It must be getting on for ten years ago that the editor of The Penniless Press, Alan Dent, got a letter from the Polish plumber/poet Stefan Jaruzleski then grape-picking in Vacqueras. Just another crackpot thought the esteemed editor as he filed this incomprehensible gibberish in the bin. But Jaru didn’t give up. More stuff came in – an account of plumbing for Mike Jagger in his Loire Chateau and further adventures in the Dordogne where he spruced up the lodgings of retired philosopher Dr John Lee and attempted to convince his Wittgensteinean host of the virtues of Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit as they both worked on a recalcitrant turd macerator on the kitchen table. 

Alan’s suspicion that here was a strange talent worth a corner in his mag grew:

“For some time now, the editor has been receiving missives from the great but neglected Polish plumber-poet, Stefan Jaruzelski. He felt the time had come to let the world in on the secret of this genius of the sweated joint and the sestina. Jaruzelski promises to send soon extracts from his two-thousand-line poetic epic. In these poor pages you may before long be able to read the work of the contemporary Homer, or learn how to fit a bath.” 

The Penniless Press ceased publication shortly after - a quite unrelated event - proof, no doubt, of the post hoc propter hoc fallacy. But Jaru couldn’t be suppressed; a flood followed, most recently an analysis on the looting rioters which turned up in PP’s offspring MQB in 2012. 

Stefan’s home now became The Crazy Oik (a deranged mutant monstrosity arising from the ashes of PP). Here he was joined by like-minded crackpots like Ron Horsefield, the Oik’s French Culture Correspondent (he has a printed card which gets him in galleries free). Ron’s first foray described his meeting Empson and Larkin, engaged in an obscene act, in the toilet at Sheffield station. Further essays are illustrated by Ron’s photos of statues in provincial France under the rubric “Marmoreal Hornbags of France”  

This edition collects the complete extant Jaruzelski and Horsefield with articles from other weirdoes in the Crazy Oik. The text is interspersed with adverts from the 1942 issues of Illustrated showing how those brave wartime oiks kept their peckers up. I can hear US readers larfin already. It’s a cornucopia. Or more accurately, as the Oik editor would say, “A cornu-fuckin-copia!!”

Paperback 6" x 9" 233pp ISBN 978-1-291-49337-5