Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 :?
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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...
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 18 Sep 2018, 18:59

That is a very interesting thought :D
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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.
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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.
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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
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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"
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Fairblue » 20 Sep 2018, 01:33

elderlyfemalerelativ wrote: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"

Love that!
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Kismet » 20 Sep 2018, 12:57

"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). :)


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"


My offspring refuse to recognise the difference between myself (many years of experience with IT and some basic qualifications in it) saying 'you've messed with my computer so you can return it to functionality and restore all my documents because I'm not willing to spend the time fixing what you have done,' and my mother / mother in law who are challenged by IT saying 'it's hidden my messages. I don't know why it's done that'. I get very irritated by being included in the same stereotypical box, which, no doubt, is why they do it, because after a child reaches eleven, it decides that its parents cannot be competent at anything and must be informed of this.


I'm interested in 'Auntie' being a term of respect, Alderaanian. It's very definitely a term of intimacy here: only friends of a family are dignified with the title, and if a stranger called a woman 'auntie', it would be cheek! 'Ma'am' used to be the way to respectfully address an older female, but that is very old fashioned and not used anymore without it being replaced by anything.
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Frecks » 20 Sep 2018, 14:08

Yes things have certainly changed. In my younger days I always called my bosses "Mr." but in my last two jobs they were called by their first names. I found this very strange at first.
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby kylie_koyote » 20 Sep 2018, 14:57

At Little A's preschool, all the teachers were addressed as Miss {First Name}. So his teachers were Miss Jessica and Miss Amanda. (This is also quite common in the US for children to refer to regularly-appearing adults who are not family members. Thus our neighbor is Miss Nancy.)

Now that he goes to regular school, teachers are called Mrs./Mr. {Last Name}.

I am tickled pink that one of his teachers this year is Mrs. Wilkinson. I have to keep myself from referring to her as Mrs. Wilks out loud. :lol:
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby alderaanian » 21 Sep 2018, 18:30

Kismet wrote: after a child reaches eleven, it decides that its parents cannot be competent at anything and must be informed of this.


I am probably guilty of behaving like this as a teenager but no doubt will receive my come-uppance now that I am a parent (as will your offspring, one day)...

I'm interested in 'Auntie' being a term of respect, Alderaanian. It's very definitely a term of intimacy here: only friends of a family are dignified with the title, and if a stranger called a woman 'auntie', it would be cheek! 'Ma'am' used to be the way to respectfully address an older female, but that is very old fashioned and not used anymore without it being replaced by anything.


Haha. I just googled and found a thread that sums up various thoughts on this matter:
https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-guidel ... -Singapore

It seems that times may be changing a little and some people (the minority though) might get offended when addressed as Uncle or Auntie here (assuming that the non-respectful sense is intended, because Uncle/Auntie when used in the non-respectful sense implies a less refined kind of stereotype and a more ordinary/lower social standing or education level, certainly not an "upper class" one). Most of the time, however, it is still used out of respect for one's elders and my children can't imagine calling an adult anything else (I couldn't either as a child).

Now that I'm an adult myself, I may choose to omit Uncle or Auntie to a fellow adult unless the person I address is a) obviously old enough to be my parent and b) from their dress and speech, not obviously a "Sir" or "Madam" instead (in official transactions or a "high class" social setting, "Sir" or "Madam" replaces "Uncle" and "Auntie"). However it would always be mandatory for me to address my friends' parents, or my parents' friends, as Uncle and Auntie, no matter how old I am myself :)

In the majority of households, younger siblings will ALWAYS address their older siblings in the immediate family by the "big brother" / "big sister" honorific, rather than first name, no matter how old they become (this does not extend so much to cousins though), just as we wouldn't dream of addressing our parents by their first names. As the big sister, I am always "big sister" to my brothers. To a 2 year old, every child outside the family who is taller and more articulate is a "big brother / big sister", i.e. every 3 or 4 year old, but once one has reached say 6, an age difference of 2 years might no longer be considered large enough to call an 8 year old "big brother/ big sister" as their abilities and skills / stage of life are more on par, so they become regarded as "equals" so to speak. The titles are more strictly observed within interactions between family members.

In fact, my 4 year old and I recently had a bedtime conversation about whether one day it would become unnecessary to call our friends' children (aged 8 and 11, which means around 5 years age gap) "big sister". He does not mind calling them that, but he was just wondering if he would always be considered a 'category younger' than them and 'less able' to do things, so to speak. One day the gap will lessen and he will naturally stop calling them 'big brother/ big sister', perhaps when they all enter the same phase of life (school-going, exam-taking age). But right now he can't imagine it, he says "Maybe I will stop calling them "big sister" when I am 90 and they are 100 years old" :D that's how big a part of life the practice is!

In preschool, depending on the centre, teachers may be "Teacher/Ms [first name]".

Our teachers are also addressed as "Mr or Ms [last name]" from primary school onwards. In primary and secondary schools, kids stand up and greet the teachers in the morning before lesson starts, "Good morning Mr/Ms [last name]". In some schools (those with a strong Chinese background), the children also are expected to bow their heads as a sign of respect when greeting them, both in and out of class. Because I was brought up in just such a school myself, I always find myself ducking my head slightly even if I pass bosses in the corridor nowadays. And though some of my peers are able to drop the habit of [title]/[surname] once they have reached a certain level of seniority and address boss by first name alone, I just can't do that myself - I still address my bosses as Dr/Prof [last name] (I work in a hospital), or, if they are within 10 years of my own age, as Dr [first name]. So there is a certain amount of individual variation as well :)

I also find the practice of addressing people whom I've never met before by their first name over work email/correspondence a bit strange, particularly if they are senior to me. I would always start off with Mr/Ms [last name], and only switch to first name if they signed off as such... and sometimes, not even then!
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Tracer » 22 Sep 2018, 10:08

I've recently been in hospital and found it most disconcerting to be addressed by all staff using my first name. Scope for a mix-up, I think, if sharing a ward with someone else of the same name.
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Kismet » 22 Sep 2018, 11:00

Sorry to hear you've been in hospital, Tracer. Did you not have to endlessly repeat your date of birth every time medication arrived / blood pressure was taken to prove you were you and prevent mix ups? I was in hospital last year, and even when the staff knew me quite well, we went through the formalities every time.

I've had awkward surnames and so have been happy to be known by my Christian name. I'm very bored of conversations on how unusual my surname is and where does it come from.
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Re: Biggles Takes Charge: one of the best?

Postby Fairblue » 22 Sep 2018, 11:14

Tracer wrote:I've recently been in hospital and found it most disconcerting to be addressed by all staff using my first name. Scope for a mix-up, I think, if sharing a ward with someone else of the same name.

Sorry to hear you've been in hospital, Tracer. When I went in a couple of months ago, I was asked how I would like to be called. Mrs, or by my first name.
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes
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Postby Frecks » 22 Sep 2018, 13:05

It does seem strange when the nurses and other staff are much younger than you are and they call you by your first name. I hope you are fully recovered now Tracer. I had an unusual surname before I was married but now my surname is one of the most common in the country to the extent that my neighbour also has the same surname which can cause confusion :?
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