John Colvin

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mayfair Favourites...Part 2

Joan Fontaine - Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, British b. 1917

Younger sister of Olivia de Havilland


As my father used to say: 'Holy Moly'

As I say: 'Quite'

Famous Quote: 'I just love Basil Seal'

Mayfair Favourites...Part 1

"The Perfect Wife" "Nora Charles"

Myrna Loy - Myrna Adele Williams, Montana USA (1905-1993)

5' 6" Measurements: 35 1/2-26 1/2-33 1/2

As my father used to say: 'That's a tall drink of water'

As I say: 'The ranch and yacht are yours!'


I have been pleased to have helped several esteemed gentlemen discover Flashman and Fraser...Here is another one for you: Mr. American - No one knew who Mark Franklin was when he disembarked at Liverpool in 1909 with a copy of Shakespeare's works, an old Mexican charro saddle and two Remingtons in his battered luggage. He was just another American, tall and softly-spoken. Even General Flashman never guessed the whole truth.

This is very good, and a must read...As a bonus Flashman makes an appearance in the book, it is 1914 and Flashy is in his 90's, but still Flashy. Highly recommended.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Waugh, Immemorial


I like the summer intern already...

The Charming Mrs. P...

Of course we all know and love the charming Mrs. P...Our favourite Mayfair hostess. Such a very lovely lady. She even has a kind word for a throughgoing cad like me. When we think of her, it reminds us of Cary Grant's comment about Myrna Loy: 'All men want to be married to Myrna Loy'....When next on safari with Mr. P, I must ask him how the deuce he accomplished it...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

by Jerome K. Jerome

On Dress and Deporment:

"...They have a wonderful deal to do with courting, clothes have. It is half the battle. At all events, the young man thinks so, and it generally takes him a couple of hours to get himself up for the occasion. His first half-hour is occupied in trying to decide whether to wear his light suit with a cane and drab billycock, or his black tails with a chimney-pot hat and his new umbrella. He is sure to be unfortunate in either decision. If he wears his light suit and takes the stick it comes on to rain, and he reaches the house in a damp and muddy condition and spends the evening trying to hide his boots. If, on the other hand, he decides in favor of the top hat and umbrella--nobody would ever dream of going out in a top hat without an umbrella; it would be like letting baby (bless it!) toddle out without its nurse. How I do hate a top hat! One lasts me a very long while, I can tell you. I only wear it when--well, never mind when I wear it. It lasts me a very long while. I've had my present one five years. It was rather old-fashioned last summer, but the shape has come round again now and I look quite stylish.

But to return to our young man and his courting. If he starts off with the top hat and umbrella the afternoon turns out fearfully hot, and the perspiration takes all the soap out of his mustache and converts the beautifully arranged curl over his forehead into a limp wisp resembling a lump of seaweed. The Fates are never favorable to the poor wretch. If he does by any chance reach the door in proper condition, she has gone out with her cousin and won't be back till late.

How a young lover made ridiculous by the gawkiness of modern costume must envy the picturesque gallants of seventy years ago! Look at them (on the Christmas cards), with their curly hair and natty hats, their well-shaped legs incased in smalls, their dainty Hessian boots, their ruffling frills, their canes and dangling seals. No wonder the little maiden in the big poke-bonnet and the light-blue sash casts down her eyes and is completely won. Men could win hearts in clothes like that. But what can you expect from baggy trousers and a monkeyjacket?..."

The Manifesto

"Society is withering, like the fruit on some diseased vine. We have become the playthings of corporations intent on converting our world into a gargantuan shopping precinct. Pleasantness and civility are being discarded as the worthless ephemera of a bygone age - an age when men doffed their hats at the ladies, and small children could be counted upon to mind one's Jack Russell while one took a mild and bitter in the local hostelry.
Instead, we live in a world where children are huge, inelegant hooded creatures lurking on street corners; the local hostelry has been taken over by a chain and serves chemically-laced lager which aggravates the nervous system. Needless to say, the Jack Russell is no longer there upon one's return..." Read on...


Decadence: The Passing of Personal Virtue and its Replacement by Political and Psychological Slogans

by Digby Anderson, 2005

Britain, Europe and the United States are decadent societies in a special sense of that word. They have traded in an old morality that served them well throughout their civilisation for a new, experimental quasi-morality. The old morality had well-known virtues, courage, love, fairness, honesty and prudence. The new ‘virtues’ are equality, anti-discrimination, environmental concern, self-affirmation, a ‘caring’ attitude, and a critical mindset.

The old were genuine virtues; they required specific behaviours of individuals. The new are quasi or bogus virtues. Some, such as equality, are political policies rather than features of personal conduct. Environmentalism is an arena in which virtue may be exercised not a virtue themselves. Transparency in business is a way of revealing virtue not a virtue. Some are slogans: they make rhetorical appeals to moral indignations. Others such as self-affirmation would once have been regarded as a vice.

One of the best known bad exchanges is that of Aladdin’s lamp. Aladdin’s princess wife, not knowing his old, dusty lamp is a magic one is persuaded to exchange it for a bright new one. The exchange of a dusty, old but well-proven morality for a bright, new quasi-morality is an even worse deal. This book shows how good the old one was and how empty the glittering new one is. But there is something worse than the new set of quasi-virtues, and that is the exchange itself. The princess gave away Aladdin’s lamp in ignorance of its magic powers. Our society has given up its priceless set of virtues in the face of ample evidence of their goodness and practicality. Indeed, it may be that it is this very goodness with which society is so uneasy. A shiny bauble morality is so much easier to live with.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hear! Hear!

Congratulations go out to Mr. Cusack upon his successfully completing his degree requirements at St. Andrews (Scotland). Although he eschewed Mr. Waugh's advice and took a 'Gentleman's Third', my hat is off to the lad...A Catholic Gentleman of the first water, Mr. Cusack traveled abroad to obtain an actual college degree, not one of the meaningless ones given away in the States. Jolly good show, old man...It wasn't the 'Triple First' of a C. S. Lewis, but what the hell, a man's got to relax some time, what? When asked what he did for his college (Hereford, Oxf), Waugh said that he 'drank for it', thus the Forth Class degree. (Read Mr. Cusack's post where he explains the degree system in the UK for the uninitiated).

Congratulations and Good Luck...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Art of House Husbandry

"It would seem that, while we gentlemen have been busy perfecting our cigarette lighting techniques and conducting amusing experiments with hair lacquer, the ladies have been engaged in what they rather quaintly call a 'sexual revolution'. Many of them have claimed that they too are entitled to a life of sitting at a desk for eight hours, in between two gruelling hours of commuting, relieved only by the occasional opportunity of barking orders at some subordinate. The resulting state of affairs resembles something of a volte-face within the marital home of today.

To the staunch gentleman of leisure, this situation can be of more benefit than it sounds. Within the bond of Holy Matrimony, we will be permitted to spend the entire day abandoning ourselves to the muse (while the muse herself goes out and earns a crust), giving full vent to the artistic creations that well within us like a dormant Vesuvius.
However, take heed. As the day draws to a close, you can expect your beloved to arrive home after a hard day on mammon's exercise wheel, and it is at this juncture that you must lay your notebook/harpsichord/tapestry aside and devote your attentions to her comfort. Here is a step-by-step guide to maintaining a happy modern marital home..." Read On...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Forgotten Founder

"Who is the most unfairly neglected American Founding Father? You might think that none can be unfairly neglected, so many books about that distinguished coterie have been published lately. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington—whom have I left out? It has been a literary festival of Founders these last few years, and a good thing, too. But there is one figure, I believe, who has yet to get his due, and that is John Witherspoon (1723–1794). This Scotch Presbyterian divine came to America to preside over a distressed college in Princeton, New Jersey, and wound up transmitting to the colonies critical principles of the Scottish Enlightenment and helped to preside over the birth and consolidation of American independence..."


Hugo von Hofmannsthal was—besides poet, playwright, essayist, librettist, and fiction writer—a universally admired sensitive soul, the kind imperial Austria seemed to specialize in. It may be that empires, with their hierarchies, traditions, and social stability, contribute to this Feinfühligkeit (a wonderful German word for delicacy of feeling). Certainly growing up in a great European capital like Vienna encourages urbanity, culture, and cosmopolitanism, which were plentiful in Hofmannsthal (1872–1929).

Out of the time machine...

Theodore Dalrymple in TNC:

"...At every entrance to every bar and nightclub, out of which swirled the aural poison gas of rock music, stood men dressed in black who were originally called bouncers, then doormen, then greeters, and now—whether it is finally, I cannot say—admission consultants. Each with a shaven head and an earphone in his ear to inform him of trouble brewing elsewhere, these men raise the question of whether Lamarck was right about evolution after all: For before the establishment of bars and nightclubs requiring their services, men of such breadth—six feet wide, looking like animated blocks of concrete, members of a Politburo of protection—were never to be seen. Did they exist before, or were they called into existence, if not by necessity exactly, at least by prevailing conditions?

Outside the concert hall, the audience entered a different, alien, and hostile world, one in which untold thousands of young people, dressed with a voluntary uniformity, paraded themselves, raucous, drunken, exhibitionist, and volatile. The audience shrank away and scurried home, in an effort not to be noticed by these young creatures of ostensibly the same species as themselves; they feared to be preyed upon by them. I too felt nervous, but, at the same time, I experienced an odd feeling of familiarity about the situation, almost one of déjà vu. What exactly was I recalling?..."

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Pink pigeons & blue mayonnaise

"I have a weakness for minor artists. But they must be genuinely minor, by which I mean that they mustn’t lapse into minority through overreaching, want of energy, crudity, or any other kind of ineptitude. They must not be failed major artists merely. The true minor artist eschews the noble and the solemn. He fears tedium for his audience, but even more for himself. He sets out to be, and is perfectly content to remain, less than great. The minor artist knows his limits and lives comfortably within them. To delight, to charm, to entertain, such are the goals the minor artist sets himself, and, when brought off with style and verve and elegant lucidity, they are—more than sufficient—wholly admirable..."

Joseph Epstein in TNC

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

June 6, 1944

On June 6, 1944, a date known ever since as D-Day, a mighty armada crossed a narrow strip of sea from England to Normandy, France, and cracked the Nazi grip on western Europe...


Bow Street Runners

"The Bow Street Runners were established in 1749 by the novelist Henry Fielding in the same year that saw the publication of Tom Jones. Having done much to precipitate state censorship of the theatres through his political satires of the early 1730s, Fielding had qualified as a barrister, and was appointed Justice of the Peace in Westminster on 25th October 1748. He owed his appointment to his patron, the Duke of Bedford, who was the new Secretary of State.

So it was that on December 9th 1749 Fielding moved into the large house in Bow Street (near the current Covent Garden opera house), which had been the residence of Sir Thomas de Veil (the former incumbent, 1729-46, and a noted anti-Jacobite.) The ground floor of the house served as Fielding.s court room. Bow Street was next to the parish of St Giles where 30,000 people lived in cramped, unhealthy circumstances, and to the hundred of Drury - the theatre district around Covent Garden square which was notorious for its bawdy houses..."

dum casta

A provision in a Victorian seperation agreement, or, will, by which a divorced wife or widow would be paid maintenance provided she thereafter led a chaste life: dum casta et sola vixit. The clause, which was still being inserted in contracts until the 1960's, frequently had disastrous consequences...

Good shot, Mi'lord...

Lord Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany

Lord Dunsany followed big-game hunting as circumstances allowed. In the 1930's the proprietors of Lobb & Co., the gentleman's boot maker in St. Jame's, advertised by means of a trap drawn by two zebras. Never having bagged a zebra, Dunsany took up a position between Fortnum and Mason and Hatchards and shot them both dead as they trotted down Piccadilly.

See also: Brewer's Rogues, Villains & Eccentrics by William Donaldson

Help with the old "deftly written"

In Plum Sauce, Richard Usborne-long regarded as the world's leading authority on P. G. Wodehouse-brings together the best of his much admired commentary on the great man's words to form the perfect companion to the nearly one hundred novels of "the most consistently funny writer the English language has yet produced" (The Times).

Plum Sauce also contains snippets of Wodehouse's most outrageously hilarious prose, organized in categories from Animals ("Beach's bullfinch continued to chirp reflectively to itself, like a man trying to remember a tune in his bath") to menservants ("Jeeves lugged my purple socks out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of a salad"). Usborne introduces in depth all the beloved major characters-Jeeves and Wooster, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred, Lord Emsworth, and the Blandings circle-and sketches the rest of the Wodehouse cast-from Gussie Fink-Nottle to the chorus of Aunts and Drones. Lavishly illustrated with original dust jacket artwork and sketches from the Strand Magazine, Plum Sauce is the ultimate source for both aficionados and novices just beginning to "scratch the old lemon."

Monday, June 5, 2006

If I may be so bold...

A must have for those grass combing buggers which reads the books...Sir...

Persons, Animals, Ships and Cannon in the Aubery - Maturin Novels 2nd Ed.

Coming July 3, 2006

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Waugh's adulthood home...

1937 to 1956 Piers Court, Gloucestershire

Waugh's childhood home in Hampstead...

Thank You Al...

From Roger Kimball discussing Iowahawk's suggestions at TNC:

"...Thankfully, with the new release of Al Gore's blockbuster eco-documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," the world is finally heeding the disaster looming on the horizon. But mere consciousness is not enough to cure our current climate ills - it takes action. Here are a few simple things you to put the planet on the road to recovery...

4. Don't Have Babies. Many people are shocked when they learn that fewer than 25% of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild have been spayed or neutered. Sure, babies make great fashion accessories and it's fun to give them awesome names, like Kumquat Wildebeest Paltrow and Toploader Enchilada Cage. But these miniature humans will eventually grow and begin ravenously consuming the Earth's depleted reserves of aux pairs and psychotherapists..."

Also coming November 2006 from Encounter Books:

Dunkirk spirit...

"...When is a defeat not a defeat? When it is the retreat from Dunkirk. Perhaps no single operation in the whole of the Second World War captured the popular imagination in Britain as did the transport of the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force back to England in the summer of 1940. The evacuation has even entered the language: everyone knows what is meant by the "Dunkirk spirit".

Yet the retreat was also a humiliating defeat. The object of British and French forces was to hold back the German attack, sit in France and Belgium as they had done during the Great War, and wait until the battle of attrition took its toll on German resolve. What actually resulted was the smashing of French and British resistance in a few weeks, and Britain's expulsion from a continent she had no hope of re-entering again unaided. With almost all their equipment lost and their organisation in disarray, the British armies that returned to southern England were scarcely a fighting force..."

Orwell and Bond

"...If the Bond novels are useful to historians, then it is as a source about the social decline of the upper middle class rather than the decline of Britain as a Great Power. In many ways, Fleming/Bond are similar to that other odd couple of British letters – Eric Blair and George Orwell. Orwell, like Bond, is a dramatized version of his creator. Orwell wrote of the humiliation that came from knowing how to hunt and shoot but realizing that one would never have the means to do these things. Bond belongs to an epoch when this dilemma touched ever larger sections of the British upper-middle class. Bond’s own financial circumstances and family background are a bit confused – sometimes he has a small private income, and sometimes he lives off his salary, but he is always aware of having, as he puts it himself, “not quite enough” money. You could escape this world (as Orwell did) by sinking out of the middle class, or you could escape (as in the Bond novels) by living the high life, courtesy of a Secret Service expense account. I suspect that the single line that excited British readers most in the Bond novels occurs in Moonraker: “When he was on a job he could spend as much as he liked”..."

Saturday, June 3, 2006

My first installment...

bobgirrl has given me #1 Be Confident you worm!

Be Psmith but not Roderick Spode...Got it?

I'm on my way...

I wonder if incessant Wodehouse quoting would be a positive or negative while talking to girls...bobgirrl??