The World’s gone mad

I was walking down the street when suddenly I saw this young lad – his hair had been died vivid green and formed into a crest of spikes. He looked like some bizarre cockerel with a green 30-centimetre crest – or if you wish, a crest of some one foot in height.
“Wha’ yah looking at,” he smirked in a non-too-friendly way.
“Your head.”
“It’s a statement,” he proclaimed proudly.
“You got that right, kid, it’s telling the world there’s nothing between your ears.”
Then you get ‘Fashion,’ which is only another word for ‘moron.’ Why anyone would wear baggy trousers with the crotch hanging round their knees defies human intellect. It looks, stupid, it’s hard to walk in, you have to constantly hitch them up, it chaffs, and apart from that a ten-dollar pair of ill-fitting knickers cost $75 bucks. Sure, I can see the sense in that. You just have to look as stupid as the other idiots. There is one advantage I see for other people; if he’s a purse-snatcher or hold up artist, he won’t get far. No one can run in that garb, therefore I suspect if he wears baggy oversized pants, he must be honest.
Another thing that totally defies my understanding is tattoos. There you have a beautiful young woman with perfectly smooth and delicate looking skin, and suddenly she sticks what looks like bird droppings on her shoulders or legs. Oh, close up you can see a bird didn’t do it, at least not the feathered variety. But why would you mar such lovely skin with so-called art scratching in dull ugly colours that looks like filth at a distance? There again men started the fad, but they were pirates anyway.
I was doing a show at Joyceville Prison in Kingston Ontario, now that’s a scary place. The first thing I noticed was the tattoos, yup everyone – except the guards – walked round looking like an advertising hoarding for an ink factory. I asked one guard, “Why so many tattoos?”
“It goes with the mentality,” he said with confidence. “If you’re stupid enough to be a criminal, then you’re obviously stupid enough to have tattoos.”
And as for piercings, I can only imagine it has to be a total lack of either self-respect or intelligence. I absolutely hate it when you see, male or female with stainless steel zits, or more spokes in their ears than a bicycle wheel has.
Why not dress like a normal person, have beautiful admirable skin, be polite and courteous and for crying out loud enjoy life?

Fear

Fear is something all normal people experience at one time or another, but not all people respond in the same manner. As a writer my characters often experience fear. How do they handle it? Well the same as most regular people. Fear is something I have experienced many times, I don’t relish it, but it happens.
On one occasion my boss said to me, “There’s an anti terrorist conference at the local hotel, we are providing monitors for the audience. I would like you to be our man on the spot.”
Why not, I get paid for it. I took a crew and we set up all the monitors, then I left for home to have a rest and put on my best togs as I had to be “the man on the spot.” On returning to the hotel I should have realized there was something suspicious about the whole affair. Someone else had set up monitors beside some of mine on the stage.
The conference began and a gentleman dressed in military attire started explaining how terrorism was the bane of the modern world. Yak, yak, yak, like we didn’t already know that. I wandered around the room making sure all my monitors were working and everyone had a good view. Eventually I found myself close to the exit.
Suddenly and only a couple of metres from me the doors burst open and three men rushed in wearing ski masks and bearing sub machineguns. It felt as if the world had gone into slow motion. I heard the stutter of fire and saw the lecturer collapse on the stage. Monitors exploded and people screamed. I dropped to the floor pretending to be dead and hoping it was a good impersonation. Hot empty cartridge cases fell all around me, and my heart rate exceeded 200.
Silly me it was only a demonstration of how an attack could occur. The monitors that were not mine were theatrical devices made to explode at the sound of machinegun fire. Had it been a real attack I’m sure we would have all died. Lying there on the floor with the world apparently in chaos around me, I had made up my mind that if any of the assailants came close to me I would try to take his weapon, though now I shall never know if I really would have had the courage.
Did I tell you about the time I was fired at by a six-inch deck gun or the time I was in a room when a man was attacked by a leopard? Oh well never mind, maybe another time.

Pet Peeves

Everyone has some things that really bugs them; mine are mostly to do with writing. Publishers – yes, now there you have the ultimate in brainless dogmatic, stuck in groove simpletons. Many of them couldn’t even see any value in Harry Potter, of course not, the dark glasses makes any decent work impossible to read. So what do they print? Well please excuse the expression, but ‘CRAP’ comes to mind. For example have you ever read ‘The Elephant and Castle,’ by R.C. Hutchinson? It’s a rambling nonsensical foray into the realms of despair. It took twenty years to write.
I read a great deal, as a writer you have to. One book I read was ‘When Worlds Collide,’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Surely he’s a respectable writer. I reached a point in the story that made it silly. A sealed ancient city gushed air when the explorers opened it, BUT, next page describes how the “sealed” city has a smashed dome. Oops. I put it down can’t read a book that makes no sense. ‘The Trouble with Tyco’ an interesting tale of moon exploration. Would you believe the author used tubes in the radio? Would you believe vacuum tubes? Rockets that can carry men to the moon and they use Marconi’s leftovers.
Strangely I found publishing houses where the editors are female seem to be the best. They are polite and mostly they actually read what you submit. As a final note for today, have you read ‘Go the F—k to Sleep’ by Adam Mansbach? Absolutely amazing !!!. What can I say? I suppose the idea is original, but so is blowing up a toilet on a train, neither are very practical or satisfying, but – that’s life, or should I say publishing?

In my own defense I would like to show you a copy of a rave review I got in the USA.

Author Wentworth M. Johnson has written and published more than twenty books in his prolific career, a remarkable feat that he accomplished after spending 12 years in the RAF, five years in a munitions factory and laboratory, and 28 years in television. His most popular books, the Bill Reyner Mystery Adventure Series, chronicle the adventures of amateur sleuthing trio: Bill Reyner, Newf, and Gran.
Readers were first introduced to Reyner in Fiend’s Gold. Since then, he has appeared in seven more novels: Mania, Edinburgh Cuckoos, Damp Graves, Lions and Christians, The Canadian, The Dutchman, and The Mermaid. The fast-paced series takes readers around the world, where stories of dangerous criminals, exotic treasure, and beautiful women unfold on the page.
Johnson draws on his unique life experiences in writing his heart-racing tales. In the RAF, Johnson worked with the Ghurka regiment reclaiming Borneo after it had been invaded by Indonesia and, later, chasing pirates in the South China Sea as a navigator with the 1125th Marine Craft Unit. He has been shot at, shipwrecked, in a plane crash, been in a room with a wild leopard that tore the other person apart, and has been involved in many other dangerous scrapes and accidents throughout his life. In writing the Bill Reyner series, Johnson physically went to the locales to which Bill and company travel, lending to the detail and realism with which his stories are depicted.

Hamilton Canada

My Hamilton

We have every reason in the world to be proud of Hamilton – Steel Town – even if we have little or no steel left. I have lived in big cities all over the world: Birmingham, Nairobi, Norwich, Singapore to mention just a few.
When I first came to this great city I knew this was the place I wanted to stay. My uncle drove me down Main Street and the excitement began building. The mountain looks impressive to a first-time viewer and then there was the glimpse of the bay as we passed northbound streets. The whole city was frozen and piles of snow lined the roadway. Electric buses ran on almost all east-west streets and the stores, shops and houses seemed to go on forever.
Of course, in those days we had steel industries, which gave us a canopy of sulphur gas that could be seen for miles (we didn’t have kilometres then,) and you could smell it anywhere in town. As Beverly Hillbilly Jed Clampett said, ‘The air was so good you could see what you were breathing’.
Annoyingly we had trains that constantly blocked Ferguson Avenue and always when you were in a hurry and Barton Street Jail looked like a jail with its ugly Victorian stone construction and imposing walls. Tim Horton’s was a comparative rarity and the Jockey Club still stood at the corner of Ottawa and Barton.
We have had our days of fame and infamy. Evelyn Dick, Rocco Perri and Plastamet to mention but three. There were good things, too: the CNE started in this town and the Empire Games; we even had a crystal palace. We process almost all the world’s mustard and have more magnificent waterfalls than any other city. The one thing I did notice and I suppose it’s the reason I decided to stay here is the people – helpful, always ready to volunteer and cheerful. We had the largest Boy Scout parade in the world, the largest Christmas party in the world. Man! this has to be the place. We even had an Eton’s store once.
Bygone days have gone by but now I find Hamilton more magnificent than ever. We have one of the best library systems in the world and although I complain about it the public transport must be up there in the top ten – you can always get a bus to go anywhere except Waterdown.
It is disappointing that Toronto has the University of Toronto and we have McMaster University. It really should be the University of Hamilton, McMaster. That sounds much better. I love Hamilton so much so that I wrote an entire series of mystery-adventure books and based my hero here in this wonderful city. Now anyone anywhere in the world can read about us – just go on the Internet and using any search engine look for Bill Reyner or me and bingo! there’s the Hamilton boy and the city I love.
Our new mayor will do a fine job, as most of our mayors have in the past, as long as they can decide where to put the stadium. I would think the only real niggling point is the pedestrian lights. Why do I have to press a button to cross the road, when the thing cycles through all three colours anyway? If I press the button to cross, I still stand the same chances of getting run over by drivers who turn right without looking. But there again we have several really splendid cemeteries.
Remember: the next time you raise a glass it’s not really drinking, it’s a toast to Hamilton, my city. But don’t drive home – the person you run over might be me.

Wentworth M. Johnson