Its Been a Blast

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Publisher Description

Jack started his mining career at the tender age of 18 in the deep gold mines of the Transvaal in South Africa. At the time of writing he still works in the industry... sometimes. It's been a bunch of booze-ups, fights, and mining mishaps from the very beginning, set against the backdrop of the cultural miasma of mining locations all over the world. This book recalls some of the stories, the lies, and the exaggerations from those years. Some of which happened to him, some to other people, and some probably only occurred in the imagination of the storyteller from whom he heard them. What he can't remember accurately, he has made up and will no doubt will come to believe in future years. These memoirs therefore represent his unreliable recollections and should be taken with a bucket load of Siberian salt. His lawyer tells him that this is therefore a work of pure fiction, and no reference to any person living or dead is intended.

The book itself covers the three stages and ages of his life in the mines. First up is the story of how he descended into this profession, despite family pressure to take to the skies to fly fast jets in the Royal Air Force. Next are stories from underground where the more robust (for want of a better word) characters in life dwell. Finally, the view from the bridge running small and medium sized mining businesses. The lonely feeling you get when you are the officer of the watch charting your ship through an ocean-load of super-tankers captained by lunatics. Tankers that is.

Here are some quotes from Jack from the book that should give you an inkling of what you are in for:

I read the book, "Don't Tell Mum I work on the Rigs, She thinks I'm a Pianist in a Whorehouse" by Paul Carter, with enormous delight. It's entertaining and funny on most pages, and so it got me thinking. My own experiences in the mines were similar in many ways to this oil rig guy, with some (at least to my mind) equally amusing anecdotes. The major difference is that my mother doesn't think I am pianist - she thinks I'm a penis. So, here are some tales from the tunnels. Hopefully you'll find them as comical and interesting as I do, or maybe I really am just the prick my mother thinks I am.

On that note, allow me to make a toast to all those hardy souls who toil in the mines, digging value from the bowels of the earth:

May the roof above your head never fall in,

And the people below it never fall out,

So, raise a toast,

To those we love most,

For a long life, and a merry one,

A quick death, and an easy one,

A pretty girl, and an honest one,

A cold beer, and another one.


(Gluckauf! Is a German miners' toast that means literally 'luck above you')

Warning: This book clearly contains some adult content and should be read by miners, but not minors. Enjoy.

2 June
Jack Shaft Publishing