Monthly Archives: March 2014

Excerpt from “On The Road” by Jack Kérouac ~~Shearing~~

Kérouac has his characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty see George Shearing at the Birdland jazz club in New York. Shearing was a blind jazz pianist from England, who had emigrated to America in 1947.

 

picture-OnTheRoad-KerouacDean and I went to see Shearing at Birdland in the midst of the long, mad weekend. The place was deserted, we were the first customers, ten o’clock. Shearing came out, blind, led by the hand to his keyboard. He was a distinguished-looking Englishman with a stiff white collar, slightly beefy, blond, with a delicate English-summer’s-night air about him that came out in the first rippling sweet number he played as the bass-player leaned to him reverently and thrummed the beat. The drummer, Denzil Best, sat motionless except for his wrists snapping the brushes. And Shearing began to rock; a smile broke over his ecstatic face; he began to rock in the piano seat, back and forth, slowly at first, then the beat went up, and he began rocking fast, his left foot jumped up with every beat, his neck began to rock crookedly, he brought his face down to the keys, he pushed his hair back, his combed hair dissolved, he began to sweat. The music picked up. The bass-player hunched over and socked it in, faster and faster, it seemed faster and faster, that’s all. Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled out of the piano in great rich showers, you’d think the man wouldn’t have time to line them up. They rolled and rolled like the sea. Folks yelled for him to ‘Go!’ Dean was sweating; the sweat poured down his collar. ‘There he is! That’s him! Old God! Old God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!’ And Shearing was conscious of the madman behind him, he could hear every one of Dean’s gasps and imprecations, he could sense it though he couldn’t see. ‘That’s right!’ Dean said. ‘Yes!’ Shearing smiled; he rocked. Shearing rose from the piano, dripping with sweat; these were his great 1949 days before he became cool and commercial. When he was gone Dean pointed to the empty piano seat. ‘God’s empty chair,’ he said. On the piano a horn sat; its golden shadow made a strange reflection along the desert caravan painted on the wall behind the drums. God was gone; it was the silence of his departure. It was a rainy night. It was the myth of the rainy night. Dean was popeyed with awe. The madness would lead nowhere. I didn’t know what was happening to me, and I suddenly realized it was only the tea we were smoking; Dean had bought some in New York. It made me think that everything was about to arrive – the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever.

 

picture-ShearingGeorge

 

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Excerpt from “No Surrender” by Hiroo Onoda ~~Orders~~

Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese army flew to Clark Airbase on Luzon (The Philippines) in December 1944. He met with Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, the commander of the Special Intelligence Squadron, and was ultimately posted to the island of Lubang to undertake guerrilla operations until further notice.
He finally received his new orders in March 1974, near thirty years after the war had ended.

picture-NoSurrender-Onoda

The head disappeared, but in a few moments Major Taniguchi emerged from the tent fully clothed and with an army cap on his head. Taut down to my fingertips, I barked out, ‘Lieutenant Onoda, Sir, reporting for orders.’
‘Good for you!’ he said, walking up to me and patting me lightly on the left shoulder. ‘I’ve brought you these from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.’
He handed me a pack of cigarettes with the chrysanthemum crest of the emperor on them. I accepted it and, holding it up before me in proper respect for the emperor, fell back two or three paces. At a little distance, Suzuki was standing ready with his camera.
Major Taniguchi said, ‘I shall read your orders.’
I held my breath as he began to read from a document that he held up formally with both hands. In rather low tones, he read, ‘Command from Headquarters, Fourteenth Area Army’ and then continued more firmly and in a louder voice: ‘Orders from the Special Squadron, Chief of Staff’s Headquarters, Bekabak, 19th September, 1900 hours.
‘1. In accordance with the Imperial Command the Fourteenth Area Army has ceased all combat activity.
‘2. In accordance with Military Headquarters Command No. A-2003, the Special Squadron in the Chief of Staff’s Headquarters is relieved of all military duties.
‘3. Units and individuals under the command of the Special Squadron are to cease military activities and operations immediately and place themselves under the command of the nearest superior officer. When no officer can be found, they are to communicate with the American or Philippine forces and follow their directives.
‘Special Squadron, Chief of Staff’s Headquarters, Fourteenth Area Army, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi.’
After reading this, Major Taniguchi paused slightly, then added, ‘That is all.’
I stood quite still, waiting for what was to follow, I felt sure Major Taniguchi would come up to me and whisper, ‘That was so much talk. I will tell you your real orders later.’
After all, Suzuki was present, and the major could not talk to me confidentially in front of him.
I watched the major closely. He merely looked back rather stiffly. Seconds passed, but he still said no more. The pack on my back suddenly seemed very heavy.
Major Taniguchi slowly folded up the order, and for the first time I realized that no subterfuge was involved. This was no trick – everything I had heard was real. There was no secret message.
The pack became still heavier.
We really lost the war! How could they have been so sloppy?
Suddenly everything went black. A storm raged inside me. I felt like a fool for having been so tense and cautious on the way here. Worse than that, what had I been doing for all these years?
Gradually the storm subsided, and for the first time I really understood: my thirty years as a guerrilla fighter for the Japanese army were abruptly finished. This was the end.
I pulled back the bolt on my rifle and unloaded the bullets.

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“Cheap Wine” released by Cold Chisel

Once I smoked a Danneman cigar
I drove a foreign car
Baby that was years ago
I left it all behind
I had a friend, I heard she died
On a needle she was crucified
Baby that was years ago
I left it all behind for my

Cheap wine and a three-day growth
Cheap wine and a three-day growth
Come-on, come-on, come-on

I don’t mind takin’ charity
From those that I despise
I don’t really need your love
I don’t need your love
Baby you can shout at me
But you can’t meet my eyes
I don’t really need your love
I don’t need your love
I got my

Cheap wine and a three-day growth
Cheap wine and a three-day growth
Come-on, come-on, come-on

I’m sitting on the beach drinkin’ rocket fuels – oh yeah!
I spent the whole night breakin’ all the rules – oh yeah!
Mending every minute of the day before
Watching the ocean, watching the shore
Watching the sunrise, and thinkin’ there could never be more
Never be more

Anytime you want to find me
I don’t got a telephone
I’m another world away
But I always feel at home
With my

Cheap wine and a three-day growth

 

picture-CheapWine-ColdChisel

 

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Excerpt from “Prisoner of the Kormoran” told by W.A. “Syd” Jones to James Taylor

Syd Jones was a crewman aboard the S.S. Mareeba, which was fired upon (and ultimately sunk by demolition) by the German raider Kormoran. He and fellow crew members were held prisoner on the Kormoran for over three months before being relocated to a supply ship, Kulmerland, for eventual return to Germany.
While they were on this vessel, they received the news of their former captor.

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Nothing of interest occurred for several days. Then we learned for the first time that retribution had at last overtaken the Kormoran. At 10 o’clock one morning, Gus walked into the galley, looking pale about the gills. He seemed to have had a shock.
“Yonis,” he said in a subdued voice which made me wonder what in the world had come over him, “you have not forgotten zee Kormoran, have you?”
“I don’t know the Kormoran, sir.”
That, as a matter of fact, was the first time I had heard the name.
“Listen, Yonis, zee sheep that captured zee Mareeba was called zee Kormoran.”
“Well, I never! The raider?”
“She was what you call the raider, Yonis, ja. But we do not call her a raider; we call her an armed merchant cruiser!”
“Yes, sir. What about her?”
Gus heaved a sign and went on: “We have zee radio message that she has sunk your cruiser Sydney. It is zee greatest feat in naval history, and our Fuhrer has awarded her commander zee highest honour that he can bestow. But, Yonis, zee Kormoran, too, is finished – kaput. Our comrades, four hundred of them, would have to fight to zee death. That is zee way of zee German navy. But some survive the fight, we know.”
“What about the Sydney men, sir?”
“We theenk there are none saved. Some of our men have arrived in Australia. They are prisoners. That is sad.”
But it definitely wasn’t so sad as the news of a disaster that had evidently brought death to the Sydney’s glorious company. I simply couldn’t believe such a thing, and when I excitedly told my shipmates, neither could they. The story was fantastic. Dave Kitchen had a brother in the cruiser. He was very close to tears, and so, I soon discovered, was one of our guards whose brother had been a member of the raider’s crew. It’s a small world!
Captain Skinner, who later obtained additional details, admitted to us that everything pointed to the loss of the Sydney with all hands. Wireless messages from several sources had been picked up which left no doubt of the tragedy.

Comment:

W.A. ‘Syd’ Jones was assistant cook on the Mareeba. He eventually made it to German soil and was held as a prisoner of war. He was exchanged, together with a number of allied prisoners, for a similar group of German merchant seamen around July 1943.

Dave Kitchen was a deck boy on the Mareeba, but his fate is unknown. There was a fellow, Clayton Kitchin (22649) who was aboard the Sydney, perhaps this was his brother. His date of death is recorded as 20 November 1941.

Captain M.B. Skinner was presumably lost at sea following the sinking of the German prison ship, Spreewald, while they were en route to Germany.

‘Gus’ had been a crew member on the Kormoran, but transferred to the supply ship with the prisoners. He had reached retiring age, being near 60, and was to return to Germany. He was killed when leaving the stricken Spreewald.

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Excerpt from “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins ~~Prim~~

Adobe Photoshop PDFThe Circle’s full of people milling around, wailing, or just sitting and letting the snow pile up around them. I fit right in. I begin to weave my way across to the mansion, tripping over abandoned treasures and snow-frosted limbs. About halfway there, I become aware of the concrete barricade. It’s about a metre and a half high and extends in a large rectangle in front of the mansion. You would think it would be empty, but it’s packed with refugees. Maybe this is the group that’s been chosen to be sheltered at the mansion? But as I draw closer, I notice something else. Everyone inside the barricade is a child. Toddlers to teenagers. Scared and frostbitten. Huddled in groups or rocking numbly on the ground. They aren’t being led into the mansion. They’re penned in, guarded on all sides by Peacekeepers. I know immediately it’s not for their protection. If the Capitol wanted to safeguard them, they’d be down in a bunker somewhere. This is for Snow’s protection. The children form his human shield.
There’s a commotion and the crowd surges to the left. I’m caught up by larger bodies, borne sideways, carried off course. I hear shouts of “The rebels! The rebels!” and know they must’ve broken through. The momentum slams me into a flagpole and I cling to it. Using the rope that hangs from the top, I pull myself up out of the crush of bodies. Yes, I can see the rebel army pouring into the Circle, driving the refugees back on to the avenues. I scan the area for the pods that will surely be detonating. But that doesn’t happen. This is what happens:
A hovercraft marked with the Capitol’s seal materializes directly over the barricaded children. Scores of silver parachutes rain down on them. Even in this chaos, the children know what silver parachutes contain. Food. Medicine. Gifts. They eagerly scoop them up, frozen fingers struggling with the strings. The hovercraft vanishes, five seconds pass, and then about twenty parachutes simultaneously explode.
A wail rises from the cloud. The snow’s red and littered with undersized body parts. Many of the children die immediately, but others lie in agony on the ground. Some stagger around mutely, staring at the remaining parachutes in their hands, as if they still might have something precious inside. I can tell the Peacekeepers didn’t know this was coming by the way they are yanking away the barricades, making a path to the children. Another flock of white uniforms sweeps into the opening. But these aren’t Peacekeepers. They’re medics. Rebel medics. I’d know the uniforms anywhere. They swarm in among the children, wielding medical kits.
First I get a glimpse of the blonde plait down her back. Then, as she yanks off her coat to cover a wailing child, I notice the duck tail formed by her untucked shirt. I have the same reaction I did the day Effie Trinket called her name at the reaping. At least, I must go limp, because I find myself at the base of the flagpole, unable to account for the last few seconds. Then I am pushing through the crowd, just as I did before. Trying to shout her name above the roar. I’m almost there, almost to the barricade, when I think she hears me. Because for just a moment, she catches sight of me, her lips form my name.
And that’s when the rest of the parachutes go off.

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Excerpt from “Retreat from Kokoda” by Raymond Paull ~~Potts~~

picture-RetreatFromKokoda-PaullIn the clearing where Potts had established his headquarters, the sentries heard no movement on the steep hillside during the night, and the customary stand-to before first light passed without incident. Potts and his staff heard the crescendo of fire when Horii redoubled his assault against Cooper’s front. They took mental note of its onset, received Cooper’s report, and went about their duties.
Known among other things for his regular personal habits, Potts walked across the clearing soon after dawn to a newly excavated pit near the jungle’s edge. A sentry – Pte. Gill, one of the “Old and Bold” of the Guard Platoon – manned a Bren-gun post on the forward slope of the knoll overlooking the point where the track broke from the jungle saddle. The two men exchanged the pleasantries of the morning.
Returning after a few minutes, Potts had barely reached the roofless shack when a sudden shot rang out across the clearing. He turned to see the sentry fall. Alert, armed and ready in an instant, Potts and his staff scanned the clearing for the enemy, asking, “What happened?” “Where are they?” No fusillade followed. The dead man lay sprawled over the shallow hole of his post. The Australians listened intently for evidence of the enemy’s presence – the tell-tale locking of a rifle-bolt, the crack of a twig. Nothing stirred.
For the first time since the campaign began, the enemy’s tactics, the unprecedented announcement of their proximity, took Potts and his staff unawares. The Australians had become accustomed to an onslaught from the enemy’s first shot. The silence in the clearing mystified them.
Captured records suggest that it was 1st Lieutenant Kamimura, instructed to locate the Australians’ rear, who occupied the top of the ridge at the northern end of the clearing. Awaiting Sakamoto and his Machine-gun Company for an attack at 5.30 a.m., Kamimura may not have suspected at first the presence of the small group on the opposite side of the knoll, and the Japanese who shot Gill probably did so on impulse. Potts will never know how close he came to death on his walk to and from the latrine, of being lined up in the sights of the Japanese marksman who chose instead to shoot Gill.
Potts’ Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Cairns, dissipated the momentary uncertainty. Taking Corporal Beveridge, of the Brigade Transport Platoon, Cairns crossed the clearing. The two men had passed Gill’s post on the knoll and were approaching the north-western corner when Beveridge said quietly, “Look, there’s a Jap there now.” “Give him a grenade,” Cairns replied. At the same time, he saw the Japanese in the shadows, his light machine-gun aimed at them and his finger curling around the trigger. He called, “Look out,” and cast himself flat in the grass, escaping the burst of fire which echoed his words. The grenade had left Beveridge’s fingers when the same burst crumpled him. In the next instant, the grenade killed the enemy and destroyed his gun.
Cairns, his rifle out of reach, backed away without guessing that Beveridge was mortally wounded. Then, realizing that the Corporal had been hit, he circled, saw his body, and returned to retrieve it. His outstretched hand was barely its own breadth from Beveridge’s ankle when a Japanese leapt from the scrub and charged down upon him. Cairns scrambled to his feet and ran, somewhat blindly, until a deafening roar startled him and he beheld Lieutenant Burnham Fraser, his fellow Liaison Officer, armed with the cherished marksman’s rifle which invariably accompanied him. “Couldn’t miss him,” said Fraser triumphantly.

Comment:
This happened on 8 September 1942 at a point in the Kokoda campaign when the Australians were engaged in a fighting withdrawal against overwhelming Japanese forces.
Brigadier Arnold Potts (WX700102) was born on the Isle of Man on 16 September 1896, and died on 1 January 1968, aged 71 years.
Private John Gill (NX11728) was born in England, enlisted in March 1940, was posted to the Headquarters Guard Battalion, and was killed in action this day in September 1942.
Lieutenant Norman Cairns (VX29956) was born on 26 October 1916 in Melbourne, Australia, and was discharged on 9 October 1945.
Corporal Cyril Beveridge(VX14989 ) was born in Carlton, Victoria on 11 October 1912, enlisted in May 1940, was posted to HQ 21 Australian Infantry Brigade and was killed in action this day in September 1942.
Lieutenant Burnham Fraser (VX8349) was born in London, England on 28 February 1901, enlisted in May 1940, and was discharged on 30 October 1943.

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“It Started With A Kiss” released by Hot Chocolate

It started with a kiss in the back row of a classroom.
How could I resist the aroma of your perfume.
You and I were inseparable
It was love at first sight.
You made me promise to marry you
I made you promise to be my wife

But then you were only eight years old and I had just about turned nine.
I thought that life was always good
I thought you always would be mine.
It started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this.
It started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this.
I remember ev’ry little thing like fighting in the playground

As some good looking boy had started to hang around.
That boy hurt me so bad
But I was happy ’cause you cried. – still –
I couldn’t help but notice that new distant look in your eyes

And then when you were sixteen
And I had just turned seventeen

I couldn’t hold on to your love
I couldn’t hold on to my dreams.

It started with a kiss
Never thought is would come to this.
It started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this.
You don’t remember me
Do you? You don’t remember me
Do you?
Walking down the street came the star of my love story

And my heart began to beat so fast
So clear was my memory.
I heard my voice cry out her name
And as she looked and looked away
I felt so hurt
I felt so small
And it was all that I could say

You don’t remember me
Do you? You don’t remember me
Do you?
You don’t remember me
Do you? You don’t remember me
Do you?
It started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this.
It started with a kiss
Never thought it would come to this.

picture-ItStartedWithAKiss-HotChocolate

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