It's the Christmas season at SteynOnline. If you're short of gift ideas, we have some bargains galore among this year's Steynamite Christmas specials - and as always we will have a full panoply of seasonal programming in the days ahead.
As I've emphasized since we launched The Mark Steyn Club, our regular content will always be free to everyone around the world, but we are admitting Club members to a few experimental features which, in the event they're sufficiently non-incompetent, we may eventually make more widely available. Tales for Our Time is one such - my series of monthly audio adventures, which over the past three-and-a-half years has presented serializations of H G Wells, Scott Fitzgerald, Conrad, Kipling, Kafka and more. To access them all, please see our easy-to-navigate Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. You'll notice we also have a special selection from my readings of Christmas stories - from Charles Dickens to O Henry, Louisa May Alcott to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, L M Montgomery to Jack London ...oh, and some fellow called Steyn. We've introduced a similar tile format for my Sunday Poems and also for our audio and video music specials.
But, ever since my reading of A Christmas Carol, seasonal stories have been a special part of our annual Yuletide festivities. As Nancy Wenlock, a Steyn Club First Day Founding Member from Colorado, wrote of last year's tales:
Thank you, Mark!
These Christmas tales, like the other tales you've presented, are the perfect way to end each day. I can breathe a sigh of relief in the listening and enjoy such elements of kindness, simple pleasures and wonderful writing.
My pleasure, Nancy. For the 2020 festive season we're staying in New York, setting of last month's Wodehousian caper Psmith Journalist. But we're a couple of decades on - in the Broadway demi-monde of a very different writer. John, an Illinois member of the Steyn Club, saw this one coming:
To lighten the mood a little, how about a reading from Damon Runyon?
'The Idyll of Miss Sarah Jane Brown' anytime.
'Three Wise Guys' for Christmas.
Well, 'tis the season, John. Tonight's opening episode begins as Runyon always begins:
One cold winter afternoon I am standing at the bar in Good Time Charley's little drum on West Forty-ninth Street, partaking of a mixture of rock candy and rye whisky, and this is a most surprising thing for me to be doing, as I am by no means a rumpot, and very seldom indulge in alcoholic beverages in any way, shape, manner, or form.
But when I step into Good Time Charley's on the afternoon in question, I am feeling as if maybe I have a touch of grippe coming on, and Good Time Charley tells me that there is nothing in this world as good for a touch of grippe as rock candy and rye whisky, as it assassinates the germs at once.
To hear me read "Three Wise Guys", the first of our 2020 seasonal stories, prefaced by my own introduction to Damon Runyon's tale, Mark Steyn Club members should please click here and log-in.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over three-and-a-half years ago, and I'm overwhelmed by all those members across the globe who've signed up to be a part of it - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands. As I emphasized at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone.
That said, we are offering our Club members a few extras, including our monthly audio adventures. We're very pleased by the response to Tales for Our Time - and we even do them live on our annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise. We'll be presenting another Tale along with live editions of The Mark Steyn Show and much more on next year's Mediterranean cruise.
I'm truly thrilled that one of the most popular of our Steyn Club extras these last two years has been our nightly radio serials. If you've enjoyed them and you're looking for a Christmas present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. Aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The chance to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark's Mailbox, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events, in the event that the commissars ever again permit us to hold any;
~Priority booking for the above-mentioned Third Annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise from Rome to Gibraltar, Barcelona and Monte Carlo with Michele Bachmann, Conrad Black and my other guests, in the event that we're permitted to sail;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, in the event that they're ever de-criminalized;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to Three Wise Guys but to all the other yarns gathered together at the Tales for Our Time home page.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you favor this Christmas vignette or not, feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for the conclusion of Three Wise Guys.