Hegbits: Leatherhead Perchers

Let’s start by quoting my oldest (sic) friend who goes under the nom-de-wassapp as Ratatak:

Quote: Them leatherhead perchers r enuf ta giv yer nitemares (Edvard Munch emoji inserted) tha screamin heebi jeebies at least ( Sweaty blue forehead emoji inserted): End quote.

These flamboyant if disturbing creatures of the air are first encountered by our hero during his voyage to the Hegs aboard the Blood Soaked Noose – well, in fact they appear in the scene of the vessel’s foundering. They are aptly described as “large leathery creatures” which swoop and plunge about finding the spaces between the lightnings. Little more is known with regard to their physiology, but as the story develops two things become apparent:

  • One or possibly more of these creatures has built its nest somewhere in the clothing and upper-head region of the narrator’s person.
  • Once the nest is established it is uncommon difficult to rid yourself of.
  • The creatures have some strange, esoteric, endearing even, qualities with regard to space, time and aerodynamics.

Ehhh…that was three things. Whatever.

By way of substantiating the above claims, read these here bits which is lifted direct from the pages of The Reeking Hegs. You can score points by relating the quotes to the above-mentioned bullet-points!!

” Nordic fjord style was my tailor’s speciality, and my yachting outfit had been his high success. But now the leatherhead perchers were making themselves at home in it, and one of their horrid number was perched on my head, this despite Yick’s efforts to dislodge it with a rake. It would not be budged. I was stuck with it.”

“At this he wheeled round laughing and beckoned to Joujoe. At the same time the leatherhead percher on my scalp shifted its position. Suddenly we were back under the cliffs and ribs of discontent.”

“From my vantage point I could see the tarot-etched frontage of the kiosk was but a façade and that I had been taken in by a cretinous ruse to relieve me of my manuscripts, which had been successful. The leatherhead percher on my scalp shifted its position slightly. This change of configuration had the unfortunate effect of sending us into a power dive through space and quills and back to Ray’s office.”

There is, of course, more. In fact, the nesting perchers are the only constant companions of our plucky narrator on his journey/quest to and for The Reeking Hegs. Some may consider that sad. Personally, I find it quaint.

For this and much much more, go getchyeself a hot copy of The Reeking Hegs, available in paperback, ebook and audiobook form – all at the same time if y’wish!!

You know it makes sense.

Hegdotes, or Anecegs. Another time, another canto…

Dreaming of an absinthe Christmas: Part 2

You will doubtless recall my previous entry, which spoke of Tupelo and my own self’s wandering among the narrow lanes and edgy alleyways of the Raval district of Barcelona. And how we came across the Bar Marsella and were delighted and inspired by its clientele, décor and absinthe with Guinness chasers.

That all took place on one of his Lordship’s occasional cyclonic Summer visits-cum-residencies at my humble lodgings in Spain in the early 90’s of the 20th C. Now we fast-forward to late December of the same year. Christmas was looming, as it always does, and I was planning my yuletide expedition to England, as I always did.

The apparent appearance of the festive lights with less than 50% of absinthe consumed.

My usual prefered form of travel was “light”, as they say. But Christmas always meant that my small travelling bag was discarded in favour of a large suitcase and said case would weigh a lot, being stuffed with all manner of goodies easily procured in Catalonia but of a more exotic nature in England (In those days. Now you can get all of this stuff in any Supermarket): Chorizo, cured ham, various varieties of delicious nougat (called Turrón), wines, Cava (the Catalan sparkling white wine) and, this time, an unopened bottle of absinthe which I’d talked the barman in the Marsella into selling over the counter. Now I just had to smuggle it into the home country. My plan was to spend the first part of the holiday with family in the traditional, accepted manner. The second half of my time there would be dedicated to dossing at Tupelo Manor where we would continue to wrestle with and/or on our masterwork, The Reeking Hegs. The wine, chorizo etc was for the family. The absinthe was to be dedicated to Hegs related inspirational business.

As it happened no sooner had I arrived at Chez Tupelo than he informed me there was a party that night and we were going. I brandished the bottle of absinthe. His eyes grew large and round as he rubbed his belly and smacked his lips. With no more ado we leapt into his Renault 4 and headed across town.

The party was the typical scene of youthful recklessnesses accompanied by very loud music. After salutations and a bit of communal yelping we decided to find a quiet corner, get the absinthe open and do some writing. We went upstairs into an empty bedroom, got comfy, served ourselves the first glass of absinthe and began to write. At first the plan worked perfectly. We were writing a section in which the Polar Bear figured prominently. We proceeded with our usual modus operandi of each of us writing a short piece and then handing it over to the other to be continued. This went on for a while. We’d sipped our way to just over half way down the bottle. I had started to feel distinctly strange in a numbed sort of way. In fact, writing seemed to have become a huge effort for both of us. We were thus stopped and statuely like unmoving, unblinking and silent when our hostess burst in and loudly berated us as party-poopers. I tried to move a tongue that felt thick and sluggish like an overfed mollusc in my mouth in order to explain what we were doing. She impatiently took up our sheaf of paper and read the paragraph we’d ground to a halt on. “Aha! I guessed as much” she said as she grabbed my pen and began to write her own contribution to the Canto – a sentence or two about the depth of fishing-holes if memory serves. She handed the page back to me with a “See? Anybody can do it. Now, get your anti-social asses downstairs.”

Words were unnecessary. I knew Tupelo was far beyond any hope of strutting his stuff, and he knew I was too. Leaving the bottle there in the room we left the revellers to it.

I’m delighted to reveal that the phrases in question have made their immortal way into the published version of The Reeking Hegs.

I challenge all Hegfans to locate those two or three sentences penned by our hostess!

If you are not already the proud owner of one, You can obtain a copy of The Reeking Hegs on Amazon. It comes in paperback, ebook and audiobook form!

HEGBITS: A new instalment in the occasional series presenting the protagonists of The Reeking Hegs to an awe-inspired public. Today’s focus is on the in-cred-i-ble Aspidisteria.

Stop me and buy one today

Aspidisteria

Aspidisteria. Aspid. Asp. A. Hers is a name that conjures, in certain parts, fey images of a dreadful nature. There again, there are others – notably our plucky narrator AND Solid King Solid Fume III, no less – who find her allure alluring if not irresistible. Only child of the fabulously rich Kiosk Magnate, she is in line to become Queen of Ugzcyk if the planned marriage with the Royal incumbent proceeds as planned. That said, as all those versed in Heggery will well know, nothing should be taken for granted in The Reeking Hegs. Here’s a short excerpt which may shed some light ‘pon these matters…

” There are rumblings and there is fear. It was an ill-advised moment to mount her queenship bid. Notwithstanding that, Aspidisteria shoved the aged minister aside and seized the Tusk. The Night Vizier roared “Oafs!” and “Threads!” until he was quite hoarse, but it did no good. She had already made it to the Throne Room. Even as she hurried inside the first waves broke over the balcony, throwing over the occasional seal, barrel and beached mummy and the Vizier retreated, swimming for his life. Aspidisteria clung to the throne as it skidded heavily across the ice polished floor, climbing up onto its velveteen seat and reaching above her head for the jewelled Crown of Ugzcyk. The leatherhead perchers nesting there squabbled feistily and pecked at her fingers. It was a momentous occasion. Sceptre in hand she hurtled doorwards in the throne when all of a sudden a monumental lurch took the palace basement first into the fishing hole…”

The lady herself.

Delightful tidbits of this nature AND a whole lot more can be found pithing twixt the covers of The Reeking Hegs, the world’s first Arctic Gothic Horror and simultaneous high celebration of the Queen’s English, no less! No? Yes!

Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook all available from any Amazon. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reeking-Hegs-Pete-Peru/dp/1940233798/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1631028448&sr=8-1

Continuing the occasional series of Hegs-related anecdotes/background information…

Dreaming of an absinthe Christmas:Part 1

During the Summer of the year of our Boggon High 1991 or ’92 Lord Tupelo closed down his brewing and banking operations in order to spend a while with me in Spain. This was the year before, or maybe after, the Moroccan misadventure previously related. On this visit we ventured no further abroad than the fair city of Barcelona and the Priory of Sant Ponç – which is another story to be savoured in a later Hegblog.

So, there we were, walking the steamy, and in Summer in those days a bit smelly, streets of our favourite zones; the Old City; la Ciutat Vell or Barri Gòtic ( The Gothic quarter) which extends to the left of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port; and El Raval, commonly referred to by locals as the Barrio Chino. The Raval is a human-style warren of tightly packed streets many of which are mere alleys. You enter the Raval by taking any street on the right as you go down the Ramblas. Not for us the gaudy Gaudí and the hordes of goggling tourists vying to obtain the best version of the most-often-snapped pic of Casa Battle or the Sagrada Familia. Not.

The Gothic Quarter is really nice. It has retained much of its architecture – lots of lovely old buildings and imposing churches. That said, it’s a bit of a tourist trap-zone. The Raval, on the other hand, was and still is a bit naughty/risky. The once upon a time zone dedicated to sating the appetites of sailors on shore leave or well-to-do locals who fancied a bit of ick on their gristle was still patrolled by all manner of dubious types. Neither Tupelo nor I were old salts, of course, but if there was a hint of ick to be had, there we were sure to be.

Exploring the Raval we came across a wonderful place: The Bar Marsella. Sagging and dusty on a street corner that absolutely heaved with unsavoury characters plying their downright dubious if not totally illegal trades. Undaunted, we entered within and were delighted to find that the place not only had a pool table and Guinness on tap but you could also enjoy a glass of absinthe if the care took you, which it did. Technically, it was illegal to supply absinthe to the public at that time, so we were extra thrilled to spy the bottle on a shelf behind the bar. Once the barman had instructed us in the method and was satisfied that we’d got the gist of it we became obsessed with the ritual of the absinthe: The wine glass near brimming with a vaguely wickedly green liquid, sitting on it a sort of funnel and on top of that, balanced on toothpicks, a sugar cube. We dripped drops of water onto it, slowly dissolving the cube. The sugary water fell into the funnel and so found its way into the glass of absinthe, which gradually changed colour from vaguely green to a creamy, cloudy ivory. This we then sipped, chasing the aniseed flavour down with hearty swigs of Guinness. Needless to say, this was strong stuff. Needless to say, we were infrequent winners at the pool table.

Strange but true, we also continued writing sections of The Reeking Hegs during those long afternoon to evening sessions in the Bar Marsella, and it was upon a begrimed and stained wall of the bar that we encountered Farmer Massana, depicted upon one of those illustrated sheets of metal that served as advertisements in days of yore. There he was in his farmer’s cap, smoking his pipe from which indeed two lines of smoke arose. With no further ado we adopted him and Farmer Massana figures mightily in one of Atiqtalik’s 39 Steps.

Part 2 following soon. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, check the link and you too could become a proud owner of an actual copy of The Reeking Hegs!

HEGBITS-Herr Erger: The merger man

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Herr Erger…yes, well, little can be said about the Herr given the almost total lack of information regarding his provenance or the man himself. He moves in the shadows – well, most of the time he stays behind one sort of screen or another. Yet, in spite of that, it is clear that the enigmatic Herr has played a large, some may consider crucial, role in the downfall of not only Atiqtalik but also Solid King Solid Fume III – among others.

Get a glimpse of Erger in the following excerpt from The Reeking Hegs in which a late night interview between Erger and “the narrator” takes place on a weir:

” I bemoaned my fate; obliged to double-crossly own future father-in-law, recently deceased. What sort of seat on the board was that likely to proffer? Even as I resolved to be free of Erger once and for all a flaming ray scorched across the wastes again, striking a smoking course over the horizon. Herr Erger, apparently oblivious to these heavenly portents, was hissing at me.

Photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexels.com

“Ja ja! A tasty morsel car-up, nicht? Ze Hegs on a plate! Ve get FAT!”

“OK, I’ll do it!” I cried. “Have you the contract?”

“You mean you vill do it?” His shocked reply loin crippling.

“Yos. Yes, I mean. Bog clam you!”

“Zen zo be it!”

“Be it so.”

“Zen it’s.”

“Fat.”

Through a slit in the screen came the contract, dripping with wax. Herr Erger brushed his hairy strands across his head and then beckoned to aides unseen to carry him off in a screened sedan.”

Feel inclined to discover more?

Has the Heg-feveritch begun to bother the lowest regions of your cerebellum?

No problem! This epic celebration of high-english brought low is available in paperback, audiobook and Ebook format from the Amazon provider of your choice.

You know it makes sense!

Ceremony and The Reeking Hegs

The Ceremony in question is the title of an album made by a band name of Spooky Tooth in 1969 in collaboration with French avant-guardista Pierre Henry. I’ll admit that my main motivation in buying it was that I really liked the cover. I’ll also admit that when I first listened to it…But, like many things in life which at first we find unpleasant, it grew on me. I adjusted to it and can say now, 50 odd years later, I mostly like it. That said, Spooky Tooth’s “Ceremony” is an infamous Rock Folly, and the story of it is even better, with Pierre Henry playing a blinder, the band never recovering, and the guitarist going off to become Ariel Bender in Mott The Hoople. Ceremony is credited with having ruined the career of Spooky Tooth.

Friends, I do not bring this matter to your attention on a whim.

It so happens that on Lord Tupelo’s first visit to my residence in Spain; a 4th floor flat with an enormous balcony that afforded a lovely view of pine clad mountains across the way, his first time over did not coincide with holidays so I was out for hours on end doing my work. I didn’t have a T.V. but I had a large collection of cassettes at that time and most of the music taped on them came from my old collection of albums. Of course, I invited his Lordship to make himself at home. He spent his days smoking, drinking wine from the local bodegas ( rechristened “The body gas shop”), reading and listening to music.

One evening after work we got to talking about the cassettes and the music recorded on them. I was not entirely pleased when Tupelo informed me that, in his opinion, Ceremony was among the most interesting items in all my vast collection. You see, at the time of that conversation I’d only had the album some 23 years – not sufficient for it to have grown on me to the extent that it has today. Further into that chat he revealed to me how he’d also taken to another cassette of mine containing music by José “Chepito” Areas. Tupelo, not being conversant with the phonetic nature of Spanish, pronounced the surname as in English areas, and not Spanish a-REI-as. This case of mispronunciation resulted in another character to be found in the pages of The Reeking Hegs, in which it is rendered as Joe’s Chepito Areas (English pron). Hence this anecdote.

I still have them both, but I haven’t listened to José for a while now.

Get a copy of The Reeking Hegs and read all about it all!

Here’s a link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reeking-Hegs-Pete-Peru/dp/1940233798/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1630017120&sr=8-1

HEGBITS: Atiqtalik

The campaign train

Election fever hits fever-pitch more than once as the tale of The Reeking Hegs unfolds, and the protagonist of so much turmoil – not to mention carnage – is Atiqtalik. She came from out of the somewhere, determined to bring democracy to that frozen steppe. Instead she ended up as the harbinger of evolutionary change…

Atiqtalik, flapping her gills and slapping her fins; unused to flapping, her gill muscles ached. She spent a long time in the water. It was cold and salty; as salty as the blood in her veins. She sat still, breaking the crusts that formed on her eyelids. Waves and swells broke over her constantly, but she knew she must be patient. She was going to be the end game in a fintail suit. There would be a fine spring day, one day.

In time Atiqtalik became a fixture in the bay. people came to serve her. No longer a milksop politico, she was Atiqtalik, politically true at last and working towards the next meaningful mutation. Only she knew the way forward. And that meant gills!”

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Careful note is kept of the progress of her election campaign train through the ice and wastes of the arctic. her purpose was benign, salutary even; but the fates had decreed anything but a happy ending to her travails.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

“There was a good deal of consternation as she was carried onto the train, as she seemed to be in bits. Woullady applied unguents to her cuts and bruises. Then, as the last moose ambled by, everyone was ordered aboard. The whistle blew, the carriages shuddered in a welter of jactitation, and the clattering odyssey continued anew. We had now passed the tree line, and the tangle of muskegs and forest gradually gave way to the awful, empty barren lands of wild, wealdy wastes.

Atiqtalik lay comatose in her compartment, and I waited in the corridor for her manager to emerge. At last he appeared and issued a short statement to the perturbed gathering.´Atiqtalik is resting, he read aloud. ´She urges all you good people to do the same. Maybe we’ll get a positive result in the polls. No comment otherwise.”

Want to know more? Just sign up for the roller-coaster ride that is The Reeking Hegs https://www.amazon.com/Reeking-Hegs-Pete-Peru-ebook/dp/B08CZLKN97/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+reeking+hegs&qid=1629633521&sr=8-1

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Why we never made it to Morocco?

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Must’ve been August 1990 or thereabouts when Lord Tupelo descended upon me again for his 2nd or 3rd writing holiday. I was living in a small village about 15 miles out of Barcelona. It was nice. Up in the forested hills. I’d just bought my first car in Spain – a SEAT 131 Supermirafiori Luxurious in its day.

Perhaps it was having the wheels put us in mind of travel. However, I felt the likelihood of the Seat getting us all the way to Tarragona, let alone Andalusia and beyond, was doubtful. So, we went by bus. An all night drive found us in the sunny south of Spain, hungry and creased but full of that adrenalin rush you always get when approaching an unknown frontier. We lurched off the bus and took the ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta. Ceuta, although located on the continent of Africa is in fact one half of the remains of the ex-Spanish Saharan Empire of bygone Imperial days (The other is Melilla). Anyway, though geographically speaking we were in Africa, politically we were still in Spain. We bought ourselves some Dirhams and struck out on foot for the border.

We got to the Spanish side of the border fence. The Guardia civil let us through with hardly a glance. We hurried across no-man’s land, making for the little kiosks containing the Moroccan border control persons. Just behind them was another fence. Beyond that fence was a swirling mass of people, many of them already yelling and gesticulating to attract our attention. Tupelo went first. The cop checked his passport, stamped the entry visa, and he went through and trod real African sand and was immidiately mobbed by a throng of Moroccans all intent on being his friend. So, it was my turn. I presented my passport to the same cop. He looked at it and seemed unhappy. He gave it back. No you entry visa. I tried to elicit the reason for his refusal to stamp my passport but he only seemed to get agitated. You GO! It was obvious he wasn’t going to let me into the country. I yelled my predicament to Tupelo on the other side of the fence there and after some what looked like strenuous haggling the Moroccan police annulled his 30 minute old entry visa and let him back into Spain.

Back in Algeciras I went to the Moroccan Consulate to complain. The man who attended me gazed vacantly into space until I’d finished. He then shrugged his shoulders. I understood. Such is life.

So, we went to Tarifa

Hegbits: Mr.Yick

The Ice Grotto

Mr.Yick. Ah yes…Mr.Yick.

Here you may get a taste of his fairly typical exploits, quoted from Canto 8, The Reeking Hegs,

The ice grotto was a fantastic warren of a place, frozen passages hung with stalagmites, sites and petrified bones. Góngolphin led the way with the ship’s lantern, closely followed by the eager Pensionettes and the boy, struggling along with his equipment…I just know I’m going to regret this.

All inhuman life is in here. Yick’s remains, embalmed with sluice and sporting only his gor blimey trousers, had been buried alive by a walking snowball with claws, and then frozen into a huge block of ice by Ray and his nephew…

Soon the melting in the grotto had us all knee-high. Yick’s torso gave cadaveric spasms as the ice cracked and popped. It ran like liquid glass and thawed into a crystal pool, and with one bound he was free, ready for action and rising with a riveting head…My foulweather friend fixed me with a sudden movement, a stiletto of ice at my throat.

“No progress can be made while there is a snake in the mat!” he growled. “It was you, erstwhile amigo mein…you say you wanted to go Hegs, then you have me rooted alive…by Bog, this here blade was forged for your black heart! Mactation time I mean, so speak up!”

On the writing of The Reeking Hegs.

The Reeking Hegs. Tupelo coined that emblematic phrase. The title was, originally Arctic Gothic Terror Kiosk Sideshow…and more along similar lines that now recede into the faded mists of memory or perhaps better said forgetfullness.

A large amount of the text was written, as I mentioned previously, up in Tupelo’s kitchen on his old-style portable typewriter. Let us here put forward a truth with regards to that situation. When his Lordship refers to himself as “Brewer and Banker” I can vouchsafe that the brewing part of that description is 100% correct. That space was a kitchen but it was also a brewery and bar. The wall above what at one time was a fireplace was decorated with an enormous painted mural of the head and shoulders of Elvis. On the mantlepiece a slate. On the slate, in white chalk, a list of names and alongside each name a series of scratched marks indicating that person’s current tab. So, more often than not the flow of the creative juices would be aided and abetted by carefully poured pints of one or another of Tupelo’s brews and “208’s”; a 208 being a joint made with a Gauloise cigarette – an unusual, to many inexplicable, choice of tobacco but that’s what we did.

There were many, many venues for our literary pursuit, and often the place in which the writing took place – ha ha – filtered through and became integrated into the text. For example; after I moved to Spain Tupelo came to visit twice. Or three times. On one of these visits we decided to go to Morocco and do some writing there. That was the plan. We never made it to Morocco but we did get to visit The Rock of Gibraltar. There, on the Rock, we walked and walked until we got right to the end of that finger of granite. There we were, at the tip of it, and pretty it was not. We sat and wrote as the sun settled down into the Mediterranean. Here’s a challenge: see if You can find that moment in the text of TRH! It is there in the section which describes “the desolate space tip”.

I’ve never got to the bottom of Tupelo’s banking activities.