Monthly Archives: February 2014

Excerpt from “Mr Tickle” by Roger Hargreaves

picture-MrTickle-HargreavesAnd what a day Mr Tickle had.
He tickled the policeman on traffic duty at the crossroads in the middle of town.
It caused an enormous traffic jam.

He tickled the greengrocer just as he was piling apples neatly in his shop window.
The greengrocer fell over backwards, and the apples rolled all over the shop.

At the railway station, the guard was about to wave his flag for the train to leave.
As he lifted his arm in the air, Mr Tickle tickled him.
And every time he tried to wave his flag, Mr Tickle tickled him until the train was ten minutes late leaving the station and all the passengers were furious.

That day Mr Tickle tickled everybody.
He tickled the doctor.
He tickled the butcher.

He even tickled old Mr Stamp, the postman, who dropped all his letters into a puddle.

Then Mr Tickle went home.
Sitting in his armchair in his small house at the other side of the wood, he laughed and laughed every time he thought about all the people he had tickled.

So, if you are in any way ticklish, beware of Mr Tickle and those extraordinary long arms of his.
Just think. Perhaps he’s somewhere about at this very moment while you’re reading this book.

Perhaps that extraordinary long arm of his is already creeping up to the door of this room.
Perhaps, before you know what is happening, you will be well and truly . . .

. . . tickled!

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Excerpt from “A Soldier of the Great War” by Mark Helprin ~~Rafi~~

picture-SoldieroftheGreatWar-HelprinA hawk dropped from the empty sky into the topmost branches of a tall pine. Lia quickly looked up, shading her eyes from the sun, and at that moment Rafi Foa emerged from the Giuliani’s house, dressed in a full business suit and carrying a leather briefcase. Having just walked up the hill, he looked like a soldier on maneuvers in the desert, but he would neither loosen his tie nor take off his jacket, because the suit had a logic of its own, and as he had chosen to wear it, he did not want to contradict it.
“This one is complicated,” Alessandro said as Rafi approached. “He’s made great strides, but he still wears a suit on a day like today.”
Rafi sat down on the blond grass and threw the briefcase in front of him. He had finished his studies with great distinction and was making the rounds of palaces and ministries in hope of starting near the top, but because of the way the government operated, and because his heart was not in it, he hadn’t found a place. Even the guards and doormen sensed his hesitation, and judges and deputy ministers knew immediately that he was pulled by something far above the law, by something holy and alive.
“I went to see the chief of protocol for the Supreme Court,” Rafi said, soaking in sweat. “He’s old enough to be thinking about a successor. He was impressed by my record, and asked about my French. I said it was adequate, and he began to shout in the dialect of the Savoyards – Aostian Italian, we used to call it at school – and he spoke with such insanity and with such a squeaky voice that I couldn’t help laughing.”
“You shouldn’t have laughed,” Alessandro said. He was proud of Rafi and wanted him to get as high a position as possible.
“I couldn’t help it. He asked a lot of questions that I only half understood, and he didn’t hesitate between them. I think his object was to prove that, even though I said I knew French, I didn’t.”
“What did you do?”
“I told him that.”
“You did?” Lia asked.
Rafi nodded. “And I told him . . . I said, ‘You may think you’re speaking French, but you sound like a village idiot.’ He got red and started to make strange noises.”
“What happened?”
“What happened? I left his office. Perhaps I’m not cut out for the law.”

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Excerpt from “On The Road” by Jack Kérouac ~~Mexican girl~~

picture-OnTheRoad-KerouacThe cars rushed by, LA-bound. I gestured frantically. It was too cold. I stood there till midnight, two hours straight, and cursed and cursed. It was just like Stuart, Iowa, again. There was nothing to do but spend a little over two dollars for a bus the remaining miles to Los Angeles. I walked back along the highway to Bakersfield and into the station, and sat down on a bench.
I had bought my ticket and was waiting for the LA bus when all of a sudden I saw the cutest little Mexican girl in slacks come cutting across my sight. She was in one of the buses that had just pulled in with a big sigh of airbrakes; it was discharging passengers for a rest stop. Her breasts stuck out straight and true; her little flanks looked delicious; her hair was long and lustrous black; and her eyes were great big blue things with timidities inside. I wished I was on her bus. A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world. The announcer called the LA bus. I picked up my bag and got on, and who should be sitting there alone but the Mexican girl. I dropped right opposite her and began scheming right off. I was so lonely, so sad, so tired, so quivering, so broken, so beat, that I got up my courage, the courage necessary to approach a strange girl, and acted. Even then I spent five minutes beating my thighs in the dark as the bus rolled down the road.
You gotta, you gotta or you’ll die! Damn fool, talk to her! What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you tired enough of yourself by now? And before I knew what I was doing I leaned across the aisle to her (she was trying to sleep on the seat) and said, ‘Miss, would you like to use my raincoat for a pillow?’
She looked up with a smile and said, ‘No, thank you very much.’
I sat back, trembling; I lit a butt. I waited till she looked at me, with a sad little sidelook of love, and I got right up and leaned over her. ‘May I sit with you, miss?’
‘If you wish.’
And this I did. ‘Where going?’
‘LA.’ I loved the way she said ‘LA’; I love the way everybody says ‘LA’ on the Coast; it’s their one and only golden town when all is said and done.

 

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George Harrison – Color Card No.3

picture-Beatles-ColorCards_03apicture-Beatles-ColorCards_03b

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“Costafine Town” released by Splinter

A dirty old hole
In the side of the road
For the man who cleans the streets
Open pub doors
Where the working class goes at night

Written on walls
Where the cats never crawl
For the glass along the top
Man I was born there
I’m gonna walk right back

Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I feel so lonely,
I’ve been too long away
Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I wish I’d never
Made up my mind to stray

Nobody owns
All the dirty old clothes
That are lying in the lane
Whistling loud
The 4:30 shift has gone

Little old man
With a pole in his hand
Lighting lamps along the way
Hurry me back there
I wish I’d never gone

Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I feel so lonely,
I’ve been too long away
Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I wish I’d never
Made up my mind to stray

Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I feel so lonely,
I’ve been too long away
Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I wish I’d never
Made up my mind to stray

Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I feel so lonely,
I’ve been too long away
Costafine town, it’s a fine town
I’m coming home
I wish I’d never
Made up my mind to stray

 

picture-CostafineTown-Splinter

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Excerpt from “My Wicked Wicked Ways” by Errol Flynn ~~Bounty~~

picture-MyWickedWickedWays-FlynnOne day, as I watched the tobacco fields, in full leaf, and wondered whether I’d be able to cure the crop properly and then sell it, a cable arrived from Tahiti, forwarded from Sydney three thousand miles below.

TAHITI

MR ERROL FLYNN
SAILORS REST
WOOLLOOMOOLOO, SYDNEY

OFFER YOU FIFTY POUNDS ALL EXPENSES COME AT ONCE PLAY PART OF FLETCHER CHRISTIAN IN PICTURE ENTITLED IN THE WAKE OF THE BOUNTY BEING MADE IN TAHITI. CABLE COLLECT.

JOEL SWARTZ.

Swartz had said he would get in touch with me some day! Now here it was! I would be in a film! Suddenly my personal heritage seemed to pay off. Shades of Midshipman Young, who had been companion to Fletcher Christian during the mutiny on the Bounty.
I stared at the tobacco field, all my fortune in it, all my labour of several months. The leaves were green. The sun was warming the crop. I could smell the tobacco leaf.
I called my Boss Boy and rapid-talked in pidgin, the language of Papua, made up of German, English and Melanesian words.
“Allaman, yufela Big Boss. I go mek ship.” I motioned with the fingers of my two hands the number of weeks I might be gone, eight or ten.
“Ai, Taubada.”
“Yufela mek tobac job.”
“Ai, Taubada.”
“Yufela care for him house.”
“Ai, Taubada.”
“Yufela tek care Tuperselai.”
“Yes, Taubada. Allaman tek. Keep for Taubada.”
I went into Port Moresby, cabled Schwartz, and took ship northward to the famed Tahiti in the Polynesian Isles.
For three weeks I worked with Swartz in the picture – without the least idea of what I was doing, except that I was supposed to be an actor. We made much of the film in Maatvai Bay, where a hundred and forty years earlier Captain Bligh had anchored in the Bounty.
I was startled to note that I could remember the lines I had to say. I could commit lines to memory and not falter. There were just so many that had to be mastered every day. It was a big discovery in a way.
The experience came swiftly and it seemed to go swiftly. But it was different from anything that I had ever done before: so much at variance with digging earth, selling ‘Kanakas’ the idea of becoming ‘workers’, carrying guns for real in the goldfields.
I had touched on something that the world called an art form and it had affected me deeply.
That was my first movie job and I was never able to convince people of it. When I arrived in Hollywood later and I mentioned that I bore this relationship to Fletcher Christian’s companion and that I had had my beginnings in a film playing the part of Christian, they looked at me as if with disbelief.
Nor did they believe that I came from Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea. No one believed anything else I ever said about my life and adventure in that part of the world.

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Excerpt from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway ~~Sordo~~

picture-ForWhomTheBellTolls-HemingwayIf he had known how many men have had to use a hill to die on it would not have cheered him any for, in the moment he was passing through, men are not impressed by what has happened to other men in similar circumstances any more than a widow of one day is helped by the knowledge that other loved husbands have died. Whether one has fear of it or not, one’s death is difficult to accept. Sordo had accepted it but there was no sweetness in its acceptance even at fifty-two, with three wounds and him surrounded on a hill.
He joked about it to himself but he looked at the sky and at the far mountains and he swallowed the wine and he did not want it. If one must die, he thought, and clearly one must, I can die. But I hate it.
Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.
Sordo passed the wine bottle back and nodded his head in thanks. He leaned forward and patted the dead horse on the shoulder where the muzzle of the automatic rifle had burned the hide. He could still smell the burnt hair. He thought how he had held the horse there, trembling, with the fire around them, whispering and cracking, over and around them like a curtain, and had carefully shot him just at the intersection of the crosslines between the two eyes and the ears. Then as the horse pitched down he had dropped down behind his warm, wet back to get the gun going as they came up the hill.
Eras mucho caballo,’ he said, meaning, ‘Thou wert plenty of horse.’
El Sordo lay now on his good side and looked up at the sky. He was lying on a heap of empty cartridge hulls but his head was protected by the rock and his body lay in the lee of the horse. His wounds had stiffened badly and he had much pain and he felt too tired to move.

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