DF 72 - Paul Mariner, Rudyard Kipling, huge owls and octopodic digression
& a Happy New Year to you (December 2021)
During this traditional season of goodwill to all men…er…men is an inclusive term I add quickly and start again for fun…During this season of goodwill to all creatures great and small, not forgetting pangolins and platypuses, neither of which is great or small on a linear scale, like a blue whale or an insect, and the latter of which (the platypus) is one of the prophet Darwin's confirming anomalies, insofar as it has a duck-like beak and lays eggs whilst possessing a name not unlike octopus. And the similarity doesn't end there I'm afraid. When they gather for church or swarm in Cardiff for a local derby game of balls, modern journos are required to submit reports of the event to their editors whilst using approved terms. Unfortunately, academics are a bit lofty over how to pluralise these words with Greek origins - they'd have them called Platypodes and Octopodes; but to those of us who don't wash, they are simply -pi, -puses or mischievous -pussies. And now, as happens so often with our non-proscriptive language, we have another case of colloquial expression prevailing over the dark arts of etymological discipline, which brings a smile to my stupid face and another wee benefit for this season of goodwill to everybody.
Most days, before first light, in my loquat tree there is a huge hooting owl that sets off the mad cockerel and across the road a noisy canine that never barks according to its deluded owner…and that is why I love them all so much; it is a zen thing.
I was going to send them Christmas cards but a stranger warned me that they might take umbrage. I had a word with the owl and the dog who said they would have loved to receive a Christmas card from me (cockerel was now asleep), but the stranger said that he would be very offended on their behalf if I went ahead. We all agreed that he was an idiot and put him out in the road, then sang a hymn to our god Ma Nature, who is not really a god but exists in a way that no other does or can. Now, the idiot stranger stares at me with a cold face, resisting every warm notion that might flow from my insolent mouth. Well, that's where I keep my thoughts these days, because my brain is being monitored for non-acceptable ideas. I know that only because I heard about Jo Rowling. I never did see any of her films, but the books were terrific.
Hardback and electronic versions of the new book, Paul Mariner, My Rock and Roll Football Story are available online and I recommend it as a very good read. Paul was a fabulous mate who sadly died earlier this year, on the 9th July. He was loved by everyone in Deep Purple and always welcome in our dressing room. He radiated energy and joy. Written extremely well by his friend the writer and broadcaster Mark Donaldson, the book is full of wonderful stories that give testament to Marrers' personality and footballing skills. I was honoured to be asked to write the foreword and would be thrilled if you all bought a copy.
Also recommended for reading in this enlightened age as we enter 2022, is The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, as well as his poem If; both are uplifting, insightful and beautifully written. I have mentioned them in the past but hear that Rudyard Kipling's work is not welcome in English schools anymore, so please be warned…this heretical reading is only for those who want to feel spiritually and intellectually enriched. Try absorbing Gunga Din from Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads and make up your own mind about the nature of this Nobel laureate.
Wishing you all joy and good health for the coming year and hoping to see you on the road.