Happy Thanksgiving to our American listeners! Wherever you are on the planet this frosty day in New Hampshire, Tales for Our Time goes on, uninterrupted by high days and holy days. So welcome to Part Six of our latest audio entertainment, a bit of escapism to provide a respite from the woes of the world each night: Psmith, Journalist by P G Wodehouse. Mark Steyn Club member Paul Cathey writes:
Mark, thank you, thank you, for a stopover at Wodehouse in your rewarding literary peregrinations, and not a moment too soon. I hope we will be able to visit Blandings Castle before we leave.
I suspect I'm not the only one who would be happy to read your Wodehouseian review were you able to republish it here.
Thank you, Paul. My whimsical attempt at writing in Plum's voice is in non-digitized form, but I'll try to fish it out. We left things last night with Psmith and his Wyoming chum Billy under a barely veiled threat from a hard but unnamed enemy. In tonight's episode of Psmith, Journalist, Billy realizes that he has crossed the line into that other New York:
Billy's experience as a cub-reporter had given him the knowledge that is only given in its entirety to police and newspaper men: that there are two New Yorks. One is a modern, well-policed city, through which one may walk from end to end without encountering adventure. The other is a city as full of sinister intrigue, of whisperings and conspiracies, of battle, murder, and sudden death in dark by-ways, as any town of mediaeval Italy. Given certain conditions, anything may happen to any one in New York. And Billy realised that these conditions now prevailed in his own case. He had come into conflict with New York's underworld. Circumstances had placed him below the surface, where only his wits could help him.
The above scene takes place at the Astor Hotel, a landmark in Times Square (see above right) and one of the last edifices to give Times Square the air of an actual square as opposed to a badly built traffic intersection lined by ugly buildings. The hotel's famous Astor Bar was a louche and lively meeting place whose general vibe is distilled in the song title "She Had to Go and Lose It at the Astor" and a couplet by Wodehouse's sometime collaborator Cole Porter for "Well, Did You Evah!":
Have you heard that Mimsie Starr
Just got pinched in the Astor Bar?
The above is usually sung with just the faintest pause between "pinched in the As" and "-tor Bar".
Across most of the world apart from party-town Wuhan, there are still no shows, films, concerts, sporting events, family Thanksgiving gatherings... So, unless you dig rioting and rampaging in Portland or New York, there's not much to do of an evening. That being so, we hope you'll be back here tomorrow for Part Seven of Psmith, Journalist. You can listen to our tale episodically twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, or save it up for an almighty binge-listen on a long car journey as you flee your looted downtown.
If you're minded to join us in The Mark Steyn Club, you're more than welcome. You can find more information here. And, if you have a chum you think might enjoy Tales for Our Time (so far, we've covered Conan Doyle, Baroness Orczy, Dickens, Forster, Conrad, Kipling, Kafka, Gogol, Jack London, Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Louis Stevenson and more), we've introduced a special Gift Membership that lets you sign up a pal for the Steyn Club. You'll find more details here. Oh, and don't forget, over at the Steyn store, our Steynamite Special Offers on books, CDs, and much more.