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Puckoon is Spike Milligan's classic slapstick novel, reissued for the first time since it was published in 1963. "Pops with the erratic brilliance of a careless match in a box of fireworks". (Daily Mail). In 1924 the Boundary Commission is tasked with creating the new official division between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Through incompetence, dereliction of duty and sheer perversity, the border ends up running through the middle of the small town of Puckoon. Houses are divided from outhouses, husbands separated from wives, bars are cut off from their patrons, churches sundered from graveyards. And in the middle of it all is poor Dan Milligan, our feckless protagonist, who is taunted and manipulated by everyone (including the sadistic author) to try and make some sense of this mess..."Bursts at the seams with superb comic characters involved in unbelievably likely troubles on the Irish border". (Observer). "Our first comic philosopher". (Eddie Izzard). Spike Milligan was one of the greatest and most influential comedians of the twentieth century. Born in India in 1918, he served in the Royal Artillery during WWII in North Africa and Italy. At the end of the war, he forged a career as a jazz musician, sketch-show writer and performer, before joining forces with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe to form the legendary Goon Show. Until his death in 2002, he had success as on stage and screen and as the author of over eighty books of fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, cartoons and children's stories.
‘Yours.’ ‘Mine? And who are you?’ ‘The Author.’ ‘Author? Author? Did you write these legs?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, I don’t like dem. I don’t like ’em at all at all. I could ha’ writted better legs meself. Did you write your legs?’ ‘No.’ ‘Ahhh. Sooo! You got some one else to write your legs, some one who’s a good leg writer and den you write dis pair of crappy old legs fer me, well mister, it’s not good enough.’ ‘I’ll try and develop them with the plot.’ ‘It’s a dia-bo-likal liberty lettin’ an
write nice weather, mister.’ He held one arm up to the sky and eyed the frayed cuffs of a once-upon-a-time suit. ‘It’s goin’ home at last, still a suit can’t last for ever.’ But on reflection he remembered it had. The shoulders were padded like angled flight decks, the trouser seat hung a foot below the crutch and the twenty-eight inch bottoms flapped round his legs like curtains. He shook his head sadly. ‘Ahh, they don’t make suits like dis any more, I suppose the age of Beau Brummel is
Southern Command India. He had tried a remedy suggested by a doctor, Chanditje Lalkaka. Wagging his head, in a Welsh chee-chee accent, the Hindu physician had explained, ‘It is made from a secret Punjabi formula, captured by Shivaji from the Rajputs during the Marhatta wars.’ A bald man is a desperate man; but a bald vain man is a hairless Greek Tragedy. The Major paid Lalkaka one hundred rupees. For five days and nights he sat in a darkened room, his head covered in a mixture of saffron cowdung
off meant very little to him, but his father’s persistence had borne fruit and the whole family were now confirmed lovers of wine. Right now, however, terrible things were happening. Father Rudden was pulling another cork to shreds and pouring the wine. ‘Wine,’ the priest was saying, ‘is liquid Christianity, there was never a bigger argument against the teetotallers than the Miracle at Cana.’ Five glasses clinked. ‘Schlaunty!’ they chorused. They all drank. They drank again. Then, several more
of the Milligan. The whole pub turned inwards as he entered. Someone made the sign of the cross. ‘Is it the devil?’ said Blind Devine, hiding his matches. Milligan took his still smouldering cap and hurled it the length of the room. ‘Struck by lightning! That’s all I needed was to be struck by bloody lightning!’ ‘Are you all right?’ asked Dr Goldstein, handing him his professional card. ‘It was only the rubber tyres on me bike saved me from being electrified. It struck the roots of a tree,