Peter Kocan on the Quaint and Outmoded
by Mercurius Aulicus
Jimmy came afterwards to apologise for going against Tait’s wishes and when they really got talking they found they related easily to one another. They were both in their late twenties and found they liked many of the same things, like poetry and history and folk music and all that was quaint and outmoded. “Quaint and outmoded” became their key term of approval. Then they shortened it to “Q and O”, and finally to “QO”, which they pronounced as a word rhyming with “glow”. The QO stood for an entire value system, and when Jimmy did night duty they would sit and talk about it into the wee hours.
After about three years Jimmy had had enough of the place, or at least of that aspect of it that he and Tait called “the Regime”. Inmates consoling each other with a birthday song was a QO concept, while the spirit that turned it into derision was that of the Regime. They began to see the QO and the Regime as warring principles that were locked in bitter struggle in every sphere of life.
~~Peter Kocan. The fable of all our lives. p. 3-4.
Have you read any of his fiction? I keep meaning to, but never get around to it.
The only fiction of Peter Kocan’s that I’ve only read is ‘The fable of all our lives’. It follows ‘Tait’ after his release and his reception of a literary grant as he attempts to fit back into society again. I’ve been meaning to put a few of the more political quotations from it at this Journal. This book was in fact instrumental in my political ‘conversion’ to Jacobitism. Other than that I’ve read some of his wonderful poetry and his political writings at Quadrant – but not his prison/mental institution stories which as a genre tend not to be my cup of tea. I am in fact rather surprised that you have heard of him and his rather controversial life story which I didn’t think would be known outside of Australia.
I don’t recall where or when I first heard of him. There was a time when I would go to the local university library and read old issues of Quadrant and other even more obscure journals, that is probably how.
I’ve reposted one of his poems – I hope you like it Sir.