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


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?’


‘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!


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


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…


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


The Island of Stromboli


Take a seat in the Caffe Bar Turrisi

The interior of Caffe Bar Turrisi

The interior of Caffe Bar Turrisi


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:


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.

Hard-on, Sadie Lee

Diary 3rd June

What could be worse than the tedious pieties and shameless hypocrisies of the current referendum campaign? So many lies; so much speculation presented as fact by both sides…

Sitting in the pub listening to the locals yesterday. It’s like a visit to a cliché factory. Conversations about various political problems, each then obliterated by a shotgun blast of prejudice. Clichés passed back and forth like frothing pints of best. It was like being trapped in somebody else’s bad dream.

Little Englanders. Moving meticulously across a long dead past like farmers ploughing a disused cemetery while keeping a blind-eye to obvious inconsistencies in their arguments, which turn up like incidental bones all round them.

Sweet Cheesus. Too many immigrants. Not enough hospitals, schools, teachers, doctors nurses or houses!

Is that really the immigrants fault? The EU’s fault?

Or does the blame lay with UK government – with the past three administrations – for not planning to meet the necessary requirements of a growing population?

Fail to plan, plan to FAIL!

Oh, the totemic wordiness of Dangerous Dave and that blond scruff Boris…their flow of words, a permanent logorrhea. Oh, I’m so sick of these Eton alumni…Poor, poor little rich boys. The Napoleonic wars may have been won on the playing fields of Eton ( this according to Wellington), but common humanity and honesty went out the bleeding window!

Dangerous Dave would have done much better to invest in an Ouija board rather than listen to his co-conspirators within the Conservative party. At least then, by taking the advice of the dead and clutching at supernatural straws, he would lend an element of dignity to the approaching cataclysm.


Diary 25th May

Mention last night of L C R. I said it must have been three or four years since I’d seen her, but then realised it was more like ten years! How time flies. I remember standing in her kitchen one autumn afternoon, shortly after she’d split with her husband. She looked over her shoulder at me, and asked, ‘D’you want to have me here?’

Before I could answer she bent forward over a worktop, raised her skirt and said, ‘You can use my backdoor, if you like…’

She wasn’t wearing any panties.

That was the same week as V’s half-hearted suicide attempt. She’d been drinking all day and arguing with S, her new husband; to round things off she’d downed a couple of bottles of pills just before teatime. Pills and vodka a winning combination. Unfortunately V’s bedroom was a veritable pharmacist’s cornucopia.

S and I bundled her straight into his car and drove her to accident & emergency – not the local one. V was a nurse there. She didn’t want it known what she’d done.

After pumping V’s stomach, the doctor decided she should stay overnight and have a psychiatric assessment in the morning. S and I went to the pub. L C R was there and came over to say ‘Hi’. At some point, I agreed to see her the following Friday afternoon.

L C R was an attractive woman, bubbly, vivacious, fair, with short shapely legs and large breasts. She was eight or nine years older than me, I’d guess, and we’d first met when she was working part time behind the bar of the TLK on Sunday lunchtimes. She had a truly winning smile and a wonderful Welsh accent which I thought very sexy.

I remember that Friday afternoon in her kitchen, and later in the bedroom. L C R saying, ‘Hold me down, yeah. Tell me how good it feels…How you love how wet you’ve made me. Go on. Force me open. Ram it up hard as you can…’

There are chapters in every woman’s soul that few will ever get to read. Pages that lay hidden away. Sentences left unspoken. L C R was like some deep ocean, the depths of which were unknowable. She was a maze that could easily entrap the unwary…

Sexually she was without inhibition. She knew what she wanted and told you in no uncertain terms. But beyond the sex…?

Who was she really?

I once actually asked her; came right out with it. And she was like some medium who falls into a trance, so damn deep you could fuck her to death and she wouldn’t notice. She made no answer, as if the question was far too complex for contemplation.


Memories are ghosts that haunt us…They are quite implacable.


So much nonsense being claimed about a UK exit from the EU, by the Prime Minister and the IN-campaign. World War Three will probably happen! Economic Armageddon is a definite! House prices will fall (not such a bad thing!). My Aunt Mabel’s mangle will rust. It’s pathetic…

Face it. When the PM was trying to wheedle new terms and conditions for UK membership out of the EU, he publicly stated he would vote to leave if he couldn’t get his own way. He would vote for World War Three, for Economic Armageddon and the erosion of house prices? That makes sense, don’t it?

And at the end of the day – who decided to go ahead with a bloody referendum of the UK’s membership in the first place?

Answer: Dangerous David Cameron, Prime Minister and Prophet of Doom, that’s who! He it was said he’d stand by and watch the fall of Nineveh, this to combat the incurable wickedness of the UK Independence party and their growing popularity amongst the great unwashed. To appease the more base elements of his own party, too, he would risk the wrath of the EU – he’d have the UK population face the ordeal of EU retribution and the great and terrible “end of days” that would follow a UK exit!


On the plus side. I find listening to Dangerous Dave a much more effective way of moving my bowls than a suppository.

S Pranam Singh Acrylic on Canvas Lady in Blue Mood
Diary 30th March

Hansa came into our lives when I was eight or nine years of age. She was a mystery to us, an exotic enigma beyond solution. My father called her the “Indian Princess”. Originally from Imphal, in India she came in search, perhaps, of a new civilization. An economic migrant that somehow washed up on our shore, to become friend, confidant, and companion to my mother.

I remember her first evening with us. It was winter and very cold. Hansa came down from her room to undress in front of the fire. I was fascinated by her. The beautiful silken sari in such startling colours. Her long black hair, swept back tight to the skull, forming a pony-tail that fell down the length of her long back.

She undressed without inhibition. After all my mother was another woman, and I, a child, was a non-sexual being to her mind. I remember in particular the firelight glow on her dusky arms and breasts.

Her father was a document writer who enjoyed a good lifestyle in India because of the bribes he was paid to “alter” or “adjust” documents in certain property transactions. Her mother remained an unknown quantity, as Hansa hardly ever mentioned her within my hearing.

Hansa on occasion took me to London, to Hamley’s, the oldest toy store in the world. She purchased scale model ships for me there (even then I had a love of the sea). The ships, I recall, were expensive, and she used her own money to pay for them…

I think she felt sorry for me at times. My strange existence on the periphery of my mother’s world was beyond her experience; its oddness, perhaps, unsettled her…

At age ten or eleven I regularly masturbated with my head full of images of Hansa. Her delicate brown buttocks, the vee of fine black hair above the meaty lips of her sex. I wanted to cover her body in fond kisses…

By that time Hansa shared both my mother’s bedroom and her bed.

One day I was unwell with a bad cold. Hansa looked in on me. I lay abed in my PJ’s, flushed and feverish. She opened my pajama jacket and began to massage a mentholated ointment on my chest. Her touch was magical…Her fingers beautifully cool on my hot skin. I became erect, and Hansa noticing this slipped a hand through the fly of my pajama bottoms.

‘Be good, little man,’ she said.

My face reddening, I reached for her breast…but she slipped away. Removed her hand from my pants.

‘You’re a naughty boy. What do you think your mother would say if she saw this?’

‘Not very much, I suspect,’ I mumbled. My cock was so stiff it ached. I felt swimmy-headed, my senses totally disordered by her brief touching of my penis.

Then, without any warning, her hand returned. Hansa grabbed my stiff cock and was rubbing it vigorously. Remnants of the mentholated ointment created a burning sensation. I felt my body tensing, preparing for that familiar orgasmic jolt…but no! Hansa again removed her hand, leaving me at the edge of the abyss.

‘I must get on,’ she said. ‘I’ve work to do. You’ll have to sort that dirty thing out yourself.’

‘Wont you touch it once more? Please, dear Hansa, I’m so close…’

‘Definitely not,’ she said.

I reached out and took hold of her hand. I was aware of a bead of perspiration funning from my hairline down my face. I gripped my cock with my free hand and tugged it. I looked intently into her eyes as I did this. I imagined touching her thighs, her cunt…and shot cum out over the sheets, spasm after spasm…

As my body relaxed, Hansa stood up. She leaned over the bed to kiss me gently on the head.

‘Clean up,’ she said. ‘Then rest, you naughty chap. You’re totally incorrigible…’

I don’t know how or why Hansa departed from our lives. It was in my fifteenth year. Perhaps a lover’s tiff? My mother could be very whimsical. I was away at school when it occurred, and remain ignorant of the circumstances to this day. When I came home for the summer break, Hansa was gone…

I never ever saw her again. She was a mystery left unsolved. But I still have those beautiful model ships she brought for me all those years ago. They are in a cardboard box beneath me bed. Sometimes, late at night, I take them out of the tissue paper wrappings and examine them.

They never fail to remind me of Hansa’s wonderful smile and the gleam of pleasure in her eyes when she first gave them to me…


Oh, dear, the shite seems to be hitting the fan –

‘MORE than half of French voters want their own in-out referendum on European Union membership, renewing fears in Brussels that a Brexit could topple the 28-country bloc.

‘With Britons set to go to the polls in June, there are increasing signs the UK’s referendum is paving the way for other European countries to question their own relationship with Brussels.

‘It comes after calls for Germany to have their own EU referendum in the aftermath of the migrant crisis. In a fresh blow to the EU, 53 per cent of the French people voted in favour of holding a UK-style referendum on the country’s membership.’

On the plus side, of course, when it comes to the EU neither Germany or France have any interest in “democracy” or a “free vote”. They had enough problems when the French people rejected the EU constitution in a free referendum.

It ain’t a mistake that’s going to be repeated.

joseph beuys by andy warhol

Diary 27th March

Some tosser stole an hour from me last night. They did the dastardly deed while my back was turned. While I sat writing in my favorite armchair.


And the hour was gone…!

Who should I blame? Ben Franklin’s satire from 1784, or that insidious builder and obsessive horse rider and golfer William Willet? Why, even the entomologist George Vernon Hudson is in the frame as Time Thief extraordinaire!

Introduced during the first world war, Daylight Saving Time or British Summer Time was designed to save…coal. And improve productivity…the workers could work longer hours. During our return match with the German’s under team Adolf, Double British Summer Time – two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the summer and one hour ahead during winter – was introduced, again to improve productivity and to allow the workers to get home before the jolly old blackout.

The duration of British Summer Time was changed in 1998 to bring the date of the start of summer time into line with that used in the rest of the European Community. By an EU directive, summer (or daylight saving) time will be kept between the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, all changes taking place at 01:00 GMT.

I might have guessed…One of those faceless Brussels Bureaucrats, dedicated to the destruction of the world as we know it, stole that bloody hour from me!


Asked in the pub yesterday afternoon would I be voting for the UK to remain in the EU, I replied, ‘Yes, voting yes, to stay.’

I went on to suggest, ‘Certainly our remaining within the EU makes a nonsense of the British concept of democracy, and places severe limitations on our ability as a nation to make decisions for ourselves. But leaving might totally mess up my future plans ( a selfish reason, I agree)…

‘I want to relocate to live in another EU state. Such a desire would be jeopardised by the UK’s exit from the Union.

‘Also, I’m no great lover of the “Little Englander” mentality. I am English. It pisses me off that when applying for a UK passport I have to fill in the space for “Nationality” as UK-er. In my opinion there’s no such thing. I’m English, and proud of it.

‘However, I also recognised that if you scrape the surface of any good Englishman, you’ll find a range of nationalities as forbearers. For myself in just six generations there are Swedes, Irish, Scots and a Russian…My first wife was South African, two of my children are Australian…and so it goes on and on. Some of my very best friends are Polish. I have a network of friends across Spain and Italy.

‘If the UK should exit the EU, I think the main reason will be because of immigration. It’s become the new F-word. Unrestricted immigration into the UK has caused huge problems with infrastructure, not enough hospitals, schools, doctors, teachers, housing, etc…But, ultimately, that is the fault of successive British Governments. They did not plan, they did not invest in these peoples future…

‘Like Mr Micawber they thought something would turn up. A rabbit would be pulled from a hat…

‘It’s not the fault of the immigrants. It’s the fault of short-sighted British parliamentarians. Every one of the three main political parties in Britain should hang their mediocre heads in shame…Because it is the crass mediocracy inherent in the governance of this country over the past three decades that’s been the main problem!

Perhaps, boys and girls, we do really need the EU to save us from ourselves?