Welcome to The Red Opera

The website about the work of Paul Hoffman

Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Tiger Mountain in The Last Four Things is based on Mount Kilimanjaro. For two months a year while I was at my Catholic boarding school I escaped on holiday to my parent’s home near the mountain which rules the African plains for hundreds of miles around. My father was a soldier seconded to the Kenyan Army to train the first parachute regiment in Africa, mostly to fight the army of bandits known as the Shifta in a guerilla conflict that still dominates Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. For an alternative view see the Wikipedia entry on the Shifta as freedom-fighters. Whatever the truth of the matter it was clearly a fight carried on with considerable brutality on both sides, a brutality which informed the description of the war against The Folk in The Last Four Things.

The picture can give some idea of why I dubbed it, ‘The Great Testicle’ but in real life the wrinkled surface of the mountain is even more apparent.