Interesting times at Gnarled Tree Press. Cast your minds back to Loose Trousers Two. Me. My Aunt Brigid. Standoff. You may wish to reacquaint yourselves with the piece in question. Be my guest.
PAUSE TO ALLOW CLOSE READING OF RELEVANT ENTRY.
Committed to memory? Excellent. Now read on.
An extraordinary turn of events. Archbishop N’Golo Batutu of Bulawayo has offered to mediate in the verbal impasse between the present writer and his Aunt Brigid. He proposes a Truth and Reconciliation process, no less, in which the relevant parties would face each other across a table for the first time since ‘The Incident’, and thrash out their differences in a truthful and reconciliatory way.
This is quite a coup. The archbishop, as they say in millinery circles, wears many hats. And he’s willing to give up his invaluable time to broker a peace deal between myself and my pertinacious aunt.
I am stunned and not a little humbled. Oh, and before my reference to Archbishop N’Golo Batutu’s hats brings out the literalist in my less mentally flexible readers, note this: The hats in question are strictly metaphorical.
Example: Archbishop N’Golo, or Fats Batutu to aficionados of late 50’s Blue Note Jazz – check out his bebop classic When The Saints Go Strutting In – was responsible for the stunningly successful A Child’s Garden of Erotic Verse, which many saw as a cynical effort to crack Ireland’s (at the time) burgeoning clerical market.
His Worshipfulness was also hotly tipped as the first female Bishop of Limerick until the following day’s correction left a certain Irish Times typesetter looking for bar work. The correction? ‘For female read black.’
And speaking of matters spiritual, we at Gnarled Tree Press are no slouches when it comes to sales pitches. Our team of experts carried out an in-depth study of the best-selling book of all time, The Bible, with particular reference to marketing strategy for the first imprint. Start small. Build up by worth of mouth. Less than two millennia later you’ve sold a copy to every hotel in the western world.
With this in mind, we’ve chosen twelve people to spread the word about The Autobiography of Ireland’s Greatest Living Genius, Fiachra MacFiach’s masterpiece of self-hagiography. As mentioned they’re all people. As also mentioned we’ve chosen them. We’ve decided, therefore, to call them The Chosen People. Here’s the full list:
- Elspeth Funge, senior ladies’ stylist, Maison Doreen, the Wirral
- Archbishop N’Golo Batutu, polymath
- Literary superagent Felicity Gush
- Baldy O’Toole, Accrington Stanley’s reserve goalkeeper (1953 – ’61)
- Legendary Irish versifier Joseph ‘Mary’ Plunkett
- Theatre maker Roland Muldoonican
- Confusionist Larry Sterne
- Irish comedian, and youngest ever winner of Manitoba Comedy Festival New Act Of The Year award,
- Foetus O’Flaherty
- Janet Stramash, musical director, The Ukelele Orchestra of Largs
- Your Great-Auntie Eileen on your mother’s side
So what do you do now? Good question. Here’s a list of simple dos and don’ts. Follow it to the letter and you won’t go far wrong.
Cast not your seed upon stony ground.
Yea divide, rather, and multiply.
Oh, and proselytise.
Mustn’t forget proselytise.
For so it is written.
Tuesday afternoons off.
The comments have been flooding in even as I write. What exactly, ask several correspondents, is a theatre maker? World-weary sigh. A theatre maker is a person who makes theatres. Surely you could have looked that up, @ohpuhleee_ez and 13 others. Next. 12 chosen people? You’ve only chosen 11. Well spotted, Aoife (aged 9 ¾ ) and numerous others, all from the same primary school class by the looks of it, and ranging in age from 9 ½ to, in the case of a Miss Tremble, 56.
More disturbingly, we’ve been accused of gender bias by a woman signing herself off as ——. According to ——-, the list contains only 4.5 women. This, of course is to assume that the final You is male. But point taken. Our solution? The offending list should only be read by women. There. Problem solved. Happy now, ——? And by the way, perhaps next time you’ll sign your full name. We at Gnarled Tree Press are happy to accept constructive criticism, but we like to know who we’re dealing with. All this hiding behind pseudonyms and @ohpuhleee_ezes? Enough already. Stop it. Now.
Finally: Seasons Greetings From the Gnarled Tree Press Marketing Team!!! Because we at Gnarled Tree Press Inc. are passionate – YES! PASSIONATE! – about brand loyalty! And what cheaper way to promote our product than the soulless mass-mail-out greeting to you (INSERT NAME) and you only! So Happy Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving/Ramadan/Hanukkah/Pongal/Teng Chieh/Nanakshahi/Birthday/Diwali/Mothering Sunday (delete as appropriate)