EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
MEN OF THE TYNE MONOLOGUES – Tom Kelly
GRANTA DAYS – Alexis Lykiard
FACTORY GIRLS – Jim Burns
SOMETHING WAITED – Keith Howden
FERGIE’S COMPLAINT – Aubrey Malone
TRESPASSING ON THE
DUKE OF WESTMINSTER’S
LAND - Mark Ward
DIVINE REQUIREMENT - Alexis Lykiard
MARE NOSTRUM? - Alexis Lykiard
FOWLER AND PARTRIDGE ARE DEAD Alexis Lykiard
THEOLOGICAL PROCESSES Alexis Lykiard
GOVERNORS & EDITORS Alexis Lykiard
SOLECISMS OR (SO) WHAT? - Alexis Lykiard
OUTWARD APPEARANCES - David Birtwistle
LE PÈRE DUCHESNE – A STYLE MANUAL – Ken Clay
FLASHING LIGHT ON THE VICAR (4) – Bob Wild
AN AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION – Tim Deane
PROPERTY FOR SALE – Aubrey Malone
ON COVID (2) – Tanner
OUT OF SYNCH – Nigel Ford
LIFE SECONDS NUMBERING (2) – Andrew Hart
MICHAEL’S STORY – Mike Weaver
LITTLE MAGS AND THE OIK
I’m more than a bit obsessed with little mags. They can’t touch you for it but history shows it can be dangerous (see the piece on Hébert and his Père Duchene p50). We read, in this issue of Alexis Lykiard’s editorship of Granta back in the sixties. It may have been a little mag when he was in charge but later became a very big little mag with a circulation of 50,000. Jim Burns is another ex-editor who ran his own little mags Move 1964-68 and Palantir 1976-83 from Preston. These are now collectors’ items. I’ve never seen the complete set of Palantir but managed to cop five issues from Alexis who was a contributor. I’m not a completist (that way madness lies) but have knocked up local websites of these rarities which remain in the decent obscurity of my hard drive.
A more direct involvement was with Voices the Manchester based oik mag which ran from 1972-1984. It was condescendingly belittled by the Arts Council as too oikish to fund and one London book dealer complained of not finding any “recognised” writers in it. This would be before contributors like Jimmy McGovern, John Cooper Clarke and Ken Worpole became “recognised” The complete set are available on line at www.mancvoices.co.uk.
The Penniless Press was another notable mag which ran to 28 issues from 1995 – 2010. I was generously awarded, late on, deputy editorship but Alan Dent, perhaps alarmed by my scabrous oikitude never allowed me anywhere near the contents. The mag folded after a respectably long life and Alan went on to run MQB which is still extant. I continue to run the PP website www. pennilesspress.co.uk and none of the vulgar filth in it can be laid at Alan’s door.
This obsession extends to famous little mags like Cyril Connolly’s Horizon (see https://www.unz.com/print/Horizon) a not quite complete collection and John Lehmann’s Penguin New Writing – like Horizon approx. 1940-1950. The latter has no web presence but my own Reader’s Guide would be invaluable to the little mag nut (see http://www.pennilesspress. co.uk/Penguin %20 NW.htm). And how many of this vital work have you sold Ken? Er…one or two, but it’s only been out five years.
Then there’s my reprints. The Black Dwarf Vol 13 issues 2,3,4 & 8 and Vol 14 issues 23,24 &25. These squash the unwieldy original 13” x 17” into a handy 6” x 9” and beef up the fonts to a more readable 11pt TNR. I plan something similar for a few New Masses mags which are, I must admit, already well catered for on-line at https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/new-masses/
The Crazy Oik itself has a quite comprehensive presence at http://www.crazyoik.co.uk/ and is much admired for its… er…its..covers. I expect soon to be approached by Wetherspoons to design beer mats
Enough already you crazy fuck! As
Le Père Duchesne
might say. Any more of this and I’ll be summoning an NHS
However, to get back to reality, we note a welcome thematic return to oikitude in our pieces on work. Tom Kelly remembers Tyneside ship builders and gives a Studs Terkelish rendering of their fascinating argot. Jim Burns reviews a book on the plight of the lady oik (much like my mum who worked in such a factory). Tim Deane describes the horrors of the Agricultural College, worse than Eton by the sound of it. Tanner, as usual, charts the mind-numbing tedium of the covid era checkout with many shocking vignettes of stroppy customers who won’t wear a mask. Finally the last part of a four episode narrative on the life of an Irish navvy in England. This originally appeared in Voices 28 (1983?)
How lucky we are to have a govt doing its best to make such strenuous exertions too repellent to consider.
Ken Clay Jan 2023
LE PÈRE DUCHESNE – A STYLE
Jacques Hébert, editor of the revolutionary mag, Le Père Duchesne is generally dismissed as a scandalously obscene oik. Mentioned only en passant by the top dogs of French Rev history words like “foul-mouthed guttersnipe” recur. I can’t think of any current compilations of his scabrous rag which ran for 365 issues from 1792 to Hébert’s death in 1794. No doubt the Bibliotheque Nationale has a stash in its vaults. The Irish little mag nut John Wilson Crocker, is reputed to have had the finest collection of French Rev pamphlets - over 48,000 items. These are available to scholars in the British Library (alongside a full set of the Crazy Oik I like to think)
A few days ago this dearth was broken by The Permanent Guillotine Writings of the Sans Culottes which flopped through my letterbox. It was published in 2018 – edited and translated by Mitchell Abidor. And yep – there are chunks from Le Père Duchesne – so what’s all the fuss about? I dived in hoping to be shocked.
It’s the oikish slang which gets the professors’ goat – eg “I’ve been all fucked up since the death of Marat” and later “You speak the language of the sans culottes and your foul mouth which makes little mistresses faint sounds beautiful to free men. Your anger has done more than all the dreams of statesmen. They know this well the worthless fucks”
The French foutre (to fuck) is still a gros mot and one might, a few years back, have thought the Frogs more tolerant of this obscene intensifier. English oiks have long had habitual recourse to this epithet. I recall once hearing a tradesman slag off his lazy labourer “What d’you think this is? A convafuckinlescence home?!” I thought this particularly fine. And these days it’s everywhere on the TV – perhaps not yet on the News but one wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the late Phil the Greek and Her Maj didn’t come out with a mouthful when they tripped over a corgi. “Fuckin dog!!”