The Rise and Fall of Fred Fernackapan.*

* Spelling may be Fannakapan.
You may be wondering, if you didn’t know, who said gentleman is; well, he features in a poem (Google it), is sung about by Gracie Fields ( ), and also used as a name for all my wife’s charges, when she was what us ‘oldies’, and not so old, called a Dinner Lady. It was a term of endearment and a useful tool to excuse her bad memory. In any event, it brings us joy when we shop in Matlock, and overhear children saying to mum, ‘That’s my Dinner Lady!’ Even after all this time (Sue retired 4yrs. ago).
I am digressing at this point, and having a rant, so please excuse me. I mentioned in my last post, my hero Joe Meek. I have a lot of heroes, and friends, all ‘gay’ (I do dislike all labels and any form of discrimination). Some more of them I’ll mention in another post. Suffice to say, would a ‘bigot’ go up to my hero, Achilles, and accuse him of being ‘gay’? I think not, though Achilles loved Patroclus dearly and would take it as a complement. But the ‘bigot’ wouldn’t know that. I expect he’d quake in his boots, or something.
I did not tell you about Paul Robeson and Harry Belafonte in my last post. Paul, I have loved since a child; his music delights, his role as political activist for the Civil Rights Movement inspiring. Ditto Harry Belafonte. Do you remember ‘Old Man River’ and ‘There’s a Hole in My Bucket’? Timeless!
Moving onwards, my next interest is Books. I live and breathe in them. In fact, my wife complains about the number of books I have. ‘What you do want another book for?’. They have always been around, as a child, in some form or another. You see, it all started with ‘Janet and John’, who reached us from the USA in the 50’s (Alice and Jerry there). My infant teacher used them to teach me to read. I did (learn) and haven’t stopped reading since. The two comics afore mentioned (Eagle and Boys World) lead me to Jules Verne and HG Wells. I was in 7nth. heaven. In my imagination, I was Captain Nemo, or the (nameless) Time Traveller. Later on, I read Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clark, two of the most prolific and influential science fiction writers ever. Sadly, both dead now, and keeping each other company in authors’ heaven (they knew each other well). As an adult (I consider myself a child with adult responsibilities), having read all my previous authors books, I’ve moved on to new territory: anything. Usually, it’s the cover that catches my attention, contrary to moral (?) practice. I don’t mean scantily clad women. I mean, in a psychic sense, you ‘know’ it’s going to be good. Not every time.
Currently, I’m reading my beloved Terry Pratchett. ‘A Blink of the Screen’, collected shorter fiction, curtesy of the public library (God bless it!). If you don’t know of him, he is responsible for the Disc World Series, and other fantasy books; some in collaboration with Neil Gaiman and Stephen Baxter, two more of my favourite authors. I have avidly consumed Lorna Byrne’s books on her experiences with angels. If you don’t believe in angels, I would ask you to suspend your disbelief until you’ve read her books. It’s worth it.
Not every book that passes through my hands is a work of fiction. I love factual books too. Not the bible, I’m afraid to say. Most of the books on my book shelves are about science, nature, permaculture, and gardening. I love Bill Bryson. Going back to fiction (sorry, didn’t mention this before) I have a few books by an author not many will have heard of. Shame, really. Any road, ‘The Green Isle of the Great Deep’ (what a lovely title – you see what I meant earlier?) This story is a ‘Phantasy’, a cross between fairy tale and fantasy, possibly. I am open to a better definition, if someone has one. Young Art and old Hector slip accidentally into a salmon pool and awaken in an strange Highland domain of upper class folk and their lowly servitors. To give the ending away, God, whose world this really is, has been ‘away’, allowing the status quo to happen. It’s up to the pair of them to reach God’s ear and alert Him to their predicament.
I’ve borrowed this book so many times from the library, my son bought it for my birthday.
Just as I have stylus in hand, a ‘dead good’ prog’s just started on Aunty Beeb (BBC). ‘Africa’. So down iPad and bye 4 now.

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