SA4QE - The Slickman A4 Quotation Event

This fan event began in 2002 as a unique way of spreading the words of Russell Hoban. Every 4th February (Russell's birthday), readers around the world write their favourite quotations from his books on sheets of yellow A4 paper (the sort he used) and leave them in public places, and/or share them on social media with the hashtags #sa4qe and #russellhoban. Contributed photos and commentary were posted from 2002 to 2012 on the SA4QE site and then following this site's launch in 2012 new posts were uploaded here. Due to technical and resource issues we will no longer be including new posts here, but fans are welcome to continue celebrating! If you need a single sheet of yellow A4 and have enough ink in your printer you can download this PDF. Below is an archive of the posts to this site. We hope you enjoy these.

SA4QE 2016 - Oliver Newman - Oxford, United Kingdom

My chosen quotation for this year's sA4qe is from the Hoban novel which I had surely already distributed most widely during 2015: 'Riddley Walker' ... I had circulated a couple of spare copies amongst friends on various occasions this year (some of the older picador editions I'd accrued from charity shops over the years) - I'd also recommended the novel to several more friends and colleagues in recent months. (It was nice to see some high-profile erudite endorsement from Salman Rushdie in the weeks preceding Russell's birthday, too: he listed RW as one of his favourite novels!) Novel chosen, the method for choosing my quotation was borrowed from fellow 4qator, former English teacher, and 'nonsense aficionado' Roland Clare ... I picked a page at random and, naturally, found the great passage which follows pictured here, in situ.

And this year's sa4qation location? Especially erudite and historical; the riddles are walking in Oxford ...

"What ben makes tracks for what wil be. Words in the air pirnt foot steps on the groun for us to put our feet in to. May be a nother 100 years and kids wil sing a rime of Riddley Walker and Abel Goodparley with ther circel game."

Fewer photos than usual - apologies; this was due to phone storage issues (I hear you making some pun along the lines of: What's been, making way for what will be!) ... but readers will have to take my word that this year's sheets of yellow A4 trailed into the deepest and most intimate academic sanctums of the University where - it is hoped - the words will go on to penetrate the consciousness of some intellectual or scholar who will, in turn, write a thesis on the novel and publish it on for all to enjoy.

Filed under Oxford United Kingdom Riddley Walker

SA4QE 2016 - Ra McGuire - White Rock BC, Canada

The weather here on the west coast of Canada was once again inclement on Russell Hoban's naming day. I arrived at a grey and windy White Rock Beach with my yellow paper, some tape and a pocket full of tacks. I had a location planned - at a tourist lookout above the beach and pier - but when I arrived at the beach, the first thing I saw was a silent and still man with a briefcase, standing in front of the old train station, contemplating the bay in front of him.
The bronze sculpture is called "Passenger", but I knew right away that it was the Gom Yawmcher man - and I knew also that he was considering something similar if not identical to the subject of my yellow paper; "If you could even jus see 1 thing clear ..."
As I walked toward him, the sun came out. Once I had affixed the paper to his briefcase, it went back behind the clouds. 

"If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it."

Filed under White Rock BC Canada Riddley Walker

SA4QE 2016 - Roland Clare - Bristol UK, United Kingdom

… I got myself an Americano and found an empty table by the window where I could start 'Hope of a Tree' while drinking my coffee. The day was sunny and the Fulham Road was thronged with people doing their Saturday things. With my book and my coffee I felt as if I was in a little island of no hurry and no bother where I could let my mind be quiet for a while.

I opened the book […] and there’s Cynthia on Clifton Bridge thinking about jumping and here comes Sam to talk her out of it. OK, I thought, you can get a good love story out of a beginning like that. Then I noticed a woman who’d just sat down at the next table watching me. She was about my age, not bad looking, maybe a little too much jaw, dark brown hair in a Louise Brooks cut. Black polo neck, little pink leather jacket, black trousers and Birkenstocks. Very sleek, very cool and sure of herself.

She gave me a sort of knowing leer and said, ‘Enjoying it?’

‘Just started it,’ I said. ‘Have you read it?’

‘Had to,’ she said. ‘I was married to the author.’

‘Oh,’ I said.

‘Do you know him?’ she said.

‘Sort of,’ I said. ‘I’m his girlfriend.’

I was surprised to hear myself say that but I tend to take against sleek women on sight.

‘Really!’ she said. ‘He usually goes for the intellectual type. Which you don’t, at first glance, appear to be.’

‘It could be that he’s looking to change his luck,’ I said.

‘Which way?’ she said. I stood up and took half a step towards her. She suddenly looked less sure of herself.

‘Maybe,’ I said. ‘You’d like to continue this discussion outside?’

‘Oh dear,’ she said. ‘Phil has come a long way down the female evolutionary ladder. This conversation would seem to be at an end. I suggest that you go back to your book and I to my cappuccino.’

‘While you still have your teeth,’ I said. She stayed quiet then, and when she picked up her cup it rattled in the saucer. I was amazed at my behaviour and quite pleased with it. Ms Ex-Wife finished her cappuccino quickly and left, avoiding eye contact the whole time […].

Sam talks Cynthia down off the bridge and they go to the camera obscura. ‘It’s a dark chamber,’ says Sam, ‘but you get a clear bright view of things from here.’
I imagined him saying that in the kind of film where you can see what’s coming long before it arrives. Sam – he’s American – would be played by Jim Carrey without his usual gurning and pretty soon we’d find out in a flashback that he’d been contemplating suicide after being dumped by Jennifer, played by Emily Watson. Cynthia would be Kate Winslet. An American film shot on location here.

‘Another dark chamber?’ says Cynthia as they start taking their clothes off at Sam’s place on page 17. They get through the sex pretty quickly because that part is only foreplay for a whole lot of talk about books and music and painting and movies. With quotes from here and there in italics. Italics always tire me out. I had a second Americano because I was getting sleepy. Then I got up and walked down to the New King’s Road and over to the river. I found myself a bench in Bishop’s Park and sat there in the sunshine watching a crew rowing down the
river with the cox yelling at them. For a while I just sat there trying to let my mind go blank but the book was in my hands and I kept thinking, Am I this guy’s girlfriend? It’s always a bad sign when you start thinking in italics. I read a little more but by then I knew I wasn’t sure I could finish the book, it was too boring ...

Chosen partly because it's very funny and partly because of its reference to Bristol UK, where I did my SA4Qation.

Filed under Bristol UK United Kingdom My Tango with Barbara Strozzi

SA4QE 2016 - Yvonne Studer - Zürich, Switzerland

Swamped with end-of-term chores as always at this time of year, I nevertheless enjoyed doing a bit of "fork-you-ating" in the morning. This time my quotations went to a few colleagues at my school who had been in a reading group with me last year and who were game when I invited them to read and discuss Riddley Walker with me. Mind you, they weren't English teachers but teachers of German, French, Italian, Latin and History! Some received a quotation from the book we'd read together, others were given a quotation from The Mouse and His Child, which I love very much too. Although there wasn't much time during the break when I presented the quotations to the colleagues I met in the staff room, we had nice little chats that weren't about students or marks as most other conversations now are.
The quotations for colleagues I didn't meet were placed in their pigeonholes (actually pigeon-drawers...) in the staff room (see picture). I hope they enjoyed the little surprise as much as I enjoyed "fork-you-ating" them in the morning.

…this time I fealt a Power in me what circelt with it. Membering when the thot come to me: THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER. Wel now I sust that wernt qwite it. It aint that its no Power. Its the not sturgling for Power that’s where the Power is. Its in jus letting your self behynt and letting your self be where it says in Eusa 5:

… in tu the hart uv the stoan hart uv the dans. Evere thing blippin & bleapin & movin in the shiftin uv thay Nos. Sum tyms bytin sum tyms bit.

'That's it,' said Serpentina. 'Nothing is the ultimate truth.'
'Nothing?' said the child.
'Nothing,' repeated Serpentina. ...
'I don't believe it,' said the mouse child. ... 'I wonder what's on the other side of nothing?' he said.
'Tiny upstart!' said Serpentina. 'Who are you to seek the other side of nothing?'
'If I'm big enough to stand in the mud all this time and contemplate infinity,' said the child, 'I'm big enough to look at the other side of nothing.' ...
'Ah,' he said, 'there's nothing on the other side of nothing but us.'

I hope everyone has felt on the other side of nothing today and immersed in the heart of the dance!
Happy Russ's Birthday!

Filed under Zürich Switzerland Riddley Walker The Mouse and his Child