Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

OZ 2013

After Dinner Speech by John Anderson

Heather, Chris & Penny, Distiguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen

As I look around the room this evening and indeed throughout this week I can see many advanced cases of Shute-itis. It is a severe malady for which, in certain cases, there is no known cure. Let me explain. Shute-itis, or NEVILIUS SHUTE-OPHILIA to give it its proper medical name, is an invidious afflication. In advanced cases it causes an insane desire to travel halfway round the world to meet and discuss symptoms with fellow sufferers. Relief may be obtained at these gatherings, but, I should warn you, it is only temporary and the illogical desire to do it all again will return within 2 years and, sometimes, more frequently than that. The problem is that the affliction begins in such an innocent fashion. Take my own case. There I was some years ago believing that I was probably the only person left who really appreciated the writings of this author who had been dead for many years. Sound familiar? Then, via the Internet, I discovered the Foundation website and the newsletter gave me my monthly “fix”. This is the mild stage and is curable by getting out more, reading more widely and taking up new interests. No, the really dangerous phase begins when you are overcome by the desire to meet other Shutists face to face because their enthusiasm is so infectious. They do not wear pointy ears, underpants over their trousers, nor impersonate dead pop stars. They will all appear so normal, so apparently well adjusted, so likeable, friendly and welcoming.

Don’t be fooled! Before you can say Kindling, you’ll be hooked by an Old Captivity from which there is no highway out and you’ll find yourself making landfall between the Rainbow and the Rose in some pastoral far country. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The power of Shute-itis is most secret. Experts with their slide rules say it’s beyond the black stump to explain. Help may be at hand. Research into the afflication is being funded by a reclusive trustee from the toolroom on Marazan. Leading expert Stephen Morris says doing the research is a long and lonely road. it’s like putting together pieces on a chequer board although he hopes eventually to develop a blind understanding of the condition. In a recent case study he cites the Incident at Eucla where What happened to the Corbetts was a severe ordeal. He holds out some hope for a cure eventually although he warns there will always be the legacy of after effects and during treatment many feel So disdained and that they are going Round the Bend. I hope you don’t suffer a fate like the seafarers. When their pilotage went wrong they ended up In the Wet when they were washed on the beach by the breaking wave. Like them there will be no pied piper to rescue you. All I can say is if, like me, you’re severely afflicted, lie back and enjoy it. Who needs a cure?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege and pleasure to propose a toast to the man who has brought us all here this evening. Will you please raise your glasses and join with me in a toast to NEVIL SHUTE NORWAY.

Thank you.

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