……an Author’s LUV of Steinbeck, O’Hara and Ruark… born of British Rail employees’ industrial strikes in the 1970’s…

…more than forty years ago, this ol’ Jurassic was pitched out of Bonnie Scotland to go peddle his banking wares in London’s Lombard Street… smack bang in the middle of the alleged greatest Financial District in the Universe… (not a patch on my birthplace of Docklands Govan in Glasgow, if yeez ask me, however…but that’s another story)… sloshing around in the heady WURLD of foreign exchange and promissory notes, a tiny Scottish cog, helping to keep the smooth wheels of international trade from seizing up, I played my part… in the main, it was a fun time… a learning experience… a blossoming ‘pin-stripe-suiter’ (no bowler hat, it should be recorded), I travelled daily from the outskirts of the capital to my allotted desk in one of the metropolis’ finest implanted Scottish banks… a trip which covered an hour and a half by train, door-to-desk, and the same reversed in the evening… the rythym of commercial life was visited by regular disruption in the guise of  ‘industrial action’ (what a misnomer.. should be ‘industrial inaction’)… the good toilers at British Rail had the wonderful sense of timing we all adore and admire, by calling frequent strikes, usually at prime inconvenience… commuters’ ‘Plan B’ involved rising at least another hour earlier in the morning and tramping down to bus termini, hoping to grab a seat for the tortoise trail via an overwhelmed road system into the City… but, yeez well appreciate, from all negativity, there often comes virtue… I took to reading novels to while away the journeys… Authors I had never discovered until then became my bus-mates… John Steinbeck, John O’Hara, and Robert Ruark prime among these… and what rich literature they wrote… Steinbeck’s East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men… Master O’Hara chipped in with From The Terrace, Ten North Frederick, and A Rage to Live… and the Ruark fella produced The Honey Badger, Poor No More, and Uhuru… if yeez have any notion to treat yourselves to majestic novels, these fill the bill admirably… all yeez have to do is petition British Rail Unions to arrange a few wee strikes for yeez… and make sure yer bus ticket season passes are up to date… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ…

By: Seumas Gallacher

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