In the misty light of a November afternoon the planet spins slowly towards another day, leaving the sun's light behind. Colours vanish into the ethereal blue of twilight, there is nothing in sight except the birds flocking home to roost. The darkling thrush, the gloaming bird, dark wings in the sky; the chittering chatter of beak and crop the glooming grey light fills. Silence descends across the fields, silence in the air, except for those few winged shadows twittering across my view. November's light is soft and rare, sometimes it evaporates into thin air - we are shadows, we are mist, we are nought but a fading bloom in someone else's garden - we float on the evanescent vapour of our dreams, we disappear into the ether of another day. We fade every day, we fade to grey. We are and will always be someone else's memory.
Now is the winter and everyone is discontent, made worse by the global elite who hoard trillions of money, like so many Ebeneezers. It will do them no good in the end because they can't eat it. They can, of course, burn it to keep the freezing fingers of winter from squeezing their bloated testicles. Or they could build castles to keep the grasping fingers of the filthy rabble from grabbing their golden geese and cooking them. But whatever they do, their geese will, sooner or later, be cooked. I like a bit of goose, don't you? We are in a global prison of our own design - although, to be fair, I wasn't consulted about the design, it was merely presented to me as the best thing since the previous best thing...whatever that was. I can't keep track of all the best things that politicians and so-called "experts" have laid before me with the promise of eternal benefits for which should be eternally grateful. I can't think of one, off the top of my head, that has actually delivered much, but we live in hope because without hope, where would we be? Anyway, I'm confident that whatever my government tells me, it must be right and I have every one of these hopes for the future carefully stashed away in a large box under the sink. They'll come in handy one day. It reminds of the time I met a wizened old lady on the way to the market who offered me a handful of beans for a quick fuck, but I declined because I've already been fucked by the government and sundry other agencies. Anyway, I didn't fall for that old story about beanstalks and golden showers...or something. So, here we are again, up to our ears in misery and fear - the torture never stops, does it? Perhaps revolution might be unleashed as the only way to share the loot between us all, but that doesn't really work either because for all their fine words and heartfelt polemics, the erstwhile leaders of revolutions always seem to end up with a somewhat larger slice of the cake and more cherries than the rest of us, because they're really just the same as the global elite, except without the cash. But aren't we all? Having taken my fair share of abuse and been forced to watch the board of governors stuffing their faces with fois gras, steak and christmas pudding while my nose is pressed against the window of the workhouse and the seasonal snow gradually buries me, I'm not averse to the prospect of changing places with one of the fat bastards, 'arter all, ve all need a bit 'o good wittles an' a drop 'o good cheer t' keep us 'appy guvnor! Merry Christmas and Gawd bless us, every one! Globalism. This is what it means: close down all your manufacturing industries and give them to an impoverished developing nation like...just off the top of my head...China. Invest in their industrial revolution and educate them so that they can sell us cheap products. So we get cheap t-shirts and shoes and they get...very, very RICH! What a great idea, huh? No need for us to soil our hands with filthy machinery and all the pollution that goes hand-in-hand with industry, we can buy everything much more cheaply from the Chinese without worrying about the shit. Hang on, you might reasonably ask, how do we keep our own economic boat afloat if we have nothing - or in the vernacular, fuck-all - to trade with? Ah, well now, here's the miracle ingredient - we become a service economy! Yes folks, that's right, we sell services! Oh, right, you may say, so we're going to transition from making and trading stuff, like clothes, cars, bikes, steel etc, in other words, real things that have a use, to trading services that have no intrinsic value as such because there isn't anything that is useful...like a washing machine. Hold on my little doubting Thomas, don't worry about the intrinsic stuff for now, just go with it. Selling services means that we sell financial services, banking and money orientated stuff, as well as other things like...err, hospitality and tourism and shopping...which is also part of money, as is everything else. So you buy a cup of coffee with a debit card and that comes with a cost to the business because the banks who use electronic financial transfer systems levy a charge for each transaction...which of course is added to the cost of your cup of coffee. Thus, a service has been provided and a trade has taken place. In short, an economic cycle is in motion. All well and good. Except, when things go wrong - or in the vernacular, tits-up - the service economy rapidly collapses into a smouldering heap. Meanwhile, the Chinese are still selling their stuff to the rest of us. Now, it may well be the case that eventually the entire global ediface crumbles into a heap of rusty nails because those who can't sell services can't pay their employees, who can't buy Chinese washing machines, so the washing machine industry goes pop. But people will always buy stuff and as most of it is made in China, the Chinese are pretty well safe. Be that as it may, we are all in it together - 'it' being a big hole that is gradually filling up with mucho unpleasant and toxic global effluent in the form of abject poverty and despair. But it's ok, I still have a box full of hope under the sink. See? I said it would come in handy!
Drifting in a small boat on a silent lake, the rain began to fall and the herons flew away as the wind blew the rain into in my face and scratched at the dark surface of the water in the faint greenish light of the autumn afternoon. Floating, floating…I sang a song for you on another day, in another life we lived.
All the moments, all the days we had, all the time I looked at you. I breathed the air of your last words as you disappeared from view, your long hair swaying from side to side waving goodbye. You turned and smiled as the curtain closed and I lost you once again.
In time past.
Waking up before the sun, laughing at the sky, summer days lost in a haze of red wine and cigarettes. We sang the blues in the afternoon until we cried like Robert Johnson’s keening guitar and Sonny Boy’s moaning harp. The burnished sun, diffused through the window’s translucent silk veil that shivered in the warm air, painted you in soft focus light like Leonardo’s sfumato brush. The contours of your naked body clothed in diaphanous pastel shades and limpid mystery – you smiled as the ecstatic light caressed your shadows and touched your lips. Now, we are shadows together in the second circle, never lost but never found – and gradually now, like yesterday, the disappearing room fades from view, I fade into you – we are gone.
I close my eyes before the thorns and nails, the spirit and the bell, I look before the thunder comes, waiting for the miracle. In the garden I see clouds among the roses, I feel a song that I can’t hear. Now you speak to me in waves of light, you speak to me of then, you sing to me in shadows, you take my breath away among the roses and the perfume of the garden that we lost. Now I follow the smoke of your fire across the endless fields, dancing with autumn spirits to the rhythm of your rhymes, while between the silent stones the violet evening glows and John Barleycorn lies dying. Standing alone on a hillside, all is quiet in the English sky, save for the twittering swallows catching insects on the wing, swooping high and low in the twilight’s glimmering gold and Giotto’s starry blue. The night is time’s companion, time took all the nights I sang to you. And yet, in this crepuscular empyrean solitude, I feel no dread.
Memories of cold fire burn the bridges of our time,
Still I follow the sound of the longing song,
Back to the time I have forgotten.
You open the gate of your garden, you let your perfume fill my mouth,
Just a taste is all I need, one more taste of your afterglow,
Another kiss, another smile, another touch before you go.
I remember everything – the memory of your light,
And watching the sun’s dark moment cross the great divide.
I will not die before the storm, I will not watch the dark,
All the light will one day fade and that one day will be the last,
In time and time before past time, in time before time passed.
Send a postcard, send a letter, send a souvenir.
It is time.
After the day…
Now – in this uncertain time – when only ghosts are free to fly, when churning oceans hurl their foaming flesh onto those shores that ships can never reach, when winter’s breath brings frosty death to every leaf and flower – yes now, in this uncertain time – we meet again. In our cold sky pricked by cold stars, distant suns are dying, other worlds are burning, but not in our time. It is not our time that lights our way, it is time past in time present and this is all that we can ever know. We meet again in this uncertain time, helpless in the ceaseless turning world. There is no still point for this turning world, no moment when time blinks, quiescent at that point where all is still; for time can never be still until the absolute point of stillness, when nothing turns, the fire is cold and the final point of light blinks off – there the still point will be.
I heard a voice coming from an open window, a voice I thought I knew, a song I had heard so long ago. I had forgotten the song but I remembered looking into the sun.
Time passes, we forget.
From an open window somewhere above me, the song came again. The memory of you fell into this crowded street of blinding light, carried to me on the song I couldn’t see, by words I barely remembered. It was you, it was me, I remembered the song. Crowds of unknown people passed by, jostling and nudging as I looked into the sun and looked for the song. I could not see you, only shapes and shadows, dark moving across light. I remembered the light in your long hair as the breeze lifted it away from your face…your face…your face. The memory of a day, a time – it was always summer. I wanted to remember the light, the sun in your hair, the warmth of the afternoon on those days when we walked in the noise of the hot crowded city and lay down beneath the infinite blue empyrean in fields of summer gold so long ago – you in that pale yellow dress and your hair so long, strands of dark molten gold glowing in the radiant sunlight, a banner of flame fluttering in the breeze that kissed your face like you kissed my face…the afterglow still warms the memory.
But we had to let it go, we never sang again and so the song faded to silence as time passed and slipped away. The song of a memory, the memory of a fragment of time, of time past and time passed and time passing…we forget. The song sang a picture of that time so long ago. It was always summer – or so it seemed. It’s hard to remember once we forget, but memory waits… and so I remembered the song, the words and the music – the memory of then. Always summer.
We were other people then, we are other memories now; we were young and beautiful, we had time. It was summer and when we sang – sad with the song – we looked into the sun.
But time passes and we forget. I try to remember fragments of time past, before time passed. I have faded pictures that flicker across the walls in the moonlight, I have songs I can barely hear that I can’t remember. What I want to remember is not certain and not always clear. We try to see what we want the memory to be and so often we forget. The memory has its own memory. I want to see but the window is cracked and covered with time’s dust.
We were young, time was the future that we didn’t look for; we only did whatever made us happy. We sang songs that made us cry and we looked into the sun. Now you are here again and I remember; in the song drifting from an unseen window above the blinding light of the street, I remember but I can’t see you. I remember a memory. I remember the sun. Now the forgotten song is over – as it was so long ago; but I remembered what I had forgotten while I looked into the sun. The memory is enough. Time passes, we forget.
For you who I remembered and all those I forgot, We who sang the song and looked into the sun.
The sky above the Essex earth, light of passing moments that illuminates the fertile land. The light, the light, the glorious clouds that sail across the sea of sky, The sky that shimmered through Constable's hand and Gainsborough's flashing brush. We are a nation bound by sea but unbound by the urge to look beyond this tiny sceptered isle, We are a nation of ships and men who sail the mighty oceans that wash, exhausted, upon the shores of mysterious distant lands. The ships of men and vaporous clouds, the heroic men that sail the world, through sea and sky they navigate the glittering emerald globe. This land, this sky where the lark ascends in spirals ever-rising, higher and higher into the light until his trilling song does fade into silver'd silence, and the light that passes overhead casts dark shadows that march across the rolling fields; augurs, perhaps, of the time and tide that waits, unknown, beyond the far horizon. Sail on, sail on, oh mighty clouds, sail on for ever more.
Lockdown, hibernation, false dawns, abandoned plans and lost time. The dark despair of the endless nothing; and yet the glimmer of a tiny light far, far away in the dark distant future will always be visible regardless of how much the black void tries to swallow it. This is hope and where there is life, there will always be hope. This is not the same as faith, which relies on a different part of the consciousness and the soul. Hope is predicated on the will to live, as opposed to the belief in something intangible. Hope is the light, faith is the belief in the possibility that the light is merely a sign leading to somewhere else.
The light, of course, may not be light at all. The relationship between mind and material reality is a deeply personal consciousness, the metaphysical identity. The metaphor and the metaphysical conceit are our friends.
And so is Prokofiev.
I saw the light on the night when we went to the ballet recently and hope embraced me in its gorgeous arms, sweeping me up and swirling me higher, higher, higher into the vaulted dome of the majestic Royal Albert Hall, as Sergei Polunin and Alina Cojocaru danced their duet from Romeo and Juliet to Prokofiev’s oh-so-beautiful score. I watched the lissom bodies of the dancers entwine around each other in sensuous and erotic movements while Prokofiev’s achingly gorgeous melody wrapped itself around me and impregnated my ears. Aural sex. Or perhaps aural concupiscence. Either way, it was orgasmic, man. And so it should be. If music be the food of love, then starvation would be unknown, unless all you listen to is rap music, which has little to do with either music or love. But that’s a story for another day.
It was dark in the streets of London apres ballet and we were subsumed into the romance of the night. We hid in the shadows and danced in the light, we sang in gutter and kissed in the doorway of an old mansion with a thousand secrets hidden behind its shuttered windows. We walked to the river and watched lights of the city reflected in the shimmering ribbon of liquid silver upon which the city was born and built and developed into the greatest city on earth. This is the lifeblood of the metropolis, the ebb and flow of the river is the pulse of the city’s heart. Now we ran for the No.11 bus to carry us through the quiet streets, past Westminster, past Trafalgar Square, along the busy Strand and Aldwych to the Law Courts, we pass the Dragon where the old Temple Bar once stood, the gate to the medieval City of London. As we pass along Fleet Street, where newspapers were once printed, the glorious dome of Wren’s utterly magnificent baroque masterpiece St. Pauls cathedral rises before us at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point of the City of London. Is there a more beautiful church anywhere in the world? No, I think not. And so the journey takes us past the City’s financial heart, the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the Mansion House, here is wealth and power, here is the heart of Empire. We disembark at Liverpool Street to catch the train. It begins to rain. Night in the city with rain falling down and we found ourselves in the dark. Here is romance.
“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. They have set their abominations in the house to pollute it.” Jeremiah 7
We are being dragged backwards towards the dark ages by the single-celled multitudes and their sightless disciples. “They have set their abominations in the house to pollute it“. One brain shared between many doesn’t endow any of the many with sufficient intellect to do much more than obey whatever this week’s percieved crime against society is. A nest of insectoids, they rush, en masse, from one red rag to the next, buzzing with anger and righteousness without having the faintest idea what it is they are buzzing about – they just know that buzz they must because everyone else is buzzing and thus it must be right. There is safety in numbers – the irrational concensus of the group over-rides common sense. The individual is cast out, vilification takes the place of considered judgement and fear is assuaged. “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!” You get the picture.
This is not a new phenomenon, all religions rely on the mass worshipping as one body, recieving instruction from an unseen deity, but the method by which it is now weaponised and directed at the percieved enemy, is. Once upon a time the angry villagers would drive out the evil one with flaming torches and pitchforks. Now the village is global and the pitchforks are usurped by pointed remarks and verbal unreasoning that spread from one idiot to the next, each one adding their own verbal assault upon the one chosen to have the sins of the people laid upon it until the unfortunate beast either repents and is subsumed back into the amorphous mass or is ritually slaughtered upon the altar of righteousness. Witness the attempted public denouncement and humiliation of J.K. Rowling who dared opine that people who menstruate are women. The fact that this is true mattered not to the hordes of the suppposedly offended who support the idea that those who menstruate can be whatever sex they choose, even though this is a biological impossibility, regardless of the imbecilic belief that biology has nothing to do with what sex you are. Cue world-wide attack on famous author with an individual opinion. Hate and bellicose ranting poured forth from the illogical (usually left-wing because the left don’t seem to mind using a bit of hate and violence in order to sieze control) mob, manipulated by a single thought shared between them. It is murder, it is murder. It is the politics of the insect disseminated from the shadows by person or persons unknown, those who are using the termites to undermine the civil societies that they cannot gain control of by plebiscite. These are the anarchists who would impose their own dictatorships onto the plebs they despise. The simple-minded insectoids, bereft of any intellect beyond the ability to follow the pheromones wafted under their noses by social media, are easily manipulated.
There are many such instances – particularly in the academic world, a world where debate, argument and considered opinion based on logic, intellect and philosopical thought excelled, but where fear now holds sway. Debate has been shut down in the name of so-called diversity. Universities, which were founded to promote the propogation of rigorous intellectual, scientific and philosophical rhetoric and the promotion of education are now in the grip of craven cowardice, forced upon them by the great unwashed mob who share but a single brain, the children of the Hydra. Any academic who dares to utter a word that contradicts the groupthink is likely to end up being unemployed, if not tarred and feathered too.
Thus, the individual is a dangerous beast. He/she/it refuses to be subsumed into the amorphous congregation of the multitude. The individual is a threat to the community, an enemy to the ant hill, a tumour in the groupthink brain. The individual must always be alert to the ghastly whirring of the knife being sharpened upon the stone, lest he finds himself dangling from a meat hook, eviscerated, his disgorged entrails and viscera pored over by the village elders, searching for ill-omens proving the evil augury of individuality upon the hive. They fear the individual who sees all and knows what’s what. “But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child. Indeed. With so many naked emperors strolling around ’tis a wonder there are any tailors still in business. “But they harkened not, nor inclined their ear”. There are none so blind, etc.
Walking in a garden that once was beautiful, where the heady aroma of rare exotic plants filled the air and the dazzling palette of their flamboyant pigments filled the eye. We are not lost, we are visitors, guests among the garden ghosts of a lost estate. The Manor House that once stood among the regal oaks and noble elms, entertaining Queens and Princes in pomp and glory, has vanished into dust – lost when the family fortune died and abandoned to nature’s way and the unforgiving elements. Now nothing moves through its fabled rooms but the four winds. The ancient garden walls lie conquered, overgrown and crumbling, backs broken by the trees they once enclosed. Overcome by irresistible trunks and ravished by thrusting roots that penetrate and despoil their foundations, the bricks and mortar swoon and fall. Nature will always find the weakness in your foundations.
In the fading light the garden sings her sorrowful song of loss and decay, of time past and time past and time passing…remembering when she was young and beautiful, when she was be-wigged and perfumed and wore the finest clothes of green and gold, attended by fragrant roses, exotic orchids and scented rows of lilac, lavender and stocks. All who saw her loved her madly and brought gifts to her table every day, exulting in the golden light of her glory. Now, all she has is faded glamour, her ragged clothes and tears. We stand in her boudoir where every spring the sap once rose, luring a thousand suitors to win her favour, where none but the beautiful and beguiled were granted entry into the orphic kingdom – the garden of the Goddess. All that entered into this realm were minstrels to her court and each must sing for favour or never come again.
Here – where the sound of old trees creaking and cracking in the cold air, the chorus of invisible birds and the sibilation of insects echo in sinister concert with Stockhausen’s ‘Herbstmusik’, – we become disorientated, and yet, enchanted; bewitched by the garden’s dying light. We are lost in a strange illusion among the phantoms and phantasms of the garden and her memories. In the evanescent half-light nothing moves, and yet there is no silence; all sound becomes extravagant as the day becomes obscure. The click and clack of nature’s sound resounds around like castanets in the undergrowth, the air is a dissonant cacophony of whistling, tweeting, hooting and cackling – every sense becomes confused, sounds usurps vision as the light is extinguished by time – for time is the hand that turns the planets around the stars, the celestial fires ignited by time at time’s first tick that burn above this earthly realm, a glorious fretwork of heavenly incandescence inspiring poetry and fear. Ruthless and relentless time turns the morning and the evening, round and round, the eternal cosmic la ronde between night and day. Time is the hand upon the wheel, time is life, time is death, time is time and time again until the rose is one with the fire, all is ash and light becomes forever black…
We must take our leave as the curtain falls on the exquisite masquerade and escape before the wood sprites appear in the moonglow that bathes the Goddess with shimmering luminous flux.
I led her down the unkempt grass slope of the green pasture to walk along by the canal, where the oily black water stared up from the cut like the eyes of a slaughtered horse. The distant thrumming of traffic and the occasional drone of a passing plane disturbed the warm afternoon air but no other footsteps fell upon the worn stone path. A few desultory ducks squatted under the dusty bushes on the opposite bank, grumbling amongst themselves. Above them the broken windows of a disused warehouse gazed out impassively, the reflections of their blind eyes distorted in the imperfect black mirror between us.
She picked up some pebbles from the broken path and tossed them into the lethargic liquid, watching the ripples roll slowly outwards from the epicentre across the greasy surface, their perfect circles disturbing the hidden darkness below, waking unseen nightmares from the ghastly depths. Submerged ghosts of drowned paper and old leaves, stirred from their silence, drifted up towards the sunlight before turning slowly over and sinking back to their muddy tombs. A few old canal barges, once painted in bright colours, now decaying and moribund, were moored in the wide basin just beyond the black lock gates where a spout of water squirted through a gap in the heavy wooden boards into the lower level. The silvery splashes of the little fountain tinkled like tiny Buddhist temple bells, calming the unresolved silence of the afternoon. It was strange how the arc of water emerging from the filthy canal was crystal clear and glittered in the sunlight.
She pointed to a swan that sliced through the still water, guardian of this Tuonela, its cold black eyes glistening like polished jet, its feathers folded like a sail. I thought I heard the faint sound of singing as it passed. An old beer can bobbed up and down on the V-shaped wake as the lugubrious white augur sailed serenely toward the shadows beneath the bridge. It turned its head to look back, as if beckoning us. She followed the swan towards the darkness.
As I walked close to her along the narrow towpath I could hear the watery echo as we approached the bridge. The mephitic stench of ruined years that hung in the dank air beneath the crumbling arch corrupted my nostrils, even so I could still smell her cheap clothes and my sweat. My hand brushed against the coarse material of her shabby dress, with its loose threads and frayed edges. I felt my pulse quicken – just like the last time – in the shadows punctured by flickering reflections under the bridge, where the drip, drip, drip of fetid water from the slimy green bricks washed away the precious seconds of life like a relentless, echoing clock. It was almost time.
Beneath the bridge I put my arm around her small waist and drew her to me as the eclipse of shadows erased us from view. My trembling hand stroked her soft, pale face, brushing away the track of a tear from her cheek. She closed her eyes as if she knew. She didn’t look at me as I took her hand, it was just a single touch but it was enough. She never moved as the sickening spasms shuddered through me and all the wasted years came spilling out, spattering into the water and then swimming away, so many souls lost to salvation. She didn’t hear the ghosts whispering among the echoes, she didn’t feel the end when it came, she didn’t even blink, she just deflated and went soft. It was quick and it was easy. Nobody would know. Her eyes were closed and never opened again as the black sun of feculent water dissolved the last tears and took her putrified black matter down to the others.
I bent down to wash the sin from my hands in the dead water of the canal and then raised them up to dry in the warm afternoon air, as if in supplication to welcome the coming of the fifth Sun. In that moment, the swan returned from the shadows and began to sing once more.
High up on a hillside, behind the broken walls of a ruined castle, we watch the glowering clouds catch fire as the sun falls blazing from the sky, a burning death she is doomed to endure for all eternity, like a fiery Sisyphus. The air is on fire for just a few minutes until the sun’s self-immolation is complete and the light succumbs to the shadow’s embrace, yielding the day in a sighing swoon, like an innocent maid in the clutches of a swarthy scoundrel. As the darkling begins, so the whistling, chittering birds fall silent, they roost in the bare trees, as if they were feathered buds awaiting the first light of the sun’s new rise, whereupon they will burst open in victorious song. But first the twilight’s blue velvet to cool the glowing chariot of fire. The remaining hours will grow opaque as the Earth turns slowly upon its axis and the edge of darkness moves eternally towards the west until the cycle is complete and the birds will sing again.
The castle was broken by the storm, falling before the rage of nature and the cannons of the siege. Now we stand where once the great hall rang valiantly with victory songs and echoed to the sound of banquets. The flags and banners, sword and shield, silver flash of armour steel, the stories of the troubadour, the fire and the flaming torch, the whisper of the damsel’s gown dancing across the limestone floor. The age of chivalry, the legends of romance, the idyll of kings. Where once the banners of knights hung proudly, now hang the branches of buddelia and weeds, nature’s own banners growing from the crevices between the broken walls. Here, among these fallen stones, legends live in crepuscular shadows. Isolde’s song of sorrow floats across the deserted court, above the fallen Tristan’s ghost. A potion’s spell, a fatal kiss, lovers under cover of night. Oh, death! Die Liebestod! In the wafting universe, drown and be engulfed!
And so it ends…
We leave the ancient stones behind and walk toward the black lake’s mirror and cross the bridge to another day.
The summer comes to a close, light begins to leave earlier, the warm days gradually cool and the night becomes our friend. In the garden of the Goddess ancient trees prepare for sleep and change their gowns from green to gold, before they slumber in their naked beauty as the winter brings the cold. This Walnut tree is older than many nations are, three centuries and more before revolution and war, its long arms now embrace the ground in graceful curves, its roots drink from the deep, dark soil to feed the fruit that it bequeathes to all who wait for summer’s end.
We sing our songs by candle light, the chiming guitar notes hang in the air like pale stars gradually fading into darkness. Autumn is the time to return to memories, those fragments of somewhere we once were, of people we once knew, of some dreams and thoughts and visions, moments loved and moments lost. We remember the dream but never the sleep, we see the light but never the dark. All held in time’s embrace in which we drink our short draught from eternity’s fountain. Drink deep and remember all the flavours of life’s sweet wine. Take another picture, make a memory and in autumn sit and sing your songs beneath the walnut tree.
“There is a dark inscrutable workmanship that reconciles discordant elements and makes them cling together in one society.” William Wordsworth,The Prelude
For today’s lesson I thought I might hold forth on subjects that may, or may not, be amusing. People sometimes ask me for my opinion, sometimes I offer them unsolicited. Here’s an opinion. Or two.
The human race is doomed. Always has been, right from the start. One day, all life on earth will be extinguised and the planet will be roasted into a small brown rock when the sun begins to run out of hydrogen and expands into a red giant. You only have a few billion years left to get your shit together.
There is no escape from the finality of death. The biggest cause of death is birth. Live with that knowledge. We are all dying, it is the reason why we live. There is no other meaning to life, there is only the certainty of death. So don’t waste your time looking for it, because by the time you think you’ve divined the meaning, Thanatos and his mate on a pale horse will be kicking your door down and carting you off to Charon’s ferry. It is a sobering thought, n’est pa?
Having now accepted your fate, it is time to reflect upon your options. What should one do when one realises that one is not immortal after all? Should one rail at the Gods with clenched fists and gnashing teeth? Hmmm. Probably a waste of time. Just remember, every second that ticks away brings you and Hades a little closer. Try to be a little more positive, after all, there’s a big world out there to be discovered and many things to be done. Remind yourself that this is not a dress rehearsal for the main performance. In fact, stop reading this drivel and do something more interesting, life is too short to spend time reading other people’s random thoughts.
If, on the other hand, you really like reading stuff like this, then hang around, have a read of all my fabulous posts and laugh at my risible rantings. Speaking of which…
I often see preposterous examples of Forest Gump philosophy on instagram and Facebook. Stuff like “Life is like a boomerang, if you do good to others, good things will come back to you”. Somebody actually said this, can you believe it? However, a real boomerang was not designed for good things and furthermore, it does NOT come back if used correctly. It is a heavy bent stick that aborigines hurl at animals, with malice aforethought. There is a dearth of supermarkets in the outback, so if you want to eat, you kill something. The intention of the boomerang hurler is to kill an animal in order to feed his family. If a boomerang hits the kangaroo, the koala or the ostrich it don’t come back, unlike the dead animal which comes back to the village cooking pot. If the boomerang does come back, it is a sign of failure and a harbinger of doom, signalling possible starvation for the aboriginal family. Thus, the last thing the aborigine hunter wants to see is his boomerang returning empty-handed. So, the crackerbarrel philosophy is predicated on a pathetic lack of intelligence and knowledge of aboriginal hunting weapons and is aimed at half-wits with an emotional intellect that a fly would be ashamed of.
Furthermore, I’ve had enough of whining bastards and pitiful mewling turds, as well as diversity and all the rest of that bullshit nonsense. Diversity is just an iniquitous mechanism used to install undeserving people into jobs and positions of influence because they – or their particular characteristics – are believed to be under-represented and thus at a disadvantage. So, in other words, they get the job to fulfill a quota, not because they are the best person for the job. The only disadvantaged people here are those with far superior skills and abililties but who are the wrong colour, sex or race. This is not an excercise in diversity, it is an excercise is social engineering designed by those who cannot win power by plebiscite but have wormed their way inside the body of the host and are now eating it, rather like the larva of the parasitic wasp. What these hateful idiots fail to grasp is that once the body of the host is devoured, they will have nothing left to feed on and will perish because these parasites create nothing, the only thing they produce is words. As the wise man said, you can eat your words but they won’t nourish you. I hope they all perish before western culture is but a vague memory.
And then there are the meek who think that everyone should be nice to each other and never say horrid things. They are the Fotherington-Thomases of the world. To quote the legendary Nigel Molesworth, heroic stalwart of the heinous bastion of education known as St Custard’s: “they are wet and play with dollies”. I don’t care how sad your life is, I don’t care that you have no friends, I don’t give a dancing shit if you get upset or offended or cry because something doesn’t go your way or that you burst into tears when your favourite shoes get wet or your dog gets run over by a bus. I don’t care if you feel like jumping off the roof – in fact, I’ll be happy to assist you on your way to oblivion, you snivelling wretch. Jump you fucker, jump!
Right. Now I’ve got that off my scrawny chest, here’s a bit of my philosophy: You can sit with a monkey for a thousand years expaining Einstein’s theory of relativity, but after a thousand years it will still be a monkey.
The seventh of the seven.
Some people will understand this, some will not. It may be cryptic or it may not. You may think about the image and the message and make the connection, or you may not. It is not important if it means nothing to you. The important thing is that I understand why I made the image the way I did. The purpose was to illustrate the idea and the idea is seven.
There now follows a short discourse on art history. Pay attention at the back Wrigglesworth, I’ll be asking questions afterwards.
In the Middle Ages – the medium ævum – images told stories. Religious images were didactic and churches would be decorated with paintings, sculptures and stained glass to illustrate biblical stories. Few people could read and so images became the lingua franca between the clergy and their congregations. Pictures also acted as conduits between the faithfull and the divine. Perhaps the following statement by Jean Gerson (1363-1429) sums up how mediaeval theological thought considered pictorial art: “We ought thus to learn to transcend with our minds from these visible things to the invisible, from the corporeal to the spiritual, for this is the purpose of the image”. Prayers and pleas were offered in supplication to images or relics of saints, Jesus and most of all, the virgin Mary, in the hope that the divinity would intercede with some problem or bring relief or a cure for some medical condition. The images were expected to deliver miracles. Many miracles were attributed to images or relics and these artefacts became the focus of pilgrimages. Many still are. Mediaeval superstition, perhaps? It is your choice.
Art and the patronage of the Christian church have delivered much of the intellectual culture that we enjoy today. Other religions have delivered nothing except a repeated pattern that goes nowhere and represents nothing.
I am only interested in the Art. The lush, shimmering beauty of a Simone Martini or Duccio di Buoninsegna altarpiece is a wondrous thing indeed. The molten gold glow of a Byzantine or Russian Ikon in a candlelit orthodox church can induce one to hold one’s breath and stand motionless in ecstatic admiration and silent awe. When this happens, art transcends the merely decorative and becomes divine in itself.
In the middle ages there was no such thing as ‘Art’. There were images of the divine and there were images of their stories. Art only became ‘Art’ when those who could afford it commisioned painters to make pictures to decorate their palaces and houses, many of whom were part of the clergy. This is when the so-called Donor Portrait became de rigeur for the wealthy patron. This would depict the patron – donor – praying in close proximity to one or more divine bodies. Sometimes a local saint but more usually the Virgin Mary. This would demonstrate both the donor’s piety and wealth, as well as inferring that the donor was in close proximity to the heavenly realm. Many of the patrons were part of the clergy. Rich priests with expensive tastes were not uncommon, as long as their congregations were happy to fund their expensive tastes. Thus, there was a thriving market for miraculous images and relics to keep the people happy. A church without a miraculous image or relic was a poor church. This gave rise to the ‘Furta Sacra’ whereby many a relic was stolen – or ‘translated’ – by unscrupulous priests to ensure a steady flow of affluent pilgrims to their church and a happy and generous local congregation. If they couldn’t steal them, they invented them, which is how the Turin Shroud came to be made. The most extreme case was the theft, or ‘translation’, of the supposed body of St Mark from Alexandria to Venice in 828. In 1063 a brand new cathedral was built to house the relics. Indeed, St Mark’s cathedral in Venice is nothing more or less than a gigantic Byzantine reliquary. The cathedral and its relics attracted countless pilgrims – along with their money – to Venice. Wealthy churches meant wealthy priests and a wealthy priest was a generous patron of the arts who liked nothing more than to be surrounded by beautiful, expensive things that demonstrated both his status and his refined intellect.
But there are the eyes of needles to negotiate when the final trumpets sound…
Seven is the number.
Right. Back to business.
The war of attrition between the government bean counters – who produce nothing of any value – and those who do all the work, create wealth and drive the economy, is now beginning. After the devastation wreaked upon humanity by what many consider was no accident, the bills are piling up for governments around the globe and the hopeless turds that we elect to adminsiter our estate, so to speak, have not a single coherent idea as to how the situation can best be managed. This is mainly due to the fact that the people we elect are despicable morons whose only interest is in themselves, how much money they can make and how they can remain in power. In general, what we end up with is no more than a shedful of Wizards of Oz. Weak, duplicitous, deceitful blowhards who hide behind the curtains, threatening the peasants with all manner of horrors if they don’t do as they are told. So, what’s afoot? I will tell you, dear reader.
The world has changed forever. The pandemic caused by a rogue (almost certainly man-made in China) virus, has left death, devastation and global economic collapse in its wake.The virus itself is responsible only for the deaths, while the devastation and economic collapse are entirely the fault of the useless imbeciles we pay to manage the shop. In short, we have put our trust in people who are incapable of wiping their own arses without getting shit under their finger nails.
Since early 2020 the world has been under siege and people have been forced to barricade themselves indoors, at the behest of the state administrators – aka the government. However, life went on and people – as people always do – adapted and changed and found ways of making things work. They didn’t need any fucker from the government to tell them how to do it because most people are generally more intelligent than elected ministers give them credit for, and certainly more intelligent than any politician. Ministers fear those who are intelligent and capable of independent thought, they prefer supine grass munchers who cower beneath the thwack of the stick and are easily herded. These same state administrators have become adept at the politics of division. This is an amusing game whereby one section of the population suddenly find themselves being thrust into the limelight for being greedy, or selfish or a threat to society just because they are old/young/rich/poor/black/white/foreign/ etc. It works by suggesting that someone is getting a better deal than you, and therefore, is a beastly rotter, an abhorrent abomination and a dirty rat. So we have pensioners being monstered because – after a lifetime of work and service – they have paid off the mortgage, have saved money into pension schemes and are not quite starving to death. Ergo, they have had it all and thus are the nemesis of the weedy millenial tossers who wail and squeal that it’s not fair. In fact, these laughable, weedy creatures wail and squeal about everything…but that’s another story for another day. So, to appease the young upstarts, pensioners must be publically humiliated, a sort of modern day version of the ducking stool or being put in the medieval village stocks and having rotten cabbages lobbed at their greedy old heads. This is their reward for a lifetime of work, contributing much gold to the state coffers by way of tax, (much of which will be pissed up the wall by avaricious, spendthrift politicians on useless vanity projects), the nous to save a bit for their old age and for being of the generation that had to endure post-war hardship, along with inflation and interest rates well into double figures. Yes, they had it all. Bastards!
This same game is played out on a regular basis when the cretins who think they run the place need to divert attention away from whatever their latest shortcomings are – which, in all honesty, is every fucking day. Having thus put the pensioners up for sacrifice to the baying mob of angry villagers, the latest wheeze is to start the blame game against all those who have been working at home during the plague. Note the word: Working. The British Civil Service closed down almost every office during the plague and the civil servants were ordered to work from home. Not a problem as long as the civil servant has a room to work in, electricity and a good internet connection. None of which were supplied, or paid for by the government. OK, so swings and roundabouts. No travel costs, no travel time, no having to listen to all the office wankers yakking about inane old bollocks as you work. The key is flexibility, so the civil servants – and many others in the private sector – flexed and the state kept running. The nation slept peacefully in the sure and certain knowledge that all was well. The same operation was carried out by many companies/organisations and the world didn’t end. In fact, it is probably true to say that some people working from home did more than they would have in an office. Bravo! Meanwhile, the pathetic, drooling ministers ran around like headless chickens telling us that the sky was falling down. Memo to ministers: Cluck off.
Fast forward to the present day and the less temperate ministers – all of whom have been working from home, homes that they claim huge expenses from the taxpayer for – have been busily dividing the nation again, this time the target is the workforce who are working from home – particularly those who work in London. “It is time” they bluster “for the people to return to the office!” And what reason is given for this absolute necessity? It is, in the opinion of the state administrators, “the responsibility of those who work in the city and town to spend money in cafes, restaurants and shops and thus keep those businesses – and the local economy – afloat!” So, if you work in an office and take your own lunch, you are – by definition – a mean bastard, a loathsome cheapskate, a despicable miser and a contemptible moneygrubber who deserves nothing but opprobrium and dishonour heaped upon your ghastly head. How dare you! Go back to work and buy a fucking coffee you unspeakable skinflint!
The divide and divert tactic beloved by duplicitous politicos grinds into action. The newspapers report the story and the baying mob light the torches again. Those who do not work in London rage against those who do and especially those who get London weighting. The work at homers are tarred and feathered on social media by provincial half-wits, gormless farm workers and other rural types who have never ventured further than the local shop. But the diversionary tactic plays factions off against each other whilst the execrable state administrators have a jolly good chuckle at their own sagacity.
Further to this, the odious Tory grandee ( this simply means he’s been an MP for a long time) Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “Civil servants need to get off their backsides and into the office and they need to do it pretty quickly.”
Let me tell you about the repugnant Mr Duncan Smith. Here is a man – and I use the word loosely – who is firmly of the opinion that if he believes something to be true, then it is true. Such as his CV. Smithy, as he is known to his enemies (he has no friends), claimed to have degree from the University of Perugia, a venerable institution founded in 1308 by the pope. This is a complete fabrication, or as those of us who are slightly less temperate would put it: a fucking lie. He went to Universita per Stranieri, which happens to be in Perugia and teaches languages. He didn’t finish any course and gained no accreditation of any kind. He also claimed that he was educated at the Dunchurch College of Management. Another fucking whopper. Dunchurch was a staff college for GEC Marconi for whom Smithy worked as a salesman, although his fantasy CV claimed that he was a Director. Lord Weinstock, who ran GEC for decades says he never met Smithy and that Smithy was never a director. He said: “the idea is preposterous”. Quite so. The preposterous Duncan Smith also bellowed: “there should be an end to home working as a ‘default’ as the office is more creative and fosters better mental health”. In which case the revolting Mr Duncan Smith should get his lardy arse into gear and find an office pronto, because it is quite clear that his mental health is in desperate need of attention. To bolster his laughable claim he added: “Managers can’t manage properly, companies aren’t as effective, income goes down – go back to the office.” Smithy – a former Tory party leader who was relieved of the leadership after two years without having fought a general election on the very good grounds that he was an unelectable liability – also suggested London weighting should be scrapped for home workers. ‘If you’re not travelling anywhere you don’t carry any extra cost,’ he said . Mr Smith who, apart from recieving a large unearned salary as an MP, is married to a very wealthy wife to whom he paid a substantial amount of taxpayers’ money for being his “secretary” and lives rent-free in a mansion belonging to his father-in law. Obviously, with such unearned comforts he sees no need to concern himself with reality. So he doesn’t. What a fucking cunt.
N.B. London weighting is an additional premium paid by some companies, institutions and the State, to people who work in London because London is a much more expensive place to work than, say, Portsmouth or Southend. It is not a payment for travelling costs. But the spluttering, bellicose, perjurious imbecile, Duncan Smith, is so short of the vital intelligence synapses that he is completely at a loss to comprehend this. But I digress…
Having now set in motion the latest game of “hate your neighbour” ministers have awarded themselves a summer holiday and disappeared from view, whilst the rest of the nation have many obstacles put in their way to prevent them from travelling abroad. Indeed, Dominic Raab – Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, one of the great offices of state – was so deeply on holiday when the crisis in Afghanistan unfolded that he couldn’t be bothered to deal with the emergency for two days. When he finally emerged from the bar he refused to acknowledge his failure to recognise the seriousness of the situation. He claimed that his officials hadn’t kept him informed whereupon his officials opened the can of worms that they had collected during the minister’s period in office and poured them all over Raab’s greasy head. It appears that Mr Raab had dismissed Afghanistan as old news and hadn’t even spoken to the Afghan President since he took office. Other tasty worms included the revelation that he didn’t read any of the intelligence reports that warned about the imminent collapse of the Afghan government, delegated most of the important communications to junior officers in the foreign office and that he never contacted the US government to find out what the fuck was going on. I doubt that Raab could point to Afghanistan on a map. I doubt he could point to anywhere on a map, come to that. Mr Raab refused to answer questions as to why he didn’t cut short his holiday to deal with the situation. What a fucking cunt.
So, here we are. Stuck in limbo with a bunch of brainless turds trying to order us about when they can’t even order a ham sandwich for lunch without fucking it up. If you had to rely on cunts like Raab and Duncan Smith to wait at tables you’d die of starvation.
Meanwhile, over the pond in the land of the free, where social media platforms decide what you can and cannot read and whose voice may or may not be heard, old Joe is proving once again that old age in no way impedes his capacity for fucking things up. Ask the Afghans. What a fucking cunt.