EDITORIAL - Ken Clay
MOVING WEST – Ivan de Nemethy
SOCCER STORY – Alexis Lykiard
DAVID GASCOYNE – Jim Burns
A MATTER OF FUNGUS – Keith Howden
MEET THE FAMILY – Tom Kilcourse
CONSUMER - Tanner
URBAN BRINE SKINNY DIP – Tanner
GRANDPA STORY – Alexander Limburg
MORE OIKUS ON QUACKERY – David Birtwistle
FATHERS AND SONS –John Lee
EVERYONE’S SHIT SMELLS DIFFERENT- Keith Howden
BEAR – Natalie Dibsdale
CAR CRASH, ARREST, AND THE DOMINO EFFECT – Jeff Bell
THE NORTHERN MISTAKE (1) – S. Kadison
RETAIL THERAPY – Kenn Taylor
THREE GO TO NORMANDY (1) – Ron Horsefield
THE CRAZY OIK COLLECTION
If George Orwell came back today and headed north to write about how proles live he wouldn’t be going down t’pit (there aren’t any) or wandering round the docks (none of those left either). He’d be shelf-stacking or on the check-out in Lidl and Aldi. And his title wouldn’t be The Road to Wigan Pier or Down and Out in London and Paris it’d be Unexpected Oik in the Bagging Area. This issue has two pieces on this – the usual classic by Tanner – the Céline de nos jours and another by Kenn Taylor. “Do all scouse dolites work in Aldi?” I asked Kenn. “It’s all there is” he replied. So Napoleon was right. We are a nation of shopkeepers – and shops aren’t even ours – they’re Kraut.
Elsewhere we’re treated to another great episode in the life of Ivan de Nemethy. There are worse things than working in Aldi – like living in a Nissan hut in Yorkshire with a bunch of refugees who’d grab the food off your plate if you didn’t eat fast enough “Meal times were more about queuing than eating because the canteen only held about a hundred at a time and you had to gobble your food under the hate filled eyes of the snake queue stretching out past the tables, through the entrance and up the slope. Nobody chose to come later to avoid the queuing because the food often ran out. I was thirty before I was able to eat a meal in longer than four minutes.”
Tom Kilcourse’s life would have been familiar to Orwell. In this section of his biography he gets married and meets prejudice from the in-laws whose finely calibrated perceptions of class hierarchy rate miner Tom too oik for their daughter. This changes as Tom joins the Labour Party and gets friendly with the local MP. Very English.
Then, just in case the Oik gets branded as boring naturalist-realism, I’ve inserted Alexander Limburg’s account of cuddling his granddad’s corpse which he keeps in the fridge. Well, I hope it’s a fantasy but Al is from Austria – so it could be true. Our other newcomer, Natalie Dibsdale, has a Fargoesque account of killing a bear.
Alexis Lykiard is strangely prescient with his poem about a footballer who ate the ref’s notebook to escape justice. What days of innocence! 1983. Now stars eat each other and declare it “no big deal”.
Jim Burns brings us back to conventional insanity with an account of the life of David Gascoyne. He was a classic autodidact oik rejected by the educational system – so worthy of notice here. He became a surrealist, drifted round Soho and managed always to find middle-class ladies to support him as he sank into a drug-addicted lunacy. “According to Fraser he wanted to tell her that ‘Theocracy is the only humanly possible form of democracy,’ and that God, the Royal Family, and Harold Wilson, with help from Gascoyne, should be able to deal with the forthcoming Apocalypse. Given a polite brush-off by Mary Wilson's secretary he next attempted to get into Buckingham Palace so he could talk to the Queen. As with his attempt to see De Gaulle he was detained and sent to a psychiatric hospital.” Still, perhaps better than Lidl or Aldi.
John Lee explores genetic determinism and describes the impossible relationship of an irascible old git and his equally cantankerous son. How could they ever get on? And should such monsters be allowed to breed?
The in-house lunatic, James Bird Horobin gives a characteristically cloacal analysis of what’s wrong with modern life, politics and The Sun.
S. Kadison inspects the obsessions of the aspiring middle classes and we must conclude that being a rich git isn’t all fun – especially if the offspring doesn’t share your values.
Finally we learn that the Oik’s French Cultural correspondent has a brother, a sarcastic pervert like someone in a St Aubyn novel. They tour Normandy in search of a pint of Shires and shitehawks, skinny young girls whose legs don’t meet at the top. One is reminded of the halcyon excursions of yesteryear when Henry James made similar forays in Edith Wharton’s car.
Ken Clay July 2014