THE CRAZY OIKLET 16
Some old commie must have died. A box of JV Stalin’s complete works appears under one of Eddy’s tables. Eddy wants only £20 for the box comprising 13 vols. “You’ll never sell these Eddy” I try my usual trick – but not, in this instance, because I want them myself. Who would? I guess Putin already has a set to which he refers constantly. Stalin’s most noted effort was A History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) Short Course – not a title that trips off the tongue but generally considered the key text for apparatchiks. This is in another box with works by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Gramsci. Yes this is an oddity one might want to own. I offer Eddy two (for starters) which he rubbishes and suggests five. “Go on then” I groan “I’ll meet you half way – two fifty”. Unfortunately Eddy now knows I’m interested. It’s a bit like Catch 22. You recall the crux – If you want to get out of the war you have to be crazy – but if you want to get out of the war then you can’t be crazy. The gamble is to wait for an “everything for a quid” sale. In desperation Eddy dumps what he considers unsellable shite onto the front table. This is your chance. But not everything finishes up there – come things just disappear. They’re not sold but sent to some secret dump the location of which neither I nor the Junkyard Dog have discovered.
Then, bugger me if the Stalin set isn’t sold when I go back the following week. Eddy seems smug with a what-did-I-tell-you-smartarse expression. “But who?!” I ask incredulously. “Was it Alexis Sayle by any chance? Or maybe some mad old commie fart. What did he look like?” “I can’t say” says Eddy. Can’t say? What’s going on here? Has he sold them or not? A secret bolthole for Eddy’s stock is of course other dealers. As he sometimes jokes “These books are too good for my customers” and sure enough much good stuff vanishes very quickly. I finally get him down to four for the CPSU Short Course having discovered in another box a slim paperback index to this justly neglected classic. It’s a crude, typewritten lash-up but essential if you need to check the great leader’s opinion of, say, Ramsay McDonald or Greta Garbo. I’m not buying it yet though. I tell Eddy I’ll have to save up another week since buying it now will mean breaking into a note. It’s risky though. He’s capable of chucking it out and saying he’s sold it for a tenner to a professor from the University.
Eddy reports that someone has called him a curmudgeon. I guess before he looked it up he thought this was some kind of bottom-feeding river fish. But now he has looked it up and is disputing the attribution. The OED has: “an avaricious, churlish fellow, a miser, a niggard” "I'm no niggard!" Eddy protests loudly. A black customer looks up shocked. Then Sean Parker (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) interjects to say “But at least you’re not a mafflard Eddy” A stunned silence descends. Both Eddy and I say it’s not a word but the Dog insists and brings out his notebook where it is neatly inscribed. Of course being in the Dog’s notebook is no kind of credential and Eddy goes over to his reference section and selects Vol A-M of one of the two copies of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Nope, it’s not in. Gottcha Dog! Sean protests he saw it in the Times. This whole episode is beginning to resemble the Aeolus section of Ulysses. I note, over Eddy’s shoulder that there is a verb “to maffle” – to stammer or mumble. But strictly speaking mafflard isn’t in. However this is only the Shorter OED. Back home I check the full OED and find mafflard (Obs 1450) “a stammering or blundering fool” But fancy the Dog noting down such things?! – a true writer. And I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Eddy pissing off time wasters from now on with “Get off my stall you cheeky mafflard!”
Punters not wishing to risk a sub - yis eighteen quid is a huge sum and that rag could disappear tomorrow - or anyone not in contact with our sellers (people have been known to dive down alleyways as they see them approach) will be interested to learn that the Oik is now on sale in the Cornerhouse bookshop on Oxford Road. Quite a coup really. The patron says he doesn't stock any old shite but having seen Oik 11 he's prepared to take a punt on this particular piece of old shite. So if you're a casual visitor of this site and want see one before you buy then schlepp over to the Cornerhouse. This breakthrough is due entirely to the efforts of Oik marketing manager Bob Wild. Bob could sell...er...he could sell....he could sell blue track suits to an MUFC supporter. Which reminds me that Sean (a City fan) reports that a supporter of the Reds wearing a shirt with 19 on it (the number of premier league titles won by united) was informed by a City supporter that if he turned it upside down it'd read 6.1 - the result of MU's recent humiliating derby game defeat. Yes - that's how they think.
One paradigm of a website is the vast gothic conglomeration you wander around and sometimes stumble across something good. But not everyone has the inclination or the time. The Crazy Oik site was put together on these lines but I now realise I need a map since even I couldn't remember where everything was. Just where was Elmore Leonard's Rules for Writing or that article on Nietzsche or Elif Batuman's devastating critique of the Creative Writing industry? And just where was that piece about Eddy buying the vibrator, or the one on the Great Crested Mancunian Shitehawk? Surely Oik readers in their dotage will want to revisit these gems. With this in mind I offer the Site Index - a work of prodigious scholarship and graft which will solve all your problems. Give it a go. It is still under construction and I welcome any constructive comments. The Index is a button on the main page but for a quick butchers just click on this - Site Index