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UNCOLLECTED GUARDIAN PIECES

JTS columns from the Guardian newspaper

 
6. Facts and Fictions


I've got nothing whatever to write about this week; which at least should make it easier to understand. Since Friday, which is four days ago as I write, I have written ten thousand words of a new novel which suddenly gripped me when Moon's garage rang up and said a new starter-motor would cost 50. I had three days' carefree motoring after spending 200 on brakes and tyres.

"Why not get a s
mall English car?" asked Eli. (Rhyme it softly with Daily.) Eli is a beautiful Norwegian girl you must have seen in the glossies; she is married to Rickie who is a probation officer. They're known in our clan as crime and punishment, though I haven't sorted out which is which.

"Because I like to pace up and down," I told her. I also like to sit out in the car and read, it being slightly larger than my room. When your life is made of roads you must have one moveable part of your home. Jesus, I'm really dull this week. The brightest thing that happened was this lovely Indian girl in a mini-dress who asked me to take my trousers down.

"Either you should wear so
me support or else see a surgeon," she said. I've never had a pretty girl say that to me before. She's apparently standing in for my doctor who is on holiday (you've noticed no "Jack Trevor Story is on holiday" notes on this column this summer). I can't wear supports, especially right in the middle of my moose-hunting season. As for surgeons, I would die under the anaesthetic. My breathing is very unreliable, always has been. "What about my coronary?"

"That's not heart trouble," she said, after holding
my left hand for several seconds. My left arm hurts and my little finger's gone numb. You may have noticed the "Z", "A", "Q" and "!" are kind of weak lately. "When you get older," she went on, relentlessly, the bones in the back of your neck can get slightly out of alignment and press on a nerve. It simply means wearing a collar under your chin for a while."

Great; I have a support and a collar under my chin and on top of that that loose tooth dropped out eating Paul McDowall's birthday cake last week. I shall see I shall have to do what
my flatmate Jean-Claud has done and join a computer dating service. His English is not perfect so I've been doing the introductory phoning for him - he allows me 10 per cent. I listen to him making fine passionate speeches and then ending with "good evening".

My happiest bit of reading this week comes from Abbie Hoffman's "Woodstock Nation":

"Daisy Johnson go to the red tent in the hog farm. Myron Cohen wants to marry you."

I haven't switched television on since "D" for Dover day in early June and you may have noticed my shortage of current topics. It all comes out of my head, folk, doyng, doyng, doyng! However, they haven't forgotten
me for Joe Steeples rang me this afternoon and invited me to make a four-minute home-movie next week to be shown on London Weekend's "Eleven Plus" programme (whatever that is). I've got two days to do the script:

EXT. HAMPSTEAD HIGH STREET. DAY

STORY appears wearing a truss and neck collar and keeping his hand over his missing tooth but still giving his handicapped smile to passing dolls...

And talking of Ha
mpstead, I see they've ruined a nice old pub, The Three Horseshoes, by making it smart, chic and dark as P J Clark's on Third Avenue where the menu is written in braille. With two more pages to go we come to a bright new item, Unknown facts about the author:

I get neurotic if people co
me into my room and read anything of mine before it's been printed. To get a clearance on a line of mine from one of my victims I mask the rest of the page. Reading a writer in ms without permission is like whistling in a theatre - it's death.

The last nerve-twanging days of August are upon us (to get back to normal) and on the 31st, Lee's and Saroyan's birthday, Maggie's work-per
mit in Brussels will be withdrawn. Since everything's gone sadly quiet lately I have a feeling she won't know what to do or where to go. I'd like to quote part of a short story which I was quite shocked to find at the bottom of one of her dressing-table drawers which I just got the courage to open. It's dated 27th May, 1970, and I had no idea she'd written it. It's headed with the song title "Leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again..." It starts:


"After our final row I decided to go to Paris - wasn't that where I always intended going if and when our relationship ended..." There's a thousand-word first-person account of adventures and an affair in Paris which ends when she falls sick and her lover is impatient to get off back to the coast. The ending is as follows:

"That little roo
m was so small and lonely as I lay there all day, lethargic, wanting nothing except to go home. This present affair could only last as long as we were here in Paris and, now that he had left, the affair was over. The following day I was better, but detached in some strange way from the present, and from the past. I forced myself to see once more the now familiar sights of Paris, and said a silent goodbye to each one. If I ever come back I thought all this will be different.

I cried in my room as I packed and so put off phoning until I reached
Orly. When his phone stopped ringing I said brightly, "Would you mind picking me up at the airport - I'll be on the 5 pm flight which arrives at..."

But that was Maggie's fiction, whereas August this year of 1972 has been filled with her inescapable realities.



(The Guardian, Saturday 26 August, 1972)

 

 

Jack Trevor Story's texts copyright   the estate of Jack Trevor Story 2002. Not for reproduction. Copyright in all work by Jack Trevor Story is the property of the author's heirs. Permission for use of this material can be obtained through Jackie Edwards (Story), Peter Story, Lee Story or Michael Moorcock. Reproduction of copyright material whether in text, visual or audio form by unauthorised sources strictly forbidden.

 

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