Sunday, 6 December 2015

Remembering Beachcomber

The comment by Charles Dawson on my recent post, reminded me of the  great Beachcomber's view of A. A. Milne.

This is from The Best of Beachcomber (J. B. Morton):

There is a great vogue for what is called the Woogie-Poogie-Boo kind of children's book, and I am doing my best to get one ready. I don't know what it will be called, but I rather fancy Songs Through My Hat, or perhaps When We Were Very Silly. Here is a poem called "Theobald James".

I've got a silk-worm
A teeny-tiny silk-worm;
I call my silk-worm
Theobald James.
But nursie says it's cruel
Nursie says it's wicked
To call a teeny-tiny little

I said to my silk-worm
"Oh, Mr Silk-worm,
I'd rather be a silk-worm
Than anything far!"
And nursie says he answered,
Nursie says he shouted,
"You wish you were a silk-worm?
You little

Other Beachcomber gems in this genre include:

John Percy,

John Percy
Said to his nursy,
Nursy," he said, said he.
"Tell father
I'd much rather
He didn't write books about me."
Shouted nursy,
"John Percy," said she,
"If dad stopped it,
If dad dropped it,
We shouldn't have honey for tea!"

and, perhaps the most final:

Now We are Sick:

Hush, hush,
Nobody cares!
Christopher Robin

(With thanks to Charlotte's Library, here, which saved me having to dig out my copy of Beachcomber)


Eccles said...

P.G. Wodehouse (who was no friend to A.A. Milne, probably because Milne tried to get him into trouble for his wartime broadcasts) also slipped in a Christopher Robin parody in "Rodney has a relapse":

Do you know where Rodney is at this moment? Up in the nursery, bending over his son Timothy's cot, gathering material for a poem about the unfortunate little rat while asleep....Horrible, whimsical stuff, that....Well, when I tell you that he refers to him throughout as 'Timothy Bobbin,' you will appreciate what we are up against. I am not a weak man, but I confess that I shuddered.

Timothy Bobbin has a canary.
As regards its sex opinions vary.
If it just goes tweet-tweet,
We shall call it Pete,
But if it lays an egg, we shall switch to Mary.'
(Query:Sex motif too strongly stressed)

Charlesdawson said...

Dorothy Parker reviewed books under the nom-de-plume Constant Reader.

Her review of The House at Pooh Corner Tonstant Weader fwowed up.

Crude, these Americans.

Ben Trovato said...

More from P. G. Wodehouse:

In “The Mating Season” (1949) Bertie Wooster found himself in the appalling position of having to recite Milne’s poems at a village concert.

“A fellow who comes on a platform and starts reciting about Christopher Robin going hoppity-hoppity-hop (or alternatively saying his prayers) does not do so from sheer wantonness but because he is a helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control.”

Later, when Wooster complained to a friend about having to recite Christopher Robin poems, the friend replied:

“Pah!” he said. “It might have been Winnie the Pooh.” Well, there was that, of course.

With thanks to Strange Company, (here: which gives a good account of the Wodehouse/Milne feud.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks Charles: saved me having to dig up my Dorothy Parker to check that quotation. She is a great reviewer. I particularly like the one where she threatens to shoot herself, and does...

Unknown said...

Totally off topic - and not sure quite where you are in Cumbria - but hope you haven't been too badly affected by the flooding.

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks, Poly,

We are not far from the late lamented Pooley Bridge, but we are halfway up the fellside, so well above the floodwaters.

Our greatest hardship was that we couldn't get to Mass today, as Pooley Bridge was flooded, then washed away, and Eamont Bridge was flooded too...