Wednesday, 8 August 2012

More Fun and Games with Sir Francis Varney

The vampyre and the plot device
Some thoughts on starting Chapter 105 of Varney, The Vampyre after having spent a bit too long reading Edward Lear poems to my daughters.

The Baron and the vampyre took to sea in a couple of stolen boats,
And the Baron got stopped by a fisherman,
Whom he paid with a five-pound note1
The reader looks up to the lights above
And sings, “This is too biazzare,
Oh, James Malcom Rymer
(or else, Thomas Prest)2
What a terrible plot-tease3 you are.
You are,
You are,
What a terrible plot-tease you are.

I hate to intrude on this strange interlude
(a boat chase?4 you're taking the piss!)
But Miss Bannerworth's married,
Chillingworth's plans miscarried
and Varney, the vampyre's been missed.
So, a Quaker defamed, and a Baron (in name5)
Fail to interest me a lot,
If there's no point to this stuff
Then leave off with the guff
And stop trying to string out the plot.
The plot,
The plot,
Stop trying to string out the plot.

“You've established two fiends whose tendency seems
To be biting young girls on the throat;
One's vampiric klout
Has been proved beyond doubt6
But which is still open for votes.
So, bring on a reveal
'cos I'm starting to feel
There's no longer such thing as 'too soon'.
I'll ask once again,
Is Sir Francis insane
Or was he revived by the moon?
The moon, the moon
Was he revived by the moon?"

So, anyway, those are my thoughts.

For those of you who have successfully avoided my Twitter ramblings on the subject, Sir Francis is (probably) not the Bannerworths' ancestor  - that was all a cunning ploy to freak the hell out of them. He still thinks he's a vampyre, though, and I guess Varney, the Slightly Delusional wouldn't sell so many books.

Actually, while we're on the topic, I wanted to include something about the barefaced cheek of calling a novel Varney, The Vampyre and failing to commit to there actually being a vampyre until chapter 104, but I couldn't make it scan. And, for all my bluster, this is still the most entertaining thing I've read in ages. 

Oh, and I still fancy Sir Francis like crazy, but that's a topic for another day, when you have supplied yourself with earplugs.

1No. Seriously. Chapter 105, opening paragraphs.
2Authorship being, as it is, uncertain
3The meaning of this word should be self-evident, but for the terminally slow: A plot-tease is a writer who keeps promising a revelation, explanation, or indeed, event but consistently fails to produce any of the above.
4No. Again. Not kidding. Like James Bond, but slower and more pointless.
5Probably not a Baron, all things considered.
6Well, possibly not, but I'm not even going to go in to that.