THE CRAZY OIKLET 19
Oik Contributor Knocked Senseless - No Change There Then
Oik contributor Ernie Wild has been knocked over by a van just outside the Britannia Hotel. The lights were against him but Ernie no doubt thought they applied only to ordinary people - people who haven’t met Toscanini (in a urinal in Milan), Richard Nixon (at a wedding in Germany), HM the Queen (on the station at Clitheroe), Shelagh Delaney (in Salford - some months after she’d actually died) and more recently Danny Boyle the Oscar winning director of Slumdog Millionaire. Ernie was in Bury at the time talking to mère Boyle when her son joined them. Danny revealed he was thinking of a film on Granada (the Moorish region of Spain, not the egregious Manc TV station). Since Danny said he was short of a script Ernie proffered his own Boabdil (available on this site if you’re an insomniac). Ernie advised Danny that he was handing over only part one and that a further two parts are up for grabs. Since part one is 70,000 words long all three parts would be enough for something twice as long as El Cid. Danny took the script away and reported back that it was quite good but needed working on and that it’d be good if Ernie could join him on a site visit to Granada.
His brother Bob Wild, a more distinguished contributor to the Oik, gleaned this info at the bedside of the patient at the Royal Manchester Infirmary on Oxford Road (we urge any passing Oik reader to drop in). Indeed it was Bob who interrupted Ernie’s account of meeting Shelagh to point out that she’s been dead nearly a year. This time he had to point out that Ernie could hardly have got a ticket to Granada since he’d failed to renew his passport. One begins to suspect that Ernie’s connection with reality isn’t what it should be; and he can’t blame the van since he’s been an extravagant fantasist all his life. Nowt wrong with that of course, and it’s possibly an asset for a creative writer. An overview of this weird character is best got from Bob’s Oikus (Oik 4). He is far from clinically insane since he pays his taxes and held down a job in the Town Hall for many years. His linguistic talents seem to be generally acknowledged –at RMI he engaged a Spanish nurse in ceaseless rabbit and pestered another immigrant lady to teach him Polish (surely a sign of madness would be wanting to learn this useless tongue).
He then said he hoped he’d be out in time to deliver his talk on French Cabaret in a room in Fountain street. This was too much even for his long suffering brother. “What the fuck d’you know about French cabaret Ernie!?” Whereupon Ernie launched into a spirited rendering of an Edith Piaf song and produced a printed leaflet advertising his talk. We will keep Oiklet readers posted on Ernie’s progress. Bob hopes a psychological assessment won’t be needed before release – if it is Ernie’ll be in there for ever.
Eddy has a sign on his stall “Kill a Kindle Buy a book”. Well he would wouldn’t he. I’m not anti-Kindle myself. I bought a reader years ago and rapidly put 500 books on it, mostly from Gutenberg, which I never read. Also I’m something of a gadget freak so have no hang-ups about the technology. But are these things worth the mither? I think not. I think they’re a fad. A comparison would be with the ipod which claims to hold 10,000 songs. Who’s going to listen to even a fraction of those? Well, perhaps someone preparing a talk on French Cabaret. I believe people, or more specifically oik meatheads, just want bulk, vast quantities, of anything. That’s what the technology delivers – massive, undreamed of compression. If you told them they could have the whole of the Bodleian library on a thing the size of a fag packet they’d get very excited and say Yis! Gimme!!
One way of assessing new technology is to imagine we have only the new and suddenly the old is invented. Imagine punters with only ebooks being informed that for a few quid they could have a paper copy (the book as we know it) needing no batteries, surviving all manner of accidents, cheap as chips, which they could pass on to their mates and which would last hundreds of years and still be read as easily as today. I reckon a queue would soon form. Of course ebooks are here to stay but just as TV didn't kill radio or the cinema neither will ebooks kill the paperback - a format whose virtues will become increasingly apparent.
A concomitant spin-off is ebook publication. Yes, my fellow oiks, you can upload your magnum opus (perhaps a saga on Boabdil) as a digital file straight onto the Amazon Kindle marketplace, no paper book production required. Thousands are doing it and unknowns are making hundreds of thousands of dollars selling ebooks for less than 1$.
Quite mad. It’s as if punters were inspired to queue up in their millions to buy lottery tickets after reading that some anonymous oik, just like them, had got filthy rich doing just this. (But Ken – that’s exactly what they do. You don’t seem to understand how the world works).
Well maybe it does work like that and maybe the mad passion for getting your stuff into hyperspace and flogging it for 36P will grow into a massive, enduring business. Jeff Bezos seems to think so but then again he also sells Kindles. Three recent articles make some shrewd analyses of this phenomenon. I commend them to all sensible readers and writers:
We add three articles on ebooks from The Guardian website Click on ebooks
Sean Parker, the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog, forwards to me pics of girls in Japan. Who'd have thought that the great tradition of Shitehawkery identified in an earlier Oiklet (Oiklet 15) would also manifest itself in this nation of up-tight conformists? These girls are not displaying their arses but wearing frocks printed with an image to look like the arse underneath. This extraordinary phenomenon just goes to show that the spirit of Dadaism lives - even in that citadel of convention. Just like their Manc sisters they don't give a monkey's what you think. In fact they're trying to give you a jolt. One wonders about the legal status of such challenges to current taboos. Yes, some old farts will be shocked but are these artefacts any different from the fake fibreglass bosoms and arses worn by lads out on the razz? What would Plod do if, walking down Market Street, he found a geezer sporting a pink rubber todger hanging out of his flyhole through which his girlfriend sucked up a refreshing gobfull of Bacardi breezer from a bottle secreted in his pants? It's got to be wrong innit? Well... And what if a racist lout burned the Koran in Bradford only to reveal, half way through, that it was a novel by Barbara Cartland with a phoney cover? We should celebrate these challenges to sclerotic convention. I'm sure Oik readers could think up others. Do not, of course, extend this rebellion to walking into an airport with a bundle of sticks of Blackpool rock wired up to an alarm clock.
This group of translators based in Sweden is run by Oik contributor Nigel Ford. Check out his website at http://www.worldscribe.nu/ particularly the “Translators” section where the quite astonishing range of this enterprise is laid out. The first batch of books includes a selection of oik works familiar to Crazy Oik readers. Nigel tells me that chunks of my own Nietzsche’s Birthday are being done into Swedish, Greek and Russian. I’ve already had to explain to a Swede just what a Victory V is and to a Greek the meaning of the “practico-inert”. Bob Wild’s Dogs of War is also being worked on and I hear that Jim Burns’ essay “Who Was Albert Halper?” is being translated into Arabic.
Quite amazing. Who knows where it will go? And what a unique offering. I’ve warned Nigel that every meathead writer on the planet will be queuing up for business. No, I don’t expect massive sales in Sweden (NB might give the Ruskies a larf) I’d just settle for a page or two of the translation to hang on the wall.
Anyhow here’s Nigel’s flyer (Robert McCrum got in touch to say his name had been misspelled – so the operation is getting noticed).
Worldscribe is a group of writers and translators working for the cause of literary experimentation. The battle to keep innovative literature afloat in the flood of more commercial material has been raging since time immemorial and rarely been in need of more support than now.
To quote Robert McCrum (The Observer 20th July 2009) : “…the global marketplace seems to have crushed the spirit of innovation, and squeezed the life blood out of literary experimentation. Who are the avant-garde writers today who have retained their integrity as artists to shun the mainstream, but continue to produce new work? It’s time we hailed the writers brave enough to innovate and experiment – if only we could find them.”
Worldscribe was launched on October the 1st 2011 and we are rising to the challenge by translating innovative literature to and from all languages worldwide.
Pay us a visit! You could be the kind of innovative writer we need. You might find something worth reading (downloads only € 1.35). You might want to help out some other way – we can guarantee an unlimited number of suggestions!