Overdoses of Baboon, Etc

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Words: 65,690
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301492947
Tags: humor humour
About Oliver St. Gaudy

Oliver St. Gaudy left school soon after World War II, from the same stream and one year behind Len Deighton. It was necessary to find a job, preferably in the book business, and he found his second in the dusty stacks of the Times Book Shop and its circulating library, in Marylebone, next to the Wigmore Hall. He chose to apply there because the business was owned by The Times, and might be a path to employment by the newspaper: big mistake! Thereafter, he proved a very unsatisfactory employee, by virtue [?] of being what is now called ‘over-qualified,’ but did not wait to be sacked --a fate foretold by a whisper that said he should first be used to train one Tim in the duties of the post and then be sacked. Tim, a pleasant immigrant from Greece, once told of the unpleasant position he had been put in [and the Dickensian aspects of the site of his impending servitude] happily agreed that he and Oliver should give notice on the same day to such a scheming employer. Under pressure subsequently, Oliver found a weekly newspaper willing to pay tuppence a line for anything worth printing, bought a used Underwood "portable" from the Civil Service Stores, and he was soon making more money per week than he had been paid by the treacherous bookshop. He went through a dozen newspapers as a staffer after that --first weekly, then daily and Sunday papers, with a couple of magazines on the side.
A big factor in those formative times was that various vehicles for the advancement [?] of Oliver’s career showed a marked tendency to die not long after he joined but before he left them --as did in turn the Birmingham Gazette, Reynolds News, the Daily Herald and the News Chronicle --the Chronicle he abandoned, finally, to go sailing for a year or two in Marie Louise, a yacht in the style of a Cornish fishing lugger, built for Daphne duMaurier and launched in the year Oliver was born. The newspaper, which he was able to watch being tortured to death by quacks, as if its problem was in the ‘plumbing,’ died before Marie-Louise reached Lisbon. The still-mourned yacht, named after a member of the duMaurier family, and beautifully and unsuitably refitted by Oliver in recycled Admiralty teak and brass, eventually became an impressively shattered and scattered wreck on the yacht club beach, in a sudden windless upheaval of the Caribbean Sea on the fashionable side of Barbados. Recovery from this setback ended a warm spell as night editor of the Barbados Advocate, in favour of a cold but more remunerative year’s gainful re-employment at the Daily Mail and Sunday Mirror. Later, after a private business disagreement ended a return to the Caribbean, came a successful spell in Australia, on the senior night editorial bench at the Sydney Morning Herald. That was to be his last paid employment before he moved to the United States, for personal reasons, in 1972. There recovering from a heart attack, he decided to leave the newspaper business and taught himself to make enamelled gold and silver jewellery and objets d'art --so laying the groundwork [stock in trade]for the destruction of one business by burglary and two by burglary and arson. Naturally, these experiences induced in Oliver the mordant sense of humour that illuminates selections from Oliver’s heap of manuscripts in the English language. He is still adding to the heap in his 83rd year.--L.V.P.

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