Thursday, June 16, 2011

Treasure Island, the Jungle Book and muppet voices in my head

I read Treasure Island recently, as part of a mini-drive to read some old classics (facilitated by my Kindle which makes such books free!) and have to say it was very enjoyable – you can certainly see why it’s such a classic.

What was amusing for me was that as I read the book, with character Hawkins, Blind Pew, Billy Bones and of course Long John Silver turning up and performing their dastardly piratical deeds, was that every character took on the look and sound of their Muppet Treasure Island equivalents, having seen the film on numerous occasions when I was a child.

Of course, Long-John and his famous “smart as paint you are lad” line was Tim Curry, but for the rest, such as Smollet, we have Kermit the Frog, and Squire Trelawney as Fozzie Bear and so on, which made for some odd voices in my head during the commute to work in this truly dreadful summer we’re having, as ever.

After that it was The Jungle Book, which interestingly is actually five stories, with Mowgli, Shere Khan, Baloo and Bagheera merely the first of these five stories at the start of the book and it differs in many ways to the film – Baloo is far more serious, and Mowgli causes the death of the evil tiger by leading a wilderbeast stampede upon the tiger in a ravine, from which there is no escape.

Of course, again, the movie from my childhood had conditioned me to hear the voices of the characters in a certain way, so despite Baloo trying to be serious, I just heard the scat-loving comedy character of the film.

The other stories concern a seal leading his kind away from evil men, a mongoose killing snakes to protect a family, a young boy witnessing a midnight elephant rave and then a bunch of military animals discussing their role on the battlefield, and why each is braver than the other (with strong pro-empire overtones about doing your duty and the importance of a system and the rule of order).

It was a very enjoyable read, though, and nice to have finally read some Kipling, having eaten so many of his cakes too.

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