Pond, woodcut by Frederick Nunley
Used here with his kind permission









Pip Wilson





This is the blog where I post poetry as I find it in the fishpond outside the door of my garden flat.





Wilson's Almanac

Site Map




Sandy Beach Almanac

Book of Days

Review fishpond


Free fishpond updates by email

powered by Bloglet



This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.
I look into a fishpond  

fishpond: a prophecy

Home Archives

Friday, April 01, 2011

Will Rogers

Will Rogers
November 4, 1879 - August 15, 1935

Early in my Extreme Traumatic Brain Injury recovery phase (which I am still in), I began a new collection of free, public domain poems, called 'Brummer Striving' (and also the freebook 'Microminibliss'). This poem, inspired by Rogers' life, it's my aim to put in 'Brummer Striving'. I intend that before long will be seen all of that varied collection, in my Poetry pages at wilsonsalmanac.com.

Only a few American comics do it for me.
But I like Mark Twain and Will Rogers.
In 1893 Will toured Australia doing rope tricks in Wirth Brothers' Circus.
Mark Twain was here for months and saw Woolgoolga.

I’m not too afraid of death any more.
Not even too afraid of getting old.
But paper cuts suck.
Maybe he saw Toormina.
I even like circuses, but I can’t say anything witty about them.
Not like Will could have.
I never met a man I didn’t like.
I never met Will anyway,
and a handful of men I’m not crazy about.
I never met a woman I didn’t like.
Though a handful of women I’m not crazy about.
And I never met a tit I didn’t like
Even if, to tell the truth,
I’m not crazy about one or two.
I like them long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spaghettied.

You picked it like a nose.
I’m a bit more scared of getting old than I let on.
’Cause we’re all loved more young, young, young.
And of writing poetry that doesn’t rhyme.
It’s so hard to get into the poetriati,
Whether you do or don’t rhyme,
Though in this blip of history,
Rhyme’s no joy and it’s for the hoi polloi.
That doesn’t rhy … Shit. Slip of the … Oh shit!

Years ago, before economic rationalism added to irrationality,
A mate of mine worked in a bank. Once a week he put up the date. That’s it.
He might have had some client like me, cuz I check the date a few times a day.
Because I intend to become a poet.
Best on my CV: I wouldn’t work in an iron lung.
Dad’s always said that the best thing about his nature is
He knows when to stop skiting.
And I’ll go before I start.

Sunday, February 28, 2010



Oh God, here I go again bitchin’.
There’s a bad smell somewhere in my kitchen,
A bloody horrible pong
And I think it’s coming from my fridge.
But before you say I’m a nong,
I cleaned out that appliance
A week ago,
And three days ago so did my flatmate,
So that’s that, mate.
Unless there was unmentioned noncompliance
Which I doubt.
I mean, it’s not really rocket science.
I should be able to work it out.
But are we, all of us
Us and our fridge,
Really being ridgy didge?

Monday, February 22, 2010


Oh, oh, oh, I hate to be cruel. 
People who know me know I am a fool,
But that I am not cruel. I am many wicked things, but I am not cruel.
I am one, I know, but scarcely the other.
But I would rather be unkind to 100 bastards
Than see a thousand million good people suffer.

If I, or my friends, are ever again raped
In body or spirit, or both,
By a feminista,
Till we cringe, cryless, hot and hurt in our dry and uncaring beds,
While the sisterhood giggles and phones their friends
For a good old chinwag
About our weakness, and the things men never did for humanity,
And how silly we are for promising to stand between a bullet and you out of loyalty,
Then my hope is this:
That each feminista will punch it, punch it, punch it up her arse,
Punch it up her arse till all her ideology and clever paperbacks and sublimated selfishness wither like dried vulva, like figs gone dry that you chuck on the compost heap.
And may they be cursed with man children
Who, like I, adore women whose hearts
Are as good as men's, and
Have not been formed in their early years
By other demented women who say that the gene of the male is inferior.
Such women who dared to say,
As was said by a 19th century hero of mine,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
"We are, as a sex, infinitely superior to men."
Oh, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, if only I could meet you downtown, shout you a coffee, and in ten minutes rearrange your mental brain cells.
I know you are intelligent enough to chat with me.
I’ve always considered you so.

Or as Germaine Greer proudly said,
"As far as I'm concerned, men are the product of a damaged gene. They pretend to be normal but what they're doing sitting there with benign smiles on their faces is they're manufacturing sperm."
Germaine, you are the godmother of one of my dearest mates.
But even most women now think you are a germ. Grow up.

Or as feminista goddess Andrea Dworkin wrote,
"Rape is the primary emblem of romantic love".

Or as Erica Jong said, when she was not pontificating about Fear of Flying (like a dreaded Roman pontiff, who is almost as rich as Erica),
"I believe that women are the more spiritually advanced sex".
How surprised must we be that two of your four husbands, Erica, worked at US military bases in Germany
Or as American divorce lawyers?
Erica, let us arm wrestle on spiritual advancement.
Oh, Erica, Erica. And for all your rampant sexism, you still have publishing contracts and, no doubt, mansions in Manhattan, Waikiki and Malibu.
I could raise a family off 3% of the interest of just one of the caretaker’s flats at one of your feminista palaces, which you bought through the propagation of sex hatred.
Well done, O oppressed one.

And still, each day, we of truth must struggle against the lies of the feministas
Until, gods and goddesses willing, the fabulous, horn-raising tits of the feminazis
Will dry up like the milkless dugs
Of ancient, uncared-for bitch dogs,
buzzing with scabies and blowflies,
like old cow pads
On the poisoned farms of humanity.
And we men will attend to them by day and by night.
While their men and baby victims
And what is right
And true
And kind
And generous
And understanding
And non-ideological
And non-sophomoric
And capable of conversation that can rise above a man’s chest,
And far more intelligent and well read
Than the chatterocracy of Murdoch's millionaire cunt-rags,
And fair-minded
To the achievements and soft hearts and divine dreams
And pillow-drenching losses
Of MEN – most men, who,
As the minority of the population,
were but the minority of the electors who voted
To invade Afghanistan and Iraq –
for absolutely no discernible reason but racism
And oil for the four-wheel drive cars in which
Erica and Germaine's protegés pick their kids up from school because the wee angels mustn't get their PRECIOUS little wings wet,
And for WHO Magazine celebrities and the Women's Weekly,
And the female majority of voters who kill in Iraq and Afghanistan 1.3 million innocent men, woman and children …

Men who rise high above the three generations of silly, unlearned, angry – and proudly angry – harpies
Whose rhetoric floats u[on the polluted winds of truth and prejudice,
Like weed-seeds of Crofton weed and privet and lantana, which men will dig out
With sweat and blisters and blood dripping down their arms,
Without time to sit and watch Oprah, or do tummy exercises.
Men with hope that their baby boys and darling daughters might have food on their tables, and real milk to drink,
Preferably from goddess tits,
But more likely chemicals from plastic bottles that protect sad, sad, falling bosoms, fun-bags about which men no longer even contemplate without laughter and derision ...

And may those new babies become strong, and true,
And never sear their hearts to wanton untruths.
And lies. And cant. And cruelty. And utter, utter, utter silliness, illogicality and straight-out bullshit.

Because we did not do this to you – not in our generation.
You did this to us.
You did this to us. And because we are men, we will use our brains and find a way to undo it.
And for all our faults, our innocence was like the soft part of an oyster shell
That a good oyster shucker knows where to strike.
And you shucked us good, real good.
Oh boy, you shucked us real good.

Shuck you.

And in time, we shall all forgive,
Because men and women are a forgiving race, even after the truth is told.
But we have a way to go, because you are not as ready as we, methinks.
You are not as ready as we.
Sadly, you are not as ready as men.
Maybe when we are old.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This One’s For the Hippies (to Misty)

This is one for the hippies,
Derided for their passion,
Who warned about climate change
Forty years before the fashion.

Who couldn't get into clubs
Even when they rarely had a dollar –
Blokes ejected at the door
If their hair even touched their collar.

Men and women bashed on city streets
Because of their flamboyance
And love of life and Nature,
For their precognition and clairvoyance.

Let's hear it for the hippies
For decades taken for granted
And mocked because they called this globe
Not 'the world', but 'your precious Planet'.

This one's for the hippies
Society's whipping boy.
This one's for the hippies
Who bosses wouldn’t employ.

It's for those who talked of cycle power,
Alternative fuels, and co-ops for food.
Who sweated to make workers' co-ops,
And land co-ops … not that it did much good.

Who could see that every suburban block
Didn't need fifty washing machines.
Who believed in evolution
While Neanderthals vented their spleen.

Those who accepted being the laughingstock
Because they knew we must save the trees,
And, decades before governments announced it,
Exclaimed, "You’ve nearly killed the seas!".

So this one's for the hippies,
Who were 99 per cent right –
And it's to the five per cent of them
Who stayed true and didn’t shirk the fight.

To those who conspire and dream and scheme
And for humanity spend their lives,
And who generally die well burnt-out,
From unpaid activism, around about sixty-five.

So this one's for the hippies
Who, the older that they get
See daily vindication in every nation,
With immense pride, far too busy for regret.

Categories: , ,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thora Girl

(Homage to 'Galway Girl' by Steve Earl)

Well, I was walking down by Boggy Creek
Yippy yi yi yi yi yay
I saw a pretty girl and she did speak
Yippy yi yi yippy yi yay
And I ask you, friend, what's a bloke to do
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then I'd be takin' a whirl
At the Thora Hall with a Thora girl

We walked to the river where the creek runs in
Yippy yi yi yi yi yay
And she showed me where the platypus swims
Yippy yi yi yippy yi yay
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do
'Cause her eyes were black and her hair was blue
So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Thora girl

But I was too scared to speak to the Thora girl
So I looked at the river and acted cool
And I ask you now, tell me what you’d do
If her hair was black and her eyes were blue
I've travelled around this great big world
But I ain't seen nothin' like a Thora girl
No, I ain't seen no one like the Thora girl

Bellingen song

Flow down the river,
Hmmm, purple haze.
Flow down the river.
Here is where I'll spend my days.

The rockets' red glare will not touch me,
And I will become pure and free.
I will kiss this green land as my country
An ancestor, I will be.

And the sting of the city won't hurt me
I will fly with the black cockatoo
And the song of my youth won't desert me
And my vision will stay strong and true.

I'm in Bellingen
I'm in Bellingen
I'm an ancestor
Strong and true.

In the flood, and in the bright dawning
Around my strong fire and the dew
I will breathe in the mist of the morning
And my vision will stay strong and true.

I am Bellingen
I am Bellingen
I'm an ancestor
Strong and true.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bello Ramble

Oh this is what it’s like sometimes
oh this is how it goes.
A wild colonial boy
in the Bellingen ‘Truman Show’.
and this is what it’s like sometimes
and this is how it goes.

And it’s endless sky and it’s mists of grey
and we must do it again.
And it’s hi-yi-yi and it’s hi-yi-yay
for don’t we love Bellingen?

My first wife was the Hyde St clock,
for I said she was always wrong.
I said I was off to the crossroads
she said she couldn’t come along.
And just sometimes I get it right –
think it’s the times I do it alone.

My second wife was the footpath
on the east of Lavender’s Bridge
’cause she was on the wrong side.
Thank Christ we didn’t have kids.
Something she said split us apart
and something that I did.

I remember there on Hyde St
I was in the greengrocer’s shop
it was about 19-and-76,
the grocer he leapt up,
lowered the roller door with a crash
I wondered what was up.

And it’s endless sky and it’s mists of grey
and we must do it again.
And it’s hi-yi-yi and it’s hi-yi-yay
for don’t we love Bellingen?

And all was dark within that store
and by the spuds stood I,
and the grocer peeked out through a crack
until the funeral passed by.
When Mrs Reid’s cortège had passed
he flung the shutters high.

And I looked out into the street,
for Mrs Reid the town was shut
till shopkeeper after shopkeeper
opened all the shop doors up.
For that was how it was my friends
and on that I won’t shut up.

And it’s endless sky and it’s mists of grey
and we must do it again.
And it’s hi-yi-yi and it’s hi-yi-yay
for don’t we love Bellingen?

And my third wife was the Bellinger
’cause she was new but old.
My fourth wife was September
for she was hot and cold.
My fifth wife I remember
took my silver for her gold.

And my sixth wife was a black cockatoo
whose cry said rain was coming.
My seventh I called the valley,
she set my heart a humming
she set my heart a humming
a billion cicadas drumming!

And it’s endless green and it’s endless blue,
at the wharf the cedar’s still loading.
And lay me down with corroboree
and remember my heart exploding
for this deep soil and my youthful toil
and may I leave nothing owing.

And it’s endless sky and it’s mists of grey
and we must do it again.
And it’s hi-yi-yi and it’s hi-yi-yay
for don’t we all love Bellingen?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Le end

This blog is closing. See you at Wilson's Blogmanac.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Legend of le Tuff: (9) Man of Constant Travels

Baz le Tuff, always full of surprises!

I hadn't seen the chap for some time, when this note came from him yesterday, scribbled in a girlish but commanding hand on the reverse side of an artful photograph:


I trust you haven't forgotten your friend, mentor and heliotrope.

"I have been travelling the world for the first time in months, and forgot to inform you of my passage. I do beg your forgiveness.

"Sardinia was marvellous, and my fishing for catamite very sucessful. Greece -- plenty of Greek. Wish you could have come.

"Toronto -- lives up to its name! Now I can see why they called it that.

"Been snapping a few. Here's one of the CNN Tower.

"More when I get a chance.

"Cheers, old man.

"le Tuff"

Oh, le Tuff! What a character! What a pity he won't join flickr ... just because they leave the 'e' out. Oh well, who can argue with genius?

Friday, May 26, 2006

To Mr C Green, me mate who's a bit crook

It's not easy bean a human bean, for life can be a bitch
As I often find when bludgers knock me just for bein' rich.
It's not easy when a camel kicks you in the bloody spleen –
And I'm bloody sick and tired of it!
And it's not easy bein' green.

It ain't no fun to be an Eskimo when they spell it with a 'q'.
It's a bugger being a Paddo ponce when the alimony's due.
It's not easy being a lentil tossed into a soup tureen.
It's hard to be a bonza bloke!
And it's not easy bein' green.

I tell you it's hard to be a gentleman when the world is bloody mean.
Any king would feel that keenly, more especially his queen.
Being debonair is hard to do when it's a deviation from the mean.
It's even hard to wash your underpants!
And it's not easy bein' green.

I mean it's hard to wash your underpants in the kitchen bloody sink.
That's what I meant. Because it makes your sheila cranky and the crockerary stink.
That's why I recommend some kind of washing thingo type of machine.
Ah, it's a burden being brilliant!
And can be a bummer bein' green.

You know it's hard to be about 60 and it's hard to be 16.
Yeahhh, and it's hard to be a sheila like that one I nearly rooted once, Charlene.
Cause in about another 30 years or so her back'll hurt like mine, know what I mean?
It's hard to have enormous jugs.
And it was never easy bein' green.

Far and few, far and few, are the lands where the jumblies live.
So they tell me. It's a bleedin nuisance, I wanted them to give
A hand while I try to tork into this fancy recordin' machine.
It isn't easy being half mad,
And it's not easy bein' this particular shade of pink.

I know a bloke in Sydney-town, up there on Bungan Head.
He lords it over all the world with the rantin's in his 'ead.
He's got a bonza missus, she's so patient and serene.
He's plugged into every-bloody-thing except a dialysis machine.
He's a funny cove, does a good cabaret comedy routine,
Sort of a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Humphrey McQueen.
So he's not very funny … but then neither are the Mujahideen
But that didn’t stop them getting Oscars on the silver screen …

He hasn't got a cracker and he hasn't got a bean.
Another shitty day in paradise …
Nuh! -- it ain’t easy bein' green.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fingers crossed for Feedblitz

If you are an email subscriber to this blog, your subs from today will no longer come via Bloglet but via Feedblitz. I hope the transfer goes smoothly, and you are welcome to let me know if it does or doesn't.

(If this first post from Feedblitz has a backlog of old posts, please excuse and things will be normal from now on.)

If you don't get this blog in your email box each day, you are very welcome to join the happy throng by signing up in the sidebar on this page.

Update: I'm a dirty rat. I've said harsh things in the past about Bloglet, but this post at Feedblitz explains a lot of stuff I didn't know, so this is my public apology to Monsur who pioneered blog-to-email subs and did it altruistically, not as a money-making scheme. He has actually allowed Feedblitz to import all his free 'customers' (read his new post). Good luck to Monsur in all ways, and thanks. And anyone else who appreciates what he did can email him at bloglet at gmail dot com.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

After five years of daily Almanac posting, I'm taking a few weeks to put my energy into a few things that need doing, including my nearly finished novel. I might pop in from time to time, but for about a month I hope you'll excuse me from regular posting. In the meantime, you might like to use the menu bar at the top of this page for plenty more at the Almanac. Thanks, dear reader.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Le Tuff's generosity knows no bounds. Today the post brought me a gift parcel containg some 19 items of charming silverware bearing the monogramme of the Bishop of Toronto. Attached was a card in that familiar spidery hand: "Wilson, if you don't get on with the story I'll kick your teeth down your throat".

Oh, the wit of the man! Righty-o, le Tuff!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (8) The depth of his insight, and an entomological observation

"Wilson," le Tuff said to me after a little time (it now being about eleven), "let me show you something you won't soon forget." Needless to say, the prospect thrilled and enthralled me.

At this he methodically removed his paper turban and artfully flung it on a rusty hook, donned an Argyle cardigan over his yellow raincoat, then almost theatrically removed the cardigan, all in a series of moves as though choreographed by Diaghilev himself. It troubles me not at all to concede that le Tuff's intellectual acuity far outshines my own, and that I was, quite frankly, baffled by this brilliant ballet.

"You have no idea what that means, do you Robertson?" he said, no doubt punning on the middle name of one of my uncles.

"None whatever, I'm afraid le Tuff," I confessed with a nervous laugh. He sighed just ever so cacophoniously.

"So I have to show you again. Watch this time, for God's sake, man, or I'll tell the press about ... your little secret!"

I gave a due smile of admiration. Trust le Tuff to plunge into a man's heart and soul with such perspicacity! I watched closely, as closely as one might in a large room frugally lit by a small fluorescent camping lamp painted in psychedelic patterns with flaking acrylic paint.

Again, like a clever magician, Indian fakir or showman of the stage, he adroitly removed his cardigan and then replaced it on his fine, slightly lopsided torso. He lay down again, this time on the Ford Fairlaine seat by the refrigerator.

"Mean nothing to you, eh?" le Tuff said, then he quickly rose up, fell back onto the seat, rose again and walked purposefully if a little unsteadily (his war wound, I suppose) to the window, pulled back the Flinstones curtain, hawked very loudly, and vigorously expectorated as only a man of tremendous thoracic strength might do.

"Crippen!" he called to his loyal manservant and ward, "you left the window closed all day!"

What could the donning of the cardigan mean? Although his eyes never met mine (for he had commenced to groom his toenails, as only a man with extraordinary eyesight would dare to do in such poor light and with such cutlery), he somehow intuited that I did not comprehend.

"Bees," he said.

"Bees, le Tuff?"

"Yes, bees, idiot. That was how I discovered the principle of how bees moderate the temperature of their hives."

"Oh, splendid!" I cried. "That has been such a boon to the apicultural industry. Well done, old bean!"

His inscrutible reply was meant for my edification, I'll be bound.

"What on earth are you talking about, you stupid, boring little man," were his only words, but words to encourage me, I felt certain on that pleasant evening, and so I believe to this very day.

"The bees, le Tuff. And the cardigan. That is fantastically wonderful!"

Le Tuff moved close to me and took both my shoulders in his differently appendaged hands. He drew his rheumy eyes to within an inch or two of mine, and, although we were new friends, whispered softly as though we had been firm pals for many, many years:

"Williams, you are out of your fucking, fucking mind."

To be continued ...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (7) Mementos of genius

I wonder if in the Great Book at Judgment Day there will be less than an entire chapter devoted to Baz le Tuff and his deeds.

It was on my very first visit to Scrotsmuir that I pondered this question, as around me I beheld mementos of a wonderful life lived to the full.

The great man's loyal manservant and catamite brought in tea, and even so humble an offering as that refreshment was remarkable, served as it was from an enormous pot of finest Parramatta porcelain and poured into the most delicate Tibetan cups I had at that time ever seen. Both forms of utensil, teapot and skull, told of wide travel and daring adventure.

On the western wall of le Tuff's chamber, above an arras of pink and green, was the switchboard of the vintage monorail that ran right around the room and out to goodness-knows-where. I asked my gracious host why the switch was placed at so high an elevation, and his reply was concise and brilliant. Regrettably, to impart that to you, dear reader, would require the breaking of a confidence and consequent legal considerations. Suffice to say, there was a certain involvement of a vintage toy train collector, a news boy, the Rector of St Swithins, a delightful young German actress, two kilos of Norco butter, and a Barnacle goose.

"Cigarette?" le Tuff generously offered, and I accepted the filterless Sobranie Black Russian. Such is le Tuff's foresight that he has a ready supply of them in the basement, or so Crippen told me on another occasion. Apparently his master keeps White Russians as well; although I admit I have never heard of such a cigarette, I should very much like to try one.

As I drew on my cigarette and waited for the great man to speak, my eyes surveyed this wonderful room. Indeed, they did so for quite a time, as le Tuff does not condone idle conversation, a character trait he kindly suggested I should endeavour to cultivate (and I am learning, thanks to him).

As the sunlight outside dimmed and the beautiful gloom in the chamber enveloped all, some three or four hours after I had extinguished my Sobranie, I had ample leisure to take in a good half of the visible objets d'art and objets trouvées in the room before le Tuff roused from slumber and spoke with that unique, grating, and slightly slurred voice of his that we have all come to adore ...

To be continued

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (6) Supple -- and subtle

One can only suppose that years of championship fencing must have honed le Tuff's reflexes to the sharpness of one of the many broken Gillette safety razors scattered on his desk, for it was only a matter of a quarter of an hour or so of Crippens's incessant friendly blows before mein host leapt to his feet and greeted me as warmly as if he had known me for years and was fully conscious.

"Wilson! Do come in!" he ejaculated.

"I am in already, le Tuff," I replied. Oh, the wit of the man!

"So you are, so you are. That will be all, Crimble."

Le Tuff's loyal manservant and occupational therapist shuffled to the door, turned, bowed, smiled, scraped something off the sole of his shoe and left the chamber.

"So, what brings you here, old man?" the famous navigator and entomologist inquired.

"Your invitation was intriguing, Baz -- if I may call you Baz."

"Yes ... and no," was his enigmatic reply.

Le Tuff "wrote the book" on personal hygeine, and as he flossed his teeth I became aware of a genuine French bidet in the corner of the room, but I gave no compliment at this moment for I saw that he was about to speak. His great mouth opened wide, he drew breath, and that aquiline eye shot through the window of my soul like an arrow.

With one eyebrow cocked, his gaze transfixed me for a full minute, as he slowly and almost gracefully pirouetted, like a huge cog in an ancient grain mill, still staring like a cobra at my receptive eye. His body, so supple from a lifetime of extreme calisthenics, twisted, and lowered itself such that within a fascinating moment his face showed through the space between his svelte legs, near his crutch. An amicable and intellectual-looking grin spread from cheek to cheek, and he disarmingly spoke to me -- just seven eloquent, mysterious words that burned into my soul and will remain with me till the end of my days:

"What about that Son of Sam, huh?"

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (5) O Scrotsmuir

Like so many, I left my heart in that wonderful mansion by the sea.

Parking my car outside the high lilac walls of the property on that sunny day, I pushed heavily on the grand gates, and suffered a mild hernia. Only later did I discover that those remarkable iron contrivances were so designed as to pump water, with every visitor's entry, from a neighbour's swimming pool to a cosy little lake in the Scrotsmuir grounds. "Saves a fortune in water rates and chlorine," he told me years later. Le Tuff is nothing if not inventive.

My footfall was crunchy up the gravel drive that wound lazily around the hillside like a white serpent. With considerable exertion I climbed the wide front steps, caught my breath, stepped to the immense, Byzantine Hardiplank doors and rapped loudly on the great bronze knockers.

Le Tuff's faithful manservant and amanuensis was at the door within tens of minutes. "Oh do come in," he said musically, "Master has been expecting you." It was to the tune of Favourite Things, I think, but that is neither here nor there.

As I followed the humming Crippen through the labyrinthine corridors and halls, my neck also became herniated as I stared around me at an opulence like unto nothing I had seen since my days in ... well, where those days were spent is of no importance compared to the opulence of Scrotsmuir.

When I was finally shown into the library of the great man, I found him comfortably prostrate on a Queen Anne chaise longue of noteworthy design (it being some three times the length of my new friend).

"Good morning, le Tuff," I ventured. But nothing was replied. As I inched forward through the fashionable darkness, I noted that his charming tricoloured eyes were closed. Crippen saw my nervousness, and came to my aid.

"Master is suffering a slight bazzitude today, sir," he said, gentle as the morn.

A terrifyingly loud thunderclap rent the sky outside. "Bazzitude?" I asked, endeavouring not to appear ignorant.

"Yes, sir. Bazzitude. It has been in the last two Greater Oxford Dictionaries, ever since Master's novella memoire, 'Sack and Burn the Back Streets of Detroit'. Have you not heard the word?"

I shamefully confessed that I had not, though of course I knew the masterpiece intimately.

Crippen sensitively crooned Ted Nugent's Dog, Dog, Dog Eat Dog as with telling compassion he slapped le Tuff across the face with a short piece of 4 X 2 pine.

"Wakie, wakie, hands off snakey, sir. You have a visitor." ...

To be continued

(Part of today's episode was suggested by a reader, Sylvia from London. You suggest it, I'll try to write it.)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (4) The enigmatic epigrammist

I really must tell of my first visit to Scrotsmuir, as I promised, but first an aside about one particularly touching side of the much-copied but never-equalled le Tuff personality.

The Holy Bible, Shakespeare, Emerson, Franklin, Wilde: their famous apothegms so fill the quotidian language of learned and unschooled alike that we scarce know who first penned them. The oft-quoted truism "An intangible yesterday is the compliment you pay to the fool and the rebuke to the wise man" is such an one of these. Most think it is from Scripture. Not so; it is a le Tuffism.

"A forgotten inkstand in the nose: no disgrace."
"Mercies are to the fisherman what spite is to the standing."
"People who dine by partridges need no alms makers."
"There is many a slip betwixt Fleet Street and the blood of the chimneysweep."
"Yeah, stick another two fingers in. No you fool, I meant the bourbon."

Each and every scintillating adage by Baz le Tuff!

You doubt me? Oh, but see She who was nigh Singapore, now is comelier: Gentle thoughts and crude for the yearning youngster (le Tuff, Baz, OULP, 1987, 684 pp). Be amazed, and be illuminated by these familiar epigrams that improve the mind and character, as you discover that all these commonplace maxims come from the one outstanding intellect.

I leave you with just a few more randomly chosen examples of over 4,700 proverbs from the teeming brain of the greatest epigrammist of the 20th and 21st centuries:

"Forget thou that ye hast sniffed until the morning night."
"None knows the hour of the spite of doo-wah-diddy."
"A full bottle of Scotch; half a bottle of scotch; blahdy blahdy."
"Look before you buy; try before you leap; inkstands."
"As you make your partridge, so you must spite your hahaha nose."
"Do as I say, not as the partridge must spite your too fucking much nose."
"None knows the hour the partridge wearily spites the nose of the bloody chimneysweep."
"Whack it up your sleeve. I'll hold the belt."
"Desperate diseases call for desperate inkstands."
"Stupid publishers: stupider people. Set them on fire I say."
"Something about inkstands. Chuck anything in here. Bloody belch."
"Don't count your chickens to spite your whatever partridge-stand."
"A great big, big, big, big bosom. Try it with ice. Nup better straight. Partridges yeah yeah."
"Dah de blah de dum partridges Johnny Walker something something."

Baz le Tuff, thank you, sir!

(Excepts from She who was nigh Singapore, now is comelier: Gentle thoughts and crude for the yearning youngster (le Tuff, Baz, OULP, 1987, 684 pp) reproduced with kind permission of Oxford University Little Press.)

To be continued ...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (3) Strength in the bottom of adversity

Young folk these days are sometimes surprised to learn that there were not always le Tuff enterprises in the world.

Indeed, even for the mature, it is difficult to imagine a world without the le Tuff rectangular piston, BazleTuff Disco Drops, TuffGuevaraMedia and of course the invention that started it all, Tuff Wipes, to name but a few runaway mercantile successes.

The Tuff Wipe that you, along with more than four billion other grateful consumers, use each day was not always large and green, and indeed, not popular in the competitive world of personal hygeine products. In point of actual fact, le Tuff's 1972 prototype resembled more a craggy yellow spud-gun than the familiar jumbo-sized sanitary aid in today's 'little room'.

The initial product trials were disappointing -- "Damn hopeless," le Tuff himself admits today, but this is where character and the famous never-say-die le Tuffian attitude came to the fore. After several months of experimentation requiring great personal expense, and the tragic sacrifice of several dedicated laboratory assistants, the current model was given the famous le Tuff 'thumbs up' and -- well, of course the rest is history ...

To be continued

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (2) His origins, his transportation and an observation on Scrotsmuir

Le Tuff is nothing if not modest, and very few people outside the criminal justice system really have much idea of his many achievements, nor of the events of his life.

The time and place of his birth are not known, to this writer at least, and it is indeed hard to imagine le Tuff as young, but it is said there are in the British Museum some sketchy records of a childhood spent in South Wales, Patagonia, Beijing, Alburquerque, Wagga Wagga, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Ouagadougou, Kabul, Monaco, Tierra del Fuego, Melbourne, Kilkenny, Madagascar, Honshu, Swaziland, New Jersey, Wormwood Scrubs, The Hague, Auckland, Castro Street (San Francisco), Easter Island, Kuala Lumpur, Madras, St Petersburg, Glasgow, Ulan Baator and the Mississippi delta where he picked up a slight American "twang" and a Louisiana record-breaking number of STDs.

A brilliant 43-Man Squamish quarterback in high school, he won an Offshore Rhodes Scholarship and read Natural History at St Helena, taking the university medal in his first year.

When le Tuff turned his mind to the engineering sciences his aptitude was clear to all, and it is said that his substantial fortune today rests in large part on his Thuringian Amplitude Device which revolutionised the sub-Saharan food industry as well as enabling the drainage of marshlands in Iraq. He has told your writer on numerous occasions that the social good that has come from the T. A. D. was well worth the loss of two daughters and three fingers of his left hand.

How he came to reside in Australia is as hidden as the facts of his youth, but Poxlough says le Tuff's intriguing secret is shared by some of the best-known names at Scotland Yard. Be that exciting notion as it may, he has made this country his own and we have accepted him as one of our sons, much as Britain has taken Rolf Harris to her ample bosom. His first antipodean years, spent at some place in Victoria called Pentridge, unknown to your writer, were apparently uneventful, and the later alleged sale of a shipment of date-expired canned food and medicines to a network of Queensland orphanages, mere scuttlebutt and hearsay. Of this I speak on the authority of none less than the great man himself.

His towering mock-Federation home on an ocean cliff just outside the pleasant vale of Toormina-on-Tasman is as eye-piercingly beautiful as it is comfortable, for le Tuff if not for his many less-sophisticated guests (he is democratic above all). Miss Emberley avows that it is the grandeur of the magnificent granite colossus of Sir Robert Menzies, nude and astride the white gravel drive, that accounts for the swooning of many young local girls. Le Tuff self-effacingly shrugs off their disappearance and will take none of the credit. "Nothing to do with me at all, old bean," he once said to me as he quaffed his morning tot of methylated spirits. "They see the faux topiary, and I suppose they are inspired to travel le Grand Tour of the Continent before age and infirmity take their toll." Ever humble, ever kindly, eh, le Tuff?!

Oh, well do I remember my first visit to Scrotsmuir and the very quaint (and amusing) recently deceased 'envelope' in which the purple-edged invitation was delivered ...

To be continued

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Legend of le Tuff: (1) The Meeting

This month it is forty years since I met le Tuff. Forty long, long years. Thus it is that, to commemorate this important anniversary, over the next few days I shall recount some memories of just a few remarkable events in what scholars now call the notorious "le Tuff legend", to which I have been a grateful and unworthy spectator.

In 1965, most people I knew had one thing on their minds. Actually, two if you count trying to grow hair over the forehead. Little did I know, dear reader, that there was another, far greater than these, whose aspirations were formidably more advanced.

Baz le Tuff was already well established as a freelance acrobatic neuro-surgeon when I met him on that propitious grey day in the Oodnadatta Club. He had apparently just settled into his customary armchair with a raspberry gin following (as I only learned months later in the journal Nature) a successful afternoon discovering how to save fish from drowning. As you will know, the le Tuff Method is used now in countries all around the world and many a halibut is thankful. What you probably do not know is that he never accepted a penny for it. (He told me in 1994 when he declined the Nobel for this addition to human knowledge, as he so often has since the third prize, "It's what any man would have done, Wilson". No, le Tuff, not any man!)

His dresser had apparently eloped that morning with a Hutu prostituée and le Tuff was dishevelled, of course, but not in a crassly fashionable way. Rather, he had the air of a man long accustomed to the tousled vestments that are the lot of most, nay all, men of genius. He puffed on a Messerschmidt pipe and casually -- vacantly, one might say -- leafed through the Russian edition of a Dumas Classics Illustrated. It was some months before I knew that his reading of the magazine upside down, and in a language utterly unknown to him, was le Tuff's very own practised way of increasing the challenge of any literary masterpiece not his own. It is a method I have since emulated, recommended to many, but to this day not mastered.

It was Walsingham, I think, or Geoffrey St John who introduced me to the man. As he looked up from his comic Count of Monte Cristo I could not help but notice a fetching smile that transfigured his berry-stained, crooked lips and pink teeth into an even more wonderful feature (this was long before the craze for teeth of that colour), and Cyril Poxlough nudged me so that I might marvel with him at the slight residue of dried crimson saliva that still seemed to trickle elegantly from le Tuff's mouth to his asymmetric chin. Naturellement, I was won over immediately!

He fixed me with that intense, blue-veined eye which is well known to all who have seen him in the colour films, and who in the Western world has not? I thought he was about to deign to speak to me, and my companions tell me they were sure he would, but instead he pressed his charmingly pointed right elbow into the arm of the big leather chair, tilting his dandyish, statuesque physique in a manner that Poxlough and Miss Emberley later agreed was "smoulderingly erotic", drew back his paisley polyester smoking jacket and deftly took from his back pocket an immense jar of home-pickled Kandahari walnuts.

"Nuts?" he asked me with a cordiality that was completely disarming.

Of course, I knew instantly we would be firm friends ...

More tomorrow, deo volente.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

I don't think there'll be much action on this blog for a while.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Unfortunately, I will have to stop 'Kill the President' in its current form. Thank you, nthmtnhoney for all your support, and members of Kalliope for entering into the spirit of the game. My thanks, too, to previous SoKs, madhatter and veebeep.

I hope to continue the poem, but in a different form. The form that I chose before was one that required interactivity with the reader, and unfortunately it's become obvious that I have failed to inspire a level of interactivity that would stimulate the addition of further 'bacterioids' ... clues and so on. That failure had a snowballing effect, as by the rules of engagement I was required to continue writing in a kind of void, forcing even more stanzas to be created without bacterioids and thus lessening the interest even further. It was an experiment, and I accept that it didn't succeed. Maybe there will be a better way to do it at some time in the future. The fishpond blog will remain as a place for things that I find in the fishpond outside my door. Thank you, friends, and all good wishes.

Monday, April 04, 2005

"Does she have an aversion," asks Gene the waitperson
diplomatically, "because this stuff's new?"
"Darn tootin'. These are great," Lum looks up from his plate.
"It's just fear, it ain't hate. But tain't my nature to wait."
"Sir, you're President. Waiting's what guys like me do."

[Note from Pip: I have the offer of a free ride to Sydney tomorrow, so I'm going to grab the opportunity to go and see family and friends for a few days, between Tuesday, April 5 and Sunday, April 10. I haven't taken time off for more years than I care to admit, so I won't be online for the duration. See you when I get back.]

Sunday, April 03, 2005

"I don't dream about all things. Not tall things, mostly small things.
Dean, doesn't that hit you as curious?"
"Are you troubled?" asks the waiter. "Well, sure," says Lumwedder.
"I could feel a lot better. And Missus Lumweddder --
the First Lady. It makes her right furious."

Friday, April 01, 2005

A few minutes later, Lum asks Gene the waiter,
"Tell me, why did your folks call you Gene?
Is it short for Eugene?" "No sir. Just plain Gene.
My mother, it seems, had a dream about genes."
"Why, her druthers is my ruthers! Know what she means.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

"So, what's the matter, Curtis?" asks Gene. "Nothing. Purvis.
Yeah Purvis. The Service. Damn snoops.
Why the hell do they come into the kitchen? Does Lum
send them in here? How come? "Settle down. Make me one
stack of hotcakes." Asks Henson "No Loops?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"Could be, Mister Prez. Never noticed," Gene says,
as he heads straight away to the kitchen,
where he senses some tension between Curtis and Henson --
almost too little to mention, but a sense of dissension,
and he hears Henson whisper "Quitcha bitchin'!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"A cloud?" "Yeah, tell me Gene." "It's Dean, sir -- I mean Gene!
I don't know ... I see shapes. Maybe a sheep, or a face,
ice cream, or a tree. Sir, what do you see?"
"Well, it looks like to me, some kind of vehicle, maybe.
Made by microbes to get to some place."

Monday, March 28, 2005

He puts the phone in his pocket. "Tell me, Dean, can you grok it?
Does nothing appear like it is?
I'm just thinking aloud -- but when you see a cloud --
what do you see? And how'd you see it? You're allowed
to tell me the truth. Pretend that it's President biz."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Tim says "Mister Prez, that's just what Jade says.
Matter of fact, I was just about to text."
"OK, so it's 'cereal'." "Yup, and we thought it was 'serial'."
"Yeah, but it's so queer y'all." "This could be quite material ...
now we just need to know what comes next."

He's been thinking about Jade and that thing that she said,
about the spelling and "listen to this serial".
"Well dang me!" he cries. "It's right before my eyes!"
He phones the other guys: "Team, I've got a surprise --
it ain't 'serial' -- it's 'listen to this cereal'."