Two Weeks To Go & A Call To All Robiny Folks

week-four
‘Mouse in the Green, let him come back to me // Lord of the forest and Lord of the sea…’

 

Greetings all, Aufwader here! While Matt soaks up rays in balmy Australia, up here in the bleak frozen north of the UK there’s only a few days to go until Midwinter. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we’re just short of two weeks until the Great Grand (Re)Read begins.

This post is aimed at those worthy stalwarts who are already Robin Jarvis fans. Whether you were washed in on the heels of Scaur Annie this summer, or bought a hardback of The Dark Portal from Borders when it was first released, this project would never have been conceived at all if not for you.

You attend Mr Jarvis’ talks and book signings; you collect first editions and mysterious, obsolete audio cassettes. Many of you grew up with Audrey and Madame Akkikuyu, Edie Dorkins and Jennet and Nelda. Some of you checked out The Whitby Witches from the library, hidden beneath your other books so that your disapproving parents and teachers wouldn’t ask what the appeal was in a story that seemed so grotesque. A few of you are writers and artists and creators of all kinds today because once, when you were young, you read about a gawky, sickly mouse called Oswald who was brave.

Who else remembers Robin’s old ‘Dare to be Scared’ website portal with Jupiter’s glowing eyes, or has a hand-painted poster advertising only the first two books of the Deptford Histories tacked to their wall? Who wrote fan-mail covered in wobbly drawings of squirrels with oaken shields and rats with potato peelers lashed to their arms?

My copy of Fleabee’s Fortune has a drawing by the original owner under the dramatis personae at the front. It shows a grim-looking character called Badhanda; ‘a young ratgirl who can’t wait to peel her first mouse.’ When I first acquired that copy I was still quite young, many years away from the trip to Greenwich which would spark Beyond the Silvering Sea, but it was that drawing which made me begin to think that maybe there might be other Robin Jarvis fans out there. That maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the last of the aufwaders.

It didn’t matter to me that the previous owner of Fleabee’s Fortune had given their book away. The point was that they had enjoyed it enough, become immersed enough, to want to create their own story. (In any case, Fleabee’s Fortune is meant for younger readers. To this day I like to think they moved on to the Deptford Mice Trilogy proper and become thoroughly embroiled).

The Great Grand (Re)Read is for bringing in new blood, so to speak, but it’s also for every Badhanda out there. For everyone who reviews Mr Jarvis’ books on their blogs, who participates in, or simply enjoys, Silvering Sea, who pesters Robin on Twitter for details of their favourite characters, who will probably comment at length on this post. This project is your chance to relive the wonders and woes of the Robin Jarvis canon, to experience those series’ which you haven’t yet got around to reading, and to bring your own Robiny histories (be they great or small) to the party. Come ye in, have a bowl of berrybrew, and welcome!

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13 thoughts on “Two Weeks To Go & A Call To All Robiny Folks

  1. Oh my gosh…wonders and woe! I’ve got to say that if the blog did not already boast such a perfect name, that right there would have been a reasonably awesome alternative!

    The story of how you discovered that a sneaky new ratgirl had crept her way into your copy of Fleabee’s Fortune reminds me of how reading The Deptford Mice (and then, of course, re-reading it time and time again) once moved me to take a stab at drawing my very own picture of Piccadilly. I shan’t try and claim that I’ve any real talent in the illustration department but, still, I can’t say that it a bad picture at all. Actually, I was proud enough of my amateur effort to blue-tack it in a place of particularly high honor upon my bedroom door. Naturally my older brother then decided it would be the most hilarious thing ever to use my creation as a makeshift dartboard. One of these days, Martin…grumblemumble…

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      • It’s a section of the Deptford Mice Trilogy box set! The rats from the “Four Weeks To Go” post are also from there. It’s all painted by Mr Jarvis and is a beautiful collector’s item if you’re so inclined. It pops up on auction sites occasionally, which is how I acquired mine.

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  2. Ahhh, that would be it! I was sure I’d seen it before elsewhere! I’ll bet it was when I went poking around on Amazon for Deptford Mice-related swag! Oh and by the way…

    ‘Mouse in the Green, let him come back to me // Lord of the forest and Lord of the sea…’

    Now there’s a song that’s stuck with me for the last five years. I’ve always regretted that it just wasn’t possible for me to go to London and catch the Deptford Mice play by Tinydog Theater. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve watched the trailer and the rehearsal footage which accompanies it on Youtube so many times that if it was possible to wear out a digital video through sheer overuse, any jury would find me guilty. Hmmmm…did anyone here have the chance to attend a performance of the show? Maybe you could talk about it after our discussion of The Dark Portal, share with us your thoughts as to whether the play does justice to the original story?

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    • Alas, I didn’t get to see it either. For two or so years after I started Silvering Sea I made it my business to find out whether it would be staged again, but it seems the Tiny Dog people have moved on to other things. Maybe our other readers can shed any light, or saw the play themselves?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Tinydog Troupe have put The Deptford Mice behind them? So there’s no stage play treatment of The Crystal Prison coming, huh? I wonder if they did indeed plan to take on the second and third chapters of the saga at some point and then changed their minds. I hope that some of the other readers did catch the show and can tell us all about how thrilling at was to see the story brought to life by actors on a stage.

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