Monday, January 18, 2010


I was listening to a few Paul Simon songs the other day, and I was struck by the opening lines to his song “Duncan”.

“Lincoln Duncan is my name

And here’s my song, here’s my song.”

The implication is that the narrator of the song, Lincoln Duncan, has a song.. and that possibly we all have a song, if we should choose to look for it. That thought continued, and got itself mixed up with another project that’s been rattling around the back of the cranium: that of bringing the internal dialogue to life.

We all have an inner dialogue. Some call it our conscience, some may think it’s proof positive of schizophrenia, or multiple personalities (not the same things), some may superstitiously believe it’s their guardian angel.

My own opinion is that my internal dialogue is a full-time chat between me and my censor. I learned fairly early on that it was advisable not to be too honest. That it was generally best to modify statements before I make them.

And I also think that it’s possible that this inner blue-nose is also one’s song: the actual person. The naked person. The raw person.

This blog has, generally speaking, been an honest and frank discussion. I’ve written things here that I wouldn’t necessarily say in a general conversation around a dinner table. Yet I have to admit that, while writing it, i continuaslly censor myself. Not in the use of “bad” language: if I feel it necessary to drop in the “f” word or the “c” cord, then I’ll do so.

But hang on - note that “if I feel it necessary” in the previous sentence. I know that I often wimp out. I don’t say what I really, really think. So yes, I’ve been slowly becoming aware that I’m not entirely satisfied with the level of disclosure.

Now, and in the future, you’re going to see the odd line inserted from TOA – The Other Allan. (Perhaps “The Real Allan”?) He/I’ll be saying what I really think, and pulling no punches. Writing this down has made me nervous: TOA is worried about what people will think of him. Well, it’s about time I found out. I’m 57 years old, for heaven’s sake, and I’m probably a little too anal about apostrophes and commas. I am certainly too worried about what people think of me. I don't really have self-belief. Or the courage to let others see the real me. But, what the hell. The friends who read this blog to keep up with my blitherings will simply have to accept they’ll be learning a bit more about me than they probably want to know, and for the few strangers who read this… well, at least you may have some slightly less than dull jokes to tell at the next cocktail party you attend “Oh, I read this blog written by this total jerk-off in New Zealand… and he said that he reckons that every newsreader on TV needs a swift kick in the cunt…” Anyway, you now know what to expect if you see something from TOA. It’ll be interesting to see how long my courage holds.

I found a couple of articles / blogs / things that I reckon you'd like.

Actually, my niece tipped me onto the last one. I nearly ruptured my spleen laughing.

LISTENING TO: John Fogerty, "Revival". Swamp rock / blues. Excellent.

READING: James Rollins, "Sandstorm". Every now and then you need a speed-read thriller, and Rollins simpy never disappoints. Within the first 60 pages we've had 3 murders, a suicide, a ball-lighning (or was it?) explosion, the British Museum half burnt down, a mysterious ghostly death in the Sahara Desert, an aristro taking methamphetamines, an Indiana Jones look-alike in a Hamilton Jet boat race down the Yangtse River, an EMP grenade, Chinese spies, sinister Bedouins, and at least onemention of New Zealand. Things will, I hope, hot up soon.

WORD OF THE DAY: Corkscrew. The theory at work at work is that Prinny Charles' corkscrew-shaped penis is what caused Diana to go all twisted. Could be.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: And here's a quote from one Jennifer Love Hewitt, who was chatting to some talk show host about her new book about relationships: "After a breakup, a friend of mine Swarovski-crystalled my precious lady," she said. "It shined like a disco ball so I have a whole chapter in there on how women should vagazzle their vajayjays."
A gay friend of mine tells me we can thank Operetta Winifred for the word "vajayjay". Sigh.


Arthur Tomlinson, blacksmith, had entered the room a mere half-hour ago. Arthur Tomlinson, soldier, left it, head hanging low.

By the time twenty minutes had past, Arthur Tomlinson had told his Grampa, who’d sat heavily on the kitchen chair and sighed, deeply. “Well, boy, you’ve gone and done it, so there’s nothing to be said. But you’re sure?”
“No, Grampa, I ain’t sure. But I can’t see that I’ve any alternative. I can't go to prison, I just can't. And the Sergeant did say that I’d be certain to go into the Red Cross: you know, helping the wounded and sick.”
The old man sighed heavily. He looked at his ward, and saw an open and guileless lad, someone who had an innate belief in the goodness of his fellow man. “I hope you’re right, Arthur. I hope you’re right.”
Arthur nodded, absolutely certain that he’d made the right decision, and went to the Royal, where he drank, and was absolutely certain that he’d made the worst decision of his life.

Chapter Five

“He’s a bloody fool, is what he is,” said Jayne Francis. “There’s no other bloody word for it. A bloody, bloody fool.” A tear trickled down her cheek. She wondered just how bloody the bloody fool would become.
Gerald Smith sighed, and said, “Yes, I suppose you’re right. But there’s no turning back, is there.” It was a flat statement, not a question. He waved a hand in the air, helplessly, and then ran his palm over his head, enjoying the feel of his hands’ deep calluses scraping against his bald pate. “We often talked about it, you know. I’m against the war, you’ll know that, Miss Jayne.” Again, a rhetorical statement: both of them had argued the same pacifist platitudes against the jingoistic platitudes that were regularly trotted out at the poker evenings. Gerald Smith had been mildly surprised to find that Judge Weatherby shared their point of view. The judge’s son George Weatherby had been overseas for four months now, training in Egypt, preparing to rout Johnny Turk and Fritz the German from the great oceans of sand that lay over the great lakes of oil in Saharan Africa.
The great movers and shakers in England had other ideas, however, and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force found itself aboard ship, heading for Blighty.
The excitement among the troops was, of course, intense. Most of them had been born in New Zealand, but considered England to be their true home. It was the heart of the greatest Empire mankind had ever seen, and they were going there, to breathe in the air they had heard and read about: the clean and pure air of freedom.
Meanwhile, Arthur was writing home to Old Man Smith every day from the training camp at Trentham. So far, it looked as though the Army was holding true to its promise. He was becoming a better than average First Aid man, learning how to set a broken bone, how to apply pressure to a wound, how to apply a tourniquet, how to pinch an artery.
He learned how to run under fire, how to keep his helper with him. How to fall to ground, and drag the stretcher behind him, and to make decisions in the field that would affect another’s life. Or, if it came to it, death.
Then, one fine day when the sun shone and the bellbirds were kicking up a fuss, he made a boast that would one day send him quite mad.
The platoon of 25 trainees had been put on a forced march, eighteen miles in full kit, wearing the bloody great hob-nailed boots that chafed a man’s feet raw. They’d slogged the length of the Hutt Valley, and climbed a bit into the Rimutaka Hills, and collapsed on the bank of a quick-running creek. Sanders produced a billy, and Arthur dipped into his pack for the tea. It was only Smooch, the cheapest and rawest tea the Government could find, but on a hot day it was as good as nectar. The billy was boiled, and the tea leaves scattered over the rolling water. Arthur broke a .303 round, and poured the gunpowder into the water, being careful to keep the thin strip of cordite in the cartridge. Cordite made a man crook; gunpowder gave the cheap tea-leaves some extra bite.

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