Written by Erskin Quint

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


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Kettering Shoppers Struggle With The Nimzo-Indian Opening

This Week's Guest Editor:

Surrealist artist MARCEL DUCHAMP

Dear Marcel,

please can you help me? My grandad is in nursing care and my gran has been seeing another man at the day centre. I visit grandad in the home and he thinks gran still loves him. Grandad is coming out of the nursing home for Christmas Day and we are all going round to Mum's. I'm dreading Christmas dinner.

Great Fripperton,

The enjoyment of any order is of secondary importance to the selection of an object. That is not to say that such selections are a simple or an easy matter. Neither pleasant, nor particularly ugly, a stuffed emu may stand for the amassed hypocrisies of pseudo-art. MD

Dear Mr Duchamp,

I am a traveller in fine horn-handled cutlery. I have been married but divorced my wife 5 years ago upon discovering her affair with a young actuary from her evening bartitsu class. It is a form of martial art employing sticks. I spend much time in hotels. I have become much taken with a chamber maid who works at an hotel in Kettering where I am often found (Northamptonshire being very much my patch). She is always amenable. To my chagrin, however, the other day I was in the bathroom when she and another were 'doing' my room, and I overheard them laughing about me. The word prat was used more than once. I am very depressed. Have you any advice?

Harry 'Harry' Harris,

I am in thrall to chess. The chess pieces compose a lexicon of anti-thought. I favour the Nimzo-Indian opening. I have come to the personal conclusion that while all victims are not chess players, all chess players are victims. MD

Dear Marcel Duchamp,

I am a married woman. My husband is a noted expert on voles, being always at his desk of an evening. He has written many pamphlets and articles in the scientific journals, and is Chair of our local branch of the Water Vole Society. Our children - Lars and Lamia - having left home, time has hung heavy for me. I have always been interested in Roman times and increasingly hanker to enact sexual fantasies in which I am a slave-girl at the mercy of my husband who is Mark Antony. My husband has time only for his voles. I am tempted to seek a 'Roman General' via an internet site called Slaves and Senators. I am torn. I do not want to destroy my marriage and family, but can no longer bear being a mere Vole Wife or Widow. Please help.

Upper Stifling,

The nude woman, with a shark's head, her orifices crawling with snails, fails to discourage the blind aesthete. Many are eviscerated in the cause of ignorance. The corpse is always someone else. MD

Dear Marcel,

I hate our postman. He is so irritating, always whistling and singing that awful Stevie Wonder song "I Just Called To Say I Love You" as he comes up the drive. I just want to kill him. He is ginger-haired and wears stupid round glasses like a school swot. I'm a bit worried because I have gone so far as to have an axe ready in the elephant's foot umbrella stand. I am scared that one day soon if he rings the doorbell with a parcel, I will spring out and sink the axe in his potato-shaped head the simpering git. The thought of the axe buried in his brain makes me happy. Am I going mad?


Calibrate the Vicar-Machine when the leaves are golden. From behind, all men are faceless and the glass leopard moves silently across the bedroom floor. Retire at midnight to a bed seething with headless eels. You must always contradict yourself, even when you cannot agree to differ. Can one tell the photograph of a camera from a photograph of the original photograph? MD

Next Week's Guest Editor is:
Avant-Garde Writer, Dramatist and Poet Samuel Beckett
(Please note that Sam cannot send personal replies to all your letters. He is very busy expressing his bleakly comic vision of human culture.)

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: Art, Letters, Agony Aunts

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