Robert Pimm

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How to read P G Wodehouse: a new prescription

My blog How to read P G Wodehouse: a practical guide praised Plumtopiaa P G Wodehouse specialist, for its splendidly non-prescriptive advice on precisely this subject.

In fact I have just oiled over for a further immersion in Plumtopia, notably this informative piece about P G Wodehouse societies including The P G Wodehouse Society UK.  

I can verify that the site is a veritable motherlode of P G Wodehouse-related info.  Recommended.

Meanwhile I have been continuing my own exploration of the oeuvre of the author known as “Plum” (short for “Pelham”, his first name).  I have so far completed my perusal of Carry on Jeeves, Very Good Jeeves, The Inimitable Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters, Joy in the Morning and Ring for Jeeves.  The standard is consistent, although I have taken medical advice not to binge on more than three consecutive P G Wodehouse novels, as intensive research shows this may reduce their impact.

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Ring for Jeeves”

The efficacy of this new reading prescription has been proven by a Wodehouse abstinence (more…)

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Why sequels suck

I am watching the sequel to a movie I adored three years ago.  The sequel is so piss-poor that I feel violated and upset.  How can a major studio spend squillions of dollars producing such trash?

Weeks later, it happens again.  Another sequel, another cringe-making dose of drivel.  Strangely, the two movies have much in common, including much of what makes them so unwatchable.

The movies are: Guardians of the Galaxy II  (2017) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: decent trailer, execrable movie

The Lego Batman Movie: ditto

Why do I feel so personally aggrieved?  First, because I wrote a preview of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on this site in which I said (more…)

The Circle: spookily underrated 8/10

There is something weird about how films are rated.  Is it a conspiracy?  I’m beginning to wonder.

Readers of this blog will know that I decry conspiracy theories.  But I recently saw two films (movies) I thought were dire and one I enjoyed.  The first two were Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Rotten Tomatoes rating 82%, certified fresh) and The Lego Batman Movie (Rotten Tomatoes rating 91%, certified fresh).  The one I enjoyed was The Circle (Rotten Tomatoes rating 17%, rotten).

In the likely event that you haven’t heard much about the movie, the plot revolves around likeable young ingenue Mae (Emily Watson) who joins “The Circle”, a fusion of Apple, Google and Facebook (more…)

Best Vienna cafes – new reviews

I’ve added new reviews to my popular Vienna cafes: which are best? blog.  The fifteen cafes reviewed are mostly in the town centre, but include several in the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 10th Districts.  The latest additions are the little-known Cafe Morgenstern (charming and super grunge) and the popular Cafe Museum (much restored since the 1980s).  Take a look.

If you have a favourite cafe you’d like me to review, let me know in the comments.  I’m highly suggestible

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The shabby but charming decor of the Cafe Morgenstern, complete with star – RP

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

P.P.S. see my piece When dinner becomes the last supper for a tongue-in-cheek guide to “why German waiters are the best”.

Central European melancholy 10/10

In the course of a recent quiet weekend, I dipped into the soul of central European melancholy.

I watched 210 minutes of a 1964 black and white TV adaptation of Radetzky March, a novel by Joseph Roth.  Later I listened to Schubert’s Winterreise (Winter’s Journey).  Spoiler alert: this blog mentions key plot points of both.

Radetzky March is about the decline and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, illustrated through three generations of the Trotta family.  The eldest Trotta, a humble infantry lieutenant of Slovenian origin, saves the life of Emperor Franz Josef at the battle of Solferino in 1859 (more…)

Jumping Jack Flash 8/10

‘Is it cold in here?  I’m a bit cold.’

Mick Jagger, in a skin-tight stage suit displaying his gaunt chest and an ornate cross around his neck, is drenched in sweat.  You can’t hear the crowd respond.  Are they delirious, or puzzled?

“Ladies & Gentlemen” on a 300-square-metre open air screen in Vienna

Until now I’d never heard of the Rolling Stones’ 1974 concert movie Ladies & Gentlemen.  Drawing on performances from four 1972 concerts in Texas, it was released in quadrophonic sound (remember that?)… then disappeared.

Most concert movies are boring.  This one – not so much.   (more…)

How to increase your attention span

A man is writing a novel.  He decides to check a fact.  He consults his computer, or his phone, to find he has six new messages from friends.  An extraordinary news story has come out.  Some thrilling sport is available, live, on-line.

You know the rest.  By the time our writer friend returns to his novel, 45 minutes have passed, and he has forgotten what he originally set out to research.

Our apparent inability to focus on anything for an extended period of time is one of the problems of the 21st century.  It risks hampering our creativity and channelling our energy into bitty activities which leave us unsatisfied or unhappy.  What can we do?

Two things.

First, we can learn from the masters of concentration.  One of these is the novelist Anthony Trollope, about whose awesome qualities I have written before, including this: “Trollope’s work is a reminder that sometimes, life in the slow lane can be better than the alternative. There’s no way to rush-read Trollope.  His novels are best savoured: read in chunks, rather than a few pages at a time.”

(more…)

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