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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nelson Wattie comments on Michael O'Leary's book on Small Presses in NZ

From: ‘The Year’s Work in English Studies’ Volume 89 (2010)
Covering the year 2008
By Nelson Wattie
Published for The English Association by Oxford Journals OUP
‘The New Literatures’ – New Zealand page 1098

“In his MA thesis, now published as Alternative Small Press Publishing in New Zealand, Michael O’Leary offers a perspective on New Zealand literature that is new to academic studies. In his usage, ‘alternative’ essentially means ‘non-commercial’, although he points out that some publishers (such as Steele Roberts, who actually published the present book) occupy the middle ground, taking up many titles that the larger publishers ignore but still managing, just, to survive as a commercial venture. O’Leary traces back to the very origins of writing and distribution in New Zealand. The first item printed in the country was a six-page tract, Catechism in Māori, hand-printed and distributed by the Reverend W. Yate in 1830. On several levels it could be called a disaster, but even in this it might be said to found the small press tradition. In fact standards have varied from the rough and ready to the extremely elegant with high aesthetic pretensions (and prices). O’Leary divides the historical overview into three periods: 1830 to 1930, a century of practical work and tentative exploration; 1930 to 1970, when ‘New Zealand publishing came of age in a literary sense’; and after 1970, a period ‘which has seen an explosion of small press publishers experimenting with many different forms of typology, technology and literary production’ (p. 12). Methods of distribution have varied from door-to-door sales to hiring professional distribution companies. The term ‘vanity publishing’ is discounted by O’Leary, who claims that virtually all publishing in New Zealand is of that kind in some way, considering that the ‘commercial’ publishers accept large state or university subsidies for their work or for individual items, and he argues that New Zealand literature would barely exist if it depended entirely on commercial sales. He is critical of the lack of academic attention to many of the books in the field he is covering, due to ‘various policies of exclusion’, and highlights in particular, a number of ‘glaring omissions’ from the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature (p. 61). In general he makes a good case for a more inclusive definition of New Zealand literature. A very useful part of this book is a list of the ‘alternative small’ presses he considers important from a literary point of view together with a bibliography of their publications, including names that will be familiar to any reader of the country’s literature. This is a thought-provoking contribution to matters of definition in the field”.

Nelson Wattie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Page #43 & 44 - final installment of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

week against N.S.W. I think he made a half century – anyway he’s looking furious with himself as he storms off the Park.”

When I hear the word cricket I reach for my revolver!”

“The New Zealanders will be pleased with the lower run-rate, as the tail-end has barely wagged, and with only two overs to go and the weather improving all the time, they might be feeling that they’ve got a game on their hands.”

Hey man! You some kinda out of it fuckwit or what. You know I was with the Blacks – why you take a hit at the Mob Member for – eh! He push the P.S.M. almost over.
You just a trash, man! The Malone is loose and confused and left alone he is on his way. He looks for Golly and Paul and Rewi but he can’t see beyond his eyes. He is walking up now past the Shamrock rest home and his eyes are full of tears and aloneness and he doesn’t know who he is or where. He is on a train which takes him further away from New Lynn. But he is already there – away! And he turned on the radio and it said that the Out of It score had been 222 or Nothing and that James Joyce had taken two overs to score the Nothing and Janis Joplin had scored twenty-four – there had been ten extras – read all about it!

The Malone walked across the Beach and into the Station Hotel, everywhere were telephones which had his number in New Lynn written on the inside of the receiver but he knew that to have a drink would be easier, more courageous thing to do and so he sat or stood best he could all day and into the evening. He, the Patrick Sean Michael Malone, danced, sang, played pool, kissed women – all with the tear in his eye and then as the darkness descended and the cold came on to the world like a blanket, invisible and perceptible at once. Malone looked at the money he had left and walked back across the Beach to the Railway Station where he bought a single ticket to the Wellington and as he walked towards the train which waited for him until 7.30 pm he could see next to the small Post Office two telephones into which all he had to put was two ten cents (which he had) and he would be connected – he glanced back at the telephone as he headed for platform one and with the tear in the eye he boarded the south-bound train which pulled out from the station not long after and he, the Malone of the North, inheritor of the tradition of the ashes – in up to his ankles – defender of the faith, went to the dining car and drank whiskey for they didn’t sell whiskey into the night during which nature finally called in her remorseless way and he went to the end of the dining car where the toilet was situated, the carriage was dark, for it was by now the middle of the night, he, the bladder-full Malone opened the door and walked through…….

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Page #41 & 42 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

anyway I’m sayin, dis for a fact, Botham shuda been in da outa it aleven, but he’s justa finish playin’ for da ashes in a Australia.”
“Yes. It’s interesting that you say that because I would have thought him a natural selection in the evolution of this team! What do you say John?
“Indeed, Dennis, but then if I may just cut in here, I suppose we could find so many candidates for the Out of It team. We’ve already discussed Titokowaru and I personally would like to have seen Sam Becket selected, but there you are. After all there can only be eleven chosen, and when you think how many Out of It people there are in this world, well it makes me glad I’m not one of the selectors.”
“Oh, yes John I agree entirely. It’s interesting to note that all members of this term are dead. Perhaps they’ve taken a more hard-line definition of the term Out of It. personally, I feel it’s a far too harsh an imposition. Good heavens, there must be all sorts of characters in this world who are completely out of it, in their own way, and could never be considered for selection. Why, even you and I John by the end of a day of gin and tonic in the commentary box could be eligible at least for the second eleven!”
“Ha, Ha, by Jove you’d be right there Dennis! Anyway my turn to give a few statistics and to tell you that in the twenty-fifth over we saw the Out of It 200come on the board and as we watch Marley walk through the gate in the picket fence, I can tell you that the Vice Captain made ten runs bringing the Out of It score to 210 for eight after twenty-four overs.”
“Perfect on all points except you forgot to mention that he was clean bowled, middle-stump by Martin Crowe.”
“Oh! You are an awful pendant, not to mention presumptuous – I was just coming to that, Ha! Ha!”

I wanna big score
An it’s alright
I wanna hit four
Every day an’ every night
Shots to the boundary
And a six right over your head
Is it four, is it four, is it four
That I’m scoring Is it four, is it four, is it four
That I’m scoring.
I wanna know, wanna know wanna know now!

“Well, after the whimsical reggae rastaman the vibrations change somewhat as the Reichmarshal, arguably the most Out of It all his team, takes to the crease. The first ball he faces from Crowe sees him on the defensive. Oh, while I remember, Big Bird said to give his farewell to the listeners, he said he wanted to catch up with Bob to get some sort of telephone or some such number. Anyway, the point is it was a pleasure to have him up here and I can just glimpse him going through the carpark as Crowe bowls the last ball of the twenty-fifth over which again has Goering on the defensive and the score is now the same as it was before, 210 for eight wickets.”

-Hold on ehoa, says Rewi. Stop.
Before he drew his hand and made a swipe and let fly. Mercy of God the sun had just burst through the Auckland sky and was in the P.S.M eyes or he’d have been left for dead. God, he was near sent into the country graveyard. Sure the Malone took fright as Rewi told him he nearly took a swipe at a Mongrel Mob about the ear like hell, and all populace shouting and laughing as the foreseen event was stopped from having him (the Malone) dragged along like an old tin box clattering along the street.

“Well, that’s the end of Herr Goering I’m afraid. He never got off the ground, like an old sea lion he just sat basking in the sun, which incidentally is now shining brightly here at Eden Park.”
“Yes, well he was there for just over three overs and he never played a scoring shot, so it is possible that he’s just a bit too Out of It, although in the match last

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Page #39 & 40 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

can’t help feel the isolation amongst all the adulation. It looks as though he is talking to his bat which is something you don’t see from many Pakeha cricketers.”


Kie te anake au
Kei te mokemoke au
Kore rawa hui ata mokemoke
Me kia au puritia koe
Taua kia haere ra muringa te haerenga
E hoki ki te whare kirikiti
Ane taku momoe mongamonga
I raro I te mana ma kaupapa
Kei ahau he poke
I roto I taku manawa a wairua
Kei te anake au
Kei te mokemoke au
Kore rawa hui atu mokemoke
Me kia au puritia koe
E taku toanga, e!

“And as the new Out of It batsman, Bob Marley, their Vice Captain, makes his way out, I’d like to welcome “Big Bird” Joel Garner from the touring West Indies side, into the broadcasting box.”
“Thank you mon! Shure does seem lika box wid a big fela like me init.”
“Big Bird, you must be pleased to be seeing Bob Marley out in the middle today, perhaps you could make some comment about his recent performance, as he is not that well known as a cricketer in this part of the world.”
“Oh, shure mon! Yano I am always alikin’ Mr Marley’s performin’. An’ he’s the one sayta Paterson one time, ya shud be a comin’ in from the carpark Hot Shot, yano, yea! So, then thatsa wot he’s doin’ an’ alla people like it, so then he just say yeah, an’ he do it, yano mon!”
“We’re just watching Coney bowl the second ball of his so far, successful over. Perhaps he’ll be out to emulate Hadlee’s hat-trick? Anyway, he won’t get it as Janis Joplin plays a defensive shot and the ball rolls harmlessly back to the bowler, who does the fielding.”
“Yes, well, Joplin has been quietly building a score. She’s been there now for four and a half overs having come in after Byron, the last victim of Richard Hadlee’s little rout of revenge and in that time she’s scored 10 valuable runs.”

From thinkin’, ta drinkin’ ta stinkin’, ta blinkin’, the P.S.M. was a kind of emotional merrygoround the Mulberrybush, it’s along way ta Tipperary an’ all! And for a gentleman Irishmightyodd – he was! But now he had the Rewi and the whiskey, and the Paul and there was talk a playin’ pool, and then there was Golly and the lollie, and talk a the girls he was far away and he knew it. This was the way they lived and their woman bore the burden, but this was on the way in good company and he could not hold back the feeling of tears and laughter. He had had the guilt all the life for doing nothing, now at least he could feel the guilt for something he had done. From the moment he had decided not to go to the work, that was the time he had fired his first blows against the empire of tyranny he has suffered under.
If it meant being an outcast, a wife and child deserter, if it meant loss of all privilage and place in society, if it meant emotional isolation, the loss of his woman’s love, and spiritual damnation then so be it, that’s what it meant – another dram me boys, and the P.S.M. drank like it were beautiful stream of conscious life givin’ water that it was…..

“Yas mon! it shure is a pity that Bob Marley lost his wicket I thort he was lookin’ pretty good there. He hit himself a six, then four and then well mon, if I hud ma way I’d just say shure is a pity. I’m sayin’ it may be da herb or it may be da rum

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Page #37 & 38 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

- Chow, he said, Blast you.
- The smoke from the dope, the P.S.M. said politely.
- No, Paul Calvert nee O’Shea gasped, I caught a ……cold night before….blast your soul….night before last…and to hell with you drinking too much draught Rewi, from now on its whiskey or nothing.
They all nodded as one!
They all moved as one back to the grandstand. Here I am thought the Malone at last and at length. Here I am with all the people the Maureen disapproves of and doing all the things she disapproves but I’ve not liked all the people she’s approved of in or out of the family and the same with the things.
-Good game, e bro, Golly be along any minute now. And that was the one she least liked …. And here I am.
-Kia Ora, Paddy, how’s it? Long time no see, e. hope you got that missus of yours well hid. She don’t like me! – Golly laughed and then brought out a bottle of whiskey and said – here!
The Malones head expanded in consciousness and size as he sipped the milk of his mother land for the first time in as many years and there he was and the rain was fallin’ on his face and the tears of heaven rolled down his once again young face, the dew from the South washed through him purifying his inner soul -–it is, indeed a great day for the Irish.
The four sat drinking and talking about old times and when the sky cleared, their heads cleared and so did the airwaves….

“Well, it seems things have cleared up, John, the covers have been removed and here, to a round of applause, is Coney leading his men back on to the field.”
“Yes, welcome back to Eden Park everyone and we return with the news that the game is to be reduced to thirty overs for each team. What does that do to the number of overs each bowler can bowl. Have you worked that out yet Dennis?”
“As a matter of fact I have and according to my calculation things do not auger well for the New Zealanders. Under the new regime, I make it that each bowler can bowl only six overs as a maximum, which means that all but one of the bowlers used so far have been bowled out. So, Hadlee, Cairns, Bracewell have all bowled six overs each and Ewen Chatfield has only one over left.”
“Coney, it would seem, has real problems on his hands. We’re coming up to the twenty-fourth over, which leaves seven full overs to play and only one of which to be bowled by a strike bowler.”
“Yes, well there’s such a thing in this game as thinking ahead, and although I think bringing Hadlee on to make that much needed break-through in the nineteenth over was inevitable, I feel it was a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!”
“Quite! Anyway it looks like Coney himself will bowl the first ball back after the break as he comes in on the gentle run-up of his, from the South end of the pitch and bowls to Te Rauparaha who takes a massive swing and the ball goes very high. I think he mistimed that shot and what was meant to be a six looks like it could be … yes it has been caught by Wright almost on the boundary, bringing an end to a very fine innings by the Out of It Captain.”
“Yes, he certainly made good the saying “a Captain’s knock”. For even though he got somewhat bogged down after his firey start and he almost could not play the spin of Bracewell at all, he put early runs on the board and then, just by staying around he kept the Out of It innings together.”
“I couldn’t agree more Dennis and I don’t think I’ll ever forget those six sixes off Hadlee.”
“Oh, yes, splendid shots. In fact just about every ball he scored off could be a study-piece for all the small boys out there watching. He was at the crease for just over one and a half hours actual playing time and in that time he faced just forty-six balls off which he scored exactly eighty runs. A truly fine innings and whatever else may befall us on this extraordinary day’s cricket here at Eden Park, I’m sure that the fine innings by Te Rauparaha, the Out of It Captain will stay in the minds of all those who saw it for many years to come.”
“Thank you Dennis, and as the crowd show their appreciation with a standing ovation, the big Maori chief makes his way back to the dressing room. That walk can often be a very long and lonely one, and as we watch Te Rauparaha one

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Page #35 & 36 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Exactly, but perhaps they’re thinking of the weather, or maybe Janis Joplin is just too out of it even to walk out on to the field at the moment. No-one really knows.”
“Yes, well I suppose that could be the case. Anyway, we turn our attention to the action as we see that Byron has finally hobbled his way out to take up the challenge of facing Hadlee, a task I hear that he won’t particularly relish, is that right John?”
“I gather so Dennis. Like a lot of spin bowlers, Byron himself is a very good player of spin with the bat. In fact for his own club – Foot Club, I believe he is actually their specialist batsman when it comes to playing spin.”
“Well, I must say I find it most intriguing and bewildering that he should come out to face Hadlee in full flight – I suppose that an out of it captain tends to us mere mortals.”
“Indeed, but let’s turn our attention to the game as in comes Hadlee now from the Railway end. He runs past one of the ever increasing seagulls, who quickly flies in the opposite direction, and he bowls to Byron who …!!! Oh! And there’s a loud appeal for L.B.W. the umpire has a close look, and yes! He’s out! Byron just couldn’t move his feet quick enough and the result was that the ball went straight past the bat and into the pad of Lord Byron’s bad leg and he was trapped right in front of the wicket, and Hadlee has his utu!”
“A well deserved, if somewhat fortuitous hat-trick for Richard Hadlee – and that, by the way, takes him into the lead again with his tussle with Ian Botham for a five wicket bag. Botham caught up level with him in the last series with Australia, but now Hadlee has played twenty-eight games in which he’d taken five or more wickets and Botham twenty-seven.”
“Yes, a fine performance and I wouldn’t wish to take anything from the great Richard Hadlee, but watching Byron make his way back, one can’t but feel that there was a certain inevitability about the whole incident- even a hint of sadism, although it would be wrong to persue that line of thought.”
“Well, it was certainly unusual – one can only guess at the thoughts of George Gordon – sixth Lord of Byron.

I want another go! An uncommon want
I didn’t like my innings so I’d like a new one
But all cricketing rules and gazettes say I can’t
“A second innings in a one-day game is not a true one.”
All very well for those with two healthy legs to flaunt
But for those with a foot like mine, it is a ruin –
I think all those bastards who make rules for others,
Whilst in their prime,
Should be sent to the devil somewhat ere their time

“No doubt there’ll be some small, vitriolic Byronic stanza making its way through the tunnels and over the synaptic bridges of the great western mind as the poet’s train of thought carried it towards its final station – the poem on the written page!”
“How very eloquent, I take back all I said bout you being merely a mouthful of statistics, Dennis!”

By now the great mind of Malone was entering a kind of slip-stream-of-consciousness following Brendon The Navigator, or so it thought, into who knows where. Two dark faces turned in the flare of the Eden Park lights. Who’s dat, the P.S.M. replied, thinking there may have been a question. Rewi and Paul Calvert said a voice. We come to see you bro, here have a beer. Rewi, Paul, is that yourselves now and the P.S.M. raised itself in salute – come on mind your steps. The threesome moved down towards the sign “GENTLEMEN” and P.S.M. followed his friends to the toilet and then whistled his lath away among the pillars. They passed the joint nervously under their slack archway.
-Woa, bro!
Rewi turned to P.S.M. and asked”
Well, Paddy. What is it, e. what’s the trouble. Wait a while. Hold hard. With gaping mouth and head far back he stood still and, after an instant, sneezed loudly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tingling Catch: Michael O'Leary’s Cricket Novel to be Reprinted

Tingling Catch: Michael O'Leary’s Cricket Novel to be Reprinted: "Michael O’Leary’s cricket poetry satires from his novel Out of It featured prominently in my anthology A Tingling Catch. Michael informs me ..."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Page #33 & 34 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

-Kia Ora, Paddy, how’s it? Long time no see, e. hope you got that missus of yours well hid. She don’t like me! – Golly laughed and then brought out a bottle of whiskey and said – here!
The Malones head expanded in consciousness and size as he sipped the milk of his mother land for the first time in as many years and there he was and the rain was fallin’ on his face and the tears of heaven rolled down his once again young face, the dew from the South washed through him purifying his inner soul -–it is, indeed a great day for the Irish.
The four sat drinking and talking about old times and when the sky cleared, their heads cleared and so did the airwaves….

“Well, it seems things have cleared up, John, the covers have been removed and here, to a round of applause, is Coney leading his men back on to the field.”
“Yes, welcome back to Eden Park everyone and we return with the news that the game is to be reduced to thirty overs for each team. What does that do to the number of overs each bowler can bowl. Have you worked that out yet Dennis?”
“As a matter of fact I have and according to my calculation things do not auger well for the New Zealanders. Under the new regime, I make it that each bowler can bowl only six overs as a maximum, which means that all but one of the bowlers used so far have been bowled out. So, Hadlee, Cairns, Bracewell have all bowled six overs each and Ewen Chatfield has only one over left.”
“Coney, it would seem, has real problems on his hands. We’re coming up to the twenty-fourth over, which leaves seven full overs to play and only one of which to be bowled by a strike bowler.”
“Yes, well there’s such a thing in this game as thinking ahead, and although I think bringing Hadlee on to make that much needed break-through in the nineteenth over was inevitable, I feel it was a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!”
“Quite! Anyway it looks like Coney himself will bowl the first ball back after the break as he comes in on the gentle run-up of his, from the South end of the pitch and bowls to Te Rauparaha who takes a massive swing and the ball goes very high. I think he mistimed that shot and what was meant to be a six looks like it could be … yes it has been caught by Wright almost on the boundary, bringing an end to a very fine innings by the Out of It Captain.”
“Yes, he certainly made good the saying “a Captain’s knock”. For even though he got somewhat bogged down after his firey start and he almost could not play the spin of Bracewell at all, he put early runs on the board and then, just by staying around he kept the Out of It innings together.”
“I couldn’t agree more Dennis and I don’t think I’ll ever forget those six sixes off Hadlee.”
“Oh, yes, splendid shots. In fact just about every ball he scored off could be a study-piece for all the small boys out there watching. He was at the crease for just over one and a half hours actual playing time and in that time he faced just forty-six balls off which he scored exactly eighty runs. A truly fine innings and whatever else may befall us on this extraordinary day’s cricket here at Eden Park, I’m sure that the fine innings by Te Rauparaha, the Out of It Captain will stay in the minds of all those who saw it for many years to come.”
“Thank you Dennis, and as the crowd show their appreciation with a standing ovation, the big Maori chief makes his way back to the dressing room. That walk can often be a very long and lonely one, and as we watch Te Rauparaha one can’t help feel the isolation amongst all the adulation. It looks as though he is talking to his bat which is something you don’t see from many Pakeha cricketers.”


Kie te anake au
Kei te mokemoke au
Kore rawa hui ata mokemoke
Me kia au puritia koe
Taua kia haere ra muringa te haerenga
E hoki ki te whare kirikiti
Ane taku momoe mongamonga
I raro I te mana ma kaupapa
Kei ahau he poke

Friday, October 1, 2010

Page #31 & 32 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Well, I must say I find it most intriguing and bewildering that he should come out to face Hadlee in full flight – I suppose that an out of it captain tends to us mere mortals.”
“Indeed, but let’s turn our attention to the game as in comes Hadlee now from the Railway end. He runs past one of the ever increasing seagulls, who quickly flies in the opposite direction, and he bowls to Byron who …!!! Oh! And there’s a loud appeal for L.B.W. the umpire has a close look, and yes! He’s out! Byron just couldn’t move his feet quick enough and the result was that the ball went straight past the bat and into the pad of Lord Byron’s bad leg and he was trapped right in front of the wicket, and Hadlee has his utu!”
“A well deserved, if somewhat fortuitous hat-trick for Richard Hadlee – and that, by the way, takes him into the lead again with his tussle with Ian Botham for a five wicket bag. Botham caught up level with him in the last series with Australia, but now Hadlee has played twenty-eight games in which he’d taken five or more wickets and Botham twenty-seven.”
“Yes, a fine performance and I wouldn’t wish to take anything from the great Richard Hadlee, but watching Byron make his way back, one can’t but feel that there was a certain inevitability about the whole incident- even a hint of sadism, although it would be wrong to persue that line of thought.”
“Well, it was certainly unusual – one can only guess at the thoughts of George Gordon – sixth Lord of Byron.

I want another go! An uncommon want
I didn’t like my innings so I’d like a new one
But all cricketing rules and gazettes say I can’t
“A second innings in a one-day game is not a true one.”
All very well for those with two healthy legs to flaunt
But for those with a foot like mine, it is a ruin –
I think all those bastards who make rules for others,
Whilst in their prime,
Should be sent to the devil somewhat ere their time

“No doubt there’ll be some small, vitriolic Byronic stanza making its way through the tunnels and over the synaptic bridges of the great western mind as the poet’s train of thought carried it towards its final station – the poem on the written page!”
“How very eloquent, I take back all I said bout you being merely a mouthful of statistics, Dennis!”

By now the great mind of Malone was entering a kind of slip-stream-of-consciousness following Brendon The Navigator, or so it thought, into who knows where. Two dark faces turned in the flare of the Eden Park lights. Who’s dat, the P.S.M. replied, thinking there may have been a question. Rewi and Paul Calvert said a voice. We come to see you bro, here have a beer. Rewi, Paul, is that yourselves now and the P.S.M. raised itself in salute – come on mind your steps. The threesome moved down towards the sign “GENTLEMEN” and P.S.M. followed his friends to the toilet and then whistled his lath away among the pillars. They passed the joint nervously under their slack archway.
-Woa, bro!
Rewi turned to P.S.M. and asked”
Well, Paddy. What is it, e. what’s the trouble. Wait a while. Hold hard. With gaping mouth and head far back he stood still and, after an instant, sneezed loudly.
- Chow, he said, Blast you.
- The smoke from the dope, the P.S.M. said politely.
- No, Paul Calvert nee O’Shea gasped, I caught a ……cold night before….blast your soul….night before last…and to hell with you drinking too much draught Rewi, from now on its whiskey or nothing.
They all nodded as one!
They all moved as one back to the grandstand. Here I am thought the Malone at last and at length. Here I am with all the people the Maureen disapproves of and doing all the things she disapproves but I’ve not liked all the people she’s approved of in or out of the family and the same with the things.
-Good game, e bro, Golly be along any minute now. And that was the one she least liked …. And here I am.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Page #29 & 30 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Oh, isn’t that the truth though Dennis. It really is such a varied and changing world out there on the twenty two yard pitch – these sandwiches are great Billy.”
“Ka pai te kai, e hoa! I hope you like them, e. Better go, e noho ra.”
“And as we watch Billy go off in one direction I can see the next Out of It batsman making his way out now. Alfred Jarry is something of an unknown in this part of the world, although I believe he’s made the odd trip to New Caledonia and Mururoa Atoll to give advice on strong-overarm technique.”
“Makes a change from strong-underarm I suppose.”
“Ha, yes indeed!”
“Anyway, Jarry is standing at the wicket waiting for Hadlee. He taps his bat on the ground which listeners can no doubt hear.”
“It’s interesting that, John. The way they place those microphones under the surface of the soil, between the wicket-keeper and the wicket, if I’m not mistaken. It really brings an atmosphere of the immediate situation to those listening at home.”
“Quite! Anyway, in comes Hadlee past the umpire, he bowls and …”
“SHIT”
:Well, there’s no doubt from M. Jarry’s response as to what happened. We would like to apologise for such foul language entering the air waves and …”
“Really, while there is no excuse for that kind of occurrence, I suppose it is the price one pays for the kind of technology we were only just extolling the virtues thereof.”
“I couldn’t agree more, but we could have been forewarned, as this is not the first time the little French bohemian has opened play in a such a fashion.”
“Of course, it’s easy for us to sit here and criticise. We’re not out there facing Richard Hadlee. Anyway for those who may still be confused about what’s going on, well, Jarry was clean bowled by Hadlee – out for a city duck, and I do believe Hadlee is sitting on a hat-trick.”
“Indeed, he is! He really is a funky donkey, isn’t he! While we watch the spectacle of Jarry storming off the field, it may be an opportune moment to reflect upon the career of R.J. Hadlee…”

So I gave Maureen the pledge of hand in the traditional gael manner and she seemed to like it well enough and then she was with child – it’s all the guit buiks ya know. The great Malone was decidedly melancholy as he reflected upon his career of marriage to the fine gael-come Polynesian woman he had married. What a true wretch I am said he to himself inside his own head and all. Then he had a true idea, a brain-wave which lasts as long as it takes in the telling, but in that time he surely solved the mystery of his life long enough to only shatter that very illusion of solution. We’ll move to the very Ireland from whence we were hewn and away from this island from whence she was hewn also – thus we can save our wonderful mirage because there is none of the divorce in the only civilized country in the world. No divorce and no cricket – what a country for a marriage! But, Ireland is also the place of poets, said a voice which must have been his own for it has been written that there was no-one else in the great head. Not ta mention the Guinness and the whiskey, spelt ta proper way an’ all, said the same or another voice. The drink and the poetry, sure there’s a terrible country for a marriage – if they had divorce there, they’d have no marriage, with a tradition like dat, sure!

“And as Lord Byron stumps his way out to the crease, followed by his follower Hemi Baxter, we can only wonder at this remarkable change in the Out of It batting order there seems to be a certain amount of uncertainty creeping into the Out of It camp with the loss of those two wickets Dennis?”
“It’s hard to say really John. I mean if one looks at the scoreboard then one would think they were in the box-seat, so to speak. I mean, with a score of 172 in only nineteen overs you’d think they could be well pleased with their performance.”
“Exactly, but perhaps they’re thinking of the weather, or maybe Janis Joplin is just too out of it even to walk out on to the field at the moment. No-one really knows.”
“Yes, well I suppose that could be the case. Anyway, we turn our attention to the action as we see that Byron has finally hobbled his way out to take up the challenge of facing Hadlee, a task I hear that he won’t particularly relish, is that right John?”
“I gather so Dennis. Like a lot of spin bowlers, Byron himself is a very good player of spin with the bat. In fact for his own club – Foot Club, I believe he is actually their specialist batsman when it comes to playing spin.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Page #27 & 28 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Well, we do get side-tracked don’t we John. But, no harm done. In fact I seem to remember a similar incident in Madras in the early fifties in, I think it was the fifth test when the Indian bowler Patel took J.R. Reid’s middle stump. But the umpire, who was it?”
“Joshi it was Dennis.”
“So it was thank you John! Anyway, it was about the first over Reid had faced that day and he went on to score forty-four in that innings!”
“And, if I may add, he scored sixty-three in the second innings so it didn’t seem to affect Reid’s confidence – it’s a pity Wilde can’t hear us but I’m sure he knows – he’s been around the cricket pitch long enough to understand all this.”
“Anyway, we’re watching Hadlee, who is back for second spell, coming in to bowl to Wilde and … Good Lord he’s bowled him again and this time there’s no no ball!”
“Well, that was a good piece of captaincy bringing Hadlee back. Wilde had really taken Cairns and Bracewell in the last few overs and Coney had the option of bowling them out and leaving Hadlee to come on in the last bracket. But, I think he’s done the right thing because the weather is so uncertain – I mean, Dennis, the fact that fifteen overs have been reached means that there is definitely a game on. In fact, we are now in the nineteenth over and with the Out of It team score being 172 means they are scoring at just under ten runs an over, a formidable run-rate – and this may be one of those games in which the run-rate, and not the final score, could be all important.”
“I couldn’t agree more John. I think whatever happens the New Zealanders have got an uphill. Well, you can’t help but admire Wilde. He was at the crease for just six overs and in that time he scored fifty-nine runs including 5 fours and 4 sixes. I should imagine he would be feeling quite pleased with himself as he makes his way back to the pavilion with that arrogant, manly stride of his.

Yet each man pulls the stumps on himself
By each let his be heard
Some do it with a simple French cut
And with unflattering word
Cowardly commentators say “played on!”
Cutting deeper than a sword

Some play careless strokes when they are young
And some when they are old
Some leave such a gap twixt bat and pad
That the ball, like an arrow of gold
Straight to its target blindly goes
Leaving the batsman out in the cold

Some hit too little, some too long
Some wait for an extra or a bye
Some leave the field almost in tears
And some without a sigh
For each man pulls the stumps on himself
Yet none can answer why.

“I’d like to welcome back to the commentary box Billy T. who’s just brought us a lovely plate of mutton bird and cucumber sandwiches and some drink – thank you so much Billy. Now I believe you have something interesting to tell us about the Put of It Captain.”
“Yea, a kia ora everyone again. Seems that Te Rauparaha only just made it into the team, despite what his present batting performance would suggest. They got this fella who plays for Central Districts called Titokowaru, e. I was talking to Ian smith before the game today and he told me ‘bout this, e bro. Apparently old Titokowaru has a similar relationship with the Out of It selectors as Glenn Turner had with the New Zealand Selection Panel. The result is that he rarely gets to play on the international scene. A great loss to Te kirikiti O Aotearoa ia bro!”
“Well, Billy, that certainly is interesting. It’s a constant source of amazement that this game of cricket throws up new or unknown knowledge no matter how long one has been associated with it.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

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Monday, September 20, 2010

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Page #25 & 26 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Yes, Dennis, I was talking to Glen Turner just after the New Zealand team had been announced and what you say is quite true.
There is, of course, a lot of similarities between these two players on the field. Goering is a big hitter of the ball and both men are useful, second strike bowlers. The Luftwaffe chief, like Lance, likes to flight the ball and they both excel at the in-swinger and out-swinger which should be facilitated by the cloud cover today.”
“Curiously enough, also John, the two men are not unlike each other to look at, so it should be an interesting contest just between these two, let alone the two teams, although I think the Reich Air Marshall has the edge over Cairns when it comes to black-market art theft, but that of course, does not concern us as we watch Cairns bowl to Te Rauparaha who goes to come forward and them at the last minute moves back pulling his bat away from the line of the ball which ends up safely and uneventfully in the gloves of keeper Smith.”
“Dennis, I know you’re sceptical about my oft quoted and maligned “mania” for statistics, but if I may, I shall inform our listeners that Te Rauparaha has been at the wicket for a total of eleven and a half overs and had scored fifty nine runs….”
“Very illuminating, but Cairns is ….”
“I’ll just finish if I may Dennis. In the first six of those he scored fifty eight and in the last five and a half only one run. He does seem completely unable to play either Cairns, who gets such lovely variation of delivery, and the spin of Bracewell who ….”

A huge roar from the crowd drowns out the announcer’s sentence.

“John, how many times have I told you not to talk so loud. The big Maori chief has just answered your “Statistics” by hitting a cracking shot down to the third man boundary.”
“Makes Harry Lime look like a boy scout! And he made me look like I’m still in nappies. What a fine shot that was as the Out of It score moves on to 118 for three with two balls remaining in the fourteenth over.”
A terrible example of a human bean I am. It was the Malone thinking to itself again. The memory thought of the melancholy of the once lying on his own bed alone and on the radio is City of New Orleans, a famous, sad song about the disappearing rail road blues.

This is what heaven must be like, the Great Mind had thought and the Great Guilt had rebuked and the Great Hand crossed himself with the famous “mea culpa” – some things are never forgotten even though they were never learnt in the first place – such was the place of the Latin in the life of the P.S.M. for it had permeated the distorted Irish cerebral cortex at an earlier age and even though he had never been an Altar Boy, a fact he resented and held as a dark sin in his human heart, he never forgot the ancient archaic language and when he finally left off going to the Holy Roman it coincided with the Mass of English – Sure why did ya leave the Mothar Church Patrick Sean Michael – he would reply “Who wants to belong to a religion you can understand” – and the petitioner would stare in wonderment.
“Now here I sit in cold, wind-swept isolation watching the great game and I’m feeling like it’s the end. Since I was the young child I have never done what I wanted. The others have told me what was right and wrong and I just said yes. Ma, Da, Holy Church, Wife, Holy Taxman all say do this and it is done – “Say but the Word!” – and here I am doing it at last and it ends in the isolation of the self from the holy human family.”

“Just a small point Dennis, but I have just checked up with Mr Vulu who was here before with Billy, on the greeting he used when he came on air. I thought he was saying something about Maloney who plays for Wellington but I didn’t like to take it up at the time. However, Billy T. has informed me that Sef greeted us in his native Tokelau tongue with the word “Maloni” which is similar to Kia Ora, or Talofa or just “hello”.
“Well, John with all this talk about the Maori being the lost tribe of Bryan Boru it doesn’t really surprise one that there should be other connections between the Irish and Polynesians in general. And of course, if you look at the Irish in London and other British cities, then they’re occupying a similar position as the Pacific Islanders who live in Auckland and other New Zealand cities. And of course Ireland was Britain’s first colony and remains her last. So that …. Oh! It looks like Oscar Wilde has been bowled out, but there seems to be some doubt!”
“I think I see what happened, and that is it seemed that the umpire called a no ball but the bowler didn’t hear the call and thought he had bowled Wilde.”

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Page #23 & 24 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Baffled, bemused and beguilded indeed Dennis! And I thought that Morrison himself was deep in some mystery when he walked back to the dressing room. It almost seemed he was singing or talking to himself – one could imagine him doing a self-jig or some similar dance had his leg not been crook.”
“Yes! The words mystery and Morrison seen to be very closely linked in this game. And look at Hemi disappearing down the player’s tunnel as though he were entering Dante’s Inferno. He’s crossing himself in the Roman tradition and whipping his very back with what appears to be a large rosary.”

The Malone listened empathy and sorrow and each stroke he saw hit Baxter’s back was a memory of his life with the Maureen Moana and their children marked his and hers, a life which he knew he would never live again…. They had not been married two months and she was expecting. Then they had not been married eight months, they realised upon close inspection what the situation was, they then got married. “You carnt be too carful these daze,” the Malone had thought. “Shotgun?” Murphy, in his enquiring way, had asked “Double barrel – we’re having twins,” Malone had retorted with his fingers crossed, not realising the prophetic nature of his nature. “Better luck next time” the Murphy had said after the birth of one single child. And so it was, that not long after nine months, after the birth of the first Malone child, two twins were born. “Hopefully, ta, the sam farther – never like the case bein’ now at this moment contested in the very courtroom I was born at the address of the Emerald Isle whence I cam from” said the Murphy, who had had a life-long interest in the law, you know! For was this not the sam Murphy run foul a the law in the Mercantile Gehenna and him a lawyer. “You’re a liarwyer” the judge had said accusing him a not tellin’ the truth….
Malone’s Murphy Memories were interrupted by the noise of the roaring applause for the next Out of It batsman. Oscar Wilde strode out onto the field with the confidence and arrogance of a man who has nothing to declare or fear but his own genius as a batsman.

Here comes a great man the Malone thought. He had forever thought this of the Wilde Irishman and it forever had him thinking of the greatness of the Gaelsand of one and all of his race, and of one in particular it that’s the case. Mango O’Brien he was by name known. He was the reason that Malone and his pregnant wife had been able to buy their very house in New Lynn and he was the reason that should P.S.M. not be able to return to the great domestic life of a lifetime that he knew his family would survive. For, and let it be said, had not Mango O’Brien and his Polynesian wife and their several children, had they not all lived together in a Zeppelin moored only several feet above the ground on the corner section which was next door to where the newlywedded Malone’s house on the one side and the railway line on the other. The fact that no-one would but this house for fear and prejudice enabled the unprejudiced and fearless Malone family to buy a perfectly good, respectable suburban dwelling for a very low and acceptable price indeed.
Mango and Malone and Marisia and Maureen and all the more several children had become a close whanau by the time that the Malone got off the train one evening after the work in time to see the O’Brien Zeppelin casting off from its moorings and sail away into the arms of Rangi. “Where did the man go?” was the question on New Lynn’s lips. Anyway, the small compensation for the Malone family’s grief over the loss of their true friends was that the day after the Zeppelin had soared into the heavens and beyond, the house prices in the immediate area had soared also, thus providing in the form of material and financial security what they now obviously lacked in emotional and spiritual nurture since the half whanau had headed skyward. “See you in Heaven!” he called and crossed himself as the wonderment of invented palagi imploded into the sky above!

“ and it’s not often you see Lance Cairns give away an extra run from a no-ball John.”
“quite true Dennis, but the umpire, I think, is a bit worried about the bowler’s making a hole just at that particular point at the Railway end of the crease. I notices that Mr Woodhead spoke a couple of time to Ewen Chatfield and that must have been what it was all about.”
“Interesting, John, to see Cairns brought back into the New Zealand team, and I believe it has something to do with the fact that the Out of It Number Nine, Herman Goering, is in such good form.”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Page #21 & 22 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Listen ta me son, even the St Bernard thought the Irish (and that’s us – never forget!) – thought the Irish were barbarians with no sanity and no law – beasts rather than men he called us!”
Dad’s eyes, like all the organs in his body, were on fire. He took a slug and continued – “even he based his condemnation of the Irish fo havin’ no marriage on a mis-conception!” It was too much for dad, the tears rolled down his cheeks and his laughter rolled around the room like thunder after the lightning flash of humour. After an interval he continued somewhat hesitantly and with his eyes closed, as though he would not be able to continue if he looked at someone else. He had quite an audience by now and what had been a private talk between father and son meant to lead into my introduction to Miss O'Shea, became an open lecture, in the history of Irish marriage before those “heathen Christians” as he called them, arrived. He went on like a saint in a trance “it’s not a though there was no marriage and a kind of universal concubinage existed,” he took a swig to wipe the smile which threatened to break out into open laughter, off his face, “no, but there was like a custom with a mutual promise of marriage – then the two lived together until they got married or got sick of each other.” All sorts of drunken cries were coming me father’s way, most condemning him for being anti Holy Roman. But he didn’t care and said “You should never be listening to grown up conversation – come now Patrick Sean Michael Malone, come over here and meet Maureen O’Shea and marry her….”

“Oh! And there’s a terrible mix-up here and Hemi’s slipped over with his bare feet and I’m afraid that means Morrison has been run out.”
“Well, there you see the problem of using as runner, John. Morrison called his captain through, probably thinking that it would be on – but judging it as though he were doing the running himself. The chief, obviously eager to push the score along because of the weather, came. But, Baxter without shoes, struck what is obviously a bit of moisture out there, lost his footing and there you are.”
“I remember the hapless Geoff Howarth being run out in similar circumstances, Dennis. Howarth had got off to a good start for the first time in ages and then much the same thing happened. I forget which game it was exactly, I always confuse it with the one where Howarth had just moved out of his crease after John Wright, I think it was, had hit what looked to be a powerful scoring shot, but the ball came straight back towards the bowler, just glanced his hand and went into the wickets and the poor New Zealand captain was out!”
“One sees so many games that they do tend to merge don’t they. Anyway, this is the one which we have our focus on at the moment and as Morrison and Hemi make their way back I can tell you that after twelve overs the score is three wickets for ninety nine runs, leaving the Out if It team one short of a hundred. Morrison in the end scored twenty-three after that lovely performance in the last over of Chatfield’s first spell, hitting thirteen runs. Altogether he faced nineteen balls and was at the crease for just over twenty minutes, five of which were not played while the umpires checked the light.”
“Well, Dennis, Jim will be a little disappointed because he certainly looked in good touch. He played a couple of lovely pull shots which simply raced off to the boundary – Oh well, he’ll be thinking of what have been, no doubt…”

Cricket is strange when you’re a batsman
Muscle gets strained when you’re alone
Bowlers seam wicked the way that they bounce you
Even though they know your muscle’s been pulled
Cricket’s strange – runners come out in your place
Cricket’s strange – then they fall on their face
Cricket’s strange – a funny game
Cricket’s strange – all right now –

“I’d just like to return for a while to the over before last.”
“Oh yes, that was interesting Dennis, I assume you are referring to the fact that Bracewell’s spin completely baffled the Out of It Captain, indeed it almost had him L.B.W. off the last ball.”
“Exactly, John, it was of course a maiden over, and it really seemed to keep the chief – well, almost bemused I think would be a fitting term.”

Monday, September 6, 2010

Page #19 & 20 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“The other aspect is of course, Dennis, that he hasn’t taken any unnecessary risks. He’s played every ball on its merit and he hasn’t been at all reckless.”
“Yes, it’s the great skill of the man that one has to admire. I shouldn’t wonder, John, that his bat will take it’s place among every other national taonga at Te Marae Taonga o Aotearoa when they build it down there in the Capital.”
“It would certainly deserve to be there amongst the rest of our country’s treasures and Te Rauparaha is one who is very much aware of his own mana within cricketing circles and the wairua which is part of his toanga.”
“I’ll interrupt you there John to say that a rather large dark cloud is just crossing over Eden Park and out towards the West things are looking decidedly gloomy.”

Malone was thinking, as was his habit –

“as was his habit, me own father was a man of habit, and he did the same things over and over. And the one time he didn’t was when he introduced me to me darlin’ wife Maureen O’Shea.

He was drunk that night, as was his habit (he used to say that the drink made him a religious, holy man because it was his habit) and he had told me about the beautiful young girl. My parents were worried about me because I was over thirty and unmarried (dad used to love coming up with me, standing beside me with a serious look and then blooming out in his particularly baritone voice “funny he never married” before collapsing into gales of laughter). There was, however, no undue concern because it was an Irish custom for a man to be nearly forty, even still living with the parents, before he was married or joined the priesthood or somethin'.”
“Well Patrick me son, she’s a loverly garl this O’Shea and she’s part Maori too which should be to yer likin’ now!” He, the Malone senior, took another drink of the Tullamore Dew. “They say she’s even related to the Kitty O’Shea who was the undoin’ of the great man Parnell – so you’ll be in good company then, being undone by an O’Shea yourself..”
“The umpires seem to be checking their little devises as regards the light. It would be an awful shame if this most absorbing game were to be interrupted.”
“Yes John, how true, in the meantime I should like to welcome back Billy T. who has with him Mr Sef Vulu who is a local Auckland cricketer. Gentlemen, welcome. Perhaps Billy, you would like to introduce Mr Vulu to our listeners.”
“Kapai, e, Dennis. Kia Ora Sef.”
Maloni, Billy and everyone.”
“Well, bro, what do you reckon about this game so far, pretty neat e, hehehe.”
“Well Billy bout this game, it’s goot. An I like to make comment bout this Te Rauparaha so far. I saw him play in Barbados a coupla summers ago an I always like the look a him.”
“Sef, you’re like he opening batsman for your own Auckland club, e! Would you like to comment maybe on either Lewis or Hendrix’s performance today.”
“Wella Billy I think they both never got off to a goot start. It’s not easy opening when you’re out of it an I think they both try but never get off the ground.”
“You also play Pacific Island cricket. What’s the main difference between that and this kinda cricket e bro?”
“I think the numbera people ona field. That, ana I think there’s not dancing and singing when you score in a palagi game.”
“Kapai e hoa. I think it’s time to go back to my cousey’s Dennis and John, Kia Ora.”
“Thank you, Billy and Sef Vulu. We’ll be seeing Billy again later on of course, but right now it’s back to the game here at Eden Park where for the time being anyhow the news is good. The light seems to be o.k. although looking westward I think there may be problems later in the day.”

“and me father who could quote Irish history like a book when he was drunk. In fact the amount of words he spoke bore a direct relation to how much a the drink which had passed his mouth. So that night he was on his second bottle, having finished the first whilst singin’ the rebel songs with young Paddy Murphy on the fiddle and Colleen O’Reilly on the whistle. The final song was “Cottage by the Lee”, and everyone was laughing and crying for the sake of beauty and sadness.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Page #17 & 18 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

to the priest to tell him all his evil and dark ideas which would never have occurred to him had he not been told to go to confession!
He was so pleased with himself and could not understand the holy man’s reaction of disgust that “such filth could come from one so young, Holy Mother of God, etc.” He thought he had done what he was supposed to, and he found that when he really tried he could think of anything, no matter how degrading.
The Malone determined to take an immediate interest in the minutest aspects of this cricket game. He would follow each ball bowled and that was all his mind would be on. His mind, however, had other ideas so that the more he tried to keep the dark clouds of chaos and madness away, the more in reality they were there. And his struggle of will was enhanced and punctuated by the outside reality. So, the sky darkened over the Waitakere Ranges threatening to move eastwards from the west, thus nature was empathising with the Malone’s uncertain internal spirit. It was like masturbation thought the great Malone mind –
“thinking what you shouldn’t be thinkin’, but only being able to think it because of what you were doin’, which is what you should be doin’. But it’s worse if you think about something else and keep doin’ that because then you’re thinkin’ what you’re doin’ whilst doin’ what you shouldn’t be doin’ or even thinkin’ of doin’. Yes that’s it. Catholicism is two nutshells. A grand cock and bull story, it cannot be denied. Well, it can but…”
The thoughts were drowned by the crowd cheering, as Morrison hit Chatfield down to deep cover and sent Hemi, grey-hair, grey-beard flying like sails, off for a run. The chief ran like the wind so that Baxter, who was obviously the least fit of the two, was stretched to the limit but made it home for three runs.

“Ha Ha! I bet that got the old cogs in the wheels turning, John. I thought the old guru of the New Jerusalem was struggling a bit there.”
“Yes Dennis, but he made it and his thinking must be matching his physical triumph at this moment.

Man! He has called me again
From that place inside me – the unworthy

Servant! He called me three times
When I, in my mortal dung heap mind

Would have settled for one
And all the lice in my beard jumped out

For fear of this terrible century’s (looming) speed
Who will torment me now, at night

Who will remind me of Him –
And sin! Which this mad old devil

Commits with every eyelid bat, every thought
Kei te Rangitira o te ngati porangi, ahau –

I stand at the end of the crease Colin
Knowing He only wants what He knows I can do

“Well, John, it’s difficult to imagine Hemi taking a victory easily. His sense of guilt is so finely developed that you can’t even imagine him waking up in the morning without him saying he was sorry to someone. I’d really like to see if he actually thinks in sonnets. Oh well, I suppose that will remain one of life’s imponderables…….
“Dennis, you know so much has happened here that while I remember, I must acknowledge Te Rauparaha’s fifty has come up! In fact it came up a couple of overs ago – and he faced only thirteen balls.. I’ll look through my records but I’d say that must be one of the fastest half-centuries of any batsman in the world.”
“What a cricketer he is! Out of a team score of seventy-eight, two of which have been extras, this man has scored fifty-eight. If there ever was a case of a captain leading by example, this surely must be it.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Page #15 & 16 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Oh yea I heard of you, e. There was some kind of feud between your wife and her family e! Anyway, I’ll go now. I’ll tell Golly I saw you, maybe we go for a drink or a smoke after the game.”
The P.S.M was afraid. His mind meandered back through the past and speeded forward to an uncertain future. His stable, safe life was threatened from all sides by the past and the present and the shape of things to come, which were no longer geometric, nor measured by such as quarter-acre or 5.15 train. He wanted to run back to a past which had already passed. His thoughts were swimming in a sea of uncertainty, like some Spinozarian nightmare. The fish-bowl of reality he had lived in had smashed open and the big fish he was now became a small fish thrown into a large, unknown and frightening ocean, where nothing was familiar or certain – if only he’d gone to work! Going to the pub, the allusion to smoking dope, the mention of family fights, the magnetic pull of his heroes out there on the pitch – The Malone felt like he was being sucked into the vortex of emptiness, away from his Maureen, away from Colleen and Sean and Tahana the twins, and the baby Rua, away from New Lynn and the fenced-in section, away from it all – he was being sucked out of it, out of this world, out of T.V. and Radio, out of the weekly paycheck, out of it he was moving out of his woman’s mind and heart, out of his woman’s body, he was losing contact, he was heading skywards, he was taking off from the point of contact between Rangi and Papa – the two elements. When he was inside his woman he was secure, he belonged to earth, when he was inside his office or his living room, or his train or his supermarket he belonged to society, when he was – he was! But he began to feel he wasn’t, his bohemian daze was returning. He was the wild wolf on the outskirts of town, he was Rubesahl, the dark ghost of the mist and mountain, he was the renegade, the degenerate, the uncentred point of the turning world and spinning fast and off-centre, he was Rangi, porangi, haurangi, sky father, sky fool, he was blue and endless, grey and formless, black and eternal – he was heading out, towards nothing, away from everything. The Malone was alone. Almost man alone, he struggled. He tried to focus – “what about the time!” But he was out of it. There was no more time, no more place, no more –
“All this – what? Am I going back or am I staying. Am I at cricket match or am I going.”


"What a catch, and that’s the end of Hendrix!”
“Yes Dennis, a great take at second slip by the skipper Jeremy Coney and he’ll be a happy man. I feel that after a firey start Hendrix just slipped back a little, a few overs without scoring, being pinned down by Chatfield. And then finally getting down to what may be termed the “action end”, where Hadlee is bowling. He hit one four after not really adjusting to the change of pace, and the very next ball caught the edge, the ball went flying at a cracking pace, but Coney’s got a good pair of hands and there we are – Hendrix walks slowly to the pavilion.”
“Well, John, it’s a funny old game. I thought Jimi was looking great when he came out to bat. He, as you say, played a couple of delightful scoring shots and, well I can only really re-iterate my absolute admiration for Ewen Chatfield. I know Richard Hadlee took the wicket, I know Richard Hadlee had the penetration but, and I can’t stress this too often, it was Chatfield who tied Hendrix down, got him frustrated – Hendrix is a player who likes to get on with the game – and Chatfield primed him for Hadlee.”
“Well, we could go on talking about who primed who for the rest of our lives, Dennis. The fact is he two Out of It openers are out. So the score after only seven very eventful overs here at Eden Park is two wickets for sixty-six runs, although I’m sure my colleague would correct me and say sixty-six for two!”
“Ha Ha! That’s an old argument perhaps we can revive at lunch John. But at the moment I can see the fourth Out of It batsman coming to the crease. And it looks like we have a change of batting order. Yes, it’s Jim Morrison coming out and he’s using twelfth man James K Baxter as his runner. Well, what do you make of this turn of events John?”

As the two commentators prattled on the Malone was thinking…..
“I must stop all this thinkin’ To have a rebellious heart at any age is a mortal sin – to have one at my stage in life is just stupid. I’ll just sit here for what I cam for to watch the cricket and I’ll send the bad thoughts –“
But it was no good. Even thinking in terms of bad thoughts was a childish thought, a throwback to his first confession when, after a terrible struggle, he had triumphantly gone

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Page #13 & 14 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

watching the clouds swirling dark and light and quickly across the sombre West of Auckland sky, he knew that his ten year investment in the illusion of the Protestant work ethic was a complete and utter failure.
“I came into this world with nothing but original sin and it is only God’s love and forgiveness which can absolve me, not good thoughts or words or deeds. I am a sinner, always have been and always will be – it is the darkness within which is my true self…”
Suddenly a roar went up from the crowd and someone pushed Malone violently to his left and a cricket ball came thudding out of the sky and landed where he had been sitting.
Malone, who had not seen the ball nearly land on his contemplating skull, was ready for a fight. Like a cobra’s head his fist was ready to strike the stranger who had just saved his life. The P.S.M. looked at his supposed adversary and saw a large, smiling Maori man looking down at his crumpled Irish self.
“Soon take the grin off his face!” The misguided Malone said to himself and it was only the intervention of the modern, almost broken transistor radio whose voice permeated the dim, primordial Celtic mind, which stopped what could have become the beginning of a racial conflict throughout the long white cloud – yes folks, it could have been the cloud wars all over again! But thanks to the Irish-Maori view of time, disaster was avoided –a disaster which would have been perpetrated by the Irish-Maori view of a good scrap!
As the cobra was about to strike, the sound waves of radio messages reached the Malone’s receiving apparatas with the following words of the English language,

“What a magnificent hit right into the grandstand making that the fifth six off five balls!”
“A stupendous shot indeed from the Out of It captain and…”
The Malone’s mind changed the direction and appearance of his cobra so that the snake-like venom of the clenched fist whilst in full flight, moving swiftly towards its target, became an out-stretched hand of friendship and gratitude. Had Anglo-Saxon clockwork time been used the punch would have landed because the mechanism for change is not an inherent component of the technological age.
The Malone breathed a sigh of relief as he introduced himself to Rewi, who had suspected nothing but what happened.

“..and the excitement is intense as Te Rauparaha attempts to join and indeed make a world team of those who have hit six sixes off one over in first class cricket. The existing duo of Garfield Sobers and Ravi Shastri may soon be part of a trio. Perhaps they’ll form a combo and do a world tour, who knows!”
“Of course Dennis, the remarkable thing is that this is off the bowling of Richard Hadlee, one of the…”
“Indeed John, and here he comes now, he tries to dig it in short but it doesn’t get up and Oh! He’s done it! Te Rauparaha has hit the ball right out of the ground and I’d say that that ball was trying to catch the next train up to Kingsland Station, Dennis! What a shot!”
“Hadlee can’t believe it. What a game this is! To have a maiden over bowled by Chatfield followed by this, is extraordinary. Well, this Out of It Eleven are certainly winning over even their most ardent antagonists amongst this Eden Park crowd. Young Ken Rutherford will be saying “So that’s how it’s done? To himself no doubt.”

The Malone went back from listening to thinking. “That was a close thing – it’s all this thinking that’s no good – it’s unhealthy I think. There I was with thoughts about the Nazi, Irish, Holy Roman Train, about the wife and about sin and guilt all going on and I missed a whole over by Chatfield and five sixths of an over by Hadlee – I even missed my own life being saved and here I am thinking about all my thinking – “
“Well, I gotta go bro! I gotta meet my mate Golly! Said Rewi.
“Thank you again Rewi, I don’t know what to say – how do you say anything to someone who saved – did you say Golly?”
“Yeah – he’s my bro, we came to the game to see the Chief e! – you know him?”
“I think so maybe, has he got big fuzzy afro hair – Oh, I know he had a sister called Hine.”
“Yeah, that’s him e! How you know Goll?”
“I guess we’re related – but I knew him years before I married Maureen O’Shea. Maureen is a relative of Hine’s husband, Paul.”

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Page #10, 11 & 12 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

These long-extended wickets and rueful ruins
Where nought but bowlers reign, and night dark night
Dark as was chaos ‘ere the infant innings
Was rolled together, as black as the pitch
Itself was rolled. The sickly in-swinger
By glimmering through the low-browed misty defences
Furled round with thy spittle and ropy slime
The ball a supernumerary horror
And serves only to make my night more irksome.
Those words which belong to one of the Blair brothers from Otago always enter my head when I am bowled out for a low score and help me calm the immediate daggers of the mind which lead to such thoughts as the dripping carcus of Hadlee impaled on the wickets of my brain which stand the top Gothic Calgary – he lusts after the Bleeding Nun who dances seductively around his writhing body, each movement driving the barbed spike deeper into his body – yet he can do nothing as his desire for the nymph of the nunnery increases –
he closes his eyes trying to shut out the beautiful visage, but she moves closer, her perfume filling his head and all his senses maddened by her touch, his agony and ecstasy complete as he becomes the more ensnared in this trap, this spider webb of human passion, she the black-widow smiling all the while….


“John, you know I’ve said this before a hundred times, but what a funny game this game of cricket is! How many times have I tried to fathom my utter fascination for this peculiar sport and really, it’s like trying to understand the very mysteries of the universe itself. Its great struggle between random chaos and calculated order seem played out over a lengthy period of five days, although admittedly this being a one-dayer somewhat condenses the process. It baffles and beguiles me!
“Dennis – Yes, but wasn’t that a lovely ball by Hadlee. It certainly baffled and beguiled Monk Lewis – in terms of what you’ve just been saying he certainly will be returning to the pavilion with a belief in intelligent beings existing outside his universe!
“Beware the man from outer-Hadlee”, he will be warning his colleagues. I think what you were about to say before that dismissal has validity to a point, although there would of course be little achieved in the like of Chatfield bowling maiden over after maiden over if there was not Hadlee’s penetration to complement it.”
“Of course, I agree with that and you’re really just saying what I said in reverse, but I should like to pursue, if I may, the more philosophical aspects I began on while we await the next Out of It batsman. I heard a delightful comment from a BBC commentator, and I think it may have been Christopher Martin-Jenkins, I’m not sure. But, he was talking in an aside to a game between New Zealand and England where he mentioned that Dereck Pringle happens to wear contact lenses on the field and glasses in “real life!”
This was a casual off-hand comment and would have passed by had someone not jokingly made a comment to the effect that “do you not think cricket is part of real life?”, which in turn led to a general discussion about the nature of cricket and real life. Now the point I make is….”
“I’m sorry Dennis but the real life game of cricket impinges yet again upon our fantasies as the number three batsman, Te Rauparaha, walks onto the field, waving his bat defiantly over his head as though it were a huata, his head held high as he walks towards the battle.”
“Just while Te Rauparaha prepares himself, I’d like to say a few words about Monk Lewis. He never really looked comfortable and an opening batsman’s job is never easy of course. I remember in the New Zealand versus England test series of 1965-66, in the match at Lancaster Park I think it was, the great Boycott himself went out for four, caught off the bowling of Motz in the first innings.
And to top it off scored the score of four in the second innings also when he fell victim to a run out. So, Lewis is in illustrious, if not enviable company with his four runs.”
“Thank you for that enlightening information. I’m sure that the Monk will feel all the better if he’s listening but our attention turns now towards Te Rauparaha and how many times in recent years have we seen a Captain bat at number three – it just makes me wonder, you know….”
“I’ll just interrupt you here John, as Hadlee runs into a slight breeze blowing at his back, he passes the umpire with that magnificent flowing stride of his, and bowls to the Out of It Captain who plays a lovely cover drive and the ball races out to the boundary as Te Rauparaha shows his intention from the start. He’s not the kind of player who likes to be held down or dictated to and…”

The radio commentary was gradually superceded in the Malone’s head by thoughts of his own. He had been meditating on the comment about Dereck Pringle and the difference between reality and dreams, real life and illusion. These were thoughts he had not allowed himself for many moons and he could feel the pull of his former Bohemian life becoming stronger, his sureness slowly subsiding like a seemingly secure stock-bank in times of flood…
“So nothing has changed then, all these years of the illusion of reality, undermined by a single, spring tide of high thinking. The iron curtain had lifted to reveal no security. A short while ago it was I was thinking as one of me Irish ancestors might who had no more book-learning than what you can get at the farm-bog gate, and now I’m seriously discussing with myself, through the catalyst of some comment about Dereck Pringle being in real life off the cricket field because he wears glasses, although when he’s on, bowling that round cork encased in red leather, he’s in some sort of supposed fantasy and then my mind extending the argument to the grand banality of philosophical truth or otherwise and all the time me own wife, Maureen O’Shea, is telling me that I’m living in some sort of unreality, and that I’d better get a job because we’ve got to pay the rent and eat the food and the baby is only two months away ten years ago and yet here I am…”
P.S.M. could hear the low-rev chugging of a diesel engine as it struggled in the Kingsland Embankment bringing a train of goods from Northland in its wake. The German word for train is zug and means the puller. The emphasis on the power in front rather than the “train” which follows had always intrigued Malone, as had the Germans themselves fascinated him.
He had always thought it something to do with the powerless being enchanted by the powerful, and he had also absorbed their guilt for the grand evil of Nazism and used it as a metaphor for his own, although he had nothing to feel guilty about except the fact that he was alive and was aware of the fact! And as he sat there on the Eden Park Grandstand, watching and listening to this fabulous game they called cricket, and

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sonnet to Katrina by Michael O'Leary

Sonnet to Katrina

The boxcars of Biloxi have become homes
Again as the first world becomes the third world

Overnight. The piles of twisted, gnarled debris
And flood waters up to here, all through

The funky, jazzed-up city of New Orleans
Where she once sat in the sunshine, the light

And the heat of a day-time bar, music and sex
Shining across the neo-French playground

My lover, whose colourful postcard from the French
Quarter is at odds with television images from Baton

Rouge bursting through the safety of the lounge, she
Has in the past had a similar effect on my emotions

As though she were also named Katrina, but now I watch
The disappearing Nu’orlins Blues from a distance

Saturday, August 28, 2010

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'Flip Side of the Ballad of John and Yoko' by Michael O'Leary

Flip Side of the Ballad of John and Yoko

6pm News, Tuesday, Ninth of December, 1980
“We have just heard from New York
Ex-Beatle John Lennon was shot today . . . !!!!!!”

i

There I was sitting on a sofa
In one of the southernmost cities of the world
Listening to the radio whilst thinking about cooking tea

Well, how can you be honest about how you feel?

I’d just turned the station over
To get the “real” news of the world
When I heard the words written above: well fuck me!

What else can you do but swear at a time like this

I am thinking about my mother, his mother
Two of the responsible for bringing us into the world
And now John, you’re gone! There’s only me

Yoko and me, and the rest of humanity together in grief and love

Yoko’s in a black scumbag, I left the sofa
Wandered aimlessly around the room the day you left the world
Your death is a climax of events forcing mortality on me

Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout Pol Pot, Nazism, Socialism, I.R.A. and junkies

Give me a chance, brother
You have helped me understand this world
Now you’re dead, am I enslaved or freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

Fuck the revolution, we have bred another generation

ii

When it all began, I was just another
Beatle fan. A teenager from the other side of the world
Looking for something more interesting than school’s authority

Distances travelled in space, time and sorrow add up to one thing

Your songs and books helped me discover
In myself, what all the education in the world
Could not; that I could write and illustrate my own story

Knowledge to one is ignorance to another, unless there is love

1968, Hey Jude, the death of my father and mother
Like a lost black sheep I entered the outside world
Sold my records, went to work in a dark, thankless factory

If a person makes enough of one thing, he or she becomes a thing

While I got lost in nothing, you found your lover
For whom you left the Beatles, left the wife, shocked the world
Yoko, through the years of illusion, offered you reality

Eternity may be a stone in Wales, but it is now we must live

And so, lest the press smother
You and your love both withdrew from the world
Which had built you a boat of fame, then left you all at sea

How many oak trees have been allowed to grow from the acorns?

“Just like starting over”
Is not starting over, you are now dead to the world
Sean and Yoko no longer have the shade and strength of their tree

That fallen tree made them a house which they must make a home

iii

We were always a decade away from each other
Yet we were of the same generation
You were the spiritual pathfinder
I followed to the point of penetration
And I never lost you, but let you go

It was not lack of love, but life itself, caused the separation

Now you too have joined the dead and living dead
Who haunt and torment my existence
On this quaint and sadly crazy planet on which
To live is not just to breath, but an insistence
That each such breath is a test of courage and will

Which we understand at a metaphorical distance

Christ!
I know
It ain’t easy!