So Anyway….

fawlty

Recently I was reading So Anyway…. by John Cleese.

The book was a fantastic read and there was much silent giggling from me because I like to read before going to sleep, and the other half likes to just go to sleep.

The trouble with silent giggling, while it is silent, it has a great tendancy to shake the entire bed. I tried very hard to control myself, but there came a section of the book where I totally lost any ability to keep it together, and twas so bad, the other half half-woke, looked at me, and mumbled something like he dreamed there was an earthquake. Oh, there was an earthquake, all right!

I covered my mouth to prevent an explosion, and I had to quietly and quickly leave the room. I sourced a pillow to giggle into, and the giggling continued for a multitude of minutes, until I got the hiccups.

I hope that John Cleese would not mind my quoting the section which caused an earthquake in the other half’s dreams. There are sections in the book which are even funnier but something about this one really got me giggling. Here tis –

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When I got back to London I was contacted by my old Cambridge friend Alan Hutchison, who had just returned from a long trip abroad that had taken him to places as far-flung as Japan and South America.

Alan’s travels had proved far more exotic than mine. At one point, after spending some time in Tokyo, he had decided to visit areas where Westerners had not yet trod. Realising that from now on his English was going to get him nowhere, he asked a fellow traveller to teach him the Japanese for ‘I’m sorry to bother you, but could you tell me where I could find accommodation?’ Then he set off.

Immediately the weather turned against him: rain bucketing down, thunder and lightning, the full works. Fortunately, a few rather small dwellings came in sight, so he approached one, knocked, and when the door opened, repeated his Japanese phrase. The householder looked very surprised, gathered himself, smiled, bowed three times and closed the door.

Mystified, Alan decided to try again at the next cottage, with the identical result. By now he was soaked to his skin but since he had no Plan B all he could do was to keep on and on, repeating the scenario, until at last he found a woodshed where he spent the night.

The next day, to his relief, he stumbled on a Japanese-style youth hostel, where the owner spoke some English. Alan asked him if he would translate into English the phrase that he had so carefully learned. The owner agreed, listened and explained that it meant ‘May I take this opportunity to wish you goodnight?’

How dismaying it must have been for those poor people to have been roused from their beds, to find, standing at their front door, towering over them, the first non-Japanese being they had ever set eyes on, a creature probably of aquatic origin, and moreover one who had chosen to make a special excursion to their home in the midst of this torrential downpour, simply in order to wish them goodnight.

In fact so implausible must this have seemed, that, as they lay tossing in bed, these Japanese can have only come to the conclusion that extraterrestrials were busy reconnoitring their neighbourhood, and, under the cover of offering blessings and asking, ‘May I take this opportunity to wish you goodnight?’, were estimating the strength of their defences. It says much for the legendary politeness of the Japanese that they did not band together to hunt Alan down with hoes and pitchforks.

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I sincerely doubt John Cleese would find my little blog, but if he did I would like to say thanks for all the laughs. Out of all the laughs I have had in my nearly 40 years, I would have to say that at least 20% of them have originated from Basil Fawlty. It does not matter how many times I watch the show or how well I know the lines, I still enjoy it just as much as the first time I saw them, possibly even more so. I have loved Fawlty Towers since I was a child, and I will always love it.

I have given the gift of the Fawlty Towers box set several times and on each occasion it was a case of my giving a gift I really wanted for myself. Somewhat bizarrely, I still do not own it, nor do I have a digital copy of it. The pay TV channels here are extremely generous in replaying it so regularly I can always seem to catch an episode when I feel like a laugh.

Of course I loved Monty Python too, and I have enjoyed everything I have ever seen John Cleese do. This book is a lovely addition to my book collection. I highly recommend So Anyway…. I greatly enjoyed it. :)

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4 thoughts on “So Anyway….

  1. Not having the DVD box set means you may not have heard the commentary tracks…of which there are two on each episode, one of which is Cleese himself ;)

    I may or may not have bought the box set a while back…

    • Fen – John Cleese is a really good writer. It was interesting to know more about his university years and that he worked a lot with Tim Brooke Taylor and Bill Oddie. I loved The Goodies as well, so it makes sense to me. :)

      Jenn – I love to wake the cats with a loud giggle explosion! ;)

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