Smooching With Istvan

We were out chopping wood, we were out chopping wood. We were hacking, we were hacking, then we went to the docks. We took the wood to the docks, the wood we’d been hacking. We took the wood to the docks, we had hacked. At the docks, we put the wood on to a boat. When the wood was on the boat, the boat set sail, the boat sank. But the wood remained afloat. When the boat sank, the crew swam. The crew clutched at the wood, the wood remained afloat. We had hacked the wood, the crew grabbed at the wood, and then they made for the shore. On the shore were the docks, and we were boozing at the docks. We’d been out chopping wood, now we were boozing at the docks.

That shanty was originally published twenty long years ago in Smooching With Istvan, the second Malice Aforethought Press anthology of writings and drawings by Mr Key and Max Décharné. Well do I remember creating the covers by spraying sheets of card with seven or eight different colours of car spray paint in a closed room. I should have opened the windows. Incidentally, it is within the pages of Smooching With Istvan that the words “Hooting Yard” appeared in print for the very first time. I will shortly be auctioning an exceedingly rare copy of this one hundred page collection of bran tub scrapings on eBay, but before doing so I will accept bids here, until noon on Saturday 19th May. A full eBay-style description of the book is added in the Comments. Taking advice from the kinds of people who advise me on such things, the starting price is £100.

4 Responses to “Smooching With Istvan”


  • Here is that description:

    The second compendium of writings by Frank Key and Maxim Decharne published under their Malice Aforethought Press imprint, Spring 1987. 100 pages. Cover is handpainted in car spray paint. Good condition: never been read but somefading and grime. Includes Fish That Made History, The Abandoned Zoo, etc. Limited to 100 signed & numbered copies of which this is number 68. This was the pair’s ground-breaking anthology and heralded a vast quantity of pamphlets, books, artwork in tiny and trade editions.

    “It must be great because I kept a spare copy which in my book-selling days was something I’d rarely do. In my opinion this was among the best and most refreshing items to come out of M.A.P. – a modern classic!” Ed Baxter, Counter Productions

  • Get it on ebay man!

    Let’s see if the “invisible hand” of the “market” is all it’s cracked up to be.

  • I have seen the car spray paint firsthand, and 68 (Euston to South Croydon) is one of my lucky bus numbers. For these, and many other reasons, I am happy to offer 100 of your country’s strange shiny coins for this worthy volume.

  • I am ready to stump up
    £125 and a jar of honey.

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