Ray Blyde's excellent life story appears serially in the Crazy Oik. His poems are just as funny and these too will find their way in there in dribs and drabs. However, if you'd like to read them all here they are, prefaced by my intro which appeared on the Penniless Press website
IN PRAISE OF THE CRAZY OIK
Daily Express Building - Great Ancoats Street - Manchester
Penniless Press website wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in whimsical
doggerel but we have stumbled across something which looks like it – and yet
is more than that - funny, observant and authentically oik – crazy oik even
(among which category I include myself). Not the boring, self-indulgent,
introverted, derivative shite usually peddled by the struggling genius with
which we want nothing to do.
Your aspirant oik writer springs out of nowhere from no tradition with an urgent need to express. As Ray puts it:
I want to write because I feel I have a need to express myself in the fullest possible way. I have been writing off and on for perhaps three years without a great deal of success. This does not deter me because there are times when there’s a certain consolation even writing for one’s own satisfaction. Also if nothing else it has taught me to listen and observe because there’s usually a story to be extracted from every situation. Last but not least it is a craft which has to be learnt thoroughly.
Clinton cards may be an influence but we wouldn’t go further than that – he’s not the new William Blake or John Clare; he could be Dylan Thomas post pub or Pam Ayres before the operation. Auden sometimes had a larf with this kind of thing and they say TS Eliot wrote Eskimo Nell but I doubt Ray has even heard of these worthies.
Another feature of the crazy oik is a passionate reverence for the printed word. I myself spent hours – days even – producing texts with a John Bull Printing outfit (for anyone less than 60 this entailed squeezing little rubber letters into a grooved wooden block). Then I got a second hand typewriter which was so heavy I had to perch it on my bike saddle and push it two miles home.
Ray worked on the Daily Express in Manchester (that fine modernist black glass building still stands in Great Ancoats Street). He was a stereotyper – he shaped the moulds from which the metal plates were cast. One can’t help feeling the Express missed a trick – Ray’s poems would surely have raised the tone of that rag. But although he was in the heart of the print industry he could hardly have run off his works during a lull. Instead he got them typed and then cut out the chunks of typed paper and glued them into an exercise book. Reminiscent of the Bronte sisters at Howarth stitching their little home made books. It was this volume he showed to Bob Wild (another crazy oik contributor who features on this site) in the gym (the gym!!?). Bob smuggled it out to a Xerox machine. We hope Ray will be bucked up by this belated recognition and be gratified to know that at least one reader larfed out loud at My Daughter’s Boyfriend’s Father.
Life begins at forty, Spanish Nights What Good Is A Car On The Path Awakened From A Troubled Sleep, The Chaps Utopia Stockholm. Rain My Daughters Boyfriend’s Father. Woody The Human Race My Home Town Heat Wave. Proctor Man’s Best Friend The Runaway Tram Joe Autumn Mo Have You Ever Streets And Roads The Storm
LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY Life begins at forty, At least that’s what they say, You'll have to come to terms with it In each and every way. Unfortunately the things you find , you'd really like to do, Are no longer recommended For one as old as you. If you eat too much, Or drink too much, Your doctor won't approve, He'll suggest you get your waistline down, By keeping on the move, So sell the car and buy a 'bike, What have you got to lose, Unless you much prefer to have A night out on the booze? The family feel quite often Dad's not going to survive, He's getting near retirement, And he's only forty five. In some respects they might be right, It's very often true, Your prospects in the business world, Are sparse and very few. So if your made redundant, and you don't know what to do, Take heart! it couldn't happen To a nicer bloke than you. Don't save all your money For that far off rainy day, Enjoy yourself and live it up Only once you come this way. Life begins at forty, And, when all is said and done, You'll awaken one fine morning, To find you’re forty one! SPANISH NIGHTS With my loving daughter I went to Majorca We went to a hotel in town. The weather was great, So we soaked up the sun In hopes of it turning us brown. One night we decided to go for a drink, To a club not far from our board. For a hundred pesetas There’s no doubt we were told, You can get as drunk as a lord. . Looking back on that night There’s no doubt they were right There isn't a lot I can tell. I remember falling all over the road, Going back to the Siesta hotel. The man at the desk was most helpful it seems As he assisted me up to my room, He opened the door, and I staggered inside, And I thanked him with modest aplomb. The door closed behind me, I searched for the switch, To lighten my way to the bed. No switch could I find. So I turned on my heel . And went into the bathroom instead, I swayed to and fro, Wondering which way to go, The handbasin lay in my path, I took two steps backward and slipped on the soap, And fell with a crash in the bath. Sometime later I managed to crawl to my bed, I was sore from my feet to the top of my head. So in future when drinking, I must try to atone. If I go near a club, I'll leave my money at home. WHAT GOOD IS A CAR ON THE PATH It stood there gleaming on his drive, It was his pride and joy. He leathered it and polished It, His wife he did annoy. Her complaint was justified, At least she thought it so. "What good's a car upon a path, When the blessed thing won't go". He refused to take it on the road In case he got a scratch, Because he said "the paintwork Was difficult to match". He wouldn’t start the engine In case he wore it out, And if children played around it He used to yell and shout! "Get away you rag a muffins, And play farther up the street, Have you no respect for motor cars? and things that look a treat", One night when all was quiet, Someone stole his car away. On arising in the morning, He saw to his dismay, "My goodness gracious Mabel Get up and look without, Someone's pinched my motor car, The dirty rotten lout.'' Later in his garage, He found a note which read, "You silly ass I pinched your car While you lay in your bed". The Police were called, A search was made, But all to no avail. The car had gone for ever. And the moral to this tale? If you have a prize possession, Don't have it just for show, Put your hat and coat on Get in and make it go. Don’t be like our hero I didn’t like his style He ran his car on polish Instead of petrol by the mile. AWAKENED FROM A TROUBLED SLEEP, Awakened from a troubled sleep, He blinked and gave a gentle sigh. The day was warm a cooling breeze, The sun shone from a cloudless sky. Struggling to an upright stance, His body crashed against the strap. His tranquil mood then turned to hate To find himself caught in the trap, He flailed his arms and kicked his feet, His mouth wide open tries to shout No sound came forth. His head rolled back, Then a roar just like a thunderclap, But before I go much farther, I think you should be told, The little chap can't help it, He's only six months old. THE CHAPS The chaps are a rare combination of men There were thirty one women, And eight of them men. They all got together regardless of sex, To book for a coach trip to Scotland and back. Elfren our driver, A Welsh, sort of chap, Who sat at the front, And looked down at his map, To decide where to go the following day, Then after some moments, Would lookup and say. "All aboard then chaps, And we'll wend our way north, To the land of the fiercesome Scot. If you look out of the windows, You'll probably see, The remains of a tower house or mot”. "You'll visit Creetown, Dundrennan, Or gatehouse of Fleet. See Culzean castle, climb Merrick, Rather hard on the feet. But which ever you do, There’s one thing for sure, A day out with the chaps, And you'll come back for more". The last night they stayed there, The chaps had some fun. They joined in the dancing, The Scots had laid on. At the end of the evening, They all formed a line, Crossed hands together, And sang old langs Syne. UTOPIA Have you ever considered. How good life would be? With no states of depression, And no misery. When its swings are all upward, And everything’s nice. When things go wrong, They’re put right in a trice The height of euphoria, To last all your life, Not marred by illness. Or trouble, or strife With plenty of money, To buy what you want. A house at the seaside, A Rolls at the front. We could live our lives knowing, That there's plenty of time. To achieve our ambitions. Away past our prime, A selfish delusion? Perhaps, who can tell. The fun you have dreaming. Will do just as well. STOCKHOLM. A grey intruder. Comes to rest, Amid the arctic gulls. Their snow white bellies. And translucent wings, Beating, hovering, gliding. In Venice of the north. Midsummers day. The people are leaving. They wave from their boats. We wave back. And watch in silence. The city, so clean, And vital. Copper topped minarets, Wide avenues. Blue sky and billowing clouds, In mirrored monoliths. Bridges yawn, Over wide clean waters. Where once the gun boat lay. The Wasa ship. A million fragments joined Like a giant jigsaw, Up from the depths, To test man’s ingenuity. The siren sounds, Our time cut short. We board and sail. Slowly past a thousand islands. To the open sea. We turn and look once more, A glimpse of paradise. RAIN It’s going- to rain! I think it will, And I'll get wet That is until. I buy a mac, A gamp or hat. The aternative to that? I'll get wetter Than a sewer rat. I'm tired and weary, My clothes are torn. My feet are aching. My shoes are worn. I sometimes wish I'd not been, born. My giro's spent, But then again, I need no rent. A cardboard box Will do just fine, To rest my head, From time to time, It’s going to rain! I'm sure it will I think I'll shelter Here until. The last drops fall, Then I'll away. To circumvent Another day. MY DAUGHTERS BOYFRIEND’S FATHER. My daughters boyfriend’s father. Wants to change his job, and rather, Hopes his prospects in the future Will be good, He's quite a handy fellow, He can even play the cello And works just as well With metal as with wood. He wrote several applications, To local fire stations. He was it seems prepared To work at night, They sent him up a ladder, He got an awful fright, He shouted "get me down from here” He couldn’t stand the height. Once again without a job, My daughter’s boyfriend’s dad, Approached the local council, To see what jobs they had, "There's not much here", The man declared. "Why don't you come back later. A vacancy is coming soon, For a rat exterminator", "I fancy that, I'll call again". Said my daughter’s boy friend’s pater, He got the job, But killing rats, It made him feel a cad, “It’s not the job I thought it was” Said my daughter’s boy friend’s dad. "Laying poison, setting traps, Is not my cup of tea, To see the little beggers die, It's all too much for me,” One night when all was quiet. And dark as dark can be, He stole back to the centre, And set the blighters free. They ran away in hundreds, Left the council hopping mad, He's such a tender hearted man. My daughter’s boyfriend’s dad. WOODY A chap I know, His name is Wood. Had time off work, Was not too good. The doctor looked At him and said, "I think you ought To be in bed". That swelling on Your face is bad, I'm not surprised Your looking sad." “What d'you think It is?"said Wood "I'm not too sure"' The doc explained, “It's rather large And looks inflamed, In fact it wobbles When you talk. Does it wobble When you walk?" Said Wood "I really Couldn't, say, It only came up yesterday. It's painful when I work with timber, Makes me feel a sorry sight", "That explains it " Said the doctor, "You've got a dose Of wood termite". "Can't you give me something For it", said Woody With a plaintive wail. "Surely it can't last For ever. Won't I Live to tell the tale?" "I shouldn't worry”, Said the doctor, "I think although, I'm not too sure. Cuprinol's the Only treatment, Creasote the cnly cure" Woody took the doc’s prescription Dosed himself Three times a day. Sure enough it Killed the termites. And poor Woody Sad to say. THE HUMAN RACE The price of progress, May be high. For good or evil, Man must try. To shed his dreams, Of quest in space. And try to save The human race. The effort spent, To reach the stars. Like satellites, To planet Mars, The money saved, From probes in space. Conserved to feed The human race. Man’s requirements, Here on earth, Are basic, Needing all his worth. Not speeding from his Problems here, To problems, On another sphere. MY HOME TOWN Liverpool, my home Beside the Mersey, Murky brown. I hardly recognise your face. It's changed so much, I can't keep pace. Your buildings standing Aeons of time. Have shed their skins. Revealing, that, Beneath the grime. The surface shine, Reflects the grace. A heretage, a pride of place. Your one way streets, That twist and turn. Confuse my mind. I'll have to learn, To navigate them true, To find the places, I once knew. The natives on the pier head sit, Their lilting nasal tones abound. Communicate their Celtic wit, To each and everyone around. Ships that crossed the river, with their passengers, And freight. Have sailed into obscurity, Or so I'm told, of late. Liverpool, my home town. Beside the Mersey, Murky brown. I think I recognise you now, No fault of yours, I did not see The changes that have set you free. HEAT WAVE. Blazing, Burning. Searing, shimmering. Soaking up my very being. Clammy, cloudless. Humid heat. Pushing me, crushing me. To defeat. Breathless, baleful, Caustic, glare. Envelopes me, I cannot stare. Sending down, Your fiercesome glow. I wish you'd, Hurry up and go! PROCTOR A fellow called Proctor, Besides being a doctor. Owned many large firms I am told. When dabbling in finance, He played the stockmarket. And even went mining for gold. His interests and hobbies, included the church. Where he assisted the vicar With sermons and prayer, And played the church organ, With dexterous flair, His favourite pastime, Was driving fast cars, Which were tuned to perfection, Then driven at speed In a forward direction, When an error of judgement, Approaching a bend, The car left the road And began to transcend, It broke into pieces, And that was the end. On his headstone, it read, "Here lies Doctor Proctor, A miner, choirmaster, director, and rector, Who died in a Victor, while out for a drive. Had he been concentrating, Instead of debating, The cost of share prices, He'd probably still be alive. A child that was passing, The grave at the time, Asked his father a question, He had on his mind. "How?" said the lad, As he pulled up his socks. "How did they get all Those men in one box?" MAN’S BEST FRIEND To the vet he took his dog He seamed concerned about its head For whilst chasing next doors cat Our canine friend had trapped his tat. His head he thrust through next doors fence You would have thought he had more sense And created such an awful din His owner rushed out from within The sight that met his gaze that day Filled him with horror and dismay. In its struggle to be free Oh what a shocking sight to see The flowers planted with such care Their petals flying everywhere The bits and pieces filled the sky Enough to make you want to cry. The owner firmly gripped the dog As if to pull it from a bog His neighbour helped him with a push With one almighty heave and shout The owner and the dog shot out. The vet perused its broken head It doesn’t look so good he said For it to heal and stop infection It needs some form of light protection It’s serious though it may not look it What about a plastic bucket. A good idea the owner cried But how to get the dog inside Just cut the bottom out he said And jam it quickly on its head. So if your in our part of town You see a bucket upside down You care to look inside you'll see It’s not a flower plant or tree If it’s moving fast then I'll contend As sure as eggs its man’s best friend! THE RUNAWAY TRAM I boarded the tramcar, And what did I see? The cord from the trolley, Had just broken free. It trailed far behind us, The guard rang the bell. But the tram carried on, Like a bat out of hell. : It roared and it lurched, And swung from side to side, Its warning bell was clanging On this gastly terror ride. The driver struggled, In his goggles and his cape, To wind the handle on the brake But there was no escape My journey of pleasure, Began to go sour, As we careered down the track, At sixty miles an hour. The people in horror shouted, "Can't someone make it stop". And their torturous cries resounded Amid the cries of anguish, Someone kept a steady head. “Why not pull the trolley down, Before they find us dead?" An adequate solution, but how to reach the cord? An old man used his walking stick To pull the cord aboard. The trolley on the cable, The power restored at least. The driver once more able. To control the savage beast. I got off the tramcar, What did I see? Forty happy passengers, Alighting there with me. We looked for the old man. But he could not be found. Wasn't that his walking stick There, lying on the ground. JOE He stood before the mirror And there to his surprise He couldn’t pull his stomach in It was an awful size His Measurements he could recall So many years ago Were those of Mr. Universe But now its two ton Joe. To remedy the problem He thought he'd sell his car And give himself more exercise By running in the park At six thirty every morning So dark as dark can be Joe went without his glasses And ran into a tree. He blacked his eyes And cut his nose He was a ghastly sight His trousers split right down the back Then from left to right But not deterred in any way Our hero had decided Come hail or rain or even snow His outsize tummy had to go. So once again he set off It was a painful slog He covered half the journey Then was set on by a dog Fear made Joe run faster Than he'd ever run before Eventually exhausted He collapsed upon the floor. So the moral to this story There must be one I’m sure Joe has made his mind up To exercise no more His doctors recommended He's almost sure to try it Instead of running round the block Stick to a rigid diet. AUTUMN The old man’s mind reflected On that cold December day Glimpses of nostalgia For his home so far away Autumn homes for autumn years He heard his family say You’re growing old and senile Dad Well have you put away “Oh no you wont” the old man cried "I’m sound in wind and limb I wont be pushed into a home On such a paltry whim I’m not as quick as once I was A few short years ago My hearing may not be so good My eyesight’s failing too But by and large you must agree I’m still your flesh and blood Don’t throw me on the scrap heap Because it wont do any good. Come now Dad remember your nearly seventy two And mother’s not here any more To take good care of you We can’t find room to house you In our eighteenth storey flat But when you’ve been to see us There’s been a. welcome on the mat MO She's small and dainty, Full of warmth And always on the go She has a little problem She really cant say no. She doesn’t have much money I think she will some day But in the meantime if you’re short You only have to say. Every Monday without fail She embarks upon a diet But by Friday full of tatey pie You really ought to try it. She has a lovely nature With powers to persuade When lights need fixing Cooker mending Tele on the fade She just says be a love or flower She’s really got it made. So if your wondering who I mean You really ought to know There’s no one else in this wide world To beat our little Mo. HAVE YOU EVER Have you ever been chased by a lion, And you find that you can’t get away, You travel as fast as your able, But the darned things decided to stay, Your poor legs won’t run any faster, Your lungs are bursting it seems, You’re just at the end of your tether, When you wake up from one of those dreams. Have you ever been on top of a building, When somebody gives you a push, The feeling of falling is shocking, And the grounds coming up with a rush, You see all your past life before you, It gives you a feeling of dread, You’re shouting and screaming in terror, Then you finally wake up in bed. Have you ever been inside a harem, Reclining in comfort sublime, The attention of dozens of women, As they supply you with good food and wine, One dusky maiden you fancy, Eyes you with romantic intent, With aromas of perfumes exotic, She slowly parades round your tent, You feel that your life’s just beginning, The blood rushes up to your head, What happens next, well I’ll tell you, You’re clutching your pillow in bed. STREETS AND ROADS. A vast amount of people, Commute from A to B. They drive their cars, From work to home, Throughout the country. The morning of the following day, The multitudes come back. On streets and roads, The heavy loads, Along the railroad track. So ponder for a moment, Imagine if you can, A time devoid of streets and roads, Like prehistoric man. He never knew of street signs, Nor read the highway code. He could park his Brontosaurus, In any place he chose. Whether streets and roads, Are good things? Is difficult to say, One thing we can be sure of, I think they’re here to stay. THE STORM. The sky darkens as of night, With clouds skimming swiftly by. The wind intense so cold, Blows with irrepressive might, The old house with turrets high, Empty for years a sentinel, Upon the cliff it lays to rest, It's sandstone silhouette against the sky. And yet for decades past, In proud defiance bares it's breast, So successfully to defy, Nature’s armies from on high. Water's whipped by natures breath, Reach forward their frenzied heads, In foaming pinnacles of power, To roll on relentlessly to death, Beneath the bastions ivory tower. The storm its fury spent, Moves on never to return, again. The house its barricades unbent, Astride the ocean to remain, It's empty portals deeply etched, An epitaph to man's domain.