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Wednesday, 22 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 #5 – 22 April 1936

On this day in 1936, pausing at Rangoon on the next stage of his global circumnavigation, French writer Jean Cocteau was drawn inexorably to the seedier side of town.  He embarked on a night-time journey, hauled by a rickshaw driver who trotted “almost airborne between the shafts”.

Re sleeping bodies on the streets: “It is next to impossible for our driver to avoid them and find a passage for the rickshaw wheels.  A wheel passes over an arm, a leg, without waking the strange heap riveted to the ground.  And everywhere the insidious poppy spreads its deep forbidden odour.”

Jean Cocteau

Sources: My Journey Round the World;
The Traveller’s Handbook/Fergus Fleming/Atlantic Books/2012

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