Sunday, July 08, 2007

In which things take a sinister turn… (including Blogger's inexplicable refusal to let me add a title. Which would be - if I could add it - Part Secundex)

Reader, I bought the book. Gripped by a fatal combination of nostalgia and pity, I shelled out 40 (£1/US $2) crowns for the x-actoed x-Lindsey. I couldn't help but think that almost any prospective buyer flicking through the mangled pages would have likely immediately returned it to the shelf. And then? Landfill.

Having bought it, it seemed only fair (and economical) to take it for a trip down memory lane. Which was when I discovered the full horror of the situation. Not the "of its time thing, either", although yes, I blush. (See below for details).

Anyhow, all that neatly excised early-80s "preliminaries-to-the-dance-as-old-as-time" malarkey? All those heaving, swelling metaphors sliced off and scattered to the (wild) wind? All those prurient gazes forever poked out with a big stick? All gone? Not ezackly. The unseen wielder of the blade missed a bit.

Quite a big bit actually. In fact something like 3 and a bit pages. And then another 2 page chunk. There are probably another few lurking to stumble up the unwary (somehow, nostalgia could only take me so far). The only difference between these scenes and the expurgated ones before and after were that the intact ones involved the heroine and her (eventual) wun twue wuv. Not the heroine and the villain most eeeeevillle. Or the heroine and admirers A, B or C. That's a Boolean "OR" by the way. It's not that kind of book.

But, yeah. Heroine, hewo and surprised-while-bathing-in-the-stream-leading-to-the-obvious scene? Well, that's okay, it appears.


Yep. It seems the mad axe editor had more nuanced views than I expected. It's not so much a blanket ban on smut, as a crocheted (matrimonial?) shawl. With some FLIPPING BIG HOLES in it. For the unseen hands that wielded the x-acto knife, it ain’t what you do, it’s who you do it with.

I repeat. Whaaaaattt???

And let me just point out for the record, that in certain cases, only a few words were chopped out. As in:

The first time she met him, even while he was demanding payment on the note he had won from her father, rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb Jessie’s body. ("Him" = unwashed mass of filthy-minded eeeeviiilllle villain. Jessie is the feisty rancher-girl heroine with a nice line in frocks. Hairoine too, looking at the cover. But seriously, how offensive can a master of eeeevilll be in roughly half a line? In her father's presence? When she has all that hair?)

Or: …Rodrigo, (not the hairo, as discerning readers will immediately realise on account of - Look! Cowboyspeak! - the slightly deflated nature of his mullete d'amor. Except I think Rodrigo's hair preceded his entry. Sorry.)

Rodrigo, standing at the window overlooking the courtyard, turned and saw her (or hair). The (dunno, but context dictates that it be about four words of window-based dodginess. Even in Amsterdam this takes longer. Maybe the pelmets cast shadows that looked like amusingly-shaped root vegetables on the hacienda floor.) but there was only one light, across the room, and it was impossible to see inside the curtains. (Wow. Impossible to see. As if he were night blind. That's almost as if he were actually blind. BLIND, I tell you. And EVERYone knows what makes people go BLIND. Cataracts.)

Or the missing 2 1/2 words (the first starts with "o", but it's a tricky one) and then second line when Jessie is chit-chatting to a wandering brave (not in the wild wind, it would seem, given the rather dull and stationary nature of their hair) who approaches her starlit campsite.:

"No o(oohhh? oooouuu? oowwwwu? oooobuggerit) the Cheyenne tongue?"
(Do NOT think that. Jessie is pure. She is good. She is innocent. She is...err...)
”I am Looks Like Woman, friend of the Cheyenne. I have a fire to share and food…”
(She is dumb. Sigh.)

And yes, I blush.

No comments: