Airy Persiflage
On the Bad Vicarage, by Mr. Frank Key, read by Walt O’Hara

On the Bad Vicarage, by Mr. Frank Key, read by Walt O’Hara

April 14, 2014

"The vicarage is bad indeed, as bad as any vicarage in Christendom. But the vicar whose sinecure it is is, shall we say, a fair to middling vicar. I would not call him good, but he is by no means as bad as the Bad Vicar of old.”

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Not for the faint of heart, Mr. Key's spine tingling tale of a monstrous vicar of old and the evil that he wrought! 

It was high time we did a Frank Key piece here, and this tickled my fancy when it was written two years ago.

Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson, read by Walter O’Hara

Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson, read by Walter O’Hara

December 22, 2013


Born of Man and Woman is not a pleasant story, as it depicts a child born a hideous monster in our eyes, kept chained in the cellar by his parents, where he is beaten and abused regularly.   It is, however, a memorable one, written by one of my favorite writers in the short story form, Richard Matheson, who is perhaps more famous for his television work on the Twilight Zone and other famous shows.  This is my second short-short SF piece in a row by Mr. Matheson, I'm on something of a Matheson kick recently, having just read STEEL AND OTHER STORIES, where I picked up Lemmings, the previous story. 

Born of Man and Woman is a story I read as a younger teenager-- probably 13 or so, and I recall it being in one of those Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies edited by Robert Silverberg.  It's one of those stories that sticks with you.. Matheson paints a vivid picture of the unnamed child's suffering by having him recount events in a broken journal form.  At the end of the story, you have to ask yourself who the real monsters are.
Lemmings by Richard Matheson

Lemmings by Richard Matheson

December 15, 2013

This tiny little story is by one of my favorite writers to ever grace the tiny screen, Mr. Richard Matheson, who passed away on June 23rd of this year (2013).  Matheson was perhaps the finest writer for television of the 20th century; many famous Twilight Zones bear his mark, including the famous Nightmare at 50,000 Feet (the original).  

Written as a parable about nuclear war, it was not received well, and in some jurisdictions people actually wanted it banned.  I rather like the darkly ironic tone and imagery of this short-short piece.  I have always read it very differently from the author's intent, and took the allegory as  representing the madness of popular culture.  Go figure!
BUST, by Jennifer Pashley

BUST, by Jennifer Pashley

September 22, 2013

Jennifer Pashley's enigmatic story is published HERE.  All rights reserved.

I liked it.  Short, and with a mordant twist at the end. 



A Golden Hope Christmas, by Robert E. Howard.  Read by Walter O’Hara

A Golden Hope Christmas, by Robert E. Howard. Read by Walter O’Hara

December 16, 2012

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A GOLDEN HOPE CHRISTMAS was famed pulp writer Robert E. Howard's first commercial sale of sorts, as he won a cash prize for publishing it in the local school newspaper.

Full story here

It seemed in keeping with the season.

War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler

War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler

August 19, 2012

I will depart from usual practice of narrating my own posts on Airy Persiflage and post an excellent Librivox recording of the signature work of a hero of mine, General Smedley Butler.  General Butler was the real thing. A Major General in the United States Marine Corps, he participated in several campaigns and little "Banana Wars" around the turn of the century and was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. By the end of his career, he had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only man to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions. In his 1935 book War is a Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.  Attached to this post is a recording of WAR IS A RACKET, read by a Librivox reader named Jules Harlock.  The recording is posted under the Creative Commons License. 

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A Feline Portion of Jubilate Agno, by Christopher Smart

A Feline Portion of Jubilate Agno, by Christopher Smart

May 4, 2012

Jubilate Agno (Latin, "Rejoice in the Lamb") is a religious "list" poem by Christopher Smart, and was written between 1759 and 1763, during Smart's confinement for insanity in St. Luke's Hospital, Bethnal Green, London. The poem was first published in 1939, under the title Rejoice in the Lamb: A Song from Bedlam, edited by W. F. Stead from Smart's manuscript, which Stead had discovered in a private library.

Perhaps the most repeated and cited portions of of Jubilate Agno concern themselves with the unique affection Smart had for his cat Jeoffry, which is repeated here.

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Music bumps at front and end are from the Gregorian Chant "Christus Factus Est", taken from the Old Time Radio Free Podcast collection

“We are Coming by Day and by Night”

“We are Coming by Day and by Night”

April 28, 2012

This is a slight deviation from what I normally put up on Airy Persiflage.  This post is  a reading of the text of a leaflet dropped on Nazi Germany by RAF  bombers in the Summer of 1942.  Although famed Strategic Bomber visionary Arthur "Bomber" Harris signed it, he subsequently denied its authorship.

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I apologize for not attempting this in a proper British accent; it did seem called for considering the subject matter.  However, my first attempt was so comical I thought it took away from the sense of the piece!

A Hooting Yard tribute

A Hooting Yard tribute

April 25, 2012

Past followers of Airy Persiflage (and oddly enough there might be a few), probably realize we are great fans of the rambling discourse of Mr. Frank Key, of HOOTING YARD fame, and the author of several fine monographs which have occasionally contributed material for audio reads here on Persiflage.  Mr. Key has been kind enough to say some nice words about Airy Persiflage on the Hooting Yard, I was honored to hear the encomiums continue on a recent broadcast of Hooting Yard on Resonance FM 104 in the United Kingdom.  Mr. Key played the version of Ambrose and Mister Ploppo we recorded on 27 July 2011.  I was honored to be included!

Here is the relevant link:

HOOTING YARD APRIL 22 SHOW

From what I hear on the recording, other segments of Hooting Yard material we have recorded may show up on Resonance FM in the near future.

The Retirement of the Shuttle Discovery

The Retirement of the Shuttle Discovery

April 19, 2012

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A little change of pace for this week.  My son Garrett, whom you may have heard on a couple of short story reads on Airy Persiflage before (he was the voice of Ambrose in "Ambrose and Ploppo", recently) and I were at the Udvar Hazy museum in Chantilly, Va today to watch the Shuttle Discovery arrive at her new home, and to say goodby to the Shuttle Enterprise.  I recorded a little audio of Discovery moving down the track to go nose to nose with the Enterprise.  It was a historic moment, seeing two shuttles that close together.

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