EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
BACK TO BUDAPEST – Ivan de Nemethy
METAMORPHOSES - Keith Howden
FRIDGE FOR PANTIES – Jeff Bell
THE GARDEN OF EROS – Jim Burns
OIKU: HISTORY LESSON David Birtwsitle
OIKU: OLD MAN AS HERO ALMOST GONE David Birtwistle
A VICTIM – S. Kadison
TWO JOHNSONS AND COE – Alexis Lykiard
‘MEMBER ME? – Sara Clark
OIKU: THE TOUGH OF THE TRACK –David Birtwistle
MOTHER RETURNS – Tom Kilcourse
JOB – Tanner
INLAND BEACH HUT (VI) David Birtwistle
SLAVE LABOUR – Thomas Clark
ANNUNCIATIONS – Keith Howden
DRIFTING 2 – John Lee
DANNY AND BENNY – Bob Wild
NED SHUTTLEWORTH’S VISIT TO GRANNY’S David Birtwistle
In an earlier editorial (Oik 16) I likened the commie con-man Pogany to an old mate, Ivan de Nemethy, also an Hungarian. Well bugger me if Ivan wasn’t plonking about on his computer, googling his name, when he latches on to that Oik editorial. He got in touch. The internet! A miracle etc.
He now lives on murder mile in Hackney as a builder and tells me: “An Oxford City contract was bodged by the council so I bought a metre of law books and sued them personally. They forged loads of documents, I proved my case and three forgers got sacked. Done all my own legal work since then, recovered around £1.4 Million (£540,000 for myself against Barclays Bank)” Yep, that’s Hungarians for you. The law? Just read the books. Brain surgery? Likewise. I am now in possession of his 80,000 word autobiog and start this issue with a chunk about his origins and strange father. There’s more to come. You too might be a Hungarian – check it out - they get everywhere.
But strange dads are no novelty over here. Tom Kilcourse continues his own gripping life story and introduces his surrogate dad (the real one disappeared when Tom was born). “She had met Bert, or Karl as he preferred to be called, in the Dog and Partridge pub. At least thirteen years Elsie’s junior, he was a rather comic figure, a young man out of his time. His preference for a more exotic name than Bert was not his only peculiarity. His taste in music was confined to tenors such as George Locke and Richard Tauber. He was careful about his appearance, though chose a style more in keeping with Gilbert and Sullivan than the streets of Newton Heath.” Bert was soon superseded by an old beau. Elsie cleared Bert’s house out while he worked a shift at the sewage plant, but left him a consolatory teapot – heart of gold innit?
John Lee too suffered constant denigration from his dad who was once Mayor of Trafford. Pop thought John had a lazy mind and reminded him of this deficiency at every opportunity. John’s struggles to get from under this cloud are described in Drifting 2 in which he denounces superstition, embraces radical politics and is greatly impressed by his mate Eric’s dog, Chum, which sings the Agnus Dei just like Gili, suggesting some metempsychosis between the talented pooch and his owner, a secret left-footer married to a Presbyterian termagant. Yes, it does sound far-fetched but I’m inclined to believe it.
Even more far-fetched is Tanner’s account of job-seeking in Liverpool. One can hardly credit the stomach churning squalor of oik employment in the lower depths of this great city. Perhaps Tanner, like our cover boy Lobanov, has gone nuts. “Rows of rattling machines, burping chunks of purple meat out onto soggy conveyor belts … folk stood around in diseased white overalls, squishing the passing animal tendons into little plastic boxes … cogs screech in the resultant pain … various clunky things crunching and farting … constant metal echoes, industrial tuba booms and juicy squelching … ricocheting to and from the splattered silt walls … in this underground bunker of a workplace … the dank ceiling is barely two meters high, it swipes at your head, dripping … and the white overall folk, they are all screaming over each other as they finger the speeding meat … there’s a big rickety boom box in the corner vibrating the Top 10 in a piercing static hiss … so they’re all screaming in the din …” Obviously made up – like Orwell in Paris…but then again..
After more lunacies from James Bird Horobin and a weird critique of Facebook which I have left in the original Hungarian (?) we return to earth, or even the empyrean, with reasoned, civilized accounts of John Calder publisher by Jim Burns and Alexis Lykiard’s comparison of the late BS Johnson, oik novelist, and buffoon Boris, mayor of London and possibly our next PM. Let’s hope for happier times after Boris gets in and doubles the minimum wage. Then pigs won’t be squashed into boxes but will fly freely over our heads.
Ken Clay October 2013
Aah, dinni talk to us aboot drinkin today man, ahm feeling terrible like! Ah wuz up all night after that ‘orrible funeral business, y’kna? Had to drive all the way fre New-Castle an everythink. Terrible night, jus’ terrible. Ah just couldn’t set misel’ to sleep… Aye, it was the funeral like! Didn’t oor Madge tell yeh? Aye, that’s why ah shut the shop all day yesterday innit mon, wur brother Frank died a week agoo, poor oold sod. It’s on mah Facebook like, d’ya not check yer Facebook Sammy, what’s wrang wi’yer mon! It’s the information technology highway that keeps us aah together innit? Ah dunno. Load a bollix anyway this Face-book polarver. Y’seen that fillum, wha’s it called… The Global Hypah-Network or summing… Dead interestin’ that were, dead interestin'. Not the best film, mind, ah prefer a good western misel’, bud it makes yer think like… Ah saw it wi’ oor Neil when ah was up in New-castle fer the funeral. He thought it were crackin’, bud ah wasni that fussed aboot it mahsel’ to be honest with yez. Ah mean, whod’er thought, right, that one lousy student could just invent a whool entiyer industry from a daft ideeyah he thought up in ‘is lunchbreak eh?
C’n you imagine that Sammy? Just sittin aboot, bitin’ inti an apple pie or summat daft like that, right, aboot to chow down on a hamburgah or have yersel’ a nice wee packet ‘er crisps an’ a diet cook, an’ then suddenly, out eh the blue sayin’ to yersel’… y’kna what? I might just gan an give that crackpot plan ah had the other week a chance like! An then yer gan ahead an’ try it, instead eh jus’ sayin’ it like, an it aaw works oot? All of a sudden it’s easy street, can yer imagine that like? Holidays in the sun, flashy cars, mortgage paid off, the lot! Magic that innit? Good luck to ‘im aah say – ah mean, if he had the balls to give it a shot like, yeh cannae but wish ‘im aaw the best. Ah mean, ah canni be bothered wi’ rich folk mahsel’, bud with summat like that – an ideeyah you had fram naawhere mon, well, on another day, that mightn’t be you, mightn’t it? Yeh canni knock ‘em fer that. Ah mean! T’think of aaw the ideas, right, that aave had oover the yeeyaz that mightan worked oot if ahd’ve given ‘em a chance. Coulda had misel’ one of them yacht malarkeys, who knaas? Bet yid gan on Facebook if yer ool’ buddy Jack ah’d’ve thought of it eh Sammy me ol’ pal. Ah could count on your support, ah know that. Ah might’ve called it summat bedda th’n that like though. Bit daft-soundin’ innit? Face-book? If yer think aboot it it kinda sounds creepy, y’knaa, like they used the skin off dead folk’s faces to make up the pages, like in one of them crappy horror filllums, or that Egyptian book of the dead, y’knaa? Ahd’ve called it "friend-connect" or “‘member me?” Actually that second one isn’t so bad is it? “Member me?” Kinda ominous innit, less like a horror fillum, more like a Western. Then when yer get a friend request it’s like, a picture of an oold friend pops up on yer screen an’you hear this computerised voice that gans, “‘member me?” All friendly like.
Anyway, it might not’ve been Facebook ah dreamed up, but summat big like that. Cars that float on the water like, or some kind of water purification device. Dead interestin’ that kinda stuff. Hydraulics. Could build misel’ an empire, just fram havin’ a gan at the tap one day when ahm’ makin a cuppa like, then suddenly, inspiration hits! Clean water for all, courtesy of yours truly. Sorted! USA here I come! Mr Moneybags! Ah wouldnae save it up like, ah wouldne be a miser wi’ it. If aah make it, that’s mi family sorted fer life, like. Everybody gets a slice of the pie. Dinni get us wrang like, money isn’t everythink, aah know that. Yer see those celebrities fallin oot their private helicopters covered in diamonds and the like an’ yer think, "rather you than me pal". Aye! You might have money, but aah’ve got dignity, kna what ah mean? Ahm not afraid of hard work, even on a day like todays, where ah’ll be honest with yuz, ah’d much rather be in bed, bud ah canni afford to close the shop up another day, it’d crucify us! Not th’t ahm complainin’ like.
Godduz a nice quiet life here in Bonny Scotland like, sellin’ sweets to kids, chattin’ away to oold dears. S'not that bad, eh? Pays the bills – oonly just mind, but it pays ‘em. It’s a living, which is more ‘an some poor buggers’ve got. Ah count mi stars, ah really do. Madge likes it an’all, y’knaa? She’s settled, y’knaa? That lunch club she gans to is startin’ up in a couple a weeks tiym an’ this new hoose we’re rentin’s godda fantastic goh-den. She sits there on an afternoon in her lil’ hat, fannin’ hersel’ like the queen of Sheba, aye, ah’ve a phooto actually, look, there she is, in her wee yeller hat like! Anyway, it’s not much of a drive to New-castle, if yer gan the A6008 route yeh can be there in an oor an’ a half, nah pro’lem man. See the family whenever ah want at the week-end like. Football, cinema, whadevver ah want. If only ah wasni so tiyad oohl the tiym, y’knaa? Ah wuz jus’ tellin Frank the other day like an… Ah well. Poor oold sod, God bless ‘im. Eeh dear, ah dinni knaa what ‘s wrang wi me today like! Naah, am aarite, dinni encourage us! Eeh dear. Thanks pet. Ah tell yer what thoo. He’d ‘ve propah hated that film, ah’ll bet yer anythink! Aye, oor Frank, bless ‘im. He’d er thought it wer a load er oold bollix like!
Some self-portraits by Alexander Lebanov