Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Rare Masonic Ephemera

Below you can view a number of rare Masonic Summons' and other printed items that were published in the 1916 issue of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.
Union Lodge of the Society of Bucks.
Royal Georgionian Lodge (not Masonic)
Leeds Masonic Benefit Society 1818.
Summons of St. Paul's Lodge.
Circular of the Society of Chins.
1734 Key and Garter, Pall Mall


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My Book Covers





Here are four of the book covers that I have designed and made myself before using them for my self-published Kindle books. Some of them are undoubtedly better than others. If there are any authors out there who are struggling to get a design for their own book, and would like me to have a go at designing one for them FREE of charge, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can private message me on Twitter.


Tips for People Who Give Tips

Blogs are full of people who give tips on how best to do things. They usually have a list of 10 tips for increasing your social media presence, or tips on becoming the best writer since Charles Dickens. When reading these wonderful tips, please remember if the individuals giving out these tips actually knew what they were talking about they would be sunning themselves on a tropical beach, instead of sitting in their bedrooms thinking up new tips.
That's my tip.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Poppy Girl's Husband


The Poppy Girl’s Husband by Jack Boyle. A short extract from a very rare piece of American crime writing that influenced writers, and movie directors from Raymond Chandler, to Francis Ford Coppola.

 Boston Blackie let the afternoon paper slip to his knees.
“Harry Dutton is coming back,” he said, with a startled accent of one announcing a catastrophe. “The Pardon Board has granted him an immediate parole.”
“Harry Dutton?” repeated Mary, interrogatively. Then as remembrance came to her: “Not Hairpin Harry? Not the Poppy Girl’s Husband?”
“Yes, Hairpin Harry,” said Blackie. “He’s done eight, nine – yes, almost ten years’ hard time; and now his coming back – to what?”
Blackie paused, his brow criss-crossed with the furrows of pained friendship and sympathy.
“Think of it, Mary,” he added, slowly. “He’s coming back after ten long years, and he doesn’t know what has happened while he has been doing time.”
“Doesn’t know?” cried Mary. “Do you mean that even in prison no one has told him? Why, it’s years and years since she….. “
“No one has told him,” interrupted Blackie. “One man tried it, I heard, but Harry choked him half to death with the words still in his throat. And since then Harry has done most of his time in the dungeon. No, he doesn’t know.”
Mary looked up at her husband with a helpless, awed gesture.
“If that is so, and he cares for her, Blackie,” she said, gently, “it would have been kinder if he had died inside – still in ignorance. Does he care?”
With the paper that had resurrected old and all but forgotten memories lying discarded in his lap, Boston Blackie stared in silence into the open fire. He saw the banquet-room of a once famous restaurant that had vanished beneath the ashes of San Francisco’s great fire. He saw a long table with great banks of golden Californian poppies lying against its snowy linen. The chatter of the gay company of the crook world gathered about it was hushed as a man rose from beside a young girl as luxuriously beautiful as the brilliant wild flower for which they had named her.
“Friends,” he had said, “it’s easier for me to open a lock with a hairpin than to tell about, but when a man feels anything hard enough, he can say it. That’s me to-night. I’ve taken a pal for life. I’ve married Polly, the Poppy-Girl; and she’s the best, the truest, the sweetest little pal any man ever had. So we’re going to play the old game together, folks – play it to the end without fear or favour, me for her always, and she for me. And I’m going to be as right and square with her as I have been with you who have worked with me, so help me God! Friends, meet my wife and …..” His voice had trembled as he finished: “I’m the happiest and luckiest guy who ever walked the streets of dear old Frisco.”
Boston Blackie stirred uneasily in his chair. The vision of the banquet-room faded. In its place he saw a court-room. A judge was on the bench pronouncing sentence against a man who faced him from the prisoner’s bar with troubled but defiant eyes.
“Fourteen years,” said the judge.
The sound of a woman’s hysterical sobbing came from the rear of the court-room as he vanished into his chambers. The curious crowd filed out, and Blackie saw himself alone with Hairpin Harry Dutton and a woman who held a tiny boy in her arms and cried heartbrokenly against her husband’s breast.
“It’s tough luck, Blackie,” said the sentenced man, kissing the girl with the tenderness of great love. “It’s hard to leave her like this, but – fate is fate. Anyway, I’ve enough banked to take care of her while I’m doing time, even if I do it all. On the first of every month, all she has to do is step down to the bank and draw a hundred-dollar note. That’ll keep her and the boy. I’d put it all in her name now, but she’s only a kid and can’t manage money any better than a baby. So I’m playing safe for her, and I’ll go up, taking along the comfort of knowing she is drawing that little old century note every month while she and the boy are waiting for me to come home. Fourteen years! It’s a long, long time, Blackie, when a man’s waiting to get back to a wife like Polly and a boy like ours.”
He stooped and kissed the baby in the woman’s arms, then held his wife against his breast, soothing her grief until the sheriff’s deputies beckoned him to them. A door clanged behind him, and Hairpin Harry Dutton vanished from the world of living men.

“Did he care for her, Blackie?” repeated Mary. Blackie roused himself from his reverie and brushed a hand across his eyes as if to sweep away the visions of the past.
“He care for her so much.” He said, slowly, “that someone must tell him before he comes back. No one but I will think of it. If I catch the midnight mail, I can be at Folsom in the morning to meet him. Pack my grip, Mary.”
From the crossroads at the foot of the grade, Boston Blackie saw a figure turn the crest of the ridge that encircles Folsom Penitentiary. Even at a distance a glance identified him as a convict in his first hour of restored freedom.
The man came on hurrying eagerly. Blackie, watching from the roadside, saw that he walked with a painfully awkward limping gait in which the right leg lagged and was dragged forward at each step with seeming effort.
As the man approached, Blackie stared more curiously.
“Is this Harry?” he thought. “Can it be? He should be young even after ten lost years, and this man is old, bent, grey, hopelessly broken. What a wreck!”
The freed convict was quite close now. He walked with the unsteady feebleness of atrophied muscles. His face was a ghastly, corpselike hue. As he lifted his hat to mop a brow dripping with the effort of unfamiliar exercise, Blackie saw that his once black hair was shot with patches – not streaks – of white. His hands, and the wrists which showed below the too short sleeves of his coat, were fleshless and curiously withered, like plants that had slowly died for lack of sunlight.
Hairpin Harry Dutton had taken youth with him when he had entered Folsom. He was returning now to a world that had all but forgotten him.
Boston Blackie stepped into the roadway and extended both hands.
“Welcome back, Harry,” he said. The oppressing knowledge of what he had to tell kept Blackie from saying, “Welcome home.”
Hairpin Harry stopped and stared: and then, as recognition came to him, he flung himself into his friend’s arms in almost womanly abandonment to joy.
“Blackie,” he cried. “My old pal. Blackie, here to welcome me back! Where is Polly and the boy? Waiting at the railway station, eh, Blackie – waiting there for me now to wipe out with a kiss and a hug all memory of the nine years ten months and twenty-one days I have been away? Come, Blackie, come! I can’t wait; I can’t speak; I can’t even think until I have seen them.....”

This incredibly rare Novelette wriiten by the man that pioneered great American gangster fiction is now available on Amazon Kindle. BOSTON BLACKIE

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hatchard's Bookshop

This fascinating article is taken from the July 5, 1919, issue of John O'London's Weekly.

Hatchard's. The Story of a Famous Bookshop.

A few months ago I happened to be staying with a friend of mine who writes successful novels. One morning at breakfast he showed me the following letter, which he had just received from a rich aunt:
Dear---
I hear you have written a new book. I am so anxious to read it. How can I get hold of a copy?
Your affectionate Aunt.
Later in the day I had the privilege of seeing his reply:
Dear Aunt
Take a taxi or a bus (either will do) and get out in Piccadilly just before you come to Prince's. Close by you will find a shop called Hatchard's. Go inside, put down six shillings on the counter, and in a loud, clear voice ask for my book. It is very unlikely that you will have any further trouble.
Your affectionate Nephew

I do not know whether the lady acted on his suggestion, but she could hardly have received more sound advice. For anyone who is baffled by the obscure technicalities of obtaining a printed work Hatchard's offers the readiest and most pleasant solution in London. "A good pull-up" for bookmen and book lovers, it has stood its ground for over a hundred years - a cheerful literary refuge amid the roaring traffic of the most famous street in England.

John Hatchard.

The establishment, in which Mr. A.L. Humphreys is a well-known character, is not, however, the original building. Hatchard's has wandered in turn from 173 to 190, eventually coming to rest in its present home at 187.
John Hatchard, the founder, seems to have been a most worthy and respectable gentleman. From his portrait, which still survives, one might easily mistake him for a bishop, and the description of his dress, given by a contemporary, certainly assists to bear out the illusion. Knee-breeches and gaiters, a black frock-coat of episcopalian cut, and a waistcoat buttoning up to the throat, was the impressive habit in which he was accustomed to dispense his wares.
For all his dignity, however, there were, to use a distressingly vulgar expression, "no flies on" John. Starting business in 1797 with only five pounds in his pocket, he pursued his stately and successful course until 1849, when he died, worth nearly a hundred thousand of the same desirable articles.

His beginning.

The foundation of his fortune appears to have been the publication of a semi-religious pamphlet bearing the spirited title, "Reform or Ruin - take your Choice!" This was the work of one John Bowdler, father of the notorious Thomas, who immortalized himself by purging Shakespeare of some of his grosser obscurities. That it appealed to the taste of our forefathers is proved by the fact that it circulated in phenomenal numbers, and gave its enterprising publisher that first lift forward along the road to prosperity which was all that a gentleman of his attainment needed.
From that time forward the house that John built rose steadily in fame and fortune. There was some fear about being a bookseller during the earliest years of the nineteenth century. It was a transition period in the habits of literary men, when the despised Grub Street atmosphere was passing slowly but surely into the gilded respectability that surrounds the modern author. The old coffee-houses of Dryden's day had gone the way of all earthly things, and such rollicking resorts as the present Athenaeum Club had not yet come into existence. When poets and writers wished for a little congenial society, the bookseller's shop, or the publisher's office (they were still practically synonymous) was their natural resort. It was at Murray's, for instance, that Byron first met Scott and that those two prodigies of learning Gibbon and Porson, struck up their majestic acquaintance.

A centre of gossip.

As a centre for literary gossip Hatchard's was the most popular place in London. The majority of its patrons were on the Tory side in Politics, and in an Edinburgh review of 1810 Sydney Smith glances at them with the rather unkind humour that you might expect from a protege of Holland House.
"There is a set of well-dressed prosperous gentlemen who assemble daily at Mr. Hatchard's shop, clean, civil personages, well in with the people in power, delighted with every existing institution, and almost every existing circumstance, and every now and then one of these personages writes a little book, and the rest praise that little book, expecting to be praised in their turn for their own little books, and of these little books thus written by these clean, civil personages so expecting to be praised, the pamphlet before us appears to be one."

"Holy Hannah."

It must not be imagined, however, that the whole of John's clientele could be dismissed in this contemptuous fashion even by the redoubtable Sydney. In the list of his regular and occasional patrons may be found names of practically all the leading men of letters and the most distinguished public characters of his time.
Macaulay, when only little Tom and the son of his father, was accustomed to visit Hatchard's and make his precocious purchases. Readers of Trevelyan's "Life" will remember the many stories of Hannah More, and her various endeavours after the intellectual training of the young historian. On several occasions when she sent him money to buy a book she recommended Hatchard's as a suitable place at which to make the purchase. This was not surprising, for "Holy Hannah" herself (as Horace Walpole flippantly christened her) was a great friend of John's, and generally employed him to publish her own improving volumes.

Famous customers.

In that delightful life of George Crabbe, written by his son and so justly praised by Edward Fitzgerald, there is a charming sketch of the old poet caught in the act of neglecting his clerical duties. Mr. Crabbe says: "Calling one day at Mr. Hatchard's in Piccadilly, he (Mr. H.) said 'Look round,' and pointed to his inner room, and there stood my father reading intently, as his manner was, with his knees somewhat bent, insensible to all around him. How homelike was the sight of that venerable white head among a world of strangers!"
Other famous customers included George Canning (surely the most attractive Prime Minister we ever had), William Wilberforce, the Duke of Wellington, and those two well known actors, Liston and Charles Young. It is related that the latter dropped in one morning and inquired the name of the curate who had on the preceding day read, or rather murdered, the lesson at St. James's Church. He then requested to have a Bible handed to him, and, in the middle of the shop, he first imitated the sing-song tones of the offending curate, and then in his fine, trained, sonorous voice, showed how the business ought really to be done.

The old order.

The interior of Hatchard's was, of course very different in those days from the up-to-date book-lined establishment with which we are now acquinted. The lighting, no doubt, left something to be desired, for oil-lamps were the only illuminant. In the centre, by the fireplace, was a table, upon which were placed the daily papers - the Morning Herald (not to be confused with the Daily Herald), the Morning Chronicle, and the Times. There were also some old fashioned chairs to match the customary occupants. All this was considered a part of the business, and as much care as possible was taken not to disturb the slumbers of those who, as the chairman in "Pickwick" would say, were temporarily "in the arms of Porpus." Outside the door might be seen another instance of the proprietor's kindly forethought. This took the shape of a bench to accommodate the flunkeys who rode on the platforms behind their masters' carriages.
It is pleasant to reflect that, although all these exterior features except the outside benches have long since passed away, Hatchard's still retains the same atmosphere of friendly welcome which characterized the old bookshop.

The Experiment

My review of The Experiment by Patrick Skene Catling. Published in 1968.

There are some novelists who skirmish uneasily amongst the meat-pots of sex, dropping in the odd explicit paragraph for the sake of potential sales. Indeed, I have heard it rumoured that some publishers ask for such paragraphs to be inserted, yeast in the unrisen dough, white bread for the hungry masses. Patrick Skene Catling apparently reasons that if sex sells novels, the bestselling novel should be all about sex.
So for his subject he has taken a university-sponsored research project into the sexual responses of homo sapiens. If the leer is there, so is a sense of humour, and it is this which makes his novel bearable, even funny at times. The central joke is that one of the research workers is a young virgin whose innocence almost verges on ignorance. The perimeter of the jest lies in the fact that the research subjects are all prostitutes who feel that for once their profession can be used to further the limits of human knowledge and their true golden-heartedness will be a matter of record in the scientific libraries of the world.
The author can be congratulated on his skill at thin-ice skating. A little more or less finesse and he would never have found a publisher to partner him on the ice, but he judged the temperature of the times so finely that he was rewarded with lots of gold.
Worth a read? Yes.

Great Old Advertising

These wonderful old advertising features are taken from the 1919 issues of John O'London's Weekly.

GROW TALLER
It Pays to be Tall

Short people are snubbed and overlooked.
By my simple private method you can add several inches to your 
height without violent exercises, without apparatus.
No risk or strain.
Full particulars free if you write at once mentioning John O'London, 
and enclose stamp for postage - John Edison, Ltd., 87, Great George Street, Leeds.


WEAK NERVES

Health and happiness are impossible where nerve weakness exists. 
My FREE BOOK (intensely interesting) shows how lassitude, 
depression, all nerve, stomach, or heart weakness, irritability, 
brain fag, self-consciousness, etc., may be positively cured, under guarantee. 
My treatment succeeds when all else has failed. BE EFFICIENT! 
Stop failing, and become the success you were meant to be. 
Enclose 2 stamps, mention ailment. Sympathetic and expert reply by return. DO IT NOW!
THOMAS INCH,
(Dept, J.O.L.) 74, Clarendon Rd.,
Putney, London, S.W.15.

Laurens van der Post

An short extract from an interview with Lauren van der Post conducted by Jane Taylor, and published in the October, 1970, issue of Books and Bookmen.

He has the distanced eyes of an explorer; but it is perhaps his paramount concern with what Gerard Manley Hopkins called 'the inscape of man' that has given Lauren van der Post's travel books their special quality. His works of fiction have been illumined by the same clear light - he has now written a book about war.
There can be few subjects that have given rise to such highly charged debate, to such searchings of conscience, as that of the world's first atom bomb, dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. In The Night of the New Moon, published on the 25th anniversary of Hiroshima, Laurens van der Post tells from his own experience something of the life of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and in particular of the effect of the dropping of the bomb.
'Many people have written about the bomb but they seem to regard it as something that happened all on its own when it was actually part of our vast tragedy. I think this particular book of mine is concerned with the processes in man which have produced this kind of tragedy throughout human history. Either by commission or omission we are all in a sense responsible for war when it happens.
'One thing that is perhaps surprising is that I didn't write about it immediately the war was over, but this was partly because I was afraid that it might be used merely as an atrocity story against the Japanese by war crimes investigators - and that was the last thing I wanted. I believe that war only has a meaning in so far as it gives one the opportunity when it is over of saying 'All right, we have wiped the slate clean. Here is a moment of innocence in history and we can start afresh'. The awful thing is that people don't take it as an opportunity to start afresh.'

Monday, 22 October 2012

Erotic Romancing

Andrea De Nerciat.

Although The Unexpected Love Lesson was first published in 1788 as Le Doctorate Impromptu, and Summer in the Country (Un Ete a la Campagne) in 1867, they are uncannily like each other. Both are in the form of letters from one girl to another, but subsist on a diet of voyeurism and Lesbianism with just a dash of heterosexuality. The novels are cool, limpid, and every so often slide into vacuity. If this is erotica then the vigilantes have nothing to fear.
De Nerciat was first translated into English for the Victorian pornographic journal The Exquisite, but the pellucid French writer was not altogether to the taste of 19th century connoisseurs - the 'goats' as Carlyle called them - as he lacked the animosity, the flagellation scenes, and the sadism, that the Victorians demanded in their pornography.
These novels are not crude, and there is a merciful absence of heavy breathing. But if the aim of pornography is to make the reader as randy as possible then these two books are not pornography. It may be that there is a clearly defined chasm between erotica and pornography. There is assuredly a gap between English and French erotica, and the publication of this pair of books would have confirmed the opinion of snob Victorian enthusiasts that French erotica was not amenable to translation, and that the truest of a gentleman was whether or not he could read French erotica in the original language. H.S. Ashbee, that prurient bibliographer of smut under the anagramatic pun 'Pisanus Fraxi', went along with this. Summer in the Country, he declared, 'is written throughout with that delicacy of expression only attainable in the French language'.
I would not describe either book as a sparkling masterpiece, but compared with their semi-illiterate modern equivalent they can be seen as charming light novels, that could be read by lovers of Jane Austen - although on second thoughts, maybe not.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Triumph of Gallio

In my humble opinion "The Triumph of Gallio" by Walter Lionel George is one of the most underrated novels of the 20th Century. This is my poor attempt at a review of this superb novel first published in 1924.

"A Vision of Sin" dealt with the disillusioned cynic in the abstract; Tennyson wrung beauty from the pain and ended on a note of hope. In "The Triumph of Gallio" George deals with the disillusioned cynic in the concrete. There is neither beauty nor hope. The book is hideously powerful, arrestingly interesting, devastatingly clever, brutally coarse. After reading it men may like themselves the less and women may like men the less, unless they realise that the self-revealing Tarrant is made, not born, and that he is an intellectual Robot rather than a man. Tarrant is a young hired demagogue disillusioned with democray, then a pedlar; later a millionaire ship owner, later a bankrupt. At the end, once more a pedlar, he has stocked his pack with his runaway wife's trinkets and is walking fast to outdistance poor, faithful, pursuing Paula - the only woman he has ever loved - on his way to some no-man's land of consciousness where nothing can hurt him.
Find it, buy it, read it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Bullshit

I am really getting sick to the back teeth of all this Mystical, Mythical, Magical, Paranormal crap that keeps getting spouted out by people in the prosperous parts of our world. How about we concentrated a little more on reality, and gave all this fantasy shit a rest.
Glad I have got that off my hairy chest.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Raphael's Housewives' Guide For 1934

October, 1934.

Bake on the 1st, 7th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 27th to 29th. Brew 1st, 10th, 11th, 19th, 20th, 27th to 29th. Hire maid-sevants 1st, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 24th, 27th to 29th; men-servants 12th, 13th, 16th, to 18th, 25th and 26th. Set fowls 20th to 30th; ducks, geese and turkeys 15th to 22nd.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Werewolves

This is the first part of a Duologue I have now published on Amazon.


Werewolves


Scene
Public House. 2012.

Two young men walk away from the bar in a Pub, Craig is carrying a tray of drinks, the drinks are two pints of cider, and ten shot glasses of a green coloured liquid. They sit down either side of a small table for two. Craig is wearing grungy style scruffy clothes, Micky is wearing a smart white dress shirt and black trousers, and is carrying a carrier bag. Both men then start to place the drinks out in front of them on the table. They both drink a shot glass each, and bang the glasses upside down on to the table, then swig some of their cider.

Micky
Beautiful.

Craig
Looking into the air.

Fuck
  
Pause

Double fuck.

Micky
Ignoring Craig, and looking to his right

Look at her.

Craig.
Shit shit, double shit, I have to write a duologue.

Micky
Still ignoring Craig, and still looking to his right.

She is hot.

Leans down and gets a small bottle of vodka from his bag, then quickly pours some of the liquid into his cider.

Craig
 Leaning right into Micky's  face.

You are gonna die, die die die die. Dead, double dead.

Micky
Do you want some?

Craig
Yeah.

Pause.  They both stare at each other with their noses almost touching.


Micky
What’s a fucking duologue?

Craig
It’s a fucking play with two people talking to each other about shit.

Micky
Like The Godfather?

Craig
What?

Micky
The Godfather, De Niro, and Pacino.

Craig
Brando and Pacino. And no that isn’t a duologue you fucking sex crazed fuck, the Godfather had hundreds of actors in it.

Micky
Who were the other actors?

Craig
I don’t fucking know, but it wasn’t a fucking duologue.

Pause.

I was thinking a vampire and a zombie.

Pause. They both lean back in their seats.

Micky
Great idea.

Craig
No it’s not, it’s a shit idea.

Micky
Okay, it’s a shit idea.

Pause

Acting is a shit idea.

Craig
Welding is a double shit idea.

Micky
At least I can weld.

Craig
You won’t win an Oscar for fucking welding.

Micky
I might.

Pause. They then both drink another shot and slam the glasses upside down on to the table.

Craig
Have you ever had an idea?

Micky
No.

Pause.

Yes.

Pause.

No

Craig
What if we get totally pissed tonight, and you help me work on the duologue tomorrow?

Micky
That is why I fucking love you man.

Pause. Then shouts.

WEREWOLVES

Craig
And?

Micky
And, what?

To read more go to Werewolves

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

When Jesus Met Jack

This is a snippet from a Monologue that I will be publishing as an Ebook on Amazon Kindle. There will also be a separate Duologue within the same book.

When Jesus Met Jack


Scene
A police interview room with a large one-way mirror.

Jack is sitting alone at a desk wearing a straitjacket.

Jack

It was a hot, humid day in July. I was in the kitchen washing my underwear in the sink, when there was a sharp knock on my front door. This gave me a start, as I rarely have anyone knocking on my door. You see, I live on the twenty-second floor of a rundown tower block, and the elevator had been out of action for over a month. I have no friends or relatives, and I keep myself to myself. So why someone would be banging on my door was a complete mystery.
I’m not stupid though - I knew that the only way I would get to the bottom of this mystery was to open my door. Then the doorbell rang. I had forgotten I even had a doorbell. It played a tune, it reminded me of when I was a child, and the ice cream van drove down our street. 
I dropped my boxer shorts into the sink, yes boxer shorts - you might not think it to look at me, but I’m very fashion conscious when it comes to my undergarments.
I then dried my hands on my trousers, rubbing them up and down furiously. I found that when I rubbed furiously, I not only dried my hands, but I also dried my trousers. It’s the friction that generates the heat. My legs felt lovely and warm, so warm that I wanted to lie down. Then the doorbell rang again. Strange that the first time I had heard the bell I quite liked it. But this time, I hated it. I wanted to put my head through that little plastic rectangle, but it was on the other side of the door, so I just covered my ears with my warm hands - that felt nice.
I wondered why whoever was out there, was still there? Why would they stand in that dark concrete hallway, ringing my doorbell? It stank of piss out there. And sick, but mainly piss. Someone pissed through my letterbox once. Yes, pissed all over my carpet. And do you know what? I bet you can’t guess. Can you guess? No! I’ll tell you then. When that young man, because it was a young man, had finished pissing through my letterbox, I opened my door, and invited him in to my home. He stayed for a month, but then he started to smell, so he had to leave. In all the time he was in my home he never once pissed on my floor. I house-trained him. You know like you do a dog. I can’t have a real dog in the flat, the Council won’t allow it. It doesn’t bother me though, I hate dogs. Dirty, smelly things that shit, and piss everywhere. If I had my way I’d kill all the dogs, and their owners. Only joking. I did have a cat. Just for a day.
Right, I suppose you want to know about Jesus?
After I’d held my warm hands over my ears for a few minutes, I took them away, and waited quietly in the kitchen. There was no knocking, or ringing.
I tip toed out of the kitchen, and stood by the side of my front door. I then put my eye against the door’s peephole. At first all I could see was the concrete wall opposite my flat. I looked down the concrete wall towards the floor, and that’s when I saw Jesus. He was lying down, and he had his arms spread out, just like he was when he was nailed to the cross. I tried to look right and left along the corridor as far as I could, to see if there was anyone else out there.
I could see no one.
I then took off the door chain, and unbolted the locks at the top and bottom, and removed the wrought iron grill. I turned the latch and slowly opened the door. I peeped my head round the frame, and peered down both sides of the corridor. Other than Jesus the whole place was deserted.
I then stepped outside, bent down and quickly grabbed Jesus by his shoes and dragged him into my flat. He stank. There was vomit on his face, and on his jacket. He looked a fucking mess. I closed the door and locked it.
I left Jesus with his head propped up against the front door and went and made myself a cup of tea. I think I had two chocolate digestive biscuits with my tea. No, that’s wrong, I had custard creams.
I then heard Jesus moaning, so I went to see what he had to fucking moan about. His eyes were still shut, but he was saying, ‘fuckers,’ over and over again. Then he said, ‘I forgive you fuckers.’ I made it clear to him in no uncertain terms that I didn’t allow dirty language like that in my home. I said to him ‘no dirty language in my home, you dirty man.’
I then poured my hot tea over his face......

This Monolgue, along with a separate Duologue are now available on Amazon. HERE

Sunday, 14 October 2012

In a Devon Garden

In a Devon Garden

The spring was late in coming, 
The flowers were very shy,
When in my Devon garden fair
The sweet West Wind swept by.

She dropped some tears in passing.
What magic in them lay
Than on the wall japonica
Leapt forth in crimson spray.

The violets just unfolding
Were startled into bloom;
The witch in the genista-bush
Waved high her golden broom;

The pixies through the soft red earth
Thrust up their small green spears.
Ah! would I had the magic touch
Of west wind and her tears!



The Novelist at Work - Rebecca West

This short description by Rebecca West outlining the unique method she used in order to write her novels was first published in a 1924 issue of John O'London's Weekly.

"I do not know how I write my books, except that I write them on six writing-pads at once. I write the rough draft of a page on the first page of a pad; then on the second I write the rough draft of a paragraph; then on the third I write the rough draft of a sentence; on the fourth and fifth I write the sentence more and more desperately; on the sixth I write the fair copy. People who do not otherwise admire my work tell me that this performance, particularly when carried on at a high speed, reminds them of Cinquevalli.
After I have worked out a very elaborate plot, I usually find at the end of the story that not one atom of that plot has survived."

Rebecca West

Saturday, 13 October 2012

An Excuse

This was one of my many "excuses" that almost turned into a short story. The names have been changed to protect my stupidity.

My dear B,

I gather from a word Meddle dropped that both you and Barbara are sore about Easter.
I wish to be perfectly candid. I did accept your invitation weeks before Easter. I did intend to visit you up to the Thursday before Easter. I did cancel the invitation on the Thursday evening by telephone.
All this is bad enough, but add to it that my explanation about Aunt Mary was wholly false. The truth, as you know, was that I received an invitation to stay with Splendour at his country house, which arrived on the Thursday morning because one of his other guests had contracted measles.
You ask, therefore, why, instead of being an honoured guest with old and true friends, I should choose to be a stop-gap at a house where, demonstrably, little store is set by my presence? Your answer is, I am sure, self-interest; the hope that there might be some pickings from the rich man's table, where there was nothing to be expected from you but true friendship and warm kindliness.
How right you are! I know, my dear B, that your generous hospitality will be extended to me time and time again, but, where Splendour is concerned, have I any such hope? I have known Splendour for many long years, and, since his accession to prosperity, he has never recognised my existence, although nobody could have been more useful to me. Was I to reject my only opportunity? Would it not have been foolish quixotry, and, moreover, would it have been fair to you to thrust upon our friendship the responsibility for having lost this golden chance.
If I made a mistake, it was in fabricating an excuse - but is the moment before Easter the right time for a calm analysis of motives and values? It was kinder to leave you to believe that urgent necessity had kept me away, and to leave it to some later occasion - where, alas, I have been forestalled - to vouchsafe the true explanation.

Yours ever, 

Me.






Friday, 12 October 2012

Shoe Fetish?

Another old advert from 1905 which features "The London Shoe Company." The six shoes and boots shown here look very stylish indeed, and would not look out of place in a posh shoe shop today.


The Old Bleach Linen Company

This is a very rare advert published in 1905 for The "Old Bleach" Company, Randalstown, Ireland. They were famous throughout the world for their great quality Irish Linen, royalty were among their many customers, and I believe their linen was used on the ill-fated Titanic.


W. Smithson Broadhead

This is an old advert from 1920 for The Aeolian 'Vocalion'. The superb colour illustration is by W. Smithson Broadhead. This featured in The Connoisseur magazine. Sadly most of these high quality publications have now been destroyed by dealers cutting out all the advertising, and colour plates within, and selling them on Ebay. It is getting very difficult to find many complete issues left.

 

Story Ideas

Since I finished my brilliant short story, Red Harry's Revenge (shameless plug) I have been racking my brain to come up with an idea for a new blockbuster novel. I have looked at what type of books appear to be popular with the discerning readers of today, and have come up with a few possible contenders.

No.1. Vampire Lesbian Cooks

No.2. Vampire Fetish Cooks

No.3. Zombie Cooks Who Turn Into Vampire's

If you can think of any others that might sell by the truck load please feel free to let me know.

When Young People Grow

This short article is taken from Raphael's Almanac of 1934.

When Young People Grow

"The year of greatest growth for boys is the seventeenth; in girls the fourteenth. While girls reach full height in their fifteenth year, they acquire full weight at the age of twenty. Boys are stronger than girls from birth to the eleventh year, then girls become superior physically to the seventeenth year, when the tables are again turned and remain so. From November to April, children grow very little and gain no weight; from April to July they gain in height but lose in weight; and from July to November they increase greatly in weight but not in height. A doctor having studied the subject, says the growth of children takes place entirely when they are asleep."

I bet you didn't know that.

An Intervention

This is a long-forgotten short story written by the first female novelist to rise to fame in Italy. Matilde Serao had a unique style, and this story was typical of her work.

An Intervention

Guido certainly looked perfectly happy; indeed, anyone would have thought that he had not a care in the world. He was on his way home from a political banquet, where he had been explaining in detail his programme to his electors. He had been complimented on all sides, and, added to this, the dinner itself had been excellent and the champagne all that could be desired. Guido felt quite easy in his own mind about the result of the election, and now this evening he was going to a ball, where he would enjoy a flirtation with the Baroness Stefania. He was just returning home now to have an hour’s rest and a nap, like Napoleon on the eve of battle. On entering the dining-room his faithfull old servant, Giuseppe, followed him respectfully in, and stood for a minute evidently desiring to speak to his master.
“What is it, Giuseppe?” asked Guido.
“If you will excuse me, sir, I wanted…..”
“Be quick about it, my good fellow, for I have not much time.”
“Do you remember what day it is, Sir?”
“No…what do you mean?”
“It is your birthday…..”
“Ah! So it is,” said Guido, and his face clouded over.
“There always used to be flowers everywhere, sir.”
“There used to be, but that’s over, there are none in these days,” and Guido smiled bitterly.
“You’ll please to excuse me, sir,” said the old man, stepping forward and uncovering a huge bouquet on the table.
“Oh, Giuseppe, there’s no need to apologize, my good fellow. Thank you very much; this little surprise has given me great pleasure.
Guido could not help feeling melancholy all the same at the thought that on this day, when he was accustomed to being feted, there was only his old servant now to remember it. It was only a passing regret, for Guido was too much a man of the world not to be able to throw off all appearance of emotion.
“I am going to my room to get a little rest,” he said to Giuseppe; “you can wake me at eight.”
“You’d better not, sir,” said the servant earnestly.
“And why not, pray?”
“Because, sir, when Girolamo was here alone this morning a lady called, and when she found that you were out she said: ‘Tell your master, when he comes in that I will call again at seven, and ask him to be sure and wait in for me, as I want to see him on particular business.’”
“And her name?”
“She would not give it.”
“H..m! more and more mysterious! Did Girolamo say what she was like?”
“Yes, she was young, tall, dark, and very well dressed.”
“Oh! it’s getting decidedly interesting and I feel curious. And you think, then, Giuseppe, for the sake of this unknown lady, I ought to forgo my nap?”
“Well, it is just seven o’clock, sir. If she is anything like punctual, you wouldn’t have time to lie down before she was here.”
“Oh, well. I will make the sacrifice. Get my newspaper, Giuseppe, and I’ll read until she arrives. Dark!…the Baroness Stefania is fair, nothing like a change,” murmured Guido to himself when the old man had left the room.
It certainly sounds very much as though the young politician was a veritable Don Juan, but in reality it was nothing of the kind. Guido had had a great deal of disappointment in his life. He had loved one woman passionately and devotedly, but his happiness had been suddenly snatched away from him, and the love still smouldered in his heart, half smothered and stifled as it had been. For the last two years Guido had been striving to forget, and he had thrown himself headlong into all the gaieties and diversions of society life.
“If you please, sir! Exclaimed Giuseppe, re-entering the dining-room hastily.
“Has she arrived?”.....
If you would like to read more of this story please click HERE

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

An Anarchist

An Anarchist by Eugene Moret.


All Saint’s Day was near. It was very cold. At five o’clock, night came. Marianne had risen slowly from her seat and gone to close the window, which she had opened for a few minutes to let some fresh air into the room. Ah! How dark and cheerless is the weather! On the pavements it must be difficult to walk, so thickly coated are they with slippery mud – mud that is everywhere, mud and standing puddles. A hard winter is commencing. The charcoal seller will want a great deal of money.
Ah, well – that is an expense that has been foreseen. The charcoal man and the baker have to be paid; and with courage and help it can be done.
The needle must be kept stitching, stitching, there must be no going to sleep over the work; but both ends could be made to meet, and that is the chief thing. Jacques Houdaille is a good workman, thirty-seven years of age, with a solid backbone, as he says. He works his full time; skulking is not in his way, he leaves that to fellows with hay in their sabots; he has youngsters, and they must be fed – that’s all he knows. Besides, the missis has her notions: she is proud of herself, she’d not have any debts in the neighbourhood.
Poor Jacques! He had not always been so reasonable, and there was a time when his life had not been so well led.
The work she was doing was wanted speedily, and she wished to finish it. It was Saturday, and there is much to be done on Sunday where there is a workman’s clothes to be mended and a family of children to be tended.
But while plying the needle she reflected. No, it was a fact, her Jacques had not always reasoned so justly. It was not that he was naturally fickle; he was an honest, hard-working man, a good workman at his trade, open-hearted, devoted to his wife, whom he had married for love, and adoring his children. But he was feeble-minded, ignorant, fond of listening to glib talkers, phrasemongers, and unable to refuse the offer of a glass; and one glass drunk, a second followed, and at the third he lost his head and gave himself up to a drinking bout.......
If you would like to read more from this remarkable short story click, An Anarchist.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Romance of Gardening

This is a rare review by H.E. Bates from 1935, of a gardening book written by F. Kingdon Ward. A lesson to us all on how you should write a review.

"We are all collectors. To acquire something, to keep it, tend it, improve it, gloat over it and exhibit it to our friends - these are among the strongest and commonest of human characteristics. To ourselves, whatever others may think, it is very natural that we should collect old matchboxes, fossils, railway tickets, Swiss china, cigarette cards, old masters, historic collar-studs or rare books. It is not only natural but amusing. Nevertheless we do not intend or expect that our collections of cosmopolitan matchboxes shall benifit mankind. The acquisition of the collar-studs of Charles I or Charlie Peace may be highly interesting, but we cannot hope that it will contribute a single atom to the happiness or development of human society.
There are collectors, however, to whom such remarks do not apply. And Mr. Kingdon Ward is one. For over twelve years he has collected, from the mountains and remoter places of China, Tibet, Assam, Burma, and Indo-China, species of flowering trees and plants not known to cultivation. He has not only collected plants, but has introduced them to the gardeners of the world. He is most famous as the introducer - though not the discoverer - of Meconopsis Baileyi, the blue Tibetan poppy which yearly dazzles the uninitiated at Chelsea; and but for him we migh never have seen Gentiana sino-ornata, the gentian that blooms in November. In short, since flowers, unlike matchboxes, are living things, and moreover things of beauty on which the devotion of the civilised world is being more and more concentrated, Mr. Kindon Ward has every reason to be called a benefactor of mankind.
The Romance of Gardening, however, is not a history of plant collecting. Neither is it a contribution to that branch of gardening literature in which 'sweet peas are now coming along nicely in cold frames'. It is in fact neither historic or instructional. It is not even, from the popular point of view, very romantic. But for a book written by an expert loaded with highly specialized knowledge it is extraordinarily light, colloquial and fascinating. It is packed with experiences and facts about plant life which will deal unpleasant blows at those who not only imagine English gardens are the finest in the world but who cherish also an insular and patriotic notion that they are filled exclusively with dear old English plants. The total British flora is about 2000 species of flowering - not necessarily garden - plants. Whereas English gardiners cultivate at least 12,000 species. Of the 200,000 species of flowering plants known in the world today, it is estimated that 60,000 alone are found in South America. We are, indeed, not a nation of shopkeepers, but a nation of flower importers.
The spirit of acquisitive curiosity which has made us the greates explorers in the world has also made us the most catholic gardeners in the world. We think nothing of growing, side by side, flowers from Tibet, Mexico, Japan, America, New Zealand, China and the Russian steppes - and then of regarding them as English into the bargain. On these and other horticultural matters Mr. Kingdon Ward sets us right. He is not only well in formed and interesting, but highly provocative and dogmatic. There are points on which I would wish violently to disagree with him. The place is not here. I can only rejoice in his achievements and vitality and share cordially in his love of flowers, his passion for new species and the romance to which his book is dedicated.

The Voice of the Heavens

This happy little article is from the 1934 edition of Raphael's Prophetic Messenger.

October, 1934.

"There are some very violent influences found during this month. The first week comes in with Mars in opposition to Saturn, which foreshadows the destruction of buildings by fire, misfortune to Government buildings, robbery of banks and very brutal crimes. An important State official meets violence and causes a sensation. An outrage will mark a racecourse and some place of pleasure will be destroyed by fire.
The Stock markets of the continental nations are likely to experience a sensational crash and the finances of the world are likely to be unstable and alarming.
Very terrible happenings and disasters will affect cities in the Northern-Central part of the USA., Germany, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and Manchuria.
Sudden sensational crimes will astonish the world and some remarkable series of murders will cause alarm.
Uranus now shows an entire change of the world monetary system of values, and in many parts chaos and confusions. The whole month is marred by terrible and remarkable accidents.
A new invention in films, postal, and telephone services will attract attention. Some remarkable invention for the deaf is about to be made public and very rapid developments in the air are accompanied by a whole crop of accidents and fatalities.
Germany, Poland, and the Balkans are under war influences."

It really wasn't worth getting out of bed during October, 1934.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Medlar Jelly

Another recipe from my Grandmother's handwritten cookbook dated 1934. This one is for "Medlar Jelly."

To make medlar jelly, wash the fruit, then wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. To each 10 pound of fruit allow 4 pints of cold water. Grease a preserving pan with a little butter, put in the fruit only, pour over the water, then simmer very slowly over a gentle heat until cooked and soft. Strain through a jelly bag, do not squeeze or the jelly will not be clear; measure the juice, and to each pint allow 1 pound of loaf sugar. Return the juice to the pan, and add the sugar gradually, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Boil for a few minutes, and when a little will jelly when tested on a cold plate it is done. Pour into warm, dry jars, and, when cold, tie down in the usual way.


Quince Marmalade

A recipe for Quince Marmalade from my Grandmother's recipe book. Dated 1934.

Peel and quarter the quinces, remove the cores and pips, and put the fruit into the preserving pan, with sufficient boiling water to float them. Bring back to the boil, then gently simmer until soft and pulpy, stirring well with a wooden spoon, then rub the pulp through a hair sieve. To each pound of pulp add a pound of loaf sugar. Boil together quickly for half an hour, or until a little jellies, when put on a cold plate, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Put into clean, dry jars, and when cold cover with parchment paper smeared both sides with white of egg or milk.

The Yost Typewriter

A superb full-page advert published in 1902 for The Yost Typewriter. From one of my original issues of The Connoisseur Magazine.

Connoisseur: "A wonderful piece of mechanism! 
What is the name of this Typewriter, which runs so smoothly
and does such neat writing? I have not seen anything to equal it."
Mademoiselle: "This, good Sir, is the Yost, and it justly 
deserves your praise. It is a pleasure to operate the Machine, 
and its Beautiful Work is the admiration of all."

1902 Real Golf

A fascinating original advertising feature from my 1902 issue of "The Connoisseur" magazine which shows a new invention by Anderson, Anderson & Anderson, Ltd, Real Golf, the Varsity Home Golfer. It states that Complete Sets, with all requisites.
The "St. Andrew's" (recommended) £5.0.0 Without Board & Thumb Screws, £4.4.0. The "Hoylake," £3.15.0. Without Board & Thumb Screws, £3.0.0. The "Westward Ho!" £2.5.0. The "Oceanic" for Steamers, £7.0.0. The "Solent" for Yachts, £5.0.0. The "Pension" for Clubs, Hotels, Hydros, Boarding Houses, Colleges, Schools, etc, £5.0.0.

I would have been a little concerned about buying any indoor game that required "thumb screws."
 

Frustration

A poem I wrote earlier.

Frustration

I have seen life as a stream pass by,
Have watched its changing moods-
Its high and angry waters when a storm
Brims it with growing haste;
Its gentle ripple when on summer days
Lazy of purpose it takes time
To chatter with each pebble on its bed,
And with delighted gurgles tease
The larger stones.

I have seen life as a stream pass by
Unhurried to the sea;
Its earlier impatience on the hills
Lost now in calm, for here
The sharp-scored crags of former history
Have given place to meadow land,
Wide-banked and civilized, and quiet,
The tranquil final stage that sees
The traveller home.

I have seen life as a stream pass by
And I have heard its song,
And mirrored on its surface known the sky
Sun-lit the whole day long...
Vicarious, painful pleasure this, for me,
For I desire what cannot be,
Desire, desire - and see the stream go by,
Leaving me prisoner here, quite dry,
Upon its bank.

Red Harry's Revenge

 Red Harry's Revenge

After being forced to watch Lady Margaret, the only woman he ever truly loved being tortured and murdered in front of his very eyes, the pirate Red Harry swore revenge. He placed a curse upon her killers, and this curse would follow his ship through the ages. A supernatural tale of romance, of pirates, and of REVENGE.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Voyage


The Voyage by Gary Walker


John Golding boarded the Bodley at Tilbury Docks with the intention of murdering Paul Brock before the ship put into port at Marseilles.
He intended, if Paul Brock went ashore at Gibralter, to murder him quickly, simply, in a main street; he did not much care where it happened, but he had decided to spare his fellow passengers the unpleasantness of a murder and a suicide on board.
John Golding had made no attempt to avoid recognition by men among whom he was accustomed to mix. He had booked a suite in the first class. He was now in his cabin.
In the adjoining cabin was his servant Lu Fung. John Golding had brought his Chinese valet because, after the murder, Margery would need help. And he himself wanted Lu Fung near him until the end of the voyage.
It was only a few days ago that Lu Fung had brought him the little scented note in Margery’s schoolgirl hand. She had said that she had discovered that she loved Paul Brock, that she was going overland to meet him at Marseilles, and that they were going to India together. She had added that she knew she was doing a terrible thing, but she could not resist Paul Brock. There was a pitiful postscript: Oh, John, forgive me. I cannot help it. It was meant to be.”
He had not seen her since. She had gone, he supposed, to Paris. And her lover was now in the Bodley, and he, John Golding, had made up his mind to murder Paul Brock rather than permit the radiant innocence of his young wife to be defiled.
He knew Margery too well to suppose that arguments would be of any permanent effectiveness. She was inexperienced, impressionable, but extraordinarily strong-willed. He was afraid, too, that to approach Paul Brock would be simply to be met with an attitude that implied that any husband who was deserted by his wife had only himself to blame. Yet he felt that he ought to give Brock one chance to play the game.
Golding believed that in a little while Margery would recover from the shock of the murder, from the shock of the suicide. Out of so tragic an experience she would be able eventually to create a new life of happiness for herself. She was only twenty-three. Before taking his passage he had seen his lawyer. The settlements he had made on her would provide her with an ample income. In a year or two she would forget.
Lu Fung had been John Golding’s servant ever since he had first lived in Hong Kong. Lu Fung was his best friend. Lu Fung adored Margery; he would be more useful to her at Marseilles than any hastily summoned hysterical woman. His imperturbable calm would steady Margery.
He could understand Brock’s attraction for women. Brock was a successful novelist. He had that interesting, unhappy look that appealed to women, that flirting, inconsequential cynicism that women liked; he had all the qualities that he himself lacked, and he knew that Margery in her inexperience could not see the callousness beneath the soft surface.
Golding dined alone at a small table in the large saloon. He was disinclined to talk. He wanted to make sure that Brock was on board, and he left the dining-room early for the smoke-room, where as he half expected, was Brock, standing near the bar, talking in apparently high spirits to a group of friends.
It was then that Golding decided to give the man his chance. He walked up to him, held out his hand, and with a smile he said:
“Well, Brock, this is a nice surprise! I had no idea that you were on board. What will you have?”
He saw that Brock was profoundly shaken. It was obvious to those around that Brock had some good reason for not wanting to meet John Golding. The glass that Brock held fell from his hands and crashed on to the floor before he recovered himself sufficiently to say.
“How are you, Golding? Thanks a Scotch, I think.”
Some of the company dropped aside. A few, who had appreciated the momentary tension, stood chattering. But presently Golding found an opportunity to say:
“Brock, I should like a word with you. Will you come for a stroll?”
They went out together, and, as the Bodley made her way through the mouth of the Thames into the open waters of the Channel, Golding said:
“Brock you are going to Marseilles to meet my wife. I do not intend that you shall meet her. You have made a big mistake. And if you are a wise man you will recognize the fact. You can leave the ship at Gibralter. I shall meet my wife at Marseilles, and explain to her that you realized that you could not give her the honourable happiness which is her due, and that you decided to return to England.”
Golding waited. He had never found self-control so difficult.
Through the dark sea-scented air he heard the contempt in the long drawn breath of the man by his side. And when Brock spoke his was the voice of the coward and bully.
“Don’t be a fool, Golding. We are not living in the Middle Ages. Women are free today to please themselves. We have considered your comfort as far as humanly possible. But Margery has made her choice. If we have found happiness together by what right can you attempt to ruin it? Nothing you can say or do will have the slightest effect on either of us, and if you intend to make a scene at Marseilles – well!” He shrugged his shoulders, and then, lighting a cigarette, he looked nonchalantly out to sea. But he was not at ease.
“There will be no scene at Marseilles,” Golding said.
“Ah, I couldn’t believe that you meant what you said.” There was sudden relief in the voice of the lover. “I understand what you feel. Believe me, Golding, I am sorry for you. But these things happen. We cannot prevent them. Would it not be better if you left the ship at Gibralter? I assure you that there is no chance at all that Margery will change her mind.” He waited eagerly, unaware of the storm that blew in the heart of the man beside him......

If you would like to find out how this story unfolds you can can click The Voyage

Sinusitis

Suffering from severe sinusitis this morning. It is a bright, almost luminous sunny day here on the East Coast, but I am having to keep the curtains tightly closed. Feel like I want to hit my head against the wall, but I know this will not stop the throbbing pain in my head and neck. It's strange how a blockage to the ducts in your sinuses can make your brain feel like it is being squeezed in a vice. Having now suffered with this condition off and on for over 30 years, I know that none of the remedies rumoured to help me through this will have any positive effect. If I had a cat I would kick it, but as I am all alone I will scream in silence, and wait impatiently for the solid mass of gunk in my head to disperse in its own sweet time. I would write more, but I want to put my skull through the computer screen. I hope to be back in the land of the living later.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Popular Flying Magazine

I have hundreds of Popular Flying magazine issues from the 1970s through to the 1990s. If you, or someone you know is interested in these publications please feel free to contact me for details.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Publishing and Content Rights

My Question

I have an original manuscript of a semi-autobiographical work written by an author who has sadly long since died. The book was never published, I know this because I also have the original correspondence letters that went between the author and her intended publisher. This particular publisher is no longer in business. My question is this; who owns the Content, and Publishing Rights to this work?
Any help with this conundrum would be much appreciated.

The Children's Book of Pantomimes

The Children's Book of Pantomimes. Stories of Famous Pantomimes Including a Stage Version of Cinderella and A Model Theatre. Complete with Proscenium, Wings, Three Scenes & the Characters with which it can be Performed. This extraordinary book is still in good condition. Published in 1930 by Cassell & Company Limited. 




Monday, 1 October 2012

Oscar Wilde

The only two Oscar Wilde books in my collection. Both entitled The Happy Prince and other tales. The one on the left was published in 1888, by David Nutt. Signed by the author, and illustrated by Walter Crane. The one on the right was published in 1913, by Duckworth & Co, and is signed by the artist Charles Robinson.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

These are my most valuable Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books in my collection. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Published by George Newnes in 1892. First Edition. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Published in 1894 (1893). First Edition.


Arthur Rackham

A couple of images from the wonderful illustrator Arthur Rackham. The one on the left is the cover of Snickerty Nick by Julia Ellsworth Ford, published Moffat, Yard & Co, in 1919, and on the right a superb illustration from Some British Ballads, published by Constable & Co, in 1919.


The Mummy

The Mummy by Riccardo Stephens and published by Eveleigh Nash in 1912. It is thought that over 20,000 words were cut out of the 1923 Hutchinson reprint. This was the book that inspired the making of the film of the same name, starring Boris Karloff.


Classic Supernatural Novels

I love these old supernatural novels, and short-story collections. Below you will see photographs of The Weird Orient which is a collection of oriental tales based on legend and folklore collected by Iliowizi during his residence at Tetuan, Morocco. And also a very scarce first edition of The Way of Lucifer by Andrew Clark.