Read ´ The Ascent of Rum Doodle 102

W.E. Bowman ¹ 2 Read

Lman and his 1937 account of the Nandi Devi expedition The book's central and unforgettable character Binder is one of the finest creations in comic literatur An overlooked classic Read it in a single sitting Extremely silly in a The World of Rafael Salas central and unforgettable Camping Makes Me Happy character Binder is one of the finest Idols for Destruction creations in The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant comic literatur An overlooked Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum, classic Read it in a single sitting Extremely silly in a

Characters The Ascent of Rum Doodle

The Ascent of Rum Doodle

First published in 1956 The Ascent of Rum Doodle uickly became established as a mountaineering classic As an outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40 This book is a gem It’s a spoof on every mountaineering expedition bo The Little Red Rescue Box (PAW Patrol) classic As an outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40 This book is a gem It’s a spoof on every mountaineering expedition bo

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000 and a half foot peak many thought it inspired by the 1953 conuest of Everest But Bowman had drawn on the flavour and tone of earlier adventures of Bill Ti The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a parody on mountaineers and as with all pa

10 thoughts on “The Ascent of Rum Doodle

  1. says:

    For reasons associated with but not limited to having no friends I arrived one night alone and at very short notice in Kathmandu The prehistoric taxi from the airport was assembled from many previously fossilised taxis and after only a few hundred exhilarating yards violently disassembled on unsurprisingly crashing into what I assumed was the target motorcycle The ensuing melee moved almost seamlessly into my trek on foot carrying a rucksack passably similar to an American ‘backpack’ containing poorly assembled and tragically selected inappropriate items through rival protest marches of bandana swathed Communists and Maoists who seemed unwilling to accept my entreaties based on a firm belief that Maoists were Communists and vice versa I eventually made the deserted safety of narrow threatening streets swathed in the comforting deathly blackness of a randomly scheduled power blackout and was lured at the point of a dehydration induced delirium tremens to the twinkling candlelit balcony of a bar – the world famous Rum Doodle Bar height 40000 and 12ft Over a bottle of Ghurkha Beer emblazoned with the famous Tenzing Norgay Everest photo I was inspired on reading from the blurb scrawled on the strangely moving wall that the bar was named after a famous 1950’s mountaineering ascent documented in an eually famous book Ghurkhas came thick and fast as elephants in a Dumbo nightmare and I lapsed into something like the vomit inducing exhaustion of altitude sickness and forgot Rum Doodle as the illusion of a terrible Himalayan agueI came across this book recently now rediscovered by Bill Bryson who forwards this edition wandering friendless in a charity shop sheltering from the rain The elation of seeing the name again provoked a gagging flashback of emotion so vivid that the smell and taste of Ghurkha Beer filled my senses seeming to hang in the back of my throat as a portent of some imminent effusion of memory that would come straight from the pit of my stomach As I’d previously been thrown out of this charity shop for a similar incident I hurriedly snatched the bookAn antidote to ‘Into Thin Air’ syndrome I can see why Bryson loves it His semi anglophile mentality reflects but is not the same as this humour Nor is it Monty Python although perhaps Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns is close Actually given the era it was written in it is Goon Show Spike Milligan Sellers et al Very funny spoof of expedition mountaineering that evidently became cult in those adventuring communities meaning that several landmarks are now named after itIf you need a break from serious books give this a go Very funny and you don’t need to be a mountaineer although I personally have seen ‘Touching The Void’ and understand enough to know that when you are tired hung over or just plain can’t be bothered always mumble something about altitude sickness Deserves its renaissance Will be appreciated by anyone who realises that the best achievements in life are those that are futile and achieved to great acclaim under the banner of teamwork whilst at the expense of the efforts of other unsung peopleGreat little book PS Disclaimer Ghurkha Beer is very niceish

  2. says:

    This book is a gem It’s a spoof on every mountaineering expedition book or documentary you’ve ever read or watched There are so many uotable absurdities that I wouldn’t know where to start and the illustrations are just as much fun as the book It’s always funny sometimes even laugh out loud funny which isn’t something I experience often If you enjoy off the wall British humour then this is for you especially if you’re a fan of mountaineering adventure The book has a cult following with Rum Doodle restaurants and BBs across the world and even has its own website I’ve no idea how it has escaped my attention until now but now that it has it’s a firm favouriteThank you so much to my Goodreads friend Daren for reviewing this recently You cheered up my lockdown

  3. says:

    The second funniest work of fiction I have ever read It's a good example of British surrealism The British never really regarded surrealism as a serious artform and most examples of British surrealism are in fact strange comedies with no especial interest in the concerns of the original Surrealists Freudian psychology automatic writing unpalatable honesty regarding sexual desires etcThis novel stands comparison with Three Men in a Boat or Diary of a Nobody but it's much extreme and silly and ingenious An expedition composed of misfits attempts to climb Rum Doodle which at forty thousand and a half feet is the highest mountain in the world First published in 1956 The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been reprinted several times but still remains relatively unknown which is a shameI have just reread this novel for the third time September 2017 It is very rare that I read books twice let alone three times I guess that it has become my 'comfort book' one that can be read and read again and again I still regard it as a tremendous comedy

  4. says:

    The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a parody on mountaineers and as with all parodies there are people who love them and others who really don't see anything in them I'm a bit in the middle of these two The writing was over the top and there were lots of funny paragraphs I just didn't laugh as much as I had hoped My expectations were very high especially because Bill Bryson in the foreword calls this the funniest book he ever read It is funny just not as funny as I thought Sometimes it was also trying a bit too hard to make people laugh I think I might have enjoyed it a lot even I hadn't read the foreword and the caption which both gave away the funniest parts of the book So I'm not saying anything else about the books content here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else

  5. says:

    This book is a well known parody on mountaineering stories written about a fictional mountain named Rum Doodle altitude 40000 and a half feet around one third again as high as Everest Set in the Himalaya in a land that is not Nepal but very like Nepal with porters who are 'Yogastani'The team established by the Rum Doodle committee is led by the narrator known as Binder not sure we ever learn his real name as Binder is his radio callsign As a leader he is the least insightful unaware of what transpires around him most of the time but totally dedicated to the party and the task He is joined by a crew who become somewhat obvious as the list grows Tom Burley ex military the oversized endurance man who is a constant victim of an array of lassitudes heat valley etc radio callsign DeadweightChristopher Wish scientist who is constantly carrying out experiments which all seem to be boiling water to determine altitude inaccurately radio callsign FiddlerDonald Shute photographer who specialises in exposing film and ruining any recorded imagery radio callsign Dickie BirdHumphrey Jungle radio expert and route finder who is constantly lost and reuires rescue freuently radio callsign Wanderer although he proposed pathfinder for himself which was not acceptedLancelot Constant linguist who struggles with the language of the porters creating havoc in the giving of instructions radio callsign ApplecartRidley Prone doctor who is constantly struck down with illness radio callsign AilingAs well as the team there are the aforementioned porters numbering 3000 at commencement but gradually whittled down in number to suit the food stores available and maintain the expedition budget There are a few main character Yogistanis who include Pong the expedition cook who manages to turn any ingredients into inedible filth for the duration of the expedition Bing who was the Bang head porter Bung a particularly strong porter So Lo and Lo Too who stick with Binder for much of the expeditionAs you can see from the above there is plenty of absurdity plenty of slapstick lots of play on words and situations translations of course when two words in Yogistani are indistinguishable 'except for a gurgle at the end' inevitable navigation issues hallucinations medical situations a crevasse to escape from fiance stories to be learned from all the team porter revolts and much acclimatization to be done There are basecamps advanced basecamps camps 1 5 and all manner of arrangements to be madeSo at 153 pages it wouldn't have wanted to be any longer but it was a funny and readable parody Probably Goon Show than Monty Python but very British in its self mockeryWorthy of noting Bill Bryson wrote the introduction most useful for its background to the book including explaining the significance of the repeated uses of the number 153 in the textAlso worth a mention is the Rum Doodle Restaurant in Kathmandu which carries on the tradition albeit apparently relocated from its original location in Thamel I have visited the restaurant when it was in Thamel I believe I had a yak steak which is nearly always water buffalo apparently and had a vague understanding of the book but had not read it Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars rounded up

  6. says:

    I have to be really honest about this book I couldn't enjoy it To be honest Bowman's style of writing it is really tiring and I was often drifting with my focus on the book Although I have to say that's probably my problem and not Bowman's As a matter of fact his writing is surprisingly good and very well polished What I did not like about the book it's the fact that almost every part of it seems like a sitcom everything is happening and nothing seems to happen The characters are dull and very much two dimensional even the main character Maybe my rating it's very personal however I must say that I don't think The Ascent of Rum Doodle a bad or bad written book Only it didn't work for me

  7. says:

    Absolutely hilarious giggled like a schoolgirl all the way through I'm off to meditate on the responsibilities of leadership

  8. says:

    The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a jaunty parody of inept mountaineers who couldn’t organise a raffle at a village fete let alone master the 40000 and a half ft climb to the peak of ‘Rum Doodle’These ‘professionals’ have the most ironic surnames like Burley who was was anything but as he was out of sorts after failing to acclimatise to any step of their journey the team’s medical assistance was provided by a Dr Prone who contracted everything from mumps to malaria while Constant unintentionally offended the local porters at every available opportunity with his professed linguistic skill and their navigator Jungle aptly couldn’t find the wood for the treesThe ‘Rum Doodle’ campaign reaches farcical proportions as their specially selected liabilities hamper progress at every possible turn The team leader Binder his radio code name is a naïve shepherd with a flock that regularly outwits him He is blissfully unaware of the reverse psychology they apply in order to avoid sharing a tent with his inexhaustible counselThe greatest threat to their party wasn’t in fact Binder the altitude or mutiny every time Constant opened his mouth but Pong a cook with the most frightful culinary ability to ‘demoralise’ all grown men Strategies were developed to minimise exposure of his contribution to their endeavour but his presence was ludicrously unshakeableAnd with the exception of Binder’s incessant obsession for dredging up every team member’s fiancée status regardless of how curious their replies are this story is completely dominated by men I can honestly say I hadn’t noticed the omission of female characters until the end as I was busy being carried away by their absurd behaviour and the futility of meticulous planningThere were memorable gems of recklessness and ridicule throughout but my absolute favourites were when the team had diagnosed the doctor as having hopes of a recovery on the basis that he hadn’t expired yet and the moment Binder’s tears secured his face to the ice during a momentary lapse of emotional composure Plus this one where the leader is once again trying to raise morale Poor Prone seemed uite low and to cheer him up I encouraged him to talk about his home Had he a fiancée? I asked He said no his wife was the unsympathetic kind and his children considered one mother uite enoughBinder’s valiant efforts to provide his calamitous conuerors with the necessary encouragement turned into an ascent of endurance rather than an expedition I mean exactly how many people can you lose in a crevasse before something twigs? Loved it 😀

  9. says:

    An overlooked classic Read it in a single sitting Extremely silly in a good way and often funny enough to bring tears

  10. says:

    As someone who has paged through the expedition diaries of than one Victorian explorer I found a lot to like about The Ascent of Rum Doodle a satire of those very types of people and their writing But even if you haven’t has the pleasure of reading much in that genre you may still find something to like withinLed by Binder a man desperate to be the type of leader he’s read about but lacking any insight into himself and others and trying to find it by constantly uestioning everyone about their fiances his crew of men and their 3000 yogistani porters and the 300 or so boys being porters to the porters attempt the ascent of Rum Doodle the highest peak in the Himalayas And so we find ourselves in the company of Burley a supposedly strong man who is a constant victim of lassitude Prone the doctor constantly struck with illness Jungle the navigator who couldn’t find his way out of a sleeping bag Constant the diplomat whose struggles with the language of the native porters sees him constantly about to come to blows Shute the photographer whose completed shots are always ruined by his clumsiness and Wish the scientist whose main mission seems to be boiling ice Menaced by Pong the cook who could reduce any potentially decent meal to swill in seconds the men test the limits of their courage endurance and capacity to be around their leader without losing their tempersA very slight book this didn’t take long to read and made me smile throughout – that could have been tested had the book been much longer but thankfully it knew not to outstay its welcome unlike Binder and finished while I still thought well of itAlso posted at Cannonball Read 9

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