Ask Jimmy #3

September 22, 2018

This new series seems to have gone down well so I have endeavoured to squeeze more blood from the stone that is Jimmy. The text is all his, and the footnotes are mine.

Qu. Where is the line between working a girl’s attraction switches and losing the frame and being a needy pleaser?

This is a question I really like that I saw in the comments of that last post. It’s also a debate I had with a coaching client I had a few weekends ago. He really pushed me well on it and I wasn’t convinced I had answered well enough to suit him, so seeing this in the comments was like a second chance for me to make my case.

The argument I am getting goes something like this: ‘You say you adapted your game depending on the girl’s preferences, but aren’t you supposed to be a man who is on the path to his true self and not simply trying to please the girl?’

Again, I am no authority, nor am I trying to sell myself as one [1]. I’m just an old dog with a lot of data under my belt and you might be half my age. So, just in my opinion and from what I have experienced I’d say yes to both. Yes you are a man who follows his path, sticks to his guns and knows his own mind and this will be attractive. Faltering from this in front of a target is more often than not going to be seen as a stumble. Changing to suit her (certainly in the early/attraction stages of the courtship) is probably going to be seen as rapport-seeking and possibly even as a show stopper.

But this is more about lying or subduing your true self and misrepresenting your path or important core beliefs. I don’t advocate you do that.


R selected

I’ll hazard a guess this girl is r-selected

I remember once being on a date, I can’t remember where or who with, but I remember the moment, that at some point we got into that discussion about girls taking adequate steps to make sure they don’t get attacked or raped. The old analogy ‘if you leave your watch on a park bench unguarded for a day, of course it’s not right that someone stole it, but you also need to learn to protect yourself more adequately in future’.

Now this idea that a girl ‘should be able’ to walk in a short skirt through Finsbury Park at midnight on her own and not get attacked is adolescent to the point of dangerous [2]. We should all be able to do a lot of things, but we can’t because there are bad people in the world. We need to protect ourselves like responsible adults, not talk like 12 year olds. Of course, you all know this.

And so I made this exact case. And the girl got very angry. She shouted at me about how that was a disgusting attitude and then she claimed her friend got raped and it is never the victim’s fault, blah blah blah.

So what did I do? I immediately consulted my copy of Daygame Mastery (I take it with me everywhere, especially on dates and job interviews) and I simply stuck to my guns. I don’t cow to skirt. I looked her right in the eye and told her sternly (in a Geordie accent I’d picked up from studying Daygame Overkill) that I was sorry to hear about her friend but that I don’t choose best practices based on highly emotional, subjectively preferential situations. If anyone ever encouraged my daughter or my niece to behave recklessly, they’d be getting a boot up their arse for the danger they would be putting her in. I was of course 100% happy for her to storm off.

Bringing highly emotive personal experiences into political discussions is also one of my core dislikes. I’m not going to bow to it. We’ve all been in situations where we’re desperate and we expect the world to stop turning and come to our aid. When my nephew was ill, my personal belief was that everyone in the country should stop what they were doing and focus 100% on helping him get better, until he got better. Was that doctor walking a bit too slowly? He should be threatened with dismissal. Was that nurse acting a little bit too relaxed? Get him his own personal physician immediately who will take it seriously, hang the expense, the taxpayer can afford it.

In the heat of personal fear and desperation that’s what we demand, but it’s delusional to think that any of this is in any way sustainable or possible and to ever bring into practice across a population.

I was never going to back down and try to appease her. I’d be betraying what I truly felt and in all honesty, I just didn’t want to. I’d rather burn the date than ever have to do that. I’ve walked away from dates in the past when girls have started hinting at feminist talking points. I’ve just gotten up and walked out. (It’s very satisfying. Try it. Life’s too short to try to manage damaged people). They’re doing me a favour by letting me know early on what I am getting myself into, so that I can walk away and save myself the hassle.

So anyway, in this particular situation, she calmed right down, looked thoughtful and said that I had a fair point. I guess I got lucky. It could have gone the other way and at times has been. The upside to this behaviour now though is that she knows that when I speak, I speak the truth. I kicked that door right down.

But when I talk about tailoring DHVs or working out who she is and acting accordingly, none of this is a perversion of our deep true selves or a bending of our core masculine beliefs in the face of a mere whimsical feminine shit test. It’s just about working out what parts of your complex personality and personal attributes are most appealing to her.

Imagine you’re the proprietor of a fish restaurant. You pride yourself on your fish. Meat is for Mop Heads. In fact, that’s the name of your restaurant. If a customer came in and demanded a pork chop, you’d throw him out. You’re a fish restaurant. It’s fish or it’s fuck off. What I am talking about is working out if someone is into a healthy eating or not, then when you work that out, you know whether you want to tell him about your fish salad menu, or instead about your deep fried fish menu.

3 (4)

A Mop-Head’s fish restaurant

I love my girlfriend and I would never have ended up with her if I’d led the set with a story about how I can’t ever return to a certain European country because when I was 20 I got prosecuted for breaking some guy’s nose at a party and my defence strategy in court was to simply not show up. Ha ha ha. Bad ass me, right? Yes she knows now, but there’s a time and a place for disclosing your flaws. [3]

No I worked out her values, I looked where our values matched and, amongst other things, I led with those.

Now you may disagree (and please feel free to in the comments below, let’s get a healthy debate going), but trying to smash down someone who is more ‘K’ with the same ‘r’ selected game time after time will, I think, will limit your results. You have to work out what is appealing to this particular girl. Is she attracted to the dark and mean or the silly and playful? Is she bored of the banker and dentists she always meets or does she crave stability? These aren’t your core values; it’s just some of the many facets of your complex personality, good and bad. Being K doesn’t necessarily mean ‘beta provider’ any more than being r doesn’t necessarily mean alpha. You can be a bad boy by smashing some teeth in but for some girls you can hit that switch by simply having a saucy sense of humour.

A few years ago I was dating two girls who were at the opposite sides of this r/K spectrum. One being very ‘r’ and the other very ‘K’. I listened to their attitudes to the same topics to work out their contrasting personal values. For example on the subject of their education:

‘I’ll stay out and drink more; it’s the stupid lectures tomorrow anyway, I never go on Fridays!’

‘My parents work hard to pay for me to go to school. To not turn up would be the most I could ever do to disrespect them. I would never do that’.

As you know ‘r’ means you’re probing for things like dysfunction, sloppiness, carelessness, tardiness, carefree, tumultuous family relationships, smoking, drinking, poor future planning, lack of appreciation of others and easy sexual talk. If you’re finding this, you’ve probably got an ‘r’.

K is all the opposite. Think of tidiness, clean living, respectfulness, future planning, family values, etc. [4]


“Is this K?”

The point of all this isn’t that ‘K’s take a long time and ‘r’s take a short time to seduce. It’s that you should take the time you need to work out what you’re dealing with and thus choose your bonding conversations accordingly.

There’s a fine line between the rule ‘don’t lie’ and the balancing of your natural ‘r’ and ‘K’ tendencies. That’s another blog post, but for me maybe I was happy to be ‘r’ until I found the girl it was worth being ‘K’ for.

20 years ago I didn’t know what r/K was, but I had an idea. I used to refer to it in my head as ‘the slut spectrum’, which was simply r/K without the scientific understanding. Some girls were fast and loose, some went to church. These different types tended to respond to different behaviours. The fast and loose loved it when I acted like Keith Richards and caused a fuss in the student union, but the non-sluts would think I was a try hard tool if I did this and I would never hear from them again. They liked their bad boy served up to them a little more sophisticated. I’d observe girls, listen to them and ask about the things that would draw out these values. As I sussed them out I’d flick those switches accordingly.

Talk about her family, her father, her attitude to school, work and the future. It will tell you everything you need to know and then you choose your behaviour accordingly. I like to spar with my friends and play rough. I also like to make silly videos with my niece and put them on YouTube (don’t bother lads, you’ll never find them, I’m not that daft).

Here are two different responses you could choose to the same question. ‘What was your best moment this Christmas?’

‘I don’t know about best moment but definitely a really good one was when I went into an old bar I used to knock around when I was younger. Roughest bar in town…. back then. Once in there I saw this guy I used to know. Brendan Taylor. There were two of them, the Taylor twins. Proper bad eggs. When we were in our 20s we used to hate to hate each other me and Brendan. We’d knocked the shit out of each other. We had a feud going back to when I’d dated his cousin. One night we both fell through a window in a club and we nearly ended in court. He saw me and for a minute I thought we were going to end up falling out, but we just started laughing. We got talking. We ended up sitting there for an hour and having a laugh’.

‘Being in a traffic jam for 6 hours. No seriously, you wouldn’t believe it. It was the car journey on the motorway up to Manchester on the 23rd. I had a train ticket but at the last minute my dad told me he could give me a lift up from London. There was a traffic jam on the way and it took us 6 hours to get home but we just talked about stuff. We had a great talk. My dad’s getting older now and I don’t get to see him much these days so 5 hours is a pot of gold. We stopped off at the services and had dinner. It was really good.’

Both these are stories of things that have happened to me and my selecting one over the other isn’t in any way a betrayal of any of my core values, rapport seeking or even any kind of contradiction. But you could see how they would have different effects on different people. We are all complex characters. We can be tough, we can be cruel, we can be careless, we can be caring, we can be kind, we can be crazy. I want to know what she responds to best and show her those sides of my personality.

If you’d like to ask Jimmy a question, leave it in the comments below and perhaps he’ll answer. If you’d like to ask me a question I can be hired for the small sum of £1,000 per day, payable in two manageable instalments of £500, in advance. If that paltry fee is beyond you, consider my products here, which answer many questions you’d have never thought to even ask.

Jimmy Jambone

I’ll be collecting these posts into a paperback

[1] That’s what I do.
[2] And this is long before London became a shithole full of imbecile Africans and Arabs.
[3] What is a DHV to one girl may be a DLV to another.
[4] Contrary to the latest working definition of K as “a girl who I failed to shag on the first date.”

Cargo Cult Daygame

September 17, 2018

Back in the good old days of Empire, explorers from Europe would sail the high seas and discover savage tribes. Whether it was Columbus headed West or Captain Cook headed East, it was a surprise to both the civilised and uncivilised when the European ships showed up. Sometimes Pocahontas and South Sea sexual hi-jinks ensued. Other times, the poor explorer was chased down by headhunters and found himself in the cooking pot.


I think the headhunters won this round

Happy days.

When civilisation reached the Melanesian islands off the North East coast of Australia, the local savages were rather impressed by the cargo of the white colonialists. Every few weeks a white voodoo man would put a metal piece to his ears and fiddle with dials on his special shaman-board that hissed, fuzzed, and through which he talked to the gods. Hours later a giant metal bird appeared in the sky with a low droning mating call. It would then glide onto the long flat stretch of land the natives had heard whites call an “air strip”. From the belly of this metal bird, the whites would cart off big wooden crates of cargo, a gift from the wind god. Breaking open these crates, the whites would have loads of cool shit to adorn their habitations.

“That’s cool juju” said one savage to another. “Methink me, um, want some cargo.”

So the savages huddled around and tried to figure out how to appease the gods and perhaps nudge them into sending some cargo their way.

“We could sacrifice white man, cut off his head, and offer the skull to the wind god,” suggested one hardy warrior.

“No no, that’s bad juju,” chastised the witch-doctor. “The white man is in favour with the gods, so we must not anger them. We can instead build our own shaman board and call down the cargo.”

So the tribe busied itself creating a replica short-wave radio from bamboo, palm leaves, and rabbit shit. They had a grand ceremony around the camp fire, cut the throat of a goat, and poured it’s blood on the bamboo “radio”. [1] The witch-doctor approached the radio and the whole tribe went silent, in tense anticipation. He grasped the dial, put a bamboo replica of the white-man’s headset to his ear and called on the gods.


“Unga Bunga” he cried

“Unga bunga! unga bunga munga!” he cried over an over.

An hour passed and no metal bird appeared in the sky. Then a day, then a week. Still no metal bird bearing cargo from the gods. The tribe held another council. This time they determined to clear a landing strip. That didn’t work. So they built a bamboo “aeroplane” on it. Still nothing.

The cargo never came, but by now a strange religion had grown up around the practice. This was a cargo cult and every weekend they cried “unga bunga” into the bamboo radio, arranged candles in the bamboo aeroplane model, and sat waiting at their “airstrip”. The cargo never came, but the religion was self-propelling now [2]

Cargo Cult

JMULV launches his first instructional product

There are certain witch-doctor daygame coaches on YouTube whose videos look a lot like grunting “unga bunga” at girls and then waiting for the cargo to arrive in the form of numbers, dates and notches. The fact it never does seems not to dent their optimism. I call it Cargo Cult Daygame.

So, why this analogy?

The island savages made a reasoning error. The white man receiving his cargo from the sky was the result of a process based on science, engineering, and social organisation. The importance of the radio was that it transmitted messages by radio waves, and it worked because it was powered by electricity. The planes flew because of aerodynamics. The cargo was aboard because of a system of economic exchange using money, including abstract constructs such as credit and bank accounts. The goods were cool because they were made in factories.

All of this was unknown to the headhunters. All they saw was a radio operator who they took to be the white shaman, speaking a strange code into a mouthpiece that sounded a bit like “unga bunga.” So, the savages reasoned, the causal mechanism to get cool shit was to screech “unga bunga” into a box-shaped object.

They completely misunderstood the process, and thus completely missed the point.

Mystery Method

For God’s sake, just read this

Few daygamers have read Mystery Method. It never fails to astonish me. Mystery Method is the foundational book of Game. It explains what Attraction, Comfort and Seduction are and why they matter. Mystery gives example operationalisations of each, and though his examples are specific to a lunatic narcissist picking up broken women in ratty LA bars, the principles hold true everywhere in the world under every circumstance of pick-up. What we call the London Daygame Model is entirely consistent with Mystery Method, it’s simply tailored for a different social situation and different type of girl [3].

Yet how many daygamers actually understand that? Sure, the competent guys do but the legions of incompetent clowns don’t.

Game is an art form that rests upon the shoulders of science. Just like boxing, swimming, or many other competitive sports. There is a theory to it, from which you deduce principles, and then best-practice that you can drill. Yet in so many daygame infields I don’t see any game being done.

I see a man standing in front of a woman, talking. But there’s no game going on. He’s not doing Attraction, nor Comfort, nor Seduction. He’s just chanting “unga bunga” and hoping for cargo to drop out of the sky.


“One more thing before you go….”

It’s like watching a man jump into deep water, thrash his arms around uncontrollably, and then shout “I’m swimming” before he drowns. Or a man step into a boxing ring wearing gloves and trunks, put his head down and windmill his arms. Sure, he might claim to be “boxing” but a real boxer drilled in the actual art and science of boxing will just spark him out quickly, like this:

No, that’s not a Natural Lifestyles infield but it might as well be.

Just because you’re standing in front of a girl chatting, it does not mean you’re doing game. Even if you somehow get the girl, why would you think it was “game” which got her? People get laid every day without having a trace of game because, ultimately, men and women are designed to mate so if they bounce around randomly in the world long enough something is going to happen.

Game is about achieving results above the stupid, the shy, the incompetent, or the deluded. It’s about outperforming what nature intended for you by the skilled application of the art form. Just as boxing lets you knock out men better than your natural level, and swimming lets you move through the water better than natural, so it is with game.

If you want to get good at Game you must learn the Game. That means studying the books and video instructional material created by people who actually know what they are talking about [4]. Otherwise you’re just running around shouting “unga bunga” and hoping for the best.

If you’d like to move away from Cargo Cult daygame and towards proper skills, start with The Mystery Method and then move on to my products listed here.

[1] Yes, I’m rather embellishing the details here.
[2] Unlike the metal plane.
[3] Though you could easily adapt it to better catch broken women if that’s your thing.
[4] Sadly, that discounts at least 90% of blogs and YouTube channels

#81 – The Island Of Adventure, Enid Blyton BOOK REVIEW

September 17, 2018

Enid Blyton

Long before J K Rowling wrote the execrable Harry Potter series there was a real queen of children’s fiction, Enid Blyton. Whereas JKR is a lunatic leftist who frequently lies on Twitter to further global-homo causes, Blyton was a traditionalist wolf who encouraged her readers to support charities [1]. It’s clear from reading her books that Blyton was a switched-on proper person, and the proof is that Wikipedia absolutely hates her. Check this out from her Wiki bio:

Blyton’s work became increasingly controversial among literary critics, teachers and parents from the 1950s onwards, because of the alleged unchallenging nature of her writing and the themes of her books, particularly the Noddy series. Some libraries and schools banned her works, which the BBC had refused to broadcast from the 1930s until the 1950s because they were perceived to lack literary merit. Her books have been criticised as being elitist, sexist, racist, xenophobic and at odds with the more liberal environment emerging in post-war Britain, but they have continued to be best-sellers since her death in 1968.

That’s the third paragraph of her entry. In contrast, the entry for JKR is all positive and you have to skip all the way to section five to find out she’s a leftist, donated £1m to the Labour Party, and wanted Obama and Hillary in the White House. She also campaigned against Brexit. She was also pro homo-sham-marriage. What a cunt.

Enid Portrait

Not a cunt, yesterday

Blyton has sold over 600 million copies of her books, slightly outdoing JKR’s 500 million. I guess just like in Blyton’s stories, good triumphs over evil.

I read lots of Enid Blyton when I was a young kid, starting with The Magic Faraway Tree. I never really got into her blockbuster Secret Seven and Famous Five series but I did love the Secret Of and the Adventure series. I decided to return to the latter and picked up this The Island Of Adventure, the first in the series.

The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the language. Blyton was originally a teacher and you can see her clarity of word choice in speaking to children. Her sentences are short and vocabulary limited to everyday words. This is probably just as well because The Island Of Adventure is a full-length novel so would be rather daunting for the ten year olds its aimed at.

The story is straightforward kids stuff, written in 1944 after years of war privation. A brother and sister, Phillip and Dinah, have been send to cram school in the countryside after falling behind in term time through illness. They meet another brother and sister, Jack and Lucy-Ann [2], and become firm friends. As the cram school finishes, Phillip invites them down to his guardian Aunt Polly’s run-down coastal house Craggy Tops. After a few weeks exploring they find their way to the Island Of Gloom, an inhospitable and barely accessible little isle a mile or two off the coast. There are strange goings on that draws them into adventure.

You’ll already know how the story goes because it was Enid Blyton who created all the kid’s adventure story tropes we all saw in Scooby Doo, and Jack Black in Viz. In this case there’s the grumpy odd-job man mixed up with a criminal gang, trying to scare the kids away from the island with tales of ghosts. Scooby is replaced by Kiki the parrot who imitates a human voice at most opportune times to get the kids out of tight jams. Ultimately the cops come to the rescue and the criminals acknowledge they’d have gotten away with it if not for the pesky kids.

More Jack Black

Jack Black solves a case in Viz comic

So far, so predictable.

What did surprise me on this second reading, thirty or so years after my first reading, is how bleak a picture of English life it paints. Blyton’s later Secret Of series had a group of upper-middle class kids who had servants and holidays around the world. In the Adventure series the kids are depressingly working class. And I do mean depressing.

Jack is smart but failing in school because he’s obsessed with ornithology and creepy crawlies. His sister Lucy-Ann idolises him and traipses around after him everywhere. She describes her situation to Phillip as follows:

“Kiki just picked up those sayings of hers – picked them up from our old uncle, who is the crossest old man in the world, I should think. Our mother and father are dead, so Uncle Geoffrey has us in the hols, and doesn’t he just hate it! His housekeeper hates us too, so we don’t have much of a time, but so long as I have Jack, and so long as Jack has his beloved birds, we are happy enough.”

That’s pretty rough. No friends, no home, and guardians who hate them. It gets rougher:

“Our mother and father are both dead,” Jack said. “We don’t remember them. They were killed in an aeroplane crash. We were sent to live with our only relation, Uncle Geoffrey.”…..
…. Phillip said, “We don’t have too grand a time either – but it’s better than you and Lucy-Ann have.”
“Are your father and mother dead too?” asked Lucy-Ann, her green eyes staring at Phillip as unblinkingly as a cat’s.
“Our father’s dead – and he left no money,” said Phillip. “But we’ve got a mother. She doesn’t live with us, though.”
“Why not?” asked Lucy-Ann in surprise.
“Well, she has a job,” said Phillip. “She makes enough money at her job for our schooling and our keep in the hols… She’s a very good business woman but we don’t see much of her.”
“Is she nice?” asked Jack. Never having had a mother that he could remember, he was always interested in other people’s. Phillip nodded.

Things come to a head when Phillip receives a letter at school from Dinah, who is back at Aunt Polly’s house, hinting at money troubles. So he hatches a plan that the cheque sent by Jack’s mum to the cram school teacher Mr Roy to keep her two children there could be given to his Aunt Polly to take on the job. Mr Roy was looking to wriggle out from under the responsibility anyway. Aunt Polly is a sickly tired woman who is always presented in The Island Of Adventure as put-upon and about to keel over at any moment. When all four kids show up at Craggy Tops, Aunt Polly initially wants to send Jack and Lucy-Ann back. She calls Mr Roy who tries to fob the kids off onto her.

There was another pause after Mr Roy told her the sum of money that had been sent. It certainly was a very generous amount. Mrs Sullivan (Aunt Polly) thought quickly. The children would not cost much to keep. She could see that they kept out of (Uncle) Jocelyn’s way. That girl Lucy-Ann could help Dinah with the housework. And she would be able to pay off a few bills, which would be a great relief to her.
Mr Roy waited hopefully at the other end of the wire. He could not bear the thought of having the parrot back again. Jack was bearable. Lucy-Ann was nice – but Kiki was impossible.

So throughout this story the kids are presented as lonely, unwanted, and passed around like a hot potato. Aunt Polly only takes them on because she’s paid for it. The family grown-ups barely feature. Aunt Polly occasionally fusses and worries, while Uncle Jocelyn stays locked up in his study pouring over books and doesn’t talk to the kids at all. It’s a bleak, unloving environment. Naturally, the four kids bond and hang out together – always unsupervised – on a cliff side house with a roaring sea below.

I’m not surprised they go looking for adventure.

Island of Adventure

The adventure is at the bottom of those ladders

I enjoyed this book but, being kid’s stuff, nothing really happens. They discover two secret passages, run rings around the grumpy authority figure Joe, and get excited at a chance to steal a sail boat to visit the island. For kids, this is the adventure. For me, an adult, it’s the marking time before the adventure – that never comes. I remember my imagination running wild when I first read these as a kid, so I put it down to Blyton pitching to her intended audience well rather than any defect in the book. Still, I found it uneventful so I can’t recommend it.

If you’d like to read about a cold, bleak, unloving environment full of mercenary rascals, consider my tales of Chateau RSG in my memoir series. Check out my products here.

[1] Back in the era when charities were charitable and supporting good causes. Now they are evil Marxist agit prop supporting globalism, paedophilia, and mass immigration.
[2] It’s rather unrealistic they’d become friends, because Jack and Lucy-Ann are both ginger so I can’t see how normal people would have anything to do with them.

#80 – The Forty-Five Guardsmen, Alexandre Dumas BOOK REVIEW

September 16, 2018

Eighty books! I’m not fucking around am I? Some of them are proper big bastards too, like this one. My goal is to knock off a hundred books this year and, by God, I think I’ll do it!

The Forty-Five Guardsmen

Mayhem in Flanders in latter third of the book

There’s something satisfying about closing the final volume of an epic series, having read the whole thing. It feels like an achievement [1]. Alexandre Dumas has given us many reasons to be grateful because he’s supplied us with five different opportunities to experience the saga-ending book-closing bliss that I just felt.

Naturally, you’ll all be aware of the D’Artagnan Romances. That’s his famous five-volume series of which I reviewed two on this ‘umble blog in 2018. For those who missed it, it’s the saga that begins with The Three Musketeers and ends with The Man In The Iron Mask. As much as I also like the cartoon TV adaptation with dogs, the books are far superior. It’s among the best of what I’ve ever read. Everybody in the manosphere knows The Count Of Monte Cristo which is a two-volume series but runs very long indeed, considering. I have now just completed my third Dumas saga, The Last Valois trilogy, of which this book The Forty-Five Guardsmen is the concluding volume [2].

It’s good. It’s really really good.


Lots of galloping horses in Dumas stories

The centrepiece of the plot is King Henri’s adviser hiring forty-five swordsmen from Gascony and bringing them to the palace to give him a round-the-clock bodyguard (three shifts of fifteen men) of mercenaries who are outside of the Louvre beltway intrigue [3]. They do foil one assassination attempt but despite being granted the title of this volume, they don’t actually figure much in the plot.

That plot begins with the Gascons arriving at different gates of Paris incognito on the same morning that a prisoner and would-be assassin is publicly executed. It’s done by quartering, something Dumas doesn’t sugarcoat. Just before his death, it appears the prisoner will confess and thus implicate King Henri’s brother and rival Duc D’Guise but the sudden appearance of a mysterious woman tricks the prisoner, through signs, into remaining silent.

What follows is political manoeuvring between the rivals for the throne. Duc D’Guise and his clan look favoured to win, but the King’s other brother Duc D’Anjou is also jostling for succession. Down in the south, Henry of Navarre (lead character in volume one) is also plotting an uprising while feigning being sidetracked by mistresses and booze. Overlaid on this are the solo plans of Chicot the Jester (to protect the King) and his rival Father Borromee, a wise old soldier masquerading as a monk as he militarises the monastery in preparation for an assassination attempt.

The Forty Five


Chicot visits Henry Of Navarre as an ambassador of the King and is roped into witnessing Henry’s capture of a key fortified town. There is also a romantic subplot as Diana (the Dame of Monsoreau) is acting with her manservant Remy to assassinate Duc D’Anjou in revenge for his cold-blooded murder of Count Bussy in volume two. She is pursued by one of King Henri’s court favourites who pedestalises her hard but rescues her following a massive flood in Flanders (itself following a rousing battle scene).

There’s so much going on here and once more Dumas masterfully weaves together story threads that have been running wild since volume one. George R R Martin could learn a thing or two from that [4]. There are some really memorable scenes which I took for granted while reading (as I read the trilogy back-to-back without dipping into other books) but looking back they really were fantastic writing. For example:

  • Chicot visits his friend the monk Gorenflot at the monastery as he sniffs out a military subterfuge but the whole scene is played I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know as each side tries to ferret out what the other knows.
  • Henry of Navarre traps Chicot in his base town without ever breaking etiquette or formally calling him prisoner. Instead he has a comical series of attendants “helping” Chicot who never quite finds himself alone.
  • There’s a thrilling battle scene in Flanders following by an epic deluge, forcing Remy, Diana and the nobleman to flee. It plays out like a disaster movie of a tidal wave hitting the coastline.

Finally the book climaxes with a neat symmetry of vengeance fulfilled, told neatly through the eyes of a distant observer trying to guess the actions of the assassin and victim as the scene plays out subtly. Do you remember the end of Gladiator? After a bombastic movie full of battles, mass fights, and intrigue it all comes to a head one-to-one in the dirt of the Colosseum as Maximus slides a poniard into the throat of Commodus.

It’s personal, small-scale, as if they are the only two people in the world. It’s like listening to a lute player immediately after a stadium rock concert. The Forty-Five Guardsmen ends The Last Valois trilogy like that. It’s not quite as beautiful as the ending to The Count Of Monte Cristo [5] but it’s damn good.

This was an excellent series and thoroughly recommended. That said, any inquiring minds who are new to Dumas should begin with TCOMC. That’s still the best.

If you like to….. blah blah. Look, just give me your money. I’ll send you some really polished, high-quality products in return. You get awesome material, and I get to avoid having a real job. Sounds like a deal? Go here and peruse my products.

[1] Though writing the bloody thing is something more of an achievement.
[2] I still look forward to the three-volume Sainte-Hermine saga and the five-volume Marie Antoinette epic, but those can wait a while. I’ve had quite enough of the French court for now.
[3] Kind of like Trump bringing in military intelligence, Jeff Sessions, and John Huber as his own praetorian guard while he dismantles the Deep State.
[4] He preferred to disappear up his own arsehole and then let HBO’s incompetent writers turn Game Of Thrones into a childish cartoon.
[5] Literally the best climax to a story you’ll ever read [6]
[6] Not including volume six of D’Krauser Romances, to be released maybe this year.

#79 – Graveyard Rats, Robert E. Howard BOOK REVIEW

September 16, 2018

Graveyard Rats

I first discovered the writings of my favourite author, Robert E. Howard, by accident. I knew of Conan The Barbarian initially through the choose-your-own-adventure book Deathtrap Dungeon. I was just a kid and those Fighting Fantasy books fascinated me, building a character to venture through the city of thieves, the caverns of the snow witch, the house of hell and then best of all the Deathtrap Dungeon.

These were the days before Dark Souls, Tomb Raider, and Assassins Creed Origins. If you wanted to sneak through musty monster-filled dungeons with only your broadsword, provisions and wit to protect you, you had to read those Fighting Fantasy books. I loved ’em.

fighting fantasy

Before I took an arrow in the knee

One such character in Deathtrap Dungeon was a muscular barbarian who looked like Alice Cooper’s guitarist. Huge, square-jawed, and a thick black main. He carried a battleaxe and at towards the end of your adventure you had to fight him. I killed the cunt. Smashed the bastard. It wasn’t until watching the Conan The Barbarian movie a couple of years later (and also its Italian rip-offs such as Ator The Fighting Eagle) that I realised there was this original character. My early-teens years then soon turned to comics and the fantastic Savage Sword Of Conan, which is now reissued in graphic novel collections.


You thought I just made that up, did you?

Fast forward to my late twenties and life in Tokyo, Japan. I found a couple of old Tor Conan paperbacks in an English language second-hand bookshop in Kichijoji. One written by Karl Edward Wagner and another by Wheel Of Time creator Robert Jordan. They were great and I read more. I soon realised these were attempts to recreate the original Conan stories on the 1930s that started it all.

These were, of course, written by Robert E. Howard. As good as the Tor paperbacks were, the REH stories actually pissed all over the imitations from a great height. We’re talking a Daygame-Mastery-to-Street-Hustle height. I quickly devoured all of REH’s stuff that I could get my hands on and when Wildside Press announced they would release all of REH’s Weird Tales stories in a ten-volume collection I started getting them [1]. Wildside also re-released several other collections, of which Graveyard Rats And Others is one. So, that brings up to this review.

Howard lived in Cross Plains, Texas and seems to have never left the state. However, he was a voracious reader with a keen imagination so his writings span the globe. He is as comfortable writing historical fiction in Samarkand and Syria as he is cowboy stories in the Western US or Lovercraftian Cthulhu mythos stories on the East coast. He wrote whatever would sell in the 1930s pulp monthlies, writing well over a hundred stories before he topped himself in 1936. [2]


One of my early escalation videos

What holds his writings together, despite the wide-ranging genres, is his unbridled masculinity and the crackling of energy as the stories charge forwards. No-one has ever complained his writing is slow. We see this in Graveyard Rats And Others, a collection of six short stories. Here Howard tries his hands at hardboiled detectives, the wild west, swamp-country negroes, and Chinatown masterminds…. all with a brooding dark menace. I enjoyed them all, but perhaps Names In The Black Book was my favourite. It answered a question that has no doubt been playing on my readers’ minds for years:

What would happen if the creator of Conan wrote a Fu Manchu story?

Sax Rohmer, creator of the epic rivalry between detective Denis Nayland Smith and the Chinese criminal mastermind Dr Fu Manchu, was a Brit. His Englishness oozes out of every page. So Smith is an honorable agent of His Majesty’s government who follows the law in tracking down the scheming mandarin. Many times Smith is aware of Fu Manchu’s plans but unable to act through want of evidence to justify arrests. The stories play out like Sherlock Holmes mysteries as the English cop plays cat and mouse with the nefarious slant. Fu Manchu, though deadly, is an honorable man who never breaks his word and thus frequently lets Smith slip from his grasp if it’s required to repay an earlier debt of honor. The stories are also laconic and dripping in atmosphere from the lapping waves of misty London waterfronts to the (also misty) back-alleys and opium dens of Chinatown.

Robert E Howard is having none of that bullshit. None at all.

Names In The Black Book begins with hardboiled detective Steve Harrison invited to a mysterious girl’s apartment in River Street, the Chinatown of this unnamed American city. Three immigrants have been murdered [3] and a note was pushed under the girl’s door with their names crossed out and her’s and Harrison’s next on the list. It would appear Erlik Khan is back.

He’s REH’s Fu Manchu. He’s Mongolian and rather more of a rogue than Rohmer’s Chinaman.

Yellow Peril

It’s a sub-genre of its own

The pair call up Khoda Khan, on Afghan assassin who rides the middle line between criminal and honorable man, to protect the dame in her rooms, while Harrison goes off to meet a stool pigeon to get the skinny on Erlik. Things rapidly spiral out of control with attempts to poison the frail’s cigarettes, a venomous scorpion introduced under her door, and then an all-out invasion by knife-wielding Mongols that Khoda Khan must repel.

That’s rather more action than in a Rohmer story. Just look at how Khoda makes his appearance:

In any costume it would have been equally evident that there was something wild and untamable about the man. His eyes blazed as no civilised man’s ever did, and his sinews were like coiled springs under his coat. Harrison felt much as he would have if a panther had padded into the room, for the moment placid but ready at an instant’s notice to go flying into flaming-eyed, red-taloned action.
“I thought you’d left the country,” he said.
The Afghan smiled, a glimmer of white amidst the dark tangle of his beard.
“Nay, sahib. That son of a dog I knifed did not die.”
“You’re lucky he didn’t,” commented Harrison. “If you kill him you’ll hang, sure.”
“Inshallah,” agreed Khoda Khan cheefully. “But it was a matter of izzat – honor. The dog fed me swine’s flesh. But no matter. The mensahib called me and I came.” [4]

No doubt reading that, you’d rather not mess with him. After a dozen cloven skulls and severed limbs, the Mongols learn that lesson too.

Meanwhile, Harrison has showed up at Shan Yang’s opium den for a rendezvous with his informant Johnny Kleck. He’s led through a scene reminiscent of Sax Rohmer’s descriptions of Chinatown:

A characteristic smell pervaded the dense atmosphere, in spite of the reek of dope and unwashed bodies – the dank odor of the river, which hangs over River Street dives or wells up from their floors like the black intangible spirit of the quarter itself. Shan Yang’s dive, like many others, was built on the very bank of the river. The back room projected out over the water on rotting piles, at which the black river lapped hungrily.

Lest you think such evocative dark description will give way to Sax Rohmer’s patient and peaceful investigations, REH turns it grisly. It’s a trap.

Harrison’s big blue pistol jumped into his hand. Johnny Kleck was dead, that grin was a contortion of horror and agony. He was crucified to the wall by skewer-like dagger blades through his wrists and ankle, his ears spiked to the wall to keep his head upright. But that was not what had killed him. The bosom of Johnny’s shirt was charred, and there was a round, blackened hole.

Erlik Khan had lured Harrison into an ambush and after a short violent fight, his thugs take the American detective prisoner and carry him off to his lair in a run-down house on a nearby island. Khan enters his prison cell to gloat, monologuing over his plan to assassinate city leaders and replace them with his own bought-off front men. He walks off to attend a ritual sacrifice of the captured girl, but Khoda rescues Harrison and they plan to gatecrash the ceremony. They arrive just as Erlik Khan is gloating over his bound victim:

“Why?” the girl whimpered bewilderedly.
“Because I did not wish you to die like a candle blown out in the dark, my beautiful white orchid. I wish you to be fully sane so as to taste to the last dregs the shame and agony of death, subtle and prolonged. For the exquisite, and exquisite death. For the coarse-fibered, the death of an ox, such as I have decreed for your friend Harrison.”

Fu Manchu doesn’t gloat. He wishes to control the world with the tentacles of his hidden society but he is far from a sadist and seeks no notoriety, nor sexual kicks. By contrast, Erlik Khan is a hot-blooded scumbag who will deserve an equally hot-blooded death. The intrepid pair, Harrison and Khoda burst in and sow mayhem, plunging a knife deep into Erlik’s breast. His mongol lackeys then pursue the (now) trio as they escape the building.

Would you get this pulse-pounding action in a Sax Rohmer story? I don’t think so:

The Mongols came on as if they too, were blood-mad. They jammed the door with square snarling faces and squat silk-clad bodies before he could slam it shut. Knives licked at him, and gripping the mace with both hands he wielded it like a flail, working awful havoc among the shapes that strove in the doorway, wedged by the pressure from behind. The lights, the upturned snarling faces that dissolved into crimson ruin beneath his flailing, all swam in a red mist. He was not aware of his individual identity. He was only a man with a club, transported back fifty thousand years, a hairy-breasted, red-eyed primitive, wholly possessed in the crimson instinct for slaughter.
He felt like howling his incoherent exultation with each swing of his bludgeon that crushed skulls and spattered blood in his face. He did not feel the knives that found him, hardly realising it when the men facing him gave back, daunted at the havoc he was wreaking. He did not close the door then; it was blocked and choked by a ghastly mass of crushed and red-dripping flesh. [5]

Makes you want to do fifty chin-ups doesn’t it? I love the muscularity of REH’s writing. He manages to squeeze this stuff into a Chinatown detective story. Imagine what he’s like when the subject is Conan of Cimmeria, a brash questing barbarian pitched against sorcerers, bandits, and monsters as he heads off towards Deathtrap Dungeon.

If you’d like pulse-pounding action featuring a strong, muscular, heroic figure then you’ll like my four-volume memoir series Balls Deep, A Deplorable Cad, Younger Hotter Tighter, and Adventure Sex. Available here.

[1] For reasons that completely escape me, the eighth volume is ludicrously expensive. I have all the others.
[2] Mummy issues.
[3] Usually I’d cheer that kind of thing, but for the purposes of this story it’s a bad omen.
[4] Yes, he murdered someone for serving him pork. Muslims have always been a problem for the civilised West.
[5] Don’t worry, they were all slants. No white people were hurt.

#78 – The Case of The Velvet Claws, Erle Stanley Gardner BOOK REVIEW

September 14, 2018


Case Of The Velvet Claws

I’m a fan of snappy dialogue. It’s why I used to read Elmore Leonard adventure stories even though they were incredibly predictable – he was a master of snappy talk. It’s a reason why I try to memorise all the one-liners in Raymond Chandler stories so I can appropriate them for myself on dates. Erle Stanley Gardner is another great writer of such scenes and it was his whip-smart back-and-forths which drew my attention in The Case Of The Velvet Claws, the first in his long-running Perry Mason stories, written in 1933.

Who is Perry Mason, you ask?

He’s a defence attorney in Los Angeles who takes clients in deep trouble, and rather than wait for trial, he goes out like a hardboiled detective and fixes things on the streets. Aside from the sheer quality of Gardner’s writing, the main thing separating Mason stories from all the other hardboiled books is how legally smart it is. Mason will cut corners and run bluffs to give his client an edge, but he won’t break the law. These stories gain an extra sparkle knowing Mason must beat his adversaries while remaining within the tight constraints of the law. For example, midway through The Case Of The Velvet Claws, Mason’s client – a scheming blonde bombshell – comes across her husband shot dead in his bathroom. The easy fix is to hide the gun before the cops arrive but Mason refuses to let her do so. His lawyer’s mind (and ethics) send his mind running for a different fix.

Anyhow, let’s get to the dialogue. I like Gardner because he writes straight-talking dialogue. One thing that never fails to get my goat is scenes in movies and books where two hard-ass professional criminals will talk around a subject. For example, imagine a Mafia capo arranging with his trigger-man to murder a witness. I imagine it would go something like this:

Capo: You know that loud-mouth Mr Brooks? We don’t want him on the witness stand.
Trigger: Shall I kill him, boss?
Capo: Yeah, kill him. Then take the body to a Fat Tony’s construction site and have it buried in the concrete foundations.

I know from my time in The City that businessmen talk very clearly, specifically, and directly to each other when trying to get things done. I’d imagine successful managers of a criminal enterprise would be equally to the point. But how many times have we seen this next type of dialogue?

Capo: That loud-mouth witness is gonna squawk. I’d like him taken care of.
Trigger: Taken care of, boss?
Capo: Let’s just say, when the trial starts I want the DA to be surprised at the no-show of his star witness.

Few things annoy me so much as the “let’s just say…..” reply to when a character is asked a question. I can’t imagine serious people saying that. When your mate’s round is up next at the pub and he asks you what you want to drink, do you reply, “let’s just say I’d like a cold refresher in a glass, capeesh?” [1] Both books and movies will often present tense scenes of antagonism between characters in which one tries to get information, and the other uses such evasions and somehow the questioner just accepts the obfuscation.

Ridiculous. I don’t mean scenes like the Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction banter above. I mean when one character evades answering through silly “let’s just say….” nonsense and gets away with it.

In the Gardner books much of how Perry Mason’s strong frame and tenacity is expressed is through other characters attempting to evade getting pinned down into talking plainly, and then Mason forces them to indeed talk plainly. There’s something refreshing about plain-talk [2]. Here are some examples.

Gardner has a lead on a Mr Belter, the shadowy owner of Spicy Bits tattle rag and has driven up to his large mansion to force an interview. He’s been let in by the butler and stands in the hallway waiting.

The butler stepped into the room, and said: “I beg your pardon, but Mr Belter doesn’t seem to know you. Could you tell me what it was you wanted to see him about?”
Mason looked at the man’s eyes, and said, shortly, “No.”
The butler waited a moment, thinking that Mason might add to the comment, then, as nothing was said, turned and went back up the stairs. This time he was gone three of four minutes. When he returned, his face was wooden.
“Please step this way,” he said. “Mr. Belter will see you.”

That may not seem much but I think it’s excellent efficient characterisation. It establishes that Mason is a determined man, not given to over-talking, can read his adversary’s mind, and knows how to press a winning hand. Later that afternoon his client comes to visit and she is still hiding something:

Mason held her eyes with his.
“What,” he insisted, “do you know about Frank Locke?” [the Spicy Bits editor]
She shuddered and dropped her eyes. After an interval, she said, in a tired tone: “Nothing.”
Mason said, impatiently: “Every time you come here, you lie to me. You’re one of those baby-faced little liars that always manage to get by by deceit. Just because you’re beautiful, you’ve managed to get by with it. You’ve deceived every man that ever loved you, every man you ever loved. Now you’re in trouble, and you’re deceiving me.”
She stared at him with blazing indignation, either natural or assumed.
“You’ve no right to talk to me that way!”
“The hell I haven’t,” said Mason, grimly.
They stared at each other for a second or two.
“It was something down South,” she said, meekly…..

This first volume sets out all the tropes that would become fixtures in the Perry Mason series (I’ve read about a dozen). The sassy interplay between him and his efficient secretary Della Street who is always smart enough to outwit the flatfoots to run an off-the-books errand, the calls to his private eye Paul Drake and Mason always needs the results quick. Mason will always appear to get himself ensnared in his client’s problems such that he must go on the lam for a few days and talk to Della in code over the phone, and then usually the big reveal comes in the courtroom when he’s defending the client.

It’s great stuff.

Perry Mason

Ends in the courtroom

It’s also obvious Gardner was new to the series and to writing generally, because the first chapter is horrific in its wooden exposition. Look how bad these opening lines are:

Autumn sun beat against the window.

Perry Mason sat at the big desk. There was about him the attitude of one who is waiting. His face in repose was like the face of a chess player who is studying the board. That face seldom changed expression. Only the eyes changed expression. He gave the impression of being a thinker and a fighter, a man who could work with infinite patience to jockey an adversary into just the right position, and then finish him with one terrific punch.

That’s actually an accurate introduction to how Mason works his cases, but it’s awful writing. Later books kick off with far more flair. Anyway, Gardner eases into this book by chapter three and by then the writing is drastically improved.

If you’d like snappy dialogue and sassy characters, you’ll probably like my memoirs. Look at all my products on this page.

[1] Maybe you do. If so, never ever introduce yourself to me.
[2] Writing it now, it reminds me why I despise RSD so much. They are constantly obfuscating and equivocating on topics that require straight answers.

#77 – The Ambushers, Donald Hamilton BOOK REVIEW

September 14, 2018

The Ambushers

It gets hard to think of interesting things to say about a series of books that follows a formula. So, I thought I’d make the formula itself the topic of today’s musings. This is the sixth Matt Helm book, The Ambushers, and except for a brief Euro Jaunt in book two, the slick cold war assassin has remained in the USA the whole time.

Except this one starts off in the jungle of an unnamed Central American country that isn’t Cuba but is meant to make you think of it, particularly the Bay Of Pigs fiasco of 1961, a real-life event that occurred just two years before this novel was published. Castro had only been in power four years since Donald Hamilton was writing so the ruination he’d bring to Cuba wasn’t fully-formed. You could make a case then that he’d be quickly overthrown by the CIA, rather than his eventual long extended run as dictator [1], even running the country while dead for a while [2].

It’s funny how things pan out in history and put a completely different complexion on a book that the author couldn’t have guessed at the time. We had the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962, a very recent and shocking Cold War standoff where half the world were shitting bricks wondering if we were to be annihilated in nuclear war and civilisation destroyed [3] and JFK would be assassinated until a couple of months after this novel was published. This book leverages the missile panic.

So, Donald Hamilton was caught in the middle of history, talking about Cuba without realising Castro’s son Justin Trudeau would soon lead Canada and surrender it to the globalists. What a Matt Helm plot that would’ve made. And how much I’d have liked to read that soyboy Canadian traitor getting tortured and killed by Helm.


Anyway, I digress.

Helm is in Costa Verde to assassinate a rebel general who has formed a small army in a jungle stronghold and plans to overthrow the president. He takes him down with a sniper rifle from an overlooking cliff-side while his local militia comrades nip into camp to rescue a female fellow US agent who’d been captured and tortured in a previous failed assassination attempt. She recovers and becomes his partner for the rest of the book. It turns out the rebel general had gotten hold of a small soviet nuclear missile, kinda like a SCUD, from Castro and was about to sell it to a Nazi.

The Ambushers still

I don’t remember this scene in the book

See, this is what’s cool about reading books written in 1963. It was just eighteen years after World War II so that set-to was still fresh in readers’ minds. It feels distant now but to readers of The Ambushers, WWII was as recent to them as the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre [4] is to us. This was an era when many high-ranking Nazis had escaped capture and fled to South America, so many spy novels had them creating revenge plots or seeking to reestablish a Fourth Reich.

You see, the Nazi bad guy here was a torturer, murderer, and battle-scarred war veteran. Later in the book Helm is chasing down another escaped Nazi, a mistress of a high-ranking SS camp commandant. Compare this to 2018, where the crimes of Nazis include things such as voting Republican, not using gender-neutral pronouns, and disagreeing with a Jew about anything at all. The Matt Helm Nazis are way cooler. They are proper Nazis [5]


Make Nazis Great Again

Oh, I digressed again.

Helm gets back to the US and is immediately sent out to recover or destroy the missile, by running down the main Nazi in his hidden compound at the Mexican border. He forms an uneasy alliance with two Mossad Nazi hunters chasing the same man. There’s the usual betrayal, torture, and then a showdown in a canyon archaeological dig-site where the missile has been transported. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

So let’s return to the formula. I finally figured out the Helm story formula, which always goes like this (more or less):

  • Small mission to kill someone goes sideways. Either new information is found (such as here with the missile) or somebody, not necessarily Helm, has fucked up and given the enemy the advantage.
  • The enemy is always the Soviets, even if they are fronted by locals. It’s kind of like how in the 1940s Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie, the criminal was always the man with the German-accented English.
  • Helm’s handler Mac cancels Helm’s holiday and forces him to go handle the new threat, over Helm’s grumbles.
  • Helm is assigned or falls in with a female agent of questionable competence and/or moral character who he ends up banging.
  • After driving into some small town, usually in the South West, and looking around a bit, Helm deliberately gets himself coshed and captured. It’s a ruse to draw the enemy out of hiding.
  • Helm manages to extricate himself, usually by the gift of the gab.
  • Helm and his partner run down the bad guys at their main lair mostly due to his expert second-guessing of their psychology and careful reasoning process based on what he’s learned. In this respect it resembles a hardboiled detective story.
  • Events conspire to force Helm to willingly walk into the lion’s den again, because he has a cunning plan to reverse it all.
  • He kills the bad guys and falls out with the girl. He returns alone to DC to get reamed out by Mac who is secretly pleased with him, despite all the hand-wringing from DC politicians over events they don’t have clearance to hear the details of.

Once a writer strikes a winning formula he tends to keep to it because it makes writing new novels so much easier and the audience likes the familiarity. Speaking personally, I know exactly how these Helm stories are going to go but that’s why I read them. I don’t spot all the twists and little change-ups, but I’m comforted by knowing at least a couple of commies will be tortured, a silly bint shagged, and a few shifty locals shot.

If you’d like to read a reassuringly familiar tale with the same thing happening over and over again (silly bints getting shagged) then try my memoirs. All my books are available at my product page here.

[1] Which he apparently milked shamelessly to become one of history’s all-time players / rapists. That said, I think this article is at JMULV levels of lying.
[2] Because Raul was secretly running it but they hadn’t announced his death.
[3] The other half were in India, China, and Africa which at their 1962 level of development, frankly a nuclear blast might not have been noticed as there was no civilisation to destroy.
[4] Sorry, Center.
[5] Sadly not as cool as the old Wolfenstein Nazis though. They had occult powers and could summon demons from hell. Makes you wonder why they didn’t try that at Kursk or Ardennes and actually win themselves the war.