June 26, 2009

Jeeves and Wooster: "The Mating Season"

Posted in Comedy, Jeeves & Wooster at 6:21 pm by j128

The Mating Season The Mating Season is the first full-length story featured in one of the Jeeves and Wooster omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse with a foreword by Hugh Laurie, published in 2001. The Mating Season was first published in 1949.

Summary

Bertie Wooster finds himself in turmoil on all sides. A friend of his, Claude “Catsmeat” Cattermole Pirbright, has profuse love for a young lady by the name of Gertrude Winkworth, but is seemingly unable to acquire her as there are two things blocking his way: Gertrude’s mother and her four aunts and a particular young man Esmond Haddock, the son of the owner of a “widely advertised patent remedy known as Haddock’s Headache Hokies.” Allegedly, Esmond Haddock is in love with Gertrude and he intends to marry her.

Then there is Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle engaged to Madeline Bassett. He is low-spirited as he has to face visiting the five aunts of Esmond Haddock, one of which is Gertrude’s mother, and he expected Madeline to accompany him on this visit; however, Madeline altered her arrangements at the last moment to cheer up an old schoolfriend who is suffering from romantic depression. Gussie later comes to meet another character, whom we describe below, Corky.

Meanwhile, Catsmeat’s sister Cora “Corky” Pirbright leaves her newly-acquired dog Sam Goldwyn in Bertie’s care as the vicar, her Uncle Sidney, is not strongly approving of dogs. Corky is also known by her stage name, Cora Starr, and she is in Hollywood.

Bertie is also caring for his Aunt Agatha’s son Thomas, who is a fanatic with celebrities and will go to exremities to get their autograph. When he learns that Corky is Cora Starr, he acquires fifty of her autographs and plans to sell them for six quid apiece. In later developments in the story, Thomas becomes more acquinted with Corky and is even let into her plans.

The ball begins rolling when Catsmeat, under suggestion of Bertie, gives Gussie dinner, as both chaps are low-spirited. Afterwards, at five o’clock in the morning, Gussie wades into the Trafalger Square fountain in search of newts. (Did I mention Gussie is a newt fancier?) Catsmeat had persuaded Gussie to wade and look for newts otherwise he’d bean Gussie (in other words, hit him on the head with something hard). It is not long when a constable arrests Gussie and the magistrate holds Gussie – thus suspending Gussie for a period of time and it is not possible for him to visit Deverill Hall.

It is up to Bertie to go to Deverill Hall impersonating Gussie Fink-Nottle, which will be somewhat easy as the Winkworths have never set eyes upon Gussie. Catsmeat also journeys to Deverill under the alias as Meadowes, Bertie’s valet, as Jeeves is Gussie’s valet since Gussie finally arrives at Deverill as Bertie. Love is in the air, “the mating season”, and it is up yet again to Jeeves to smooth out the tangles and give everyone a happy ending.

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August 5, 2008

Jeeves in the Morning

Posted in Jeeves & Wooster, Technology at 4:07 am by j128

Jeeves, played by Stephen Fry

Jeeves (Stephen Fry) as seen in Jeeves and Wooster

Yes, “Jeeves in the Morning” is actually a title of one of the books in the Jeeves canon, but this time it is not referring to a book title. Instead, it is an article concerning a clock.

How many people have read and watched Jeeves “gliding” and “shimmying” about? Doing his duties and bailing Bertie out of trouble and helping Bertie’s friends when they need it? I am quite sure that many of us who read P.G. Wodehouse’s stories that star Bertie and his long-suffering valet Jeeves find themselves wishing they had someone as dependable and reliable as Jeeves – I often find myself feeling that way, too! Jeeves is not only the perfect gentleman’s gentleman, but he is also a hero. Thus, it may be advisable to invite Jeeves into your home:)

The clock that this article is concerning itself with, remedies, to a degree, our wanting of Jeeves or someone similar. The “Jeeves Clock”, developed by Voco, is voiced by Stephen Fry and has messages that play when the alarm goes off, and at the end of the message the alarm beeps until the Cancel button is pressed, at which point another message is played, such as “Sir has a firm touch, but very fair.” There is also a ninety-second relaxation exercise that is activated at the touch of a button. It won’t stop “talking” until one actually gets up.

To quote from Voco, “The Voco Alarm will lure a man from his secret recesses with the sound of gentle birdsong. This is followed by a discreet cough. Then the comforting words, “Good morning, sir,” insinuate themselves into the room. This is followed by a message – a different one every morning (there are six months’ worth, before they start repeating, depending on how you use the clock).”

Of course, until recently, this was a gentleman’s alarm clock, judging by the usage of “sir.” Yet now there is a female version available, also voiced by Stephen Fry as Jeeves, and it does all the same things as the gentleman’s clock, yet instead it uses “madam” instead of “sir.” To quote from Voco, “The Voco Alarm will lure a lady from her secret recesses with the sound of gentle birdsong. This is followed by a discreet cough. Then the comforting words, “Good morning, Madam,” insinuate themselves into the room. This is followed by a message – a different one every morning (there are six months’ worth, before they start repeating, depending on how you use the clock).”

There are three editions of the Jeeves Clock: The original “Good Morning, Sir” with fifty messages for every morning, the second edition voiced by Stephen Fry “Good Morning, Sir”, and the ladies’ edition “Good Morning, Madam”, also voiced by Stephen Fry and the latter two have one hundred and fifty messages for every morning. There isn’t any difference in the two gentleman Jeeves clocks, except for the clock faces. The original “Good Morning, Sir” alarm clock is on the top, and the new “Good Morning, Sir” alarm clock below. The new “Good Morning, Sir” shares the same design on the clock face with the “Good Morning, Madam”.

Voco \

The original "Good Morning, Sir" clock

Voco \

The new "Good Morning, Sir" clock; note that the "Good Morning, Madam" shares the same design

On the Voco website, you may listen to samples of the messages and the ninety-second relaxation exercise, with only gender-specific alterations depending on the samples you choose. You may also download some of the samples on their website, see the Downloads section of their website, click the “Good Morning, Sir” (Original) and from there you can download the samples from the gentleman and lady’s clock. Here are some text samples from the two gents clock and the ladies clock.

On a personal note, I myself prefer the gentleman clock as I think it is more authentic and also keeps within the time period of Jeeves and Bertie.

“Good Morning, Sir” (Original) & “Good Morning, Sir”

“The Prime Minister called again, sir. I told him you weren’t available, of course. We shan’t be treated like that again!”

“I’m sorry to disturb you, sir, but it appears to be morning. Very inconvenient, I agree. I believe it is the rotation of the Earth to blame, sir.”

“I’m afraid the staff has absconded, sir. And it is my day off. I trust it will not be too onerous to make your own exquisitely sliced toast and perfectly cooked breakfast?”

“The world has been very anxious to hear from you for the last eight hours. Shall I inform the news agencies you are about to rise, sir?”

“Your horoscope is promising very considerable profit and equal quantities of pleasure. Unlikely as this may currently appear, the world merely requires your presence for the process to begin.”

“Good Morning, Madam”

“Good morning, Madam. Let me draw the curtains and pour your tea. There are two little croissants from your special supplier which have no calories whatsoever. In the pots is a special sort of jam that consumes more calories than it produces. Eating it actually makes you thin.”

“Good morning, Madam. Your horoscope is extremely pleasing this morning. It appears that all shall be well and that all manner of things shall be well. You have only to persist in your natural way and the world will succumb to your wishes.”

“Good morning, Madam. It appears you may need to frighten some people at work. Shall I put out your Chanel suit with the Louboutin shoes? Or the Giorgio Armani? Very good, Madam.”

Links

Voco – Clocks that talk…a lot!

January 2, 2008

P.G. Wodehouse's Beloved Characters: Jeeves and Wooster

Posted in Comedy, Jeeves & Wooster at 3:31 pm by j128

Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves are two of P.G. Wodehouse (pronounced wood-house) most beloved characters and are a hit with people of all ages, trust me! Many people, young and old, are familiar with the extraordinary relationship between the young bachelor and his ever-faithful valet.

Summary

Bertie Wooster is a young man who has a vast fortune inherited from one of his uncles. Despite this his formidable Aunt Agatha does not approve of his bachelor lifestyle and thinks him as a spineless invertaebrate and it is men like him “who make people with the future of humanity at heart despair”. Bertie is, according to Jeeves, “mentally negligible” but otherwise a good sport, meaning good for everyone,though, as is his reputation, a walking disaster. When Bertie cooks up a scheme anyone can be sure to see trouble following without disappointment.

Bertie Wooster

Bertie Wooster (Hugh Laurie)

Bertie has many “friends”, who are all one way or another rather oafish or just plain nasty, and all require Jeeves’ wonderful ideas in whatever troubles they may be suffering. Besides friends there are also, of course, the aunts and uncles. Bertie’s parents died leaving him an orphan so it was up to the various aunts and uncles to raise him. The most prominent aunts in P.G. Wodehouse’s stories are Aunt Agatha and Aunt Dahlia.

As said earlier Aunt Agatha does not approve of Bertie’s lifestyle and she is constantly trying to get Bertie married off but her plans always fail – thank Jeeves for that! Aunt Dahlia, on the other hand, is somewhat the opposite of Aunt Agatha. She loves Bertie and seems to enjoy his company at times though she does have her own temper, too, when something goes beyond her limit. Most times she also calls for Jeeves’ aid in matters, another point contrary to Aunt Agatha: Aunt Agatha does not particularly like Jeeves. She thinks Jeeves controls Bertie’s life, making decisions for him, and whatnot. But is that not what Aunt Agatha tries to do for Bertie?

Bertie has had several valets and all have been dismissed. The last valet he had before he hired Jeeves pinched his silk socks. Jeeves is the “gentleman’s gentleman” and is more than just a valet. Everybody asks for his help when it is needed and he skillfully answers the call every time. Always calm, never raises his voice, and does his duty: he is loved by everyone with the exception of Aunt Agatha and a few others. He is much smarter than Bertie and when required he pulls Bertie out of the many and various messes they both encounter throughout their adventures. Jeeves also has his preferences for dress-wear: what is suitable and what is not suitable for his master and others, too, though for the others it is not his place to say. As for Bertie, Jeeves has disapproved of purple socks, pink silk ties, a white dinner jacket, wearing a moustache, and a straw hat just to name a few of his disapprovals.

Jeeves got his name from a cricketer and is somewhat based on P.G. Wodehouse’s own valet who once saved his life from something that Mr. Wodehouse could not save himself from. The real Jeeves was said to have died during World War II when he was called up and killed in action.

Books and the Television Show

P.G. Wodehouse wrote a number of books and short stories about the adventures of Bertie and Jeeves, which are collectively known as the “Jeeves canon” or the “Jeeves books.” I have not yet read the entire canon yet, though I will here list the books featuring Bertie and Jeeves. N.B., Some of these titles are available as omnibuses, such as the Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus starring The Mating Season, The Code of the Woosters, and Right Ho, Jeeves! with an introduction by Hugh Laurie. (The introduction is exactly the same as the article listed below by Hugh Laurie; the introduction is quite enjoyable such as Hugh Laurie describing how, during his teen years, he “somehow contrived to pull off the gruesome trick of being both fat and thin at the same time.”)

  1. The Man with Two Left Feet
  2. My Man Jeeves
  3. The Inimitable Jeeves (US title: Jeeves)
  4. Carry On, Jeeves
  5. Very Good, Jeeves
  6. Thank You, Jeeves
  7. Right Ho, Jeeves (US title: Brinkley Manor)
  8. Joy in the Morning (US title: Jeeves in the Morning)
  9. The Mating Season
  10. Ring for Jeeves (US title: The Return of Jeeves)
  11. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (US title: Bertie Wooster Sees it Through)
  12. A Few Quick Ones
  13. Jeeves in the Offing (US title: How Right You Are, Jeeves)
  14. Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
  15. Plum Pie
  16. Much Obliged, Jeeves (US title: Jeeves and the Tie That Binds)
  17. Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen (US title: Catnappers)

Besides the books there is the much popular television series Jeeves and Wooster starring Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. Most wonderful! Wonderful acting, brilliant dialogue, and witty plots. It made four seasons all of which are now available on DVD and VHS. If you’ve never seen the series you simply must! Everyone will get great enjoyment out of it! And if you’ve read their adventures before in all the books listed above, even better; but if not, reading the books is not required before watching the series. However, do still read the books for they contain their own enjoyment that cannot always be captured on the screen. Stephen Fry was said to be a bit too young for the role and that Hugh Laurie almost exaggerated Bertie’s character too much as he does have some sense in the books and not always having to rely on Jeeves – in Bertie’s words, chaa! Their acting is the best of the best and they completely play their characters – never once does one think of them as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie: they’re Jeeves and Wooster!

As well as the series being available on DVD and VHS, various episodes, albiet being disorganized, can be found on YouTube here. There are also related videos containing Jeeves and Wooster content.

Favourite Quotes from the Television Series Jeeves and Wooster (of course there are more favourite quotes than those listed – this is just in general)

“A gentleman does not wear a straw hat in the metropolis.” – Jeeves, commenting upon Bertie’s choice of fashion

“Hello. Who am I? I am Jeeves. _ What do you mean, “I think not?” _ Oh, yes. I see, I see. Good bye.” – One of Bertie’s friends, specifically Barmy, impersonating Jeeves upon Bertie’s request over the telephone and realizing he was talking with the real Jeeves.

“I say! I say! You’re engaged.” – Bertie after instantly being cured of his heavy hangover by the newly-arrived valet Jeeves’s medicine.

“Hello. Why are you holding hands? Is this an English custom?” – Jeeves impersonating an American female novelist who comes across Bertie and Cheesewright (a rival) caught in the gesture of shaking hands.

“It’s about time some publicly-spirited person told you where to get off. The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you’ve succeeded in convincing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting, “Hail, Spode!” and you imagine it’s the voice of the people. That is where you make you’re bloomer. What the voice of the people is actually saying is, “Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever see such a perfect perisher?” I know your secret, Spode!” – Bertie, confronting and at the same time, insulting Roderick Spode, a fascist leader and Count of Sidcup.

“And to prove it, I will eat a ham thandwith.” – Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle, breaking his engagement to Madeline Bassett by eating a ham sandwitch: Madeline had put Gussie on a strict vegetarian diet yet she still ate meat, even though it was torture. Gussie lisps as does Madeline Bassett.

“She’s like a tender goddess!” – Richard “Bingo” Little referring to Honoria Glossop, the forced intended of Bertie. Bingo falls in and out of love with several women throughout the series until at last he finds his true love.

Favourite Dialogue Scenes

Bingo: “Bertie!”

Bertie: “Bingo!”

Bingo: “She telephoned!”

Bertie: “She telephoned you, eh? That’s good, shows some friendly spirit.”

Bingo: “Well, she didn’t phone me exactly; when I picked up the phone, I was standing beside it.”

Bertie: “What’d she say?”

Bingo: “She said, “Let me talk to someone with a brain.” “

Bertie: “Ah.”

Bingo: “But it was friendly, the way she said it.”

Hororia’s younger brother Oswald begins to giggle. Bingo promptly hits him with a book on the head.

Oswald: “Ow!”

Bingo: “Go and start your Latin!”

__

Sir Roderick Glossop: “Do you keep a cat, Mr. Wooster?”

Bertie: “Cats? No.”

Sir Roderick: “I had the distinct impression I heard a cat mewing either in this room or close at hand.”

Bertie: “Oh, well, probably a taxi or something in the street.”

Lady Glossop: “A taxi, Mr. Wooster?”

Bertie: “Yes, well. Taxis do squawk a bit, don’t they?”

Lady Glossop: “Squawk?”

Bertie: “Yes, well, like cats in a way.”

Sir Roderick: “Lady Glossop and I have a particular horror of cats.”

Bertie: “Oh well, there you go, then. Probably don’t much like taxis.” (Laughs)

Lady Glossop: “My huband had an unfortunate experience with a taxi only this afternoon.”

Sir Roderick: “Indeed I did. I was about to be driven to the Duke of (?)’s house – “

Bertie: “Or cage as I expect he likes to call it.”

Sir Roderick: “Anyways, I was sitting innocently in my car when my hat was snatched from my head. And as I looked back I perceived to be waved in a kind of feverish triumph from the interior of a taxicab!”

Bertie: “Huh! What an extraoridary thing. Must be some sort of practical joke, I suppose.”

Sir Roderick: “I confess I failed to detect anything to accomodate in the outrage. The action without question was that of a mincely unbalanced subject. Mr. Wooster! What is the meaning of this?”

Bertie: “Eh?”

Sir Roderick: “There is a cat close at hand! It is not in the street!”

Bertie: “Look, I have not got a cat, I tell you. All right, I’ll get Jeeves in here!” (Rings bell.)

Sir Roderick: “There it is again!”

Lady Glossop: “I can’t bear it! I simply can’t bear it!”

Bertie: “No, look, it must be Jeeves.”

Sir Roderick: “Jeeves?”

Jeeves: “You called, sir?”

Sir Roderick: “Um, uh, um, why were you making a noise like a cat?”

Jeeves: “No, sir. Will that be all, sir?”

Bertie: “No, it will jolly not be all, Jeeves. Are there any cats in the flat?”

Jeeves: “Only the three in your bedroom, sir.”

_

Links

To read more about P.G. Wodehouse, his characters, and books click the following links:

Bibliography of P.G. Wodehouse – Including the Jeeves canon, Blandings Castle, the Psmith series, and others.

P.G. Wodehouse’s biography– Answers.com

Stephen Fry discussing P.G. Wodehouse

Hugh Laurie discussing how P.G. Wodehouse saved his life

“In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse” by George Orwell, an essay

An episode guide of the television series Jeeves and Wooster, books, music, interviews, and more.

P.G. Wodehouse on Project Gutenberg