Big Change…

July 25, 2019

We have a new Prime Minister!

Ce mec c’est un mytho –

Lady Europe 1942 – The Nazi version. The Brits isolated.

 

Lady Europe today – Polly Dunbar’s view. The Brits isolated.

The Old Gods & Brexit

March 23, 2019

You Brits are worried about Brexit? Waste of time, believe me. In 2020 the old Gods will finally return, refreshed after their long, long slumber and they’ll lay waste to human civilization. They’re going to burn arse, people –

So get over yourselves –

You heard it here first, boys & girls.

Knife crime

February 12, 2019

Knife crime is on the increase in England. Kids carry blades for protection against other kids carrying blades. The police can’t find who’s carrying a knife without ‘stop and search’ – and the ensuing complaints of racism that follow such police activity means they do as little as possible. So what’s the answer?

Easy.

Parliament passes a law to ensure anyone under the age of twenty-five must wear (at all times while away from the home) a skin-tight leotard – no coat or hoodie. Also, any bag carried must be see-through! A knife, then, would stand out like a sore thumb, wouldn’t it?

Simple!

We live in a culture where violence or violent behaviour has become the norm. Violence is widely assumed to be the best way to resolve conflict. We witness it in the actions of government: the UK has engaged in almost one hundred years of conflict since the first world war, small wars with inevitably large casualty lists. Just to mention a few of these more recent military actions: Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1998, the Falklands war, the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afganistan, Iraq, Libya, Sierra Leone, the list is feckin’ endless, boys & girls – and we now have a Minister of Defense preaching confrontation with Russia! Was the Crimean war not lesson enough for these idiots – ?

Remember, kids learn by example. Violence begets violence. Confrontation is met by confrontation. Throw economic insecurity and hopelessness into the mix, then you’ll have kids on the streets carrying knives – so why be surprised?

A toxic mix of racism, austerity, societal deprivation and corporate greed is ultimately to blame for this situation. As a nation we should get ready to purchase and supply “free of charge” several millions of those skin-tight leotards – and thus eradicate the problem of knife crime for good! A fresh tax levied on squillionaires would easily cover all costs; but I suspect that any action engaged in by the government will fall far short of what is required. It’s more likely that Ryan Air will introduce flights across the Andes by green gulper frog than a UK Government will find a solution to this problem of knife crime. No, best the government continues to concentrate all its attention on Brexit – after all we don’t want that to end up in a mess, do we?

a grave national defect

April 24, 2018

Zhang Haiying

I have not been domiciled in England. I have had the odd six months at a time, I mean, which is just about the length of time I enjoy England for. It gives you time to see your friends, get all the free meals you can, and everyone is glad to see you, to begin with, and so on. But I must confess that I’ve been a European since I was eighteen, and I think it is a grave national defect that we aren’t Europeans any more. We were talking today at lunch about Kingsley Amis. I was thinking about the anti-living-abroad trend or something – which implies a sort of unpatriotic attitude on my part – but, you see, my heroes of my generation – the Lawrences, the Norman Douglases, the Aldingtons, the Eliots, the Graveses – their ambition was always to be a European. It didn’t qualify their Englishness in any way, but it was recognized that a touch of European fire was necessary, as it were, to ignite the sort of dull sodden mass that one became, living in an unrestricted suburban way. Things would have been vastly different if I had had a very large private income, been a member of the gentry, had a charming country house and a flat in town and the ability to live four months of the year in Europe: I should certainly have been domiciled in London. But when you’re poor and you have to face shabby boarding houses and all the dreariness of South Ken or Bayswater or Woburn Place, with only the chance of seeing Europe in snippets of a month at a time, you have to make the vital decision as to whether you live in Europe and visit England, or whether you live in England and visit Europe.

Lawrence Durrell

Interview with Gene Andrewski & Julian Mitchell for Paris Review Issue 22

Down the Long Night

February 21, 2017

jeremy-mann-cityscape

Diary 20th February

And lo, it came to pass, that one consigned to the wilderness, returned. Though his disciples had rejected his ordinances – “by whose observance everyone shall live” – and cast him out into the barren desert after his many and varied failures. Yet once again, Yahweh called him to consider the future of the great nation he had once governed – governed as a sort of omnipotent autocrat, rather like Yahweh himself!

‘Don’t give up on it Tony,’ Yahweh said, his voice grave, but untroubled.

‘Is it you Lord? My God almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth? Have you come to me again?’

‘Yes…’

‘Why Lord? What do you require of me now? Is it a new war?’

And so Yahweh explained his growing conviction of a final catastrophe. ‘Brexit will end the opportunity and fulfillment that was unfolding before mankind! Madness has taken possession of the world. And your mission, Tony Blair, should you choose to accept it, is to go from this wilderness and preach my true message to your people…Only the EU can make a silk purse from this sow’s ear! It is an organization that you were born to preside over! Stop the rot, turn back the clock. Take up your crown, become EU president! Make the ignorant see; the bigoted tolerant. Turn these misguided miscreants into forward looking creatures…!’

And so it came to pass that Tony Blair, with his salesman’s smile and large self-belief, his ex-barrister’s ability to accept and argue not necessarily compatible things, made his speech suggesting democracy should be abandoned, that there should be an anti-democratic uprising of the people of the UK who voted against Brexit, and that, unable to exist without scraps from the EU table, the UK should remain a member of the EU.

Ah, doesn’t Mr Blair recognise himself as one of the reasons for the result of that terrible Brexit vote? While he was busy washing the blood from his hands after all those wars, he lost touch with ‘the people’. As Christopher Lasch stated (The Revolt of the Elites) identity politics would grow because it served the same function as religion once did:

‘The same benefits misleadingly associated with religion – security, spiritual comfort, dogmatic relief from doubt – are thought to flow from a therapeutic politics of identity. In effect, identity politics has come to serve as a substitute for religion. Or at least for the feeling of self-righteousness that is so commonly confused with religion.

These developments shed further light on the decline of democratic debate. ‘Diversity’, a slogan that looks attractive on the face of it, has come to mean the opposite of what it appears to mean. In practice, diversity turns out to legitimise a new dogmatism, in which rival minorities take shelter behind a set of beliefs impervious to rational discussion.’

Mr Blair, wealth personified, wore the borrowed robes of socialism for the briefest of moments. And then:

“Blair mixes with the Buffetts and the Gateses,” said John Kampfner, (Blair’s Wars), “where it is seen as matter of no great surprise that you arrive in a private jet. In Blairland, there is a sense of: ‘I have become part of the Davos global elite. But I haven’t been able to earn properly until now…'”

Almost single-handedly he managed to trash the New Labour brand. He made mugs of the British people. Fought wars that should never have been fought. He was an elitist who droned on and on about ‘broken Britain’.

In short, he’s toxic, baby – even with his God at his side!

#

How the UK voted and why? Lord Ashcroft’s EU referendum poll, a reminder to us all.

“Nearly half (49%) of leave voters said the biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”. One third (33%) said the main reason was that leaving “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.” Just over one in eight (13%) said remaining would mean having no choice “about how the EU expanded its membership or its powers in the years ahead.” Only just over one in twenty (6%) said their main reason was that “when it comes to trade and the economy, the UK would benefit more from being outside the EU than from being part of it.”

#

Jeremy Corbin looks the part an old testament prophet, don’t you think? Just the man to lead his party on an Exodus through the wilderness. Promises of the promised land in return for their faithfulness will keep his people with him.

Why not in the process revamp his party…?

He’s going to be in the wilderness a couple of decades. He could:

Rename it: “The United Kingdom Peoples Party” or the “United Kingdom Socialist Party”. Give the party a new constitution. Form alliances with the Green party, The LibDem party, even, if necessary, the “Raving Monster We’re Left of Everything Party”!

Always remember: If you remain unelected, you will change nothing!

Nothing!

Go for electoral reform, including the introduction of some form of proportional representation. Scrap the House of Lords. Have greater local democracy and aim for a full federal system in the UK (which would make the concept of Scottish Independence redundant).

Engage with the people.

Empower the people.

Win the people.

Not that I’m holding my breath or feeling TOO expectant as to the likelihood of this prospect, but hope springs eternal, as they say.

keep the dark outside

December 9, 2016

a-trump-ralph-steadman-new-statesman

Diary 9th December

Well, the circus continues. In the UK Britexit is challenged in the courts, in parliament and in the media. The Lib/Dems are dedicated to its overthrow – one way or another. Labour is, as always, uncertain.

There was a referendum, the people spoke and they decided to leave the EU.

Difficult result for me as a ‘remainer’. Sure, I’ve been one of the biggest critics of the EU in my time. It’s far from perfect, and almost impossible to reform. But I felt it’d be better to remain for a wide variety of reasons.

Now, all I keep hearing is politicians saying, ‘Yes, we respect the will of the people. We’re a democracy after all, BUT…and that BUT is a way for the political class to imply, ‘The electorate, bless ‘em, don’t know their arse from their elbow! We’ll do it again (the referendum, that is) until the idiots get it right!’

I have heard both Liberal and Labour politicians argue that the electorate did NOT know what they were voting for when they voted for exit. Really. This despite hundreds of hours of radio and TV programmes devoted to a political class that promised Armageddon if the UK exited the EU!

But it’s all about self-interest, of course. Not people. Nor democracy.

#

In the US, with the election of Trump, hysteria seems to have gripped large sections of the population. Or that’s the way it looks to little ol’ me, an outsider glancing in. The man isn’t yet in office, and the Trumpeter is treated as Der Trümpenführer. It’s as if a huge section of the American population have lost touch with reality.

Reminder: US Presidents CANNOT reverse Supreme Court decisions!

It’s true, boys and girls. Not Obergefell v. Hodges, nor Grutter v. Bollinger, nor any of the other important human rights decisions can be revoked – even if the Trumpeter managed to resurrect H Himmler from the buried dead, and appoint him to the Supreme Court. He couldn’t reverse these decisions without a hugely significant case coming before the courts with new facts, etc – which is unlikely to happen. And even if it did, they’d have to write an opinion stating how this case is different from the original case!

So a US President can’t repeal an existing law or write a new one.

Nor can a US President unilaterally make treaties with foreign nations.

Essentially, while US Presidents have a lot of power, it’s mostly unofficial – they can’t make sweeping laws, they can’t overturn existing rights, the most they can do is refuse to enforce laws – which would be a right royal pain in the arse all round. And I for one, don’t believe the Trumpeter wants to fall on his own sword just yet…So kittens, relax, deep breaths, the end of days is a way off yet. Give the man a chance…

#

Difficult times, full of contradiction and absurdity – however, nowhere near as much absurdity as during the Great Schism, usually dated to 1054, when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I in Constantinople excommunicated each other – a sort of patriarchal one up-manship between two knob-heads, leading to a split between eastern and western Christianity. In fact this mutual excommunication wasn’t lifted until 1965! How crazy is that?

#

I must get on, I’ve work to do…

a-wall

Diary 21st October

‘You don’t have to be crazy to be my friend,’ I said. ‘I can train you…!’

#

Love is wishing to live in the darkest parts of a person.

#

You can hide yourself in your lover and they can hide themself in you – then both of you will be hidden from the world.

#

‘It is better to collect moments rather than things,’ she said. ‘Wouldn’t you agree?’

With a collection of over two thousand books, I remained silent.

#

I think about walls. The result of the recent referendum in the UK to leave Europe, was the majority of Brits building a symbolic wall…between THEM and us. The desire to ‘Control our borders’ is the desire for a Wall to exclude.

Like Forrest Trump’s desire to build a wall between the US and Mexico. Its aim is to exclude. It feeds the erroneous belief that most foreigners are crooks, rapists, drug dealers, or baby eaters intent on despoiling the indigenous population’s way of life or culture.

In the UK the reality of incoming migration from all sources is a one percent growth in population over the past decade or more. Do we really believe that to be excessive? Apparently we do.

Successive UK governments failed to take into account the strain on infra structure – on schools, hospitals, housing etc. In Germany the government set aside an initial BILLION EUROS to help resettle their influx of migrants and refuges. While in the UK we talk in millions of pounds to help with the ‘problem’. Resettlement on the cheap.

Oh, we must keep out Johnny Foreigner…!

Let’s build more walls. If nothing else it’ll stimulate the brick industry.

Mount Etna - the Silvestri Craters where we paused for lunch

Mount Etna – the Silvestri Craters where we paused for lunch

View of Castlemola's rooftops and the sea

View of Castlemola’s rooftops and the sea

stromboli

The Island of Stromboli

caffe-bar-turrisi

Take a seat in the Caffe Bar Turrisi

The interior of Caffe Bar Turrisi

The interior of Caffe Bar Turrisi

Listen.

Come closer, children. Gather round.

In this place, night comes on like a fever in the blood. But don’t be worried by that. We are what we are. And sitting here on these Olympian heights, we overlook the world and see it as clearly as did the ancient Gods and Goddesses of this place.

That yellow incandescence is the light shining from countless windows far below. Beyond is the flat silver surf of the sea that earlier this afternoon had the colour and consistency of warm milk. We are on the island of Sicily, where beautiful Persephone was abducted and repeatedly ravished by that insatiable God Hades. Here, too, Charybdis, the water sucking daughter of Poseidon, created dangerous whirlpools that almost sank Odysseus when passing through the Straits of Messina.

Sicily was once the home of Giovanna Bonanno, witch and professional poisoner. She sold her poison to those ladies of the island who were made desperate by the attentions of abusive or adulterous husbands, or who simply wanted to dispose of an inconvenience. Using wine mixed with arsenic and a liquid lice killer, her diabolical potion was soon sending large numbers of men in Palermo, both young and old, to their graves. She became known as la Vecchia Dell’aceto, and was eventually arrested and brought to trial. Under interrogation, she confessed her crimes and sadly went to the gallows on 30th July 1789.

Earlier today we travelled to a small sleepy farm in the middle of nowhere, where lives a woman who claims decent from the unfortunate Bonanno. She is a practitioner of La Vecchia Religione, or the old religion. She is expert in the ways of the Strega, and claims Bonanno (and thus herself) are descended from “Donas de fuera”, ladies from the outside; that at least in part, they are of the fairy folk.

Apparently, two weeks before our arrival on the island, rain fell everywhere in grey opaque sheets. Extremely unseasonable weather indeed – all the locals agreed. And the tourists were thoroughly pissed-off with this wholly unexpected turn of events, their holidays ruined by a lack of sun and an excess of water. Our centenarian witch, however, was not in the least surprised. She, it seems, had suffered an insult – this from a red-faced, pot-bellied Bavarian tourist and his oompah-humming companions, who were perhaps missing their dirndls and lederhosen and were inappropriately tanked up with local red wine and grappa. It’s possible they thought they were in Greece, not Sicily…?

The nature of the insult went unexplained, but our witch summoned the rain and four winds to punish these arrogant interlopers. She punished everyone on the island, along with them, of course – but then, Hey, shit happens sometimes, doesn’t it, boys and girls?

Our witch, let’s call her Agata for the sake of this blog, spoke Sicilian – which I don’t understand so well. She had her maid and companion, Chiarina, ‘translate’ her words into Italian for my benefit.

‘I knew you would come to see me, long before your formal request in writing,’ she said.

‘You did?’

‘Oh, yes, yes. Your desire to meet was known to me before the arrival of your letter.’

‘I see.’

She chuckled. ‘Are we naked Peedeel?’

‘I don’t think so,’ I said, fearing I’d missed something in the translation…perhaps, an invitation? ‘Not here and now.’

‘Our bones and our organs, our skin and flesh. We are covered in life. But I sleep with my eyes open. And you, I see, have worlds in your eyes.’

As she spoke her hands made this beautiful choreography in the air; blue veins in her hands under grey-waxy skin; long slender fingers and bonny knuckles. Dancing, hypnotically.

‘Hearts do not beat in the dead,’ she said. ‘What is it you hear at night?’

‘I hear the trees,’ I said. ‘I hear the whispered poetry of the trees.’

She clapped her hands at this and laughed aloud: the shrill, excited laughter of a little girl. ‘You know nature is indifferent to your art, do you not?’ she said, finally.

‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘I know this.’

Agata’s eyes are uncomfortably youthful, a liquid-brown, and startling in their intensity. She is tall and thin with an enormous cushion of jet black hair on her head, a few wisps of grey showing here and there. Her face, unusually pallid for a sun-baked Sicilian, is deeply etched with lines. She is highly regarded and respected locally, with as much power as a mafia don. Elderly peasant women in their best black dresses pay court to her. Old men bent and buckled as olive trees call to have their arthritis attended to. The sick, the crippled, the broken hearted all come to Agata for easement of their condition.

Is she genuine? Does she have real power? you ask, boys and girls. Listen carefully now. She knew things about Peedeel that she should not have known; could not of known. How can that be? She knew things no other living individual knew about me. Where did that knowledge come from?

Oh, yes, she has genuine power. The locals worship her. She takes their children’s whooping cough away, cures their croup, their measles and their warts. And her services are cheaper than the local medico. She can also kill, so it is said, with a single whispered curse.

#

Where are we now?

We are ascending Etna, boys and girls, in painfully bright daylight. We are hoping to catch sight of Felis Lybica Sarda, the grey wild cats that inhabit the forests here. They hunt mice, hare, rabbit and other small animals, and from a distance can easily be mistaken for a large domestic tabby cat.

But of course we won’t see them. They are nocturnal hunters and few in number. Another of the world’s endangered species.

The ancient Greeks and Romans began the ecological destruction of this island with their grand programs of deforestation. Much of the indigenous wildlife went into decline. It’s man’s legacy to posterity, these willful acts of wonton destruction. But then, as Paracelsus would have it, ‘Evil is good perverted!’

Felis Lybica Sarda is now protected by law (for what that’s worth) but its numbers continue to decline. The antinomian attitudes of the islanders haven’t helped in this. And Felis Lybica Sarda further dilutes its own gene pool by breeding with the many thousands of abandoned domestic cats on the island…

So we rise through an unexpected and verdant forest to a moonscape of rock: pumice, the only stone that can float on water; Basalt as black as the covers of my grandmother’s bible; Ignimbrite from the pyroclastic heart of the volcano…A waste land of cooled lavas and craters. I am strongly reminded of the approaches to the cable car on mount Teide on the island of Tenerife, the rugged and barren pumice and lava fields there.

#

But then what of the bees…?

I haven’t mentioned the bees, have I? Honey bees. We stopped off at a place where they keep bees for their honey, a small family run business. One of the hives has a glass window, allowing us to see inside: thousands of busy worker bees around the central brood frames. Honey comb looking rich and golden…Clouds of bees in the hot air surrounding us.

Jars of honey for sale, here. Chestnut honey (said to prevent prostate problems) , Lemon honey, Orange honey, Eucalyptus honey, Wildflower honey. Also Royal Jelly (good for sexual problems), and skin creams made with bees wax.

Tightly clutching our many purchases, we continue on our way.

#

And, of course, the subject of bees brings to mind the poem of the late, great Robert Nye:

FATHER HOPKINS CONSIDERS THE IRISHRY

Beware of reasoning with the Mahoneys
They’ll say their bees are big as little ponies,
Then when you ask them how such things can be
Or how such bees could ever possibly
Fit into the beehive anywhere,
They’ll flute their fingers on the silver air
And cry, ‘Begob now, that’s their own affair!’

#

The heat is almost too much for us today. Twenty minutes sunbathing without cover beside the pool is all we can take. Then we retreat into shadow like cowed beasts. The faint and occasional breeze brings fire from the Sahara’s heart, rather than relief from the impossible intensity of the sun.

Then we lay in silence together, the three of us lost in feelings labyrinth, remembering the golden nostalgia of our joint pasts, perhaps…For no apparent reason I remember Dee lifting her skirt in a wood in Luxemburg and crouching to piss. Four years ago, that was. Her laughter was gently mocking as she did this…We were as children, then, in a lost land. Her stream of pee resembled liquid gold as it puddled on the forest floor. Dear Gabriella said, ‘I told you to go before we left that bar…! As if she were addressing an intractable child, rather than her lover.

Dee stuck her tongue out and wiped herself with a handful of Kleenex from her handbag. ‘I didn’t want to go then, see. But now I do…’

The sun has thickened every horizon and makes it as hard to see into the past as into the future. But I’m bridging the unbridgeable. While the afternoon collapses around me in this dreadful heat haze, I lay on marble tiles in the shade rebuilding a half-forgotten past from the detritus of my life. This is nature’s terrible dichotomy, isn’t it?

‘We should go to the room and make puppies,’ Dee says. This is her favorite term for doggy-style sex. ‘Or the fabled two-backed beast.’

‘Three-backed beast,’ says Gabriella, her face heavily beaded with perspiration. ‘Don’t forget me, you two.’

‘Too bloody hot,’ says I, feeling a total sweaty wreck.

But then Dee leans in to me and whispers in my ear. She invites / challenges me to commit an unnatural sexual act on her small, but yielding body.

‘Treat me like a child,’ she says. ‘But you must protect my virginity. Your forbidden desire can only be satisfied in this one way.’ She flutters her eyelids seductively. ‘I’ll beg you to stop, of course, and cry real tears as you pleasure yourself.’

‘I bags I watch,’ Gabriella says eagerly, eyes gleaming with sudden lust.

‘It’s much too hot,’ I repeat – normally weak and amenable when it comes to Dee’s inclinations to voluptuousness, I now firmly resist her perverse desires.

Well, I resist, that is, until the evening meal. Then…

In the busy restaurant, the waiters in their starched white shirts and black bowties, Dee vigorously rubs my cock through my trousers…this beneath the table with its thick white tablecloth. I reach over, thrust my hand between her burning thighs and finger her soaking cunt.

Both the girls, I realise, are more than a little drunk. I tally-up the number and type of alcoholic drinks they’ve consumed over the course of the afternoon. Four large gin and tonics, two small beers and two bottles of local rose wine between them. The booze fuels their licentiousness which increases with the onset of darkness. Finally, like wild things, their bodies distorted by frenzy, they violate each other in one of our two hotel rooms; they are mad Bacchantes with no shame or inhibition. Cumming is a cataclysm for us all. Shrieking together in delirium. Falling together into the abyss…

#

Where are we now?

Bobbing about off the island of Stromboli, waiting for darkness, when we will see the volcanic fires light the night sky. But as the sun goes down clouds roll in obscuring the volcano’s peek. We see nothing…

Earlier, on the island of Panarea, we eat one of the most expensive meals so far this holiday – the food, though, was excellent, and the wine at one hundred euros a bottle…well, it was good, if pricey. Peedeel’s meager bank balance was suitably depleted by our thirst for Merlot.

We visited these Aeolian Islands on a tourist boat. When we first boarded this morning we took window seats inside; the sun, already high, was quite without mercy. We watched as others poured on to the upper, open deck in states of semi-nudity with veritable vats of sun-block. By midday, bless ‘em, they would be well cooked.

On the return trip we went on the upper deck. In the darkness we were soon alone. For the first time we felt ‘cool’ and sat together watching the stars and exchanging long, lingering kisses as the sea breeze gently caressed us all the way back to port, where the masts of countless yachts slowly swayed in the moth-soft darkness.

#

Where to now?

We go to observe a single man’s obsession, his fetish, if you prefer, boys and girls. A veritable temple to the male organ of generation, no less. A bar full of cocks: some proudly erect; some flaccid and resting; many (surely) larger than life. Sitting here, in this wonderful bar, you can play a game of where’s Willy…?

On the ceiling cocks with wings. Mirrors behind the bar shaped like stiff cocks. Great phallic legs on the barstools and even the banister ends on the stairs are of a carved wooden penis complete with hanging testicles. Even the bottles of almond wine are penis-shaped…

Yes, yes, we are in Bar Turrisi, situated in Castlemola. It is a typical hillside village with roads two donkeys wide and tall buildings impossibly wedged together – Oh, yes, and there’s a castle on the hilltop (in ruins).

#

Conversations. We talk about a live sex show seen in Amsterdam where, in one scene, a witch enthusiastically sucked the cock of the Grim Reaper. It was a show of stark images drafted together to enable us, the audience, voyeurs one and all, to watch people fuck. I carry the image of poor Snow White and those seven randy dwarfs burned into the very tissues of my brain. Quite honestly, boys and girls, I think that particular vignette, though a few years ago now, may have damaged me irreparably.

We talk, too, about Peter Redgrove, the poet…perhaps the best poet of his generation. We consider his ‘therapist’ John Layard then also living in Falmouth who (allegedly) got into bed with select clients; there he’d gently fondled their cocks, edging them for the course of their hour’s analysis. He liked his clients to discuss the more intimate details of their lives. According to Redgrove, Layard who was bisexual, suffered from impotency following an accident – yet despite this he managed to seduce a friend’s wife ‘because he knew the secret of the clitoris, a closed book to most men at that time.’

Then, later:

‘There’s something blindly stupid in the moral judgments people pass on sexual fantasies.’

‘How so?’ Gabriella asks.

‘Well, in fantasy anything goes. It’s not real. It’s fantasy.’ Dee is painting her toenails, an expression of grim determination on her face. ‘Andrea Dworkin, for example, suggests people aren’t bright enough to see the difference between fantasy and reality – which is crazy! You can spend an entire lifetime fantasizing about rape, as perpetrator or victim, but that doesn’t mean you desire to be raped or to rape in reality…’

So very true.
#
And then we came home to the cold and rain.
#
Heard in a Chinese restaurant our first night back. A middle-aged male, very well-spoken, leaning over the menu, says to the oriental waiter: ‘What about this? Is this good, is it?’

‘Yes, yes,’ replies the waiter. (No surprises there; he’s hardly going to say, ‘No, that’s shite’, is he?)

‘I see. And what about this,’ says the man. ‘Is this good? Would I like this?’

And, of course, the waiter (who’s probably never seen this guy before in his life), says: ‘Yes, yes.’

‘Oh, good. I’ll have both of those then.’

I’m reminded of a scene from a Dennis Potter play.

Coast of Sea at Night - Ivan Aivazovsky

Diary 24th June

So, referendum result? Goodbye to Europe…Little England with its narrow, little mind has won. The divorce is going to be long and very messy.

#

I failed to mention the solstice and Stonehenge the other day. Shows how busy I’ve been, boys and girls. Around 12,000 people attended – less than the twenty thousand anticipated. Perhaps because of the alcohol ban, but more likely because of the cost of car parking.

Strawberry moon lit up the solstice sky for the first time in forty-nine years. And then the most incredible sunrise above the heel stone…

And when the horn blasts sounded out across the crowd, we all drank brandy from silver flasks. Lots of it. A wonderful experience. Thanks in particular to Aibhlinn and her beautiful partner whose hospitality and knowledge of things esoteric seemed limitless.

May peace accompany you wherever you go.

#

Can I mention here the death ship?

Well, yes, of course I can. It’s my Blog, isn’t it? I can mention what I please.

So, the Death ship and its appearance off St Just – a village in the far west reaches of Cornwall, where currently reside many witches, various practitioners of sexual magic, the odd Satanist or two, and a very large community of ‘swingers’. It is a village where, two hundred years ago, a dark stranger with cold grey eyes arrived with his sea chest. He took up residence in a cottage on the coast nearby. The villagers then, a pious band of church-goers, knew not from whence he’d come – but the suggestion was made that the stranger was in fact a pirate, who’d been marooned by his sea-robbing comrades for being too rough!

His arrival coincided with a number of ship wrecks off that stretch of coast. According to William Bottrell (Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 2):

“At length it was discovered that, on dark winter nights—when honest folks were a-bed—he made it his practice to fasten a lantern to the neck of a horse, which he had hobbled, by tying down its head to a fore-leg; then he drove the horse along near the cliff, and the lantern, from its motion, would be taken for a vessel’s stern-light.

“Consequently those on board ships sailing by, expecting to find plenty of sea room, would come right in and be wrecked on the rocks. Any of their crews that escaped a watery grave the wretch would knock on the head with his axe, or cut off their hand when they tried to grasp the rocks.”

And so the stranger became richer and lived the life of an aristocrat, lording it over all until he fell ill. Then it was the devil collected his due –

“When he was dying his awful shrieks were heard far away, as he cried, “Do save me from the devil, and the sailors, there, looking to tear me to pieces.” Several parsons and other pious folks were sent for.”

“Though it was in harvest time and high day, the old wrecker’s chamber became, at times, as dark as night. The parsons saw the devil in the room, when others could not; by their reading they drove him to take many shapes, but for all that he would not be put out; at last, when he took the form of a fly, and buzzed about the dying wretch, they saw it was in vain for them to try any longer.

“During the time the exorcists were engaged, the chamber seemed – by the sound – to be filled with the sea splashing around the bed; waves were heard as if surging and breaking against the house, though it was a good bit inland.”

Two farm hands out on the cliffs “beheld a black, heavy, square-rigged ship, with all sail set, coming fast in, against wind and tide, and not a hand to be seen aboard her.

“She came so close under cliff that only her topmast could be seen; when black clouds – that seemed to rise out of the deep – gathered around her and extended thence straight to the dying man’s dwelling.”

The farm hands, “terrified at the sight of this ship-of-doom so near them, ran up to the town-place, just as the old sinner died, when his dwelling shook as if about to fall. Everybody, in great fright, rushed out and saw the black clouds roll off towards the death-ship, which, at once, sailed away amidst a blaze of lightning – far over sea, and disappeared.”

#

So now I’m off on my hols. Do take care boys and girls.