That great old Beatles song could have been written about young Pip Archer, Lolita of this parish. Not only will she be seventeen in a matter of days, as she keeps bloody reminding us (all RIGHT Pip, we’ll get you a present, do stop going on), but, as Paul McCartney sang, ‘The way she looks, is way beyond compare’. Ever since Pip gave herself a makeover, we’ve been treated to parental shock and outrage, as David rummages in the cliché box and comes up with, ‘You’re not going out looking like THAT’ and ‘Is that a skirt or a belt?’
We’ve also had running commentaries from seemingly unconnected bystanders regarding the merits of Pip wearing shorts with tights, which have gone on so long and so favourably, the whole storyline must surely have been sponsored by the, er, shorts and tights industry.
Anyway, all this tarting-up has paved the way for new-look (or perhaps New Look, which presumably has a branch in Felpersham) Pip to get off with an older man. ‘He’s TWENTY-EIGHT’, yells David at random intervals, often out of context.
Ruth: ‘Have we got enough feed for the pigs, Dee-vid?’
David: ‘He’s TWENTY-EIGHT, for god’s sake!’
Ruth: ‘I know, pet.’
You can hear the joy in Timothy Bentinck’s voice. As David, he usually has little more to do than sigh wearily at the appearance of Linda waving committee papers, or respond primly in his role as Brian’s reluctant confidante. No wonder he’s putting his all into it now he’s been given the chance for some really good shouting and sulking. ‘I’m going to knock him down!’ he yelled, Oedipally, when he saw Jude kissing his own little Pipsqueak. His ranting went up yet more notches when Pip hinted she preferred a social life to providing a free lambing service. David’s up to 11 already so I don’t know where he’s going to go when he discovers the inevitable packet of Pills in her room.
Ruth, meanwhile, believes that blessed are the fence-sitters. When she’s with David she slags off Pip; when she’s with Pip she speaks of David as though he had learning difficulties and they must all be very gentle and speak ver-y slow-ly. Actually, and I never thought I’d say this, I’ve warmed slightly to Ruth over this whole thing; she’s acting like a proper parent for the first time, even if it is by trying to be all things to all family members. Anyway, it won’t last (my residual warmth, I mean), but it feels interestingly weird right now.
I’m looking forward to hearing how Phil’s death (at last!) impacts on the fragile Archer dynamic. (By the way, wasn’t it much more shocking than Phil dying to hear Jill chatting about Banksy?) Reminiscences about how it seems only moments ago that Phil and young Pip were bashing out tunes together on the old joanna will be all the more poignant with the reflection that she’s now a slapper who’s knocking about with a chap eleven years her senior. I will be sore disappointed if Phil’s passing is thrown away by bringing everyone together. I don’t want the arguments and door-slamming to stop. I’m loving Pip’s new-found teen persona – better late than never – and very much enjoying Ruth and David’s different ways of mis-handling it.
It surely can’t be long before we hear from Jude the currently Obscure, with his sports car, his esoteric interests and his penchant for jailbait. And it can’t be long before we get the fight scene we’re all gagging for: David giving the young-ish cad a good thumping while Ruth, Ben and Josh stand round singing ‘na, na na nanana na’ from the end of Hey Jude.
Posted by Qwerty (Other Archers posts here)