Friday, 25 July 2008

Aickman was right

.. though not necessarily about the human condition. No, he was right about canals. Aickman fell out with some members of the Inland Waterways Association, which he helped found, over what canals are actually for. Some, notably the ghost story writer and engineer LTC Rolt, wanted to revive the canals as a transport network. Aickman, to his credit, saw waterways as 'useful' only for leisure purposes. Recent press reports now confirm that leisure boating is the 'big thing', with freight carriage taking a very secondary role. More info about Rolt here. Let's see if I can find a nice video of a canal boat, not unlike that featured in Aickman's story 'Three Miles Up', arguably the first ghost story featuring a girl called Sharon. Nothing spooky about these chaps' holiday, of course - except for their cooking, snarf!

I feel the urge to correct myself. Curses, foiled again, and so forth (see Comments). Yes, Elizabeth Jane Howard wrote 'Three Miles Up'. I can't recall if Aickman wrote any stories about canals. Perhaps the subject was too evocative of the daily grind to be inspiring. 


nomis said...

"Three Miles Up" is attributed to Elizabeth Jane Howard, not Aickman.

(Speaking of which, was it ever made official who wrote what in "We Are For The Dark"?)

valdemar squelch said...

Whoops, yes, 'Three Miles Up' was indeed Howard. She was of course the IWA's secretary. Aickman wrote 'The Trains', 'The Insufficient Answer' (a weak one), and 'The View'.