Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Watercolour by Tony Taylor http://www.paintingbreaksguernsey.com

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

NOVEL EXPERIENCE

Since childhood, I’ve loved stories. From the time that I learned to read, I’ve done so, incessantly, and my enjoyment of the written word has never diminished. I started out with the Bre’r Rabbit books, progressed to Treasure Island, Kingsley’s Water Babies, then via Westerns, Radio Fun and Eagle annuals, to the world of American novels: Faulkner, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Kerouac and Capote.  I love encountering that other world behind the secret door that opens when I pick up a book.
 
You won’t find a Dan Purdue novel on the shelves of Waterstones, well not yet, but I predict that you will before long. 
Dan’s short stories have garnered prizes in abundance and if such things existed in the form of cups and trophies, I suspect he’d need to extend his mantlepiece.
I attended a Writer’s Workshop he led at the Guernsey Literary Festival and came away enthused and thrilled by the experience. I’ve since tried my hand at writing short stories, with modest success, but always return to Dan’s tales to marvel at his imagination, skill with words and off-beat take on life in general.
You will find many of his stories on-line or if, like me, you hanker for the printed page, a compilation is available called Somewhere To Start From and you can obtain a signed copy from http://www.danpurdue.uk



 
In the meantime, here’s one to whet your appetite.

COUNTERFEIT CONFETTI  by Dan Purdue

The bride declared, “I do,” and the groom slipped the ring onto her finger. The dearly-beloveds applauded as her new husband showered her with air-kisses, while the rotund vicar beamed with such enthusiasm that he jettisoned his false teeth.

After the newlyweds had each forged the other’s signature in the register, everyone congregated on the Astroturf outside the church. The photographer herded them back and forth, striving to keep the fibreglass gargoyles out of shot. The process took an age, mainly because half the invited guests hadn’t turned up, sending either their stunt doubles or cardboard cut-outs of themselves instead. The former wouldn’t stop fighting one another with balsa wood chairs and sugar-glass bottles; the latter kept blowing over in the wind. Eventually, the required images were captured. Everyone threw photocopied sheets of confetti as the newlyweds climbed into their carriage. A cow dressed as a pantomime horse towed them lethargically to the reception.

At the hotel the guests toyed politely with rubber chicken and Plasticine carrots. The bride sat in demure silence as the groom tapped his glass, thanked everybody for coming, and then donned a wig and false nose to deliver the best man’s speech. He toasted the happy couple and the guests cheered and sipped sparkling grape juice. As the applause died down, the bride stood at her husband’s side to cut the cake. The knife sank through thick white icing into shredded telephone directories and Styrofoam packaging chips.

In the evening, he took her in his arms and waltzed across the dance floor. They held each other close and, as they danced, their eyes glittered with the reflections of a hundred artificial candles.



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