Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Discuss a Biggles book!

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 14 Sep 2018, 11:39

My wage was £5 per week in 1968 but doubled to £10 per week in 1969 when I changed jobs. I was saving up to get married and the extra money was very welcome. Mr. Frecks earned £15 a week in 1969 doing a full time skilled job. We had great difficulty getting a mortgage on that income but we managed it in the end and we still live in the same house purchased in 1971. How life has changed since then.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 16 Sep 2018, 09:59

I agree with everyone that BtC is one of the best, but I have two reservations.
One is the way Algy just hands everything over to Biggles when they meet, although I grant you he was in a tough spot and would have been very glad to see him
The other is that it was partly written in response to complaints that Algy was being left out of the books. I would rather the jam had been spread a bit more evenly, and that Algy had been more prominent all along.
Though I suppose an "Algy" book and a prominent part in all the others would be rather nice.
elderlyfemalerelativ
Flight lieutenant
Flight lieutenant
 
Posts: 917
Joined: 29 Apr 2013, 04:46
Location: London
Reading last: Benson's collected ghost stories
Reading now: Reading again the Patrick O'Brien sea stories
My top chap: Algy
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Tracer » 16 Sep 2018, 10:27

In all fairness, WEG DID respond to his readers' requests, just as he did when they told him in droves that they didn't like the female interest.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns
Tracer
Squadron leader
Squadron leader
 
Posts: 2310
Joined: 12 Dec 2013, 19:59

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 16 Sep 2018, 11:47

I think the problem with Algy is that WEJ either left him out altogether or had him just dropping the team off and waiting for them in so many books that he became rather a bland character in those books and then when he had a prominent role it was almost like having a new character in the books altogether.

Algy's thoughts and feelings were very well expressed in Takes Charge and some of the other books but on the whole WEJ does not tell the stories from Algy's point of view.

Algy is of course an excellent second in command and as such could not really have had the same quirky mannerisms as Bertie nor have been as young and emotional as Ginger. He does feel things quite deeply but WEJ did not always express those feelings in the books.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby alderaanian » 17 Sep 2018, 07:46

elderlyfemalerelativ wrote:One is the way Algy just hands everything over to Biggles when they meet, although I grant you he was in a tough spot and would have been very glad to see him

Heh. You're right about the "handing over". I got the feeling that WEJ realised that he only had half a book left to give exposure to the rest of the team and had to do so :) but I didn't get the idea that Algy was being shouldered aside, more like being given some respite! I guess the title wouldn't fit if Biggles didn't get to "Take Charge" at some point!

Frecks wrote:I think the problem with Algy is that WEJ either left him out altogether or had him just dropping the team off and waiting for them in so many books that he became rather a bland character in those books and then when he had a prominent role it was almost like having a new character in the books altogether.


I think one of the reasons that I like Algy is that he changes/grows over the years and avoids falling into a caricature of any particular 'type' of character (a criticism that has been made of the way Ginger has to retain the 'young and naive' persona to implausible levels in the later books) - at least, in the best of WEJ, unlike some of the SAP books :)

He's fallible (unlike Mr I-know-everything Biggles), gets emotional (though often not to such extremes as highly-strung Biggles), puts his hands in his pockets to think when he gets stumped, provides humour and sarcasm, and provides rescue action expected and unexpected. In the WW1 books he's young and slightly off his rocker. As he ages, he becomes more sober and provides a kind of emotional centre for the team, being a foil to their various idiosyncrasies, but he's not always the 'straight man' either, he always retains that capacity for craziness ("still scouting for trouble") somewhere inside.

I don't think that when he gets a bigger part it's really like getting "an entirely new character". It's just.. the Return of the Algy we know, accompanied by invisible trumpets blowing a fanfare inside the heads of the Algy fans. :D
alderaanian
Officer cadet
Officer cadet
 
Posts: 67
Images: 3
Joined: 16 Jun 2018, 00:46
Location: Singapore

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 17 Sep 2018, 08:05

Algy does not play as big a part in the books as the others when he is left behind to guard the aeroplane and WEJ does not often express his feelings so it is left to the imagination of the reader to put those feelings into words. Biggles can be rather a know it all at times especially in the later books. Bertie changes too as time goes on and becomes a more fully rounded character.

I like Ginger's character in the earlier books but he annoys me so much in the very late books that I just do not read them. WEJ must have got pretty fed up with trying to keep him young and innocent because he left him out of a lot of the later books anyway.

There are a few very late books with just Biggles and Algy in them harking back to the old days.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby alderaanian » 17 Sep 2018, 08:38

Frecks wrote:Algy does not play as big a part in the books as the others when he is left behind to guard the aeroplane and WEJ does not often express his feelings so it is left to the imagination of the reader to put those feelings into words.


Could you have hit the nail on the head regarding the reason Algy is so popular with fans I wonder. ;) because we are filling in the blanks with our imagination!

If the RPGs are anything to go by, our collective imagination is remarkably consistent, however. :lol:
alderaanian
Officer cadet
Officer cadet
 
Posts: 67
Images: 3
Joined: 16 Jun 2018, 00:46
Location: Singapore

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 17 Sep 2018, 10:58

I think most of the Algy fans have the same idea of Algy's character from the times he plays a major role in the books. WEJ does give Algy some very good storylines at times. I think there is more scope for the imagination with Algy than there is with Biggles and with Ginger in his younger days WEJ expresses his every thought and feeling with a good deal of emotion so there is virtually nothing left to the imagination. I still think Bertie is something of an enigma as WEJ does not give much away about his feelings and it is not so easy to work out what he feels deep down or if he is actually very emotional at all.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Kismet » 17 Sep 2018, 12:19

Algy's problem was that he was too good. Biggles left him behind in the absolute certainty that Algy would be able to get him out of whatever hole he fell into. He had the experience and knowledge to do so when Ginger was too young and lacking the knowledge, connections and money. Once the stories stopped being about two partners, then someone had to stay home to mount the rescue, and the person Biggles trusted the most was Algy.

If the RPGs are anything to go by, our collective imagination is remarkably consistent, however.


I think we've created our own Algy to play with. Fanon rather than canon. We've created a few other recurring characters in the RPGs who have taken on a life of their own.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
User avatar
Kismet
Air vice marshal
Air vice marshal
 
Posts: 25841
Images: 115
Joined: 28 Aug 2013, 21:10
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Reading last: fantasy on Kindle Unlimited
Reading now: Patricia Wentworth
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Tracer » 17 Sep 2018, 14:46

Kismet wrote:Algy's problem was that he was too good. Biggles left him behind in the absolute certainty that Algy would be able to get him out of whatever hole he fell into. He had the experience and knowledge to do so when Ginger was too young and lacking the knowledge, connections and money. Once the stories stopped being about two partners, then someone had to stay home to mount the rescue, and the person Biggles trusted the most was Algy.

If the RPGs are anything to go by, our collective imagination is remarkably consistent, however.


I think we've created our own Algy to play with. Fanon rather than canon. We've created a few other recurring characters in the RPGs who have taken on a life of their own.



Very true.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns
Tracer
Squadron leader
Squadron leader
 
Posts: 2310
Joined: 12 Dec 2013, 19:59

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 17 Sep 2018, 14:54

I wish we could create a real person to play with just to our own liking :lol:

We do need to bear in mind that the books were written for teenage boys and so a teenage or early 20s team member would be most appealing to that readership. I also read somewhere that most heroes in the Boys Own Comics were youngsters and it was unusual for a grown man to be the main participant in the stories. As a mature reader of 66 years of age I do not have the same criteria :?
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby alderaanian » 18 Sep 2018, 18:43

Haha... Agree with the comments above!

Regarding the following that these books have beyond just an audience of 'teenage boys', *ahem* There is a very Singaporean expression, "auntie-killer", to describe an individual (usually of the male sex) who is clean-cut, well mannered, considerate and charming (boyish good looks are optional), whom "aunties" find irresistible. Note that "auntie" is a term which encompasses anything from a married woman with kids of any age, to an older woman with grown kids, though not everyone appreciates being called one as it is not considered a flattering term.

If this Forum is anything to go by, Algy (or Fanon Algy?) is obviously an "auntie-killer", which might have come from having been well-trained by his mother (herself a formidable "auntie").

:D

Just saying...
*ducks for cover*
:scared:
alderaanian
Officer cadet
Officer cadet
 
Posts: 67
Images: 3
Joined: 16 Jun 2018, 00:46
Location: Singapore

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 18 Sep 2018, 18:59

That is a very interesting thought :D
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Kismet » 18 Sep 2018, 19:07

'Auntie killer' is a great term. I know just the sort of young men that you mean, being of 'auntie' age myself and susceptible to their wiles.

When I was young, all friends of the family were called auntie and uncle, (friends' parents being referred to as Mr and Mrs xxxx) but by the time I had children, adults were called by their first name unless they were in an actual position of authority such as teacher when Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss applied.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
User avatar
Kismet
Air vice marshal
Air vice marshal
 
Posts: 25841
Images: 115
Joined: 28 Aug 2013, 21:10
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Reading last: fantasy on Kindle Unlimited
Reading now: Patricia Wentworth
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 18 Sep 2018, 22:15

You'd have to be quite tough to be an auntie killer. "Aunt bellowing to aunt like mastodons in the swamp" as P G Wodehouse put it. I speak as an aunt, of course.
elderlyfemalerelativ
Flight lieutenant
Flight lieutenant
 
Posts: 917
Joined: 29 Apr 2013, 04:46
Location: London
Reading last: Benson's collected ghost stories
Reading now: Reading again the Patrick O'Brien sea stories
My top chap: Algy
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Indian Civil Service » 19 Sep 2018, 09:18

Kismet wrote:Algy's problem was that he was too good. Biggles left him behind in the absolute certainty that Algy would be able to get him out of whatever hole he fell into. He had the experience and knowledge to do so when Ginger was too young and lacking the knowledge, connections and money. Once the stories stopped being about two partners, then someone had to stay home to mount the rescue, and the person Biggles trusted the most was Algy.

If the RPGs are anything to go by, our collective imagination is remarkably consistent, however.


Totally agree. I think Biggles and the team could take appalling risks because they know Algy has their backs. Even when he disagrees with Biggles he follows orders implicitly as in Baltic and he takes terrible risks when he knows the team are depending on him, even if he gets captured in doing so, as in Delivers the Goods, Makes Ends Meet.
I like Algy... :P
User avatar
Indian Civil Service
Flying officer
Flying officer
 
Posts: 471
Images: 21
Joined: 24 May 2016, 05:16
Location: Globetrotting between India, Canada and USA
Reading last: Aesthetics in Feminist Perspectives
Reading now: All my Biggles collection (94 strong)
Reading next: All my William collection (need 1 to complete)
My top chap: Biggles and Algy and Bertie...
Starsign: Sagittarius
Aircraft: Sopwith Camel; Gnat

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby alderaanian » 19 Sep 2018, 11:30

Kismet wrote:When I was young, all friends of the family were called auntie and uncle, (friends' parents being referred to as Mr and Mrs xxxx) but by the time I had children, adults were called by their first name unless they were in an actual position of authority such as teacher when Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss applied.


Over here, all children still refer to adults as "uncle" and "auntie", regardless if they are family friends or if they've never met them before. It's considered a term of respect, like "Sir" or "Madam" would be elsewhere, and is the common form of address for, eg, stallholders or shopkeepers who are significantly older / old enough to be one's parents. If my children meet an older child or a young adult who might not be considered old enough to be married / a parent, then the respectful term to use is "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" (in the local dialect term). There's a 'grey zone' of the 20s and 30s, when young adults who are old enough to be married (or in fact are), but do not want to be seen by young kids as old, cringe if inadvertently addressed by polite kids as "Uncle" and "Auntie" rather than "Big Brother" or "Big Sister". As a rule of thumb, regardless of the age of the person who uses the term, it is safe to use "Uncle" and "Auntie" to someone who could be old enough to be one's parent.

Hence, the word Auntie has two connotations- a respectful one (any random child whom I meet, or my children's friends, may refer to me as "auntie"), as well as a less flattering usage ("Auntie" also connotes a certain stereotype of someone in middle age or above who keeps asking youngsters when they are going to get married, dresses unfashionably or fumbles about and does things slowly being unfamiliar with technology). :)

Sorry, :offtopichappy:

elderlyfemalerelativ wrote:"Aunt bellowing to aunt like mastodons in the swamp" as P G Wodehouse put it. I speak as an aunt, of course.


:mrgreen: I remember this quote...
alderaanian
Officer cadet
Officer cadet
 
Posts: 67
Images: 3
Joined: 16 Jun 2018, 00:46
Location: Singapore

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 19 Sep 2018, 14:48

I can relate to the fumbling with technology - I think I am at "For heaven's sake hurry up Grandma" stage now as far as young people are concerned. Mr. Frecks is very hard of hearing which makes things even worse when dealing with young people who mumble or talk quickly.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Tracer » 19 Sep 2018, 15:02

I wish we still had the convention of children calling older family friends Uncle and Aunt, and Mr or Mrs/Ms/Miss if acquaintances. I don't like small children calling me by my first name, but freely admit that I can't think of anything better.

When I were a young'un, married women would refer to their husbands as Mr. Whatever, and I used to wonder if they did the same when nobody else was around to listen.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns
Tracer
Squadron leader
Squadron leader
 
Posts: 2310
Joined: 12 Dec 2013, 19:59

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 19 Sep 2018, 16:23

I have not heard that very often Tracer. I usually refer to Mr. Frecks as my husband.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4308
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 19 Sep 2018, 16:28

When I couldn't get my sons' TV to work, my grandson hand me another remote and said "Just push all the buttons like the other grandma does"
elderlyfemalerelativ
Flight lieutenant
Flight lieutenant
 
Posts: 917
Joined: 29 Apr 2013, 04:46
Location: London
Reading last: Benson's collected ghost stories
Reading now: Reading again the Patrick O'Brien sea stories
My top chap: Algy
Starsign: Leo

Previous

Return to WEJ Biggles books - individual books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests