Trumpets and Miracles: Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle”

There are artists (usually writers) whose works I enjoy immensely while at the same time feeling an undercurrent of irritation at them. Stephen Sondheim is one of those artists. There is a fastidious rightness in his best work that I love, exemplified in the lines from A Little Night Music‘s “The Sun Won’t Set”, a […]

Barry Pain and the old “new humour”

When I’m interested in something, I always try to find out everything about that thing. When I first realised I liked P.G. Wodehouse, in my early teens, I sought out everything he wrote. And when I had practically exhausted that, I tried to find out about the writers who had inspired him. That’s one of […]

The Seized Moment: a story by Andrew Crowther

“Jake! Aren’t you ready yet? We’re going!” Jake called down from his room: “In a moment!” “Now!” Jake did not really want to go on the demonstration. Fourteen years of age, he had better things to do with his time on a Saturday morning. However, he knew he ought to show willing. After all, as […]

“Jill the Reckless” at 100

According to Wikipedia, today (8 October 2020) is the 100th anniversary of the book publication in the United States of P.G. Wodehouse’s novel The Little Warrior, subsequently published in the UK as Jill the Reckless. As the Wikipedia entry quotes the definitive Wodehouse bibliography in support of its claim, I assume it is correct. I’m […]

The Light Brigade (Re-Charged)

The following is an unrespectable rewrite of Tennyson’s 1854 poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” I wrote, if that’s the word, this version back in 2018, in the context of a wilfully ruinous Brexit. As such, there is a kind of satirical intent, but my version is not intended to be funny. I only […]

In Praise of the Novella

What is a novella? It’s a novel, that’s all: a novel that happens to have not as many words as some other novels do. Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge, states that “Publishers and literary award societies typically consider a novella’s word count to be between 17,000 and 40,000 words.” That is, taking as a […]

Uncommon Assault: the Statesman and the Scribbler

I’m going to tell you the story of a case of technical assault which took place in the lobby of the House of Commons in the year 1893. What makes the incident especially unusual is that the assailant was a Member of Parliament and the victim was a Punch cartoonist. This little tale intrigued me […]

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