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Idristan

Idristan

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Published by Nick Weldon
Excerpts from Idristan, the novel by jazz musician Nick Weldon.
Excerpts from Idristan, the novel by jazz musician Nick Weldon.

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Published by: Nick Weldon on Aug 10, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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02/07/2013

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Comic, moving, sexy, poetic and philosophical,
Idristan
is a novel about jazz, love, squash andour experience of time.Meet some of the characters:
Myfanwy Muff Maboob
, muse of Idristan
Spiff Abrahams
, cutting edge musician
Cornelius Brewster
, anglophile
The Royal Family
, jazz hounds
 
Chaplet 7Old Bones
Myfanwy followed the two men down the service corridor and into a cupboard. Narrowstone stairs led down into the darkness; Myfanwy could hear the men chatting as theydescended below her. She took off her clackety high-heeled shoes and padded down afterthem.“Well, Principal, I
ʼ
m intrigued. I never knew any of this existed. Where are we going,exactly?”“This web of stairs and tunnels has been in existence for hundreds of years. It is ourprivate route to the Palace.”“To the Palace?!” exclaimed Spiff. “You mean?...Is that where we are going now?”“Yes indeed, my boy”, replied Cornelius Brewster, portentously. “Finally you have beencalled. In this hour, if you only conduct yourself well, you will receive the blessing of yourSovereign.”Myfanwy heard a curse followed by a rattling noise as objects scattered across the stone.“Bloody Taffs!” shouted Cornelius. The men were no longer moving, and Myfanwy creptround a succession of corners until she could hear the Principal
ʼ
s murmured explanation.“All this, stairs, tunnels, passages, the whole caboodle, is the work of the Welsh miners.Oh, back in the 1300s, I should imagine. When the Welsh were so Welsh they were almostJewish. They were given the Royal Decree for their pathetic little Music School in return,but it wasn
ʼ
t enough. They wanted Palace Rights, like the rest of us, and GuildMembership, yes and all the High Teas and Holidays. That was never going to happen.They were only ever a bunch of burrowers, after all. But there was a hunger strike, and anugly confrontation here in the passageways, and the miners perished. Here, below ground,in their finest digging! The bones are everywhere. Bloody Taffs!”Myfanwy trembled all over to hear the fate of her ancestors so coldly described. Shevomited quietly into one of her shoes. The men were on the move again. In passing,Myfanwy swiftly gathered together the bones of her forebear and fashioned them into thesemblance of a human shape. On an impulse she then removed a femur from the skeletonand tucked it inside her neat shiny red leather handbag.Suddenly, with her hand round the human bone, Myfanwy lost all desire to carry on withthe mission she had agreed to, and which was now starting to feel dangerous. She wantedto be at home, in her cosy little caravan in Chigwell.“Let them have their stupid meeting”, she told herself defiantly. Then she heard footstepsabove her, two sets, coming in her direction. One set, she surmised, belonged to the shortAsian woman who followed Spiff everywhere, the other, heavier, more deliberate, andfurther back, to Victor, the brutal and intimidating Nigerian Head of Security.Muff knew she had no choice but to continue her descent. In front of her, Cornelius wasdispensing advice.
 
“Above all, old boy”, said the Principal, “keep banging on about Englishness. And don
ʼ
tmention the Welsh at all, if you can help it. They have some sort of weird obsession withthe Welsh, especially the Nutter Prince. They will speak Welsh among themselves, you
ʼ
llnotice, even though they
ʼ
ll address us in English. Just pretend you think it
ʼ
s normal! Youwon
ʼ
t be on your own, anyway.”As he spoke he indicated the small groups of people who were now joining them in thegreat stone passageway leading underground to the heart of Buckingham Palace.Spiff recognised Principals and Heads of Jazz from the other Royal Music Colleges of theCity. He suddenly visualized the cutting contest to come, and saw his exhaustedcompetitors lay down their instruments while he completed his marathon solo serenade ofthe Sovereign; with this beautiful thought his penis, symbol of his self-belief, twitched intolife and uncurled, warm and throbbing along his inner thigh.
Chaplet 8The Baptism
Spiff held forth about his vision while the Queen poured tea.“My new department is completely cutting edge. We have devised a new fusion music thatcombines the very best of the old bebop with the best of the new hiphop, but with anunmistakeable stamp of Englishness. We call it Bip-Bop, Ma
ʼ
am.”Cornelius Brewster nodded approvingly. The Prince was munching some ginger cake.“Sort of hey nonny nonny John Coltrane. What a splendid idea.” His tone was playful. Hebegan to sing in a lovely bass baritone.“On yonder hill there stands a jazzman. Who he is I do not know. Will he ever end hissolo? Is the answer yes or no?”He gestured around him, and the Queen, King, and various little Royal people, all joined infor the chorus,“Oh no John, no John, no John, no!”Spiff blushed, sensing he had been the butt of a joke thathe didn
ʼ
t quite understand. He picked up his horn and began to play, determined toreestablish his creative credentials. The other Heads of Jazz joined him and soon thecutting contest was under way.The Royal Hosts chattered continuously among themselves during the performance, but itwas only during the bass solo that Myfanwy could make out their words from her hidingplace behind the immense heavy red curtains in the corner of the hall. To her astonishmentthey were speaking in Welsh.“Who are these lame tossers?”, said the Queen.“They couldn
ʼ
t swing from the gallows!”, said her husband.“How they could take the joy of Louis Armstrong, the fire of Ornette Coleman, the passionof John Coltrane, the humour of Roland Kirk....” said the Queen,

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