I Can’t Believe It’s Not Wodehouse
08/03/2013 § 2 Comments
I’m a Wodehouse fan. Are you a Wodehouse fan?
I’m a Wodehouse fan.
So is Sebastian Faulks. So much so that he is writing a Jeeves & Wooster novel.
Faulks & Wodehouse. Doesn’t it have a pleasing ring to it? Like a gentleman’s outfitters on Jermyn Street.
Incidentally, I’ve always been a bit disappointed that it’s not Sebastian ffaulks, like one of Wodehouse’s ffinest creations, Sir Jasper ffinch-ffarowmere:
“Sir Jasper Finch-Farrowmere?” said Wilfred.
“ffinch-ffarowmere,” corrected the visitor, his sensitive ear detecting the capital letters.
“Ah yes. You spell it with two small f’s.”
“Four small f’s.”
Perhaps Sebastian will change his name for the occasion in honour of the ffictitious (that’s enough – Ed.) Baronet.
The news was announced yesterday, on World Book Day (Ruth Rendell – Collected Stories, since you ask). My first reaction was: “But why? Why? WHY?”
I have since been through “oh dear” and “hmm…”, but have moderated it to a grudging “oh well I suppose there’s no harm in it. The best of luck to you.”
The likelihood of my proceeding to “I just can’t wait for Jeeves & The Wedding Bells” to be released. I can’t wait, do you hear? I MUST HAVE IT!” appear slim at the time of going to press.
The thing is, we’ve got quite a lot of Jeeves & Wooster already. Eleven novels and thirty-five short stories, to be precise (or as precise as Wikipedia can ever be). Were we left cruelly deprived when The Master was cut off in his prime at the age of ninety-three? Or do we shrug our shoulders and start rereading from the beginning of the canon?
I know my answer. Yours might be different.
This ‘continuation’ idea isn’t a new thing of course. Some new, authorised, Winnie-the-Pooh stories by David Benedictus appeared a few years ago. His love of the originals oozed from the page; sadly so too did the irrefutable evidence of their undeniable superiority. Reading the new ones was a bit like eating a hunny sandwich made with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Nice enough, but, well, you know…
And I still haven’t brought myself to read the sixth instalment in what Douglas Adams himself called ‘the increasingly inaccurately named Hitch-Hikers Guide trilogy’, written by Eoin Colfer in 2009.
It’s probably brilliant. Colfer is, as evidenced in the Artemis Fowl series, brilliant. But somehow, even if it is, I don’t want to know. It just feels…wrong.
But Fleming is Fleming; Wodehouse is Wodehouse. To clarify, Fleming isn’t Wodehouse, nor Wodehouse Fleming.
Wodehouse, like Jeeves, is inimitable.
The regular Runny Thoughter will at this point be raising an eyebrow, a hand and an objection.
Guilty as charged. But while I will now be wishing Mr. ffaulks (oh go on, you know you want to) all the luck in the world, I have a horrible feeling that he’ll be needing it.
And then some.
On a completely unrelated note, if you want to see the best version of Harlem Shake yet, look down a couple of inches.
There you go.