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From the Life of The English Oik #1

Since this is an organ concerned with oik activities we feel we must note the recent war memorial desecration story. UK oiks will no doubt have already seen it but we have foreign oik Brits to whom this may come as news - I'm thinking of Tom Kilcourse who possibly fled to the Seine Valley to get away from this kind of thing.

A woman has fled court before being sentenced for urinating and committing a sex act on a war memorial – the fourth case of its kind in Britain within a year.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of 32-year-old Wendy Lewis, who arrived at court with her head under a hooded fleece as a dozen veterans slow-handclapped.

Blackpool town magistrates earlier heard that police had been called by CCTV operators who saw Lewis urinate next to a poppy wreath at the town's main Cenotaph memorial near the seafront in June. When police arrived she was giving oral sex to a "straggly-haired man" who has not been identified.

Lewis was described as "the most disgusting woman in Britain" by the former head of Blackpool's Royal British Legion branch, Ian Coleman, 71, who joined the group of protesters outside court. The sentence hearing coincided with memorial events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Arriving late, Lewis elbowed cameras aside and swore back when several servicemen shouted the word "disgusting" before she went inside the building. She spent only 15 minutes in the courthouse before absconding.

At the earlier hearing her solicitor David Charnely admitted that she had initially denied the sex offence but later changed her story and apologised.

He told magistrates: "She had been drinking but now realises how much offence she has caused the public and what she has done."

The Guardian Friday August 20 2010


Around the same time we learn of thieves in Blackley (Manchester) pinching memorial bronze plaques off another war memorial. These will cost £10,000 to replace and possibly net the thieves £100. One might hope that these acts, coinciding with the publication of Blair's memoire, demonstrate a deep-seated oik revulsion from all warlike acts. Er...yis...possibly. This casual pillaging reminds me of a visit to Hulme by an old mate who went to buy a secondhand Skybox. The vendor's gaff was full of high tech equipment but my mate particularly admired his dish support - an eight foot long steel pole which looked somehow familiar. The entrepreneur proudly admitted he'd gone out in search of this item, noticed a "no entry" sign and sawed it off at ground level.

On the other hand just cop the magnificent bronze statue of Joan of Arc in a car park on the edge of Chinon (Loire valley) total pop 8,600 - probably less than Gatley or Hulme. How long would this last in Moss Side or Levenshulme before somebody climbed up it with a hacksaw and copped a leg?

My thanks to Brett Wilson for sending the Wendy Lewis saga

Brett Wilson - Books in My Life

Prolific Oik contributor Brett Wilson lists the books which have changed his life. This is a work in progress and promises to be long (the list that is; not his life) - we have therefore consigned it to the decent obscurity of the Workshop. Click on this to read more Brett Wilson's Bildungsromans. It will be added to as it comes in. Anyone wanting to participate please write.

From the Fortean Times

Speaking of foreign oiks (see above) we must mention US crackpots (no not the ex-president) and attach the following from The Fortean Times http://www.fortean.times.magazine.co.uk/ Crazy Oik subscriber, the great poet and novelist Alexis Lykiard sends cuttings from the magazine which is run by his old chum Paul Sieveking. It would be arrant piracy to display them all but I couldn't resist this one:


Tom McCarthy in a review of Gabriel Josipovici’s What Ever Happened to Modernism? in today’s Guardian Review (Sept 4 2010) throws up a couple of examples of earlier survivals thanks to small presses. Ulysses was, as is well known, printed on a small private press and Kafka’s Metamorphosis came out similarly, in Prague, in an edition of eleven, ten of which were bought by Kafka. He goes on:  

“What can't be faulted is the plaintive logic running through this book. In cul­tural terms, we live in deeply conserva­tive times. Editors at several major publishing houses have to run novels'  synopses past reader focus groups before being allowed to publish them; "literary" festivals feature newsreaders and other media personalities. We shouldn't imagine, though, that things were that different in the golden age.”  

Indeed Beckett’s first novel was rejected by 40 publishers in the thirties. One could go on. One must go on; and passionately. Even Julian Barnes (one of those branded second-rate by Josipovici) felt so committed to Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier that he “f-worded” someone out of his house for suggesting it was no good. Crazy Oik contributors also come to blows. I hear of a recent spat at which a critical exchange got out of hand. The writer, considering himself unjustly vilified, grappled with his critic and, “pushed her face into the carpet.” Great stuff! Admirable! What passion! To paraphrase the great Bill Shankley “Literature isn’t a matter of life and death – it’s more important than that.”


Feel like a larf? Have a squint at our new graphics section - most have appeared in earlier Oiks but maybe there'll be new ones which haven't. Oik Graphics


Oiks have a natural inclination towards philosophy. Go into any pub or factory and you'll find arguments raging on the nature of time (what happened before the big bang?) - the problems of interpreting Wittgenstein's Tractatus - what a load of bollocks is religion - did I really see my dead granny's face in the fire last night - might we be part of some colossal cosmic chair leg? etc etc. Free Will and determinism is a classic (and like most philosophical classics remains without a resolution). We all have a strong conviction that we make choices - but what if we don't? What if the Yorkshire Ripper and Hitler weren't bad but just the unfortunate recipients of a genetic package living in a certain era? Yes, lots of juice in this one. Hence (or perhaps I should say ergo) I add an extended dialogue on this between myself and Alan Dent (A Dialogue on Determinism). I park this in Spoik (that handy dustbin) not wishing to burden lesser intellects with this vertiginously difficult crux.