Saturday, January 31, 2004

I just stumbled over MFU from the Impermanent Press. It certainly looks interesting...however I have spent my book fund for the month, so it will have to wait.
I am aware that people sometimes mistake my pantheism for British sentimentality about animals - but it isn't that. I am just appalled at human chauvinism (which I attribute, in part, to the Christian religion pretending that humans are a special creation, quite separate from nature and all the other living beings).

The modern scientific world view makes that belief almost laughable (to me), so my occasional arguing against humans is not mystical fascist indifference to human suffering - but just an attempt to balance our world view. It is clear that Indian and Chinese religions have tended to understand better the 'systems view' of our place in nature, and (in the modern world) I guess it is the Deep Ecology people who are taking this sometimes contentious position - there are too many people, and we are ravaging the planet's resources.
I saw a book review in the Guardian, and when I checked the library already had it. I have already read a chapter in my tea-break.

Among the Bohemians by Virginia Nicholson. Excerpt. Guardian Review.

It seems to be a very lively book about the first 40 years of the 20th Century, and the sheer desperation of trying to make a living as an artist. An especially reckless choice for the kind of middle-class drop-outs that formed such a large proportion of the crowd. Of course, there was a High Bohemia, too (like the Bloomsbury Group) - but generally things were tight for the bourgeois in The Thirties so to denounce money and possessions was considered downright reckless, imprudent, and anti-social.

My interest lies not just in a general history of people who pre-dated the 'Sixties thing', before the Beats even. It was finding a description of my Bohemian dad (vegetarian, pacifist, mystical atheist, non-drinker, etc) in an old book recently (see 9th and 15th January blogs in the Archives) that sparked my interest in the period - and he was obviously around the edges of these kind of groups...I know he knew Luke Gertler who was the son of Mark Gertler (one of the better-known British artists of the time) - you can find Panto's book with a puppet play script by Luke, here (item 330) - his friend Mog (Morris Cox) ran a self-publishing business for many years, from the room upstairs....

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Goddess is Alive, Magick is Afoot...

get your UK badge here or the bumper sticker here or just read a list of Wicked (Wiccan) jokes here

Check out Leonard Cohen's original words "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot" from "Beautiful Losers" - at the Pagan Library

Buffy St Marie sang this, too

Monday, January 26, 2004

I am cynical (in the best sense of the word) but it's a lousy label to be given - now that cynical is more likely to be used about heartless behaviour and manipulation by those in power.

The only low-life cynicism I can think of right now is conspiracy theory....

It's a shame. I identify with Diogenes because of his preference for a simple life - not getting involved in the world of 'working for others' as a trade-off to get 'things'.

"Diogenes of Sinope, d. c.320 BC, was a Greek philosopher, perhaps the most noted of the CYNICS. He pursued the Cynic ideal of self-sufficiency, a life that was natural and not dependent upon the nonessential luxuries of civilization.
Because Diogenes believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory, he made his life a protest against what he thought of as a corrupt society. He is said to have lived in a large tub, rather than a house, and to have gone about Athens with a lantern in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man--but never finding one. In later art, Diogenes is often depicted in a torn cloak, with a dog, carrying a lantern.
{sin'-iks} The Cynics were adherents of a Greek philosophic school founded in the 4th century BC by ANTISTHENES. Its best-known member was DIOGENES OF SINOPE. Antisthenes held that happiness is achieved by cultivating virtue for its own sake. This is attained, he said, by conducting a life free of dependence on possessions and pleasures.
The Cynics admired SOCRATES for his self-sufficiency and his indifference to unnecessary luxury and possessions. A good life, they taught, involves a return to nature, giving up the decadence of civilized urban life and living simply and strenuously. Their name is generally supposed to come from the Greek kynikos, "doglike," presumably a commentary on their severely critical philosophic style"
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

- Albert Einstein [found in semicoma]

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

George Burns
Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle.

George Burns
I'm very pleased to be here. Let's face it, at my age I'm very pleased to be anywhere.

I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.

George Burns
(take two)

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Re-discovered this Jerry Mander link
It amuses me (since I re-posted the Archives) to trawl back through my diary. The previous Blog (Thinking Allowed) stopped after 9/11, so this one goes back to late September 2001.

A lot of pain over those couple of years - physical mostly - but it's all down to an occasional ache now...

It does amuse me to find all those links; to see the first meeting with HR last December (when Pete H was still OK, and up for a visit); my first contact with Aurelien (such fun we had in Paris); the adventures with Keili; what to do when your partner goes away on a world-class holiday for a couple of months - while you have a funeral to go to; etc, etc.
It gets tiring hauling your bones to the market place some days.

Winter in the Northern hemisphere - and the hormones and pheromones don't work to enliven me - hibernation seems such a good option - or am I just approaching 60 ? (Well yes, I'll have been round the sun 58 times in February - that's a lot of cosmological ground to cover).

Didn't go to a 'family' do last night, as a faretheewell to Rhiannon (off to India for 4 months) - just because I was working today, and would rather put up with the 'party-pooper' label than drag myself to work on a Saturday, with everyone else pottering around the shops (and YES I KNOW I get the Wednesday off instead - but I didn't do the 9-5 for 35 years, so I am still not in training for this kind of schedule, even after I have been doing it for 6 years now...)

And will the 7 year cycle bring something new again (as it so often has) ?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I have been compiling links recently, but I know a page of just links is really of limited interest to others - but it's great for me, so I have stuck it up on the Web for my own use, without tying it into the website as yet.

My Heroes

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

I may be jumping the gun slightly, with those good wishes (as it is only New Year's Eve on the Chinese Calendar)

and my moon picture on the Home Page is not quite accurate (New Moon is actually at 21.05 Universal Time (what we used to call Greenwich Mean Time)

but hey, it's a 24 hour world, I am not Chinese, and there are several other calendars to look at as well (currently I am looking at the 'pataphysical calendar) - so take your pick.

This just feels like a better time to wish people a happy spring, etc....

Monday, January 19, 2004

Glad to see Pentaphobe's website coming together suddenly. Or is that emerging....

Go check it out.

Check out the music

Friday, January 16, 2004

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

I keep finding myself using Wikipedia (an open source, free online encyclopedia - written by users). It's a great, hip, resource.

It's where I got the news about Jeff Nuttall, today.
I just remembered the HUMAN CLOCK. Go visit. It's great....
Sad to see Jeff Nuttall died the other day. Not that he was a friend or anything - in fact, the couple of times I met him, back in the 70s, I thought he was a bit of a boring old drunk (but then again, aren't most of us at times?)

I was a young and zealous smoker at the time, who didn't like people who drank (the older generation) as it seemed to be a stupid drug. It was only later that I discovered the drinking culture of the Mediterranean and realised it could be a civilised way to pass time together.

Still, he had been enormously influential in that cross-over from Beats to Hippies (who, I suspect, he despised). That CND generation were so serious and angry. It wasn't that my lot were any less suspicious of the world, just that our particular wave of people went for a bit of joyous irresponsible hedonism in the face of the ghastly, cowed, everyday world of the 50s and early 60s in the UK. It's all strategy and tactics. I am now just as angry and just as optimistic as I was back then.

The punks took it back to direct anger. Whatever.

Still, The People Show was kind of fun at times (boring and arty-farty at others) and my original clown teacher Emil Wolk was part of that.

Another one bites the dust - so I'll quote Michael Horowitz in The Guardian

"He died on a Sunday, leaving the Hen and Chicks pub in Abergavenny, where his trad band's lunchtime gig had been the highspot of his week for 10 years. At his soul's incarnation in Elysium it will surely come to pass, as Jeff once dreamed, that "Spifflicate water-buffalo drunk on rainbow fish will snore beside the oval father where he basks". For the rest of us, as long as "global politics" fester in lies and pea-brained Hollywooden mega-violence, it is bollocks to them, and long live Jeff Nuttall. "

Thursday, January 15, 2004

It is delightful to be able to email my sister - and I have now sent her the excerpts which mention our father in the book I came across (see 9th January). It affected her as much as it did me. We neither of us know that much about him, or his family, or that period before we were born, as we missed out on normal 'family nostalgia' and fireside stories (couples separating was all a bit more secret - shameful? - back in the 50s).

There's certainly a genetic connection across the generations - but it takes different forms. For instance, I would say I had my mother's face/eyes and my father's body, and (to some extent) temperament. Broad generalizations, of course, but perhaps there are small insights to be gained from such speculation.

I think I'll publish some of it - as I think the family portrait needs to be a bit 'warts and all' to be valuable.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

WC Fields in one bed, wife in another, phone rings:

WC "Shall I answer the phone dear?"

Wife snaps "Of course!"

WC (mumbles) "Oh yaas, of course, of course...."

He gets up, stubs toe, goes to phone:

WC "Hello, no, no, this isn't the maternity hospital..."

goes back to bed

wife: "Who was it on the phone?"

WC "It was just someone asking if this was the maternity hospital, dear"

wife "What did you tell them?"

WC " I said, no, it wasn't."


wife "It's very strange, the maternity hospital ringing you at this time of night..."

WC "They weren't ringing me dear...they were asking if it WAS the maternity hospital..."

wife "Oh so now you change your story..."

WC "I didn't change the story, dear, what I said was..."

wife turning her back, dismissively "Don't go making it worse, I don't want to hear any more....the things I have to put up with, etc"

Monday, January 12, 2004

You may find this useful if you want to celebrate Chinese New Year:

Lemn Sissay's antidote to the winter blues


1 cup of water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle vodka
2 cups of dried fruit

- Sample the vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the vodka again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
- Repeat.
- Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
- Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.
- Try another cup ... just in case. Turn off the mixerer.Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
- Pick fruit off floor.
- Mix on the turner.
- If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
- Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
- Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who giveshz a shit.
- Check the vodka.
- Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table.
- Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
- Greash the oven and piss in the fridge.
- Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner.
- Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the cat.

Fall into bed.

"Anyone can make the simple complicated.
Creativity is making the complicated simple."

Charles Mingus

I recommend his autobiography "Beneath the Underdog"

Opening Lines:

`In other words I am three. One man stands forever in the middle, unconcerned, unmoved, watching, waiting to be allowed to express what he sees to the other two. The second man is like a frightened animal that attacks for fear of being attacked. Then there's an over-loving gentle person who lets people into the uttermost sacred temple of his being and he'll take insults and be trusting and sign contracts without reading them and get talked down to working cheap or for nothing, and when he realizes what's been done to him he feels like killing and destroying everything around him including himself for being so stupid. But he can't - he goes back inside himself.'
`Which one is real?'
`They're all real.'
"Outwardly one may conform meticulously to the rituals and conventions of civilized life, but inwardly one watches this conformity with the care and enjoyment of a painter choosing his colors - or perhaps of a chameleon. 'Pataphysics, then, is an inner attitude, a discipline, a science, and an art, which allows each man to live his life as an exception, proving no law but his own. "

All assertions are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true false and meaningless in some sense.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Humph! I know it seems vain to think you are smart, but when I dropped out of school almost exactly 40 years ago it was because they didn't listen to me. They send you to a school for clever kids and then talk down to you.

I said I didn't want to learn Latin, I would prefer Russian or Chinese (I figured that they would be unusual and highly employable skills in the future). Of course, with the Cold War, Russian would have made me a spy, probably, but China was 'closed' then, and everyone thought I was crazy. I dropped out and bought 'Teach Yourself Chinese' but when I realised that the calligraphy and the pronunciation were completely separate in an ideographic language I decided I had taken on too much to learn, just from a book (no tapes, CDs and videos back in 1964).

Now the BBC are to start teaching Chinese in a new series, because "It is predicted that Chinese will overtake English as the main language of internet communication in the next ten years".

Told you so - it could have kept me going - as I have no pension, etc. Still, I have ten years to catch up!

Friday, January 09, 2004

The portrait of my father in the book I just found is a little unkind, but probably quite accurate. However, in spite of the fact that our society is STILL dominated by religions of superstitious belief, I am intrigued by his Theosophical connections. If you have no idea what that means look here.

I'll quote a little below, adding BOLD here and there...If I am protesting too much it is because Theosophy has been linked with Occultism, Master Races (Hitler was a vegetarian, etc) and other evil shit, but to ignore it because it has been misused or corrupted at times is like refusing The Theory of Evolution because some people use it to argue that Rich people are better and fated to rule, etc. A lot of this is arrant nonsense and much is simply propaganda from the equally scary 'official' religions.

Apart from anything else it is why I have been a vegetarian from birth not a vegan, I am sorry....and I HAVE experimented with meat and fish on occasion when travelling. I still think it was a great start in life. Of course, since about the 1960s it has become a bit more fashionable, and acceptable, but it was definitely a 'Cranks' thing back then.

Theosophy's Western Impact - from Hinduism Today, June, 1995.

"The influence of the Theosophical Society" concludes the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "has been rather significant, despite its small following. The movement has been a catalytic force in the 20th-century Asian revival of Buddhism and Hinduism and a pioneering agency in the promotion of greater Western acquaintance with eastern thought."

Some of the most influential people of its day were attracted to Theosophy - playwright Oscar Wilde, poet W.B.Yeats, author George Bernard Shaw, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, inventor Thomas Edison and even baseball's founder General Abner Doubleday.

Here is a partial sampling of organisations with direct links to earlier Theosophists: From the earlier part of this century came the I Am Movement (with 3 million followers in 1938), Rosicrucianism, the Liberal Catholic Church, Psychiana, Unity (6 million), Christian Science and sections of the New Thought movement - all influential in the higher strata of society. More recent kindred are the Waldorf alternative schools popular in the USA and UK, the London School of Economics and St. James School, and New Age channeller J Knight. The famous Findhorn Garden in Scotland came directly out of Theosophy.
The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita translations of Swami Prabhavananda with Christopher Isherwood were singularly successful in clearly conveying Hindu thought to the West. Leadbeater's books on occult sciences, such as chakras and auras, reinforced Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Aldous Huxley's book, Doors of Perception promoted mystical experience leading directly to the explosion of interest in the East in the 60s.

If you dig deep enough, you'll find Theosophical influence in the environmental, animal rights and vegetarian movements. No mystical endeavour in the West is exempt, be it yoga, meditation, channelling, near death experiences, natural healing, past life research, UFOs, Mt. Shasta or St. Germain. Even HINDUISM TODAY is not exempt - our ashram here in Hawaii was built in 1929 by a wonderful Hawaiian poetess who taught Theosophy here to seekers in the same room where we meditate each morning before dawn.
This is hilarious and amazing. I have just found my father described in a book. What is most interesting is that it is about his life before World War 2, when he was married to someone who was later killed in the Blitz. He met my mother when he was a fireman, and my sister and I were born around the end of the war...but I didn't know about the previous wife until quite recently. My sister did.

I'll be updating Panto's biog page when I have gone through it a bit - just for the glimpse it gives of another time (and also 'why I am a vegetarian' etc). I think he was a bit of a 'guru', with a touch of the Leo vanity about him. I have dabbled in guru, but I come from a much more mocking and self-mocking generation. I guess my son is a bit of a 'genius', too, but he is also refreshingly funny about it.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Looking for more HAL samples

and here
This looked fun at a glance
Hey listen, I recommend Blogs, but I am not in any kind of competition (never was and never will be).

There are some great blogs out there, though, look at the Guardian Winners

Let's face it, my website uses a Microsoft Front Page template, the pictures are tweaked with primitive software, and this blog is just a notebook (and my ISP won't even allow it to contain pictures - unlike before - thanks ntl).

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable."
-- H.L. Mencken

Saturday, January 03, 2004

2004 - here we are!

If you are in the New York area, keep an eye on this site - for the Hudson Valley Expo - you never know - we might even get to meet up in the next year....

Friday, January 02, 2004

I am reading Roger Bootle's "Money for Nothing" which is excellent. It is an overview of the modern economic world, with several dire warnings, but an overall optimistic intent.

This is a mainstream thinker - not someone too easy to dismiss as a crank, the way Bucky was for years. Still - Bucky appears to have got most of this right - the shift from valuing land and property (thingism) to valuing knowledge and information; doing more with less (ephemeralisation); increasing the flow of resources around the planet; the effect of belief systems (the human factor) which undermine any logical planning at times.

That the rich get richer is hardly a surprise. That it is a rigged game is no surprise. That people handling our money have first of all made sure to boost their own 'take' , without worrying about the losers is no surprise at all. That we (the bulk of humanity) still believe these people is what astounds me. They say you can't criticize or you will shake consumer confidence, and the whole house of cards is just staying up because everyone is holding their breath...Sooner or later you HAVE to let your population know there is no God (OK, OK, sorry - let's say Tooth Fairy, then) and let them work out what to do with the shock of being on our own in the universe, and working out our own fate.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Hey - if you have nothing to do out here, check out the human clock

and check out 4.20 (twice a day...) Don't ask me why...
Just a note for me Jules and Gaz:

can we do the levitating tent (especially, ideally, at Glastonbury.....................)

Or is it just one of those crazy party ideas.........?
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