In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Thursday, 22 June 2017

HAVE A GO AT THIS QUESTIONNAIRE........

If any publication would like to commission a regular column based on a revised set of questions, asking well-known people, please contact me at joecushnan@aol.com to discuss.


James Lipton on the excellent Inside The Actors Studio ends his interviews by asking these questions.

James Lipton’s Questionnaire

1 What is your favourite word?
2 What is your least favourite word?
3 What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
4 What turns you off?
5 What is your favourite curse word?
6 What sound or noise do you love?
7 What sound or noise do you hate?
8 What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9 What profession would you not like to do?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Lot of interesting responses over the years. Try it.

I'm sure some of the answers would change over time, but this is how I answered today:

1 What is your favourite word? Nonchalant
2 What is your least favourite word? Hopelessness
3 What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Human kindness
4 What turns you off? Bigotry
5 What is your favourite curse word? Bollocks
6 What sound or noise do you love? Church bells
7 What sound or noise do you hate? Loud music in shops
8 What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Actor
9 What profession would you not like to do? Pathologist
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You ain't seen nothing yet!



If you try this, please share your answers in the comments box.

ZER BOINK TAPES..........






















In past ages of tragedy, worry and despair, newspapers have always tried to include some light relief in cartoons and also in humorous writing. As a Belfast kid, through some of the darkest troubled days, I found solace, entertainment and laughs in the columns of John Pepper and Billy Simpson, both more often than not illustrated by the great Rowel Friers.

Billy Simpson was (maybe still is) an exceptional writer.  His column appeared on Mondays in the Belfast Telegraph and it was impossible not to crack a smile as he developed a story, launched a flight of fancy, stretched an observation and did what he was hired to do – be funny, and funny was guaranteed.  You never knew what to expect.  On one occasion he retold Custer’s last stand (“The Scalps My Father Wore”) with an Irish influence in the shape of Native Americans talking in Oirish accents and passing round the war shillelagh. In “The Barley That Shook The Wind” he described the Poteen Taster of the Year contest; in “Zer Boink Tapes” he exposed a scam of someone trying to sell tape recordings of conversations between William of Orange and Pope Alexander; in “Brief Encounter at the Customs” he imagined the scenario of a man trying to smuggle pythons in his underpants; “The French Concoction” had this introduction: “There are several things in life that a man should approach with caution. Matrimony. Unattended parcels. And home-made liquor.”  Classic humour that hit the spot back in the 1970s and, after a re-read, just as funny today.

But who are the humour columnists today? Point me in their direction.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

WHEN ELVIS PRESLEY DIED, THEY DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO BREAK IT TO ME GENTLY (1977)

26 June 40 years ago, Elvis Presley's last concert (in Indianapolis). 7 weeks later, we lost him.

WHEN ELVIS PRESLEY DIED, THEY DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO BREAK IT TO ME GENTLY (1977)

Huge capital letters on a newsagent’s board:
ELVIS DEAD – handwritten in black felt-tip –
And I gasped as I headed to Chadwell Heath railway station.
“What? WHAT!” I thought in my own capitals,
“How can this be true?” Beyond moody blue.

I felt like throwing a sickie, going back home,
Smashing an LP to pieces, finding a sharp end
And slitting my wrist, I was that pissed.
They didn’t even try to break it to me gently,
Just BAM!!  Right there for all to see. Heartbreak.

Later, after work, watching the news and pictures
Of scrawny Elvis, beautiful Elvis, fat Elvis,
I saw the beginnings of him, the wonder of him,
The decline of him, that rotten rock and roll thing,
A complete and utter waste of a king.