Archive for June, 2014

Hotel puzzle

Sunday, June 29th, 2014


Tropical Topics Number 210 (Sunday 29 June 2014)

Welcome back to my restored weekly newsletter on topics tropical!

Hotel puzzle.

I realise that the world is changing fast and it’s difficult for me, a septuagenarian beat poet, to keep up with, or understand, it. During the past couple of years when I have stayed in hotels (in Thailand, the Maldives as well as in Sri Lanka), I have noticed the beds are no longer covered in a simple counterpane, itself an old word for bedspread.

Now hotel beds come with an additional strip of material draped across the  midriff. In addition, there are no longer just a couple of pillows but cushions as well, the more expensive the room rate, the more cushions are piled up on the bed.

1.Hotel bedroom design statement?

1.Hotel bedroom design statement?

These are removed and stored out of sight by the staff who perform the “turn down service” while one is at dinner. Or you chuck them on the floor yourself if you happen to want an uncluttered bed for a siesta (as I do) after lunch.

This photo is of a bedroom built of granite blocks with roof and floor of local timber at the 98 Acres Resort & Spa near Ella. The bright red cushions look attractive but I wonder whether this is just a fashionable design statement adopted by ambitious hotels. I haven’t been able to work out a use for those cushions and the bed strip.


Bungalow Mystery

From John Lyons came a request a few weeks ago to see if any reader could identify this bungalow, photographed by John’s father in Ceylon in 1943.

2. Which bungalow?

2. Which bungalow?

Last week I received the following from John. “I had this photo reproduced at a higher resolution and, guess what! Over the door you can just 2ake out the name KILLARNEY which seems to be a plantation near Bogawantalawa…I wonder if you know anyone who may be able to tell me if this building still exists?”

I sent the photograph to the expert on plantation bungalows, Michael Cooke who lives in Kandy and with whom I used to go bungle-hunting a couple of decades ago. Michael replied promptly: “The bungalow is NOT Killarney. Killarney Bungalow appears on the website under photographs. I cannot comprehend how the name came to be engraved on the bungalow. To all intents and purposes the bungalow in the photograph looks like a low country bungalow like Sirinapathi Chilaw.”

Can any reader enlighten us bungalow nuts?

Wine Tasting

If you are in the Mount Lavinia area next Friday 4 July (and not at a USA Independence Day dinner), and fancy Chilean wine and Italian fare, there’s a fabulous wine tasting planned for that evening.

How do I know it’s fabulous? Because the importer of Valdivieso wines (which I like) tells me I couldn’t buy a single bottle of good Chilean wine for the cost of admission – and there’s food too! The charismatic Brett Jackson, the chief winemaker for Valdivieso, will be leading the tasting (of seven wines paired with seven dishes from a degustation menu).

A Paperback Novel a Month

When I stayed with some raunchy lads in a gungy flat in Liverpool in June 1960 while I was on a poetry reading tour, we discussed one night after chewing benzedrine strips from the inside of a Boots The Chemist nose-inhaler, what we wanted to be. John said he wanted to be a musician so I told him to quit art school and get on with it. Stuart wanted to be an artist; George didn’t know, and Paul just smiled sweetly.

“I want to be a paperback writer,” I said, as it was the height of success then for an aspiring writer to be published popularly in paperback. That phrase inspired one of the Beatles’ hits, and it has also inspired Miriam Linna of Kicks Books, a division of Norton Records of the USA ( to publish a paperback a month by me from April 2014.

3. My latest novels

3. My latest novels

Last year, Miriam published my collection of 1960s beat poetry, Gone Man Squared in paperback and she reports it has been a huge success, hence her new venture of a paperback a month. Some have been previously published but are now being issued a Kicks Books and Kindles ebooks in unexpurgated (and re-edited) versions while others, like Sweet Ebony has never been published before.

Sweet Ebony is set in Kenya, while Rush At The End flows from London to Las Palmas. These and all my other books in print are available from or

Beat regards