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Don Quixote

A Bit of Fry & PG

On Friday I was lucky enough to see Stephen Fry talking about PG Wodehouse at the Soho Theatre, which is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me living in London. (My spare ticket, thanks to a retweet by the box office, went to a grateful fan.)

It would, of course, be a pleasure to hear Stephen Fry talking about anything at all; his voice is mellifluous and his vocabulary vast. But to hear him speak on a subject he knows and loves, and which I to a lesser extent know and love, in the intimate venue of the downstairs bar, was pure joy.

He opened by reading a very kind letter sent by the man himself to the teenage ‘Mr’ Fry in the early 1970s, which obviously had a profound effect, and continued with a brief summary of Wodehouse’s life, peppered with funny quotations. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the evening was hearing him read out a selection of choice passages and one-liners (“Why do dachshunds wear their ears inside-out?”), although the extract from an essay he had written on Wodehouse was as good as you would expect. Above all, his great respect and admiration, this coming from a man more than qualified to recognise genius when he sees it, shone out.

Fry described the great gift of Wodehouse as ‘to be benign, to be gentle, to be kind, and to be funny’. If such were the mark that I myself managed to impress upon the world, I would leave it with good grace.
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Sounds very cool... so glad you enjoyed it so much!

And I think you WILL leave the world with good grace, my friend - no worrying about that. 😉

(But no leaving with that grace for a loooonng time! 💜)

*hugs*

Ps- WHY do dachshunds wear their ears inside out? 😊

Edited at 2014-09-29 11:15 am (UTC)
That question wasn't answered, alas :) And thank you - no plans to go anywhere for a good long while! *hugs*
I'm disappointed I so narrowly missed the event! Having grown up in London, nowadays I like to keep it at arm's length. It's still there when I need it though, as I've discovered, sometimes getting there takes an hour too long. /-8

Factoid of the day: I went to Dulwich College. So, in his day, did Wodehouse. When he died, he bequeathed his entire study to the college and it was reinstated faithfully in a glass box in a corner of the Wodehouse Library. A side-effect of this is that when I read Wodehouse as a teenager, the copies I borrowed from the college library were especially venerable.

Douglas Adams was also a great Wodehouse fan, of course, and I think this is one of the things Douglas and Stephen bonded over. I'm never quite sure how much Dirk Gently might be based on Stephen. Though maybe also on Douglas himself.

Have you read any of Douglas's writings on the subject of Wodehouse? There's a book introduction reproduced in The Salmon of Doubt, but there are also other snippets here and there.
Ooh, only the Salmon of Doubt - I will seek out the rest! I knew about Dulwich College, mostly because I live up the road from it. Stephen told us that once when the cricket team had a particularly good season, Wodehouse sent them an enormous cheque and told them to go and have fun because he was so proud of them. I can believe it.
Lucky, lucky, lucky! So envious it hurts.

-TG
I thought of you! Wish you could have been there.