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Wednesday, 10 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including 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 short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #54 – 10 June 1988

American novelist and short story writer Louis Dearborn L’amour died at 80 on 10 June, 1988.  Primarily, he wrote westerns but dabbled in other genres.  At the time of his death, he had amassed 105 novels, 14 short story collections and two non-fiction works.  His books have been adapted for big and small screen productions, including Shalako which starred Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, and Stephen Boyd.

The name Shalako is interesting for another reason.  During the 1960s, L'Amour intended to build a working town like old west frontier towns made up of buildings with false fronts placed in rows on either side of an unpaved street.  There would be boardwalks, water troughs and hitching posts. 

The town, to be named Shalako after the character, was to have featured shops and businesses typical of such towns: barber shop, hotel, general store, saloon, church, schoolhouse, and so on.  It would have offered itself as a filming location. 

But, funding for the project fell through, and Shalako was never built.

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.  Travel too fast and you miss all you are travelling for.”

Louis L'amour
22 March, 1908 - 10 June, 1988

Sources: Various

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