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Posted Sunday, May 29, 2005

Within an hour several people get the answer: Deborah Lipstadt. Ho ho! By four p.m. I have had around seventy replies, all correct. "Bald sh*t adopter." Fame has its own rewards.

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May 27, 2005 (Friday)
Key West (Florida)

DAY begins with MH of Kansas offering $22,000 for the third Hitler painting in Charles T.'s possession. Seems I went into the wrong business. Should have been an art dealer.

8:23 am The Mango Bombardment begins. Thud, thud on the cottage roof all day.

9:10 am Benté phones from London, as I am in the Five Brothers getting a Cuban coffee. . .

4:50 pm: the other "Hitler painting" vendor reports in, as hostile as before. I reply:

"I note that you have STILL declined to include any data about yourself (even your name and address) let alone about the origins of the 'Hitler' painting. You will not find anybody willing to deal with you on that basis."

It may be genuine, although it looks very naive. But it is my reputation on the line, and if I am not wholly satisfied something is authentic I won't endorse it.

I am working hard preparing seven of my earlier books for short-run reprinting for collectors. There are some shocks. I write this to L. in Chicago after wading through a twenty-seven page list of typographical errors which she has spotted in the web version of The Secret Diaries of Hitler's Doctor:

"… embarrassed, ashamed, and totally humiliated. That is me, after going through your list of errors and typos discovered in the PDF of Morell. Thank goodness you thought of digging that out, instead of Just Sitting On It and Gloating. I have incorporated all your points. You have got eagle eyes.

I still can't get the rule about .) and ). Four hours' work, but well spent. Now to replace all the dropped caps which un-dropped for some reason."

She replies primly that she prefers the expression "gimlet eyes." -- I scan a photo from the Adolf Hitler "stamp album" book which I bought for $200 at the Louisville militaria show; the photos are all pasted in, and I assumed they were photographic originals. Alas they are not, they all have a fine screen overlaid.


May 28, 2005 (Saturday)
Key West (Florida)

THINGS about 1940s BBC programmes are drifting through my memory as I begin to wake up: I lie there asleep, with my eyes deliberately closed, wallowing in childhood memories. Itma (It's That Man Again, a wartime comedy show, That Man being of course Mr Hitler), and the Daily Mirror's headline on the death of its star: DROPPED COLLAR STUD KILLS TOMMY HANDLEY (I've been cautious about dropping collar studs ever since then); the catch-phrases: "Can I do you now, sir?" and "Don't mind if I do," and the whole British broadcasting gang -- Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch, and Professor C M Joad of The Brain's Trust, who was memorably felled not by a collar stud but by being caught without a tuppenny ticket on the London Tube. That crime ended his BBC career. "It's Monday Night at Eight O'Clock…", and then, on Saturday evenings, "Carry on, London!" Five p.m., Children's Hour, and "Dick Barton, Special Agent."

Special agent? For whom, or what shadowy agency? Never mind, our imaginations romped. The Law in our village was Pc Andrews, a young police constable installed in the new brick police station in the village street; he was the entire police force. He was called out when I was caught pressing Button B on the payphone in the hope of harvesting some forgotten pennies. Or am I confusing him with the curate? His name was Andrews too. Neither carried guns, anyway.

"Dan Dare, pilot of the future, brought to you by the makers of Horlicks" "Radio Luxemburg, 208 metres"

What a pleasure to live in England then -- until television arrived, and we were suddenly back at the lower end of the ladder, because we did not have one. There were neighbours (so it was whispered) who just mounted the H-aerial on their rooftops and chimney pots, to make out that they had the set. Except that we really genteel folk told each other that it was not "U" -- I know, that's an anachronism -- to have television in the house anyway, and that people of class did not have one.

The lower orders lived in Hutton Village. We had to walk through that, to get to church. Eeeugh! The only V-1 flying bomb to hit nearby landed in Hutton Village, next to the school. That Mr Hitler, he knew, he did. Wallop, it went off with. And a crater rimmed with bits of wire and twisted metal, that's what it left. We all trooped up through the Village -- eeeugh! -- to gape at That Man's weapon.

Class meant so much in a small community -- that, and gossip, as the years passed. About which, at the higher end were those families who had a son in Korea. They definitely scored over those who did not. The Kingston's were one. And a family in Oakwood Avenue. And one of them never came back, because the British Army, since ancient times, buried its heroes in the foreign fields where they had fallen. British war graves in those days were respected, even by their enemies.


MY little pink bike had gradually shrunk and we could not afford a new one. I built pushcarts with wooden boxes from Williams the Grocer, -- the fragrance of the orange-box wood will be with me for ever, in that powerful olefactory memory of ours. The small front wheels came off a pram, the rear ones were bigger; the engineering problems this involved were part of the constructional delight.

Half a mile up the road from our house toward Billericay -- so now, you folks in Massachusetts will know where that town's name came from -- was English's, on the right side of the Raleigh Road, a scrap yard with sheds full of war surplus equipment: radars, valves, lamps, reels of waxy yellow signals cable, and the rest. I bought a signalling lamp, and a field-grey switching box; I don't know why. They came in handy, they stood in for the toys we could not buy.

From somewhere I bought a large wind-up gramophone, with a two-foot, violet coloured, fluted horn; and I assembled a stack of HMV records to go with it. "In eleven more months and ten more days (I'll be out of the calaboose)." Those parentheses always puzzled me. "Estudiantina," and other titles. HIS MASTER'S VOICE: In those days you could see the polished coffin that the dog was sitting on in the label. As the years passed, I discovered classical music: a Sonata would take four sides of shellac disc. Hearing the same music today I still mentally reach for the stop lever when the moment comes to flip over the disc. I had an entire Beethoven symphony on such discs.

Black BoxLater, at Brentwood School in 1954, I was taken under the wing of two elderly (or so they seemed to me) but music-loving gentlemen at the photographic shop in Ongar Road next to George's Café: Cyril Stott owned the shop, a wiry, short man with a reedy voice, and he lent me a 9.5 mm movie camera, and took me to his house somewhere near Romford to listen to classical music on the spanking new Pye "Black Box" record player he had --"Listen to the spitty sound of the brass," he would suggest, putting on another Decca disc. That Pye machine was certainly one-up on my violet horn. George was there too. I do not recall any improprieties, and I would not have recognised any anyway; but the music was really good from that little, mysteriously shaped, lacquer-and-brass machine.

I knew I could never afford one myself. You had to be a shopkeeper to afford that kind of thing. I made a number of short films on the 30-foot reels of Pathé 9.5mm film stock. I saved up for five years just to buy a Pathé movie projector to show them -- it cost £4.10.6d. (four pounds, ten shillings and sixpence). I also bought, much cheaper, a hand-cranked silent 35mm projector and about 100 feet of a Laurel & Hardy sound film. Hess jacket newThe films, the projector, and most other acquisitions of those childhood years are all lost: my family not having the same appreciation for historic relics that I now do.

When I get up, there is a long call from Jessica in London -- about printer problems, family medical history, etc. She is now five foot four, she says. I mention the picture deal -- $22,000, of which the agent will pick up fifteen percent. "Don't tell me!" she squeaks, and then just seconds later: "That's $3,300 --" and she tells me the stages in her mental computation.

I work until midnight on a new jacket design for the new short-run print of Hess, The Missing Years.


May 29, 2005 (Sunday)
Key West (Florida)

GlobocnikALREADY a hot and humid day. Over ninety down here, and very moist. Alan Heath has responded from the UK with comments on the Odilo Globocnik documents I found in CIA files on Aktion Reinhardt.

I reply: "I've read your very helpful comments. . . Unfortunately you have a habit of stating bald facts without even a hint at an authority -- e.g., 'This is obviously a euphemism.' Why should the top Nazis use euphemisms when writing to each other? This is a factor I shall have to address. What is the hard evidence for corruption, pilfering, and other allegations you make against Globocnik and other Nazis? Okay, Globocnik (right) was a Bad Hat, but pilfering and other crimes were pretty harshly cracked down on in the SS (Koch, etc.), and I would have thought stealing from Aktion Reinhardt would have been punished more rigorously than other thefts. All of the answers may seem pretty obvious to you, as an expert; but I am not, and I am notorious for not believing things until I am overwhelmed with hard evidence."

1:47 pm after lunch I send this email to Washington Post columnist David Broder, whose syndicated column about Senator John McCain in today's The Miami Herald attracts my approval:

"McCain (and Senator Biden) are the only American politicians to impress me as an Englishman consistently (although McCain did upset me briefly with a law he was proposing on Internet controls). Bush is a disgrace to the great American people."

I HAVE posted an anagram puzzle on the website:

QUESTION: who is the brilliant writer, thinker, and philanthropist whose name is concealed in these anagrams?

slab throated dip
bald shit adopter
add portable shit
that lopsided bra
hot part disabled
hits atop bladder
dip data brothels
lopsided rat bath
bad old therapist
odd lab therapist
dips betrothal ad

and within less than an hour several people get the answer (I have to confess that I did not): Deborah Lipstadt. Ho ho! By four p.m. I have had around seventy replies, all correct. "Bald sh*t adopter." The winner is in England. Fame has its own rewards. 

 [Previous Radical's Diary]


BBC audio links on Tommy Handley (all of the files are 'streaming' and in Real Player format):

Large general selection, mostly Jack Hylton but plus many others :


© Focal Point 2005 F DISmall David Irving