books

I finally finished Bleak House

That was a bit of a marathon as it is a giant rollercoaster of a novel, in 400 sizzling chapters, but I enjoyed it. I am a fast reader, but I seem to have been toting that doorstop around for some weeks. I was getting a bit sick of it by the last 200 pages, so I went to the coffee shop and vowed that until I had finished the book I would not leave, or stop eating chicken and bacon sandwidges.

It is good as I used to have a real blind spot about Dickens, until a brief yet intensely passionate dalliance with a pretty English teacher introduced me to Great Expecktations, which is fantastic. The book actually lasted longer than the relationship though. Then I read Nicholas Nickleby which unfortunately I left on the bus by mistake, so will never now find out what happens. Unless I buy another copy. Then Hard Times which was a bit too moralising for my taste, plus Dickens’ wonky attempts at dialect, like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins: “Cor bloimey! Oi’m a Cockney, thit’s wot Oi em!”

Bleak House is another book with a point to make, this time about the immense slowness and venality of the legal system, where people waste their whole lives and lose all their money pursuing complicated Chancery cases. I must say I would not want to piss Dickens off in case he wrote a great sledgehammer of a moral novel criticising me: Keith Lard, a massive tale of the downtrodden urban poor oppressed by a cruel and wicked system administrator, who promises to fix their laptops and then never seems to get round to it.

The only thing is how did he find time to write 107 gigantic novels, when most of us struggle to dash off a note to the milkman. I can only conclude he did not have a lot of friends who kept coming up to him at about 7 o’clock in the evening making swigging pint gestures and saying ‘Oi Oi Charley boy! It’s your round son!’ And that he did not have a girlfriend as they soak up a lot of time too.

In a good way obviously.

Kettles are saaaaad

Primitivepeople unfortunately hurt his foot, for which much sympathy, but he did manage to bring happiness to others by posting hilarious Alan Partridge clips. So now I have been spending the day watching more such clips:

I just got through reading Sharkey Ward’s excellent book Sea Harrier over the Falklands, which is jolly intresting about naval air combat operations, but many of the anecdotes in the book seem to end, like Alan Partridge’s Bouncing Back, with the words “Needless to say, I had the last laugh.”

We Investergate Anything

Community pimping time as I have invented 3investigators which is all about the Three Investigators detecktive stories which if you do not know about them, you should do. Radio mystery writer Robert Arthur created his immortal junior investigative trio in the 1960s to solve a range of baffling mysteries including a stuttering parrot, a screaming clock, a coughing dragon, a whispering mummy, and so forth. Unlike those odious jocks the Hardy Boys, the Three Investigators used their brains to solve problems, which almost always included cryptic messages, literary references, and some pesky kids meddling where they didn’t belong.

The Three Investigators books were set in California, which made it pretty exotic for me as a book-obsessed child growing up in Cornwall, and for the first time I had characters I could identify with, who were only at school yet were well-read, intelligent and articulate (well, some of them) and did intresting things. Jupiter Jones, their leader, was not exactly the athletic type, yet he was a voracious reader and a devotee of Sherlock Holmes, all true of myself, and he lived with his Aunt Mathilda and Uncle Titus in the Jones Salvage Yard, Rocky Beach, which always seemed to me the most exciting place in the world to live. Inside the junkyard the Investigators had built themselves a secret headquarters, complete with crime lab, office, files, and telephone. What kid would not kill to belong to a club like that.

So anyway everyone should go and join my 3investigators community because it is the best. You had better do it or fear my wrath.