I think it was Crocodile Dundee who (faced with an incompetent pen knife wielding mugger) exclaimed in his irksome Aussie strain, ‘Ya call that a knife? This is a knife!’ Instantly pulled from his thick leather knife holder was what Nietzsche might have referred to as a ‘fuck off stabber.’
Hearing daily news of the young being stabbed at a pretty consistent rate, I begin to wonder where are all the Crocodile Dundee’s of the world are at to sort the trouble out? But then I think, maybe that’s the trouble, there’s just too many of them.
Anyway. Earlier this year I was at my grandparents house and while watching the usual Deal or No Deal/Countdown head burp, my granddad starts talking about the amount of people getting stabbed in the world. Though trying hard to solve the Countdown Conundrum and not conjure up any sticky images of Carol’s Voderman (brains are nice), I am drawn into my granddads sudden talk about knives. I enquire. It continues. He is now talking, from what I can recall, about the First World War and the Gurkha Knives that his brother had given to him. I enquire again. My nan then says she wants them out of the house. Confused, I then see my granddad leap up from his chair and go upstairs.
My granddad died not long after he brought these down the stairs at their small home in Hammersmith. It annoys me so much that I can’t exactly recall where each one is from or how he managed to acquire them.
When he died I knew my nan didn’t want them in the house so I asked if I could have them. She gladly gave them to me wrapped in a suspicious plastic bag along with the medals he received from the Navy in the 2nd World War.
I’m doing research on them at the moment. The amazement when I first saw them was tempered when on further inspection, there was still lots and lots of blood vaselined onto them.
The Kukri - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukri
This is the one I’m annoyed with the most because I can’t remember the actual story behind it. I can’t remember if it was found in a gurkha’s head or in a German’s or not.
Now, this little one I do remember something about. It was found in the gut of a German, but was bought at a market by my Granddad for a rather cheap price. It has an ivory handle. Though I don’t know its make. Nike perhaps.
I wish I found out more about them, because finding out about them is finding out about him. I’m not a fan of knives or their masculine posterity, but these bloody slices of history fascinate me because of their ridiculous passage into my granddads hands. Which have now reached mine. They are from a time that I hope I’ll never see, but seeing them is a reminder of how survival and living are our most feral instinct.