If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Vote or make your own!

Who would it be, and why?

Algy
3
23%
Ginger
6
46%
Bertie
4
31%
 
Total votes : 13

Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Isaac Reed » 01 Sep 2015, 07:47

Frederique wrote:
Isaac Reed wrote:Thanks for reading this, you can stone me now.
As Algy is still doing alright in the poll, and because I was the foolish one who created it, I shall forgive and forget. :) (Well, I might not be able to forget, but I'll certainly forgive you.)

I have a feeling, though, that Soppy might not forget it or forgive you...

I'm scared to think of what may happen to me now...

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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Isaac Reed » 01 Sep 2015, 07:54

kylie_koyote wrote:Isaac, I didn't much care for Algy after WW1 when I first read the books as a teenager. As time went on, I began to identify less with Ginger and more with Algy.

That's part of the magic of WEJ's writing, I think. You can read them as a teenager on one level. Then you pack them into the attic and get them out again twenty, thirty, or forty years later and you read them again. And you find you enjoy them on a different level all over again.

To be honest Ginger doesn't do much for me. Bertie is the best! :)

I suppose......... I could get to like him more in a few years time but until then he is simply a toned down version of Biggles in my mind. Hehe

I feel like I need to be treading lightly or I'll fall through the ice.

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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Fairblue » 01 Sep 2015, 08:49

Isaac Reed wrote:......... Bertie is the best! :)


Music to my ears, IR. So there's absolutely no need for

Isaac Reed wrote: I feel like I need to be treading lightly or I'll fall through the ice.
. as far as I'm concerned. 8-)
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby SopwithCamel » 01 Sep 2015, 10:20

To be honest I would much prefer to delete both Bertie and Ginger and since I can't decide between them both I have decided not to vote but to comment instead.

The thing with Biggles and Algy is that they have history. And it's the kind of history that either makes you the best friends in the world, or two people who will never speak to each other again (I have heard that some people who go through particularly tough prep schools together form the same type of bond). Ginger was just some kid they picked up along the way (much like that kid in Flies West who they picked up, found his dad, and then never mentioned him again. That should have been Ginger's role in my mind... :twisted: ) and yes, he's very action-prone and naive and all that and acts as a sounding-board for Biggles the Genius and everything, but there's no actual BOND.

Biggles and Algy know each other so well that when Algy starts shooting in Hits The Trail Biggles immediately knows it's him, whereas everything Ginger does is so far off the premises that you might as well start looking on Mars when you can't find him rather than apply any actual logic. (This is also probably why Biggles always took Ginger along in the later books: he knew Ginger couldn't be trusted)

I like the younger WWI books where it was just Biggles and Algy, the madcap scheme of the day, and then everyone coming home in time for tea. The books after Ginger came were all serious and responsible and paperwork and no-we-shouldn't-do-that. What happened to you, Biggles? :roll:

I have nothing against Bertie personally, but I don't really understand how he got to be a member of the team in the first place :scared:
Plus he is just a bit mad (read: really mad), and sometimes Biggles' scathing rejoinders to his ideas make me wonder just why Biggles puts up with him (Biggles has never been one to suffer fools gladly...)
Frankly, by the time Bertie came along there were so many prongs to every story that sometimes he ends up feeling a bit like a placeholder (even though he does get some interesting lines)
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 11:23

No bond between Biggles and Ginger? Biggles cares very deeply indeed for Ginger and he takes him with him because he does trust him. You do not take some dimwit along with you on your most dangerous missions. In Borneo Biggles refers to Algy and Ginger as his two best friends and in Delivers The Goods he reflects that if anything happened to Algy or Ginger things would not be the same. In Forms A Syndicate he feels overwhelming relief when he finds Ginger alive and whenever he is missing he moves heaven and earth to find him often having to be restrained from setting out when it is not safe to go and look for him. The bond between Biggles and Ginger is equally as strong as the one between Biggles and Algy although very different. There are numerous occasions when Ginger saves Biggles' life by watching his back and spotting an enemy about to kill him.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby kylie_koyote » 01 Sep 2015, 11:32

Biggles and Algy have a different bond than Biggles and Ginger, but it doesn't mean it's not there.

Biggles becomes Ginger's surrogate father - he even names him - and I think Biggles calms down a great deal in his mad-cappery once Ginger arrives on the scene because of Ginger and his relationship with him. I think it speaks to Biggles' sense of responsibility that he realizes the magnitude of what he's taken on in "adopting" Ginger and becoming a "parent".

I also think he takes Ginger along with him the majority of the time in the Air Police stories because he knows that eventually he'll have to retire and Ginger is the "new generation". (of course, they don't age according to the calendar, so who knows...)
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 11:42

I agree with you KK. I also think the main character has to have a "side kick" to explain things to so that the reader knows what is going on.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby SopwithCamel » 01 Sep 2015, 12:19

Frecks wrote: You do not take some dimwit along with you on your most dangerous missions.


To be fair. He took Bertie on missions with him. And then complained about Bertie being sheer bone from one ear to the other. :twisted:
I will now go and hide in a shed.

---------------------------

kylie_koyote wrote:Biggles becomes Ginger's surrogate father - he even names him - and I think Biggles calms down a great deal in his mad-cappery once Ginger arrives on the scene because of Ginger and his relationship with him. I think it speaks to Biggles' sense of responsibility that he realizes the magnitude of what he's taken on in "adopting" Ginger and becoming a "parent".


I think for me this is the source of the problem. Biggles and Algy had, to my mind, a much more equal relationship compared to the parent-child relationship he had with Ginger. I'm not saying that Biggles didn't care about Ginger; I'm sure that he did. I'm just saying that Biggles and Algy just work together so much more flawlessly--a prime example being in Rescue Flight where Thirty watches Biggles and Algy do a silent pantomime of flying strategy and then carry it out, or the "That's Algy shooting" moment I already mentioned before. We get less and less of these moments in the later books, probably I suspect due to the appearance of Ginger.

[Side note: I'm trying to think whether any of these types of moment ever occurred with any of the others. If anyone can think of any, I would be interested to know about it--particularly if they happened in any of the books I haven't got]

With Ginger everything seems to be about worrying about him--worrying that he's lost, worrying that he's hurt himself, worrying about this and that.

Frecks wrote:I agree with you KK. I also think the main character has to have a "side kick" to explain things to so that the reader knows what is going on.


Algy was the sidekick. :evil:
Until he wasn't.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 01 Sep 2015, 15:14

kylie_koyote wrote:Biggles and Algy have a different bond than Biggles and Ginger, but it doesn't mean it's not there.

Biggles becomes Ginger's surrogate father - he even names him - and I think Biggles calms down a great deal in his mad-cappery once Ginger arrives on the scene because of Ginger and his relationship with him. I think it speaks to Biggles' sense of responsibility that he realizes the magnitude of what he's taken on in "adopting" Ginger and becoming a "parent".

I also think he takes Ginger along with him the majority of the time in the Air Police stories because he knows that eventually he'll have to retire and Ginger is the "new generation". (of course, they don't age according to the calendar, so who knows...)


Word of the night KK..."madcappery"...love it !! :mrgreen: That's all I have to say, other than I loved the 'good ol' days' when it was just 2 teenagers at war, living each day as it came etc. I just wish WEJ had written more short stories set in WW1 [or more than 2 full-length ones actually...of which Flies East is the best imho].

Biggles, Algy & EvS...now that's my idea of a good book! :D [time for me to find a shed too methinks]. :P
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Kismet » 01 Sep 2015, 15:37

kylie_koyote wrote:Biggles becomes Ginger's surrogate father - he even names him - and I think Biggles calms down a great deal in his mad-cappery once Ginger arrives on the scene because of Ginger and his relationship with him. I think it speaks to Biggles' sense of responsibility that he realizes the magnitude of what he's taken on in "adopting" Ginger and becoming a "parent".


I think for me this is the source of the problem. Biggles and Algy had, to my mind, a much more equal relationship compared to the parent-child relationship he had with Ginger. I'm not saying that Biggles didn't care about Ginger; I'm sure that he did. I'm just saying that Biggles and Algy just work together so much more flawlessly--a prime example being in Rescue Flight where Thirty watches Biggles and Algy do a silent pantomime of flying strategy and then carry it out, or the "That's Algy shooting" moment I already mentioned before. We get less and less of these moments in the later books, probably I suspect due to the appearance of Ginger.



I really really, have difficulty with the idea that Biggles becomes a surrogate father to Ginger. He gave him a nickname. He gave him a job. I can't recall off hand which book, but Ginger definitely says in one that Biggles was his boss. They're friends. That's stated outright in places too - Delivers the Goods is one. In Fails to Return, Biggles gives Ginger a bit of fatherly advice. This strikes Ginger as unusual. Biggles describes Ginger as a young protege of mine, more than once. a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person.
synonyms: pupil, student, trainee, apprentice;
according to my dictionary. None of the synonyms given for protege are 'son'.
Ginger did (and probably continued to do so) hero worship Biggles and Algy. That is something different to regarding either of them as a father figure. For all we know, Ginger was on close and affectionate terms with his own father for years and didn't need a new one.


I agree with every word that you've written, Soppy. Go team Biggles and Algy!
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby kylie_koyote » 01 Sep 2015, 15:45

Kismet wrote:
I really really, have difficulty with the idea that Biggles becomes a surrogate father to Ginger. He gave him a nickname. He gave him a job. I can't recall off hand which book, but Ginger definitely says in one that Biggles was his boss.


That would be "In Spain", Kismet.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 15:58

To be fair Algy describes Biggles as his boss in Takes Charge. There are only a few books with just Biggles and Algy in - two after WWI and two set during the First War together with the short stories which did not all feature Algy - that adds up to about 12 books out of the 100 WEJ wrote about Biggles. People do grow up and move on and develop other friendships after their teenage years. Biggles and Algy could not have remained teenage boys fighting a dreadful War for the whole of their lives and I am sure they would not have wanted to.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Fairblue » 01 Sep 2015, 16:04

Kismet wrote:
I really really, have difficulty with the idea that Biggles becomes a surrogate father to Ginger. He gave him a nickname. He gave him a job. I can't recall off hand which book, but Ginger definitely says in one that Biggles was his boss.


I have difficulty with this concept too, Kismet. The only reference that comes anywhere near is the one you quoted in Fails to Return, but even then, an older man would say to a younger one 'let me give you some fatherly advice'. I imagine quite a few Commanding Officers said that to a lot of their younger, less experienced officers and it's something a father would never say to his son. Protege is really the right word to describe the relationship between Ginger and Biggles but does not preclude any deeper feelings of attachment which may have formed.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 16:23

Yes fatherly and protégé can mean different things in different relationships. WEJ was very good at writing about comradeship and caring for friends. Biggles is always concerned about the other members of the team whenever they are injured on in danger. It is noticeable in No Rest For Biggles and Bertie shrugs Biggles off when he is helping him along and also the way Bertie makes light of being shut up in that tomb with Dizzy in Forms A Syndicate. Bertie is actually very independent and much less emotional then any of the others and he can be quite ruthless too.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Kismet » 01 Sep 2015, 16:29

Frecks wrote:To be fair Algy describes Biggles as his boss in Takes Charge. There are only a few books with just Biggles and Algy in - two after WWI and two set during the First War together with the short stories which did not all feature Algy - that adds up to about 12 books out of the 100 WEJ wrote about Biggles. People do grow up and move on and develop other friendships after their teenage years. Biggles and Algy could not have remained teenage boys fighting a dreadful War for the whole of their lives and I am sure they would not have wanted to.



Biggles is Algy's boss. Algy works under Biggles in the Air Police.

Algy's described as Biggles's lifelong friend and partner in Deep Blue Sea, one of the last books published, and a personal favourite for the interplay between them. Blue Moon and Little Green God are another couple of late stories which are Biggles and Algy. Three of the last dozen stories published (excluding Air Ace and Homework) feature just Biggles and Algy.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 19:06

Yes WEJ went back to the old partnership at the end of the series and also wrote two or three books with just Biggles and Bertie. There is no doubt that there was much less of Ginger in the later books especially the short stories where he is hardly mentioned. This does not alter the fact that for around half the books Biggles and Ginger were the main characters. In a lot of the earlier Air Police short stories Ginger has a very prominent role. Special Case is very noticeable for Bertie taking Ginger's place in the cockpit and being the "sidekick". Also in Goes Home Bertie plays a large part. It all makes for an interesting variety.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby kylie_koyote » 01 Sep 2015, 19:07

I wonder if WEJ got bored writing one or the other of them and switched it up to give himself some variety as well as the reader.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 01 Sep 2015, 19:10

I think you have a good point there KK.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby tiffinata » 01 Sep 2015, 21:16

A little off topic but we have been discussing protege vs fatherly and it strikes me that we often use the term 'motherly' as a feminine equivalent to cover both. Fatherly is quite a different set of behaviours from motherly, not just an opposite gender.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Kismet » 01 Sep 2015, 21:53

I think that's a really interesting point, Tiff. I shall consider it in my bath and maybe revisit it in a while.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 02 Sep 2015, 08:01

Yes an interesting point Tiff. I always think of Mrs. Symes as being quite a motherly woman looking after her "boys".

If you read Flies East Biggles was very concerned about Algy almost in a fatherly way although they are both the same age. When he thinks Algy has been killed he goes to say goodbye to "the lad" as though Algy was much younger - in fact he treats Algy that way all through the book.

I think Ginger was slightly too old and Biggles too young to have a real father son relationship although Biggles certainly feels responsible for the young Ginger trying to keep him out of danger although in the early books it was sometimes Ginger who rescued Biggles and Algy. There is no doubt that WEJ gave a great deal of thought to the relationships between the team members.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Spitfire666 » 02 Sep 2015, 08:21

Frecks wrote: There is no doubt that WEJ gave a great deal of thought to the relationships between the team members.

I am sure he did, Frecks. I have read a number of other aircraft-related books from the early period (the same time Johns was writing). So far, I have not found one that has writing to compare with Johns, although they were popular at the time. They are boys' adventure stories. One noticeable difference is Johns' humour. I always think of Algy skidding on the rug when they get into Dickpa's house. I think it is that kind of thing that makes us care about the characters.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Frecks » 02 Sep 2015, 08:31

Yes I do think the humour was a very important aspect of the books.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Tracer » 02 Sep 2015, 08:54

WEJ was very conscious of his fanmail too - he stopped adding anything too deep about 'relationships' because his fans didn't like it. So he could quite possibly have had fanmail wanting to know more about this character or that, and so written a book that gave more time to one or another to keep those fans happy.

If it's not too offtopic, might we have a development on the perceived differences between 'motherly' and 'fatherly' as I've always considered them the same? It would be most interesting to get others' points of view.
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Re: If you had to delete a member of Biggles' team...

Postby Fairblue » 02 Sep 2015, 09:00

Tracer wrote:If it's not too offtopic, might we have a development on the perceived differences between 'motherly' and 'fatherly' as I've always considered them the same? It would be most interesting to get others' points of view.

Probably too off topic for this thread, Tracer, which started off as a poll about culling a member of the team :evil: but you could raise a new thread. Nothing at all to stop you doing that. It is an interesting concept.
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