EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
FROM BUDAPEST TO BLACKPOOL – Ivan de Nemethy
CONFUCIAN PRECEPTS FOR CHINESE TRAVELLERS
FAKING WHOOPEE Alexis Lykiard
AT MORRISONS Alexis Lykiard
INTERNATIONAL BOHEMIA – Jim Burns
OIKU: BEDE SPOILT FOR CHOICE David Birtwsitle
LOWRY TO BOSCH - Keith Howden
OIKU: BEDE VENERABILIS David Birtwistle
OIKU: THE VULNERABLE BEDE David Birtwistle
TO WORK – Tom Kilcourse
GONGFERMOUR – Tanner
RISIBLE IN RY – Ron Horsefield
A DORDOGNE IDYLL – John Lee
AUNT ROSE’S FUNERAL Ken Champion
INSPECTION DAY – Nigel Ford
GARIBALDI RIDES AGAIN – Keith Howden
INLAND BEACH HUT (VII) David Birtwistle
A SWASTIKA LULLABY – Keith Howden
FARTED-OUT TAINTED SOULS DISCO Tanner
DANNY AND BENNY (2) – Bob Wild
SOMETHIN’ BAD – S. Kadison
RAIN, TARMAC AND DEATH – P.J. Fell
LAST ORDER – Martin Keaveny
CONSERVATION AREA Ken Champion
TWENTY NOT OUT
Five years, twenty issues, sixty six contributors, six hundred thousand words. What are we talking about? The Crazy Oik of course. It’s already longer than the first half of A la Recherche du temps perdu. What would you rather read? Join in our phone poll – to vote “Yis! Give me the Crazy Oik anyday!” dial 0808 675812; calls are free. To vote “No! You filthy pornographer! I much prefer an evening with Marcel” ring 0845 689743 (calls will cost £6.30 a minute and you may have to listen to the first act of Rheingold before being connected to the poll.) The results will appear in our next issue.
Of course our typical subscriber reads both. Remember the Crazy Oik had the first ever English translation of a Proust pastiche by our distinguished French cultural correspondent Ron Horsefield. Ron actually knew someone who knew Marie Nordlinger – Proust’s English girlfriend who lived in Didsbury. He also supplied the picture on the back cover which he came across exploring the literary quarter of Lyons earlier this year. Another Francophile, John Lee, lives in la France profonde and describes its strange denizens in almost Proustian fashion in A Dordogne Idyll. We learn that one train can hide another – very gnomic. It makes you think.
The Oik’s international reach is confirmed by another instalment of the life of the exiled Count Ivan de Nemethy. This tale gets better and better as we follow the old Count (Ivan’s dad) from the commie hell of Budapest 1956 to his last resting place in a lodging under a flyover in Blackpool. Where would you prefer to live? Do we need a phone poll on that? Perhaps the old Count liked candy floss.
Scandi is another odd place. Nigel Ford’s Inspection Day tells all. Nigel lives on the west coast of Sweden. His Kafkaean account reveals that the locals ponce about utterly nekkid, even when prospective house-buyers turn up. There’s none of this in Borgen, but that’s Denmark, a much nicer place. I mean – who would you rather go on holiday with – Soren Kierkegaard or August Strindberg? Phone…er…well maybe not.
Ireland too is abroad I suppose: the west coast certainly so. Wittgenstein spent time there to get away from it all (it being the maelstrom of Trinity college Cambridge). Martin Keaveney’s piece Last Order is a fine, atmospheric evocation of the rain-sodden misery of an old pisshead’s demise which recalls Flann O Brien’s The Poor Mouth. Some Irishness too in Bob Wild’s story of a transvestite and his dog. Bob has Irish antecedents and the transvestite is Irish. Bob assures me it’s all true.
The home team turn in as usual. Jim Burns writes about Bohemia. He’d probably like Bohemian as nationality on his passport, but then he’d probably never get back in. Dave Birtwistle describes a Pennine Bohemia while Keith Howden, another Lancs patriot, has a go at LS Lowry and the decline of metaphysical horror; an idea explored in our commentary on the cover. His mouthpiece James Bird Horobin speculates on God – and asks what has he ever done for us. Tanner, a modern Bosch, reports on the lurid landscape of Liverpool. Abroad? It’s extra-terrestrial.
Tom Kilcourse goes to work in a narrative I relish, restricting myself to read only the episode published in the Oik – saving the rest like a cherry on a cake. Kadison’s take on schoolboy oik culture fizzes with convincing demotic both anglo and paki. New contributor P.J. Fell acquaints us with the subculture of oik Cornwall. What rich git emerging from the Tate St Ives could possibly imagine the seething resentment and rage of the impoverished locals who can’t even afford a lock-up garage. The place is as weird as Romania and the Tate itself, a mad folly, is about as much use as Ceausescu’s palace in Bucharest.
So where would you rather be? At home reading the oik in an armchair or swanning round Cornwall in the middle of January looking for somewhere to park or even a decent chippy – somewhere you wouldn’t have your lights kicked in. Phone….
Ken Clay January 2014
This Thursday, revolution's
burning Birdy's mind. He likes it.
Better than always being banged
home on the loony bus by that fascist
of a Charge Nurse. Head full
of buzzing bees these days, he's shaking
more than before. He says it's shell-shock.
Came on over Dortmund. They offered him
a blighty. He refused. I don't believe.
Probably DT's the way he puts
it back two hours a fortnight.
But revolution's on his mind.
Why is wet quicker than dry? Why did
his mother stop him from swimming
because his costume was wet?
Birdy says it's natural politics,
the built-in fascism of things.
That fat brother-in-law
(once stumper for Everton) went on
a holiday in Italy and saw
a million statues. Birdy
reads anthropology and it's
a tale he loves to tell of these
misguided missionaries approaching
a bunch of Maoris. We bring you
a bargain, they said. The only true
and absolute God. Performs miracles:
can raise the dead. Turns water
into best quality wine.
Sounds pretty good. Maoris would like him.
Sounds just the sort of God
we've waited for, they said. Who is he?
Is he with you? Where do we meet him?
Not here at the moment. When did
he do these things? Not recently.
Which of you saw them done? It's not
as simple as that ...Aha, we've got
a few like that ourselves.
That fat brother-in-law
saw Garibaldi's statue central
on a lawn bestriding the horse
of LIBERTY. Birdy likes liberty
There was another notice underneath:
DO NOT TRAMPLE THE GRASS. Birdy
says that's what education does.
Maoris know better. Liberty
always loses. Nurture always gets shat on
by nature. The house of order
sits on shallow foundations. That's why wet
is quicker than dry. Come on,
Gentlemen. Your armoured car
awaits you. The Charge Nurse wants him,
rightly suspecting revolution's
bestriding his brain. Birdy's
not stopping now though. That's why
newsagents cram cruise liners,
why butchers drip cash, why grocers
leave millions, why bonused bankers
vote Tory. That's how we got Hitler
and Thatcher ....
Bookshop window rue St Jean - Lyons 2013
Jobless Jerkoffs! You won’t get a job with a face like that. Get a shave!