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The Annotated Brett
A Commercial Opportunity
Defective Arrangements
The Vanity of Authorship
Brett's Bedlam
All In This Together - A Critique

The Annotated Brett

Oik stalwart Brett Wilson, convinced his fleeting lusts and tremors of existential angst are worthy of general distribution, writes to acquaint an eagerly expectant world with his current mental state.

Rant Number 3: I Like…

There are lots of things I like. Nice tanned pins in tartan hotpants, white socks. Really buttery shortcake. I like nurses in white stockings and suspenders, as long as they’re slutty. That’s just a temporary thing. I like snowflakes. I don’t like a ten day old beard, particularly my own, as that’s when it starts itching. I like pictures of snowflakes falling when the light is crepuscular. Talking of light, when the sun dips below the horizon, sometimes the clouds are just right and everything under the canopy is illuminated. I’m pretty sure I like white wines that cost more than £8.00 a bottle. I’m not sure if that applies to reds.1 I like women with flat stomachs, although a little bump can make me feel horny.2 I keep returning to women don’t I? Never mind.

I like lots of colours in my cartoons. Was a black and white cartoon ever any good? I like my opponents’ arguments deracinated, especially when I’m drunk and they are stone sober.3 I like kicking leaves in the garden as if I’m three years old and I don’t care. All I want is to live in a state of wonder.4

Just for once I’d like to get the better of a middle class trout in a queue in Sainsburys who thinks inalienable rights flow from the fact that she drives a Range Rover, but I know it will never happen.

I’d like to eat onion thins on a large raft in the middle of a very warm ocean.5 I’d like to find gold in my belly button instead of fluff and toenail clippings. I’d like to read Marvel comics under the bedspread with a torch and a quarter of cough candy. I’d like to make love to a porno actress (here we go again).

I’d like to know why all the lunatics live in my neck of the woods. I’d like to know why tomatoes don’t taste sweet any more. Can anyone answer that?6

I’d like to live knowing who I am and where I’m going. I’d like to know if there is any significance to life. And what is existence all about anyway? I’d like to live as though this day is my last and then maybe I’d be free?7


Editor’s Annotations. 

1. It is unlikely Brett has ever drunk a decent bottle in his life. His current passion is for Prosecco (Fizzy white Italian shite which panders to the oik prejudice, engendered by Champagne, that anything white and fizzy is top notch – Champagne is also overrated). Brett’s reds, in my experience, are usually titanically (if not simply tannically – ho ho!) alcoholic throat rippers of a non-European origin pandering to another oik prejudice for lots of alcohol and fruit – hence the attraction of Ozzie wines and alcopops. Why not make your own from anti-freeze and Vimto? Or simply hit yourself over the head with a mallet? 

2. Some ambiguous syntax here. I think Brett is saying when he’s horny he feels a little bump – an interpretation which I’m sure his unfortunate partner will confirm. 

3. Brett’s argumentative mode (like most mystics) is insistent repetition (like Musso and Hitler and any JW). This gets more strident when he’s drunk which may give him the impression he’s deracinating the opposition.

4. Brett may act like a 3 year old but he is in fact 14 and three quarters. 

5. Surely the best place for him. The Oik would like to start a Get Brett on a Raft fund. Donations to Oik central. I’ll supply the onion thins when I find out just what they are. 

6. English Oiks want cheap food, lots of it, and the Supermarkets are happy to oblige. Brit tomatoes are grown in a polytunnel outside Swindon and thus never ripen properly. Peaches, nectarines and other exotics are also hard as rocks and bitter as cat piss which is why I’d never buy one here. Go to France and you’ll find perfect examples of these things in any village shop.  

7. One pauses briefly to consider that final interrogative. Why does this sentence end with a question mark when it plainly isn’t a question? We see here the creeping Ozzie end-of-sentence uplift endemically parroted by brain-dead pond-life (to use Brett’s favourite denigration). The philosophical crux is ignorantly adolescent. Yes course we’d all like to think there’s some point to life and that Jesus and Santa Claus are still alive – but they’re not and there isn’t any point to life - just get on with it and stop moaning. As for where you’re going Brett, I can answer that – to the grave.

A Commercial Opportunity

One of the advantages of being a CEO (I suppose I am after all the Chief Exec of Oik Enterprises) is that one is known worldwide and contacted by entrepreneurs seeking to invest. I draw Oiklet readers’ attention to Mr Arafat’s offer (below). Try as I might I can find no use for $US 15m. Yes one could order, say, 4 million copies of Oik 8 and drop them from a helicopter over the capital, and one might, realistically, gain another ten subscribers – but so what? The Oik doesn’t seek popularity or wealth – it burns with a small, steady gem-like flame (to quote Walter Pater) and connects only with the happy few – the discriminating cognoscenti of oik lit.

However reading poor Yousuf’s harrowing note once again one is more inclined to send him some cash (were he not ridiculously flush already). I shall reply offering the condolences of myself and all Oik subscribers. The horrors of being “bugled by some uniform men’s” is too terrible to imagine. Still, this authentic use of Ozzie slang only confirms Yousuf’s credibility. Down under beef bugle is a common term for the male member. I was often warned during my short stay in the Holiday Inn at Coogee Beach outside Sydney to avoid “bashing my beef bugle”. To have one’s entire family so desecrated is quite shocking, even in the Cote d’Ivoire, where indiscriminate bugling is probably more common than here. 


Attn: Executive/CEO.

RE: Funds Investment and Management Proposal.

My name is MR. YOUSUF ARAFAT, the only son of Late DR.ARAFAT MOHAMMAD,
The Abidjan Cote d' ivory leading COCO Exporters who died recently during the political crisis in my country, our residence ware bugled by some uniform men’s sent by president Laurent Gbagbo. I am facilitating for a private investor/nationalization, I need your help.

I have clean and unambiguous fund (US$15,000,000.00) to invest in profitable long-term business in your country/company under your supervision.

I have however contacted you on trust to discuss your assistance and commission in this Endeavour.

This project is ready for execution as soon as I hear from your. I look forward to your swift response to this letter. :- mryousufarafat@aol.com

Sincerely Yours,



We welcome a new contributor from Kansas City - Kayti Doolittle. Her story Sweet Nothings is on the Spoik and there'll be more on the site soon

That's Kayti on the right - and no, the tiger is real not stuffed.

Defective Arrangements - How Small Mags Fail Part II

Even the great ST Coleridge had a crack at publishing a small magazine. De Quincey in his Reminiscences describes the debacle. Both Coleridge and Wordsworth were prodigious walkers thinking nothing of doing 40 miles a day - Wordsworth got to the top of Helvelyn in his 80s. Coleridge must have had many gruelling schlepps up to Penrith in all weathers just to get the thing out. Who says things don’t get better? If Sam had been doing it today we’d have had decades of his mad musing on German Philosophy running into hundreds of issues. And if Proust had had a laptop with MS Word on it A la recherche would be three times as long. Coincidental that The Friend conked out at issue 28 – the very issue which saw the end of that other distinguished North West mag The Penniless Press. Is this the Bermuda triangle of literary magazines? The Oik remains in fair nick (as I write) and we’re a long way off issue 28 but if it does fold I’ll blame “defective arrangements” I was particularly struck by the “venerable female relation of my own, who had subscribed merely to oblige me, and out of a general respect for Coleridge's powers, though finding nothing to suit her own taste”. I believe there are such, or at least one, taking the Oik today.


'The Friend,' in its original publication, was, as a pecuniary speculation, the least judicious, both for its objects and its means, I have ever known. It was printed at Penrith, a town in Cumber­land, on the outer verge of the Lake district, and precisely twenty-eight miles removed from Coleridge's abode. This distance, enough of itself, in all conscience, was at least trebled in effect by the interposition of Kirkstone, a mountain which is scaled by a carriage ascent of three miles long, and so steep in parts that, without four horses, no solitary traveller can persuade the neigh­bouring innkeepers to carry him. Another road, by way of Keswick, is subject to its own separate difficulties. And thus, in any practical sense, for ease, for certainty, and for despatch, Liver­pool, ninety-five miles distant, was virtually nearer. Dublin even, or Cork, was more eligible. Yet, in this town, so situated as I have stated, by way of purchasing such intolerable difficulties at the highest price, Coleridge was advised, and actually persuaded, to set up a printer, to buy, to lay in a stock of paper, types, etc., instead of resorting to some printer already established in Kendal, a large and opulent town not more than eighteen miles distant, and connected by a daily post, whereas between himself and Penrith there was no post at all. Building his mechanical arrange­ments upon this utter 'upside-down' inversion of all common sense, it is not surprising (as 'madness ruled the hour') that in all other circumstances of plan or execution the work moved by principles of downright crazy disregard to all that a judicious counsel would have suggested. The subjects were chosen obstin­ately in defiance of the popular taste; they were treated in a style studiously disfigured by German modes of thinking, and by a German terminology; no attempt was made to win or conciliate public taste; and the plans adopted for obtaining payment were of a nature to insure a speedy bankruptcy to the concern. Cole­ridge had a list—nobody could ever say upon whose authority gathered together—of subscribers. He tells us himself that many of these renounced the work from an early period; and some (as Lord Corke) rebuked him for his presumption in sending it unordered, but (as Coleridge asserts) neither returned the copies nor remitted the price. And even those who were conscientious enough to do this could not remit four or five shillings for as many numbers without putting Coleridge to an expense of treble postage at the least. This he complains of bitterly in his 'Biographia Literaria,' forgetting evidently that the evil was due exclusively to his own defective arrangements. People necessarily sent their subscriptions through such channels as were open to them, or such as were pointed out by Coleridge himself. It is also utterly unworthy of Coleridge to have taxed, as he does, many of his subscribers (or really, for anything that appears, the whole body) with neglecting to pay at all. Probably not one neglected. And some ladies, to my knowledge, scrupulously anxious about transmitting their subscriptions, paid three times over. And, on the other hand, some, perhaps, did, as a most conscientious and venerable female relation of my own, who had subscribed merely to oblige me, and out of a general respect for Coleridge's powers, though finding nothing to suit her own taste: she, I happen to know, paid three times over, sending her money through three different channels according to the shifting directions which reached her.' Managed as the reader will collect from these indications, the work was going down-hill from the first. It never gained any accessions of new subscribers; from what source, then, was the continual dropping off of names to be supplied? The printer became a bankrupt: Coleridge was as much in arrear with his articles as with his lectures at the Royal Institution. That he was from the very first; but now he was disgusted and desponding; and with No. 28 or 29 the work came to a final stop. Some years after, it was re-cast and re-published.

The Vanity of Authorship

Sean Parker, author of Junkyard Dog was at Eddy’s. He’s writing a follow up which will appear soon. Reporting my stalled, if not aborted, attempt on his oik masterpiece I said it had more named characters than War and Peace “It’s better than War and Peace” riposted Sean, and when I remarked on its stylistic resemblance to Raymond Chandler – a kind of flippant, slick opacity, he said it was better than Chandler. On the cover of the first edition (mine is signed by Sean – the unsigned ones are v. rare) it quotes Peter Walsh: "Junkyard Dog is as close to real life as it can get.” I thought this might be ambiguously ironic – as if I’d said: “My hundred metre dash is as fast as I can get”. To be uncharacteristically pedantic, the crux lies in “it”. Does this pronoun refer to Junkyard Dog – ie this novel can’t get any more realistic – or to the universal category of crime fiction – ie no crime fiction can get more realistic?

We didn’t get into this arcane analysis but Sean, spotting a book entitled Manchester Gangland  prominently displayed exclaimed “That’s by Peter Walsh!” and repeated the inflated accolade. “That’d be your brother I suppose” I said. Sean Parker is a pseudonym necessary to protect the author from criminal recriminations. “Er…no” said Sean “Just my best mate”

Literature! Wot a seething ratsnest of mendacious, self-interested back scratchers! It should be a requirement of all reviewers to state their relationship to the reviewed. Hence Julian Barnes reviewing Martin Amis’s The Pregnant Widow might more honestly begin:

“Martin used to be my best mate when he was represented by my late wife Pat Kavanagh. He thought I was the dog’s bollocks and I thought he was pretty good an all. But then my aesthetic sensibilities sharpened somewhat and I realised in spite of a certain flashy word play he was a shite writer and always had been. No idea about structure and plot and as for characterisation – useless – everyone in his books is Martin Amis – even the girls. Nevertheless, with this introductory caveat out of the way, I now approach his latest novel without acrimony or rancour and am determined to give it a fair shake.

Yis, as you would expect, it is a complete crock of shit. Mart hasn’t got any better. It’s about a bunch of metropolitan tossers on holiday in Tuscany (where else?). The protagonist, not unlike the young Mart, is lusting after a girl with big tits and another, slightly older, with a nice arse. Mart is perhaps to be congratulated in not falling for the obvious ploy of conferring both these attributes on the same floosie. Then there’s some confused buggering about with the time scheme (the last resort of the untalented) when we’re whizzed back to the smoke to hear the ponderous reflections on life by the now decrepit main character  – again quite remarkably like the present day Mart what with his hair an that. One is meant to be overcome by these plangent speculations on lost time but Proust it ain’t – not even Celeste Albaret. The bloke is irredeemably second rate (just like his dad) and it’s no wonder he’s never won the Booker.”

Likewise Mart might be asked to review a JB confection.

“Julian used to be my best mate. We’d often meet up for snooker in the Dog an Duck and later retire for some intellectual rabbit with other titans of the current literary scene like Chris Hitchens, Clive James and of course my old man who was not only screamingly funny but also a major pisshead who went on to win the Booker and even get knighted. These last two attributes will never be visited on Barnes since he’s not really a novelist at all just a mediocre essayist on things French (and who gives a monkeys about them). As for pissheadery Julian affects an enthusiasm for posh Frog wines and has even entertained that trollop Jancis Robinson. Well she can’t be a true pisshead since I’ve seen her on TV spitting stuff out. So you get the picture JB is just a frenchified poseur – the frogs have even given him a medal for outstanding frogitude. Strewth! Lately he’s too wanked out even to do a novel (unlike my own magnificent Pregnant Widow which is enormous) and has to gasp out tiny squibs which read like inconsequential farts from a dying arse. The LemonTable, Nothing to be Frightened Of, Pulse – feeble essays featuring old geezers banging on about dying. No larfs in that – and no spectacularly endowed hornbags either like what appear in my epic works. You wouldn’t be reading this stuff with one hand. Poor old Jules! No, at this rate he’ll never win the Booker. He’ll probably finish up as correspondent for The Decanter or get a job as a supply teacher in French at the Hackney Comprehensive.”

Alan Sillitoe reviews the poems of his missus Ruth Fainlight. 

Imagine the offspring of Keats and Jane Austen marrying a sprog resulting from a conjunction between George Eliot and Lord Tennyson. Then further imagine the issue of a congress between these spectacular gene packages. This creature, inheriting the undiluted genius of these four grandparents will give you a rough idea of the quality and sheer brilliance of the poet Ruth Fainlight. These poems by Ruth (Selected Poems Faber & Faber 54 pages £29.99) will change your life. They stand as monuments of 20th century literature far above the trivial effusions of TS Eliot, WB Yeats and WH Auden.

I recall verbatim a conversation I had with Her Majesty the Queen when I was invested with the MBE: “Who are you?” she asked as I basked in her radiance “Have you come far?” Nervously I summoned my pre-prepared encomium: “Your majesty may I, a humble oik, reassure you of the widespread affection and regard of my fellow oiks and add that I am conscious of the great honour this award confers on all oik literature. However there is one more deserving even than I. May I humbly draw Your Majesty’s attention to a great talent, greater even than that old bore TS Eliot whom I recall read the Wasteland to you and the Queen Mum before the war and caused you some risible discomfort. I refer, if I may make so bold, to Ruth Fainlight, a gigantic talent, the Akhmatova de nos jours, far greater than that overrated old slapper Carol Anne Duffy, the lesbian laureate, or Pam Ayers who I believe is a favourite of Princess Camila’s, in short, to conclude this somewhat Jamesian peroration, I would beseech your majesty to confer on this towering genius, Ruth Fainlight, the Order of Merit. I do not, by this exhortation, seek to diminish the honour of the MBE which I believe has become the standard reward for 20 years service as an amenities attendant in the House of Lords, but urgently request the nobler honour for this poetic genius in our midst.” Her Majesty, brow slightly furrowed, raised her magnificent head adorned with a wondrous crown, looked abstractedly in the distance and said in a loud voice “Next!”

Modesty forbids extensive quotation from this collection which will come as a revelation to those used to the impoverished modern diet of  Larkin, Hughes, Reading, Betjeman, and Lykiard. Yes, modesty, since I must confess at this juncture, that Ruth is my wife. And to this catalogue of spiritual virtues I feel qualified to add a few appreciative remarks on her physical perfection. Imagine the Venus de Milo with arms or Jordan with the head of Ava Gardner. Ruth is a quite exceptional hornbag, she bangs like a shithouse door in a gale and does both French and Greek. What more could a writer ask for? Oh…and her rhubarb crumble is out of this world…three star Michelin.


I’m sure such corrective adjustments will restore some kind of integrity to the horribly corrupted practices of today’s literary establishment. In the meantime you can rely on the Crazy Oik to tell it like it is.

Brett’s Bedlam

I get many rants and other diversions from Oik writer Brett Wilson. Only occasionally do these find their way into the Oiklet but the bloke is a true oik and well crazy (as the current demotic would have it). I have, therefore, created a niche (or padded cell) where these mad ravings can spread out for the entertainment of the Oik community. It’s called Brett’s Bedlam and is lodged in the Spoik, on a page of its own.

Exceptionally lucid or entertaining items will be promoted to the Oiklet and may even appear in the Oik itself. Critics of this madman will also be given space in the Bedlam as will trainee psychiatric nurses and social workers.

In the 18th century people used to go to Bedlam to stare at the lunatics. For a penny one could peer into their cells, view the freaks of the "show of Bethlehem" and laugh at their antics. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. In 1814 alone, there were 96,000 such visits. Wikipedia

Click on this to enter - visitors do so at their own risk


Practical Criticism

An exercise on Tom Kilcourse's story All In This Together is added to the Workshop.