Friday, February 24, 2006


I used to live next door to Lore when I was a kid in Rhodesia. We had a very correct upbringing. If we heard the call ‘man down’, I would be one of the first to rush over and put the boot in, no matter what reason. Such was our discipline, it made us hard and that is how I treat my beloved ex. Door neighbour I mean.

Whilst I hadn’t seen the old tosser for some time, he managed to interfere in my life once again recently. and after I allowed him to grovel at my feet for a few days, in awe that I have a published book, (its called, The Looking Glass, sweethearts, if you must know, but I published under my fancy name Susan Della Roccia, which is still Number 1 , darlings, when you Google me,) I agreed to read a trifle of his insane drunken gibbering for comment, provided I starred in a chapter.

I must admit, I was rather impressed with the result, but only after I insisted on 14 rewrites to make me more attractive. I have little time for foolish Rhodesians who believe if they can take a pencil out of their ears, where it has been busy dragging accumulated wax out, scratch some lines on a beer mat and then believe they have become literal geniuses. However, I do make exceptions for the weak minded and perused my expert eye over his latest offal he calls an introduction to his memoirs.

The previous offering had been far too philosophical and not even I understood what it was about. In fact, I thought he had used a random search machine to assemble all words over seven letters long into chains of thirteen, with a full stop on the end. When it comes to mind enhancing reading, I humbly recommend you read my work before you progress to Freud and Nietzsche. The second attempt was pure unadulterated waffle. Complete crap!

So I told him so last night. I wonder how the next attempt comes out like? Speak to you all soon, I have a flight to catch…

Love Susan.

Last of the Rhodesians: Chronicles of a Colonial Anarchist.

In the Beginning. (Attempt No.3)

Where does one begin when writing ones memoirs? Supposedly, on the first day, in the Bible, God said, ‘let there be light’, and there was light. Before that it was obviously night. That would mean it was rather dark, a bit like being trapped in a womb waiting to see the light.

In my case, when I popped out on to the scene and saw the light for the first time and screamed incoherently, ‘Fuck me, that hurt you bastard’, as some paedophile sadistic doctor attempted to get me to cough up galleons of embryonic fluid, by beating me half to death across my shrivelled arse, it was nearly lights out permanently as according to lore, I was dropped onto my head on the way to the incubator. Now I actually think I should have been on the way to the incinerator. Certainly wouldn’t change world history. When it comes to the small cogs that help make the great machine of humanity go around, I didn’t fit and had several teeth missing.

Of course I don’t remember this. I only start remembering things in sharp recall as I sit in abject poverty, almost five decades later, on a beach in some backstreet tourist hole, North Wales and muse who can I blame? Surely not myself, I never was a believer in shaping ones own destiny. If this was true, why am I freezing to death and struggling to find money for another ‘buy four, get four tins free’, of Carlsberg beer from Iceland?
Someone, or actually quite a few bastards, stabbed me in the back so often, that a coroner upon signing my death certificate will write, ‘worst case of suicide I have seen since Leon Trotsky stuck an ice pick in his head to alleviate a raging headache’, so I now have the time to seek them out, by going back into time and flush the rats out.

I will expose these criminals to the world, point my finger at them and accompanied with self pitying yowling, accuse them of heinous crimes against my humanity. Mainly to the effect they stole my money and my home. Twice!

Top of this list is his Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, known affectionally around the world as ‘that mad old fucker Bob’. Next in the line of fire, in order of seniority, is unquestionably one of the biggest idiots ever to enjoy a position of Supreme Cheater of a western nation, and its not dead brain George. Wanker Bush, (for it is not his fault he was born with no brain stem cells,) but Gerhard Schroeder of Germany. However his place in my downfall comes much later in my life as a carpet. Is it my fault, that along with hundreds of thousands of Rhodesians, persecuted and hounded to this day, scream out their own U.D.I., (U Did It), to any one bored enough to listen?

To compare my life to a badly treated carpet is a perfect simile. There is the father who beat it, the mother who discarded it, the ‘friends’ who walked all over it, employees who stole most of the pile from it, the teachers who scraped the muck off their shoes on it. and finally the wife that lost it. So now threadbare, unloved and unwanted, ready to be tossed in to a landfill, this old carpet, before it is rolled away for ever, will take you for a magic ride, first stop, Colonial Africa.

Mummy and Daddy, as I presume they were called by myself as soon as I managed to string two words together, dragged me off to the savages of central Africa when I was still at the tender age of two. This would have been 1960, and luckily for me, British Imperialism had temporally put a halt to the local indigenous habits of wearing bones through their noses and popping white boys into boiling cauldrons of vegetable soup to make a tasty relish. This had all been done under the guise of turning the heathen savages into law abiding Christians within a short time scale with the assistance of the Maxim machine gun, if whacking their woolly heads with a heavy Bible didn’t work.

It was a nice piece of ‘spin’ that sadly would come back and kick her majesty’s government severely in the teeth a few years down the line, as the locals went mental, trashed about all that constituted ‘white mans magic’, basically anything more advanced than a stone axe, and the leaders of these various tribal sects said, ‘thanks for the Mercs, now Fuck Off’.

My Daddy didn’t leave the filthy, drizzly cold grey working class dump of Salford, United Kingdom, and emigrate to Nyasaland because he fancied teaching ‘Schwarzers’ a better way of life, whilst living the great White Bwana myth in a sunny climate. In fact, he was a 39 year old failed Jew-boy on the run for being rather a tad naughty. Africa in those days was a great hole to disappear down. Still is come to think of it. Disused mine shafts being a favourite. The millions of bones found around Africa these days are simply shrugged off as discarded pre- colonial nose jewellery, replaced with Congo diamonds for those than can afford to steal them.

I have always had a theory; that one becomes aware shortly of ones self, after being finally toilet trained. René Descartes knew this when he stated, ‘I think, therefore I am’. Prior to that exact moment of heavy self assessment, had his contribution to world enlightenment been, ‘I stink, therefore change my diapers’ that of course would have never received the same philosophical accolade.

So at some point I came to realise who I was, but not ‘where the hell am I?’ Most of the first few years, between finally stopping crapping myself in the humid climate of the African rift Valley, where the temperatures attracted the flies to your behind faster than a log deposited by the dog on the front lawn of my old mans house in Lilongwe, and landing up cuddling little girl boarders in their beds of Chisipte Girls Junior school in Salisbury, Rhodesia, I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going.

I think I spent more time in an aeroplane, travelling backwards and forwards between the United Kingdom and Central Africa, than I did learning to read and write. By the time it was ‘official’, that I was to be educated in Africa for my own good, the parents had split up, Father was booted out the newly independent Malawi in 1964, and whilst I didn’t understand the written word ‘arsonist’ by the tender age of six, I was rather good at it.

Every thing I do past and present has to be spectacular and draw attention to my miserable plight, and even at that age, setting things on fire got me plenty. Whilst normal children received birthday presents like cricket bats, or Thunderbird models, part of being a lonely white kid in Nyasaland meant I received a bus. Not a little red London double-decker, to push happily around the living room, going ‘broom broom’, but a real bus. A huge shell of a thing, that had just been decommissioned. I had that thing in lights within a short time. Perhaps Father thought this would be a cheap alternative to a children’s ‘Jungle Jim’, but this miniature hell’s angel had the thing blazing into a towering inferno that took most of Lilongwe fire department to put out, before it went on to torch most of the country side all the way to the lake shore some 80 miles away.

One tends to remember the good things in life rather than the bad, so I still recall with delight the huge flames and pallor of smoke as the old bus shot heavenwards and the sounds of the fire engines and screams of terrified fireman desperately trying hold back a national catastrophe, that could scorch the earth leaving millions to starve for generations. (er…I am just wondering right now, if they really DID put that fire out?) How hard I was thrashed for my little game with matches, I can’t remember, but it obviously hadn’t made too much of a traumatic impression as I would have another go at some grandiose fire works from hell, a short time later.

Any celebrity, no matter in what trade, from a Princess whose last thing that entered her mind was a Mercedes Benz C.D. player dislodged from the dash board at high speed in a French tunnel, to a white man that voluntarily starves himself whilst naked in a glass box suspended over London bridge, that you never pull the same stunt in the same place twice. No matter how often the press clamour for a repeat. So this time I chose Salford in the U.K. as being the perfect place to introduce the local working class riff raff to an example of African scorched earth as means to an end. I must of thought it quite symbolic, as several acres of the local heath became a place of satin worshippers for a short time, as it was the British who had introduced this to Afrikaners during the Boer war when they got a bit uppity.

With all this coming and going, my ability to use a pencil was definitely not directed to literal genius, but that by rubbing two of them together you could create fire. This wasn’t necessary as I had another talent. The unknown ability to mimic accents, and whilst not sure, ‘ooh don’t ‘e talk posh’, meant, it sure helped in purchasing matches to speak so elegantly, ‘oh I say, dear Lady, I require a box of matches for my mother’, from the corner store. Although sadly, not even my acquired swarmy Colonial accent worked after I had so artfully highlighted Salford’s skyline, because they stopped selling me any more. I hadn’t been caught but there were rumours.

During these intermittent stays, I would have my first forays into racialism and my own personal leftist leanings, as whilst my reading ability had been severely handicapped as my separating parents made me the most frequent flyer in the’ under six year old’ category in African aviation history, I had garnered enough knowledge to know that Enid Blyton had it wrong with the Gollys being always the bad guys. At that point of course, I had no conception of a bad black person like Robert Mugabe. I know there was a Golly called Robert from Robertson Jams, but he was a nice collectable. For I all knew, Mugabe, could have been getting enlightenment in Baghdad whilst I was still in Dad’s bag, but years later this would all change.

By the time I turned six. my destiny for the near future was settled. I would be brought up in Rhodesia. I would become a Rhodesian, one of the last. These are my chronicles from that period and some of the aftermath.

Written today in 8.5 hours.(unedited) Total words, including Susan, 2220.

Appreciate all comments.


LolaB said...

I am loving your site... I've been reading all your bloggs for the past week, in between trying to look busy and trying not to fall asleep at my desk. I look forward to reading some more of your memoirs and bloggs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
Loved your blog [Last of the Rhodesians: Chronicles of a Colonial Anarchist.In the Beginning. (Attempt No.3) ]
I’m surprised that you did it so quickly! - 8.5 hours for that seems pretty fast.
Great to read someone who can thread words onto a string in a straight yet whacky line.Good stuff. Loved the Nokya fone braai lighter! Really inspired. (the nokia name inscribed on the slide was a nice touch, though how you did it will probably remain a mystery). Not to “lay anything on you” but for some uncanny reason, I have been having what I guess can only be called "old zim" flashbacks. Weird and very intense memories of life there as a child, coming as it were, out of the blue after many years. Maybe it's the midlife thing kicking in with a vengeance? Whatever, I have been "trolling" various related sites, looking for references to childhood friends. Just thinking about it makes it all seem like stolen ghosts, the scattering and passing of whom saddens me more deeply than I ever imagined could be possible. So to see a happy smiling (irreverent?) face with a wit to match is a plash of cool water! Since blogs and life demands are diametrically opposed, I guess you write as and when you get a gap. I hope the site is still current, and that you keep your quill quivering over the pages. Life is bugger all if you can't have a tilt at it. I would be nice to hear back from you when you get a mo.

Anonymous said...

I love your memoirs, when are you publishing them? such a vivid life...