Sunday, 7 November 2010

So Very Congenial

So Very Congenial by Leila Burton Wells. An extract from the beginning of a risque shorty story that appeared in the, June 7, 1919, issue of John O'London's Weekly.

Billy Everard was riding one of his pet hobbies.
"Given two individuals with similar tastes," he said to his guests, "you could put them in any old place, on a desert island even, and they'd soon be - what we call in love. You've got to have community of tastes. Look at my wife and me, for instance"
"Oh Billy, please don't!" Mrs. Everad exspostulated plaintively, just as dinner was finished, and arose to lead the way into the drawing-room.
"Well, my dear, everyone knows we are happily married. It isn't anything to be ashamed of! But what everyone doesn't know," Billy rode on, "is the reason - absolute congeniality of tastes."
One of the women, as she put her after dinner coffee cup on a tabouret beside her, cast a penetrating glance at Mrs Everad. "I suppose it's true," she hazarded doubtfully, "and it's wonderful, if it is true, but you don't look as if you loved to sit in hot grand stands at cricket matches and polo matches, and go camping in the summer with mosquitoes biting your toes, and no cold cream for your face, and your hair all out of curl."
"But she does, though," her best friend defended. "She honestly just adores everything he likes - even that awful vaudeville. They go twice a week," fondly pushing one of the jewelled combs closer into Mrs. Everad's curly sable-coloured hair. "An ideal marriage with an awfully big accent on the ideal, isn't it, dearie?"
Mrs. Everad laughed with the others, but she looked at them, as she did so, from under her long screening lashes and wondered if they knew! Wondered passionately if they were playing the same game in different ways, all of them! Were they all pretending! Had these other women found out her secret, too? ....

I will post the next section of the story if someone requests it. Ask by leaving a message in the Comments Box below.

Twitter In A Nutshell

Lesson in Using Twitter:
Twitter is a place for people who like to tell other people about what they are doing.

An Example:

Person 1; "I'm on the bus."
Person 1's Follower; "Are you?"
Person 1; "Yes."
Person 1's Follower; "What bus is it?"
Person 1; "The 152."
Person 1's Follower; "I like that bus."
Person 1; "So do I."

Walking and Talking

The Lesson

As we are all aware walking is quite a difficult skill to learn, so trying to talk at the same time as walking can be an accident waiting to happen. So I would advise anyone considering attempting to walk and talk simultaneously to practice each individual skill for at least two years before doubling up.

Friday, 5 November 2010

BBC Journalist Strike

Update: Strike now over. No further news to report.

Because of the National Union of Journalists strike on today I have decided to help keep the nation informed of the major breaking news stories from around the world. I will do this for the next forty-eight hours while the strike is ongoing. I will be updating the news every hour.

UK News: A Public House and Hotel just up the road from our office has been badly damaged in a fire.
A survey conducted by conductors has concluded that waving a stick around is not really a proper job.
A celebrity has probably been sleeping with someone other than his regular partner.

World News: A volcano has erupted.
The Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi has been caught on camera doing something that does not involve a young woman.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

In Search of the Southwold Snob

This is a short lesson in finding a Southwold Snob. Try to look in the seaside town of Southwold as this will give you a much better chance of success.
The first thing you must do is walk up to a person that you suspect of being a Southwold Snob and ask them for directions to Lowestoft. If they give you directions to Lowestoft you have not found a Southwold Snob. If they deny that they have ever heard of Lowestoft you might have found a Southwold Snob. To confirm this you should also ask them if they know where you can purchase some candyfloss. If the individual then walks away from you without even answering this question you can be certain that you have found a Southwold Snob. Good hunting.

Did Shakespeare Read The News?

Of all the writers Shakespeare is the least "topical." His silence on the great figures and events of his time is weird. Yet if we know anything about him we are sure that he was a man of the world, a good "mixer," the friend of great men, a Londoner among Londoners. All that he knew about human nature he learned from the life around him. All the pulsations of his genius must have sprung from the events and conditions under which he lived. How came it, then, that this man about whom his period is so silent, is so silent about his period?

Lowestoft Pie

Simple instructions on how to make a delicious Lowestoft Pie.

1. Large Cabbage
2. 5 Herrings

Cut a large cabbage in half and lay 5 herrings on top of the flat edge of one half of the cabbage, and then place the other half of the cabbage on top so you end up with a whole cabbage once again with the tails of the herrings sticking out of one side of the cabbage, and the heads of the herrings sticking out of the other. Then using string tie the two halves of the cabbage tightly together. Place in a preheated oven on gas mark 5 for two days, and serve with boiled eggs. Enjoy.

The Covehithe Creature

Legend has it that a massive sea-monster emerged from the depths of the North Sea to climb the cliffs at Covehithe in Suffolk, where it destroyed the village, eating its terrified inhabitants and pulling apart the huge church that once stood like a bastion of Christian faith against the wild and stormy seas. No evidence has ever been found to verify the existence of this terrible creature from the deep, but local people still say they have heard the ungodly screams of their ancestors on dark stormy nights. Below is a photograph of the old church at Covehithe as it looks today, and below that is a picture of one of the jolly locals.

The Lowestoft Gold

I have been researching the mystery of the lost 'Lowestoft Gold' for many years now, and I can now publish my findings here for the first time.
In 1456 a Spanish merchant vessel was blown off course in a violent storm and sought safe harbour on the sands of North Lowestoft. This vessel was transporting gold coins from Spain to the New World. Records show that the sailors aboard the ship were attacked by local inhabitants who feared that this was the beginning of an invasion. The Spanish crew fought off the attackers and then tried desperately to pull their ship off the sands to make their escape, but the weight of the huge amount of gold prevented them from doing so. At the order of the ships Captain the crew then unloaded the gold and dug a tunnel into the Cliffs (Gunton Cliff) where they buried the horde of coins. The Spanish were then able to make their escape back out to the safety of the North Sea. Over the next few years the Spanish tried in vain to send ships to try and recover their lost treasure, but sadly for them the area of cliffs they had buried the coins in had collapsed making the job of identifying the correct spot impossible. So in conclusion the treasure is still there, and maybe with the passing of time, and with the help of the constant coastal erosion along this stretch of North Suffolk we will once again see the glinting of the 'Lowestoft Gold.' Below is a picture of how the cliffs look today with the new seawall in the foreground.

I'm Cut Off

Deciding to live as far east as it is possible to live within the United Kingdom I do appreciate that I must expect to face some difficulties when trying to drive to anywhere else within these islands. But can someone explain to me why a journey from Lowestoft to the centre of London, which is approximately 103 miles as the crow flies should take over 3 hours. I would also love to hear from anyone who can tell me why most of the people who have lived in this area all their lives, actually appear not to care about being cut-off from the rest of our nation. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

First Ever John O'London's Weekly

This is a very rare copy of the first ever issue of John O'London's Weekly which was published by George Newnes on Saturday, April 12, 1919. The editor was Wilfred Whitten (John O'London). The first short story was entitled Secret Service by F. Britten Austin. The feature article was written by H.G. Wells.

Jill the Reckless by P.G. Wodehouse

P.G. Wodehouse in a nutshell. This episode of the parrot is part of the plot, and it is an injustice to seperate it from the book; and yet a small portion must be quoted.

"Good-bye, boy!" said the parrot, clinging to his bars.
Nelly thrust a finger into the cage, and scratched his head.
"Anxious to get rid of me, aren't you? Well, so long."
"Good-bye, boy!"
"All right, I'm going. Be good!"
"Woof-woof-woof!" barked Bill the parrot, not committing himself to any promises.
For some moments after Nelly had gone he remained hunched on his perch, contemplating the infinite. Then he sauntered along to the seed-box and took some more light nourishment. He always liked to spread his meals out, to make them last longer. A drink of water to wash the food down, and he returned to the middle of the cage, where he proceeded to conduct a few intimate researches with his beak under his left wing. After which he mewed like a cat, and relapsed into silent meditation once more. He closed his eyes and pondered on his favourite problem. Why was he a parrot?

Jack London in Prison

This remarkable story about Jack London's time spent in an American prison was published for the first time in John O'London's Weekly on April 2, 1921. In 1894 he was convicted of sleeping in a field. One of the many vagrants who lost their liberty during the late 19th and early 20th century in the USA. This is just a short extract from the article.

Jack London, marching in lock-step, went out to hard labour in the yards. He tried to mail a letter. The guards laughed at him. He learned that short-timers were not allowed to write letters; that when long-timers wrote them the letters were read and destroyed or pigeon-holed in the office. He found that the prison was cut off entirely from the outside world, a hell enclosed in stone walls, ruled by brutality and horror and fear. He heard the screams of men hung up by the thumbs, gnawing their arms in agony, shrieking till unconsciousness ended their torture. He saw half-starved men caught hiding bits of bread in their shirts and brutally punished for it. He heard, from the corners of mouths trained to speak without lip-movement, incredible and monstrous things more hideous, and he saw that those tales were true. For the first time in his life fear entered his own soul.
He walked warily and shuddering through the horrors around him. Strength and courage would not avail him; he fell back upon craft. He considered men in his hall and selected a friend. "Pittsburg Jack" was a yegg, experienced in the ways of prison. Having a pull with the head trusty, who had done time with him in Sing Sing years before, he had himself become a trusty, holding inestimable privilages of tobacco and matches and opportunities for graft as payment for ruling the hundred wretches in his tier of cells.
About forty, kindly, humorous, utterly unscrupulous, with a dry philosophy of his own, he responded to the advances made by young "Frisco Jack" London. He saw good qualities in the boy; courage, enterprise, honour. Frisco Jack was a square kid; he wouldn't go back on a pal in a pinch, no matter how bad the bulls beat him up. He was worth cultivating, ....

Monday, 1 November 2010

Though the Frost Was Cruel

The beginning of a short story written by Joan Thompson in 1920. This appeared in John O'London's Weekly. I have been unable to find very much information about Miss Thompson. All I do know is she was born in Gloucestershire, and was living in Herefordshire at the time she wrote this story. She also wrote a novel entitled "Mary England" which was published by Methuen.

Though the Frost Was Cruel

The Dark Orchard lay in the hollow of two hills, one perhaps as high again as the other. In the length of fifty years it had not changed very much. It was darker because the trees were thicker and more heavily boughed, but it had always looked old, and even the young trees grew gnarled quickly. To see it in spring from the top of either hill was to look down on an impenetrable mass of blossom. In autumn the dark red apples hung from the trees in wonderful contrast to the yellow, stricken leaves. It was easy, even in winter, to hide in the orchard from the eye of the inquisitive, whether in the fork of a bough or by merely sitting on the stile in the upper corner, farthest away from the house.
In the sixties the Dark Orchard belonged to Keturah Ash. She had been a widow for many years, and in age kept pace with the century, for she had been born in the early spring of 1800.
Keturah Ash had lived a hard life, and at sixty-five any softness there might have been in her nature had died an easy death. She was not a poor woman, for those were days when to be poor was to know the deep meaning of poverty. And Keturah had never starved, never physically starved. Her husband had left her house and land, a handful of acres known as Grey Hill Farm. For twenty years she had worked it herself, even laying her hedges, planting and harvesting her corn, rearing and tending her small herd of stock. In the autumn of the year she employed two women to do the digging, for no horse or plough ever passed over her land. The digging done, she sowed her corn, marking the furrows with a line, covering the last as she worked the next. ......

Crimefile Number 1

Below is a scanned image of the cover of the book Crimefile Number 1: File on Bolitho Blane by Dennis Wheatley. This was a new concept in detective fiction published by William Morrow in 1936. Inside the book the clues to solve the crime are placed on the pages. For instance there is actual hair from the head of one of the victims inside an evidence bag  taped in, plus numerous other items laid in throughout the book. Sadly there was never to be a Crimefile Number 2 as William Morrow found that it was far too expensive to produce any more books of this type.

Claudine Auger

This is just one set of photographs of Claudine Auger featured in "The Dude" magazine from May, 1960. Miss Auger had been crowned Miss France in 1958, and went on to appear in the James Bond film Thunderball.

Blue Bell Wranglers

The advert below for "Blue Bell Wranglers" is from the back cover of "The Dude" magazine published in May, 1960.

The Dude

'The Dude' was an American top-shelf magazine that tried to distance itself from the down market glamour publications of the period. Using established writers, artists, and top photographers they attempted to appeal to the more well-heeled "gentleman," and for the first time featured articles that might attract a female readership. The pictures below come from 'The Dude' issue of May, 1960, the artist was Alan Woods. Contents included tasteful nudity, some risque photographs of the French actress Claudine Auger, but also some very well written essays.

Mens Magazines in the 1950s

'For Men Only' published in America by Canam was typical of the titles available for adults only in the 1950s. This issue dates from December, 1957. They featured a mixture of topical news stories from around the world with strange tales of the more saucy variety. There was no nudity allowed unless they featured "savage tribes women" in varying degrees of undress. They were allowed to have raunchy fiction short stories which were usually illustrated using glamour models in provocative poses. Cover headlines were very important to grab the customers attention, as you can see below with "The Lesbian Clubs of Place Pigalle," and "The Nudes Who Decoyed An Army."