Author Topic: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...  (Read 41616 times)

Phil Talbot

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Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« on: May 12, 2022, 02:19:50 PM »
 In The Beginning ...



The start of the South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition forum in committee room C at South Shields town hall, 7pm [BST], 21st May, 2003, was almost delayed because it was growing dark outside, and so inside, and most of the dozen or so people present in the room could not find the light switch.



No town hall staff seemed to be on duty to help with this technical problem.



Fortunately one person present, Roger Nettleship, hospital worker, union official [Unison], and one-time independent parliamentary candidate, had the wit and wisdom to continue searching the wall area near the main door until he found the switch ... just in the nick of time ... so that the meeting could start in a brightened state ... more or less on time ...



As Roger later said: “We must make our own history.”



In the forum's opening address, Alan Newham celebrated the "unlikely alliances" that have been building up in the anti-war movement.



He cited the well-testified example of: "The Socialist Workers' Party marching shoulder-to-shoulder with The Mothers' Union."



From an openly open-minded socialist perspective, Alan [who remembers that Marx's mottoes included 'DE OMNIBUS DUBITANDUM - to doubt of everything'] then started to address the historical background of the present world situation.



He called attention to the recently published Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace, by Gore Vidal.



The title is a quote from the American historian Charles A. Beard.



Gore’s book lists the number of wars and conflicts in which the U.S. has been involved.



To quote: "In these several hundred wars against communism, terrorism, drugs, or something nothing much between Pearl Harbour and Tuesday, September 11, 2001, we tended to strike the first blow. But then we`re the good guys, right? Right."



Gore is a quite prickly, partly exiled, fairly ageing, somewhat ironic, thorn in the American - and wider world - consciousness.



In an article published in the British Observer [27/10/02 - copyrights observed] Gore directly quoted the words of James Madison [aka - in the U.S. - ‘Father of the Constitution’] at the dawn of the American Republic, around the time of the constitutional convention, Philadelphia, 1787:



"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded beause it comprises and develops the germ of every other. As the parent of armies, war encourges debts and taxes, the known insturments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended ... and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people ..."



Words that might give all food for thought, it might be thought.



But as everyone knows, words are not enough ... and actions speak louder than ...



Speaking at the forum, Alan Newham emphasized the local basis and do-it-yourself ethos of the South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition, and wondered: "What do we DO here - our area?"



What indeed?



In all cases, individual human actions and communications take place on a relatively small local scale, in a spreading [literal or metaphorical] forest of associated symbols, which include sounds, smells, tastes ... and physical things ...



While giving his opening address Alan was wearing a commercially produced sweatshirt of complex design, which included a representation of a musical score by Shostakovich.



Dmitry Dmitryevich Shostakovich [some of whose name might be distorted in transliteration] was a state-sponsored musician working mostly in the former USSR, who is widely recognized as one of the 20th Century's greatest classical composers.



Dmitry was privately appalled - but felt almost powerless himself to do anything in response to his emotional reaction - when he learned that the Stalinist state machine [which supported his own work, and which he mostly theoretically supported on principle] was systematically slaughtering [along with many others] the folk bards of the Ukraine, as part of a cultural war.



Most of the bards massacred in the purges of the 1920s and 1930s were old and frail, and from the point of view of the Soviet authorities represented out-of-date ways of thinking, feeling and doing. which had no place in the new Soviet world of the early 20th Centruy. [But where is that 'brave new world' now?]



The official justification of the purge was a clampdown on nationalism in the name of 'Internationalism' - even though, at the time, the Stalinists themselves were in the process diverting their ideology from one of 'international socialism' to one of 'socialism in one country'.



Observing indirectly the killing of the bards - and many others - from a personally relatively safe academic distance, Dmitry wondered about his own compromised position.



What was he to do? Give up his state-sponsored vocation in protest? - and probably be persecuted himself as a consequence. Or continue to compose in what many would regard as the service of a regime that violently suppressed the freeedom of music?



Wracked by such private doubts - which perhaps helped his creative flows - Dmitry went on making music - which in some ways preserved and recreated the massacred bards' work ...



Despite his personal caution, and despite his mostly orthodox Soviet outlook, Dmitry was himself almost purged in 1936, when the offiicial Soviet paper ‘Pravda’ published an article headlined 'Chaos Instead Of Music' accusing him of 'leftist distortion', 'petty bourgeois sensationalism' and 'formalism' - all apparently serious crimes in the Stalinist state.



His survival largely depended on the popular success of his 5th symphony - to which he gave the politic subtitle “a Soviet artists' practical creative response to just criticism”.



In the second world war, Dmitry worked as a firefighter during the Nazi seige of Leningrad - out of which came his 7th Symphony, The Leningrad, which became a genuinely popular classical anthem of the struggle against fascism, widely performed in the USSR, the UK, and the USA during the war.



Dmitry's works are marked by sharp contrasts, which some interpret as akin to political dialectics. They mix tragic intensity with sometimes grotesque, often bizarre, wit, humour, parody and satire - and he frequently uses quotation, including of his own previous work.



The ways of free expression - musical or otherwise - and open dialogue are never without complexities ... and compromises ... and ambiguites ...



A funny thing happened on the way to the forum ...



At the People's Assembly, Westminister Hall, London, March 12, 2003, Nader A-Naderi, who gave the second opening address at the STSTWC forum on May 21, met George Galloway.



George is a maverick British Labour MP who - since meeting Nader - has been smeared and pilloried by the mainstream British media for saying things about the war in Iraq that many other people believe - in this country and elsewhere. [Many others believe George went too far ... but that is the way open debate sometimes goes ...]



What happened when Scottish socialist George [known to some as 'Georgeous'] met Nader, a respectably married South Tynesider, with family links to Iran, and, by his own description, a 'capitalist'?



In Nader's own words: 'I shook him by the hand and said to him: "May I commend you on your balls?".'



[Context. Just before Nader spoke to him, George had openly suggested to the People's Assembly - attended by more than 1,000 people, but little reported in the mainstream media - that British troops should refuse to fight in Iraq. Nader reported this remark back to STSTWC a few days later - and expressed surprize that what seemed to be an open call to mutiny by an elected MP of the governing party had not attracted the attention of the national press, tv, and radio. Later a few British soliders did refuse to fight - in barely reported episodes - and later still George was widely accused of 'treason', and suspended from the Labour Party - but the idea that the soldiers were directly influenced by George's previously barely reported remarks must be very open to doubt.]



Nader can spin out ambiguous - even kinky - sounding lines, but he can also put things straight.



He told it as he saw it to the forum:



"The fact was, and is, Saddam offered little in the way of a threat to the national security of the U.S., and the U.K - a historical fact, considering the length of the war, and the manner of defeat of an ill-equipped, and rag-tag Iraqi Army. However, since the downfall of the tryannical regime of Saddam, one fact is clearly emerging: annexation of the Iraqi oil by the warring factions, and its incorporation into various American corporate bodies - with further money being siphoned by those managing to get lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq. Simple fact is if these players were to divert such funds from U.S., and U.K. taxes, they most probably would have been found guilty of fraud, and sent to jail, however by going through the route of war, they have laundered their proceeeds, at the cost to those who died fighting this war. The simple fact you should all remember is: crime should not pay, however sophisticated the criminal, and his or her methods of committing crimes. In other words, it is up to you to be aware of why violence is chosen in preference to civilized modes of human discourse."



Anna Snowdon, who was informally chairing the forum on 21 May, thanked Nader and Alan for their opening contributions, and went on to highlight some of the relative successes of the anti-war movement.



It had without doubt helped to save lives by acting as a restraining influence on the use of force by the U.S. and U.K.



And then Anna said: "We nearly stopped the war."



This simple phrase was not greeted with universal politeness.



It was a trigger for a somewhat heated discussion on the question of: 'How nearly was "nearly"?'



Why the idea of 'nearly' stopping a war should provoke responses including something approaching anger is a question perhaps deserving a pause for thought ...



Meanwhile, the forum continues ... and now includes the ongoing regret that, for the people killed an maimed in the war - and its consequences - our 'nearly' was, indeed, not nearly enough ...

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2022, 11:34:07 AM »
A ramble through some of the fictions of 'rancid' (past) foreign policies - and notes towards establishing a more 'true' (future) history

by Phil Talbot

Historical evidence points to a 'rancid' stream of disinformation in the representation of British foreign policy in our mainstream culture over the past decade.
The result of such a 'toxic mix' of 'part-truth' and 'outright-fantasy' [masquerading as 'historical fact'] is the often 'absurd' atmosphere we find ourselves in - where the world, as represented in the mainstream media, seems disconnected from the world in which we actually live.
In our own local world, South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition [STSTWC] was founded by a quite small group [less than 100] of 'concerned' people from South Shields, Jarrow, Hebburn, and associated areas, in February 2003 - a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
A dozen, or so, people from the [then] newly-formed STSTWC travelled to London to take part in the mass anti-war demonstration on 15 February 2003 - when a million, or so, people marched to oppose the then impending invasion of Iraq.
That London march is well described as a 'defining moment'.
At that time anti-war opinion in Britain was clearly and over-whelmingly 'majority' - not some marginalized 'minority'.
During that march a mass of 'committed' people, from all over Britain, stated clearly - in a complex mixture of vocal and physical ways - that:
+ wars of foreign conquest were NOT in their name;
+ illegal invasions - and following occupations - were NOT liberation(s);
+ another, better, world IS possible.
It is reasonable, on the basis of the number of people involved, to claim that 15 February 2003 event was the 'biggest ever single political demonstration in British history'.
Sadly, the mass opposition to their war plans was ignored by Tony Blair and his New Labour Government - including recently resigned  South Shields MP [and also former Foreign Secretary - and defeated Labour leadership contender] David Miliband.
At that time David Miliband falsely claimed to the people of South Shields that ‘yes’ there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that Saddam and his Iraqi regime possessed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ - and 'so' - by implication - were 'threats' who 'had' to be removed quickly, by military force [Shields Gazette, 15 March 2003].
David Miliband never even acknowledged that ‘error of judgement’ - let alone apologized for it.
His 'reward' for getting that vital foreign policy issue so grossly wrong was ... to be promoted several years later to the top Foreign Office job in Britain ... and then ... [you Google ...'David Miliband' ... and you get ...?]
People like Mr Blair, Mr Bush - and allies such as David Miliband - ignored all the warnings voiced before, during, and after the London February 15 event. They willingly decided in favour of the invasion Iraq, contrary to international law [as all the state-funded international law advizers in the British Foreign Office actually explicity warned the then government it would be - prior to the attack], in March 2003 - with the terrible consequences that are now widely known.
The present coalition British Government, led by the Conservative David Cameron [supported by the previously purportedly 'anti-war' Liberal Democrat party] seems to remain a 'poodle' to big corporation imperialist U.S.-led foreign policy - with the imperialistic aggression now extending from the Middle East into Africa and beyond .
Many fear the aim of this 'rancid foreign policy' is to impose the interests of the 'big' Western corporations on the world - and to plunder 'smaller' countries of their wealth and resources.
Ten years on, like many people of Britain and the wider world, I continue to oppose what I see as the 'crudely violent' styles of foreign policy broadly described as ‘the war on terror’. This does not make me a supporter of - and/or 'apologist' for/of - ‘terrorism’. On the contrary, I strive to oppose 'terrorism' in all its forms, including the 'state terrorism' of Britain, France, the USA, and other [so callled] 'big powers'. 
People - locally, nationally and internationally - are taking up the questions of how to end 'pro-war forms of government', and of how to defend 'national sovereignty' against 'corporate attack' - and of how to make 'social progress' based on people’s own 'peaceful efforts'.
 We in the Stop The War movement invite people to take part in on-going informed discussions of these issues. We encourage people to think, to discuss, and to act - to make another, 'better', world possible in the here and now .
This issue of Silence Is Shame focusses on '15 February 2003', but it is not merely about looking back to that demonstration, it is, more positively, about the past, present and future 'progressiveness' of the anti-war movement ... in our local area of South Tyneside, and beyond that ... throughout the country ... and wider world ...
Like all aspirant 'progressive' humans anywhere, we in STSTWC act locally but think globally ...
As the mass demonstrations on 15 February 2003 illustrated, the contemporary anti-war movement is more than merely a movement 'for peace' and 'against war'. It is part of a world-wide popular movement against those 'small circles' at the head of presently powerful states, such as the USA and Britain, which can be reasonably accused of committing 'crimes against peace and humanity' as they pursue 'domination of resources, markets and spheres of influence'.
This movement of the people against [in fact, in terms of numbers of people involved] 'small corporate power elites' - of the 'big powers' - involves a positive vision of how to build a better 'world without war' - based on defending the sovereignty of countries threatened by the [so-called] 'big powers'.
The stronger this movement becomes, the harder the 'war-mongers' will find to operate: ... as their under-lying ideas are exposed, again and again, by a 'fundamentally anti-war collective world consciousness' - and as people such as Mr Blair and Mr Bush, are pursued for what can 'reasonably' be described as their 'war crimes'/'crimes against peace'.
 While, as a 'coalition', we in the anti-war movement are not a single political party, with a 'fixed ideology', we strive to promote a 'new politics', where people in all sections of society, of all political, ideological, religous and other beliefs are included in political decision-making'.  This 'new [form of] politics' aims to direct humanity away from the rough tracks of 'barbarity' towards the high[er] roads of 'civilization' - in which outright 'conflicts', and the many more 'less violent disruptive problems', are resolved 'peacefully'.
 Most people - when asked - say they want to live in a more 'peaceful' world without the present wars, mass poverty, disease and destruction of life and the environment.
Anti-war groups such as STSTWC, individually and collectively, desire to plant the 'seeds' of this potential 'better new way' forward ...
Thinking back to February 15 2003 is part of a process towards setting such a more positive 'future agenda' ...
[Back-Ref[erence(s)]: Silence Is Shame, Volume 2, 2004 www.northeaststopwar.org.uk/southtyne/Silence_Is_Shame_2.pdf]
'Just that one march, then everyone shrugged and went home.'
This line, from a best-selling work of fiction [David Nicholls, One Day, 2009, p374], indicates indirectly how the Stop The War movement was side-lined - and mis-represented - in popular culture.
Those of us who have attended more than a dozen major British Stop The War events since 15 February 2003 - some involving hundreds of thousands of people - and many more smaller events - know this for the 'fiction' of our own 'history' that it really is.  The London event of 15 February 2003 has, however, sadly, entered popular culture as 'the march that failed [to stop the war]'.
This side-lining of the anti-war movement - by making it seem a futile waste of time - has in fact been part of the 'war-mongering process'.  As Noam Chomsky ,and others, have pointed out, a 'top-down' imposed 'philosophy of futility' is often actively fostered by 'power elites'.  Chomsky says in Hegemony Or Survival [2004]: ‘Business leaders have long explained the need to impose on the populations a “philosophy of futility” and “lack of purpose in life” to “concentrate human attention on the more superficial things that comprise much of fashionable consumption”. Deluged by such propaganda from infancy, people may then accept their meaningless and subordinated lives and forget ridiculous ideas about managing their own affairs. They may abandon their fate to corporate managers and the PR industry and, in the political realm, to the self-described “intelligent minorities” who serve and administer power.'
It is hence in the interests of [so-called] 'power elites' - and their 'cheer-leaders' in the mainstream media - to make people feel as if any truly democratic political action is essentially 'futile' - a 'waste of time' that will 'achieve nothing'.   And so it has been made a 'false truism' of popular culture that 'even that march of more than a million - which represented the majority anti-war opinion - was a waste of time and failed to stop a war'.  A Westminister Village 'insider' mainstream political
correspondent actually said to me at the time: 'The march is all very well ... but they are going to do it anyway'.
Such a world view reduces politics to a competitive game played by a few 'significant players' - with the rest of us side-lined and reduced to spectators/or consumers [or even 'victims'].
The underlying thinking of modern ‘power elites’ is well illustrated by some comments by Ron Suskind, an American journalist: ‘In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like ... I had a meeting with a senior advizer to Bush ... he told me something that at that time I didn’t fully comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community’, which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality’. I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.‘That’s not the way the world really works any more,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality - judiciously as you will - we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which
you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’
Of late, the two 'main players' of contemporary mainstream British politics, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, have been competing to be 21st century 'heirs' to the 19th century 'One Nation Conservatism' of Benjamin Disraeli - indeed, rather bizarrely as it  might seem to some, it is the Labour leader Mr Miliband who makes the greater claim to the 'title' of 'Disraeli's Heir'.
In fact, Disraeli was a flamboyant novelist turned self-styled 'pragmatic' politician, who was frequently short of cash, and who likened political careers to ascents up 'to the top of the greasy pole'.  He saw Liberal Party foreign policy in the second half of 19th century as 'faint-hearted', and thought Britain could best maintain its standing as a global power 'actively' and 'forcefully'. The 'empire', he thought, was an 'asset' to be 'cherished'.  Much of his public rhetoric was directed towards fostering 'jingoistic' elements of the growing 19th century 'working class' electorate. In effect he tricked significant proportions of British people into voting against their own better interests - and for him - by appealing to the basest forms of 'jingoism'.
In a keynote speech at Crystal Palace, London, June 1872 Disraeli said: 'When I say '[one nation] Conservative', I use the word in its purest and loftiest sense. I mean the people of England, and especially the working classes of England, are proud of belonging to a great country, and wish to maintain its greatness - that they are proud of belonging to an Imperial Country.'
 His 'one nation' party was to be closely identified with jingoistic patriotism, the monarchy, and above all, aggressive empire building.  But of course - as with modern war-mongering politicians - one of the abiding fictions of Disraeli's public discourse was that Britain's leaders only ever led the nation into war 'reluctantly'.
He echoed a popular music hall song of the time:
 'We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do,
we've got the ships; we've got the men; we've got the money too!'
The present British Labour leader Ed Miliband got his job, in 2010, in part, because he had opposed the illegal attack on Iraq, in 2003, whereas his brother, David - whom he defeated in the Labour leadership contest - had supported it.  It was therefore something of a suprize, in 2012, to some to find this previously 'anti-war' Ed declaring himself a devotee of the old imperialistic war-monger Disraeli. Rather bizarrely to some, Ed Miliband in his October 2012 Labour Conference leader's
speech presented himself as a natural follower of Disraeli - using the 'one nation' phrase himself more than 40 times in that speech - and he was to be heard using it again repeatedly at the Trade Union Congress 'March for the Alternative' several weeks later.
Disraeli's core 'vision', Ed Miliband told the Labour Conference, was 'a vision of a Britain where patriotism, loyalty, dedication to the common cause courses trhough the veins of all - and nobody feels left out'.
Hence Ed Miliband seems to have swallowed whole the mirage/fiction of Disraeli as a selfless and dedicated servant of the national interest devoted to the well being of the poor.
In fact, as William Gladstone quite rightly said back in the 19th century, Disraeli was 'all show and no substance' - and his entire ideology 'some vast magnificent castle in an Italian romance - a misleading fiction - a brazen fantasy'.
In fact, even the phrase 'one nation' actually derives not from one of Disraeli's political speeches but from one of his overtly fictional works: the novel Sybil [1845]. [The rather greater 19th century novelist (than Disraeli) Anthony Trollope even dismissed Disraeli's literary fiction work as basically 'fraudulent' - and said he 'affected something which has been intended to strike readers as uncommon and therefore grand'.]
Professor Jon Parry, a Cambridge University historian, and Disraeli biographer, has described his fundamental quality as his 'astonishing egotism'.
Others have been even less kind.
Another historian, Dominic Sandbrook, has described him as 'a vacuous egotistical hypocrite who sent British soldiers to die needlessly in foreign wars' - remind you of anyone? - and a 'shameless mountebank' who 'loved the glamour and intrigue of military adventures abroad'.
During Disraeli's longest spell in office in the 1870s British soldiers were sent abroad to fight a literal 'A-Z' of foes - from Afghans to Zulus.
As so often happens, the ordinary soldiers from home and the local populations of the distant lands paid the bloody price for the prime minister's 'vanity'.
In Afghanistan, in the 19th century, almost 10,000 young British men lost their lives forcing the Afghans [in]to accepting London's control of their affairs.
In south Africa, British troops went down to one of their most humiliating defeats when Zulu warriors slaughtered more than a thousand of them in a devastating ambush [needless to say the popular culture British version of this conflict - as represented by such films as Zulu - has focussed on other aspects].
Critics from even his own time thought Disraeli represented all that was 'worst' about British 'imperialism'.
Like many a self-defined 'pragmatic' politician, in the absence of concrete policies or principles, he instinctively fell back on base jingoism.
In 1876 Disraeli even conferred on Queen Victoria the excessive title of 'Empress of India' - to the outrage of commentators at that time [many of whom have been edited out of the history books] who objected that such tawdry imperialistic 'bauble titles' were basically 'alien' to the better British traditions.  It was typical Disraeli - eye-catching, vainglorious, without shame, and ultimately demeaning to all concerned [including Queen Victoria].
British history in the 19th century is often represented - by both 'left' and 'right' [albeit/even if for different underlying ideological reasons] as 'one long imperial expansion'.  In fact - and in some contrast to the present situation [where New Labour and Conservatives seem to compete to be the most enthusiastic in their foreign military adventures - with or without Liberal Democrat support] - there was a strong 'anti-imperialistic' component to the mainstream public discourse in 19th century politics.
William Gladstone was no 'left-wing pacifist', but he won the 1880 general election, decisively,  against Disraeli by campaigning vocally in opposition to Disraeli's 'unwholesome political cocktail, whose main ingredients were amoral opportunism, military adventures, and disregard for the rights of the others'. Gladstone told an election audience in Glasgow in that year that thousands of Zulus had died 'for no other offence than their attempt to defend against your artillery their homes and families'.  Similarly he told the same audience that villages had been razed in Afghanistan and their inhabitants left in desperate conditions because of the Disraeli-led British government 'bent on conquest'.
[It is, by the way, almost impossible to imagine a mainstream leader in contemporary British politics using such language about, say, the civilian people of Pakistan killed in 'drone' attacks on their homes.]
Under-pinning such election rhetoric by Gladstone - and in contrast to Disraeli's brutish jingoism - was a strong core of anti-imperialist sentiment among the British public.  This sentiment feared the growth of empire - even while it was actually happening - as engendering belligerent forms of nationalism and militarism - and being fundamentally AGAINST Britain's best interests and real national virtues.
 It was welll summed up by the Manchester Radical MP John Bright when he said: 'In as much as 'supremacy of the seas' means arrogance and the assumption of dictatorial powers on the part of this country, the sooner it becomes obsolete the
better.'.  Bright's anti-imperialist 19th century 'vision' of Britain's future - which has, needless to say, largely been reduced to footnotes in the mainstream history books - clearly represents a more 'progressive' one than Disraeli's - and a better example for the 21st century way forward.
Chomsky more recently has clarified the main contemporary ‘dialectic’:‘One can discern two trajectories in current history: one [American-led corporate capitalism] aiming towards hegemony, acting rationally within a lunatic doctrinal framework as it threatens [the] survival [of humanity]; the other dedicated to the belief that “another world is possible, in the words that animate the World Social Forum, challenging the reigning ideological system and seeking to create constructive alternatives of thought, actions and institutions.’
And that, in some senses,, on our small local scale, is what we in South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition are trying to do: ‘... challenging the reigning ideological system and seeking to create constructive alternatives of thought, actions and institutions ...'

Phil Talbot

February,March,April 2013

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2022, 11:35:37 AM »
open emails
To: Alison.Little@Express.co.uk
From: philtal_uk@yahoo.com

[An 'X.Press' Special ...  {?!}]

Hi Alison,
Haven't written to you for a while ...

I ReViewed this Plum [Pudding Club] 'Pastiche' the other day, while browsing through some Old[e] E-mails ... and thought/felt of 'YOU'/you ...

['] I last ran into young Jingo Little in the smoking room of the Senior Illiberal Club.

She was lying back in an arm-chair with her mouth open and a pretty vacant expression in her eyes ... while a grey-haired dame in the middle-spreading distance watched her with such disgust that I concluded Jingo must have pinched her favourite seat.

That's the worse thing of being in a strange club - without intending it, you find yourself constantly trampling on the vested interests of the Elder Inhabitants.

'Hello face!' I cried.
'Cheerio Ugly!' she replied.
Despite what she said, I sat down beside her and settled down to have a few quick ones before lunch ...
 
Background to all this was that once a year the committee of the [A] B.'s C[lub] decides that the old base could do with a wash and brush up and so they shoo us out, and dump us down for a few weeks in some other institution.  This time we were nesting at the Senior Illiberal, and, personally, I had found the strain pretty fearful. I mean, when you've got used to a club where everything's nice and cheery and easy-going, and where, if you want to attract a girl's attention, you heave a bit of bread at her, it kind of damps you to come to a place where the youngest member is about 88 [= 'Two Fat Ladies' - in non-P.C. Bingo Lingo one of the favoured forms of dialogue amongst the Old[e]sters@theSeniorIlliberal]  and it isn't considered Good Form to talk to anyone unless you went through the Korean War and/or Cuban Missile Crisis together. Because of that, in spite of her dismissiveness, it was a relief to come across Jingo ...

After a somewhat pained silence, lasting who knows how long, we started to talk in hushed voices.
'This club,' I said, 'is The Limit.'
'It's the Elephant's Backside,' agreed young Jingo. 'I believe the Old Girl over by the window has been dead three days, but I don't like to mention it in case it is considered Bad Form.'

I Diverted: 'Have you lunched here yet?'
'No. Why?'
'They have waitresses instead of waiters.'
'Good golly Mr Woofter! I thought that went out with the closure of Spare Rib!'

Bingo mused on this for a moment, then straightened her dress absently.

'Er ... are they pretty girls?' she said [conspiratorially].
'No,' I replied [deflatingly].
She seemed disappointed for a while, but soon pulled round.

'I haven't a Bean, you know,' she said suddenly.
I startled.
'Hasn't your auntie forgiven you yet?'
'Not yet, confound her!'
You see, young Jingo had had a bit of a dust-up with Lady Littleham, her fabulously rich Great Auntie, resulting a siz[e]able portion of her Family Allowance being knocked off. I was sorry to hear the row was still on, because I had thought it over. I resolved to do the impoverished Little Lass well with 'Festive' Board/Bored, and scanned the Menu with some intentness when The Waitress finally rolled up with it.

'How would this do you, Jingo?' I said at length. 'A bowl of Jellied Eels, Battered Cod and Chips, some Cold Curry, and a splash of Gooseberry Tart, with a bite of Hard Cheese to finish, all washed down lashingly with Ginger Beer, if you get my drift?'

I don't know that I exactly expected Jingo to scream with delight - 'though I had picked the items I knew to be her Pet Dishes - but I did expect her to say something. I looked up with surpriZe when my list of 'Treats To Come' was met with silence ... and ... found that her attention was elsewhere ...

Jingo was gazing at the recently arrived waitress with the look of a Bitch that has just remembered where her favourite Bone is buried.

She was a tallish girl with soft, soulful brown eyes, and some kind of Express'o coffee-coloured skin . Nice figure and all that also. Rather decent hands too. Impeccably clean.  I did not remember having seen her about before, and I must say she added Variety to the mostly off-white, pale and dull Illiberal Club environment.

'How about it Little Lassie?' I said to Jingo, being increasingly peckish myself, and being all for getting the meal order Booked and going on to the Serious Knife-and-Fork Work.
'Eh?!' said young Jingo absently.

I recited The Programme once more.

'Oh, yes, fine, fine' said Jingo. 'Anything, anything!'

The Dark Waitress pushed off to waitress elsewhere and Jingo turned to me with protruding eyes. 'I thought you said they weren't pretty Gertie Woofter!' she said reproachfully.
'Oh my heavens!' I said. 'You haven't fallen for anOther have you?! - and a Girl you have only just seen!'
'There are times, Gertie,' said young Jingo, 'when one look is enough - when passing through a Crowd, we meet Somebody's Eye/I and something seems to whisper ...'

As what seemed to be 'whisper'd trailed off into Jingo's private spaces, the hors d'oeuvres arrived, and we suspended further remarks in order to swoop on the Jellied Eels with some Vigour ... [']

...

+++

... open emails ...

From: "Alison Little" <Alison.Little@Express.co.uk
To: "'philtal_uk@yahoo.com'" <philtal_uk@yahoo.com>
Subject: 
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 15:25:41 -0000

   
for the flowers-to-be, thankyou?


...
+++
...

Anyway ...
Dr. ['Quaker'?] A[lison].L[ittle],
I remain feeling 'strange[r]y' Fond towards the Memory of You ... even 'though it has seemed you turned out ToB./2b/into a ['Troll'able'] 'Right-Wing "Bigot"' ...
[I have been at more than a few 'Islamophobia' forums at which D.Express Front Page Leads, some written by you, have been 'held up' - literally -  as 'Examples'] ...
Nevermind.
[Even 'though you are 'despiZ'd' by some/many/most of  my friends in/on the Left-Wing/Minority/Minorities/Under 'Classes' ...]
I Wish You ...
Best Wishes,
P[hilip].T[albot]

+++++

Journey of the marginal magi - or the 'ramblings' of three fairly foolish B-grade northern philosophers.

A cold coming together we had of it in the northern [skies?] place of learning, and it seemed to be the worst of times for such a journey, and it was such a long journey, the ways were deep and the courses were winding and more complex and strange than we had ever imagined, and the weather was terrible, so cold, so god-forsaken-seeming cold, in the dead of winter, in some almost forgotten provincial place that made us feel inferior, though maybe we were learning something about humility, and up and down and left and right and round and about we went, and it always seemed like there was no getting there, and we weren't even sure if there was any there to get to, and we crissed and we crossed and we cursed, yes we fucking cursed, and we double- and triple- and other multiples crossed each others' paths, or so it seemed, and drank too much, and smoked too much, sleeping in snatches, preferring to travel at night, and perhaps that travelling was just dreaming, but maybe there was something to be found in the dream states, they might reveal things, you could never say for sure, and then we went on to make our ways in the world, but although we got to other places, and took on responsibilities of sorts, and did things actively, and had things happen to us, we never seemed to find a way that was really leading anywhere, or so it often seemed, in night thoughts, which might just have been dreams, you never could tell for sure, and sometimes we heard voices singing in our ears, but maybe they were only radio sounds, saying that this was all folly.
 
Then, at a new dawn of sorts, we came down to a temperate place, wet, below the snow-line, which smelled of last night's take-away meals and too much alcohol consumed, but perhaps that was just prejudice, what we expected to find determining what we did find, ... and there was another running river, which did, in truth, it was not just a fancy, flow onwards and outwards to blend into the worldwide waterway ...
Bittersweet Tyne, bittersweet Wear, bittersweet Thames, ... bittersweet world-wide waterway ... flow on while we continue our wanderings ...
Three figures, which might be seen as trees in silhouette, poking into a midwinter skyscape ... all shades of blue from indigo to sky flowing into each other in a fluid dynamic system beyond adequate description or full comprehension ... it seemed to signify something, but of what we could not say ...
Cursing and grumbling and running away and wanting more drink and sex, and fires going out and being reignited ... and maybe it was just one more damned cigarette after another damned cigarette ...
 
And the platonic prick turned away from all that worldly striving, but he could never quite manage to give up the fags ...
'I always said you were a repressed homosexual,' said the existentialist, who could be apparently cruel tongued, but was essentially kind (the platonic realist knew something about essentials), even if she was over-prone to rushing to premature conclusions ... but aren't we all? and he had his own problems with premature rushes, as they both knew only too well...
And the quaker, who was lively and chatty, but didn't speak her mind much, and who was lovely, but often had dirty fingernails (strange how inconsequential seeming memories can linger longer than more consequential seeming ones) became a remotely famous expressive observer of the powerful and rich (a chief political correspondent, in other words)... but she still sang quietly of bleak mid-winters, in the prick's mind at least ... he seemed to see behind her peaceful and pleasant vitality some great fears and some secret sadnesses ... but that must be true of all ...
And the existentialist left the hypothetical life behind her and embarked on an active do-gooding career ... but apparently it just wasn't in her nature to do the thoughtlessly active life completely, so she occasionally returned to the contemplative life, when on sick leave with exhaustion - at least that was one way of interpreting it ...
A hard time we had of it ... or so we pretended sometimes ... but we were affluent, and middle-class, and well educated, and always had multiple-possibilities open to us - too many it sometimes seemed - and what we complained of was usually what we had chosen ... and our hard times were never, in truth, all that very hard.
But voices still sang in our ears saying: 'Maybe this is all folly.' 

Had we come all that way, and would we go on all that way who knew how far further, for birth or for death?...
There was a birth, or seemed to have been one, we had plenty of evidence for, and no serious doubts about, that. But there was not enough information to come to other conclusions ...
It was impossible to say, as yet, why we had been gone or been led all that way, along those infinitely complex routes, which were different for each of us, even though there were similarities ... but then, as we knew, or guessed, the 'why?' questions were always the most difficult, and were perhaps beyond answerings ...

Most of this was a long time ago, I remember, or have to remind myself, but it continues, and past flows into, and determines, present and future ... and if the past is, as some suggest, best dismissed and forgotten, then what of the present and future, which become past all too quickly? ...
It was all, some might say, satisfactory, but not really good enough ... so we continued in search of better ... 

So the semi-super-semi-shitty sages got all mixed up...
Six hands on a door, pushing open, pulling shut, touching but not linking ... and which hand was attached to which body?...
They were supposed to be there at the same time and place doing the same thing - doing philosophy, that is, loving wisdom in their own peculiar ways, which were foolish, but not entirely so...
But the likely lass came late, or the other two arrived early ...
And the likely lad shouldn't have been there that year, he should have been somewhere else, or he should have come later ...
And the weird sister shouldn't have been there at all, she didn't have the grades, even though she was perhaps the cleverest of the lot, and she should have waited, retaken, and arrived later, or gone somewhere else, like the other weird sister...
Was the likely lass, that often silent thinker, the only one to get it right? had she had worked it out more quietly and carefully than the other two, who were always mouthing off and rushing things, one way or another? Or, as the 2-1 majority suggested, was she the minority that got it wrong, and messed it up for the others? 
 
And it always seemed as if there was no getting there, and we were not even sure that there was any there to get to, because every time we got to some desired there, it didn't seem to be what we had anticipated ... there always seemed to be something disappointing, which made us suspect that it was not the there that we had set out to reach ...
We had much more evidence - too much it sometimes seemed - but the doubts grew ... which was surprising, because rumour (which we said we didn't listen to, while listening to it carefully) had suggested that with more evidence, doubts would reduce...
And experience, which was supposed to be the most important source of knowledge (or at least more reliable than other sources) seemed only to complicate matters further ...
There was a birth, that seemed a sustainable assumption ... it was (whatever 'it' was) so it must have started, or at least have been previously so different that a change from that state to this state, to which the word 'birth' could be applied, was alomst certain to have occurred ...
But where was it leading? ...
The only certainty seemed to be that 'something was taking its course' ... 

And so .. meanwhile ... we continue to take our courses ... never sure of the extent to which they are self-determined and of the extent to which they are imposed on the self by external forces ... and ...
... it is such a long journey ... and yet it seems all too short ... and there is so much happening during it .. and yet it seems that nothing much happens ... and voices keep asking:
'Is this all folly?'

The road thins out here ... and a narrowing gorge begrudges a way through ...
But random walkers can get around most obstacles eventually ...
The platonic prick said: 'Music raised me to new heights of love ... until that moment, nothing had so bound me in such sweet chains ...'
It was, perhaps, a rash statement - but now and then, through calm and cloudless skies, a sudden streak of fire cuts the dark, catching the eye that watches listlessly.
He continued: 'Vivid crowning beauties grow in strength as consciousness becomes more appreciative of them.'
The others looked at him with impatience, and, eventually, he agreed that he had digressed enough. It was time to turn their minds back to the road of truth, and to adjust discussion to what time was left to them - but that was not simple. 

Names change ... labels change ...
Or, as the pseudo-existentialist (concluding naturally, she believed) put it: 'Time passes, people change.'
True enough.
All in all ... it changes ... but the essence of it all remains the same ...

So...
The quaker, the catholic, the anglican [words meaning many things (and not necessarily indicating faiths), while also being merely nominal signifiers of particular, relatively insignificant, individualized human beings] wandered in and out of relative obscurity, and each others' and other people's lives, and noticed a few things that nobody had ever noticed before, and never would again, and missed many other matters that they might have noticed, but didn't.
While the voices sometimes sang in their ears, saying that this was maybe all folly.

'Six hands at an open door...'
But...
There might have been more, and the names might have been different, and ...
The time might not have yet come ...
Or it might have been and gone ... [and too much has, most probably]
Or, next time, after a reshuffle, it might all be different ...

One name might have been Zed ... who was a typically British delightfully mixed up mess ... iridescent, polyglottic, cosmopolitan ... a free-wheeling wild daisy ... daisy ... on an old-fashioned upright English bicycle ... riding to the unifying international news agency building through a changing London docklands on an island of sorts (which was nominally a home for dogs) and near the time centre at Greenwich ... and nearby lived mostly ignored people who would not recognise her as a fellow English rose because their own blooming possibilities had been neglected ... (and not far away in time and place, under a futuristic light railway bridge, a multicultural ideas spreading news agent was murdered by ethnic nationalists with closed minds who couldn't escape from their past prejudices) ... Z was a far from unnecessary letter ...
[... which I would like to send, but I am careful about decorums, and I do not know a proper form of address for her ...]

Another might have been M ... a sharp-tongued, snub-nosed Scottish socratic ... passionate and compassionate ... much concerned about The Issues ... who liked dialectics in non-standard dialects ... and complained that talking to him could be like talking to herself ... and who wrote letters with reverse strip-teases in them ... she sat in bed writing to him and put on an extra jumper and extra socks and ... well he was cold-seeming ... and he had once sat on a bed with her when she was wearing a partly transparent nightie and he had pretended very carefully not to see through it ...
[.. but then Mary has her own kinds of off-handedness ... and distancing techniques ...]

Or there might have been another A ... a very sophisticated Irish named (and double-barrelled) self-styled working class lass ... who encouraged him to go with the flow with kind words and curving flowing limb motions ... and who walked alongside him in a slightly absurd part-falling manner (which might have had something to do with the vaguely ridiculous thick-souled shoes she was wearing) ... but with her, as with others, there seemed to be a mountainous obstacle course in the space between them ... which even a veteran rambler could not find a route through .. or around ... and perhaps it was better to maintain a distance between ...
[... and off Nessie flowed into the sunset /sunrise with her proeviously displaced bobby-dazzling-silver-buckled-sailor-boy sort of attachment ... which was pleasing but saddening for me ...]

And ... I do not overlook the delightfully expansive Welsh possibilities ... where words flow and flow deliciously ... and the letter arrangements seem to pile up almost randomly [but there are always ordering patterns holding things together, of course] ...

And ...there are all the other wonderful alternative possibilities in the other bits and pieces [... genes .. ethnicity ... culture ...] flwoing into the making of the presently flowering British rose to be considered [... proper consideration never ends ...]
{And anyone who thinks Brits essentially 'Anglo-Saxon' is surely the smallest minded of fools}

And ...
 
You get the odd glimpse of the infinite complexity of it all ... but then you lose it ... and you go on with your small-scale guess-work ...

So ...
Call them what you will ... ally, catty, filly ... or make them up as you go along ... angels, imps, aliens ... or (as it actually seems to go) rearrange bits of the previously existing into new patterns ...
 
They travelled.
Chilly awakenings under canvas. Buses that never turned up. Dreary, slow, often-stopping local trains. The dizzy kaleidoscope of landscapes and ruins. Cities that changed before their eyes as they stopped to stare for an instant. Seascapes and skyscapes. Ships coming in not laden with gold. Flowing patterns of lives in motion in a world in motion, with the increasing density of everyday experience seeming to render all experiences increasingly transient and superficial.

And...

Each found places there were satisfactory for a while, then unsatisfactory.
So they went to other places - or to spaces between things that, for a while at least, they could call their own.

And then one day, or it might have been many days, they seemed to find themselves among people clutching gods of sorts that they did not quite believe in any more, or which, one way or another, or in several (even many) ways did not satisfy all their needs of belief.
It seemed to be a time of general and particular confusion ... or of reconsideration ... or of reviews ... out of which a new synthesis of older ways of thinking might emerge.

If the hypothesis of a fully transcendent creator implanting motion in the system of extended bodies were judged no long sustainable, then it would seem an instrinsic characteristic of the extended or spatial world that everything within it is constituted of particular proportions of motion and rest - which suggests that motion must be essential to and inseparable from the nature and constitution of extended things. The proportions of motion and rest within the system as a whole must be constant, since there could be no external cause to explain any change in the system; but within the subordinate parts of the system the proportions of motion and rest are constantly changing in the interaction of these parts among each other.

Spin spin spin out the ever-changing (and ever so easy to misrepresent and misinterpret) system of Spinoza, or something like it.

Minds in turmoil, how they longed to embrace simples. Many times they rushed towards them, desperate to hold on to solid forms. Many times the solid things fluttered through clutching fingers, sifting away, like shadows, dissolving like dreams, and each time the griefs cut to the hearts sharper, and they cried out incoherent words, which winged into the darkness.

Now down they came to the water's edge, streaming tears ... drops of sea-stuff returning to the world-wide waterway.

Rumour has it that if you throw a cup of water into the sea and return a decade or so later to scoop up a fresh cup of water from the same (which is not of course the same) bit of the sea, then, despite all the churning and mixing that has occurred in the sea over the decade or so, the cup will contain some molecules of the water you threw into the sea at the earlier time. It seems unlikely, but statistical probabilities suggest it - there are more molecules of water in a cup (whatever its size) than there are cups (or the equivalent volume) in the sea.

'I don't know what to say.'
'No words. No words. Hush.'

Hush.
Sea sounds. See changes.
 
So we made for the outer limits, where the worldwide waterway seemed to flow towards its end - though of course it was an illusion. Some said it was where the Cimmerians previously had their homes, a realm shrouded in mist and cloud, where the sun could never flash rays through the murk. Others said it was a just a small northern town in the middle of winter.

Wandering on, bedlam melodies wandering through our minds ...

... we get by and keep on keeping on with a little help from our friends all is on little loves and small acts of kindness and big hugs pulling mussels from shells and pulling muscles in other words squeeze me you know how to do that Annie and get your gun she's passed it's a miracle her paint's all over town and Alison my aim is true I know this world is killing you and her and him and me and OK I was just Cathy's clown on a hillside desolate will nature make a man of me yet visions of swastikas two new pence to have a go and fall wanking to the floor and frigging in the rigging while there are footsteps on the dancefloor the next time I'll be true I heard on the grapevine that rumour had it that I just called to say I love you thank you for giving me the best day of my life and thank you for calling inquiries while I got stuck in the moment records stick stuck records bells on our fingers ask not whom we toll them for we shall have music wherever we go on go on go on at last the go on show at last but not the end there is no end to wandering I would go out tonight but I have not got a thing to wear but don't you forget about me as you walk on by if you see me walking down the street walk on walk on by with love in your heart and take a walk on the wild side and you just know that bitch won't fuck again but say it ain't so Joe say it Joe eh Joe Hey Joe where are you going with that gun in your hand excuse me while I take another face from the ancient gallery and kiss the sky often mistaken for kiss this guy kiss me kiss me you know how to please me yeah yeah kiss me in the milky twilight you wear that dress and I will wear those shoes and she was last seen the last time I ever saw her face wearing stop me stop me if you've heard this one before hey hey hey what's going on we're sailing off the edge of the world living like Fu Manchu there's nothing else to do maybe baby we know where we are going once in a lifetime on the road to nowhere or funky town or kook city and live life from a window just taking in the view all around the world looking for you and you just stayed in your room that day that day when we took off our clothes and you were crying and the stupid things you said and I said we were birds of paradise and you saw the whole of the moon pink pink pink moon no matter where I roam I will return to my British roses before the sky closes on them and opens on others and no one will ever take me from she and she been a long time been a long time been a lonely lonely lonely long time under the northern skies waiting and wondering and wandering on for more life in a northern town wandering on and maybe tomorow maybe someday we'll get by ...

... jigsaw feeling ... has me reeling ... which may be lurching desperately ... or which may be a kind of dancing.
 
What triangles ...
The solitary sage of Walden (or there or there abouts - or some other place of concorde) pointed out that triangles of extraordinary size were set up when two people by chance (as it might seem) separated by many earthly miles looked at the same distant star at the same earthly instant ...

What polygons of unthinkable complexity are formed when the consciousnesses of three or more (billions maybe) are linked up deeply for a single instant.

And each individual consciousness is limitless ... set off at any instant in any direction in any individual mind, and you'll never reach an end to the association networks ...

Beyond the outlines ... barely experienced, poorly remembered ... fragmentary details ... the bewildering spread of the simple seeming event ... 

Figures in a blended inscape and outscape ...

Cathy and her clown walked together near the water's edge. Blurs from some perspectives, dots, or even less from others. Viewed from some places and times they become recognizable human forms, though mostly in outline, devoid of many details. Further perspective shifts reveal complexitity upon completity. It is possible to conceive of a multiverse perspective ... all possible perspectives at the same instant.

Two little people on a coastal walk in a small town, on the margins, but at the centre of things ... So it is with all: any point, any person, any event, is central and marginal and everywhere in between.

She is small and short-stepping. He is tall and long-striding. The long and the short of it. Big he who is not so big and small she who is not so small. They do not seem well matched. Their mortions are not very synchronized-seeming, as she is too fond of pointing out for his comfort (and hers perhaps too). She walks close to him, often bumping into him rather clumsily. Mostly she talks, he listens. A deluge of words. Waves crashing on to the shore. Her voice rises in pitch and and increases in tempo as she continues. She seems anxious to get things said, while she still has the chance, while there is still time.

They walk in no particular direction, to nowhere in particular. Separate random walks are taking place, which, since they are walking together, in however an unsynchronised and clumsy and bumping manner, become a shared walk. They walk on the edge of land and sea, near a pub called the Water's Edge. Human naming systems help to make a sort of sense of things, providing reference points and an order of sorts.

They seem on the edge of things, in a marginal zone, a place of transition. and they are nearing the edge of their time together. Soon they'll separate, perhaps forever. So it seems she has to get her words said. She talks of people on the edge of things, marginalised people, known as the 'UnderClass' for want of a more human label, whom she's encountered in the early stages of her training as a probation officer. It seems important to her to let him know of what she has witnessed. He's a bit puzzled by that. She's leaving him behind, but wants to fill his mind with her thoughts and experiences. She's planting trace memories perhaps.

Another way of seeing it ... on the shores of the cosmic ocean a strangely beautiful well-matched asymetric couple mess things up.

(This much seems true: new life comes from asymmetry - the evidence is all around. Fear death by symmetry - when all the complex, messy slightly disordered asymmetrical unities break up, and 'it' becomes a spread of equally distanced particle fragments drifting ever further apart.)

Random walks

The myriad contingencies of a short walk in a small town.

But when you consider them with an open mind everything can seem to 'Connect' and every part seems integral to the whole.

Sitting in my small town room, given strange powever by technologies, the workings of which I do not understand and never will, I seem to travel far, and seem to perceive many things.

Common culture. It is in us all. Flowing through us all and being transformed by us all.

All in all.

All things might be written in a single book of love, of which creation is the scattered leaves.

Organisations can form in the underground [and they can be forces for good - not terrorist networks], and they can communicate in undertones, and without the constituent parts having much conscious awareness that they are a part of a larger whole.

Birds flock together at appropriate times, but probably are not much aware that they are flocking.

Perhaps we are often acted upon by 'Organising Forces', beyond our understanding. 

This long watch, which dog-like he kept ... Soon the long wished for signs might relieve his passive toils ... beacons gleaming through long recurring nights ... Beacons .. which might only be cigarettes ... These walls could recall strange things .. and much else...
Like a shrunken leaf ... that is not really dying ... all recycles .. flows .. changes ... feebly feeling ... like a dream that walks by day ... the persuasive breath of memories involuntarily recalled ... mostly stirring the heart with songs .. sometimes sensed as beautiful .. sometimes not ...

Like shapes in dreams he wandered through the years, seeming random, planless, his 'forethought' in chains ...

But the vision of the birds might yet work its end into bliss ...

But contraries might yet blast darkly first...

This way the part-time seer hymned, dubiously mixing doom and bliss, dark mingling with light ... and much confusion and obscurity ...
Sharing with the way-haunting birds, which seemed to signal something ... he was responding to the strains .. which could not be merely sounds .. there had to be some meaning, some purpose in everything ... the singings sounded of sorrows and glad days ... and of good times that might yet shame the bad. 

Meanwhile ... a most unpleasant surprise was in store for the platonic prick ...
...just as the likely lass began yawning as he was telling her all sorts of amusing stories that had happend to him at different times and places, and even referring once to the Greek cynical philospher Diogenes, the weird sister appeared from one of the back rooms. Whether she had torn herself away from a cold collation, or from the little green drawing room, where some postgraduates' conversation had become more alarming to her, whether she had come of her own free will, or whether she had been thrown out of her previous environment in embarrassing circumstances, which she might or might not later reveal ... whatever the cause or collection of part-causes that had brought her from some other place to this place, she apeared to be cheerful and in the best of spirits. And she was holding on to the arm of the devil's advocate, or one who was assuming that role, for the time being, and in the particular circumstances in which they now all found themselves. Yet he appeared unhappy. Maybe she had been dragging him along with her (and even perhaps attempting to pull him to the floor) for some time. Whatever the cause, assuming there was one, the poor putter-of-the-case-against certainly seemed discomforted, for he kept attempting to turn around, while his eyebrows beetled in all directions, and his eyes seemed to be searching for a way to excape from this amicable arm-in-arm promenade with the weird sister.
It was, indeed, quite an intolerable situation. The platonic prick saw no ther way out of it than to gulp down quickly, with forced convivialtiy, two cups of coffee, with were, of course, laced with red wine, while he kept on telling the most unlikely stories. The devil's advocate became ever more disconcerted, but still could find no way of excape. The weird sister laughed and scowled at the fun of it all. The kindly quaker remained, as often, seemingly calmly silent. 

Bridge buildings ...

Ally and philly were sitting together in a bar, which might have been called The Bridge (but that was actually another place, another time) and she began openly to speak her mind to him for once ... The wonderful flow of words enters him and fills him and swells him, and the words change her in his mind ... she'll never seem the same again. After an hour or two, he feels obliged to say something about himself, but when he attempts to interrupt her word-flow, she says, 'No ... I'll speak' ... and the wonderful warming and expansive words continue to come out of her, and to close the space between them, and to fill him with a her glow, which he will never forget, even though, for various reasons, they do not see much of each other afterwards.

She was possibly the least malicious person he had ever met, but ally was the one person to speak negative things about catty into his ears - telling him that catty 'was just not worth it' and that he 'could do better than that woman'. And when he thought feelingly about it then, and for a long time afterwards, he saw multiple possible meanings in what she said ... but he could not accept the proposition that any human being was 'just not worth it', because all are worth it, or else all are worth nothing ... and maybe that was just quibbling ... but ... that was the way it was with him.

Years later, (2002 in fact) pally ally cropped up in India and Pakistan (this is no fiction [and is if to prove she was a real person, not a symbol, in 2003 Alison supported the dehumanizing and illegal - by the normal conventions of international law - U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq) at a time of tension, when some feared the possibility of a nuclear war. She was part of a leading world stateman's 'travelling entourage' (her words) ... to most a unnoticed face in a crowd ... but to the platonic prick she was a symbol of peace ... she carried love with her and no hatred that he could imagine. And oddly enough (or not) tensions on the Indian sub-continent reduced afterwards, and the threat of nuclear war faded. Of course many others were involved. The key seemed to be: not the 'great' men's [there were, alas, still too few 'great' women on the world's stage] words and deeds ... nor even the charms (which were considerable) of his known female peace symbol ... but all those millions of little loves of little lives of mostly kindly mostly decent people who didn't actually want to slaughter others, or to be slaughtered themselves - maybe they all worked together, without quite knowing it, to calm things down.

Meanwhile, the curious cat cared so much about the marginalized people whom she worked with (and for) that it once (or more) almost broke her. She saw hellish visions of 'bottomless pits of need and deprivation' ...
And there can seem to be no end to the suffering in the private hells of even an affluent society.
But even with such dispiriting thoughts in mind to discourage her, she returned to work and did little things to help people and to fill up the void bit by bit.

In the near past that was a long time ago cat wrote many letters to phil and complained that he never wrote enough to her ... it was a complaint that mixed fairness with unfairness, as most do ...
In her letters, as far as he could remember, she only ever quoted him one line of poetry, from Tennyson's Ulysses:
'... I am a part of all that I have met ... '
As she might or might not have gone on to point out, the reverse it also true:
... All that I have met is a part of me ...

[In passing, it is probably fair to note that Catherine does not have much literary appreciation ... and although she seems to believe herself manneredly superior, she does not follow the rules of polite communication ...  and her cruelty sometimes outweights her kindness ...
(Matter of factly, she suggests as a title for these ramblings 'Ravings of a Madman?' - anyone who has used up time reading this far can judge how apposite her suggestion is).]

The surprising thing was that while Cat and Al studied much the same subject in much the same place at much the same time, and wandered more or less contemporaneously in much the same streets of at least two other cities ... and had much in common ... and must have crossed paths occasionally ... and had even perhaps caused each other some hurt of sorts, via their connections through Phil ... they never fully met (unless a trick was missed) .. which is something a shame, because they had much good to share with each other ...
 
It can seem like nonsense, but it does eventually seem to resolve itself into a sort of sense ...
... for a while ...

All this was a long time ago. But what is a long time? The long and the short of it all. Big he who was not so big and small shes who were not so small. I remember little but much. I forget much but little. And I would do it again but in different ways. Repetition is a form of change. Nothing is the same twice, so nothing is the same ever. Say hello, wave goodbye. Wave goobye, say hello. In every meeting, the image of birth, a sort of coming together. In every parting, the image of death, a sort of falling apart. I never knew you well enough, you never knew me well enough. So it goes. Undertanding of other people is, like all understanding, never good enough. On it goes. On we go. Finding out more. Making new patterns, remembering and forgetting, building up and breaking down. Say hello, wave goodbye. Kiss and hug if you want to, do not kiss and hug if you do not want to. Something was taking its course, that much is certain, if no more. Whether we follow a course to birth or to death is uncertain. And that uncertainty clouds the issue of whether we act freely or follow courses determined for us. But there does seem to be free will on the local human scale. At any possible world junction there are many, perhaps limitless, possibilities open to us, and every instant brings us to a new possible world junction, when a small act of choice can make a huge difference. But if, whatever choices we make, the overall course of things is towards a break up of all unities, and so towards oblivion for all, then individual destinies seem trivial. If it is not to be futile, then we must find courses that lead somewhere, to some betterment, some resolution, some harmony, some development, or just some continuation. Maybe it comes down to faith, but that might just be wishful thinking. But you never know - and maybe there's hope in uncertainty. No one, the pessimists or the optimists, really knows. Humans are perhaps just too limited in understanding, and probably, however developed they become, always will be. That is the way it seems to be and maybe will remain. And so one cannot escape from the voices singing that this might be all just folly. But then folly is not the same as futility. And folly is at least amusing and out of 'amusement' might come a more profound kind of comedy, which is a movement towards harmony, and when the motion is towards harmony then perhaps the easier it becomes to make approaches towards some ideal harmonic state - even if it is never reached. And actually achieving complete harmony might not even be desirable, because that might be the end of it all - after which no more for worse or for better.

It can seem foolish to speculate at random about the narrowest and widest matters ... but what else can you do? 
...
Even if it is perhaps a hopeless and unrewarding endeavour ...
...
And even if there can seem little point to what can often appear to be merely enduring for the sake of endurance ...
...
Pass me another cigarette, please ... and ... do you have a light, please? ...
[... January 2002 ... September 2003 ...]

p.s. what[so]ever became of 'COPY'-takers ... they come, they go ... and who gives a 'SHIT' when they lose their jobs ... so long as you keep yours/years [when you have survived some 'transition' from 'this' to 'that' ... so it goes?!] ... see you in

Dante's 'Hell/'PurgaTory'/...?, Alison ...  NeverMind ...

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2022, 11:36:37 AM »
From:  "philtal_uk" <philtal_uk@y...>
Date:  Thu Jul 4, 2002  12:56 pm
Subject:  Re: B-Grade Stuff

Deep kindness is rooted in deep kindness … or … how a better sense
of essential inter-relatedness makes us better beings …

While my genes were being bombed in England during World War Two,
hers were safer in Ireland.
My genes survived life down the mines, hers the Irish potato famine
(which almost certainly was not a cruel British plot).
And so it goes … for all surviving sets of genes - chance meetings,
lucky survivals in times of mass death, strange events that might be
planned or might not.
Everyone alive today carries genes that have survived events such as
the Black Death, the Great Plague, the Slaughter of the Innocents.
And they all meet up somewhere in the past - in common ancestors.
There were creatures once who were the first humans - or at least so
human-like that we would not recognize them as something essential
different to ourselves. They might have had names like Adam and Eve,
or their names might have been something else - and they most likely
had private pet names for each other that no one else ever learned.
And so it goes for our relations with the rest of the living world.
Go back far enough and you find a common ancestor.

Something like a shrew - or perhaps more like a hedgehog - was
perhaps the common ancestor of all the mammals, including humans,
alive today. Those little creatures were the 'meek' who inherited
the Earth when the giant dinosaurs died out - though they probably
had to struggle with the birds before the matter of the 'dominant'
land animals was settled (perhaps a deal of sorts was done - nature
seems to like mutualistic deals - whereby they became lords of the
air, we became lords of the land, while the sea was mostly left to
the fish (though the dolphins might dispute that).

Actually, the question of 'dominant' species seems to come down to
issues of scale. On the everyday human scale, it is perhaps true to
say that we 'rule' the Earth (though wider Earthy nature might
contradict that - and give us our comeuppance one day). On a smaller
scale it is the ants. On a scale 'below' the ant world it is the
microbes who 'dominate' (and the disease -causing bugs remind us of
their mostly unseen wide-spreading power on regular occasions). … etc


Could there be a scale 'above' humans? It is possible - but there is
no direct evidence for it yet. And the SETI type searches for
extraterrestrial life have proved surprisingly fruitless so far. If
the galaxy was, Star-Trek -like, buzzing with high technology life,
then one would expect it to be easy to tune into - somewhat like a
radio … turn the dial and there is plenty of organized static, which,
although seeming not to make much sense, is a sure sign that there is
life out there somewhere. But the SETI searches have not found that
sort of thing. Maybe they have been looking in the wrong way, or in
the wrong place, but it is very surprising that they've draw what
seems to be a total blank (give or take one or two ambiguities).

Perhaps the origin of life is so unlikely that it has only emerged
once in one relatively obscure seeming part of the universe - it is
possible (and if so, that puts us in a position of incredible
responsibility - to preserve life and to spread its better natured
possibilities widely).

The further you go back, the more connections you find, the more you
see the essential relatedness of all things, and the more common
ancestors you find.

At some time, probably quite soon after the origin of the Earth,
there were the first living things. No one is quite sure what they
were, or how they arose, Perhaps they emerged spontaneously from an
unusual combination of dust, water, atmosphere and sunlight - or some
other unusual combination. Perhaps they arrived, liked seeds, from
some other living planet. Or perhaps they required some 'mind-over-
matter' or 'hand-of-god' intervention to get them going.

However it started - and there were perhaps a number of false starts
before life as we know it got going properly - life soon took off,
and spread widely. Look around: it's everywhere. And in the most
unlikely places … cracks in pavements … rocks in the arctic … a
human being's forehead …

Face mites live in the sweat pores of human foreheads, feeding on
little bits of oil and other apparent detritus, and doing us no real
harm. And face mite families and human families tend to live
parallel lives. You are not born with your resident face mite
population, you get them from close facial contacts with your parents
and other relatives - who got theirs in similar ways. You spread
your face mites by close facial contacts with other human beings.
Face mites cross-fertilize when humans cross-fertilize. On her face
now, face mites that are the cross breeds from our facial encounters.
Fertility is a strange thing, and occurs in mysterious, but perfectly
natural, ways.

Before there was life there was dead matter - boiling down (for the
sake of simplicity) to atoms - but with levels below that (and the
particle physicists, as far as I am aware, have yet to found the
fundamental 'lowest' level of matter).

We share atoms as we share everything else. Name any person, living
or dead, and you have atoms that were once in them in you now.
Everyone has little bits of Jesus in them - or anyone else (divine or
otherwise) you might want to name or imagine.

So long as life goes on, we never separate completely.

Bits of her everywhere … around me and within me .. and around and
within everyone else.

You don't have to be a wild unworldly spiritualist to see things
mystically … and you don't have to abandon physical matter in your
speculations … atomic theory contains as much extraordinary mysticism
as wild-seeming supernatural or metaphysical speculations … everyday
physical existence is far from humdrum …
Where do you begin and where do you end?
The skin is not a barrier that separates us from the world - it is
just a way station in a complex neverending flowing process. We
spread on widely, way beyond our fingertips or hair-endings.

'Simple' atoms were made, most probably, in, or shortly after
the 'Big Bang' event that, quite probably, started it all - whether
or not some divine intervention was needed to get things started is
open to debate, and probably always will be.

More complex atoms are made in stars - during nuclear reactions.

The most complex atoms tend to be made in supernovae explosions -
massive bangs that are, effectively, the deaths of stars. Other new
complexities grow out of those apparent death-like events - the
blasts send energy busts into space, causing turbulence, moving
things about, setting up local denser association of matter, higher
energy places, where new stars are born.

And so it goes on … lives, deaths, changes, meetings and partings,
minglings and mergings, break-offs and breakouts - all under the
influence of forces that are within control in some respect, out of
control in others - … by time and chance, by free will and
determination by accident and design …

… so it flows …

From:  "philtal_uk" <philtal_uk@y...>
Date:  Thu Jul 4, 2002  12:59 pm
Subject:  Re: B-Grade Stuff

Today it is Independence Day - which is enjoyable in a childish sort
of way, but strikes me as mostly overblown blockbuster crap … [of
course, that is just the personal prejudice of a peace and quiet
loving small town British near-nonentity] …
It does not look much like Day of the Dead ( … zombies … paranoia …
violent men with guns and other weapons … )
Perhaps it is The Birds again today …

… repetition is a form of change …

… you cannot watch the same movie twice … it changes … you change …
you notice different things …

In Hitchcock's The Birds, Tippi [whose career was to some extent made
and then to some extent wrecked by Hitch - a complex man, with an
roving eye for the birds, who apparently led a quiet, respectable
family-centred life] sits in the playground.
Tippi looks extraordinary in her green costume suit.
[I do identify with Tippi when I see her on the screen … and it has
been suggested to me recently that I
am 'transvestite', 'transsexual' and even 'male lesbian' (I
understand that Tippi is a bit of an icon for the dykes) …. I'll
admit to all three - especially the last (such paradoxical notions
delight me) - but only in imaginary parts … singly, or even in
combination, such labels are not the 'real', 'complete', 'essential'
me … Simplify me (if you must) when I am dead - and time reduces us
all - but living humans, myself and all others, are too complex for
such simplistic labellings.]
Tippi seems worried about something. She is smoking nervously, taking
lots of rapid puffs from her cigarette. Such body language is widely
understood as a giveaway sign of tension. And we viewers know why she
should be worried. We can see what she cannot see: the birds are
massing on the climbing frame behind her.
Then she glances round … does a little double-take … and sees what we
can see. A look of extreme terror appears on her face … and she runs
for it - … not, it turns out, to save her own beautiful skin, but to
alert and protect the children at a school nearby …

But gatherings of birds should not perhaps be regarded as sinister
things. They are social animals, and like to get together for a
twitter from time to time.

In Aristophanes's The Birds, a gathering of birds marks the start of
the creation of a new society by a small group of few human
eccentrics. Some dismiss it as cloud-cuckoo-land - head in the clouds
daydreaming … or insanity even. But perhaps it is not such an
unworldly or insane idea - and even if it is a little made, well at
least it is harmless and gentle enough.

In Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes, who is a bit of a joker by trade,
describes his idea of what love is all about. Humans were, he says,
once more whole than they are now - and could be made more whole
again in future. Lov, he says, is the force that drives us on to
search for our missing pieces - to see if we can put something better
together for the future.

+++++

From:  "philtal_uk" <philtal_uk@y...>
Date:  Thu Jul 11, 2002  5:14 am
Subject:  Re: B-Grade Stuff

ABC's lexicon of love ...

... if only it were as easy as a...b...c...

...

From bittersweet prissy kissy missy k-k-k-katie's l-l-l-lexicon of
love words: '... I see death in your eyes ...'

Thank you, my darling, everlastingly, for you kindly regards.

It was just everyday, throwaway, knockabout stuff, of course ...

But careless talk costs lives ... or, at least, wastes much potential
good life time lost in contemplation of the words ...

And when such stuff from a loved one is not counterbalanced by more
vitalizing visions ...

Well ... it kinda gets you down ...

And you spend a lotta time analysing it ...

...
...
...

But then one day you wonder ...

... was the nihilism really greater in me than in her? ...

And that becomes an ongoing question ...

For the record, it was not me who wrote an essay starting with a
crassly reductive Camus quote about suicide being (or non-being)the
only philosophical question.
L'etranger reduced too much to terrible simples ... didn't get enough
of it ... and missed out on the joys of expansive minded, multiple-
questioned, generous-spirited philosophy as an unnatural
consequence ...

And when you look into someone's eyes, what you see is partly a
reflection of yourself ... n'est pas?

...
...
...

Kitty's follow-up: 'You never make me feel wanted.'

If such a charge is made against you, then you are guilty as
charged ... but ...
'NEVER' my dear?

Absolutes lead astray ... and more likely to hellish realms than
heavenly ones ...

...
...
...

Not so ancient Irish history ...

Like many cosy liberal middle-class Anglo-Irish catholics, Kitty
O'Pity was rather moved (or was it just kitschly 'touched'?) by the
IRA hunger strikers who killed themselves in the 1980s ...
It seemed like (or could be turned into) principled martyrdom - but,
to be frank, it looked like a monstrous bit of mass stupidity to
me ...
And was not suicide supposed to be against the religion? - no one
forced them not to eat.

...
...
...

The bourgeois pretenders do like to enjoy vicariously the unnecessary
premature deaths of others, don't they?

Unnecessary rock and roll suicides ... Sid and Nancy ... Jimi ...
Janice ... Jim ... Kurt ... the list goes on ...

They die for our entertainment ...

What a truly repugnant truth that is ...

...
...
...

Stick to fictions ... it's safer ... no one really dies in the trashy
books and B-Movies ...

...
...
...

While in the real world, eggers on perhaps carry as much of the guilt
as the wild doers - or lonely self-killers ...

And when I think about the corpse-strewn battlefields ... I wonder
about the fair shares of the guilt that should be linked to them ...
Mostly violent male principles principly? ... or an equal share to
femail principled eggers on? ...

Maybe the wailing women of Troy ... and generations of followers ...
enjoyed their griefs too much ...

...
...
...

Bless 'em all ... bless 'em all ... the long and the short and the
tall ...
and forgive 'em all ... because they barely seem to know what they
are doing and saying much of the time ...

From:  "philtal_uk" <philtal_uk@y...>
Date:  Thu Jul 11, 2002  5:43 am
Subject:  Re: B-Grade Stuff

Some festive light relief ...

To parties they go, mix, leave, and in some ways come back again and
in some ways never come again.

I walked up the hill to the party with the tall, slim, elegant, quiet
woman from Cambridge. We exchanged some private words.
I spend much of the party talking to the short, chubby, clumsy,
talkative woman from London. As ever, she had extraordinary ideas to
share. That night it was that there was no essential difference
between pretending to be drunk and actually being drunk - and to test
the hypothesis she started the night pretending to be drunk and then
got more and more literally drunk as the night wore on. We also
exchanged words on the subject of whether cliches assisted thoughts
and feelings or stifled them. 'It makes you think, don't it?' was
among the considered phrases.
I walked down the hill from the party with a large group of people
including an indescribable bear-like Anglo-Italian Ferrari-man
anthropologist. An empty bus appeared at the side of the road (or was
there all along). It a prop the prankster anthroplogist had to made
use of ... in an instant he was in the cab ... and we were all going
on a summer holiday ... for a few more instants ... and then we
walked on with tedious realism, leaving him to catch us up.

A few weeks later (or it might have been earlier) Ms Choosy gave me
a card inviting me to a party at an obelisk site that was far from
the pyramids - but which always called them to my mind because the
Cleopatra of my imagination lived there. The invite said: 'Please
bring a botle but not a friend.' So I brought two friends and no
bottle. But one of the friends almost did not make it ...
On the way he had made a crude joke combining Cocky Cleo's wandering
eye and my seemingly unrequited devotion to he. Fists almost flew,
but I held back - it was just a joke, and he was normally a good
comedian.

There are bad jokes. And when people get the context and timing
wrong, and don't show enough fellow feeling, they can almost totally
spoil happy comical days and nights. Not everything is a potential
laughing matter - and people who seem intent on making a mockery of
everything can seem nihilistic rather than harmonizing.

From:  "philtal_uk" <philtal_uk@y...>
Date:  Thu Jul 11, 2002  2:34 pm
Subject:  Re: B-Grade Stuff

To get your bearings in a state of some general confusion, it seems
that from time to time you have to plumb the depths … your own and
others' …
… and there is perhaps much unfortunate and unpleasant stuff to
dredge through yet…

Haughty boy liked to listen to the sweet sounds and to watch the
graceful motions of Ms Oboe d'Amore …

… but he never touched her …

There always seem to be fresh diversion cropping up…,

In this week's front page exclusive, the expressive oboist justly
represents the painful sounds of rape victims…

It is a terrible issue … and rapists deserve lengthy confinement when
their guilt is beyond reasonable doubt …

But matters of consent are often ambiguous … and the feelings in
consenting acts are often mixed …

The simples issues are sometimes terribly reduced to: … the society
for cutting up men insists that all men are rapists given the chance …

It is not necessarily naturally so … and generalized false
accusations make the gentler men feel generally despised and
distrusted … and can be paralysing…

And can there be raping of minds?…

It is possible to go too far in penetrating others' inners …[And TSE
regularly reminds me that humans cannot stand too much reality.]

Nevertheless …

Sometimes the oboe player did sound out her bleak midwinter worries
in public …

She had watched film actors play out the squalid deaths of Sid and
Nancy in the Chelsea Hotel room, and she had been appalled by it …
but a little bit of her had been drawn to the sordid attractions of
such filthy finalities …and that troubled her …
So she slipped her concerns to the haughty seeming ponderer - as they
sat smoking their cigarettes … sharing an ashtray …and … through the
poisonous cigarette fumes that passed between them … and the minutes
off their full lifespans they were taking from themselves and each
other in the process …perhaps they were enjoying some mildly sublime
Sid and Nancy moments of their own …

The shared bits of bleaker missed her and his misty musings slipped
into a dark back room of his mind … and in the many years that
followed, during which he went through many living deaths himself, he
got the squalid possibilities out to examine from time to time … and
sometimes to play with - it has to be admitted that parts of him
relished the darker, more squalid stuff …

Eventually …

He answered that she had perhaps been fortunate only to have seen the
fictional version - there was worse to be witnessed in the verite
footage in the DOA documentary on which Alex based his fictionalised
film.

It seemed safer (and kinder) to keep darker possibilities in the
realm of ritualised fiction - away from actuality.

It was notable that, with the exception of the Gary playing Sid, the
actors in Alex's film did worse role-playing jobs than the real Sex
Pistols did when playing themselves. The real Sid [not his real
name - he was a John, dear in some respects, not so dear in others …
like all Johns perhaps] seemed to forget that he was playing a role
in the Sex Pistols plot. He played it too much for real … and the
deadly consequences were murder and suicide - vile, pathetic or
tragic, according to judgement.

Partly happily, partly sadly, the other Sex Pistols survived into
tragicomical flabby middle-age and beyond …

So it flowed …

Revision questions for life-long learners:…
Is there a nihilistic death drive locked in a neverending struggle
with erotic life-drive?
Do squalid images of dissolution and death on the small scale
represent possible eventual universal dissolution and death on the
grand scale?

Perhaps …

But life does seem to have a slight edge over death …and in the
struggle against the dying of the light, the tragicomedy of the grand
scheme of things does seem biased towards the comical direction …
with the force of love tending it that way …

The bleak post-punk northern Joy Division got it wrong … it is not
love that tears us apart … it is the absence of love …[And Ian of
that often joyless sounding group died another unnecessary rock and
roll death when he was torn apart by too many lost transmissions and
too much isolating distance from love.]

And while she occasionally played a few bleak tunes, Ms Oboe d'Amore
usually played more uplifting ones … and was always delightful when
flower gathering .. even when wandering on wastelands …
….
Be [re]assured … my aim is true …

… free willing life-lovers can plant more and more seeds … and deny
the nihilistic death-worshippers more and more ground - both
externally and internally …




Quakery side-thoughts: …There was much that was quakerish in the
haughty seeming boy's ways of thinking. … But he was often puzzled by
how much quakerism he seemed to have absorbed without direct
instruction. … Truly, it seemed, when there was loving and friendly
commonality of general outlook, much could be communicated between
minds without speaking or other direct communications. … That
possibility surprised him greatly. Neverthless, much seemed lacking
when communication was not more direct. …





Life's little ironies: …
Catty was the biggest Elvis Costello fan, but Ally got my favourite
of that fake-named Elvis's songs. Ally bought Pretenders albums in
an attempt to get some more rock cred, but Catty got more of the
haunting Birds of Paradise tune. Yet it is all the English roses,
spreading (because nature does not observe petty human national
boundaries) to beautiful cosmopolitan bloomers, who get the best of
bittersweet The Pretenders pieces. [Meanwhile, too many of that
group also died premature rock and roll deaths … although thankfully
Chrissie still sings on in her beautiful off-key way …]
And … for the records … the wind cries yet another name in my
favourite Jimi song. [While Kitty got the wrong Jimi - not
Sommerville, you faggy haggy fool, but Hendrix! (Does she still like
to keep the crop-haired blondie's hanging on the telephone?)]





But … when all is said and done in this present ridiculously
serious /. seriously ridiculous sequence … and if humanity makes it
to what might be a mysterious achievement … with all the expansive
and generous good will in the world ... should we be space-ship
building? … or diving for pearls? … and is it not possible to do
both? - with potentially endlessly wonderful consequences …
 
+++++



Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2022, 11:37:16 AM »
Arts that might be selected into the inclusive platonic republic.

4 Plays

4 Free Adaptations

Draft 1

Main Correpondents: Aeschylus and Aristophanes.

Press ganged [but not banged] platonic 'muses': A.; M.; Z. [Aka fiery ageing slags ... aka frumpy flabby middling-spreaders ... aka fair-minded fairly talented, fair maidens ... aka ...]

Probationary 'lady philosophy' - who should perhaps instead be locked up/away/out under an APSBO/O [= anti-philosophical-stinking-body-odour/order]: C. [C-word = 'Cunt'?!].

4A. Prometheus
4C. The Birds
4M. The Persians
4Z. Peace

Promising platonically off-beatingly ...
Something for everyone ... a tragical-comical-historical-philosophical-fantastical  ... review ...

Under-credited support workers [include]:
... tTranslators, editors, production assistants, publishers, printers, book-binders, distributors, book-shop-staff, etc, etc, etc ...

Re-titling.

4A. Fore-thought Under House Arrest.
4C. Ravings in of a Madman in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.
4M. Purrs ............ Sighs .......... Ans.[incompletely]
4Z. Lost in Tranzlationz.

Re-type-ing.

4A. You are perhaps well advized to piss off and seek 'asylum' in someone else's mindset too [and hopefully not discovering in the 'processing' (that is done to 'things', isn't it - not human beings) what it is really like to be persecuted as a minority] - with Long Over-Due Unreturned Dismissive Disrespect For/To The Westminster Villagers.
4C. You Ignorant Self-Serving Fat Cow Slut.
4M. You have done a lot of serious but rather depressing 'aftermath' journalism - in real 'worlds of shit', mostly of human making - and perhaps have too bleak a view of 'human nature' and the 'human condition' as a consequence. [Something you once wrote to me, M., commenting on some outrage: 'We do these things to each other.' And in that statement there was just too much - unjust - 'acceptance' of the way things are, I think-fell.] I offer you, in reasonably good faith, hopefully, some hopeful forethought: viz, preventing potential wars and other violent acts before they happen is a better way to make a good living - and to invest in a truly secure pension plan - than to report their aftermaths after they have happened.
4Z. To a delightful iridescent-polyglottic-cosmopolitan correspondent, and others of her 'kind' [widely speaking] lost 'out there' somewhere, I offer a 'sign of peace' in reasonably good faith.

[Pausing for thought about why humans seem to find crudely abusive dialogue more delightfully amusing than the more mildly affectionate stuff and then ...]

Getting on with it ...

Fore-thought Recast

Provisional Re-Dedication:
4 A - with long over-due unreturned dismissive disrespect for the Westminster villagers ...
I [re-]Present ...

'Forethought-in-Chains'

[Provisional sub-title: You Ignorant Small-Minded Wider Possibility Stifling Gits!]

Provinsional Epigraph:
'What the later Shakespeare lacked was real social purpose.'

Cast:
Might [Face of Charles Clarke?]
Violence [Face of blended George Bush/Osama bin Laden?]
Smith [Face of ... Bob The Builder?]
Forethought [Face of ... someone 'absence-minded'?]
Water [Face of ... ?]
Woman [Face of ... Nivea Intensive Care Cream?]
Messenger [Face of ... one about to be shot?! ... or that of the postal worker who failed to deliver a letter to my house this morning? ...]
Chorus of Water-based Beings [Face of Face-Mite?]
Gang of Anonymous Robotic Demons hanging about menancingly in the background [Faces of Clones of Governor of California?]

Draft 1, Scene 1

Scene:
A bare and desolate waste-land.

[Enter Might, Violence, Anonymous Robotic Demons, Smith. They drag behind them, in chains, Forethought, who is suffering in stoical blank-faced silence.]

Might:
Stop! This is the place. This is the world's limit. This is the untrodden desolation at the end of the Male State - with Female Consent.

[All but Forethought look around them with looks of amazement approaching horror. They have never been here before, but seem to recognize the place from their nightmares. Having registered emotion, their faces blank to utilitarian work-masks and they concentrate on the business in hand.]

Might [opening official looking scroll and apparently reading]:
Smith, it is your duty to obey the commands of the Male State - with Female Consent - and secure this subversive in complete isolation in unbreakable chains in this desolate spot. Without due process of law, and mostly according to the unprincipled ways of blind ignorant pre-judice, his crime has been decreed to have been trying to steal  trade secrets - including the power of controlled heat - with the intention of spreading it to wider humanity. This is a breach of the established order for which he must pay the penalty. He must learn to endure confinement - and, in his confined isolated state, may even come to love the ways of the Male State - with Female Consent - and quit his wider-humanity loving ways.

Violence:
Just do it to him!

Smith:
Might and Violence, in you the Male State - with Female Consent - has reached its ultimate expression. With you wills prevailing within it, there is nothing to stand in its way - though where that leads, I dread to think. For myself, I have no love of your ways, nor any desire to do the job of chaining this fellow being to a fixed place in this desolate isolating spot. He is more of my kind than you are, but I follow your orders not his - since he declines to give any. There are constraints on me too - even if less visible than those on him. For me not to do the ordered job would be to put myself in danger of the same fate. I will do it unwillingly, but I will do it nevertheless.

Might and Violence [impatiently]:
Just do it!

Smith:
Forethought, forgive me, the act I will do to you will be the result of neither your will nor mine. I will constrain you in chains on this desolate place, far from wider humanity. Here, by Male State decree - with Female Consent - you will have no company. You will hear no other voices but your own. You will meet no form of fellow feeling. You will stare all day at a grey unchanging sky. You might be glad when night comes to darken things further - at least that will be a change to your environment. But the grey will return later to further oppress you. And always the grievous burden of the powers of your name will be there to further wear you down. Forethought will mean that moments of relief will be no relief really, because you will always know that even when worse experiences ease, they will all too soon return. Such is the cruel reward that the Male State - with Female Consent - says you deserve for your wider humanity-loving disposition. Many a groan and lamentation from you will be your acknowledgements of this 'reward' from the state. Your expressions of pain will not be widely heard. And do not expect the state to later pity you, relent, and release you - because that would involve it acknowledging of its own fundamental errors and weaknesses, which - for all its claims of strength and power - it is just not strong or powerful enough to do.

[Forethought stares at Smith with fellow-feeling, but says nothing.]

Smith:
I can offer you some hopeful consolations Forethought - though I imagine you have already thought of them. The state orders me to 'completely isolate' you in 'unbreakable chains', and that order I will obey the best I can - to preserve my own life and liberty and paid employment. But the order is an impossible one - for reasons you and I understand but those like Might and Violence possibly do not. Experience of my craft - and intimations of your forethought - tell me that your condition will NOT be absolute. You will have more company than official degree has allowed for - 'complete' states of isolation are not possible, even in a place like this. And as for 'unbreakable' chains, they are impossible things too - they just can not be made. Time will erode the structures of the chains I will surround you with. Time will break them up - as it breaks up everything else. You shall be released in time.

Might:
Quit this foolish gibbering Smith. Why are you delaying actions with words? Why do you show him sympathy? Do you not hate one who defied the state that employs you? His ways threatened your business as much as ours - do you not know that?

Smith:
I am not sure what I know. I do know that his forethought challenges me and my work - but not necessarily in damaging ways. I will do my work on him - but not happily.

Might:
Many other people are unhappy in their work - why make an issue of that?

Violence:
You'll be unhappy if you do not do your work Smith - we'll get you chained up here too if you do not get on with it.

Smith:
I might be well-chained along-side him perhaps - I am more of his kind than either of yours. But there is no use in trying to explain why  - you will take what I say the wrong way.

Might and Violence:
Are you calling us stupid?!

Smith.
No - I am too fearful of you and your unkind kind - singly and together - to call you stupid. I am trying to understand how stupid I might be for me to do what I have been ordered to do.

Might and Violence:
Just do it!

Smith:
I will. And I will do it because at this moment, I fear both of you - and the state through which you empower yourselves - more than I fear him - and what he stands for. But, as I consider what I am going to do to him, I do fear the consequences greatly.

Might:
There is no point in you trying to cover your bets like that. You are with us, or you are with him - simple as that.

Violence:
Simple as that.

Smith:
This is not so simple: it is shameful to have good skills that you use for a bad purpose - I might corrupt my own craft when I do what I will soon do.

Might:
What nonsense! Your craft is in no way the author of his misfortune.

Violence:
Just do it!

Smith:
I cannot resist the orders further.

Might:
Hurry now. Throw the chains around him.

Violence:
Do what you have to do.

[Smith starts to chain Forethought - who is blankly silent throughout.]

Smith:
There ... I am doing my job ... there are the chains ... and there are the locks ... look ... you can see them ... you can see me wrapping the chains round him ... tightening them ... and locking the locks ...

Might:
Put more on his hands - tie them up more tightly.

Violence:
Make sure they are as tight as you can make them.

Smith:
What you order is being done now. I am not idling at my work.

Might:
Tighten it all together more strongly. Don't leave a loose link anyway/anywhere - he's a cunning one, and will find any weakness in your work.

Violence:
And I will spot any deliberate mistake you make to lessen his suffering.

Smith:
Look! I am a master of my trade! He will be confined as tightly as it is possible to confine him!

Might:
Put in extra fittings. Double-up on everything.

Violence:
Show him no mercy!

Smith:
I will do my work so well, that only Forethought himself could rightly accuse me of doing a bad job - only he will understand the paradox of the job I do on him: the better I do my work, the worse a piece of work it is for him.

Violence:
Show him no pity!

Might:
Are you pitying him? We will report it if you are!

Smith:
I pity him his future sufferings, because I know what a good job I am doing on him.

Might:
Your pity is misplaced!

Violence:
Think only of what will be done to you if you fail in your work.

Smith:
Don't you see a sight that hurts your eyes?!

Might:
I see ... someone getting his deserts.

Violence:
I see ... something who is not one of us.

Smith:
I see ... the possibility that I am forced onwards towards a future share of his fate.

Might:
Is that defiance?!

Violence:
Sounds like it to me.

Smith:
I am only doing my job, and although it is to the best of my abilities, it is not the best work I have done - nor the best work I could be doing with my skills.

Might:
You will be well rewarded for it.

Violence:
And how can you complain when your trade is better paid than ours?!

Smith:
There ... I have done my work and earned whatever payment I deserve.

[Forethought is now bound by an incredibly complex bundle of chains and locks. Might and Violence and the squad of Anonymous Robotic Demons check over Smith's work.]

Might:
Just add a few more chains would you Smith ... just to be sure.

Violence:
Yes. And, while you are at it, hammer in a few more nails too!

[Smith does as ordered. Might and Violence and Anonymous Robotic Demons check over the work again.]

Might: Sorted!

Violence: Sorted!

Anonymous Robotic Demons: Sorted!

[All exit, Smith dallying briefly to say last words to Forethought.]

Smith:
Your state and your looks and your silence speak my exit line for me.

[Prometheus is now alone.]

Draft 1, Scene 2

Prometheus:
It is a fucking disgrace what they have done to me.

[Before going on to more polite expression, he recomposes himself. His mind might be imagined as ranging widely during an indefinite period of external silence - which potential producers of this uncopyrighted work are free to prolong or contract according to the time-demands of their productions.]

Ravings of a Madman-in-Cloud-Cuckoo-landz?

4C. [Rastaman he say that bad-faith bitch she dun too much sell-out trade with Babylon]

Characters [include]:
Hopeful [Face of a baby]
Trusting [Face of unwordly inexperience]
Poet [Pained face of 'poetics prostituting royalist lackey' Andrew Motion attempting to write something in good faith for the coming 'royal' wedding.]
Priest [Face of Pope being put through the totally undignified and humanity debasing public spectacle of his own decline.]
Inspector [Face of judge going through the motions of an official inquiry into 'weapons of mass destruction.]
Lawyer [Face of the solicitor who failed to turn up for at least 16 hours when I requested to see him when being held in a police cell last year - and if it happened to me being held under suspicion of relatively trivial offences, it must happen to many being held for much more serious offences - point being the lawyers should be there to protect the interest of detainees, guilty or not, and that their presence also protects detainers against charges of misconduct, true or false, that might be made against them, etc ...]
Soothsayer [Face of a government spin-doctor.]
Chorus of Birds [Faces of A...B...C...D...E...F...G...H...I...J...K...L...M...N...O...P...Q...R..S...T...U...V...W...X...Y...Z...   

Draft 1, scene 1

Scene:
A barren plain.

[Enter Hopeful carrying a Magpie, Trustful carrying a Pigeon.]

Hopeful [to Magpie];
Where next?

Magpie:
Straight forward ... Straight forward ...

Trustful [to Pigeon]
Do you agree?

Pigeon
Side-ways a little ... Side-ways a little ...

Hopeful:
This m[e]andering about will surely lead us the right way.

Trustful:
We just have to trust them to know the way, naturally.

Hopeful:
But I do have doubts occasionally.

Trustful:
Me too. They seem to have it all mapped out between them, but when they sing apparently cheerfully chirply the little bustards might not be showing us the way in song, but only laughing at us mockingly.

Hopeful:
Where are we, exactly? Do you know that?

Trustful:
I am no more certain than: 'between here and there'.

Hopeful:
Oh Hell!

Trustful:
Not THERE - yet.

Hopeful:
Not heaven either - yet.

Trustful:
Remember where we began?

Hopeful:
Yes. In the petshop, the bird-brained lunatic philosopher Philo took a turn away from his usual gloom and cried out to us as if in direction: 'Trust the birds to guide you to the birds you seek.'

Trustful:
And, taking a turn away from our usual sceptical rationality, we decided to follow his advice.

Hopeful:
And it has led ... to here ...

Trustful:
Wherever this might be ...

Hopeful:
At least it is not ... there ...
... where ...

Trustful:
A once splendid nation spoiled itself and went paranoid with insecurities ...

Hopeful:
While following the direction of a dangerously deluded madman from across the pond ...

Trustful:
It seemed that all around us were going quackers ...

Hopeful:
So we ducked off out of it ...

Trustful:
Leaving them behind to their harmful folly ...

Hopeful:
While pursuing a harmless one of our own ...

[They pause for re-consideration.]

Re-patterning and re-dramatizing.

The Purse Snatchers

Draft 1

Characters [include]:
Chorus of Elders [Faces of stoical resignation?]
Queen [Face of M.?]
Herald [Face of Worried Hermaphrodite?]
Ghost of Dead King [Face of JFK?]
King [Face of consternation?]

Scene:
In the background a palace-like structure. In the foreground tomb of dead king.

[Enter Chorus of Elders.]

Chorus:
Of the people gone
of the bad deeds done
here in this grave spot
we sing out not a jot.
Instead, as trustees of better ways,
we turn away from a valium haze ...

[Enter irate critic]

Critic:
This is jingling jangling ditty dotty dross unfit for such an elevating theme!

[Chorus rearranges itself and divides into two sections, one stage left, the other stage right. Critic stands in the middle.]

Left Chorus:
It is a start, is it not?

Right Chorus:
And we have to start somewhere, do we not?

Critic:
But 'spot'! and 'jot'!
Is that the best you've got?!

Right Chorus:
We have also 'bot' and 'tot' and a 'lot'.

Left Chorus:
We have also 'bit' and 'tit' and 'lit'.

Critic:
And that passes for wit?!

Right Chorus:
In olden days a glimpse of snogging
was thought of as something mind-boggling ...

Left Chorus:
But hell only knows how low stockings
have to fall these days to get to the really shocking
bits and ...

Critic:
'Peaces' - I bet you don't even know how to spell that properly.
Give me 'pieces' please instead.

[They pause to reconsider the matter of 'pieces'/'peaces']

Re-[soft-shoe]shuffling.

Peaces/Pieces of Piece/Peace

Draft 1, scene 1

4Z

Provincial/Provisional Punning Epigraph:
'UPI IPU ... O'

Prosaic Preamble:
Rumour has it that, once upon a time, war-weariness and despair of relief led a aspirant cosmopolitan gardener to die of depression. Contrary to his atheistic expectations, he ascended to a heavenly afterlife - on the back of a beetle, of all unlikely carrier beings. He discovered there that the divine powers had washed their hands of humanity - on the reasonable grounds that human beings never really seemed to learn the lessons of their own histories, and kept on repeating variations of past mistakes. Hope was not completely lost, however, because the divine powers had buried the secrets of peace in a hidden spot on Earth. The following pleasant bit of whimsy will tell the story of how that buried secret of peace was rediscovered - to the consternation of those who profit by war and the hearty satisfaction of everyone else [the play leaves as a tantalizing open question which is the 'majority' and which the 'minority'].
There is strong evidence that the text has been corrupted. It appears to be a compound version of several similar texts. It has evidently been translated and untranslated and retranslated many times - and much will have been lost in the tranzlationz.
For all its messiness, the text is not without charm and good spirits.
The affectionate representation of rustic festivals it contains may be regarded as a fore-brightening of the potential pastoral revival.

Characters [include]:
Aspirant Cosmopolitan Gardener [Face of deeply frustrated man?]
Messenger [Face of a multicultural newsagent?]
War [Face of Woman excited as men fight over her?]
Riot [Face strangely suggestive of the inside of the House of Commons?]
Gardening Toolmaker [Face of person content to make a good living not a huge profit?]
Weapon-Maker [Face of person not content to make 'merely' a good living?]
Trumpeter [Face of person with large anus?]
Chorus of Workers [Varying faces, depending on occupation?]

Scene:
Foreground garden, background modest dwelling.

[Enter Chorus of Workers, which enters as a single group, but splits - by unrhythmic shuffling - into two disunited choruses: War Workers - settling stage right - and Peace Workers - settling stage left. Enter Aspirant Cosmopolitan Gardener - Cosmo. in reduced form - who instantly drops dead stage centre.]

War Workers:
Glory be! Glory be!
Dead and gone-gone-gone
and life-over done
and dusted is he!
Bring the dung cart
- and trumpet it with a worthy fart! -
to carry off his shitty parts
- with a cacky cacophony of fatalistic farts.

Peace Workers:
Please think more kindly.
Please feel less blindly.
This was a dignified man,
unfit to flush down the pan
like a worthless pile of shit
- please reconsider your bit of it. 

[A straying critic strides angrily from another drama on to the centre stage of this - or that - or another - one.]

Critic:
It seems to me that we are getting nowhere and that we need to do is re-define the terms of address - or at least get some uncertainties cleared up.
4 e.g, 4 A? 4 C? 4 M? 4 Z? - wot's aall that aboot then, [wo(e)man] pets?


Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2023, 11:59:46 AM »
South Shields Polling Stations [of the X] 05.05.05   

1. 'Hey Jude ... take a sad song ... and make it better ...'
 
2. Trinity Walk. Portacabin.
It would appear that while christian church buildings are being used in South Shields as polling stations mosques are not. This may or may not reveal some things about 'inclusiveness' in the town.
 
3. Portable. Sunderland Road / Hepscott Terrace.
The 'supervizor' appears.

4. Elsewhere blue pencil 'marker' issues are raised locally with the 'supervizor'.
Meanwhile, in between lectures, even more cryptically, George makes a run for it.
   
5. As promised, the candidate turns up with agent to visit the residents' association. It is mentioned how rare this is these days.
A blue agent apears too, surprizingly, as an added bonus - though as with most of the campaign, the Tory candidate is conspicuous by his absence.
[There is much merit to be found in true 'one nation' Tories - and, although somewhat remote from such places by background and habit, they are, in fact, more in touch with the council estates these days than the arrogant elitists in New Labour, typified by the sitting M.P. Miliband.]
 
6. A special school is not hard to find because locals use their intelligence and give accurate and honest directions - which is more than New Labour and local education officials did when closing down other 'special' schools in the town.

7. Mysteriously there seem to be 13 additional voters on the register - as reported verbally - in this church polling station.
 

8. Portacabin beside rubble of a good school demolished by New Labour. Removing traces of the past is, of course, a typical 'Orwellian' way of rewritting history.

9. Soul-less bleak [almost nihilistic] New Labour post-modern 'panopticon'.
 
10. A pleasant church environment - though there are some complaints about the heating.
 
 
11. Portacabin. Portaloo tested [water-pass test passed].
Questions remain as to whether residents nearby have voted in person or have been encouraged to block-vote postally.

 
12. A good old modernized old school - built up as it should be by care-taking educationalists ... bit by bit ... evolutionary ...
[Not smashed to rubble then hastily prefabricated elsewhere.]

 
13. 'Rules is rules' she said, or words to that effect, 'so I cannot give you that information'.
Unfortunately she apparently had not been properly instructed in what the rules actually were, so denied information she could have supplied.


14. A homely, mix'n'match, 'can do', friendly, pleasant, sort of place.
 
 
15. Rather a stark seeming undecorated environment, but they are efficiently at 'action stations' here, and you know they are doing their jobs well.
 
 
16. Children's art work at this school suggests alternative party designations. Guess who are:
The Dolphin Party?
The Dodo Party?
The Rat Party?
The Koala Party?
 

17. Dynamic wall paintings at this youth centre - but the younger people seem to have been kept out of the place for the day, which, in a round a bout sort of way, actually tells a tale about the 'disengagement' of young people from this election.
 
 
18. The decoration of this school is an exceptionally stimulating visual feast inside - and visually impaired people are well-catered for too.
 
 
19. It does the job, but away from the polling area people who should know better are spotted not learning much in this teaching centre.
 

20. An illegally parked car - carrying 'suspect device' New Labour posters -is actually being investigated by police near the 'grassy knoll'.
 
 
21. It is assumed, of course, that in accordance with electoral law, the people displaying the New Labour election material on buildings near this church establishment had not been paid to do so.
 
 
22. Political fads [to say nothing of 'con tricks' like 'New Labour'] come and go, but pubs and churches tend to outlast them.
 

23. In an area filled with greater artists' names, there were accusations -that could be neither proven nor disproven - that much lesser artists had lived down to their lowly reputations and had sketching out murky seeming marker tricks with coloured pencils.
 
 
24. Another splendidly decorated internally 'visual feast' school environment.
[Were Miliband to educate his child in 'our' town - as he almost certainly will not - there are actually many excellent schools here - the construction of which predated his parachuted arrival here. Unfortunately, he and his New Labour cohort have destroyed a lot of good schools - and the 'panopticon' replacements seem dreadfully out of place to many in 'our' town.]
 

25. It might only be mis-matching by chance, but there does seem to be New Labour 'stooging' going on in this portable arrangement.
 

 
27. Making poverty history is an ongoing task for good faithed people of all faiths.
 

 
26. Old community educational acquaintances are not forgotten.
[Statitistics suggest that maths, pastly and presently, is unfortunately not one of the better learned subjects in South Shields educational environments. Written evidence suggests this was Poll Orientation Station 27, and previous 26. Such details do matter, as vote counters and 'weapons of mass destruction' inspectors will attest.]
 

28. 'Disabled' people's access to this church hall is well-marked, but when tested the access door seemed to be locked.
[Equal Inclusive open access is not equal inclusive open access if you have to ask for the key.]
 

 
29. An extra member of staff lightens the work load - but adds to the electoral cost - in the not in fact overflowing methodical polling station.
 

 
30. 'Belly of the Beast' to some. 'Poll Tax House' to others. Just another council building to most. Sun is out and atmsophere is in fact very pleasant, surprizingly so to 'sceptics'.
 
31. Early evening. Sun is out.
Some real voter enthusiasm was found at this school near a park [perhaps because - perhaps for the first time in too long time - some people had taken the trouble to involve people in the surrounding area as 'active citizens' - rather than mere 'lumpen' voters whose indifferent 'support' could be taken for granted].

32. One popular mission group meets another, and although we do not perhaps quite see eye-to-eye we seem to recognize each other as people of essentially good faith.

33. Sea breeze breaths of fresh air flow through this community centre - not quite strong winds of change, perhaps, but potentially indicative of better possibilities to come.

34. Births. Marriages. Deaths. Votes. The bare registry office details scantly account for the complex inter-connecting endlessly varying small-town human realities.
[No New Labour I.D. card scheme could adequately capture those human realities either - and like all New Labour schemes would surely enough be tarnished by 'fakery' one way or another.]

35. A bit on the side at the town hall.
Good work being well done there.
[Mean-times, the main town hall clock - stopped in the morning - was working by this late stage in the day.]

36. Poor Robinson Crusoe lived in miserably unsplendid 'Thatcherite' isolation - there being 'no such thing as society, only individuals' in the Thatcherite world view.
But at this sort of island drop-in place there were sure enough and trustworthy signs of community regeneration going on - almost inspite of New Labour's continuation of the Thatcherite dogma.

37. Jolly sounding chatter - and other more silently noted matters - at this portable.

38. A rather special infants' school, well worth going round-and-about and down-hill and up-hill to search out and visit.

39. An excellent modest small children's play centre on the edge of an estate - almost hidden away, as if deliberately it seemed. [Local reports had it that the centre was scandalously neglected and under-valued by those more interested in more eye-catching costly and grandiose projects].

40. An unexpected beacon of enlightened common sense and dignified civic virtue appears at a portable place.
[Needless to say, this is not a description of a chance meeting with David Miliband.]

41. It looked like a pub, but was in fact fully and properly instituted as an efficient and warmly welcoming polling station.

42. 'You cannot go in there,' she said and threatened to set 'security' on us. But she was out of order to speak to us like that, and - mistakenly or deliberately - she was taking liberties from/with honest citizens, as officials later confirmed.

43. I thought I saw a 'Nicky-5-Live-Campbell-Woz-Here' piece of graffiti on the wall - but Watchdog said it was only a reconstructed studio scam.
These idle seeming radio and tv imaginations put aside, polling at this place was briskly done and efficiently handled.

44 ... [without properly kept records memories of matters of fact become blurred]

45 ... [without properly kept records memories of matters of fact become blarred]

46 ... [without properly kept records memories of matters of fact become Blaired]

47 ... [without properly kept records people like Mr Blair and Mr Miliband can get away with misleading people on matters of fact - including about deadly important matters in fact]

48. Were they jokingly misleading us or seriously mistaken in this 'cave' when they said that electoral rules stipulated that rosettes were not allowed items of dress in polling stations?!

49. Friendly greetings were taken to and from this last visited community centre polling station.
Regrets and apologies were issued indirectly to the half-dozen other polling stations we did not have time to visit ...
[Candidate's and agent's own poor time-management on election day meant we were not able to visit all polling stations as we had hoped to do.]

50. We all make mistakes, and margins of human error are allowed for. So when Nader later announced in his speech to the count that he had visited 50 polling stations that day, he was not telling the exact truth - he actually accidentally misled the voters, having been accidentally mislead himself by a careless counting error made by his agent Philip!

[Footnote that is more than a frivolous footnote:
Mr Miliband never had the decency to acknowledge that he misled the people of South Shields when he told us there was 'overwhelming evidence' that Iraq possessed 'weapons of mass destruction'. There was no such evidence.
The stacked up ballot papers of electoral evidence might record this as a minority view, but in my view he did not deserve the vote of confidence/trust given to him by those voters who re-elected him.]
 
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Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2023, 05:36:53 AM »
Repetition is a Form of Change  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/9/02 [= 9 January 2002] 7:48 pm
You can't read the same message twice - you change, it changes.

You cannot read the same message twice - you change, it changes.

Aristotle, Rhetoric.
'It is difficult to punctuate Heraclitus's writing because it is unclear whether a word goes with what follows it or with what goes before it. Eg, at the very beginning of his treatise, he says:
"of this account which holds forever men prove uncomprehending".
It is unclear what "forever" goes with.'

the same is present living and dead awake and asleep young and old for the latter change and are the former and the former change and are the latter
disconnections combinations wholes and not wholes concurring differing concordant discordant from all things one and from one all things
changing it rests and resting it changes
we step and do not step into the same rivers
we are and we are not
 
It is wise to listen, not to me, but to the words. The words say: 'All things are one.'

Although the words stay the same, they seem to change.

Though the words stay the same, they seem to change.

New Member  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/9/02 8:27 pm
Hello ... pleased to meet you all - albeit marginally ... in a place on the edge of things that have no end and which is central and marginal and everywhere between at the same time and ...

Love Philip. 

The Society of Heraclitus  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/9/02 8:36 pm
Although separated and virtual strangers, we walk and talk together and blend in thoughts, emotions and feelings and find missing parts in others and giving missing parts to others and we take upon us, together and alone, the mystery of things - all things strange familiar simple complex mixed singular high low bitter sweet sorrowful joyful ... and although it can seem like meaningless nonsense it does eventually resolve itself into a sort of sense.
 
Does it make a difference ...?  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/12/02 10:06 am
Does it make a difference whether this message is read or not read?
The act of writing it has brought some difference
(change)to the universe - and who can say what consequences that will have? (Tiny, trivial seeming acts can [perhaps occasionally, perhaps often, perhaps always] have wide-ranging consequences.)
Readings would further complicate matters - and responses even more so. 
Plotinus on Heraclitus  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/19/02 9:07 am
Plotinus [Enneads]:
Heraclitus who, by example, urges us to inquire into limitless matters, posits necessary exchanges from opposites and talks of paths up and down and around and
"changing it rests"
and
"it is weariness for the same to labour freely and to be ruled"
and he leaves us to conjecture and omits to make his argument clear and to reach conclusions, perhaps because he realised that we should inquire for ourselves as he himself inquired

Reality is complex, messy, not clear-cut.
So the way(s) into greater understanding of it cannot be simple, tidy, unambiguous.
Heraclitus rambles through the borderlands between coherence and incoherence.
Strange stuff emerges from that marginal zone.
 
Lifting the veil ... opening the doors of perception ... and all that.
It can be done - and doesn't require drugs.
But it is (perhaps) a mistake to imagine that what is revealed when the veil is lifted is more real than what is perceptible when it is still in place.
Reality is (most likely) multi-layered - all in all.
No level of reality is likely to be more real than any other

... and when you think you've got it sussed, then is the time for caution ... scepticism ... humility ... that way you go on learning ... or developing ... or just changing ...
Of reality we know nothing firmly ... it changes.
 
It seems unwise to speculate at random about the widest matters. But what esle can we do?
 
Ramble.
(1) Wander disconnectedly in discourse, talk, writing.
(2) Walk for pleasure and with pleasure, with or without a definite route, and with or without a clear destination

Flame and Vortex.
Both flame and vortex are example of dissipative structures - the maintenance of which require a continuous input of energy, and the effect of which is to dissipate that energy.
In a vortex, the energy is the potential engery of the water, which is dissipated as the water falls.
In a flame, the energy from chemical reactions is dissipated as heat.
As soon as the energy stops, the form disappear.

Shifting sands. Seething seas. Swirling skies.
Sea sounds. Synaesthesia. See sounds.

Of reality we know nothing firmly.
It changes.

... changing waterways churn on while I ramble on ...
 
The Society of Heraclitus  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/9/02 8:36 pm
Although separated and virtual strangers, we walk and talk together and blend in thoughts, emotions and feelings and find missing parts in others and giving missing parts to others and we take upon us, together and alone, the mystery of things - all things strange familiar simple complex mixed singular high low bitter sweet sorrowful joyful ... and although it can seem like meaningless nonsense it does eventually resolve itself into a sort of sense.
 
Re: The Society of Heraclitus  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/19/02 9:45 am
With few exceptions (perhaps none), every person experiences conscience, self-respect, remorse, empathy, shame, humility, moral outrage, etc - to varying degrees, at various times and places.
Out of this grows what seems to be a worldwide morality, including notions of altruism, justice, compassion, mercy ... even redemption.
Unfortunately, small-scale personal familiarities, and a limited sense of common interest, narrow the range of moral sentiments - making them selective: applied to 'us' but not to 'them'.
People give trust to strangers only with great effort.
True compassion, applied to all humans (recognised as fully human - and of 'us'), is in short supply.
 
Re: The Society of Heraclitus  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  1/19/02 9:52 am
... meeting as an anonymous strangers in lonely crowds ... throwing love around ... and it changes ... and perhaps it grows ... and perhaps it blooms ... tomorrow ... or tomorrow ... or tomorrow ...

Leonardo's Heraclitean Vision  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  2/2/02 9:29 am
Leonardo: 'Everything proceeds from everything else and everything becomes everything else and everything can be turned into everything else.'

[If you look for long enough, everything might be seen in a young woman's smile ... or an old man's frown.]
 
Re: Leonardo's Heraclitean Vision  philtal_uk
(38/M/Tyneside,UK)  2/6/02 7:29 am
Leonardo:
The artist can call into being the essences of animals of all kinds, of plants, fruits, landscapes, rolling plains, crumbling mountains, fearful and terrible places which strike terror into the spectator; and again pleasant places, sweet and delightful with meadows of many-coloured flowers bent by the gentle motion of the wind, which turns back to look at them as it floats on; and then rivers falling from high mountains and the force of great floods, ruins which drive down with them up-rooted plants mixed with rocks, roots, earth, and foam and wash away to its ruins all that comes in their path; and then the stormy sea, striving and wrestling with the winds which fight against it, raising itself up in superb waves, which fall in ruins as the wind strikes at their roots.

+++++

Drafts ...

Names change ... labels change ...
Or, as the existentialist (concluding naturally, she believed) put it: 'Time passes, people change.'
True enough.
All in all ... it changes ... but the essence of it all remains the same ...

So...
The quaker, the catholic, the anglican [words meaning many things (and not necessarily indicating faiths), while also being merely nominal signifiers of particular, relatively insignificant, individualized human beings] wandered in and out of relative obscurity, and each others' and other people's lives, and noticed a few things that nobody had ever noticed before, and never would again, and missed many other matters that they might have noticed, but didn't.
While the voices sometimes sang in their ears, saying that this was maybe all folly.

'Six hands at an open door...'
But...
There might have been more, and the names might have been different, and ...
The time might not have yet come ...
Or it might have been and gone ...
Or, next time, after a reshuffle, it might all be different ...

One name might have been Zed ... who was a typically British delightfully mixed up mess ... iridescent, polyglottic, cosmopolitan ... a free-wheeling wild daisy ... daisy ... on an old-fashioned upright English bicycle ... riding to the unifying international news agency building through a changing London docklands on an island of sorts (which was nominally a home for dogs) and near the time centre at Greenwich ... and nearby lived mostly ignored people who would not recognise her as a fellow English rose because their own blooming possibilities had been neglected ... (and not far away in time and place, under a futuristic light railway bridge,  a multicultural ideas spreading news agent was murdered by ethnic nationalists with closed minds who couldn't escape from their past prejudices) ... Z was a far from unnecessary letter ...

Another might have been M  ... a sharp-tongued, snub-nosed Scottish socratic ... passionate and compassionate ... much concerned about The Issues ... who liked dialectics in non-standard dialects ... and complained that talking to him could be like talking to herself ... and who wrote letters with reverse strip-teases in them ... she sat in bed writing to him and put on an extra jumper and extra socks and ... well he was cold-seeming ... and he had once sat on a bed with her when she was wearing a partly transparent nightie and he had pretended very carefully not to see through it ...

Or there might have been another A ... a very sophisticated Irish named (and double-barrelled) self-styled working class lass ... who encouraged him to go with the flow with kind words and curving flowing limb motions ... and who walked alongside him in a slightly absurd part-falling manner (which might have had something to do with the vaguely ridiculous thick-souled shoes she was wearing) ... but with her, as with others, there seemed to be a mountainous obstacle course in the space between them  ... which even a veteran rambler could not find a route through .. or around ... and perhaps it was better to maintain a distance between ... 

And ...
You get the odd glimpse of the infinite complexity of it all ... but then you lose it ... and you go on with your small-scale guess-work ...

So ...
Call them what you will ... ally, catty, philly ... or make them up as you go along ... angels, imps, aliens ...  or (as it actually seems to go) rearrange bits of the previously existing into new patterns ...

They travelled.
Chilly awakenings under canvas. Buses that never turned up. Dreary, slow, often-stopping local trains. The dizzy kaleidoscope of landscapes and ruins. Cities that changed before their eyes as they stopped to stare for an instant. Seascapes and skyscapes. Ships coming in not laden with gold. Flowing patterns of lives in motion in a world in motion, with the increasing density of everyday experience seeming to render all experiences increasingly transient and superficial.

And...

Each found places there were satisfactory for a while, then unsatisfactory.
So they went to other places - or to spaces between things that, for a while at least, they could call their own.

And then one day, or it might have been many days, they seemed to find themselves among people clutching gods of sorts that they did not quite believe in any more, or which, one way or another, or in several (even many) ways did not satisfy all their needs of belief.
It seemed to be a time of general and particular confusion ... or of reconsideration ... or of reviews  ... out of which a new synthesis of older ways of thinking might emerge.

If the hypothesis of a fully transcendent creator implanting motion in the system of extended bodies were judged no long sustainable, then it would seem an instrinsic characteristic of the extended or spatial world that everything within it is constituted of particular proportions of motion and rest - which suggests that motion must be essential to and inseparable from the nature and constitution of extended things. The proportions of motion and rest within the system as a whole must be constant, since there could be no external cause to explain any change in the system; but within the subordinate parts of the system the proportions of motion and rest are constantly changing in the interaction of these parts among each other.

Spin spin spin out the ever-changing (and ever so easy to misrepresent and misinterpret) system of Spinoza, or something like it.

Minds in turmoil, how they longed to embrace simples. Many times they rushed towards them, desperate to hold on to solid forms. Many times they fluttered through clutching fingers, sifting away, like shadows, dissolving like dreams, and each time the griefs cut to the hearts sharper, and they cried out incoherent words, which winged into the darkness.

Now down they came to the water's edge, streaming tears ... drops of sea-stuff returning to the world-wide waterway.

Rumour has it that if you throw a cup of water into the sea and return a decade or so later to scoop up a fresh cup of water from the same (which is not of course the same) bit of the sea, then, despite all the churning and mixing that has occurred in the sea over the decade or so, the cup will contain some molecules of the water you threw into the sea at the earlier time. It seems unlikely, but statistical probabilities suggest it - there are more molecules of water in a cup (whatever its size) than there are cups (or the equivalent volume) in the sea.

'I don't know what to say.'
'No words. No words. Hush.'

Hush.
Sea sounds. See changes.

So we made for the outer limits, where the worldwide waterway seemed to flow towards its end - though of course it was an illusion. Some said it was where the Cimmerians previously had their homes, a realm shrouded in mist and cloud, where the sun could never flash rays through the murk. Others said it was a just a small northern town in the middle of winter.

Wandering on, bedlam melodies wandering through our minds ...

... we get by and keep on keeping on with a little help from our friends all is on little loves and small acts of kindness and big hugs pulling mussels from shells and pulling muscles in other words squeeze me you know how to do that Annie and get your gun she's passed it's a miracle her paint's all over town and Alison my aim is true I know this world is killing you and her and him and me and OK I was just Cathy's clown on a hillside desolate will nature make a man of me yet visions of swastikas two new pence to have a go and fall wanking to the floor and frigging in the rigging while there are footsteps on the dancefloor the next time I'll be true I heard on the grapevine that rumour had it that I just called to say I love you thank you for giving me the best day of my life and thank you for calling inquiries while I got stuck in the moment records stick stuck records bells on our fingers ask not whom we toll them for we shall have music wherever we go on go on go on at last the go on show at last but not the end there is no end to wandering I would go out tonight but I have not got a thing to wear but don't you forget about me as you walk on by if you see me walking down the street walk on walk on by with love in your heart and take a walk on the wild side and you just know that bitch won't fuck again but say it ain't so Joe say it Joe eh Joe Hey Joe where are you going with that gun in your hand excuse me while I take another face from the ancient gallery and kiss the sky often mistaken for kiss this guy kiss me kiss me you know how to please me yeah yeah kiss me in the milky twilight you wear that dress and I will wear those shoes and she was last seen the last time I ever saw her face wearing stop me stop me if you've heard this one before hey hey hey what's going on we're sailing off the edge of the world living like Fu Manchu there's nothing else to do maybe baby we know where we are going once in a lifetime on the road to nowhere or funky town or kook city and live life from a window just taking in the view all around the world looking for you and you just stayed in your room that day that day when we took off our clothes and you were crying and the stupid things you said and I said we were birds of paradise and you saw the whole of the moon pink pink pink moon no matter where I roam I will return to my British roses before the sky closes on them and open on others and no one will ever take me from she and she been a long time been a long time been a lonely lonely lonely long time under the northern skies waiting and wondering and wandering on for more life in a northern town wandering on and maybe tomorow maybe someday we'll get by ...

... jigsaw feeling ... has me reeling ... which may be lurching desperately ... or which may be a kind of dancing.

What triangles ...
The solitary sage of Walden (or there or there abouts - or some other place of concorde) pointed out that triangles of extraordinary size were set up when two people by chance (as it might seem) separated by many earthly miles looked at the same distant star at the same earthly instant ...

What polygons of unthinkable complexity are formed when the consciousnesses of three or more (billions maybe) are linked up deeply for a single instant.

And each individual consciousness is limitless ... set off at any instant in any direction in any individual mind, and you'll never reach an end to the association networks ...

Beyond the outlines ... barely experienced, poorly remembered ... fragmentary details ... the bewildering spread of the simple seeming event ...

Figures in a blended inscape and outscape ...

Cathy and her clown walked together near the water's edge. Blurs from some perspectives, dots, or even less from others. Viewed from some places and times they become recognizable human forms, though mostly in outline, devoid of many details. Further perspective shifts reveal complexitity upon completity. It is possible to conceive of a multiverse perspective ... all possible perspectives at the same instant.

Two little people on a coastal walk in a small town, on the margins, but at the centre of things ... So it is with all: any point, any person, any event, is central and marginal and everywhere in between.

She is small and short-stepping. He is tall and long-striding. The long and the short of it. Big he who is not so big and small she who is not so small. They do not seem well matched. Their mortions are not very synchronized-seeming, as she is too fond of pointing out for his comfort (and hers perhaps too). She walks close to him, often bumping into him rather clumsily. Mostly she talks, he listens. A deluge of words. Waves crashing on to the shore. Her voice rises in pitch and and increases in tempo as she continues. She seems anxious to get things said, while she still has the chance, while there is still time.

They walk in no particular direction, to nowhere in particular. Separate random walks are taking place, which, since they are walking together, in however an unsynchronised and clumsy and bumping manner, become a shared walk. They walk on the edge of land and sea, near a pub called the Water's Edge. Human naming systems help to make a sort of sense of things, providing reference points and an order of sorts.

They seem on the edge of things, in a marginal zone, a place of transition. and they are nearing the edge of their time together. Soon they'll separate, perhaps forever. So it seems she has to get her words said. She talks of people on the edge of things, marginalised people, known as the underclass for want of a  more human label, whom she's encountered in the early stages of her training as a probation officer. It seems important to her to let him know of what she has witnessed. He's a bit puzzled by that. She's leaving him behind, but wants to fill his mind with her thoughts and experiences. She's planting trace memories perhaps.

Another way of seeing it ... on the shores of the cosmic ocean a strangely beautiful well-matched asymetric couple mess things up.

(This much seems true: new life comes from asymmetry - the evidence is all around. Fear death by symmetry - when all the complex, messy slightly disordered asymmetrical unities break up, and 'it' becomes a spread of equally distanced particle fragments drifting ever further apart.)

Random walks

The myriad contingencies of a short walk in a small town.

But when you consider them with an open mind everything can seem to connect and every part seems integral to the whole.

Sitting in my small town room, given strange powever by technologies, the workings of which I do not understand and never will, I seem to travel far, and seem to perceive many things.

Common culture. It is in us all. Flowing through us all and being transformed by us all.

All in all.

All things might be written in a single book of love, of which creation is the scattered leaves.

Organisations can form in the underground [and they can be forces for good - not terrorist networks], and they can communicate in undertones, and without the constituent parts having much  conscious awareness that they are a part of a larger whole.

Birds flock together at appropriate times, but probably are not much aware that they are flocking.

Perhaps we are often acted upon by organising forces beyond our understanding.

This long watch, which dog-like he kept ... Soon the long wished for signs might relieve his passive toils ... beacons gleaming through long recurring nights ... Beacons .. which might only be cigarettes ... These walls could recall strange things .. and much else...
Like a shrunken leaf ... that is not really dying ... all recycles .. flows .. changes ... feebly feeling  ... like a dream that walks by day ... the persuasive breath of memories involuntarily recalled ... mostly stirring the heart with songs .. sometimes sensed as beautiful .. sometimes not ...

Like shapes in dreams he wandered through the years, seeming random, planless, his forethought in chains ...

But the vision of the birds might yet work its end into bliss ...

But contraries might yet blast darkly first...

This way the part-time seer hymned, dubiously mixing doom and bliss, dark mingling with light ... and much confusion and obscurity ...
Sharing with the way-haunting birds, which seemed to signal something ... he was responding to the strains .. which could not be merely sounds .. there had to be some meaning, some purpose in everything ... the singings sounded of sorrows and glad days ... and of good times that might yet shame the bad.

Meanwhile ... a most unpleasant surprise was in store for the platonic prick ...
...just as the likely lass began yawning as he was telling her all sorts of amusing stories that had happend to him at different times and places, and even referring once to the Greek cynical philospher Diogenes, the weird sister appeared from one of the back rooms. Whether she had torn herself away from a cold collation, or from the little green drawing room, where some postgraduates' conversation had become more alarming to her, whether she had come of her own free will, or whether she had been thrown out of her previous environment in embarrassing circumstances, which she might or might not later reveal ... whatever the cause or collection of part-causes that had brought her from some other place to this place, she apeared to be cheerful and in the best of spirits. And she was holding on to ther arm of the devil's advocate, or one who was assuming that role, for the time being, and in the particular circumstances in which they now all found themselves. Yet he appeared unhappy. Maybe she had been dragging him along with her (and even perhaps attempting to pull him to the floor) for some time. Whatever the cause, assuming there was one, the poor putter-of-the-case-against certainly seemed discomforted, for he kept attempting to turn around, while his eyebrows beetled in all directions, and his eyes seemed to be searching for a way to excape from this amicable arm-in-arm promenade with the weird sister.
It was, indeed, quite an intolerable situation. The platonic prick saw no ther way out of it than to gulp down quickly, with forced convivialtiy, two cups of coffee, with were, of course, laced with red wine, while he kept on telling the most unlikely stories. The devil's advocate became ever more disconcerted, but still could find no way of excape. The weird sister laughed and scowled at the fun of it all. The kindly quaker remained, as often, seemingly calmly silent.

Bridge buildings ...

Ally and philly were sitting together in a bar, which might have been called The Bridge (but that was actually another place, another time) and she began openly to speak her mind to him for once ... The wonderful flow of words enters him and fills him and swells him, and the words change her in his mind ... she'll never seem the same again. After an hour or two, he feels obliged to say something about himself, but when he attempts to interrupt her word-flow, she says, 'No ... I'll speak' ... and the wonderful warming and expansive words continue to come out of her, and to close the space between them, and to fill him with a her glow, which he will never forget, even though, for various reasons, they do not see much of each other afterwards.

She was possibly the least malicious person he had ever met, but ally was the one person to speak negative things about catty into his ears - telling him that catty 'was just not worth it' and that he 'could do better than that woman'. And when he thought feelingly about it then, and for a long time afterwards, he saw multiple possible meanings in what she said ... but he could not accept the proposition that any human being was 'just not worth it', because all are worth it, or else all are worth nothing ... and maybe that was just quibbling ... but ... that was the way it was with him.

Years later, (this year in fact) pally ally cropped up in India and Pakistan (this is no fiction) at a time of tension, when some feared the possibility of a nuclear war.  She was part of a leading world stateman's 'travelling entourage' (her words) ... to most a unnoticed face in a crowd ... but to the platonic prick she was a symbol of peace  ... she carried love with her and no hatred that he could imagine. And oddly enough (or not) tensions on the Indian sub-continent reduced afterwards, and the threat of nuclear war faded. Of course many others were involved. The key seemed to be: not the 'great' men's [there were, alas, still too few 'great' women on the world's stage] words and deeds ... nor even the charms (which were considerable) of his known female peace symbol ... but all those millions of little loves of little lives of mostly kindly mostly decent people who didn't actually want to slaughter others, or to be slaughtered themselves - maybe they all worked together, without quite knowing it, to calm things down.

Meanwhile, the curious cat cared so much about the marginalized people whom she worked with (and for) that it once (or more) almost broke her. She saw hellish visions of 'bottomless pits of need and deprivation' ...
And there can seem to be no end to the suffering in the private hells of even an affluent society.
But even with such dispriting thoughts in mind to discourage her, she returned to work and did little things to help people and to fill up the void bit by bit.

In the near past that was a long time ago cat wrote many letters to phil and complained that he never wrote enough to her ... it was a complaint that mixed fairness with unfairness, as most do ...
In her letters, as far as he could remember, she only ever quoted him one line of poetry, from Tennyson's Ulysses:
   '... I am a part of all that I have met ... '
As she might or might not have gone on to point out, the reverse it also true:
    ... All that I have met is a part of me ...

The surprising thing was that while Cat and Al studied much the same subject in much the same place at much the same time, and wandered more or less contemporaneously in much the same streets of at least two other cities ... and had much in common ... and must have crossed paths occasionally ... and had even perhaps caused each other some hurt of sorts, via their connections through Phil ... they never fully met (unless a trick was missed) .. which is something a shame, because they had much good to share with each other ...

It can seem like nonsense, but it does eventually resolve itself into a sort of sense ...

All this was a long time ago. But what is a long time? The long and the short of it all. Big he who was not so big and small shes who were not so small. I remember little but much. I forget much but little. And I would do it again but in different ways. Repetition is a form of change. Nothing is the same twice, so nothing is the same ever. Say hello, wave goodbye. Wave goobye, say hello. In every meeting, the image of birth, a sort of coming together. In every parting, the image of death, a sort of falling apart. I never knew you well enough, you never knew me well enough. So it goes. Undertanding of other people is, like all understanding, never good enough. On it goes. On we go. Finding out more. Making new patterns, remembering and forgetting, building up and breaking down. Say hello, wave goodbye. Kiss and hug if you want to, do not kiss and hug if you do not want to. Something was taking its course, that much is certain, if no more. Whether we follow a course to birth or to death is uncertain. And that uncertainty clouds the issue of whether we act freely or follow courses determined for us. But there does seem to be free will on the local human scale. At any possible world junction there are many, perhaps limitless, possibilities open to us, and every instant brings us to a new possible world junction, when a small act of choice can make a huge difference. But if, whatever choices we make, the overall course of things is towards a break up of all unities, and so towards oblivion for all, then individual destinies seem trivial. If it is not to be futile, then we must find courses that lead somewhere, to some betterment, some resolution, some harmony, some development, or just some continuation. Maybe it comes down to faith, but that might just be wishful thinking.  But you never know - and maybe there's hope in uncertainty. No one, the pessimists or the optimists, really knows.  Humans are perhaps just too limited in understanding, and probably, however developed they become, always will be. That is the way it seems to be and maybe will remain. And so one cannot escape from the voices singing that this might be all just folly. But then folly is not the same as futility. And folly is at least amusing and out of amusement might come a more profound kind of comedy, which is a movement towards harmony, and when the motion is towards harmony then perhaps the easier it becomes to make approaches towards some ideal harmonic state - even if it is never reached. And actually achieving complete harmony might not even be desirable, because that might be the end of it all - after which no more for worse or for better.

It seems foolish to speculate at random about the widest matters ... but what else can you do?
 


Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2023, 04:47:14 AM »

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2023, 09:53:01 PM »

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2023, 10:38:19 PM »
AntiWarFilms?
1. Things to Come, 1936
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knOd-BhRuCE

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2023, 11:34:52 PM »
Peace Now, Stop the War Online International Rally, February 2023

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_nPNRswYIs&t=45s

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2023, 05:28:28 PM »
People who voted ‘for’ the illegal (as all the foreign office legal officers said then - not in r(h)et’roh’spect - said it was then) attack on Iraq 2003 ... 1.[4eg] David ‘lord’ [sic!] Cameron, aka ‘british’ foreign secretary 2023 ... p.x. You’veGot2bFuckingKidding! (Let us ‘fuck’ pig’s heads for a ‘lark’ ...) ...
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 09:55:13 PM by Phil Talbot »

Phil Talbot

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2023, 09:55:31 AM »
I will ‘pick’ (out) ‘cultural evolution’ beyond/above ‘genetic/creatural evolution’ ... every ‘time’ ... all ‘species’ b.come ‘extinct’ (given ‘time’) ... ‘cultures’ tend to ‘out.last’ (th)’em  ... p.x....

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Re: Nostalgia? In The Beginning ...
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2023, 09:40:52 AM »
Ref: Hogarth, Time Smoking a Picture; quoting Strobaeus, “Time is not a great craft-person ... it ‘weakens all it touches ...” [Perhaps it WAS ‘merely’ ... one ‘damned’ cigarette after another! ... {Were cigarettes ‘sublime’?!}]