Then suddenly you tread on his corn…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the plangent sound of the word ‘plangent’.
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Good god! What a nasty looking bunch!…
This is the cover of a British 1960s pulp supernatural thriller, another tattered Badger Book from my modest collection. Even the little badger on the company logo looks a bit downcast doesn’t he? It is obviously written by the author of almost all of the supernatural and the science fiction Badgers, Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS (Member of the British Interplanetary Society) – ‘Trebor’ being Robert spelled backward and ‘Thorpe’ being half of his surname. Shall we flip the book over and see what the blurb on the back cover can tell us of what is in store, should we wish to dive in dear reader?
The day the new (London Underground) line was opened…
…not even the most painstaking architect and the superbly conscientious surveyor could have any inkling of the subterranean Druid Temple through which the new line ran. Power that lay dormant in the cold black earth. Lines ran over the earth. Electric rails throbbed at 50 cycles a second and something of the forgotten power began to stir…
The nightmares came first, then he (Howard) woke up screaming with blood on his hands, and the terrible secret of the five personalities in the one body hit him like the blast on an H-bomb!
Me – I’m scared already! But let’s turn back to the front cover and its ugly quintet of misfits. The painting is not by the usual, and rather good, Badger Book cover artist Henry Fox, but by someone called – I can’t quite make out the signature – it looks to me like Gymeo – is that a real name? Oh, never mind…
I was about to ask who these people are, but no need, they are obviously all depictions of the various moods in which the aforementioned Howard regularly finds himself when he wakes up in the morning – oh, those mean Druids! Don’t you think that one at the front looks a bit like the 1940s – 1950s Hollywood star James Cagney?
Come on, let’s dip in and sample some of the writing style:
“It appeared that I had been reading from it… I laid the book down, and felt terribly self-conscious. I remember blushing, then I looked down at myself, I was wearing a bright, check suit. Oh, it was ghastly! Like a bookmaker gone mad, or a clown out of a circus.”
And…
“We seem to ha’ been battering our heads against one brick wall after another. I’m convinced that if we only had the sense to batter in the right place, one of those brick walls would turn out to be no more than a paper hoop. But we haven’t hit the right place. We seem to be battering on the wood. We cannot find the paper. Nothing will give. It’s like standing there havin’ a slogging match with some man six-foot high with a tin stomach. You dinna feel he’s got a weak place at all, then suddenly you tread on his corn – and he surrenders…”
And…
As a starving man has to reach food, as a drunkard needs his bottle, as a mosquito in the breeding season reaches for a water hole; as a chain smoker needs a cigarette; as a drug addict need opium; as an electric lamp needs current; as a fire needs coal; as a river needs water; he needed that light… It carried him on through walls and furniture; through rafters; joists; bricks; mortar; cement… through strange intangible objects that seemed to impede his progress… Phantoms of the newly-dead…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, art, books, cool, creation, existentialism, history, humour, information, painting, reading, style, surrealism, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Then suddenly you tread on his corn…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    Did it all end happily though? I hope he made a full recovery. I hope we all do …

  2. Claudia says:

    Did you enjoy the book, though? Are there others in the series? Sometimes the oldies are the besties.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      I have actually read most of the Badger books in my collection (a few years ago) – they are not as gripping as one might expect though… Oh, there are lots of them!

      • Claudia says:

        Sounds like my father in law..he collected Westerns from the 40s n 50s..they seemed to have multiplied threefold through the years!

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Luckily the supply of Badger sci-fi and supernatural books in the junk shops dried up years ago – collecting things can really get out of hand!…

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