Wallace Arnold

The Nose with a Luminous Dong

May Week Was in June (Unreliable Memoirs Continued)

Jonathan Cape 249pp £11.45 order from our bookshop

By

THOUGH ESSENTIALLY un homme sérieux, I have, as is widely known, from time to time engaged myself in the act of humorous composition. The light-hearted essay containing the jocular (and occasionally waspish!) aperçu has long been a forte of mine, and the list of my contributions to Punch magazine in my Who’s Who entry – ‘The Lighter Side of Spring-Cleaning’ (May, 1969), ‘lf lt’s Wednesday, It Must Be Margate!’ (April, 1964), ‘Broom! Clunk! – A Sideways Look at Car Maintenance’ (August, 1959), ‘Pardon My Swahili- Wallace Arnold Goes On His Hols’ (August, 1974), ‘The Unfairer Sex- All You Never Wanted To Know About Birds of The World!’ (Christmas Number 1971), ‘Never Again! -Wallace Arnold Tries His Hand At The Bobsleigh’ (September, 1982), ‘Excuse My Ear-Muffs- A Sane View of Today’s Pop “Music”‘ (January, 1968), ‘Names That Make Me Chuckle’ (weekly series, June 1966-March 1983) – reads like a veritable compendium of postwar English (very English!) humour. During all this time as the doyenne of comic writers, I have, freely admit, never found myself averse to taking the occasional ‘crack’ at the British Trades Union Movement. As early as 1962, I had invented the marvellously ridiculous – yet in a way oddly touching- figure of Len Grunt, Convenor of the Allied Union of Loafers, Grumblers and Slugabeds, a character who swiftly found his place in that pantheon of richly stuff! )? Who knows, he might have enjoyed a reputation as comic, thoroughly English figures in our national literature which also includes the immortal Mr Pooter and the immortal Mrs Pooter to name but one.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,