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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Captain Lash! Julie-Ann brings the memories flooding back ...

Julie-Ann Morrison sends the following gem, which absolutely made my day:

"One of my abiding memories of Crickley is a load of us sitting in the dorm after drinking copious quantities of Weston's listening to that nice Mr Ferris reading us Captain Lash! I remember we were only allowed one chapter per night, and it was such a wonderful book that I went straight after that year's dig and found a copy in a second hand book shop and have treasured it ever since.

In fact I buy copies for other people. I am in the process of recording said book for a blog and will let you know when I get that sorted. I have since sourced other books by the same author - Captain Frank Shaw, including the amazing 'Gay Sea Road'. They were written between the wars and the language was obviously perfectly fine then, but now the opportunity for double entendre is positively delicious! I think the following excerpt may both remind those of us who were there, and give a flavour to those who were not fortunate enough to be amongst those read to......

'Say' said Lash 'Isn't there anyone here who can fight?' There was no one animate enough to reply. Cora, crouched under the wilted piano, sobbed hysterically and tried to abuse him, but his gentle touch on her face had played havoc with the best bridge work of a pacific dentist, and she could only gulp incoherencies.'

Ah, happy days!!!"

How on earth could I have let Captain Lash slip from my memory and my life? It's possibly the worst written book I've ever had the privilege to lay hands on and I have a broad grin on my face as I type this. I tried, a few times, reading passages out loud but was unable to contain the mirth or accompanying tears. I remember being absolutely in stitches listening to the Ferris rendition which was without equal in the county, or, doubtless, throughout the land.

I can't wait for Julie-Ann to post 'Captain Lash - the audio book'. I bet Ferris is still having a periodic chuckle over his copy. Where's my eBay password got to?

Update - I have a bid in at 99p - will anyone fight me for it? I also see that it's Amazon UK's 1,346,579th Best Seller at the time of posting ... I think there may be some competition in July for who gets to declaim the best passages ...

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