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United Kingdom

Some Drinking Tips From Sir PG Wodehouse

November 2016Words by Mr Adam Welch

Messrs Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as Jeeves and Bertie Wooster in Jeeves And Wooster, 1992. Photograph by ITV/REX Shutterstock

Dazzlingly flippant, brilliantly funny and incredibly prolific, Sir PG Wodehouse was one of the greatest comic writers of his time. In fact, it’s arguable that the effervescent quality of his farcical novels and short stories (the most well-known of which feature upperclass twit Bertie Wooster and his long-suffering butler Jeeves), have yet to be matched since his passing in 1975. (This was just six weeks after he was granted a knighthood – until then the establishment had clearly deemed him just a shade too silly to be called “Sir”.) Today, dipping into Sir PG’s writing is to be taken back to an almost fantastical, and decidedly ridiculous vision of the high life in the 1920s and 1930s, full of flagrant bad behaviour, awful scrapes and, naturally, plenty of over-indulgence when it comes to alcohol. In new book Highballs For Breakfast, author Mr Richard T Kelly uses Sir PG’s expertise on the topic of drink as a lens through which to cast an eye through his wide oeuvre, offering an often-hilarious overview via extracts from more than 30 of his novels and stories, including the entirety of “My Battle With Drink”, a comic piece Sir PG wrote for Vanity Fair in 1915. The resulting volume, as Mr Kelly puts it in his introduction, is “a collection by one of the funniest writers who ever wrote, on one of the greatest subjects known to man or woman,” which is about as clear a recommendation you can get, in MR PORTER’s opinion. In the below excerpts from the book, which is out 10 November, Mr Kelly delivers a few key pointers on how to enjoy a tipple like a true Wodehouse-ian hero.