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Quotations from P G Wodehouse are copyright of, and reprinted by permission of, the Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate © 2015 The P G Wodehouse Society (UK)

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Latest News

What Goes Around Comes Around

The September issue of Wooster Sauce reported on page 13 that a new book of Wodehouse’s verse was in preparation and would be published in the New Year. Arrangements for the publication of the collection, entitled What Goes Around Comes Around – A Celebration of Wodehouse Verse, have now been completed and it will become available in March 2014, at a price of £12 plus postage (£3 in the UK; £5 to Europe; and £8 further afield). It is being published privately by Harebrain Publishing and will not be available through Amazon or any similar distributor. Its hundred Wodehouse verses have been selected by Tony Ring as a fair representation of the breadth of subject-matter about which he wrote – including Sport, Entertainment, Politics, Crime, Food and Romance. By far the majority date back over a century, and very few are to be found in general anthologies. A few verses of later origin have been included to ensure that this work is fully representative. Tony and Eric Midwinter have provided appropriate contextual notes where these might assist the reader in understanding the context in which the verse was written. Times diarist and Society member Patrick Kidd has written a Foreword. Members who wish to order a copy or copies are invited to write to Tony Ring at 34 Longfield, Great Missenden, HP16 0EG or contact him by e-mail at ring.tony@yahoo.co.uk. Payment should be made with the order or no later than 28 February, 2014, and may be by cheque payable to ‘A J Ring’ and denominated in pounds, in cash at the Society meeting at The George in February, or by sterling credit to his Paypal account: ring.tony@yahoo.co.uk. Arrangements can probably be made to accommodate overseas purchasers who cannot access one of these methods – please ask when placing the order. Unfortunately, card payments are not acceptable.

Blandings 2 – The Empress Strikes Back?

Despite some criticism, the BBC obviously felt that the first series of Blandings was well enough received to warrant a second series, to be screened early next year. Click here for the full story.

Jeeves and Wooster Play is Perfect Nonsense

Bertie on the boards? It's bound to go wrong – so it's a good job Jeeves is waiting in the wings. Click here for more details on our heroes' West End debut.

Can He Fill PGW's Shoes?

Sebastian Faulks' J & W novel Jeeves and the Wedding Bells comes out at the start of November and publishers Random House are running a campaign through the summer to build up anticipation. Click here for more details and a link to their website if you want to get involved.

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

Hot on the heels of the Blandings TV series, now we have another attempt to bring PGW to the attention of the masses, with Sebastian Faulks writing a new J&W novel. The press release issued by Random House on 8 March 2013 can be found here.

Member No 3,000

At our Society evening on 19th February 2013 (click here to view a report), we were delighted to welcome Christopher Keeling as the 3,000th person to join the Society since its rebirth in 1997. Receiving a copy of A Man Of Means from Hilary Bruce as  a memento, Christopher gave an amusing account of his recruitment by one of our patrons, Murray Hedgcock, but graciously remarked that he "could not be more proud".

Although there will naturally be a number of losses each year for perfectly understandable reasons, our current membership figure of over 1,000 puts us comfortably in the top ten of literary societies in the UK.

Is This What 'Care Of The Pig' Really Looked Like?

Click here to read all about a very unusual Wodehouse print.

A Special Pub For Wodehouseans (but do they have pork on the menu?)

If you are going to find yourself in the Southampton/New Forest area at some point in the future, then ensure you make time for a detour to the town of Copythorne, where a treat awaits all of the PGW faithful (click here).

The French Connection

Before the Blandings broadcast, a very funny piece appeared on the BBC News website, from their Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield, all about Wodehouse and the French. Click here to view.

Rare book offer - A Man of Means

Alan Wood

One of the Society’s stalwart committee members, Alan Wood, stood down from committee duties at our recent AGM. In her report, Chairman Hilary Bruce paid tribute to Alan’s invaluable input over nearly a decade:

“In my first week as Chairman, I had to find a new Treasurer. I didn’t know much, but I knew that finding treasurers was really, really difficult. But then I remembered a nice member I’d chatted to, so I just rang him and asked him to be Treasurer – and he kindly pretended to be flattered, and accepted, and that was that. Easy! And Alan Wood has been with us ever since, our Treasurer from 2003 to 2010, then a sort of special advisor and committee member. He did things like checking that standing orders were actually paid – and discovering that, thanks to our fine efficient banking system, quite a lot of long-standing members had quite innocently never paid a sub.

“Alan has always asked questions and made us think. We didn’t always do as he suggested, but looking back, I have to say ‘Alan, you were right and we were wrong’ about quite a few [things].”

And in her minutes of Alan’s last committee meeting, Membership Secretary Christine Hewitt described him as:

“Never a nodder, always brimming with ideas, and never holding back from flinging in a challenge. Above all, always bringing good humour to the proceedings.”

Now, after nine years, he’s retiring so he can spend more time with his grandchildren.

Thank you, Alan.

John Alais Fletcher, 1929–2012

A pensive John Fletcher during the Millennium Tour, 2000 (photo by Jean Tillson)

Wodehouseans everywhere were sad to learn of the death of John Fletcher on 11 June 2012. A founding member of The P G Wodehouse Society (UK), John was also our first website editor, bringing the Society into the public eye. He created the self-perpetuating Quiz, which has been running since the website’s inception, and published not only reports of Society events but also instructive papers and reference materials on Wodehouse, making the Society’s website a valuable resource for enthusiasts worldwide.

Before the UK Society was formed, John contributed regularly to The Wodehouse Society’s journal, Plum Lines, including, in 1990, a scholarly article on Bertie Wooster’s family tree, ‘Disentangling the Wooster Relations’. He was also a regular attendee at The Wodehouse Society’s biennial conventions in the United States, which is how I came to know him. I first met him at the 1993 convention in San Francisco, and we became friends, emailing each other often. Knowing of his expertise in style and composition, I frequently turned to him for advice after I became an editor, and he explained obscure literary terms and concepts with brilliant clarity.

In October 2000, I attended my first UK Society formal dinner, and I requested to be seated next to John. The evening was pure enchantment, and though I enjoyed talking to everybody I met that night, it is my conversations with John that still stand out in my mind. Funny, charming, and perhaps a little bit wicked at times, he kept me laughing even as he shared his wisdom on language, writing, and, particularly, Wodehouse. I learned so much from him.

John Alais Fletcher was born on 27 September 1929 in Holt, Norfolk, to Basil Alais Fletcher and Gerrardine Mary Fletcher (née Daly), and educated at Welbury, Wellington College, and Queens College, Oxford. In May 1962 he married Tana Goschen, with whom he had four children: Mark, Didi, Katy, and Ally. He had two disparate careers, spending half his working life in industry and the other half teaching English. He also ran courses on communication skills. His books include The Interview at Work (later published as Effective Interviewing), and The Business Guide to Effective Writing.

John was a book collector, his particular interests being the works of P G Wodehouse, Enid Blyton, Walter de la Mare, and G K Chesterton. In addition to both the UK and US Wodehouse societies, he was a member of the Chesterton and Thomas Lovell Beddoes societies. In 1991, now retired from teaching, he set up Porpoise Books; its first publication was A Man of Means, which PGW had co-authored with C H Bovill around 1914. John also published numerous Wodehouse-related works, including Norman Murphy’s The Reminiscences of the Hon. Galahad Threepwood (1993) and Tony Ring’s You Simply Hit Them With an Axe (1995).

In an interview with Jan Wilson Kaufman in 2000, John commented on how many readers believe that Wodehouse’s works are set in the year they were published. To counteract this notion, he used clues and links between the Blandings stories and the Jeeves & Wooster novels and stories in an attempt to establish the year in which each one was set. It was this sort of scholarly approach to Wodehouse’s works that led him to become involved with Tony Ring’s project of picking up where Geoffrey Jaggard had left off with Blandings the Blest and Wooster’s World. Tony had bought the text, but it was John who arranged to purchase the copyright from Jaggard’s heirs. Subsequently, Wodehouse in the Clubhouse – the first volume of the Wodehouse Millennium Concordance – was published in 1994, with seven more volumes following.

John’s experiences as a publisher resulted in a humorous, highly enjoyable talk he gave at TWS’s 2001 convention in Philadelphia: ‘Writing Cheques at Intervals: The Life of a Wodehouse Publisher’. Sadly and inexplicably, this paper was never published in either Plum Lines or Wooster Sauce. But in his interview with Jan Kaufman, when asked whether being a publisher was profitable, he replied: “No. I earn nothing. On the contrary, I spend what others spend on sailing or golf. What I can afford goes into the next book” – an attitude that greatly benefitted Wodehouse readers.

In 1997, John was part of the team that won the Great Scripture Knowledge Contest at TWS’s convention in Chicago. His formidable writing skills and knowledge of Wodehouse served him well when he took on the editorship of our website after the UK Society’s formation that same year. His devotion to the societies on both side of the Atlantic was evident in his faithful participation (until recent years) in their events. Uppermost in my own mind is the UK Society’s 2000 Millennium Tour. As part of the entertainment on the coach, John read the prize-giving scene from Right Ho, Jeeves. I thought I knew that passage cold, having read it so often myself, but John’s rendering gave it new life, and he had everybody on the coach helpless with laughter. I have never heard a better reading of that scene.

John knew, understood, and loved words, and his love of writing and of Wodehouse resulted in several books that still inform and entertain us. He was kind, charming, erudite, and funny – a man I shall always remember with a smile.

– Elin Woodger Murphy

New York Loves Plum Show (June 2012)

The Broadway show Nice Work If You Can Get It, the plot of which is loosely based on the Wodehouse-Bolton 1926 musical Oh, Kay (to the extent that the influence is acknowledged on the programme and in much of the publicity), has emerged with two Tony awards:

Blandings on the Beeb

Many of you may already be in the know, but for those that aren't, the BBC are currently filming a series of Blandings stories, with an all-star cast including Timothy Spall and David Walliams. Click here for more details. It all adds up to a mouth-watering prospect for autumn viewing as the nights draw in.

Make a pig of yourself for less than 50p

In response to the furore over the rise in stamp prices, the Royal Mail has responded by announcing a special issue of first-class stamps featuring ... pigs. They come in strips, one of which is the Berkshire (click here for more information if you don’t know why this is of particular interest to Society members), and they come on sale as a strip on April 24. They will cost 46p until the 28th April, we think, when the first class price goes up to 60p.

So if you want your pig stamps, buy now!

PGW letters

Apurva Mehta has very kindly sent us, and permitted us to reproduce, two letters he received from PGW in 1967 (click here to view) and 1972 (click here to view).

Apurva says: “I was introduced to PGW by my maths tutor at home who would give me algebra sums for solving and while I was doing them he would engross himself with a PGW book. I could hear his uncontrollable laughter, which he tried to suppress, with much difficulty, by pressing hard a handkerchief on his mouth!”

We think the book Plum was working on (referred to in one of the letters) was Do Butlers Burgle Banks?.

If you have any comments or additional info about the letters for Apurva, click on the Website Editor link at the bottom of the home page and we’ll be happy to pass them on to him.

In Our Little Paradise: Songs of PG Wodehouse

Last year, the talented American soprano Maria Jette and her musical partner Dan Chouinard produced a delightful CD of 18 Wodehouse songs, some well known (‘Cleopatterer’) and others not so well known (‘Two to Tooting’).

Should you wish to order a copy of this gem of a CD, you can do so here, where you will find a complete list of the songs Maria and Dan perform.

PG Wodehouse: A Life in Letters

Somewhat belatedly, but with great pleasure, we announce the publication of PG Wodehouse: A Life in Letters, edited by Sophie Ratcliffe, whose enthusiasm and respect for Wodehouse is clear. Published in November 2011, the 602-page book includes many never-before-published letters, expertly edited and arranged to present (as the title suggests) an encapsulation of Wodehouse’s life through his letters. It is published by Hutchinson, who describe it as “the definitive edition of PG Wodehouse’s letters” – a term which we believe to be fully justified.

Hutchinson’s publicity goes on to say: “Drawing on hitherto unpublished sources, these letters give an unrivalled insight into Wodehouse, covering his schooldays at Dulwich College, the family's financial reverses which saw his hopes of university dashed, life in New York working in musical comedy with Jerome Kern and George and Ira Gershwin, the years of fame as a novelist, and the unhappy episode in 1940 where he was interned by the Germans and later erroneously accused of broadcasting pro-Nazi propaganda.” For more information about the book, click here. For reviews and a discounted price, go to amazon.co.uk.

A Wodehouse Handbook

The Society's Remembrancer Norman Murphy's amusing, intellectually stimulating and astonishing work on PG Wodehouse's real-life sources and inspirations is available here and a review can be seen here.

Three Wodehouse Walks

Whether or not you have been on one of Norman Murphy’s Wodehouse Walks, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get a copy of his book detailing two walks in London and one in Dulwich. Click here for an order form.

Wodehouse at the Wicket re-available from Arrow Books!

Ellie King celebrates Wodehouse

Paul Kent's book What Do I Know – a synopsis

Society Member Paul Kent has published a book entitled What Do I Know. His synopsis of this book begins:

“Michel de Montaigne, the sixteenth-century civil servant from Bordeaux, was not the first person to set down his thoughts for present and future generations to ponder. But in his 107 Essays (essais in French, literally ‘attempts’), he single-handedly invented the concept of the essay as a speculative and open-minded form meant to encourage discussion and debate.

“Unlike all the shouted opinions on today's TV, radio and newspapers, Montaigne's voice was always calm, questioning and self-doubting. He was never one for the knee-jerk reaction or the bigoted remark, and in homage to his hero, Paul Kent here adopts the great man's subtle curiosity in investigating some of the realities, both fortunate and not-so-fortunate, of the modern world. And PG Wodehouse, naturally, makes several guest appearances – here’s one of them:”

To continue reading this synopsis and to gain further details about the book, please click here.

Patrick Wodehouse obituary

Video Tribute to Patrick Wodehouse

Patrick's family have put together a video which is a touching tribute to Patrick. This includes Patrick reminiscing about his uncle Plum. If you would like to view this please click here.

June Arnold publishes “The Words Of Wodehouse”

Members of the Society will be familiar with the Acrostics puzzles, based on the works of Wodehouse,  which appear in Wooster Sauce. June Arnold, who writes and produces these wonderful puzzles, a mixture of crosswords and codewords revealing literary quotations, has thankfully been persuaded to publish a book of these. They are all new puzzles which have not appeared in Wooster Sauce or elsewhere and so this book will make a nice Christmas gift for those who enjoy these puzzles so much. Please click here for further details and how to purchase copies of the book.

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

Come On, Jeeves in Crayford

The Wodehouse Orchids

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Jeeves Comes to Barnes!

Everyman's Library to publish their 70th P G Wodehouse book in May 2010!

Hal and Lara Cazalet to appear on stage in March 2010!

Come On Jeeves! to be presented at the Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre

Come On Jeeves! to be presented at OSO Barnes

Ian Carmichael: Wodehousean Reflections

A Good Send-off for John Mortimer – 17th November 2009

John Lithgow's Stories By Heart at the Lyttelton Theatre, London

Bobbles and Plum on the South Bank

Wodehouse On The Web

The Inimitable P G Wodehouse: The Story of His Life and a Treasury of His Wit

Summer Lightning at Keswick

Special Offer on P G Wodehouse Silent Movies

1000 Novels Everyone Must Read

A tribute to John Mortimer

P G Wodehouse – Legend Of Literature

Newly discovered P G Wodehouse Story has appeared in The Sunday Times!

Cartoons & Coronets : the Genius of Osbert Lancaster

Antique Cow Creamers

Goodwill on the streets

Discount Offer from Arrow Books

Empress of Blandings becomes a Society member!

Buckle's End Of Term Report

The British Library launches a CD set including P G Wodehouse talking about Jeeves and Wooster

The Wit and Wisdom of PG Wodehouse appears in the Daily Express

Books Monthly October 2008 edition features Arrow Books and our Society

50 Reasons to Love Britain

Heroes with receding chins

A new history of Wodehouse's beloved Dulwich College has just been published (click here for details)

BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter James Naughtie has written a feature for The Times celebrating PG Wodehouse (click here to view)