Friday 29 May 2015

Incredible offer

Is this the most INCREDIBLE offer ever?

The one everyone’s talking about from New York to 21 Long Tribble Lane, Accrington!
The Replica Mop Handle
Yes, EXCLUSIVE replicas of Nobby Tirpitz’s famous mop handle that he threw from the Hindenburg as it exploded over Lakeside Naval Air Station in 1937. 
Specially fashioned from GENUINE vulcanised imitation plastic by the RENOWNED female artisans of the Happy Heart Temple in Bangkok, complete with zinc-plated attachments. The handle also features Nobby’s FAMOUS message. Strictly limited edition.  
The renowned artisans
Comes in a bio-degradable GIFT box with card, signed by best-selling author Jack Fielding himself.

And that’s not all! Each replica comes with a FREE battery-operated toilet roll holder featuring an image of the airship with giant SWASTIKAS.  

All this for ONLY $799.15. Includes FREE worldwide delivery.   
Really big Swastikas
Contact the author NOW to take advantage of this AMAZING offer!

Hurry while stocks last! 

(No time wasters)
Nobby cleaning his friend's battleship in 1925 using actual mop

Airships, absurdity, death, toilets and mop handles

In my interview for Thailand Footprint I was asked about the themes in my books. I explained that two recurring themes are death and absurdity – always a laugh a minute around here – and I shared my thoughts about them by way of a true story of mine:

At one time I was keeping a low profile in a fleapit river town called Concepcion in Paraguay. But every damned night I was plagued by the same dream: I was a young German guy called Nobby Tirpitz, working on a giant airship as a lavatory attendant in 2nd class. I had a special mop, given to me by my late grandfather Othmar who had run a public convenience in Hamburg railway station. Anyway, I was in terrible danger in that airship. Trapped in the lavatory while a terrible fire raged outside, acrid smoke pouring in. Using my penknife I just had time to carve a message on the handle of the mop then shove it through the tiny porthole. There was an awful roaring noise…then I woke up.  
Airship recreation 

Years later I was living in Thailand and teaching English. Porntip was one of my best female students and one night she invited me to her family house in Don Muang (where the old international airport used to be). Her dad was a colonel in the air force. Well, I met the folks and had fantastic meal. Then her dad took me into the garage to see his collection of memorabilia. Medals, a WW2 Japanese flag and an oxygen mask, that kind of thing. And then I noticed what looked like a wooden pole. It seemed out of place so I asked him about it. He explained it belonged to the Hindenburg, the airship that had exploded in 1937. Said it was a broom handle with some writing on it but it was in German. Well, I knew German and picked it up. The handle seemed strangely familiar. Then I read the writing. Incredibly it was the message I’d written in the dream – ‘Anyone want to buy a cheap airship!’

You know, I’ve never forgotten that uncanny dream and the mysterious mop handle. Death, rebirth and multiple lives. It also explains why lavatories keep popping up in my books. In Zen City, Palmer is in one when he experiences the ghastly dream sequence at the end. Milo the assassin-monk emerges from a weird roadside toilet in Zen Ambulance and Neville’s family keep surprising him when he’s sat on the bog in Villages. 

One thing’s for sure – no matter where I am in the world, I’ve always tipped big when I use public lavatories.     
Like I said, death and absurdity.
Public lavatory in Wales (but very similar to German ones)

Monday 18 May 2015

When aliens wore fedora hats #3

     “What do you mean?”

     “See, I got this comic book and it had your story in it. It’s called Oka Sundown. It’s all about this monk called Milo. He’s identical to you even down to the clothes and everything and how he meets this Zuikido Kid. They have this great adventure together.”

     “I don’t understand,” Milo heard himself say.

     “The adventure – everything in the comic – happened in real-life to you and me! You walking past the alley that first time, giving me a cigarette, the fight and blowing away that yakuza, you getting nearly killed and the temple bell.”

     “You knew I was here because it was in the story...?”

That was an extract from Man in a Zen Ambulance with Milo the assasin-monk and the Kid. And here are more from the noir Zen City, Iso.

First, Orson Palmer on a train to Ayutthaya with Angel:

     “Do you believe in anything – democracy, for example?”






     “Comic books?”

     “Oh, yes,” I say. “Now I like those a lot.”

     I pull out my Valiant and hold it up to her. “You want to get stuck into proper reading material like this, The Man Who Fell Into Tomorrow. It’s very enlightening.”

     But Angel picks up her paper again, gives it a sharp flick and starts reading.

And here’s Palmer again, this time at the Metropol Hotel talking to the desk clerk:

     Little Wong leans over me. “And what’s that?”

     I hold up flying discs from Venus zapping death rays at Hawker Hurricanes above a burning Big Ben. A Terrific Tales! Golden Age comic.

     “Look, you got others in there as well.”

     I nudge him away then lean back in my chair. “Who did you say gave you this lot?”

     “Samlo jockey left it.”

     “What did he say exactly?”

     “He said give this to the big-nose-ugly-foreigner who wears those silly shirts and lives upstairs.”

Finally, Angel and Palmer cutting loose at the Galaxy Rose dance hall:

     I sit down and shove the bag under my chair.

    “Tell me,” says Angel, “wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a sports jacket and – what on earth is that – ah, yes, a Krakos the Egyptian necktie. Is that what you call blending in?”

     “More, I think, a reflection of my warm and colourful personality.”

There’s plenty more. All inspired by Alan Class and other Brit comics that go back as far as the 1940s. Some real, some imagined. Some with a post-modernist twist that feeds directly into the action. But all designed to breathe new life into Gail, Krakos and all the rest; entertain and, hey, maybe even provide a few laughs.  I hope my readers get a kick out of these comics and characters. I know I have.

Enjoying the ride.

Still am.

Here are two excellent websites which were I made a lot of use of: