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Any fule kno that this is jolly good
September 16, 2006 6:01 AM   Subscribe

St Custard's is an English preparatory school set in bracing downland country. Find out more about its teachers, the headmaster and his predecessors, the discipline, and its star pupil Nigel Molesworth. As a bonus you can find out more about how Kennedy captured the gerund and led it into captivity. If you're still confused, click here, here and here for the background to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle's satire on a certain part of 1950s England.
posted by greycap (17 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Down with skool.
posted by Wolof at 6:07 AM on September 16, 2006


The Molesworth books contain some of the funniest writing in the English language, up there with Wodehouse, JKJerome and some other people. I know a lot of ex-public school types who insist that St Custards was based on their prep school. And they're all correct, because it was based on all of them.

Mine never had a school dog, though in all other respects it was spot on, right down to the smell of cabbage, inkblots and sense of hopeless despair.
posted by Hogshead at 6:24 AM on September 16, 2006


What does the sense of hopeless despair smell like?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:27 AM on September 16, 2006


What I always found fascinating about Molesworth as a kid was how subversive he was, compared to the real public school types that I saw on TV and in the media. (Because I can't think that I've ever met anyone who went to public school in real life.)

If Molesworth had gone to my school, he'd have gone from Special Needs class to Borstal in the space of about a year.

An acute sense of class rage never stopped me loving him though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:47 AM on September 16, 2006


Wow, this takes me back! I always thought the Molesworth Saga was a fitting prequel to Russel Hoban's Riddley Walker. But then, I've always been twisted like that...
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2006


What does the sense of hopeless despair smell like?

Corporal punishment and sodomy, as eny fule kno.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2006


"If Molesworth had gone to my school, he'd have gone from Special Needs class to Borstal in the space of about a year..."

Nice one, Peter!

I know hundreds of the buggers ("reader, I married one" etc) and your description is spot on.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:00 AM on September 16, 2006


Americans don't have a monopoly on retardation
posted by mert at 7:14 AM on September 16, 2006


Americans don't have a monopoly on retardation

And Windows doesn't have a monopoly on the desktop.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2006


I think this is great. I went to a minor public school, and there were strong elements of St. Custard's when I was there (1984-1991).

I particularly remember one of the teachers, who was getting on a bit, telling me that on the day he knew he was going to die, he would get a bazooka and fire it into the town gasholders, that were behind his house. Even at the time, I realised it was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now, it's gone through a merger (with the girls' school), and, at least observing it from afar, it seems to have lost a lot of that amiable eccentricity. Very focused on academic and sporting results.
posted by athenian at 9:54 AM on September 16, 2006


I never went to a public school, but I remember as a young pup, browsing a bookshop and picking up How To Be Topp and howling in laughter at it in the shop. so I bought the set.

Fantastic stuff
posted by quarsan at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2006


bloody love molesworth, as any fule kno
posted by muthecow at 10:05 AM on September 16, 2006


Did I miss it, or have they left out the Latin play translated as The Hogwarts...?

Eheu, indeed.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:24 AM on September 16, 2006


As a survivor of a somewhat retrograde boarding school here in the states, I can report that a lot of this rings true on this side of the pond as well.
posted by jam_pony at 10:25 AM on September 16, 2006


(Sorry, I see now London Review of Books caught it in antepenultimate link. Good. It's annoyed me for years, Rowling stealing a good joke like that.)
posted by IndigoJones at 3:38 PM on September 16, 2006


Rowling's stealing.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:39 PM on September 16, 2006


I can't believe there's never been a Molesworth FPP before. Nice one, Greycap!
posted by The Bellman at 8:56 AM on September 17, 2006


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