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Thursday, 30 April 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #13 – 30 April 1938 

W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood visited the front during the Sino-Japanese War and then went to Kuling hill station in the hope of bagging an interview with Chiang Kai-shek leader of China’s nationalist forces.  They were not impressed, describing him as lounging in a deckchair surrounded by bankers and military advisers.  They were impressed, however, by their hotel, Journey’s End.

“So, we had tiffin under the camphor tree, aware, in a trance of pleasure, of the smell of its leaves; of the splash of the stream over the stones; of the great gorge folding back, like a painting by Salvator Rosa, into the wooded hills behind the house.  There were snipe to eat, and rainbow trout.  It was all far too beautiful to be real.”

“One could arrive for the weekend and stay fifteen years – eating, sleeping, swimming, standing for hours in a daze of stupefied reverence; writing in the porch, the book that was altogether too wonderful to finish and too sacred ever to publish.”

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