The subsequent extract from File 12215, released October 2016 after 68 years by Her Majesty’s Government sheds light on one of Britain’s most misunderstood characters. Quentin Kirrin, as he was most widely known, was an enigmatic figure who might just have passed under the radar were it not for the work of one Ms Enid Blyton in the 40s and 50s.
Her first description of him in Five on A Treasure Island (published 1942 in the white heat of World War Two) tells of an irascible but ultimately befuddled scientist working on secret (perhaps nuclear) experiments. Around him is spun a yarn of plucky children and a plucky dog on an adventure relying on pluck and spunk (1940s spunk – not present day). In the tale the children visit Kirrin Island, find gold in the dungeons underneath the ruined castle there and thwart the plan of some unscrupulous businessmen who seek to buy the island cheaply from Quentin and his wife and then make off with the gold. Quentin is seduced by the offer of money and until the children show him what a fool he has been he is sleepwalking into the role of patsy with both eyes closed. Because that’s how you sleepwalk.
I believe that the recently declassified diary extract below, from the summer of 1941 casts new light on Quentin’s role in the adventure, his war time work, and the precise nature of proposed deal to sell the island. As will become clear, Ms Blyton’s portrayal of Quentin in Five on a T.I. as a bumbling genius is so far off the mark as to represent a significant libel against him. Unfortunately, the deaths of Quentin in 1978 and of Ms Blyton in 1968 mean that she has taken her treacherous sins to the grave. All the recourse sympathisers of Quentin have available to them is to indulge in petty and unsatisfying desecration of her final resting place.
So, without further introduction here is Quentin Kirrin’s diary entry from August 2nd, 1941.
Fucking hell! Today has been an unmitigated disaster. All my plans have come to naught and I find the one thought spinning round and round my head ‘I would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling cunts.’
It took 2 years to get everything in place to get that gold off the island. Fanny’s been the spanner in the works all along. Drunk she may be, but the woman’s like a fucking hawk when it comes to spotting Kirrin money leaving her pockets. Kirrin money. Even the phrase is a joke. How I’ve come to hate the very word. Kirrin Cottage, Kirrin Island, the village of Kirrin. My wife’s family built this place and I despise every last stone of it.
How I resent the indignity of having taken my wife’s name after our marriage. Especially now, in the 30s and 40s when such a thing is entirely unheard of – whatever may or may not happen in the future when you are reading this. Or having it read out to you. At some kind of weird bullshit storyfest for lonely children. I imagine. I should have stuck with my own name. Even if Fanny would never have agreed to change hers to it. Quentin Alfred Tarantino has a far more noble ring to it.
In those be-shadowed months before our marriage – when Fanny showed me secrets of the flesh that no Christian man should ever hope to know – I, romantic fool that I was, placed a shilling in an over-sized whisky bottle for every time we were intimate. My plan was that after we were married I would, for every time we made love, remove a coin and use it to buy some small treat for her. Only this spring did I finally give up on this ridiculous pledge and use the remaining coins to buy a brand new motorbike and some hand made Italian shoes.
The intervening years have shown her up to be the conniving old spider that my friends always insisted she was. But I genuinely thought I’d found the way out this time. I’ve known about the gold for 8 years – ever since old man Kirrin threw me off his yacht and I was forced to live on the island for a fortnight before being rescued by a fishing boat. Finding accomplices was hard, but in the end I identified people who believed in my cause as much as I did. I was not in this for personal gain – rather I served the ideas that my work has centred around for so many years.
Then those awful children came.
George. Georgina, whatever – was bad enough. Always whispering with Fanny. And the manipulation. Even the people in the village don’t see through the fiction. To them, as to all the outside world – George is a tomboy. A girl, who wants to be a boy. And who is unfortunate enough to have a father who tries to force her into the narrow gender stereotypes of a previous generation. As Fanny and George are obviously well aware – the truth is stranger and more ridiculous than normal society can comprehend. George is a boy. Christened George. At the age of 10 he decided that he would prefer to be called Georgina. Never one to stifle identity – I agreed immediately. Within 12 hours, he was back dressing as a boy and insisting that his identity involved being a boy pretending to be a girl pretending to be a boy. Well I am as liberal as the next man, but that is bullshit.
But when the cousins arrived I really found myself up against it. Hell itself has never produced such a monster as Julian. Tall and blond and a veritable poster child of nazi ambition I could cheerfully have knocked his fucking teeth out. ‘Uncle Quentin, Uncle Quentin’ he would chirp in a faux childish voice. ‘What do you do for the war Uncle Quentin?’ ‘My work is essential to the war effort’ I countered initially. But he just coughed in that way that the youth do – secretly saying the word ‘bullshit’ as they do so. He thinks I don’t hear him – but I do.
And then their trip to the island. They asked Fanny if they could row to the island. It’s a mile and a half. But she was so full of gin that she’d have agreed to anything at that stage. So off they went, all four of them. Plus that wretched hound. They make out I’m grumpy and won’t let it in the house. But it was the subject of a court order. It killed a child. And when I tried to intervene it ripped my thumb off. It’s been reattached, but it doesn’t work. It doesn’t bloody work.
And they found the gold. And they discovered the plot to buy the island. And they called the police. And they patronised the fuck out of me and I had to stand in front of them and congratulate them and listen to Plod saying how he shouldn’t be surprised if they all got medals no he shouldn’t. And all the time – my hopes and dreams and the future of our country was dying all around us and I was the only one who saw.
If Britain doesn’t win this struggle it will be catastrophe for future generations. Yes it would be nice to escape this hellish place with these hellish people. But it is of far greater significance that we beat the Russians and the Americans in the race to invent Hip Hop music. That is the nature of my work. Every day is spent analysing potential break beats, and-counts, battling formats and all the various aspects of turntableism. We simply have to conquer this seismic shift in expression and stamp the queen’s head on this new musical coin.
Who can imagine the horror if the Russians get there first? Spilling out rhymes from the heart of Moscow. Already, according to sources close to the Kremlin, Stalin already walks round in a full length puffa jacket and has his laboratories working night and day on one of those cars that bounce up and down. But worse still would be our allies in all other respects – the Americans. With their bastardised version of our language they could take over the world. Spitting out incomprehensible gibberish in a mumbling accent. Taking drugs, glorifying violence and walking round with their hands literally in their pockets. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about it.
And yet here we are. And here I am. No funds, no progress, no hope of leaving this godforsaken shithole. Marooned with these terrible children, a psychopathic child and her insane dog and my own, despicable drunken wife. And out there, across the Atlantic, plans are being made. Rhythms and rhymes analysed and replicated. Bass noises getting deeper and deeper. Big shoes.
What am I doing to win the war Julian? I am trying to develop the greatest weapon the world has ever known. And my name is NOT Uncle Quentin – it is DJ Labcoat – Professor of Rhythm. And you may have clipped my wings, but you will not break my spirit. Peace out, one love, Fuck the Police.