To dream without sleep

March 25, 2017

Diary 24th / 25th March

Question: What is the hardest thing to write about?

Answer: Happiness – anyone car write about misery, it’s easy. But real happiness with all its stubborn imperfections is the subject matter of great writers (unfortunately, I’m far from being a great writer).

My own writing evokes an inner world, a world of projections, fantasies and demonic illusions – or such is my intention. It is a world of emotionally greedy women, men whose incredible egoism is pushing them towards madness, and precocious adolescents who form an integral part (whether willingly or not) of the “ME” generation, which we seem to have created during the past three decades. All in their own way are seeking love and happiness; and all are sublimely selfish, considering only themselves in the paths they choose to take.

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In good art we do not ask for realism; we ask for truth.

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Pussy is a good moisturiser for the whole face. I like to apply it nightly. Even daily if the opportunity presents itself.

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I have some sympathy with Oscar Wilde when he said: ‘I have no objection to anyone’s sex life as long as they don’t practice it in the street and frighten the horses.’ No one should ever want to frighten the horses.

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‘As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note’ – so said Georges Bizet, and I totally agree.

“Basil, my dear boy, puts everything that is charming in him into his work. The consequence is that he has nothing left for life but his prejudices, his principles, and his common sense. The only artists I have ever known who are personally delightful are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.”

Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray

Perversion and degeneracy

March 11, 2017

Almost as soon as it was published (Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) in Lippincott’s, reviewers expressed their disgust. It was called ‘effeminate’, ‘unmanly’, ‘leprous’, and full of ‘esoteric prurience’ . Worst of all, it was openly French – written under the influence of naughty French decadence. Very recently, the translator of an Emile Zola novel had been prosecuted for obscenity, for daring to issue an English edition of Zola’s vile Parisian filth. The book that corrupts Dorian Gray, an unnamed ‘yellow book’, was self-evidently the weird and perverse French novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature (1884), about a decadent last scion of a degenerate aristocratic house pleasuring himself and defying boredom with a series of increasingly perverse investigations.

The most famous review of Dorian Gray was in the conservative Scots Observer (edited by the poet W E Henley), which came very close to accusing Wilde of the crime of gross indecency that had been made illegal in the 1885 Criminal Amendment Act. Dorian Gray, the review said, was fit ‘for none but outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.’ This was a reference to the recent ‘Cleveland Street Affair’, the discovery that a male brothel had been used by aristocrats to pay telegraph boys for sex. In the novel, Dorian Gray is openly asked by Basil Hallward, ‘Why is your friendship so fatal to young men?’ There is a litany of suggestive rumours listed about Dorian that imply blackmail, ruin, exile or shameful suicide. Dorian’s portrait is completed by an artist who openly expresses ‘that I adored you madly, extravagantly, absurdly’

Roger Luckhurst
Perversion and degeneracy in The Picture of Dorian Gray

being thrifty…

June 15, 2016

Poor

Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

The Soul of Man Under Socialism
Oscar Wilde

immoral books…

May 16, 2016

Vladimir Kush

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray

beautiful things…

March 9, 2016

danceoftruth

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Harlot’s House

February 25, 2016

puppet
We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the Harlot’s house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musician play
The ‘Treues Liebes Herz’, of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,

Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clock-work puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible Marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then turning to my love I said,
‘The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.’

But she, she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in;
Love passed into the house of Lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl,

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandaled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.

Oscar Wilde

Dance of the Seven Veils by Gaston Bussière, 1925

It’s now almost impossible to explain the sensual, erotic effect of those words on a young mind: dance of the seven veils!

How old was I when first heard them? Seven, eight? I knew in some remote way the dance was performed by Salomé for king Herod. And that during this sinuous, sensuous dance, Salomé undraped her curvaceous body for Herod’s greedy eyes.

I knew, too, that Salomé’s dance had little to do with the waltz, foxtrot, or cha-cha witnessed occasionally at parental parties, where heavily cosmetisised women danced with slim grey men: their husbands or lovers.

No, Salomé’s dance would have been far more exotic: seductively removing those ethereal silken veils for Herod; much more “One thousand and one Arabian nights” than cocktails in suburbia. Indeed, in my mind’s eye, I saw Salomé as a dusky beauty performing a belly dance, those incredible rolling movements of her taut abdomen arousing me in much the same way as they must have aroused Herod.

I saw her in my imagination wearing transparent harem pants, bare footed, those veils flowing gracefully over full swaying breasts…I had seen (often) my mother and her friends (more than a little intoxicated, usually) in their underwear: seen their stockings and garters, their lacy panties, slightly see-through. Salomé would have been so much more erotic…

Then, growing up, I discovered the dance of the seven veils supposedly originated with the myth of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld. Translations of the Akkadian version of the myth tell us that Ishtar had to surrender her crown, her earrings and bracelets; the Sumerian version of the tale concerns Inanna, queen of heaven and earth, who on visiting the underworld is called upon to give up all items symbolising the power of queenship: her crown, breastplate, royal robes, measuring rod, beads and jewellery.

So, Salomé’s dance was a simple biblical retelling of the myth of Ishtar? She danced for her stepfather and his friends for a rather gruesome reward. Also, reference to the bible story reveals no mention of the number seven!

It is to Oscar Wilde and his play Salomé that we must turn to find a mention of “seven veils”, and that in the English translation of the French stage directions. Hence the description of the dance from Wilde’s play:

HERODIAS. Let us go within. The voice of that man (John the Baptist) maddens me. I will not have my daughter dance while he is constantly crying out. I will not have her dance while you look at her in this fashion. In a word, I will not have her dance.

HEROD. Do not rise, my wife, my queen, it will avail thee nothing. I will not go within till she hath danced. Dance, Salomé, dance for me.

HERODIAS. Do not dance, my daughter.

SALOME. I am ready Tetrarch. (Salomé dances the dance of the seven veils.)

Of course, Wilde was being risqué in portraying Salomé as a bizarre, evil character, sexually obsessed with John the Baptist. This female demands the head of the man she desires – and when it is finally presented to her, she gently kisses the corpse lips.

Undoubtedly, Wilde was influenced by Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s 1870 poem “The Daughter of Herodias”. Here O’Shaughnessy describes Salomé dancing:

She freed and floated on the air her arms
Above dim veils that hid her bosom’s charms…
The veils fell round her like thin coiling mists
Shot through by topaz suns and amethysts.

The poem continues to briefly describe her ‘jewelled body’ as the flowing veils part and fall.

Interestingly, if one digs deep enough into the original bible story two key Greek words dispel any suggestion of salaciousness from Salomé’s dance: firstly the word “korasion” used to describe Salomé, means a very young girl, one not yet old enough to marry, and who has not yet menstruated; secondly the word “orxeomai” to dance, also means a young child at play…

Oh, how swiftly the erotic becomes bland, frigid, dull. All those impassioned, masturbatory visions experienced in boyhood, lascivious and horny, are as dust! The Salomé of my imagination is nothing more than the prurient fantasy of old men who should have known better. How disappointing is that…?

Sunday_temptation

I can resist anything except temptation. 

Oscar Wilde

 Lady Windermere’s Fan

Sunday_possessed

…what is it about Catholicism that fosters child rape among its supposedly godly representatives? Maybe, just maybe, it’s entirely unnatural to force a person to be “celibate?” Perhaps the priesthood attracts child molesters because of its unnatural structure that, by eliminating healthy sexuality, encourages perversion and also covers it up?

D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

Does the Catholic Church foster pedophilia? (Freethought Nation)

Sunday_Vampire ritual

In the war of magic and religion, is magic ultimately the victor? Perhaps priest and magician were once one, but the priest, learning humility in the face of God, discarded the spell for prayer.

 Patti Smith

Just Kid

sundayrub

Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves 

 Laura Esquivel

Like water for chocolate

sundaygame

Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself. 

 Jane Seabrook

  Furry Logic Laugh at Life

Sunday_IforgiveU

 

There is hope…

June 7, 2015

no2

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”

Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray