Saturday, 24 April 2010

Narrow Dog

Whilst I am wittering on about books and authors. On a popular Canal Forum there has been some banter about Terry Darlington the Author of Narrow Dog to Carcassonne and Narrow Dog to Indian River.

As Terry would say, Jim is the one in the middle.

Each book chronicles the adventures of Jim the Whippet and his erstwhile owners Terry and Monica Darlington aboard their narrowboat Phylis May.

There are some authors who can spellbind with there penmanship. There are others who have a certain style and can in time become quite predictable. There are some best described as one-book wonders. Terry Darlington falls into neither group. You either like him or loath him.

I am a Terry Darlington fan, because of the humour in the text. Some of which is lost, until you read the book for a second or third time. Narrow Dog to Carcassonne was published in 2005.

The text is quite unpredictable and often bordering on surreal. Terry can take an every-day experience and describe it in humorous terms that did not exist in the actual experience. Actions and words can be paraphrased in a humorous style, which Terry does with Monica's alleged comments.

Until you understand Terry's ways with words - you almost have to read the book paragraph by paragraph until the style starts to scan. Narrow Dog to Indian River was published in April 2008.

I have just read another book. Voices From The Waterways by Jean Stone. Jean has pulled together a number of canal life stories, anecdotes and observations. A typical section is "Old Uncle Billy the Wherryman" by Nigel Royall, of Royalls Boatyard. This describes in detail some of the life of his great-great uncle Billy Royall. Billy was a rogue of the times. Pilfering some of the cargo in what he described as "truckin and tradin". The bottom line was that great-great uncle Billy was in reality a thief, and a rogue, but you just can't help but love him for it. The book has several photographs of Billy and his wherry dog Prince.

There is a bit of the history of Royalls Boatyard here.

Going back to the forum comments, we are all critics of one kind or another. To demonstrate the worth of a critic, here is the story of an art exhibition held at a National Art Gallery and the critical review by a curator of a painting.

At the National Art Gallery, a husband and wife were staring at a portrait that had them completely confused. The painting depicted three black men totally naked sitting on a what looked like a riverside bench. Two of the figures had black willies, but the one in the middle had a pink willie.

The curator of the National Art Gallery observing the couple realized that they were having trouble in interpreting the painting. He then went to speak to the couple and offered his assessment. He spoke to them for over half an hour. Explaining how the painting depicted the "Sexual emasculation of black men in a predominately white, patriarchal society" and in fact he went on to point out, that some serious art critics believe that "The pink willie also reflects the cultural and sociological oppression experienced by gay men in contemporary society"
After the curator left, a Scotsman who had observed what happened, approached the couple and said, "Would you like to know what the painting is really about?" The couple were somewhat taken aback and said "Now why would you claim to be more of an art expert than the curator of the National Art Gallery?" The Scotsman replied. "Because I'm the artist who painted the picture. What's more, there are no black men actually depicted in the picture at all. They're just three 1950's barge crew who are finishing their lunch. They are not black at all, it is coal dust from off loading 50 tons of coal by hand. However, the number one in the middle had actually been in the back cabin for his lunch."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.