Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reasons to be thankful this Xmas –

Totally well wired up, the Gokwe Kid, Hwange, circa 1984/5. Brilliant pic of the Land Rover’s short wave radio antenna sticking out off my head. (Pic taken by my ex.)
That short time with the magnificent BSAP of Rhodesia turned me from a childish child lunatic into a childish adult lunatic - strictly on paper mind you. As soon as you turn 18 most of the excuses are legally gone and suddenly, instead of six cuts with the cane for shooting your father dead, you could be legally and literally (depending on date of birth), be converted into a short drop with a rope around the neck.

Luckily my old man went to the beyond (Warren Hills cemetery to be exact), before I did a teenage rampage. I use to buy fishing worms from the happiest ‘blecks’ in Africa on the road towards Lake Mac. I got suspicious after the old man died because the worms seemed to know me and sadly, unlike the poetic justice of Shake Ya Spear (a famous medi-evil African tyrant, whose famous quotes also include – ‘Even a Jew can passover the bowl of a gentile,’ or something like that), because the fish I was fishing for thought the offerings looked a bit fishy.

So I contemplate my situation this Christmas and decide it sucks because the shops are closed and the lazy bastard bus drivers take the day off. Still, nothing like some cool vibes to cheer you up – Ralph McTell –

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

That’s for sure…hah-hah, that is why am in Germany. All I need now is some wheels, but as us Rhodies say…make a plan, and I am making one. Oh yeah, book two is nearing completion. It will sell but I might have to go into hiding because I could get a few more than my sales.

And then, since the world didn’t end on Friday (bit of a pisser as I hit the credit card and spent three Euros on some socks because the last thing you want in hell is to walk on brimstone with holes in the heels), I am forced to make some form of New Year resolution. Here is one -

What I want to do for the BSAP in 2013 –

I would like to be personally invited to many BSAP conventions etc, as a guest speaker and totally shit faced staggering drunk, slurring my words, stand tall (well as best as possible), and with rapidly failing eyesight, recite in incomprehensible dribbling gibberish, one of my favorite chapters from my best selling book The Gokwe Tit. (Sorry, I will just ticky-ticky that again) The Gokwe Kid.

I now throw up, er… throw open to my BSAP peers, which chapter should I read out? I mean I love them all. Please use this democratic moment and if you want me banned it proves you’re just a load of bigoted racists because I am a half sort of Jew. (Please do not hesitate to send a few cents to my PayPal account as a way to acknowledge my wit.)

But…look at this pic. Taken by me between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania. Why does Africa keep calling me home?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bicycles, Beer, Eggs, Chips and Salami.

I had to go shopping on a bicycle today. It was a frigging nightmare. Luckily the snow had stopped and some rain had sort of made the pathway only semi-suicidal. Oh the irony!

I have totally rewritten the chapter about the history of Rhodesian bikes taking me for a ride and here I am, an old tired man and I am forced to mount another invention designed to kill me.

I haven’t thought up a name yet for this contraption that has been leant to me. It was designed for the Jolly Green Giant, not Miserable Shortarse Greenberg. Still, no pain, no gain and with supplies running low, I strapped on the little suitcase to the back and with trusty rucksack on my back went off into the Bavarian countryside towards the few shops eking out a living. I mean this city (CITY!, oh give over, they don’t even have a post office), makes Gokwe look like a tourist resort.

So I peddle away, skinny bum hurting from the even skinny saddle, thighs aching and after what seemed an eternity, get to this place where they have a Penny discount supermarket, a 1 Euro junk shop and KiK clothes and cheap shite store. Ironically, opposite is a huge Porsche car dealer. Not that you actually see many customers crossing the road in either direction. The lot looking at the Porsches wouldn’t be seen dead at Penny and those spending a penny (or 1 Euro) were lucky to, well, have heels on their shoes.

In KiK, I am very pleased to get three pairs of warm socks for three Euros. I need them as quite few of my socks have some serious holes in them. I also reluctantly, had to buy another winter jacket because the last one I bought from the same shop has been used for work. (Yes, I do occasionally work.) I was hoping to get the same jacket. Sadly they had sold out. But I grabbed a compromise and off I went to the next place.

Heading back home, and a small detour past the cemetery where a passing car nearly put me in it because I forgotten that they drive backwards here, I screamingly forked out over eight Euros for some fag filters and papers. Mounting the monstrosity, it was back down to the ‘local’ supermarket Netto. Luckily for me they had restocked the Weissbeer from my last visit and before any other alcoholics laid claim to them, I had 4 by 6 plastic bottles of the stuff in my trolley.

Then it is push the wheeled basket to my all time favorite hole – the deposit machine. Cracking fun. You fire all your empties into it and the fancy lasers and spinning wheels and stuff do a right merry jig examining what you just placed in it. Then satisfied, it takes it away and you feed in the next one. Not too fast hey, because in Netto, they do all sorts (not like Penny which only crushes the plastic bottles), Netto even takes glass bottles and tins! Amazing. Thing is, behind the hole is a rather complicated set up and if you feed your empties too quick some bird starts chirping nastily in German because the whole lot has piled up and is now crashing onto the floor. Great laugh.  Me thinks the crooked Brits could have a ball here. Load up trucks full of all the flotsam of plastic bottles and tins littering most of the country; drive down and with a scanned real code fraudulent sticker on the shit, they could make a bloody fortune fucking the Krauts over again whilst cleaning up there own backyard. I kid you not. There is serious dosh to be made. Here, the Bavarians don’t believe in the British hogwash about cheap beer causing binge drinking, so half a litre of top class beer is still only 33 cents…but, the deposit on the bottle is 15! How about that then? That’s why you don’t see any binge drinkers here – they can’t hang around because they too busy bringing the empties back. It is called exercise and keeps them fit.

So, back to me stocking up for Xmas on my own (thank God); I had to be very rational. They are rather Holy Joes here and shops are not open on Sundays or public holidays. I needed four days supplies. Food isn’t a problem, beer is. So calculating my future input down to the last sip till reload, along with a frozen chicken and a special offer tin of ravioli and a giant 500 gramme tube of salami (plus a few small bits and bobs), it is with huge fear and difficulty I strap the bulging case onto the rack and stick the exploding rucksack on my back.

I set off and nearly get creamed at the first bend as the dangerously flexing machine seems to have taken a mind of it its own and not even shouting in fluent Bavarian at it “Verdamt Sheisse ich wird dich Schmelzen Sie unten in Sarggriffe,” (roughly translated – “You damn shit, I will have melted down into coffin handles.”), seemed to help.

Then, to add more problems to this death ride, this thing has more gears than the average shift changes of African dictators. In my panic I start to get confused between up and down and nearly spilt a gut on the up and scream hysterically on the downs because I can’t peddle fast enough to change the gears back to up or fucking down or I haven’t a clue, and my left hand is desperately trying to keep a huge mound of beer on the back from tipping off and making the foraging crows pissed out their boxes from the exploded contents on the pathway whilst negotiating snow slush, shouting at old biddies insisting on taking their mangy dogs for a walk just at the moment I am risking life and limb to quench a fucking serious thirst I have now worked up because I am sweating like a kosher pig.

Which now brings us to eggs, chips and salami. You see, as I unpacked, shaking all over from the exertion and the fact that somehow I had survived (oh, I have one of those weighing things and for a laugh, it turns out rack pack was 18 kg and rucksack 9 kg), I pulled out this huge sausage of salami and suddenly remembered a little anecdote I forgot to put into a chapter called - ‘Food, food everywhere, but not a thing to eat.’

I quickly noted this down - as you do when you’re a writer. But as I put things away (beer) into the fridge and some down my gasping gullet, a sneaky plan dawned. So sneaky – you’re reading it, because in a way those two chapters about food and bicycles suddenly combine and leap forward three decades. Well, you will have to read them but, as far as the salami is concerned –

Sometimes even my step-mum Katherine, surpassed herself in burnt offerings that even my Jewish father would consider God may have thought it was taken a bit too far. He would gabble some lies about it being wonderful, but sadly his palette wasn’t quite up to it. But not to worry hey, he sort himself out and dash into the kitchen and one, two, three, potatos peeled and chop, chop, chop, ten slices of (kosher) salami fired into the chip pan and just as the aroma hit my quivering nostrils (as I was forced to attempt to consume the muck on my plate), in went two fried eggs. The greasy pile would be devoured before my starving eyes without a hint of guilt.

Guess what I am having for dinner tonight? Well not quite, it seems the eggs are knocking on a bit, so it is fried salami and ravioli.

Now, if any moaners think I can snick this chapter into the next book, well think about it. You are getting it now on credit…HEY!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bad Boys Banned from Bernie Inn

Yeah, I just remembered this little incident. 1979/80 it must have been. So I am living in Norwich at the time being seriously bad ass working for a bunch of crooks (see the forthcoming book for details). So, this bloke Bill I was working with, agree to have a nice cozy with our respective partners eating some juicy steaks at Bernie Inn steak house.

Well fuelled in the pub after a few toots to get us in the swings, we rock up for our telephoned reservations. Told to wait and three pints later, Billy boy is kicking up a bit.
The waitress calls the manager and he tells us you can’t make reservations, which was a bit odd as we had!

Anyway, we get the table and skof the grub and the bill arrives. Bill tells the waitress we aren’t paying. By now I am off my head and wondered where this bit of agro was going.
So we tell our better halves to check out the downstairs’ bar whilst we men sort this out.

The waitress gives up and calls the cheeky manager along with his assistant. Much to my surprise Bill tells them –
            “Listen you pair of shit heads, you fucked us over with the reservations and, I tell you what, let’s go outside and sort it out. You two beat us up, we pay up. If you don’t we will call it quits.”

Now, personally I am not that way inclined and Bill had always seemed a reasonable bloke but the beer was obviously making him see the dark side of the force. I didn’t care. One way or the other I was likely to get a good kicking.

Anyway, of course we had become quite boisterous and getting evil looks from nearby clientele. Bill didn’t quite make things better by telling them,
            “Mind your own fucking business before I tip your fucking meal over your head.”

The manager now starts getting a bit shirty and says if we don’t pay, he will call the police. We (Or Bill in this case) happily agrees and asks for two more pints. This was strangely refused.

Well, knock be down with a beer bottle, just our luck, it turns out that there was a patrol car just around the corner showing a local magistrate around how well they kept the filth off the streets. Next thing you know we have a Chief Inspector, a Sergeant and a Magistrate making some serious noises at our table with some hard core hints that if we don’t cough up dosh for the steaks - a night in the cells was to be expected.

Well, Billy boy and I just shrug, and we were quite happy with the status quo when suddenly the waitress runs over and says the bill had been paid. It seems the other half (now weeping and doing right girly moaning), had used a credit card. We were furious!!!

Bloody women messing in real mens’ affairs and in the car park we told them so. Oddly, we got banned from the place for ever…

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The cat did it

In Rhodesia during the early ’70s us school kids went through a phase (actually, we went through loads of them), and in this case it was white mice. These cute little things were sold for 25 cents at Leslie’s Pet Shop in down town Salisbury. I didn’t clock that they were actually for feeding pet snakes, but some of us thought the mice would make real cool playmates.

After some kid brought one to school, hiding in his pocket, I wanted one too. So after painfully saving up my pocket money (or thieving more of my old school uniforms to flog), I got myself a mouse. I kept it in draw in my bedroom. I always kept my bedroom door closed because our Persian long haired cat Jeanie (named after the TV show, and who in their right minds would purchase such an animal in the middle of Africa), spent hours sitting in front of the entrance to my room.

Well, unfortunately, I hadn’t clocked that the back of the drawer was a little short. The mouse got out, Julia the maid went into my room to give it a quick hoover and the rest of the mouse story is history. Goodbye 25 cents.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazon reviews – they love The Gokwe Kid

So they all scream to me to keep writing. Are they sure? Because the next book is seriously bad news.- It is very serious hard core bad. In fact, some people I shot a few chapters across their bows to check out the P and G said that, quite frankly, they do not like me anymore.

I thought that was rather harsh. I mean, I tell the truth and they are upset with it?. Fucking wimps. Oh yeah, wait…not long now. I ticky-ticky away on the keyboard and the chapters grow. And the best bit…you will hate me at the end. But, before you decide to kill me, I will make you laugh, cry and wonder over a beloved country lost and another I found and loved…strange stories indeed.

You want a bit? Hey! Just a bit hey???

Okay, I tease ya – from a chapter…

Night Raid
 (Somewhere in Rhodesia, early 1970’s)

We knew that the enemy we most dreaded had returned to plague us once again. Year after year, the ever-grinding war of attrition; the same old battle of nerves. We had never really been able to corner them, and end it in a final fire-fight. At most, we could take out a few of their leaders and leave them disorientated for a while, but there was always another to take their place, and the guerrilla war would start afresh.

For most of the year we held the upper hand. Our latest base was comparatively new and our designated area for patrols seemed relatively free of the menace. Daily our small unit pounded the now familiar routes with an ever weary eye open. It was our land and rightfully so and we sculptured it as we liked, because we had made it our home. But they dared to question this with audacity. They remained for the most part unseen and would spook us from a safe distance.
            The rainy season always changed the scenario.  It was almost as if both sides needed respite from the game of hide and seek; a status quo, an unspoken agreement between the antagonists. We hated to slog through soaked grass and the ever increasing quagmire of rich, venial-red mud. Legend has it that Africa’s soil is that colour because of all the blood that has been spilled fighting for it. There would be more blood spilled, but we hoped our superior intelligence and armaments would ensure it would only be their blood that would soak into the ground to blend with their forefathers’ life juices.

The enemy had slinked back into our territory with some primeval instinct, just as the first summer rains finally came to break that smell of parched earth and moisture- starved yellow grass. The incredible majestic force of tropical storms normally kept us in base. Few dared to go outside when Mother Nature decided to throw her weight around, randomly spitting deadly bolts of lightning; killing hundreds each year. I respected and feared that power, for only last year, a colleague of mine had lost his younger brother from one of those jagged strikes. The kid had gathered with some fellow Cub-Scouts from a storm under the overhang of a giant boulder at Balancing Rocks. No one can explain why he was chosen from the group, to be so freakily picked out and struck down, leaving the others standing on either side of him terrified, but unhurt!
            Our adversary knew of our fear, but they seemed impervious to the danger. They even seemed to welcome it! Not far from where we slept in our fortified abode was a small isolated oasis with dense foliage - a perfect hide. They were happy to take time out and reorganise their forces during this time.
            We had used an observation point on the small hill overlooking their recently re-occupied stomping ground, hoping to spot them, but with no success.  Team leader reckoned that we would get some tonight. The Old Man, as he was better known by, was frustrated with the previous failures. The whole thing was getting on his nerves, and he was starting to take it personally. That morning he had approached me.
            “I have a job to do, but I will be back about 6.00 p.m. The weather report is for a big storm about that time. I will try and nail their leader then. Get everything ready, I am taking you with me on this one.”
            I felt honoured, as I was still in my teens. Any thoughts of ice cold, premeditated murder never entered my head. We had a job to do.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

STP – Simply The Pest

STP – Simply The Pest

When we were in Rhodesia, as kids we went through a phase of collecting stickers. They would be traded at a furious rate. Lives could be taken and fights broke out. Because of sanctions stickers were seriously hard to come by. I recall one coveted sticker – STP

It was some bullshit fuel additive. A bit like Redbull of today. Still, I thought how weird…STP;  because that is the title I have decided on for my next book  - Simply The Pest

You don’t really have to wait long for it. I am well into it. It is bad, mad and wicked. Some are rewrites of old stuff posted on this blog, but much better because…

Yeah, I got my degree. It is official. A BA (open) from the Open University. I am carrying on for honours, which will be a doddle. I did all the hard shit and only need a few credits at Level 1 to wrap up big time. I picked something easy – German for beginners. Hah-hah, I lived in the place for twenty years and now I am back again spreching the Deutsche almost every day. Four tiny exams spread over a year - I don’t exactly have to extend myself.

So, I wrapped up the last heavy exam for my 60 credits with a passable Grade 3 pass. I was more than happy because I was in the middle of moving and had also lost total interest in the module. My last TMA (Teacher Marked Assignment) submission went down badly. I redesigned a Wi Fi remote controlled via Skype vibrator. Teacher was not amused and refused to mark it. It was passed up the hierarchy and two months later I received a close fail. I still haven’t bothered to open the sent comments. I didn’t give a monkey – I was still well okay for the pass I needed.

Ah, it is so nice to have all those fancy letters after my name. Quite a list now –

Karl Greenberg
BA (Open)
Dip LCW (Open)
Cert Hum (Open)

My ex asked me if they will bring in any money. Not really, but I know that I wouldn’t be writing without the input from the Open University, so quite frankly, she can go fuck herself.

Back to STP – yeah, you will love it. Totally different to The Gokwe Kid, it is made up of different anecdotes that slowly weave together to create the legend and just when you think it is over, I hit ya with a sequel of what happens after I flew away from Rhodesia.

Stay tuned and don’t forget, I post loads of nonsense and silly quizzes on my Facebook page Gokwe Kid, so join and have some fun.

Oh…almost forgot. I have some serious competition. His name is Steve, and the tosser happens to be also a fake Jewboy from Salisbury and also has a cutting edge writing wit (the bastard). He has made me realise I have been complacent and the swine wants my coveted titles – Rhodesian X Factor (1977), Strictly come Soldiering (1978, runner up), I am a Coward – Get me out of Here (1978), and Rhodesia has No Talent (1977).

I will keep an eye out for this great pretender…

And – last but not least –

Sales of The Gokwe Kid are doing very well. All my reviews are top besides some twat who thought he had been done over by having to buy Part 1 and 2 on Kindle…hah-hah…it’s a hard knock life.

Making a plan

I just realised I haven’t posted in a while. This is not good for maintaining a fan base. Sorry about that but I have been very busy. Some people may find that hard to believe but it is true.

Firstly I moved house. Well, flat actually. After six years of crawling up that sodding hill in North Wales everyday with some shopping; it was time to go. I would miss the view but that was about it.

So I sold just about all my possessions, even most of my beloved Rhodesia memorabilia, but I needed the dosh and I couldn’t be arsed dragging the stuff around anymore. I thought I would miss them but not really. I think completing The Gokwe Kid made me decide that I can keep it all in my head. I kept some important bits, my three wall plaques and my police diaries and a few other small bits and bobs.

I have them here in my new flat in….Germany! Yup, I have come full circle and I am back to where it all began three decades ago. It is a cute, brand new pad and unlike that damp, rotting hole in Wales, this one is toasting warm with buckets of steaming hot water as much as I like and not once a week when I would reluctantly turn on the boiler and watch with horror as it chewed a £1 a second in juice. Nah - none of that crap anymore.

You see, when problems arise us Rhodies are world famous for what is called ‘make a plan’. Maybe sanctions did that to us. We couldn’t simply wander into a shop or pick up the phone and someone on the other end could solve your problem. Nope, no chance. That was because I was always skint (still am) and we had a lock on our phone at home.

My parents were very tight. I wasn’t as crafty as my late brother Michael. I found out the cheeky bugger worked out that you flicked the bit out of the middle of  the dial and there was the screw that held it in place. Somehow he had ‘managed’ to procure an extra dial and simply swopped them over. I gather that the phone was then locked away in the parent’s bedroom because mysteriously the phone bill was still rather extravagant.

Michael wasn’t to be bypassed with that one so he simply bypassed the problem and the phone bills still climbed every month. It was his best friend who was responsible for his undoing. Garth, rocks up one Saturday and asks John (Michael’s step-dad), if Michael was around. Now, John says ‘Yeah, hold on I get him,’ because he had seen Michael cruise in only a few minutes before. So he wanders into Michael’s room, goes in and he isn’t there. Fair enough, maybe he is having a wazz, but a quick look-see around the small house and still no Michael.

Confused he tells Garth and the two wander about calling his name. Then, going back into Michael’s bedroom, they hear ghostly talking. It is coming from the built in clothes cupboard. John opens it and there is Michael – on the phone! The crafty sod had got himself an extra phone and some cable, gone up into the loft and spliced into the line and ran a new one into the clothes cupboard. I don’t know what the punishment was – but now that is what I call making a plan.

So, I also made a plan and here I am. A tiny town called Töging am Inn, west of Munich. It actually has ‘city’ status but I would question that because they don’t even have a post office. This place makes Gokwe look like a thriving, bustling metropolis. Still, beggars can’t be choosers and when the piper plays - ‘I come a’running bwana.’ I don’t have to do that too often which is great because that gives me plenty of time to get on with the next book. More about all this in the next posting – I don’t want to overload attention span, plus I need to get a beer.