by Mike Aldridge
There’s a target readership for every book, and the stories in this modest volume point to the intended readers of the collection very clearly.
They’re yarn-type tales told in first person, from a male point of view, and on men-oriented subjects mainly to do with a working life. More specifically, most are to do with the trucking industry – transporting goods and livestock. If you’re comfortable with references to Keith Holyoake as Prime Minister, Sir Bernard Fergusson as Governor-General, with JFK in the White House, you’ll be in your element. If you wear false teeth and appreciate the larger than usual print size, all the better.
Add to that the subtitle, A Book of Kiwi Humour, and the cover pic and you’ll have a good idea if it’s for you.
The sixteen stories are unpretentious. They don’t aspire to literary greatness – they’re offered as amusement for the target audience. Beneath the printed text is an underlying humour that’s often more amusing than the story itself.
The situation in the cab had changed in that now I was thinking maybe I would have the nervous breakdown before Loco. Meanwhile I was looking around for a concrete block wall because I felt the urge to bang my head against something hard and unforgiving.
The humour is often at the expense of Kiwi customs or institutions.
“What are those orange statues on the railway line?”
“Oh no! They aren’t statues…that’s a New Zealand Railways Track Maintenance gang.”
What comes through most clearly in this collection is the fun Aldridge obviously had in writing the stories. This is particularly evident in the tale titled Dear John, a great piece of self-indulgence by the Author. The penultimate, Hi Viz Ghosts, might be slight as far as top yarns go but its placing, presenting another side to several that have preceded it, makes it work well. It would have been even better in the last spot. For most books, I’d say including clip-art illustrations is a no-no, but here they team nicely with the unpretentious style of the rest of the book.
So now you know who will enjoy A Blimmin’ Disaster, who is it not designed for? For anyone who is a stickler for grammar, punctuation, and word usage, or who rates themself at any point on the politically correct register, it’s probably best avoided.
Author: Mike Aldridge
Publisher: Rangitawa Publishing
Available: Rangitawa Publishing, Amazon