Time for us to have a laugh at ourselves

Book Review: LA Lore III – True Blue, by Bugs Wilmot, Quentin Hogge, illustrated by Basil Mills

ROB KNOWLES

This is the third and, according to Bugs Wilmot, potentially the last of the series of short stories very specifically aimed at highlighting the humour of the Lower Albany people and their ability to take sometimes dangerous situations and find the humour in them, although not always intentionally.

Reading each story gives the reader a glimpse into the minds of the Lower Albanites and may, in a future period, be of use to anthropologists as a guide to their character. In that case the scientists may adjudge the people of Lower Albany as a hardy lot, capable of seeing humour even in times of adversity.

Take, for example, the fishing trip (fishing, in this case, was more drinking than attempting to find fish) of Pixie John and Colin Purdon where, with a storm brewing they set sail out of the Kowie River mouth only to have John’s boat overturn throwing him and his passengers into the icy, turbulent water. John was saved as his ponytail caught on the overturned boat and held his head above water and another passenger is quoted as having said to rescuers, “Hell man, it was like the Titanic, we hit an enormous ice bucket.”

Or, when Charlie (not his name) was threatened with a shotgun at the Mpekweni River for getting overly familiar with the wives and girlfriends of those in attendance. Having been forewarned, but having paid no attention, Simon (also not his real name) pulled out a shotgun, from which he had removed the pellets, and fired at Charlie. After a minute for the smoke to clear Charlie examined his body for buckshot and, satisfied he was uninjured said to Simon, “I think you missed me.”

The book is full of stories that may be unfamiliar to many but are instantly recognisable to those living in the area. Some of the incidents recorded in the book might seem a little dangerous or even a smidgen insane, but it highlights both the character and the characters of the Eastern Cape, particularly Lower Albany. Remember, these are the people who believe that Bathurst is the absolute centre of the universe.

One of the best selling points of the book are the illustrations of Basil Mills who has captured the stories and relayed them in a cartoon format that would look good in any international publication.

This book is a must for Lower Albanites and should adorn the shelves of homes and our local libraries. If you want to know more about the people of Lower Albany, you must read LA Lore III – True Blue

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