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06 June 2014


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Paulus - I don't know what's the go in PNG right now, but here in Oz you can buy over-the-counter prepaid credit cards which you can use for Amazon transactions etc $20 dollars or so and you can buy a book, and you don't need to sign up for the full credit card rip-off deal.

Peter, I do remember reading Errol Flynn's 'My Wicked Wicked Ways'.

Phil, I managed to google Amazon to find that I could order books (yes, I am that much IT illiterate) and saw the preview of Francis Nii's book.

Next task will be to figure how to pay for it (as I don't have a credit card and do not intend to get one in my lifetime. I did find out that I could get a BSP debit card a month ago and amazed to find I could withdraw Euros in Antwerp.

One does learn new things all the time even if one is quite antiquated). So thank you for pointing that out to me.

Peter, don't forget Errol Flynn's 'Beam Ends' about sailing from Sydney to Port Moresby and his novel based in New Guinea, 'Showdown'.

Both books are extremely well-written. He once said that if he hadn't been an actor he would have been a writer.

In 1927 the New Guinea Administration issued an edict requiring a permit to show "cinematographic films." This permit might specifically forbid native attendance unless the films were educational, descriptive, travel, industrial, cartoon, of of "general interest", or films in which all actors were natives...

Five years later, Sir Hubert Murray told a newspaper reporter why no blacks were allowed in Port Moresby's lone cinema palace

"These films show white women in undignified roles and wearing little clothing. I regard such films as unhealthy to the native population."

['The Young Errol: Flynn Before Hollywood' by John Hammond Moore]

And don't forget Errol Flynn's autobiography, 'My Wicked, Wicked Ways', which has quite a bit about his time in PNG. As Amazon says, it's one hell of a read.

Project Gutenberg is a pretty amazing resource, and the books are all free.

Here's a selection of some of their texts about PNG. (You should probably read some of the old authors bearing in mind the cultural prejudices of the time.)

The Mafulu, Robert Wood Williamson

A Miscellany of Men, G. K. Chesterton

The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Volume 1 (of 3), James George Frazer

Adventures in New Guinea, James Chalmers

Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. John MacGillivray

Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy, Stephen Leacock

The First Discovery of Australia and New Guinea, George Collingridge

Bunyip Land: A Story of Adventure in New Guinea, George Manville Fenn

Two Years Among the Savages of New Guinea, W. D. Pitcairn

Nieuw-Guinee en de exploratie der "Meervlakte" (Dutch), J. W. Langeler and L. A. C. M. Doorman

I forgot to mention that the three Crocodile Prize anthologies, 2011, 2012 and 2013 are also available on Amazon.

All of Leonard's books are available on Amazon Paulus. So is Francis' book.

I'm not sure about Michael Dom's book of poetry, but it is available at the UPNG bookshop.

Baka Bina will soon have books on Amazon too.

Phil, How can we get hold of the PNG books such as by Francis, Leonard & co.

Unfortunately, many of us are not talented enough to be writers or musicians (or artists). We can only appreciate what is written by others.

I cannot play one musical instrument. I cannot write anything meaningful after more than one page. Yet I enjoy good music and good books immensely.

It is great to see PNG literature being promoted again by PNG Attitude and Co so those who have the talent can have the opportunity to create something wonderful.

The name Morris West sound faintly familiar but I am not so sure I read one in high school.

I was a Hardy Boys fan and read many of the English popular novels.

'North From Thursday' is not too bad Paulus.

But before you buy it you'd better get copies of LFR's 'Brokenville' and Francis Nii's 'Fitman, Raitman & Cooks: Paradise in Peril'.

Peter's quote pretty much covers 'Kundu'. Morris West was an ex-Catholic Brother and then a writer and producer of radio serials in the 1950s, so he was well qualified.

'Kundu' is a good book for people who think Papua New Guinea is in Africa, like the artist who produced the cover with the African lady and her big round drum.

Phil - As a uni student (late 70s & early 80s), I was a great fan of both West and Cleary; I probably read most of the West novels except for Kundu (I never got beyond the first chapter) and another one set among Aboriginal people.

I think the unrealistic descriptions were what put me off but I cannot recall what the cover pages looked like.

I liked the dry and economical whodunits that Cleary wrote but I do not think I read North from Thursday.

Unfortunately my reading rate fell off once I started working so haven't read more recent work with PNG setting

A PR quote for West's Kundu....

"In a valley beneath the purple mountains of primitive New Guinea live a small band of white people.

"Some are consumed by enormous lusts for power that have led them to flee from Europe and here they can indulge their sick passions.

"But dark people of the valley are ruled by the throbbing, tribal Kundu drums that for centuries have urged them to frenzied sorcery.

"The result is an explosion of the terrible violence, echoing round the mountains like the Devil's own thunder let loose."

I think I'll take a cold shower and an aspirin now - KJ

Phil - The cover of Chips Mackellars' latest book is far more appealing.

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