The Museum of Cultural Waste: Quicksilver
Plain People of Ireland: (brightly) "Well", as the divil once said, "That's the Christmas over for another year thank God!"
Myself: Indeed. A bloated orgy of drink, turkey and ostentatious consumption…
Plain People of Ireland: (unsure) That's right…
Myself:…a lurid festival of debauch where we sing the praises of Mammon to ward off the dark and drear of…
Plain People of Ireland: (interrupting) Er, c'mere and tell us this. Do you ever remember a fella called Bunny Carr at all?
Myself: Sure I do of course. "Quicksilver"…
Plain People of Ireland: (chuckling) Oh yes.
Myself: With 5p questions, Norman Metcalfe and his organ, Goosy Goosy Gandhi and so forth.
Plain People of Ireland: (slapping thighs) That's the wan! Stop the Lights! Weren't we awful innocent back then? What else?
Myself "Going Strong"…
Plain People of Ireland: Oh yes. All the ould biddies.
Myself: Ann O'Dwyer singing "We'll Meet again". Nostalgic tears flowing in the audience. Photographs of grandchildren being exchanged. An ambulance outside the door…
Plain People of Ireland: (doubled over with laughter) Oh Lord God! You're an awful man. 'Tis true though.
Myself: Not a word of a lie.
Plain People of Ireland: But c'mere, there's a reason we mentioned Bunny. You know, out of the blue as it were.
Myself: Go on.
Plain People of Ireland: We've a late Christmas present for you. Here! (parcel shoved in my direction)
Myself: (unwrapping) Why it's a used copy of the Quicksilver: Round-the-World Quiz Book. Thanks!
Plain People of Ireland: Not at all. (Leaning in to whisper) Of course…didn't he do a legger off to Mexico with a Texaco bag full of Gorta money. Never seen since. Well…enjoy! (A puff of stale tobacco smoke fills the air. It clears. I am left alone)
Myself: Hmmm, let's have a look…
Yes folks, after reading the other day (via Damien Mulley) about the thriving market for out of print, vintage Irish TV quiz books what do I have in my hands but a gem of the rarest sort. If "Where in the World" volumes are going for £201 (sterling) then what should I be insuring the above for?
Having worked in the antiquarian book business for a time, and become fairly literate when it comes to associated terminology, I'd describe the volume as "near fine" – a remarkable fact given its likely age and disposability. I say "likely" because the book is dateless. Research into "Canavaun Books" has proved similarly unrevealing…though I can confirm that (in addition to the above volume) they also published the intriguingly titled (63 page) Patrick Myler's Celebrity Files.
I happily confess to being in the dark as to who Mr. Myler is/was, or what his celebrity files contained. I should also point collectors of the obscure (whose interests might now be piqued) in the direction of this sad Amazon message:
Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Distressing news, but this might cheer you all up. It's Picture Quiz No. 5 (in glorious black and white) from the Quicksilver volume:
Who be he? Here are the clues.
This Irish singing star's wardrobe is by now both varied and extensive. Here he wears the garb of Aladdin for an RTÉ pantomime; he has also donned Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. (p. 64)
First answer out of the hat will win a Manky Toy.
Before closing I should add that the "he ran off with a sack of charity money" slur that has attached itself to Bunny's (unusual) name over the years is (from what I can tell) totally unfounded. Though he may have combined (in Horace Cantwell's words) "Larry Gogan's 'Ah they didn't suit you' bonhomie with the sinister undertones of a high-ranking officer in the SS", this particular pre-internet "urban myth" seems built on very shaky foundations.
I've always nurtured a sick and secret ambition to be a game-show host, so if anyone feels like answering a 5p, 10p, 50p, £1, or (in a moment of wild hubris) £5 question then let me know. My clip on bow-tie and sparkly jacket are at the ready.
January 6, 2008