These days we think nothing of receiving a sick gif from great grandma Bing, or a wicked TikTok from second uncle Pepe. There's no limit to the number of dope memes pinging live into our notification zones, hot and fresh from friends far and wide.
Back in 1805 though, Tikhon was the closest you came to TikTok, and if you wanted to see Count Rostov doing that funny dance, you had to knock on his door.
But that doesn't mean they had no excitement whatsoever, far from it. Join us this week as we pack ourselves into an envelope, pop on a stamp, and jump head first into the famous Russian mail system in search of high entertainment.
We'll be spanning the length and breadth of Europe delivering crucial information, scintillating gossip, and a double dollop of cold hard cash.
You can tweet-bomb that Office meme later - for now, listen to this episode.
Might Mary maybe marry?
And Anatole... an angel awaits?
Naysayer Nasty Nick needs "NO!"
Tikhon turnip turtle train...
OK, enough of the amazing alliteration. There's mystery aplenty in this week's episode: someone has a tail, there's irrefutable proof of a superpower and Mary's fate is finally fettled, sorry, settled!
Mary, is it a 'YES!' or a 'NO!"
You won't believe the answer.
You are cordially invited to the 1805 FATHER OF THE YEAR awards, recognising some of the most incredible, selfless and thoughtful fathering from the past twelve months.
Taking place at the famous Sad Mansion, this year's gala will be an unforgettable event - with catering from the renowned McTurtle Food Corp™, music from the triple platinum Gravy Boaters, plus of course the incredibly moving stories from our Father Of The Year Nominees:
- Prince Vasíli Kurágin - Proud father to three lovely children, Vasíli has spent the year bravely marrying them off for huge amounts of money. His hobbies include riding Disney Land's Dingo Mountain and money.
- Prince Nicholas Andreevich 'Nasty Nick' Bolkónski - A decorated army general, bespoke snuff box maker, author, scholar and mathematician, Nick really is the model father to his two wonderful children. Hobbies include powdering wigs and expressing himself with his nose.
- Tikhon - The world famous circus performer turned PA, he is the bookies' favourite despite not having any children.
Whoever wins it promises to be an absolutely unmissable event, so you really should not miss it.
Will & Steve
We're back at Sad Mansion and there really is snow way out. It's time to arrange another wedding, so let's really dial up the sad-ometer!
Nasty Nick is back and he is positively piste! His angry sneezes are seconds away from causing an avalanche of misery. Will he succeed in making everyone in the house cry? Will he pull off the biggest prank of the entire book? Will Marry smile? Will Vasili inch closer to Space Mountain? Will the pretty pregnant Princess start a successful fashion blog?
There's only one way to find out...
Grab the shovel.
You know the feeling - your bags are packed, you've triple checked the passports, your pockets are stuffed with travel ham. This is going to be the best holiday ever.
But as your horse drawn taxi clatters toward the airport a terrible sensation creeps up your spine.
What have you forgotten?
You took the bear to the bear sitter, check. Household gas and electricity supply doesn't exist yet, it can't be that. Snuff boxes? They've all been sorted alphabetically, all good.
Out of the window you see a doughnut on the floor. Doughnut. Daughnut. Daughter! The blood drains from your face - "Taxi - STOP! Turn around! We must go back!"
How could you be so stupid! You've forgotten to marry your daughter to someone incredibly wealthy. Disneyland will have to wait.
With shaking cheeks and clenched fists, you slowly tear your non-refundable tickets in two. When all the children are married, you'll probably be able to buy your own Disneyland. All in good time, all in good time.
Sick and tired of having grapes shot at you all day? Fed up of cheese rolls and barefooted handsome psychopaths? Are you longing for your old life of decadence? A life of seemingly endless and interchangeable social gatherings? A life full of turtle-based snacks and unforgettable anecdotes from the freshest diplomatists that Russia has to offer?
Are your hands really massive and red?
Do you need a wife? DO YOU WANT A WIFE?!
If you answered 'YES!' to any of these questions, we think you're ready for Book 3.
"Pop another turtle on the BBQ and fetch my party wig!"
This week we're giving Tolstoy a well earned rest - while he enjoys a Turkish pipe and a nice hot bath, we're diving head first into the blue, blood-warm waters of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
Lauded alongside War and Peace as one of the greatest books of all time, Lord of the Flies finally answers the age old question 'should society be exclusively run by small children?'
A bunch of boys crash land on a desert island, within minutes they've founded a small democratic island nation. It's all going wizzoh, wizzard, perhaps even smashing - but are cool catchphrases, casual bullying, and a jolly good adventure enough to hold a society together?
Oh, and there's an evil pig ghost thing that maybe wants them all dead.
You've finished Book 2 of War and Peace! Take a bow. The crowd are chanting your name!
"YOU ARE SO DIPLOMAT <YOUR NAME>!" They scream and cry.
Flowers fall from the sky. You wipe a single tear from your cheek and take a triumphant bite of delicious ham.
If you've been with us from the start, or are but a simple traveller on the literary podcast highway looking for a refresh of Book 2 of the greatest book ever, take a seat. Grab a pen, fluff a pillow and get ready to quiz.
We've got questions about war, horses, distance, Smurfs, ham, ships and of course spiders. How many points can you get? There really is only one way to find out...
Cue Game Show Music!
Be sure to join us in two weeks (29th of April) for another special episode. We'll be back with Book 3 on the 13th of May.
0-10 = The Coward Zherkov
11-20 = A Daring Dholokov
21 - 30 = King or Queen of the Wattleshed
30+ = Darren himself
I've just been going through the official WAPIN7 End of Book Checklist, and I'm pleased to say today's episode really has got it all:
✅ Intense dramatic tension
✅ New horse x 1
✅ Andy Pandy mic droppin' all over the shop
✅ Incredible literary prose
✅ Multiple descriptions of HANDS
✅ Unbelievable displays of military incompetence
✅ Minor arguments about shoes and logs
✅ AT LEAST ONE naked man
Anyway, just wanted to say it's been great to make this season with you - despite what everyone says about you you're actually a pretty OK guy. When you next speak to the audience can you tell them how awesome and great they are, and also mention that Season 3 will start on the 13th of May with a couple of SPECIAL episodes in the gap, make it sound really exciting and mysterious (because it is).
You're so diplomat!
quickly and without warning; unexpectedly
Will was perfectly summarising a chapter of War and Peace when suddenly Steve interjected and told him off for saying “‘suddenly” too much. Will, like the hapless General, turned purple with rage and was about to defend his honour when SUDDENLY -
Be honest, you’re extremely intrigued to find out what happens next.