Thursday, May 31, 2012


After a certain amount of intrigue, the first half hour of last Saturday's launch party for the Oceania issue of brief has turned up online.

Once that podgy bloke with the attempted comb-over has raved about Epeli Hau'ofa's essay 'Our Sea of Islands' and pretended to swat flies with his copy of brief, Michael Horowitz cracks a couple of inscrutable jokes and reads from his new novel DownMind, Murray Edmond recites his classic poem 'Von Tempsky's Dance', and Niulala Helu's kava band grooves for a few short minutes. (Why was the mystery cameraman, who was prepared to put up with that podgy bloke's long-winded introduction to the evening, so quick to abandon Niulala and his bandmates, when they were making such a beautiful sound?)

A couple of weeks before the launch I had suggested that some of the bibliophiles who contribute to brief might consider gifting a few of their surplus books to the small and struggling library of Tonga's 'Atenisi University. Last Saturday 'Atenisi Director Sisi'uno Helu was delighted by the sight of punters hauling box after sagging cardboard box up the stairs of the Onehunga Workingman's Club. By the end of the evening two hundred and sixty-one volumes were ready to be transported to my place, where they're now waiting  to be reboxed and shipped north to Nuku'alofa. Several book-lovers who couldn't make the launch have promised to stop by and add to the hoard in my living room.
This afternoon I combined baby-minding duties with a survey of the books bound for 'Atenisi. As I unloaded box after box, piling up everything from Michael Crichton novels to social science textbooks to poetry anthologies to cookbooks, Aneirin began to feel rather encircled.
Two of Richard Taylor's donations to 'Atenisi's word-hoard deserve special mention. Dennis Wheatley's The Satanist is one of a series of novels which inspired the cult Hammer Horror film The Devil Rides Out. The fly-leaf to The Satanist announces that Wheatley regards 'Black Magic' as a thing 'too dangerous to dabble in', and claims that his book is designed to 'disclose to the public' the 'full horror of Satanism' and its 'menace to the innocently curious'. Such protests look rather disingenuous, though, when set beside long, luridly detailed descriptions of nubile maidens cavorting with horned Gods during occult rites held in church vaults or forest clearings.
Richard chose to complement The Satanist with a very well-worn collection of the writings of the Marquis De Sade. 'Atenisi's legendary founder Futa Helu loved to confront and provoke his more conservative countrymen, so he might well relish the possibility that one or two of the clergymen of Tongatapu will eventually get their hands on such theological classics as The Satanist and De Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom.

Aneirin eventually picked a favourite of his own from the 'Atenisi-bound stash.

[Posted by Maps/Scott]


Blogger Richard said...

For the record I did have that book but I have never read it.

The de Sade (not mine!) is probably Jack's have never read that writer.

Calvino - good choice!

It was quite a different launch for sure.

(I'm shedding books, especially just now those I had stored away, so I can get more stuff especially if someone can pick up from here. My own books (library or collection) are separate.)

1:13 am  
Blogger Giovanni Tiso said...

Why Read the Classics? That's far from Calvino's best. A disappointing choice from the young man.

9:31 am  
Anonymous Scott said...

Harsh, Giovanni! He could have chosen Harry Potter!

11:58 am  
Blogger Richard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:32 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Yes! I don't know that book, but, hmm, Moravia (I have quite a valuable edition of a Moravia), Eco (of the two books I've read, but I couldn't read his book on theory), and Calvino...the books of his I liked the most were Mr Palomar and the three in one with the story of the bloke who spent his life living in the trees! My mother read that one and liked it also. I also like Borges (stories), a book by Cortazar I have read called Famas and Cronopias (Thurber on heat!), Hesse, Brautigan...

But books, woman came to my house once, saw my books (and of which I have for sale and some are not my own collection, which includes also science books etc), and said: "I hate books" (which I suppose was being honest, I don't think I am "better" (or even particularly bright, I was always rather slow at school and I made up for it by "swatting") because I read a lot I think it is curiosity, and I am a rather dull person (or I live a rather quiet and uninteresting life) so it gives me something to do!)): ... but I will say this, I and Professor Brett are two who at least have actually read 'Nightwood'...and I fairly certain Jack hasn't read it...which is a huge achievement by us to best Jack who has read nearly everything readable including , I am sure, the evil de Sade.

Well Scott, if your son hates books and becomes, not even a cricket player, but a famous rugby player don't despair! It can happen!

[What about, (for Atenisi and Tonga etc) technical, science books and other non-fiction? Any learning place needs all kinds of books or other sources of information.]

But I wish I'd been the one to write or invent Harry Potter! (talk about laughing all the way to the bank!). Failing that to be the first to write a poem starting "April is the cruelest month ..." or to write "D'illumino, d'immenso" if that is right...(?)

3:40 pm  
Blogger Giovanni Tiso said...

"M'illumino d'immenso" is the line.

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Cricketers can't hate books, can they? It seems like such a literary sport - there are those endless pages of stats that have to go between covers, and there is so much waiting around for the weather or slow batsmen that the natural tendency is to keep a book handing in the dressing room or the stand...

3:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tongans discuss Satanism:

4:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'For the record I did have that book but I have never read it.'


a likely story...

won't get you off the 'hook'...

4:11 pm  
Anonymous decider said...

Why do you ask silly or should I say STUPID questions? If someone lives as a true christian, to the best of his or her ability, and not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk, things like that shouldn't happen. It is the people that are HYPOCRITES that make the true christian look bad. It is the true christians that are the salt of the world and keep this world from falling into chaos! I can't say the same for the evolutionist, they seem to be just trying to push their monkey to man theory, and undermining progress. Plant this tooth here, plant this bone there and then it ultimately proves to be a BUNCH OF HOAX!!!!! (hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahah)

4:17 pm  
Blogger Dr Jack Ross said...

I don't know quite why there's this insistence that the copy of Sade must be mine ... For the record, I do have a box of books to donate, but it hasn't yet found its way to the stack in Scott's living room. And there's no philosophy in the boudoir included (though there might be some Gore Vidal, now I come to think of it ...)

4:18 pm  
Anonymous decider said...


Aiai - son of Ku-ula-kai; father Punia
Aiaiakuula - god of fishers
Alii Menehune - chief of little people
Atea - god of light
Haumea - goddess of childbirth, death; mother of Pele
Hi’iaka - supreme goddess of hula
Hina-opuhala-koa - goddess of coral and spiny sea creatures
Hina-ula-ohia - goddess of the ohia-lehua forest
Iwa - trickster spirit, shape-shifter, thief
Ka Ahu Pahay - ocean goddess
Kaha’i - lightning god
Kalaipahoa - poison tree goddess
Kama - protector god of islands
Kamapua’a - giant boar
Kamohoali’i - god of steam
Kanaloa - god of underworld; god of squids
Kane - god of the sea; god of procreation; helped create earth (along with Ku and Lono)
Kane Hoalani - father of Pele; owns magic ship
Kane Milohai - father of many gods, creator of heaven and earth
Kaneapua - fish god; healing god; bro Pele
Kanikanihia - love goddess
Ka-onohi - psychopomp for chief’s souls
Kaulu - trickster; god of food
Kawelo - trickster spirit; possibly same as Kaulu
Keoloewa - sorcery god
Keuakepo - fire god; volcano god
Kihe-Wahine - goddess of demons & lizards
Ku - male creative force; war & sorcery god
Ku-Kali-Moku - god of war & sorcery
Ku-ka-ohia-laka - god of hula dance
Ku-mauna - god of the mountain
Kupua-Huluena - a kupua that brings food to island
Kuula - god of sea/fishing
Ku-ula-kai - god of sea’s abundance
Ku-waha-ilo - god that conducts souls of dead chiefs
Laka - goddess of wildwood; sister Lono
Lo-lupe - god of Maui; psychopomp to dead chiefs
Lono/Ono - fertility, music; trickster; regenerates if destroyed; shape-shifter; thunder god
Makemake - bird god that replaces Tane
Moaalii - shark god
Paka'a - wind god
Pekoi - trickster demon, shape-shifter
Pele - goddess of fire, lightning, violence, dance, volcanoes
Pueo-nui-akea - owl god; gives life to souls on plains
Tanaoa - darkness god
Taranga - mother of Maui
Tu - war god
Ukupanipo - shark god
Uli - sorcery goddess

4:19 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

- "M'illumino d'immenso" is the line. -

Thanks, I just checked my book, I knew that, but I had one of those "blank outs". For some reason that line (in Italian) has haunted me since I first discovered it in my Penguin edition of European Classics as my Italian and other languages is nearly zero...

The translater of my book says it is untranslatable and leaves it stet...but I feel as if I feel and know it ... the immensity, the great light (inside and perhaps outside) and knowing he was in thee trenches then (in a part of Europe where the fighting was pretty heavy) and yet he wrote this great, compressed poetry. I see Ungaretti spent his early life in Egypt (they are talking about (albeit ancient) Egypt on anther thread of Maps's Blog!)!

4:54 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Scott - re cricket - yes cricket give one time to read - even some rugger buggers read but it's not their main thing.

Dr. Jack - but you have surely READ de Sade (I haven't) - Don Smith (still with us?) accused you of consulting that great person for "Nights with Giordano Bruno.." but you claim Apollinaire!

His "Eleven Thousand Virgin and...." !

But I have heard extensively extolled the great de Sade also he is in "1001 Books "You Should Read Before you die"!

But I am sure I saw the evil book in question at Scott's house...

5:12 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Hey that was joke of Jack's about philosophy!! No?

That music is good I was for some reason distracted at the launch (the eats?) but I would love to hear more of them singing...

I reckon the little fellow will be taking over soon!!

12:47 am  

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