Munchhausen

This not a poem but a song written in 1931 by one of the great masters of Berlin Caberet , Friedrich Hollaender with English words written by Jeremy Lawrence from a translation by Alan Lareau. As you can see it was written against the backdrop of the rise of the Third Reich, in Germany. I’ll leave you all to judge for yourselves, but to me it’s sentiments are as relevant today, throughout the world, as they were then. And perhaps the stakes are even higher.

Munchhausen
I came across a wond’rous tree
As prickly as a porcupine
This cactus tree bore luscious fruit
And giant roses red as wine
It rose so high into the sky
Its top was,far out of sight
Its leaves recoiled from the day
and then they turned to gold at night
And if you bored into its bark
hot coffee poured out rich and dark
Liar liar liar liar liar
I’m sick and tired of lies from you
But how I wish your lies were true
Liar liar liar liar liar
truth is hard and tough as nails
that’s why we need fairy tails
I’m all through with logical conclusions
Why should I deny myself illusions

I saw a film the other day
That really varied from the norm
There were no soldiers on parade
And no one marched in uniform
Its heroes were not supermen
And no one ever shot a gun
The audience still loved the film
Though not a single war was won
But I was really shocked to see
This film was made in Germany
Liar liar liar liar liar

I saw a court of law where all
the justices were just again
Where all the lawyers worked for free
And all of them were honest men
You could be rich you could be poor
You could be Christian or a Jew
your politics did not have sway
Or how a judge would rule on you
their hearts were young, their minds
were free
they judged all men equally
Liar liar liar liar liar

I saw a woman trying hard
To feed her family of ten
She was poor and destitute
And worse was pregnant once again
She knew what they would say in church
She sought a doctor out instead
who told her if she had the child
that she herself might well end dead
Then in a calm and gentle voice
He said the law says it’s your choice
Liar liar liar liar liar

I saw a brave republic where
One banner flew for all to see
Its stripes of black and red and gold
Is flying everywhere instead
And nowhere will you see those flags
Which sport that thing that zigs and zags
Liar liar liar liar liar

I saw a land that hated war
and melted all its weapons down
to build a boat of love for kids
who planned to sail from town to town
declaring peace for all the world
Let killing now come to an end
embrace your enemies instead
your former foe is now your friend
Ev’ry conflict now will cease
And all of us will live in peace
Liar liar liar liar liar

 

Münchhausen

Ich habe einen Baum gesehn,
der war so stachig wie Kakteen,
Es war so hoch, daß man erblindet,
bevor man seinen Wipfet findet;
die Blätter, die bei Tag gerolit,
falin nachts herab und sind aus Gold.
Und aus der Rinde, ei der Daus,
fließt schöner heißer Kaffee raus.
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.
Aber schön wär’s, das ist klar,
wäre nur ein bei bißchen wahr!
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.
Alles was der Mann gesehn,
aber er erzählt so schön!
Um die Illusion sich nicht zu rauben,
möchte man ihm alles, alles glauben.

Ich habe einen film gesehn
Da brauchte neimand stramm zu stehn;
Nicht eine Uniform war drin,
das Publikum ging trotzdem hin.
Er spielt‘ in keiner Garnison,
und die Besucher klaschten schon,
obgleich die Helden, wie kurios,
gemeine Civilisten bloß!
Der Film ging durch die ganze Welt
Und war in Deutschland hergestellt!
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.

Ich habe ein Gericht gesehn,
das schien aus Menschen zu bestehn.
Der Richter war aus Fliesch und Bloot,
er unterschied nicht Christ un Jud‘
Er unterschied nicht arm und reich,
ihm warn alle lieb und gleich;
von keinem dachte er was Schlecht’s
er trat nicht links und kniet‘ nicht rechts.
Er kannte, weil sein Herz noch jung,
so etwas wie Verantwortung.

Ich habe eine Frau gesehn
Die hatte schon der Kinder zehn.
Und Brot und Geld, die reichten nicht
Und jetzt ein elftes gar in Sicht.
Da ging die Doktor hin
Und Sprach: „Sieh her, wie arm ich bin!
Die Wiege steht und steht nicht leer,
ich darf kein Kindlein haben mehr“
Da sprach der Arzt: „Ich helfe dir,
denn das Gesetz erlaubt es mir!“
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.

Ich hab ’ne Republik gesehn
Da darf nur eine Fahne, die ist schwarz-rot-gold.
und keine andre wird entrolit!
Sie duldet nicht – es war‘ ihr Tod -,
etwa die Fahne schwarz-weiß-rot.
Und nirgent sieht man, ich bestreit’s,
wie heißt das Ding? So’n Hakenkreuz.
Die Kinder selbst am Ostseesand:
Nur schwarz-rot-gold der ganze Strand!
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.

Ich habe auch ein gesehn,
das will in keinen Krieg mehr geht.
Es schmelzt die ganzen Waffenein,
macht Betten draus für Kinderlein.
Auf Kreuzern, die ganz umgestelit,
fahrn frohe Menchen in die Welt,
die bringen nach andern Ländern frei,
das Lied, wie suß der Friede sei.
Ein solches Schiff, gar bund bemannt,
es wird das Friedensschiff genannt!
Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge, Lüge.

Press Release – In the Shadow of the Gathering Storm

In the Shadow of the Gathering Storm is published by Cartvale Press and is now available.

Historical Fiction Novel Marks 100-Year Centenary of First World War End.
The Battle for George Square (part of Red Clydeside) in 1919 is among the subjects tackled by Glasgow author Erl Wilkie’s ambitious new novel.
In the Shadow of the Gathering Storm, Wilkie’s book is set in the immediate aftermath of the  First World War, and it follows the fortunes of one German naval petty officer, Johann Schettler, disenchanted with the European elite classes who blindly led their countries into war.
It is a novel about revolution, intrigue and love set inside four historical events.

  1. The German Revolution 1918 to 1923.
  2. The internment of part of the German Battle fleet at Scapa Flow 1918 to 1919.
  3. The Battle for George Square Glasgow (Part of Red Clydeside) – January 1919.
  4. The struggle for Irish independence after the first Dáil Ėireann was formed in January 1919.

A family caught on both sides of the conflict, come to the same conclusion; that to prevent it happening again the people must revolt against the ruling classes.
The book begins at the end of October 1918, when Schettler is taken prisoner for his part in organising a mutiny of sailors who refuse to allow themselves to be cannon fodder and go into battle against the British Navy when the war has already been lost. The mutiny sparks off a revolution when the sailors and workers of Kiel rise up against the ruling class who have been responsible for the tyranny that has brought about untold misery and suffering throughout the four years of cataclysmic war.
Schettler’s released by Kiel’s victorious revolution and the war soon ends. Under the terms of the armistice the allies insist that the German Navy’s ships are interned in Scapa Flow in the Orkneys while the peace negotiations get underway. Schettler is sent with the fleet where he suffers hardship and turmoil before escaping to Glasgow to reunite with his mother’s Scottish family, where he meets Kate A’Herne.
To escape from the security services, the couple flee to Kate’s home in Ireland. In a short but blissful period, Johann and Kate fall in love. They move to Dublin to help in the struggle for Irish Independence but find they’re still being hunted. Can they turn this to their advantage?
Erl Wilkie has moulded a story of class struggle of mouth-drying tension where spies and government agents conspire to wreck the aspirations of the people. A five star review on Kindle asserts: “A well-researched historical novel and a good storyline that kept this reader hooked to the end”.
Erl said: “The immediate aftermath of World War One is fascinating, particularly in relation to what was happening in Scotland and Ireland at that time. The majority of events taking place under the banner of Red Clydeside have been largely forgotten but I hope to rectify that with this book, as at the time, they were instrumental in creating fundamental changes to better the lives of the working class throughout Britain. I also wanted to emphasise the wide-spread and unnecessary hardship the so-called Great War caused, and the devastation it left behind. No wonder the people of many countries rose up against it.
Wilkie’s no stranger to contentious books. In 2013, he published OVERTURE, a novel that dared to insinuate that given a YES vote in the independence referendum of 2014, the British and American Governments would secretly resort to all sorts of dirty tricks to prevent it happening.

You can purchase the book from Amazon or directly from the Author.
Just contact me and pay securely via my PayPal Page.

The paperback is also available at :-

  • Glasgow – branches of Waterstones, Hyndland Bookshop, Calton Books.
  • Edinburgh – Blackwells.
  • Paisley – Abbey Books.
  • St Andrews – Topping Books and J & G Innes.

For more information please contact Erl Wilkie at erlwilkie.com/contact

High-resolution pictures of the book cover and the author are available.

Reviews : In The Shadow of the Gathering Storm

Here are the first five Amazon reviews of In The Shadow of the Gathering Storm.

Donald Christie *****

Erl Wilkie’s second novel is an outstanding piece of historical fiction, both utterly engaging as a story of human relationships and also exceptionally insightful in providing a fresh perspective on the turbulent political events surrounding the end of the First World War.
It draws together revolutionary activities in three cleverly intertwined contexts, the German Naval Fleet in Scapa Flow, Glasgow during the Red Clydeside period and Ireland during the Uprising.
As we mark the centenary of the end of World War I, this is a timely and well-researched reminder of social and political conflicts that reached well beyond the trenches and the high seas, deeply affecting the lives of those concerned. Without sentimentality, love and moral justice shine through this inspiring novel.

Bob Fleming *****

A well researched historical novel and a good storyline that kept this reader hooked to the end.

Lawrence Allen ****

I’m not a great reader of historical fiction, but someone I knew suggested I give Erl Wilkie’s In the Shadow of the Gathering Storm a try.
The central character in the story is Johann Schettler, a German with a Scottish mother, who therefore has unusually good language skills.
Starting in the German navy at the end of World War I, Schettler finds himself engulfed in no fewer than three separate periods of social unrest: the post-war Spartacist movement (via the German navy’s demise and its imprisonment at Scapa Flow); Red Clydeside; and the Irish war of independence after 1916. Presumably after that the authorities wised up and refused to let Schettler in before he could do any dam.

In many ways this is three separate novellas, and Wilkie does actually split the book that way, so if the reader wanted he or she could read each one, put the book down, then come back later. But I did want to read the book through, even although I felt that Schettler was a little too intense for my taste.
By a distance, the book’s best character is Kate A’Hearne, who simply lights up the later parts of In the Shadow.
If I had a criticism of the book, it would be that there’s not enough of her.
It’s also only really “a Scottish historical fiction novel” insofar as it’s written by a Scot and the middle (and shortest, I think) part is set in Glasgow.

But I’d suggest you give this a shot. By the standards of historical fiction this is reasonably short and concise, and I suspect that the first section will particularly interest readers, while it’s the second and third parts that bring in the fabulous Ms A’Hearne.

Katie Cook *****

For fans of historical fiction – this story takes in Scotland, Ireland and the Orkneys, and proves educational on what happened in the immediate time after World War One.
Great characters, fast-paced action and adventure, and illuminating about ‘forgotten’ bits of history, I’d recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good yarn.

Battlefield Betsy ****

In this anniversary year of 2018, this novel connects the dramatic events that happened in Germany, Scotland and Ireland.
Who knew the workers had taken power in Germany?
How many have forgotten Red Clydeside?
Wilkie’s engaging characters are all active in this amazing movement, but not political cyphers – warm and real.
The book highlights the reality that the First World War was detested, opposed and resisted by millions of workers – a welcome antidote to all the stuff about “great heroes who wanted to defend their country”.
Also great to see strong women characters for a change!

If you decide to read it, please post up a review. Good or bad I don’t mind.

The book is available on Kindle and the paperback is in Amazon and thus far, is also in bookshops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stromness and St Andrews.
It will soon be in some Waterstones’ Stores.

Arrival of my new book

Dear readers

I am delighted to announce that my new book In the Shadow of the Gathering Storm has now been published on Kindle.

It’s a compelling story of struggle, courage, determination and love during one of the 20th century’s most turbulent periods.

As the First World War draws to an end, Petty Officer Johann Schettler is embroiled in a mutiny of German sailors. This action turns to revolution as the German people begin to remove the ruling class from power.

Schettler is sent with the interned fleet to Scapa – suffering hardship and turmoil before escaping to Glasgow to reunite with his mother’s family.  He meets Kate A’Herne in the midst of the battle of George Square.

To escape from the security services they flee to Kate’s home in Ireland.  In a short but blissful period, they fall in love. But bliss turns to horror as they endure the brutality of the British Army.

They move to Dublin to help in the struggle for Irish Independence but find they’re still being hunted.  Can they turn this to their advantage?

Not only do you get an exciting book to read but I invite you to read the an account of the four historical events covered in the story by visiting the Addendum.

Auf Deutsch

Liebe Leser.

Ich freue mich, Ihnen mitteilen zu können, dass mein neues Buch „Im Schatten des mitreißenden Sturms“ bei Kindle herausgekommen ist.

Eine mitreißende Geschichte über Kämpfe, Mut, persönliche Bestimmung und Liebe während einer der turbulentesten Perioden des 20. Jahrhunderts.

Gegen Ende des ersten Weltkrieges wird der Bootsmannsmaat Johann Schettler in die bekannte Meuterei der Kieler Matrosen verwickelt, die sich schließlich zu einer Revolution ausweitet, in deren Verlauf die bis dahin in Deutschland herrschende Klasse entmachtet wird.

Während der anschließenden Überführung der internierten deutschen Flotte nach Scapa Flow (Schottland) erleidet Schettler zahlreiche Entbehrungen und Tumulte, bevor ihm die Flucht nach Glasgow gelingt. Er versteckt sich bei der Familie seiner Mutter und lernt dort Kate A`Herne kennen, die aktiv an den damaligen Streiks teilnimmt, die unter der Bezeichnung „Battle of George Square“ in die Geschichte eingegangen sind.

Verfolgt von Geheimdiensten fliehen die beiden nach Irland, Kates Heimat. Dort verlieben sie sich und erleben eine kurze, intensiv glückliche Zeit, die durch die Brutalität der Britischen Armee, die damals die irische Unabhängigkeitsbewegung bekämpfte, ein jähes Ende findet.

Um weiter für die Unabhängigkeit Irlands zu kämpfen, führt sie ihr weiterer Fluchtweg nach Dublin. Doch auch dort werden sie weiter verfolgt. Gelingt ihnen in dieser Situation die Verwirklichung ihrer Ziele?

Durch die Lektüre bekommen Sie nicht nur ein spannendes Buch zu lesen, sondern können sich auch im Anhang über Details der vier historischen Ereignisse informieren, die dem Buch zu Grunde liegen.

Um dies zu erreichen, drücken Sie den unterstrichenen Link oben.

 

The Perpetual Traveller Chapter 3

Dear Readers

Here is Chapter 3 which covers my trip to Berlin in 1964. It’s hard for me to get my head round the fact that it was over fifty two years ago for it only seems like yesterday. I’ve been in Berlin many times since and each time I go it has changed. But each visit never ceases to thrill me. I hope you enjoy reading this account of that far off time, for as well as being the most exiting adventure we had lots of fun intermingled with some hairy experiences. As a somewhat selfish and naive twenty year old it certainly broadened my horizons greatly.

 

The perpetual traveller Chapter 2 London 1962

I guess you will wonder why I published 1963’s (Chapter 1) adventure before 1962’s (Chapter 2). Well because I felt 1963 was my first real hitch hiking adventure and 1962 was really only a trial run. I wasn’t going to publish it at all until I was told that the story would be of interest to people particularly the possible supernatural connection. I’ll leave my readers to judge.

I’m sorry for the lack of photographs in these accounts but as well as not being able to afford the cost of travel in those days neither could we afford a camera and film.

Trip indexChapter 1

The perpetual traveller (The early days).

As I stated previously, when I was a teenager in the early to mid sixties, my form of long distance transport was hitch hiking for at that time there was no cheap airlines or cheap package deals of which to take advantage. So unless you had lots of money to spare, one either went hiking locally or took a week in somewhere like Blackpool or even Butlins at Ayr. For an adventurous spirit this would not do, so hitch hiking was the only avenue open to me.  The world was a dangerous place then with the cold war escalating and France and Britain in the middle of trouble in their colonies and ex-colonies and it was in those times I decided to travel through France and Germany.

The reason I decided to document these trips so many years after they took place was, I felt that it gives an insight into the social history of the time. The majority of people reading these accounts would either have been children or not yet born. So, I hope they will be of interest. Chapter 1 is about my first continental trip to the south of France in 1963.

Last two chapters of Two Old Geezers.

Today I have published Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 of ‘Two old geezers’, the last two chapters, and I hope you enjoy them. I also hope you find the historical facts about Warsaw interesting. It’s difficult to comprehend the extent of the suffering experienced by the Polish people, not only at the hands of the Nazis but also later with the Russians.

To understand this level of suffering is to realise how this movement to the extreme right in many countries, not least England and the USA can only, once again, fan the flames of racial  tension and xenophobia. It was most poignant when looking at the list of battles fought by Polish troops during WW2 and recognising they mirrored exactly those fought by our own troops. It made us realise that the Poles made a huge contribution to the defense of the UK during that terrible war and they did it when their own country was being totally ravaged and their relatives being slaughtered in their millions. So it fills me with revulsion when I hear of a new wave of hate crimes against them and many other nationalities. Surely humanity cannot be returning to these barbaric times.

Another chapter of Two old geezers.

I hope you have found the previous chapters of our exiting adventure through East Germany and Poland interesting. Donald and I certainly found it enjoyable a little bit challenging from time to time and certainly most illuminating. In Chapter 6 as with Chapter 3 you might be shocked to read how the Poles and the Jews suffered during the Nazi occupation of Poland we certainly were.