EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
JOANNA – John Lee
A LONG STRETCH OF YEARS – Alexis Lykiard
83 NOW – Alexis Lykiard
OPPOSITE EFFECT – Alexis Lykiard
UNDER FALE FLAGS – Alexis Lykiard
STRONG LANGUAGE – Alexis Lykiard
UK REPRESENTATIVE IN ATHENS – Alexis Lykiard
SANCTIFIED ODOURS – Alexis Lykiard
GREEK LOYALTY– Alexis Lykiard
PENSIONS POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE – Alexis Lykiard
THE MODERN SHORT STORY AND MAGAZINE CULTURE 1880 -1950 –Jim Burns
SUMMER GHOSTS AND WINTER REFLECTIONS – Alexis Lykiard
A HISTORY FOR LAURA – Keith Howden
HAIL GLORIOUS SAINT PATRICK – Aubrey Malone
ON COVID (3) – Tanner
THE HEN CREE – Tom Kelly
MAKING BLACK PUDDING – Mark Ward
FIVE OIKUS – David Birtwistle
KEEFIE – CHAPTER 1 – Ken Champion
LITWIT – Aubrey Malone
THE DAY THE TRAMP CAME – Bob Wild
FARTHING (1) – Andrew Hart
TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERNCE – Arthur Wild
TWO BURGLARIES – Ron Horsefield
THE DEARTH AND ITS VIRTUES
Kids! What are they like? Well if you really want to know the present Oik might be a good starting point. Admittedly the kids recalled by our old git contributors are from a different era so consider it sociology rather than child psychology. This issue has Aubrey Malone describing his early life in Ballina in a chapter from his autobiography Last of Nine. No it doesn’t start with “there was a moocow coming down along the road” even though Aubrey brother is a keen Joycean somewhere in USA.
Bob Wild remembers his early life in Manchester. Ken Champion likewise recreates a cockney sparrer in his fine novel Keefie. Alexis Lykiard recalls writing his first novel in Summer Ghosts and Winter Impressions – not quite kidland but he was only eighteen. Tom Kelly remembers a Tyneside boyhood.
How thoughtful of the present govt to arrange a return to these halcyon days of dearth. It’s money and greed what’s corrupted us. Let’s dial back to that Spartan simplicity. Back to a time when fiddling with the Bakelite knob on your two valve wireless could serendipitously produce the excited gabble of Isaiah Berlin extolling the virtues of Akmahtova as one’s recent meal of snoek and chips digested noisily. Yep, that was boyhood then and surely we were all the better for it.
So nowt about little mags and writing for a living then Ken? Er..yis, since you mention it we draw your attention to Jim Burns’ review of little mags 1880 – 1950 (quintessential dearth) and as for getting rich and famous I reject this bourgeois ethic. My somewhat severe take on these matters was echoed in a letter to Aubrey:
But to get back to writing – why do it? My own profile is almost subterranean. I was shocked when my cousin’s wife (who grew up in our street) told me her neighbour had found one of my immortal works on the internet (Nietzsche’s Birthday I think). The litany of neglect is well known – Beckett, Nabokov, Nietzsche (his first book mouldered in his publisher’s back room before getting pulped) Schopenhauer’s first book The Fourfold Root of the Principal of Sufficient Reason made his mum ask why he was writing about gardening.
I must be the most hermetically sealed off of all PPP scribes. Waugh was once asked if he read his old novels – Yes, he replied – and I still laugh at them. That’s the mystery. You can return to old stuff and enjoy it (or perhaps feel embarrassed). It becomes a separate entity with a life of its own (or something better put out of its misery).
My aspiration is to entertain a few friends (Stendhal inscribed his books “to the Happy Few” and guessed correctly that he’d be famous fifty years later.) My energising feedback is of the “how I larfed!” variety. My own tentative (and ultimately failed) project to get published was a reply from Aiden Ellis the Henley on Thames publisher of Marguerite Yourcenar (among others). He’d read my squib “Decline and Fall” in John Murray’s mag Panurge and nearly fell off his chair. His missis thought he was having a heart attack. Result! Yep, just what I wanted. I was greatly bucked up - but never got round to writing the novel he requested.
Ken Clay April 2023