Music from Jeeves and Wooster

One of my favourite TV shows is Jeeves and Wooster. Starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, the show was based on the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse, who is also probably my all-time favourite comic author and whose works I enjoy immensely.

Back when I first began watching the show and was getting into P.G. Wodehouse, many years ago – it actually started with Carry On, Jeeves; the first Wodehouse book I ever read – I discovered The World of Jeeves and Wooster: an album of the music from the show. Seemingly sold as a limited release, it was out of print at the time of my discovery, although the years since have made the songs from the album available online and easier to acquire, including on iTunes. On iTunes the songs are individually priced at $1.29 or $11.99 (Canadian) for the whole album.

If you enjoyed listening to Bertie Wooster singing silly songs such as “Minnie the Moocher” or “Nagasaki” in the show, both of which get a backing band (an additional track, titled “Minnie the Moocher is Alive and Well and Living in Berkley Court” includes Bertie and Jeeves’ amusing call and response, see in the video below) then you might enjoy the songs on this album. You’re in for a treat!

Wogan on Wodehouse

Last year I chanced upon a BBC documentary called Wogan on Wodehouse. Broadcast in 2011, Terry Wogan pieces together P.G. Wodehouse’s life and its parallels in his writings, often brilliantly inspired. Unlike some documentaries that try to uncover supposed hidden truths or darker aspects in an author’s works through their life, the parallels only further illuminate Wodehouse’s brilliance as a wordsmith and his ability in seeing the humour in life.

I believe I was between the ages of thirteen and fourteen when I read my first Wodehouse book, Carry On, Jeeves. Since then, I’ve read more of his books and enjoy them as much as I did upon first reading them, if not more so. After reading any of his stories, I always come away with a feeling that I can only describe as rich and uplifted. How he uses language is invigorating.

Most of the enjoyment that one gets out of reading his writing is his use of simile, alliteration, and witty, sometimes irreverent, allusions and references to Shakespeare and classical studies, usually the Romantic poets, and the Bible. All of which are handled deftly. His writing is such that he is one of those very few writers in which one derives more enjoyment by reading it himself than hearing it read out loud or narrated, as when listening to an audiobook.

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