The wombat lives across the seas
Among the far Antipodes.
He may exist on nuts and berries
Or then again, on missionaries.
His distant habitat precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods,
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.
Get the full round up of Friday's Forgotten Books over at Patti Abbot's blog. I'm stretching the definition of FFB to cover a book that hasn't had much exposure and should: SKEEM LIFE by Gary Robertson. I met Gary on Twitter, first because of his band The Cundeez -- probably because I was touting the Punk Rock Juke Box with Marko (every Thu 12-3 and Fri 11-2 Eastern). Good stuff! As we got to talking, we discovered we both wrote and chatted about plays and books. Gary sent me a lovely package with Skeem Life and his book of poetry, Pure Dundee, and his historical study Gangs of Dundee. You're sensing a theme, eh? He also sent me The Cundeez CDs and a DVD of a performance of his play The Berries.
Well, you know that I'm usually quite good with languages and accents, but I have to admit while I had little trouble reading Dundeez, I have had to listen very closely while watching the play! I'm going to have to watch it again after reading and assimilating the books, but it's a very funny and often rather touching account of a day's work picking berries. Apparently buses would take people out from the city to pick berries during the height of the season, a welcome addition to their often meagre incomes during the tough times, but also a kind of break from the usual routine.
As Robertson puts it in "McGonagall's Disciples" (a reference to the legendary Scottish poet),
We are thi Dundee lihterahti
Ejicated on thi streetz an a but bren scatty
and they speak
Wi language az rough az a rhino's erse
Oary Dundonian in poetic verse
Itz oor tongue, oor dialect, itz how wi converse
You get acclimated quickly. And the stories in Skeem Life are often hilarious though also often relating dangerous events and somewhat scandalous situations, but the matter-of-fact spirit and unflagging sense of fun triumph. It's a hard life, but there's never any self-pity. Great stuff.
Check out the music, poetry and books, and be sure to keep it oary!