........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Good Advice

 Often that has been the only way of sustaining family values.....


is a presently an American verb which describes
the active use of the companionship on offer
to an individual to obscure an identity/activity
which society would see to be the cause of shame.
I am fine with the term-if we have depth
of character we will have several identities,
and prioritize-keep some of them private.
King George VI's philately comes to mind.

My problem is with other people being shamed,
though I know enough to know that this should be familiar.
I learned late but well about how to grow up
through a family who were like many,
they denied that their son and heir was 'gay'
to everyone-particularly themselves.
Their inheritance was my closet as they insisted
they were 'my beard', but still I would forgive them
if they sought my respect, which they unlikely to.

I never wet shaved when young,
and grew a physical beard at age 19.
It remains today-much improved with age.
Many a time I was with family they made jests
cheaper and more personal than their usual jokes
at my beard's expense, with lines like
'What are you hiding under that facial growth'.
I understand it now; it was jealousy.
As 'my beard' they want me never out-grow them,
never discover who I might be outside of them,
and most importantly never recognize who I was with them.

The more my natural/physical beard improved.
The more quietly family pressed their falseness
and the more consistently I was suicidal, angry
and depressed, the less I could live without
the companionship of my choice-where
if  there were cause for shame I would choose it,
rather than have it chosen for me unawares.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Wither Loyalty?

The oldest oldest push-me-pull-me
 in the world is love vs like.
Love draws us, like it or not,
into the realm of another whom we find
that we just can't resist. The best we do
is learn how the other person ticks
from the gaps in how we engage with them.
When society demands  that we always
accept each other, heedless of how we feel
it is the surest path to masking depths
of mistrust and debt that, unwatched, breed.
These debts in support of character
will either write off all respect
between the lenders and the indebted
or make what is owed un-repayable
-and unforgiven (and unforgivable)
the memories fester until life
becomes irredeemably painful.

If perpetual acceptance means
being disallowed to dislike others,
wither the generosity and loyalty
of choosing to forget their wrongs? 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

For Adults Only

A Catholic friend of mine recently confided in me
that she thoroughly mistrusts the gospel verse
Mathew 18 vs 3. I agreed with her,
not because I was a Catholic, rather more
because I understood that any child who tried
to comprehend the God of Old Testament
-with it's prickly morality of the good
that only just outweighing the bad,
where nature means nothing, God is good,
and Man is bad, particularly for the Jews
who, good as they are for believing in Him,
still make very bad humans as they fail to serve
this uniquely distant, invisible and personal God.
The Jews tried this whilst as a nation of tribes
getting repeatedly burnt up as dross,
used as slaves, in the Egyptian, Babylonian
and Roman empires successively and their faith
/culture nearly subsumed by the Greeks.
Any child who grasped this would truly be a miracle.
But they would still be undone by the psychopathic
disregard for children by the adults of the Old Testament.
If they understood all this they would still repeat the insanity.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Worse Than Hell?

Biblical stories about Hell describe a scene
that is familiar from repetition, but rarely examined.
One where there is 'much wailing and gnashing of teeth'.
I assume the gnashing is from mental trauma,
and is a sign of the most severe and permanent stress.
But I think also that the teeth that gnashed in Hell
were the sufferers own; theirs from their former life,
when they had eaten well to stay healthy,
even as they had behaved worse than badly.

In medieval depictions of Hell
suffering is hierarchical but universal,
and never one-sided, those who goad
others to suffer are always being goaded
towards torturing themselves even more.

The common description made by those
who reached the Nazi camps as the guards fled
is that those arriving saw 'A scene from Hell',
and not being there then-as they arrived-
I gladly accept their description of the suffering.

But given the small portions of thin gruel
issued as rations in the 27 work camps
I would dispute that it was Hell-the nutrition
in the food was insufficient for the workers
to keep their teeth, never mind their lives.
What could they gnash with, as they wailed inwardly?
Inwardly because if as a prisoner
you wanted to help others
then weakness had to be flatly denied.

And in all 11 of the death camps the arrivals
were meant to die, and their overlords live
sumptuously on the sale of their remains.

In the medieval depictions of Hell
suffering was far more egalitarian.
In the depth of the depicted suffering
human life was never as cheap
as the Nazis made it seem,
to justify themselves.

For The Oldest And Best

in unwaged creativity
the most basic choice
since the troglodytes
it has to be housework.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Culture Comes In Salvos

Every nation state has it's cultural cannon
through which to fire its greatest hits,
a list of authors, composers of music
and otherwise creative folk who,
for a populous with a weak grasp of history,
their works create a narrative on which they can lean.
The British cannon includes William Shakespeare,
Christopher Marlowe, Milton, Handel, Jane Austin,
Robbie Burns, William Blake, George Elliot
Oscar Wilde, Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten,
and finally-for me the 20th century essayist, George Orwell.
Anything work under 60 old has yet to settle in.
The difficulty with such  pre-digestion
is that the culture is hard to refresh and simply repeats on us.
With books beyond copyright then the written word
dies repeatedly on the digital screen, through adaptation.
Such that people seeing it only half understand where they take note.
With historic forms-choral music-they become
more fun for performers than for their audience.
As history claims culture, so culture becomes nostalgia
for people who falsely imagine what the old culture once meant.

Monday, 26 January 2015

What Can We Do?

It is now official; stupidity
is now a religion in it's own right;
the news is going to be even more trivial.

The Gift That Lasts

is retrieving yourself from situations
where it both tempting and wrong
to believe you are totally responsible
for scenes over which you had not
the control you thought you had.
If you see temptation strike
(we usually don't) remember this,
resisting greed-even for controlling events
where disorder obviously has to reduced-
gets harder when the fear of co-dependence
lives behind our control of others, via distance.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


The odd thing about ghosts
is not about how the undead
frighten those receptive to them,
but how they make the already nervous-
because of how the living unnerve them-
even more unnerved. A sensitivity
to dishonour will lead the the living
to be more aware of the undead
who cannot rest, because their death
still leaves them dishonoured.

Nor is it to do with how those unreceptive
to the uneasy spirits of the past seem to be cynics
towards sensitivity, because they can't sense
what others do. and they are more ill at ease
with what they can't see than they admit.

The oddity is how the old stories of people
who passed out of this life with debtors
-in good will rather more than finance-
are not as hostile as we make them seem.
The living generate far greater hostility
and destruction amongst each other
than the dead could ever haunt us with.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Some Catastrophes Are Natural

I try and live beyond blame and accusation,
that is as near as I get to forgiveness these days.
So after some cartoonists were recently killed
by terrorists, young men maddened by fighting
wars that were fought for war's sake,
and a media that exceeded it's usual level
of self righteousness, I said nothing.
Between those armed with pen and gun
I could not tell which was the red rag, which the bull.
Conflict was inevitable and it seems surprisingly right
to say that bulls are swift to anger and colour-blind
-which aptly describes randomised aggression.

Western liberal values are built on weak laws
where when the word 'don't' appears
before the description of an action
then iconoclasm and contrariness ensures
that it will be done. Secularism means sanity.

Islamists who live in the west  have
under the cloak of liberal choice imported
their customs en mass-polygamy and sharia law.
But they hold above all their laws the injunction
'do not portray The Prophet' whilst accepting,
reluctantly, that The Koran has in it verbal descriptions
of him that are impossible to match with each other.

Do Muslims really expect that western liberals
would submit to a line they insist cannot be crossed?
Not even on pain of death-through the surplus of arms
sold as contraband-being used against them?

If they did they misunderstood the nature of their acceptance.

Thursday, 22 January 2015


in others nearer the poverty line
than one's self  'those poor people,
they must be gluttons for punishment
for living on so much less, voluntarily',
makes it seem that everybody has choices
and anyone choosing rightly chooses comfort.

But this insight always tightens the focus
around the individual, applying falsely
the choice/wealth of the richer observer
onto the situation of the observed.

Though through thrift and application,
and the ideal of a trickle down effect
that works,  relieves the worry with debt,
the relatively poor may well be content,
rather than projecting jealousy,
with a sense of  'I never have enough',
in some state of self perpetuating grievance.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Uselessness Inc

I was a depressed and indifferent child,
I was intelligent but never as cruel or clever
as my most recent acquaintance,
that minor Machiavelli called Kevin.
The more adults closed in on me,
and rewrote my character as their idea
of cheerfulness, and being compact/contented,
the more opaque I was driven to become.
The interests that adults kept me to
were always subjects that they either kept
so tight a control of-sufficient that I never grasped
what I was meant to know-or the hobby foisted on me
used materials that were no further use for anyone.
So the parental interest was about recycling
old materials disguised as sharing.
Since supervised I shrank, and unsupervised
my interests made me inert enough to be useless,
then uselessness became my default mode in life.
Cheapness come a close second on the agenda.

Thus I was well prepared for the expansion
in the market for long term youth unemployment,
where employers got government money
to appear to train youths for the workplace
whilst the actual aim was to quietly lay waste 
to their futures which would cost too much.

Youths could get out of this rot,
but only through a determined revolt
-by saying 'never again' to the lies
that laid waste to their attention span.
And sharpening their instincts.

Monday, 19 January 2015


to actively live whilst you are dying
than die unawares whilst living.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Domestic Heresies (2)

'Keeping secrets is a discipline...
after some practice I had adopted the prevaricator's credo
that one does not so much fabricate a lie as marry it;
A successful lie cannot be brought in to the world
and capriciously abandoned. Like any committed relationship
it must be maintained and with far more devotion than the truth,
which carries on being carelessly true without any help.
By contrast my lie needed me as much as I need it
and so [it] demanded the constancy of wedlock; Till death us do part'.
-'We Need To Talk About Kevin'-Lionel Shriver.    

Saturday, 17 January 2015


on the side of caution often proves
to be the biggest mistake we make.
It makes us want to be right more often
than we usually are, and in the longer term
it kills our instincts for risk/trust,
and reduces our empathy for others.
For being cornered by our safety measures
in ways that they can't account for,
they risk failure with each attempt to advance.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Domestic Heresies (1)

'I had no problem with abortion but abhorred capital punishment
which I suppose [as a mother] meant that I embraced the sanctity of life
but only in grown ups'-'We Need To Talk About Kevin', Lionel Shriver.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

By Ourselves

disbelief is easy, together mutual acceptance is harder to refuse. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thank You

After nearly three years,
more than 1500 entries,
and over 50,000 'hits',
which is to say computer mice
clicking left on individual titles,
may I say Thank You
to whoever reads this?
If it was half as much fun
to read as it was to compose
the lowly entries here
then let there be more to come.

The War On Peace

I could not define terrorism if I tried,
much less would I go to war against it.
But I know that with the increasing advance
of the culture of arms and war,
from Medieval Islam's video nasties
competing with the U.S. military's
self promotion through virtual reality
aggression in the name of patriotism,
militarism will always out-gun
the civil culture where the ability
to drop our guard with each other
defines our safety-where life
is about more than fight, flight,
or being frozen inside.
Humour should be our best weapon
against overweening self importance
but guns will put us on our guard
in more ways than we see-or realise.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Strong Leadership

is a giddy hierarchy which is designed to induce
weakness and passivity in those that live under it,
who may well want to be part of a team
that rewards their strengths and transforms
their weaknesses. But they can't be
when when the leadership/hierarchy
defines what the word 'team' means,
the better to hide behind false labels.
For as much as the rewards for leaders
are built on covertly draining those beneath them
of initiative and self-hood, then corporate leadership
is vampirism in disguise. Which further justifies
the common understanding that the only economy
worth having is one that is set to perpetual growth
-new blood has to taste fresh and be rich
for the craving for it to be temporarily sated.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

We Learn Too Late That....

'To trespass into the life of an animal is to become obligated.
A person who influences animals, however innocently,
must forever accept responsibility for that beasts welfare'
-'The Concrete Wilderness'-Jack Couffer

How Else Are Bankers Going To Justify Their Bonuses?

If employers paid only for actual work done
and employees received smaller wages,
which left them much more free time,
then who would banks lend money to
in a deflated mortgage market, for houses
that most don't have the income basis
 on which to borrow money for?
Bankers bonuses would plummet....

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Competition vs Empathy

All youths have suicidal feelings
in developed/competitive societies,
where despair is the underside
feelings divide them, inside,
and every male has to be a winner.
Taboo about loss means that sharing
about being on the losing side
is characterised as unpatriotic whinging
-or worse, self adopted victim-hood-
by those for whom affirmation
is the sense that they never lose,
and never made a loser out of anyone;
those that lose do it all by themselves.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Liminal Living

Wolves have always lived on the edge,
and where they are rendered extinct
the humans who created their absence
-by their overpopulation and topping
of the food chain-often try to engineer
returning the wolves to the landscapes
from which they were recently erased.
This is not done out of altruism,
but to help humans rediscover
the outer limits of human habitation.
It rarely works for either species, long term.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Un-Neighbourliness Refined

Charity as legalised theft, which shrinks the life of the poor
is well known. Modern tax laws in rich countries now reward it.
From Pre-Victorian times onward the rich and powerful
in England divided the poor between the worthy and the unworthy.
The worthy and blindly obedient worked hard to keep themselves
in poverty but out of penury, the better to stay away
from the then modernised workhouse where the unworthy
displaced from labour on the land and the factories
were pushed into squalor as a disincentive
to free people like them, people free to be unworthy.

The inheritors of that cruel logic of help-designed
-to-help-the-helper-more than-the-helped now live
in the third world. Where like work house managers,
local cleptocracies shrink the self government of others
to something less than useless. In third world countries
this raises the value of bribes and forces the populous
to fend for themselves in confining circumstances.

At a crisis point western charities try to help the poorest
and most displaced in refugee camps, by providing
the simplest of means to keep them from dying.
But as always the devil lurks in the detail.

Much more money is raised at home than is spent abroad,
and the media profile of the charity comes to matter
more to it's donors than any actual effect it has of being a help.
More than that, nobody dares do enough toward
improving the governance in poorly ruled countries
because that would be seen as 'being invasive',
particularly when bad government gives people
who might otherwise do nothing
so many vital good works to perform.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

'People Who Live In Cities

have an over-secretion of the gregarious gland
and that obscure organ is universally malignant'
-Jack Couffer, from 'The Concrete Wilderness'

Monday, 5 January 2015

Remember This

when next you have a hangover,
 by quoting it you can say you have
too good a memory for your own good. 

What Marriage Is Against

is a debate worth having.
If the measure were statistics
then more marriages dissolve,
and are stalled before they begin,
than ever before,
under the yoke of consumer choice.

Being a doubter I'd have to say
that it is against reason and friendship.
I would side with those two any day,
when what used to make marriage
work was a legalistic monoculture
supported by an extended family,
who sanctioned disfavour
through shame and scape-goating.

For family leaders 'Family' was a religion
which bound the led with it's lack of choice.
Everyone had to follow The Tradition.
Whatever the label of the faith in the wider culture,
from religions of the book to all the others,
without the binding family structure it meant nothing.

My father's place of worship was the pub,
and there were many pubs in the in the town.
It was a full time job to keep them all busy.
Were he to speak on the matter
he would have said, 'No pub, no drug,
nor any brewery ever started a war,
nor were any of them ever the cause
of domestic disharmony.
The blame  for all that should be laid
at the foot of all the local church doors,
for not doing more to stop those things'.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Democratic Deficit

starts with government reducing what the public
needs to know about what governments do on their behalf
'to keep it simple and clear for all in a complex media world'
and ends with the voters taking in the reduced information
(now garbled in transmission) and reduce it further,
by making whatever message was intended
more shallow and cynical than ever it was meant to be.
Finally it becomes in everybody's interest
to control of each other through reduced information
to the point where what ever the statement
the stock response in peoples heads is 'It is not true' .

Saturday, 3 January 2015

We All Get Owned

by what we least expect. I was naive
when the bullies came for me in the playground.
I did not check to keep within earshot of a teacher.
I must have wanted to be needed by them,
by anybody, and wanted for the bullies to be
honest with themselves about their needs.
They never were. I was equally under-prepared
for the lack of paid work, when I thought I needed
to be needed by a job for it to give me money.
Everyone said there should be jobs for all,
but it seemed that there were none for me.
It was too bad that what was needed from me
was for me to lose to them all, mostly not violently-
at least not with criminal violence-but lose
with sufficient vigour for all of them to pretend
to themselves that they would have accepted me
if I had tried harder. Now I am owned by another life,
one that against the odds has proved sustaining.
In spite of myself I am in a lasting relationship.

Friday, 2 January 2015