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I’m Mole!

I’m Mole!

You guys, I’m Mole. From the Wind in the Willows. I’ve only just realised it and had to weep to someone because who wants to be personality-less Mole? He hid himself underground till he was sick of it and then he attached himself to Rat and embraced a new life, but he was never as cool as Rat, though he always tried. I’ll probably never be as cool as Rat. It’s so creepy when an author or scriptwriter creates some sort of version of you that he totally dreamed up out of nowhere. It’s worse when its an animal. Hands up if you identify with at least two of the weirdest creatures from Alice in Wonderland (For me, it’s the flamingo at the croquet game, and in my incompetent days, Bill the Lizard, Jury Member from the Trial scene). I wonder if the writers know they’re doing it. It’s pretty damn annoying regardless.

As far as characters go I always like the ones that are not like me. If a character in a book or film, is too close to the real me for comfort, I’ll immediately back away. For instance, if I were to be completely honest, as a kid I was like the shy and timid Beth March but I avoided this absolute truth because I wanted to be feisty like Jo. In films too, I have to aspire to the personality types of characters, or I’ll hate them right off the bat. I’d rather be happy-go-lucky and risk taking Kumar than the uptight, paranoid play by the rules Harold but I suspect that the opposite is true. I totally want to be House MD, witty and brilliant, but I’m so completely Wilson – seemingly well-adjusted and easily manipulated.

So anyway, since I’m on this whole self-actualisation trip, I might as well come clean. These are three characters that I’d want to think I’m like, against the one’s I’m actually like.

What I want to be: Bobbie Wickham and/or Stiffy Byng from the Jeeves series. Spontaneous, quick on their feet and inventor of hare-brained schemes that never end up working.

What I’m actually like: Florence Craye, pseudo-intellectual and little formidable and scary. “The root of the trouble was that she was one of those intellectual girls, steeped to the gills in serious purpose, who are unable to see a male soul without wanting to get behind it and shove.” Bertie Wooster, Joy in the morning. Sigh. It’s kind of true.

What I want to be: Kima Greggs from the Wire. Capable, smart and quick.

What I am: The Bunk. Good at his job, but undeniably lazy and disgruntled with everything.

What I want to be: House MD. Witty, sexy, confident, brilliant, self-assured and downright amazing.

What I am: Wilson. Sidekick to awesomeness.

What I want to be: Stan from Southpark. Chilled out and cool. He even has a girlfriend until he went goth. (“They’re all a bunch of conformist bastards.”)

What I am: Tweak. I can panic on demand. My philosophy is “If there’s a reason, even a small one, to flip out like a pancake, do it and don’t think twice.” A lot of people think Tweak’s character was over the top. Not so. I’m like that. I even twitch when I’m nervous.

Okay that’s enough honesty for today. I still want you guys to like me after all (another reason why I’m like Wilson) and I don’t want you’ll to walk away saying “she’s the crazy half of this project.” That’ll just be sad.

What Ho!: A tribute to PG Wodehouse

What Ho!: A tribute to PG Wodehouse

In a Wodehouse novel, a character doesn’t just leap, he “leaps about like a lamb in the springtime,” a girl will not tremble in fear, she’ll “quiver like a badly set blancmange” and when someone chokes on a word, he does it “like a Pekingese on a chump chop too large for its frail strength.” If there’s anyone who uses words with style, it’s PG Wodehouse and that’s only one out of a million reasons why I love him.

I can read a Wodehouse novel anytime. Anytime. There is never a wrong mood and there’s never a bad place. Liking Wodehouse is also a great judge of character. If you’ve read him, you’ve scored brownie points with me. If you like him, I’ll hate you a little less on sight. It’s true. I once met a boy who said casually, “I’m more of a Blandings Castle fan than a Jeeves one.” I’m now dating him.

Speaking of Jeeves, if you’ve read one novel you’ve practically read them all. In that respect, he’s the Aaron Sorkin of literature. You know the plot before you’ve started but it’s all so fresh and new that you enjoy it heartily anyway. When a critic pointed this out, Wodehouse apparently felt very peeved. “I was trying to hide it.”


That’s another thing about Wodehouse. He doesn’t take himself seriously at all, and much like his books he has no clue about the outside world. I devoured this interview in The Paris Review where he couldn’t give the journalist directions to his own house because he had no idea where his house was. Things like directions, are codes, correspondence, even basic current affairs (Jack Kerouac died? Did he? Oh dear they do die off, don’t they?”) he couldn’t be bothered with them. He was just content to sit back and write literature that shines with the brilliance of a sun. And he did it so well; I imagine no one who managed the hum drum stuff for him would mind.

I was reading his Berlin broadcasts the other day and I couldn’t help but wonder. You have to be really positive to see the funny side of a prison camp, I mean geez. The broadcasts make it clear that PG Wodehouse wasn’t made to paint grim pictures. Like his books, everything is sunny and bright and they all live happily ever after. His is the best kind of escapist fiction there is. And when he found out that the broadcasts had ruffled a lot of feathers back home, he was dismayed. “I see now, of course that I was tricked into making these talks and I naturally feel a damned fool.” Dear old soul. Just like one of his well-meaning but errant characters!

I’m only 24 years old and I’ve met at least three staple Wodehouse characters in my life. In my college hostel alone, there was a Madeline Basset who famously thought the stars were gods daisy chain, there was a Bobbie Wickham, a beauty who would always get into trouble and get boys to help her out and there was a pseudo-intellectual Florence Craye (people tell me I’m Florence Craye sometimes, but I don’t believe them and just carry on with my daily life). Without Wodehouse, these characters would have been near unbearable. Because of him, I just find them funny.

Stephen Fry, who along with Laurie, brought faces to well-loved characters said of Wodehouse “You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection. You just bask in its warmth and splendour.” Word.

– Sheena

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