EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
IN LOVEWITH HELL – Jim Burns
REMEMBERING COLIN WILSON –Alexis Lykiard
SENEX CONCLUDES –Alexis Lykiard
UNPOSTED BIRTHDAY CARDS –Alexis Lykiard
THE RIGHT TRACK –Alexis Lykiard
VARIANT READINGS AND LACUNEA–Alexis Lykiard
PECKING ORDERS–Alexis Lykiard
MODERN/IST TIMES–Alexis Lykiard
ALRIGHT IS ALLWRONG–Alexis Lykiard
CRACKED MARY’S HOLIDAY – Keith Howden
RE-JOYCE – ULYSSES IS 100! – Aubrey Malone
THE MATCHBOX GIRL – Mary Mannion
THE DAY RATIONING ENDED – Tom Kelly
ANYONE GOES – Nigel Ford
IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD – Ron Horsefield
SPECIMENS – Mark Ward
THREE POEMS – Tanner
KILLING TIME – Bob Wild
MALRAUX – John Lee
A STROKE OF GENIUS – David Birtwistle
HOME MAKERS – Nigel Ford
TYPOLAND – Paul Murgatroyd
THE MACKON COUNTRY – CHAPTER 3 – Martin Keaveney
THEN AND US – CHAPTER 4 – Ken Champion
CRAZY OIKS IN FRANCE – Ron Horsefield
Four Horsemen? Yep, had all those. War? – tick, Famine? – tick, Plague? – tick (the TV is full of it), Death? – tick – well no-one lives for ever as we see from accounts of Archbishop Tutu’s untimely death (I repeat lib-dem leader Charles Kennedy’s poignant adjective from his eulogy on the Queen Mum’s demise aged 103) Then there’s the Puke himself dying at a mere 99 (if he’d have lived another couple of months he’d have got a telegram from the Queen. But who sends her Madge one when she gets to 100? The self-referential paradox can be fun,
So where’s the fifth horseman when you need one? The horse’ll have a shaggy yellow mane, bray immoderately, constantly demand a bigger nosebag and promise to win the Grand National if you’ll stump up for a new, posh stable. Yes, he does exist. He looks a bit phoney like a pantomime horse but at least we’ll have a larf as he falls flat, pisses himself and dumps a giant turd. Then we’ll have to clean it up.
Meanwhile Ireland seems like Shangri La but it too, going back a bit, has had its share of apocalyptic horses – Famine especially. We won’t mention Shergar. Mary Mannion and Martin Keaveney re-acquaint us with a rural paradise while Aubrey Malone celebrates the 100 anniversary of James Joyce’s Ulysses first published in February 2022. Aubrey is no quirky fantasist like Flann O’Brien (see p14 for more on this old soak), but a distinguished alumnus of Joyce’s old alma mater University College Dublin. His piece is a bit of a pisstake (he prefers Hemingway) but one should note his brother, now in USA, is top jockey in a Yank James Joyce society. I sent him a pic of a Plumtree’s Potted Meat container (Plumtrees were based in Southport where I found one in a junk shop). I hesitated to send the actual pot since a home without it would be incomplete – with it an abode of bliss.
Then, to stretch our universalist credentials, we have John Lee’s fascinating account of that great faker Andre Malraux in the Dordogne during the occupation and two more oblique slices of life in Sweden. Both these writers live in the EU – lucky sods. I guess we’ll be back someday – if we live as long as Phil the Greek.
Ken Clay Jan 2022
My friend Pierre Yquem, is a communist who services Mercedes Benz for the wealthy of Manchester. It’s a tribute to both the conservatism of the Communists and contemporary Britain that the dealers and his clients have absolute confidence in his suitability to make delicate adjustments to their steering. It turns out that his father, a lecturer in French literature at Cardiff university and a distant relative of both Montaigne and the previous owners of Chateau Yquem was born down the road from Neuvic at St Medard. He came to visit me along with Pierre who is a wine expert of some clout. When I asked the father what exactly he’d specialised in, he told me that it was literature of the thirties but that he’d written his thesis on a certain Andre Malraux who he still thinks of as one of the great French novelists.
I told him of the story of the young maquisard who had met Malraux in the forests of the Dordogne and who was studying Man’s Estate for his Bac. Apparently Malraux had given him a two hour impromptu lecture on the philosophical import of the novel but had done so in his tic-ridden rapid-fire staccato voice so that the young man had either not heard or not remembered much of it when he came to make notes the following morning.
"It was the same for me!" said Raymond . "I was writing my thesis and I made an appointment to see him at his office in Paris. He wanted all the questions written down beforehand, so he could reflect upon them, just like De Gaulle - but when he came to answer them I was so mesmerized by the sound and speed of his voice as though he were addressing a crowd of 10,000, that I couldn't remember a word he said. He filled the talk with a million references that I’d never heard of. I don't even know if he answered my questions." It seems that Malraux had devised the ultimate technique for getting through unprepared lectures and tutorials and still giving the impression of genius and great erudition.
This version of the man is upheld by a story that Cates tells in his biography. Malraux was disputing with his friend Chasson the novelist and expert on Provencal art. He followed Chasson’s lecture by informing the assembled literary giants of France (including Gide, Mauriac and de Montherlant) that Chasson was out of date and reeled of a string of modern references to make his point. Afterwards Chasson expressed surprise and admitted he’d never even heard of these new authorities. "Neither have I,” admitted Malraux . "I made them all up but it’s important to win arguments."
Knight, Death and the Devil
Knight, Death and the Devil