Sunday, January 08, 2006
East India Rubber Duck
Beckett fact no. 9.
Pretty in purple, this is the 1953 Olympia Press edition of Watt, knocked out by Maurice Girodias in between all those pornographic novels he published to subsidise books that required two hands to read.
During a raid on the press, the plates of the frogs' chorus in Watt (not toads', sorry) were confiscated by police who thought they were some kind of pornographic cypher.
But what I really wanted to say was that, along with a shedload of typos, one big difference between this Watt and later editions is the inclusion in Arsene's monologue of a song to his East India Rubber Duck. 'Like the Jerusalem Artichoke, she was born in Newtown-Mount-Kennedy, and can hardly walk, but she is a true Indian Runner for all that.'
Ah, Newtownmountkennedy. I know it well. There's a joke about two men with tattoos in a gents' toilet and the word 'Newtownmountkennedy', but I can't be bothered telling it. Nip into the Townhouse some evening and ask one of the locals yourself.