The New Dilettante's Notebook

Sometimes apparently genuinely helpful

Peace, peace is mine!

The world’s greatest Gospel Song Book for use at Evangelistic meetings.  Contains popular Hymns in use wherever the English language is spoken and Standard Hymns for Church Services, Conventions, Sunday Schools and Mission Hall Services.  A large number of pieces are copyright and must not be reprinted without permission of the owners.

581 (s.s. 162.)           6.6.4.

Nearer, my God, to Thee! nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still my song shall be –
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!


O aching heart, with sorrow torn,
Thy Lord is near and knows!
He knows it all – the feet way-worn,
The weary cares and woes,
The load of grief in anguish borne,
Thy Lord is near:…He knows.

From ‘Sankey’s Sacred Songs & Solos,’  Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908)


Advice for aspiring writers, part 4: Dealing with publishers

Dear Mrs Rust
I am sorry, but we cannot help you. We had incessant difficulties with Julian Maclaren-Ross and our rights to the two books of his which we published reverted to him many years ago. He used to give ‘c/o the BBC’ as his address but I think he exhausted their patience as well as ours; other addresses he gave us proved to be bombed out sites or non-existent. The last time he called on us he demanded his taxi-fare home before he would leave and when a guileless editor called a cab and gave him a few shillings to cover the fare, Ross threw the money in his face, ran off and never, I am glad to say, came to see us again.
A great pity as he wrote brilliantly and had the best handwriting I have ever seen. But I am sorry to have no practical advice for you.
Yours sincerely

Letter from Roger Machell of Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1981. Quoted in ‘Julian Maclaren-Ross Selected Letters,’ edited by Paul Willetts, 2008.

Hair of the dog


The spinning or weaving of dogs’ hair is by no means a new idea, and it is an art that could well be revived in these days of mounting costs.  Dogs’ hair of the right variety can produce the most beautiful garments, equal in quality to that of the Angora rabbit.  In World War 1 innumerable garments were made for wounded soldiers by an association with headquarters in Piccadilly, and Miss Wilkinson of the London School of Weaving was using dogs’ hair extensively in 1919.

Spinning dogs’ hair has won the approbation of many Royal personages.  One of Queen Victoria’s daughters had her Poodle’s hair spun for her by the Sandringham Spinners, and then made into a shawl.  The Borzois of Queen Alexandra supplied their silky hair for another shawl for her Royal Highness.  And in more modern days Queen Elizabeth accepted a pram rug made from Samoyed hair for Prince Charles’s pram.  So if you follow in the footsteps of these noble people and their dogs you are surely in the height of fashion.

From ‘Barbara Woodhouse‘s Book of Dogs,’ 1957.


Revealed: Lost Mahavishnu Album



1. The Spirits of the Four Elements – 121

2. Some Original Intelligences of the Zone Girdling the Earth – 129

3. The 360 Heads of the Zone Girdling the Earth – 133

4. The Intelligences of the Moon Sphere – 210

5. The 72 Intelligences of the Mercury Zone – 219

6. The Intelligences of the Venus Sphere – 241

7. The Genii of the Sun Sphere – 246

8. The Intelligences of the Jupiter Sphere – 252

9. The Saturn Sphere – 258

11. The Spheres of Uranus and Pluto – 260

12. Intercourse with the Spirits, Genii and Intelligences of all Spheres by Mental Travelling – 262

13. Talismanic Magic – 267

Epilogue – 272

From table of contents, ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation,’ by Franz Bardon, 1967

None of the men who in this country have left footprints behind them have been cold water men

Australian drunkenness, so far as it exists, is not of the English type.  It is more reckless, more extravagant, more riotous, – to the imagination of the man infinitely more magnificent; but it is less enduring, and certainly on the whole less debasing.

Anthony Trollope, 1873

His head was always aching, or rather so he said,

He thought he had neuritis, for he suffered with the head;

His breathing was erratic and his system out of gear,

He used to blame the weather, but he never blamed the beer.

His liver was inactive and his food would not digest,

So he swore he’d change his scenery and quit the wild wet west;

He didn’t believe in doctor’s dope or drugs from chemists’ shops,

He only blamed the weather, but he never blamed the hops…

G.A. Finn, quoted in ‘Folklore of the Australian Pub,’ by Bill Wannan, 1972.

Grappling Hooks

Men of the world know that another little drink next morning or an ‘eye-opener’ as it is known, is the best cure for a hangover.  If the morning headache is accompanied by the dry heaves and a touch of the squitters I would personally recommend the GRAPPLING HOOK, a favourite Australian dawn beverage consisting of a tumbler containing a fifty-fifty mixture of port wine and brandy.  When the barmaid puts it on the counter, wait till her back is turned so she doesn’t see your hand shaking.  Then reach out and surprise the bastard, down it in one and walk briskly to the gents, shut yourself in a cubicle, lean on the wall and breathe deeply through the mouth.   You’ll sweat a bit but if after two minutes you haven’t spewed all over the dunny seat and halfway up the wall, simultaneously shitting razor blades, there’s a fair chance you’ll be in good shape to order a couple of double Teachers’ when you are once more comfortably seated at the bar.  Pretend to scan a newspaper and when it stops trembling so you can read the headlines, you’re back in business, no worries.

Sir Les Patterson, ‘The Traveller’s Tool,’ 1985.

If you were only to peep into the Sydney police office on a Monday fore-noon, you would then see a lovely specimen of our morality.  Scores of men, women, boys, and girls, who had been dragged off the streets on the preceding evening for drunkenness, fighting and other similar offences, standing with brazen faces to hear their respective sentences.  You may then every to or three minutes hear thundered forth with the voice of authority from the magistrates’ bench, ‘Six hours to the stocks – ten days to the cells – twenty days to the treadmill – fifty lashes (on his bare back)’!

The Reverend David McKenzie, ‘Ten Years in Australia,’ 1845 quoted in ‘Knockers,’ by Keith Dunstan, 1972.

Ooh La La

Oscar’s Theatre Restaurant: Lower Esplanade, St Kilda.  Tel: 94 4411

Host: Oscar Isztl

Open: Until 3am.


Cards: American Express, Diner’s Club, Carte Blanche, Bankcard.

Specialities: Continental cuisine.

Average: $25 a couple.


Oscar’s Theatre Restaurant is a very handy “after dark” entertainment venue.  It’s very close to the city and is one of those places where the clientele is almost as good as the floorshow.

The floorshow is always interesting and different.  Brazilian dancers, Hula girls, Tahitian entertainers, strippers, you name them and Oscar’s have featured their talents at sometime or other.

Oscar himself is a Melbourne “after dark” legend.  He has a flair for publicity and is a born showman as well as theatre restaurant proprietor.  He’s always going back to Europe…quitting the local scene…but somehow he never gets there.  He stays on the St Kilda Lower Esplanade and makes his theatre restaurant a nightlife “must” for local soft light prowlers.

From “Restaurants of Melbourne,”  1978 edition.

You can make it if you try

   Sly’s hotel room was locked and double locked.  The door opened but the chain stayed on when my tentative yet steady knock was answered.

“Who’s there?”  The question was a growl between two unrevealing walls.  I answered, was acknowledged and permitted inside.

The room was stuffy and underlit.  As in any major hotel it had the feeling of permanent transience – large empty spaces between furniture and chairs, lots of walking room.  It was anything but comfortable.

Six heavies stopped their conversation.

“What’s happening?”  Sly spoke from a dark grey corner, huddled all arms and legs beside an unlit table lamp.  He was a vision in red this evening, red wool knit cap covering a lot of hair and almost obscuring a bloodshot eye.  He was incredibly stoned.

“Nothing much,” I answered.  “How’re you doing?”

“Fine.”  He stared as if daring me to contradict him.  “Just fine.”  And having said that crossed his arms and stared at me some more.  The implication was that I didn’t believe him.  The six large men in the room were immaculately silent.

“Ask me some questions.”  Sly broke the silence again by daring.  The tone was cold, not so much unwilling to talk as unwilling not to be listened to, a grudge match between Sly and whoever he chose to believe you were.

From “Sly Stoned”  by Peter Knobler,  Crawdaddy magazine, 1971.