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Monday, 20 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 #3 - 20 April 1908

On this day in 1908.  American explorer Frederick Cook was Robert Peary's compatriot and rival in the race to reach the North Pole.  Cook claimed to have reached it a year ahead of Peary, a triumph that was initially applauded by the geographical community.  But, without any hint of proof on Cook's part, such as navigational records, ultimately he was dismissed as a cheat.  Some supported Cook's claims. Others say both men were frauds.  Whatever the truth, both reputations were damaged forever.

"We were thin, with faces burned, withered, frozen and torn in fissures, with clothes ugly from overwear.  Yet men never felt more proud than we did, as we militantly strode off the last few steps to the world's very top."

Sources: My Attainment of the Pole;
The Traveller’s Handbook/Fergus Fleming/Atlantic Books/2012

Frederick Cook

Robert Peary

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