The original idea for Gushers was over 50 years ago in the satirical magazine, Private Eye, where I enjoyed a regular item called “Great Bores of Today”, basically someone ranting in one long sentence about some social or political issue; more recently I was prompted to start gushing forth in writing after meeting a man at our local market, and he talked non-stop for over five minutes, a long time for someone like me who believes that conversation is about people taking turns. You can read him in The Market Chatterer, near the start of the book, the first Gusher being by me, all me, suitably called The Gusher. You can read in the first section eleven short Gushers, such as Cold-Call Phoning, The Adventuress and Scottish Swearer, moving on to longer ones like Muzak, Get Fit! and Go to Ayers Rock! Then there are over 20 solid spiels on fine topics such as The Hypochondriac, Great Old Rock Songs, The Old Teacher, Oh Japan! and Pet Peeves. So that’s some 50-odd gushers, some would say very odd. Everything else is explained and elaborated on in Introducing Gushers, so you’d best read that first to whet your appetite even more. Graham Bathgate, writer / publisher, Fine Line Press, Kerikeri, New Zealand
From “Cold-Call Phoning” Let me tell you what I experienced recently. It was a call out of the blue – no warning, no nothing, no idea who it could be at that time of the evening. I was cooking dinner, just about to pour myself an aperitif, then sit down and eat. It was after a long hard day’s work or long day’s hard work, or how did the Beatles put it? Yeh, working like a dog! Anyway, I had just poured my first drink – an aperitif, you got it! – I had put my feet up, looking forward to a nice dinner, watch a bit of telly. And the phone goes, and I thought who can that be at this time? So I get up to answer it in case it’s a friend in need or not, just a friend. And it turns out to be some charity or the like, totally deserving of course but no matter who or what or when, it’s annoying.
From “Advice in Lockdown” Here’s some advice for starters, actually the main piece of single advice, as I promised. If you are trapped in a “bubble” of loved ones, no escape, no variety, no friends you prefer, then I would advise less talking, a good way not to get on each others’ nerves, not to get up too many noses. Actually, I’ll go further, don’t talk at all. Zen monks manage it, so could you, if you put your mind to it. Or maybe that should be don’t put your mind to it. They say thinking too much is a devil. If you have the good fortune to live alone, maybe try to limit talking to yourself, or maybe increase it, I know it works for a couple of friends … no, no, I don’t talk to myself at all, I’m too busy thinking what to do next …
From “Grumpy Old Bugger?” I know that my Uncle Ivan would have said that all’s as well with the world as you make it. And I’ll add to that: “All the horrible nasty old criticising cross crotchets out there can go and stuff themselves!” There! I’ve said it! It’s a good idea sometimes to fight back, get it off your chest, speak your mind, give as good … or as bad as you get! But I’ll tell you something, if you’re a bit lily livered, better keep away from too much of me going on about what I see out there or how I feel about it. So when you get to Pet Peeves in this book, take a deep breath and gird your mental loins. Why? Cos your ears might tingle, your flesh might creep, your hair might fall out, and you’d certainly join the old crocheties in telling me not to be such a grizzling grumble.