Here we go with Part Four of our brand new Tale for Our Time, my variation on a theme of H G Wells - Out of Time. Although in these early episodes I've followed Wells's structure almost exactly, the cliffhanger endings are proving unbearable for many listeners. Keith Farrell, a Mark Steyn Club member from the English Midlands, says:
Just finished Out of Time part 3. Cliffhanger after cliffhanger! I need a time machine so I can listen to part 4 this instant.
I can't wait, although I must, in the absence of said contraption.
For Dennis, a First Month Founding Member from Massachusetts, the thrills are near lethal:
I had to stop listening to this in the car because I ran a red light. Fortunately, no oncoming traffic and no police.
I will finish listening in the front yard, under the grapevine, where it is safe.
Oh, my. In tonight's episode, our Victorian time traveller continues his investigations into the people of the 2020s:
A queer thing I soon discovered about my little hosts, and that was their lack of interest. They would give excited cries, like children, about 'diversity' and 'multiculturalism', but uttering the words seemed to exhaust their interest in the subject. I am not as well travelled as Kipling or even Mason here, yet I can make social pleasantries on the fall of the Talpurs in Sind after the Battle of Hyderabad, or the rudiments of the Montenegrin constitution under the Danilo Code. Yet I never encountered persons so noisily professing their love of other cultures while being entirely uninterested in them...
Along the way, aside from the Battle of Hyderabad and the Danilo Code, there are chiffchaffs, musk ducks, bollards and the Battle of Trafalgar. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Four of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
If you are unfamiliar with the song referenced by our time traveller, here it is sung by Jenny Coulston:
And through all my life, whenever I have heard it sung live, the audience always joins in on the chorus. But, for you hipster types, here is Episode One of a TV show I have never seen, Peaky Blinders, although it's about an Irish crime gang in the English Midlands and I am a semi-Irishman who has lived in the English Midlands. The rendition is not much, but the audience reaction is typical:
Thank you again for your kind comments about this year's summer entertainment. Veronica, the doyenne of Kiwi Steyn Clubbers, writes from Auckland:
Our hero, 'The Wicket Taker's Son', has made a good start to his innings, especially enjoyed his observations of contemporary Londoners (mostly brown, tattooed and masked) and his gallant rescue of a drowning girl whilst the passive populace and the useless wanker copper looked on - 'You're a disgrace to your uniform...I've half a mind to give you a damn good thrashing!'
Indeed so but alas the 'WTS' then fell into a bout of misgendering, and no thrashing ensued. A shame!
Also, has anyone else noticed that Mark has a fondness for portraying river rescue scenes, first the very funny episode with Baroness al-Ghoti in The Prisoner of Windsor and now the young female Londoner in Out of Time... semi-autobiographical or am I reading too much into it?
Possibly, Veronica. I did once, long ago, rescue a girl in difficulties in the river, but she didn't thank me as much as Weena did our time traveller. That's not why it's in here, though. The H G Wells original has a sphinx and introduces Weena via a river rescue. So I sort of feel that any serious hommage has to have both sphinx and drowning in some form.
Tales for Our Time is now over six years old. So, if you've a friend who might be partial to our classic fiction outings, we have a special Gift Membership that, aside from audio yarns, also includes video poetry, live music and more. And I'll be doing a live-performance Tale for Our Time at sea on the next Mark Steyn Cruise - assuming that I'm still on "the right side of the grass", as my doctors like to joke.
Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Five of Out of Time.