Sunday, 5 April 2020

The Sunday Ishmael - 5/4/2020

(no, nothing to do with coronavirus - mrs ishmael)

  From its construction in August 1961 until its demolition on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall  separated West Germany from the East.

I met some  former East Germans a few years back and whilst they were pleased that they could now easily travel they weren't too impressed by consumerism;  there were now sixty beers available in the stores where once there were a handful, but there was also widespread, visible prostitution and a big upturn in the non-medical use of drugs business; they could buy all sorts of jeans but they were unsure about jobs - they were both university lecturers and worried about tenure and salary and pension in the new market-led world.  Too much choice, they said, too much choice.

Back when I was a retailer I had a customer, sort-of. He was a nice, pleasant man, Phil; single, thirties,  maybe a teacher, lived in one of those Victorian terraces in Harborne; modest and  polite, he had previously bought something from me, so I guess he was a proper  customer, I can't remember what he'd bought, probably a bookcase; he said  he was looking for a  desk, would I ring him if  one came in?

This was in the 'nineties, when everyone, all of a sudden, wanted a desk.  Not sure how that happened, maybe it was the invention of the Executive-style Barrat home, some flimsy, poorly-built breezeblock and plywood shithole with what they grandly called a study area, usually a space under  the oak-effect staircase and somebody who spent his days selling biscuits or windows at a junior management level would discover that he couldn't manage without a home desk to sit at and lecture his wife'n'kids;  this affectation - I think it was before the explosion in desktop PC ownership -  soon spread to - I dunno what you'd call them - people like me, I suppose, slightly educated, pretentious, delusions not of grandeur but of scholarship; the new middle class, people like Phil.  

Desks, anyway, or bureaux, library tables - anything that hinted at studiousness, put one in the shop window and  there'd be a screech of brakes and somebody'd come charging in, saying: That's perfect for my study area, or my library area; one customer, now a professor  of headbanging studies at the University begged me to sell her my proprietor's desk, a huge, old, sloping mahogany railway station clerk's desk, with space for three clerks, on which I wrote invoices; such things I could write, mr ishmael, she simpered, on a desk like that.  It's no good to you, doctor, I said, look, it slopes, your typewriter'd just fall off it.  Oh, yes, where would we be without tradesmen, like you, you're all so practical, she sighed dizzily, like the Edwardian Country Lady she imagined herself to be, even though she lived in fucking Moseley. 

 Desks, anyway, writing tables, that type of furniture didn't hang-around, gathering dust.And so I phoned Phil quite regularly and he'd come in on the Saturday morning.  Over a few months I showed him every type of desk, some simple, utilitarian, some grand and opulent, many in-between, handsome and  practical, pieces that would grace any space, even that one under the stairs. The thing with furniture is that you just need to put something on it -  a vase, a lamp, a book - and it comes to life and people can more easily imagine it in their own staged lifestyle, their own displayed set of informed consumer choices.

I showed him, once, a Victorian mahogany partners desk, it was too expensive;  I showed him a 1940s teachers' desk, the Abess, they were called, they were brilliant, solid oak, kneehole,  all sorts of drawer configurations, tricksy shelves which pulled out from above the top drawer, mine were all restored, as new, maybe better, everything worked, everything shouted Oak!  Teacherly! I sold dozens of them, scores. Phil didn't like the handles.  I showed him oak rolltops, like the sheriff always has, in the Westerns, single-curve D-tops and double-curve S-Tops, some dark,  some blonde and golden,  all with a forest of internal and external drawers, some with a leathered top; sometimes I even had a matching oak swivel chair.  They were great.  I wish I'd kept one for myself. Phil liked them too, it was just that there was an ink stain, which he couldn't live with.  One time he said, It is great but I worry about the rolling mechanism. 'Sokay, Phil, I always have them renewed, look, brand new.  Yeah but that detracts from it, in a way, doesn't it?  Gosh, I showed him, bureaux, bureau-bookcases, secretaires, none of them were quite right.

The desks all sold, anyway, and I didn't begrudge the time spent with Phil the Desk, as he became known. Having an antique furniture shop is like being an adjunct to social services, or Relate, couples'd grow murderous over the choice of a pair of bedside cabinets or an oak Welsh dresser and there were often spouse-war encounters which went nowhere, or took a bit of time.  But I started to think I was conspiring with Phil, agauinst his best interests.  He didn't have a partner and he seemed to be  obsessing  about the perfect desk. One Saturday I had showed him a simple, red walnut, burgundy leather-topped, two-drawer   Victorian writing table, this one here, actually, which I have used for over twenty years and on which I have written everything here.

 Yes, it is nice, simple, a good size, two good long drawers;  said Phil, it's just that, Oh, if only the leather was green.  I had previously shown him several similar, green-leathered writing tables but I let that pass and said to him, instead, not at all unkindly, without any irritation but just in a spirit of curiosity, man-to-man: Sometimes, Phil, it's the quest, the search, which is really important, rather than some eventual know, the Holy Grail, the Lost Chord, sometimes it's just the searching.......?

I never saw him again.  I have never forgotten him, and in our lives Phil the Desk has become shorthand for a malconstruction, a misdirected effort,  a confusion about purpose, window-shopping as reality.

If Phil had wanted a desk he would have bought one of those I had shown him, he just liked looking for a desk. I had shown no irritation or impatience towards him;  I wasn't crass,  but I sometimes wonder if I was indelicate.  That I still struggle with it, twenty years on, makes me uncomfortable.

I was thinking about Phil quite a lot, these past few months, as I have been strugg-a-ling, as we now say, to buy a decent acoustic guitar.  I already have several but they are mediocre, mostly.  Richard Thompson, and he oughta know, once said that one in every  fifty Yamaha F 310's is absolutely brilliant and the rest are just OK.  He's right. I have a brilliant one  bought used and an OK brand-new  one which needs to be corrected in a couple of places and then may play a bit easier but probably sound the same;  the brilliant one plays and sounds beautifully but is just a bit small and a bit toneless.  I also have a Yamaha electric, a Fender-inspired Telecaster which is very highly-praised and well  reviewed but I don't actually play electric guitar.  I wanted a good, six-string  acoustic and I spent months and months searching and researching.  I have never had enough spare money to buy the instrument I would really like - either  the Gibson Dove, the one that Emmylou Heartbreak plays and the Martin D45 are at least  three grand - more for an old one - and you can buy a stonking BMW for three grand.  This time I wanted to spend no more than a thousand pounds.

I started-off cheaply. Gibson Guitars own Epiphone Guitars and license to them the right to copy Gibsons as well as making their own designs. Epihone is a good brand, John and George Beatle played them and Elvis Presley played a big Epiphone acoustic, the woods aren't as expensive as in the Gibson, nor are the tuners, but they are fine and cost  much, much less than the Gibson or its rival, the Martin.

I sent for an Epiphone FT 350 SCE, fitted with  the Gibson-developed Min E Tune system, an on-board tuner which tunes the guitar automatically to any of 18 possible tunings.  I love open tunings - where six strings are tuned to a chord or a chord variation.
It is relatively simple in an open tuning  to play unusual progressions and modalities, creating a drone sound unachievable in conventional tuning and making possible full barre chords with just one finger.  I have developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand and twisting and tweaking guitar tuners hurts like Hell; this Epiphone robo-tune sounded ideal; it was about four hundred quid, the Gibson J45 equivalent costs aover two thousand pounds.

The Epiphone, though, didn't work. It was a nice enough instrument, easy to play and very bright - actually too bright, too poppy - in tone.  I don't have perfect pitch or anything like but I can hear flats and sharps well as anyone and on this Epiphone, bought through Amazon,  whatever chord I chose from the automatic tuner's bank the b and e strings were just a fraction flat and it was impossible to correct them manually.  Drove me fucking mental.  Big Bill Broonzy may have been able to jes' push them strings back into tune as y'play 'em  but I'm not. I sent it back and tried a replacement but that was just as bad. It was disappointing.  I could have improved the tone if only the fucking thing was in tune, but it wasn't and would never be.

I looked at every make of guitar.  Fender make acoustics as well as the ubiquitous Strat- and Telecaster and, God bless them,  they are very good at making solid wood electric guitars but their acoustics are run of the mill, at a coupla hundred pounds.  I looked at Gretsch but I tried one of their twelve strings a while ago and it was a monster to play.  I thought about Takemine but don't like the way they look. I wanted something that looked nice, something, that, even if you'd never seen a guitar, said Quality to you.

I then looked at Martin acoustics but their cheapest model, in solid mahogany at around £800 I had tried a few years ago and it wasn't a patch on my Yamaha F310. I thought it was fucking rubbish. A decent Martin would be around three thousand pounds.

So I looked  at Gibson proper;  they do a a J35 at around £1,300. A reproduction of their 1935 Jumbo acoustic, it looked lovely, absolutely lovely. I'm gonna have a Gibson, I said to myself.

And then I thought, well, these cheapish Yamahas are quite good, I have a Yamaha keyboard which, altough I never touch it, is really very good and Yamaha do make some very highly praised expensive guitars.

At this point, a few weeks into my search, I thought I was coming down with the Phil the Desk syndrome. It's just a fucking guitar,  I briefly thought, any decent brand name'll do. But it wouldn't. The more you learn the more choosy you need to be. Scale length, neck profile, fretboard width, body shape and construction, tuners and most importantly the tonewoods; what is the fucking thing made of and how will it sound, not just how will it play but how will it sound? Different woods have differing tonal properties, generally the acoustic guitar top is made of a softwood, its back and sides  and fretboard of different  hardwoods such as mahogany and rosewood; individually and jointly the timbers produce a characteristic sound; the  woods are dried, cut, steamed into shapes, and glued together with internal braces holding them together - and apart -  against the quite  significant strain of six or twelve tightly wound steel strings trying to pull the whole thing apart. Guitar construction, it really is a jungle out there.


I am a two-time vegetarian, once in my early twenties and now for this past couple of years.  I have always been what others would describe as squeamish,  sentimental about animal welfare, even the phrase sounds pompous, not as pompous as carbon footprint but getting on that way.  Animal welfare, almost a contradiction, seeing as how God, Himself, gave us dominion over them.

As a child I always fled from scenes of animal or insect torture,  the rough boys did it, setting light to little creatures, jeering, pulling their legs off, I hated them then and I hate them now; sadism as bravado, fox-hunting as rural housekeeping.  

One time, in Herefordshire, I was doing a delivery in my van; it was a smart, shiny van and I was relatively smart behind the wheel but as I drove through a small group of horse-borne, dressed-up, braying countryperson arseholes,  they abused me something rotten, imagining that anyone near them in a van must be a hunt saboteur,  they looked fucking evil and I still see their cousins and boyfriends, most days, on the Tory benches,  they all look like animal-torturing rapists, to me, Tory MPs. 

Huntsmen, butchers, slaughtermen, trawlermen, fuck 'em, I don't like them, I don't like what they do, and I especially don't like their relish for it.  Hunting a fox down, dismembering it and daubing its blood on the forehead of a child, fuck that shit; I'd hang the bastards from an ash tree, do the world a favour; it is said in criminal justice circles that in the past of a sadistic serial killer is very often a history of cruelty to animals;  I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised.

I knew a butcher, one time, he was also a small-scale beef farmer, killed his own.  He cooked  the most amazingly tasty roast beef in the back of his shop and sold it by the quarter-pound, sliced on one of those Hobart push-pull slicing machines, thin slices dropping onto a piece of featherlite paper held in the palm of the slicer's hand;  it really was wonderful to eat.  

It's the way you kill 'em, he said, that's wot do it,  them don't need t'be stressed, if them stressed, them all tensed-up, like, as them die, and them don't eat good; what yum gorra do, like, is almost sneak up on 'em, tek 'em by surprise almost, 'n'that way them die peaceful and them eats so much better. That may or may not indicate his less savage disposition but I prefer the thought of my old Worcestershire  butcher to those fucking horrible halal bastard degenerates; the Jews, too, they do it, don't they, and call it kosher.  I guess it stems from old Abraham, getting the knife out around his son's throat. To be fair, though - and who wouldn't want to be fair to Jews and Muslims, it's not as though they are two balls in the same Scrotum of Superstition, are they, now -  all the so-called great civilisations have practiced blood sacrifice, the Celts, the Greeks and the Romans did it on an altar or a cruciform, Uncle Sam does it from the sky and calls it Shock and Awe, Democracy's alias.

Those deep-sea trawlermen, mad bastards, cursing God if one of their nets or cages dare come up less than full-to-bursting with gasping creatures, every time I see one of those shots, with hundreds of fish floundering about gasping, often gutted whilst still alive, every time I see some smug, stupid fishmonger intoning, Look, you can tell they're fresh if their eyes are nice and shiny, I want to fillet the bastard and I care less and less when I hear of some stupid crooked  bastard boat owner's vessel going down with all hands; if they want to work in a  cruelty industry they should stay ashore and work in McDonalds, shouldn't they; probably not intelligent enough, most of them, not the ones I see on the trawler soap opera shows.  No use mournfully telling me about the true cost of fish'n'chips being drownded fishermen, down, down in the deep, I don't eat fish'n'chips.

I used to eat fish'n'chips and even after I stopped eating meat I would still eat a bit of haddock now and again, just for the protein, I told myself, but eventually that flakey fleshiness of a fish corpse made me gag and I can't do it at all, now;  same with eggs, everytime I think about what an egg is - it's a fucking egg - I want to throw up; milk, too;  eating the eggs and milk of other animals, that's proper barrel-scraping.

I don't mean to spoil anyone's dinner; I know how nice can be a leg of lamb or a bacon sandwich, a sirloin steak, pork and apple sauce; it's just not nice to me any more and stopping eating animals is one of the few things  which has made me feel  a tiny bit better about what an arsehole I am otherwise.  It was someone here, mr inmate, maybe, mr the noblest prospect, sorry, I can't quite remember, who said that since he'd stopped eating them he could now look all the animals in the eye.  I live in the country and in the bright months animals are very close to me and I, too,  feel a bit better about that eyeball proximity, not much, but a little bit.

Eating animals  is one thing, wearing them is another. There was a time, Before Textiles, before the bright lights and the big city went to our heads, when we simply had not developed fabric technology - no spinning, no weaving, no knitting and for warmth and eventually for status, we wore animal skins; early sailing vessels utilised  - as windcatchers - animal skins, reeds and tree bark; tents and teepees were also fashioned from skins and tree products.  Before wool, cotton, linen, silk and cashmere, everyone wore a leather jacket and fur boots.

I still have a battered old brown leather bomber jacket, not one actually worn by a bomber crewperson, I could never afford one of those;  the old jacket is just there, I may wear it one day, if the MadMax days ever come. I have tried braces but mostly I wear a black leather police-issue belt around my waist,  the same type for over thirty years. I'm only on my second and the first one is still fine, just that a couple of the holes are stretched, I could probably fix it but  I thought,  fuck it, I can have a new belt after twenty-eight years, can't I?  And these days I can only wear a leather watch strap, the metal ones are too heavy and the silicon ones irritate my skin;  leather, mrs ishmael tells me, breathes. Even with these few animal accoutrements I have  some way to go towards Veganism and PETA membership, which, I suppose, is my logical destination, except  that I can't stand those showbiz fuckers in PETA, or in anything else, really. I do stumble, however, towards a belief that we will never be better towards each other until we start being better towards animals;  torturing dumb bulls to death as entertainment makes it all the easier to deny the black children a drink of water;  fuck the Spaniards, Franco can come back tomorrow, as far as I'm concerned, and  kick their oily arses up and down the plaza

Friday, 3 April 2020

You are Jerry Corbyn and your specialist subject is...

Laura Alvarez said today: “It has been incredibly hard for me to watch my husband vilified and to hear his words twisted by his political opponents and some in the media. It has been even harder to watch him be attacked by his own party.”
and as we usher out Laura Alvarez's husband, here are a few fragments from mr ishmael's drafts :

I remember being horrified the first time I read 1984 by the idea that truth in the hands of the ruling party was infinitely malleable, and could be distorted and manipulated to fit whatever the party deemed to be its purpose. That sense of outrage has come back to me since Corbyn won the leadership, and the lies and distortions began, at first in a steady trickle, and now, since the referendum, in an ugly flood.
This article is only one of many examples of the process whereby a slander can be repeated so often that it enters the collective consciousness, not as a truth, for everyone knows that it is not that, but as a lie which supports the comfortable position of conformity. Corbyn has become the whipping boy, the impertinent upstart who can be safely punished in the place of the true culprits, the venial authors of both austerity and Brexit. Having cast him in this role, the bullies of the PLP and their supporters in the faux-liberal media will not now rest until they see him hounded back to the backbenches where they claim he belongs. It is a shameful spectacle, and when histories are written of this period those who contributed to the process will be named and reviled as they deserve.
And instead of Corbyn, what are we offered as a choice? A pair of careerist mediocrities with not a policy between them. Two candidates so alike in their lack of qualities that one might as well toss a coin to decide which of them should be leader. One might as well anyway, since the sole purpose of their candidacy is not to provide the Labour Party with a far sighted and honourable leader but to unseat the one we already have.

You are Jerry Corbyn and your specialist subject is proper names. Jerry, you have two minutes on the name game.

Well, John, as you very well know proper is a loaded term, one which I have avoided  my whole political life. Can we not just use the much less perjorative terms of gentile or non-gentile names

As you wish, Jerry. What was the name of the Beatles' manager?

Ah, easy, although I think you mean bloodsucking parasite rather than manager, and that was Brian ben Epschtein.

Wrong, it was Brian Epstein.


And Mr. Ishmael's thoughts on one of J.C's sparring partners:

 I would like to apologise to the nation; annointing me, a Remainer,  to lead a nation which had just voted to Leave was a staggering impertinence and I should not have agreed to it; I was desperate to be prime minister and this blinded me to Decency, Honesty and Truth.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Sunday Ishmael 29/03/2020

A compilation from mr ishmael's drafts

But first, some of mr ishmael's daffodils:

 ishmael smith,  food writer:

Although she lived, betimes,  in Celebrity's harsh limelight I only knew Tara Parker Tomlinson's name, I knew nothing about her, absolutely nothing.  It is a knack, I guess, avoiding stuff which is grist to many's a mill.  I have never seen a talent show; never seen a bun-baking contest; never seen that obnoxious moron, Alan Sugar, fucking people about.  Never has so much nothing been known about so many nobodies.   I never saw The Office.  I don't think I have ever read a Booker Prize-winner, not even Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit; never knowingly eaten a sun-dried tomato, never drunk a latte or eaten a panini;  I don't know what lemongrass is;  I think pasta indicates the failure of lazy and stupid people to grow potatoes;  I mean, boiled wheat, what's that all about, you wouldn't want that with your roast leg of lamb and mint sauce, would you? And pizza, I just grow more and more bemused at the thought of people hurtling around the metropolis on clapped-out mopeds, delivering these abominations to gullible diners, it's like circular cheese on soggy fucking toast, isn't it, pizza, maybe with some mangy olives chopped over the top, or the sweepings-up from the veg market floor, bits of mushroom and peppers which couldn't be passed-off on real customers, and encrusted with some horrid, bitter, glutinous tomato paste, boiled-up for months with garlic and oregano.  Why would anybody eat that shit when there are perfectly respectable emporia offering batter-fried haddock and chips and peas and even a pickled egg or a pickled onion and a can of Diet Fanta? And it's not even proper cheese, is it, like Cheddar or Red Leicester or Double Gloucester; it's that fucking Mozarella or Parmesan.

But there it is, food, lol

A little bit of history:

The person to whom I was firstly married was of Saxon, yeoman village stock  and her aunt - who was actually her maternal grandmother - had been active, as were many, in the Women's Institute, in all that Digging for Victory.  
Aunt Dorothy lived with her husband, Uncle Will - who was neither grandfather nor uncle to my wife-to-be - in a tiny, early cottage with a long strip of a garden, backing onto the graveyard of the Norman village church, 

you know the thing, they're all over the place, old churches and, barring a miracle, will before too long become alternative temples or arts'n'crafts venues, maybe Encounter and Support Centres, places for the LGBTQers to feign spirituality, women-turned-men fucking men-turned-women on oaken pews, celebrating themselves, as they so like to do, where they put their cocks.

Where once, in psalm and sermon and salutation, the Saviour and his Father were feared and celebrated who knows what frolicking will now occur - men dressing as nuns is the common celebration of gay dignity, let's hear a Hallelujah  for Sister Dave and Sister Graham.
 There was - and remains -  in these old churches, a piss-taking nod to the Green Man, carved surreptitiously  into the rafters by some ancient, still-pagan carpenter, hedging his bets,
 just to be on the safe side, what harm in a bit of buggery on the altar, eh, blessed, after all are the ? 

Saint Cuthbert and King Arthur the Great had pretty much stomped all over what we call Paganism - the old religion -  and all over Celtic Christianity so that by the time of the Norman Conquest, we were churched and educated by Rome - it is a bit of an irony, 1066;  in the 800s Alfred had defeated or subsumed the Norsemen, beating them on the battlefield and in their warlike spiritual hearts, converting them to the one true faith and here, a couple of hundred years later, French Viking  descendants, the Nor(se)mans came a-conquering, this time completely and irrevocably, my ancestors with their poncey names, de-this and de-that, courtiers and soldiers, shitting all over Alfred's decent Coopers and Fletchers and Smiths and Thatchers. As well as erecting castles and mottes a  massive 11th and 12th century  English-Romanesque building programme mortared  into place vast abbeys, monasteries and smaller churches;  simultaneously, Anglo-Saxon bishops were removed and replaced and in two monarchical generations all the major cathedrals were ripped down and rebuilt.

Non-Uncle Will had been in the Trenches during the Kaiser war and often thought he was back there;  are you from the Royal Warwicks, he'd routinely enquire of me, how is it, up the line, they been gassing us again, the Hun, have they, do you know? I tried to be as gracious as possible; never having had even a fake uncle to speak of - just a bunch of distant Belfast Orangemen whom even my father, their brother, couldn't tolerate, I was quite enchanted by this old, country gentlemen with his moustache, his waistcoat, his fobwatch and Edwardian demeanour.  He wasn't a gentleman in the snobbish sense of the word, he was just polite, like most of his generation, and made thoughtful and withdrawn by the war a gentle man;  briefly, he was the closest thing I ever had to a grandfather and I was instinctively protective of him.  He'd be in a care home, these days, starved and dehydrated, his thighs pinched by some Polish slattern, Come Here to Make Better Life; back then he lived peacefully in his country cottage, with his wife of ages, sometimes stealing away in his sit-up-and-beg Ford Pop, to Kenilworth or Warwick.
The vicar, a drunken sot, probably pissed all the time because his wife fucked anything in trousers, had it in for Will, BigTime.
 Will was as mad as a fucking hatter but  gentle and absolutely harmless and I was unsurprised to learn, much later, that he had taken to wed Dorothy after she had been deserted by the true father of the waspish, irascible woman who was now my mother-in-law-to-be, and that they had raised her as Aunt and Uncle, rather than as mother and step-father.  Now, all the proper villagers must have  known  of this but no-one ever mentioned it,  not even to Dorothy's grand-daughter, my wife-to-be; a circle of apparently benevolent secrecy absolutely unimaginable in our Right2Know today.

Can you help, the Reverend Nettleship  asked me one day, you seem to get on with the silly old bugger, and the thing is, he used to be the head bellringer here and he simply denies having retained the set of handbells, which are church property and I would like them back, can you have a word?
I mean, it's simply not on, treating
church property as if it was his own.
I knew exactly where the handbells were,  they were under the cold shelf, in the meatsafe part of the pantry but I wasn't going to tell the vicar;  no doubt, when Will passed away, Aunty Dorothy'd hand the bells in and they could sit in a church cupboard for the rest of time, unrung.

ishmael smith on competition:

I played Eton Fives at school and that was the last competitive thing I ever did;  

 I loved its furious, stretching, sliding, knee-scraping ballet and the geometry and ballistics involved in  sending a tiny ball careering off buttress edges at unplayable angles; Fives is fast, creative and fun and if you don't play it to win then it is none of those things. I cannot, however, recall it in shades of victory or defeat, I just remember the buzz of playing; I guess I really did enjoy it. 

Apart from Fives my only other competition was against millions, maybe billions of other little bastards, 

 Oi, fuck you, mate.
This is life'n'death stuff, here.

thrashing my tail through clouds of foaming spermicide, bashing my way upwards, to an ova that had my name on it.  
Even my own parents didn’t want me to make it, hence the spermicide, obviously; they  already had two children and – seven years down the road - didn’t want any more, but they and the spermkilling manufacturers had encountered a more  doughty ejaculate than they’d reckoned on. That should be enough competition for one lifetime, I always thought,  one tiny little bastard against the whole of ContraceptoCorp, I mean, just look at the odds, even without the foaming, choking spermicide, of surviving against all one's incomplete fellows.

Being  born and playing Fives in a snooty grammar school - one had to be in the top five per cent of those who passed the 11-plus, had to be the best of the best - apart from public schools, obviously, where you just had to be the richest of the rich, a different level of competition - that’s more than enough, I always thought,  that’s competition at SuperOlympian level, swimming  against the tide in a toxic ocean, that makes Prince Harry Hooligan’s comrades-in-no-arms look feeble, hop-limp-and-dragging themselves  to the North Pole.  Let the fuckers try fighting their way through a poisoned vagina, see how they get on with that,  gobby bastards.

 This getting-into-grammar school business, though, that wasn't competitive, not on my part;  I just enjoyed learning in primary school. There weren't any nerds then but even if there had been I wouldn't have been one.  I liked girls, I liked most of the boys;
 I liked the teachers and I just liked learning, 
still do.

Anything else in which I may have shown some facility was never initiated by a desire to compete against other people who were doing it, whatever it was. That stuff is just so fucking anti-social, isn’t it? Look at me, I’m better than you, at doing this little thing, whatever it is, gimme a medal. 

And then I can pursue my ultimate goal, 
a career as a banking adviser. 
Better still, gimme a job advertising Santanderre Usury Services.  

Oh, do fuck off, love.

Yes, I'm good at sport, 
that's why I can advise you about your banking.

Or Quorn  make-believe sausages.

Ah, bless 'im, Mo, the nation's favourite vegetable protein salesman.

 See, that’s the thing, about sport; doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, as long as you get the sponsorship deals.   I dunno what that dopey bint, Jessica Ennis  thinks she knows about banking but  I should think it’s fuck all or sweet fuck all, bless her dumbfuck ass.  I betcha, though, that she gives lots of her advertising fees back to the National Lottery Fund, which paid for her  training - bound to, isn’t she?

If there was - or is - any competition in my life it is only contested between my own selves, and all of us can always do better. Very rarely I think, Hmm, I’ve got that as right as it’s gonna be; some of the time I think, Well, it’ll do, I can live with it but  most of the time I think Oh, for fuck’s sake, can’t you do anything right?

I think most of us are like that, loathing ourselves for our shortcomings, anxious to get through the day without being exposed as good-for-fuck-alls.  Some, though, however, barge and elbow their way into the Charmed Circle of Celebrity, where, as in the case of the late Alan Rickman, even their  farts and burps are  hailed stupendous oratory; to be in the same room as Al, by all accounts, was to love and be enchanted by him. How the rest of manage, without being at least acquainted with the very best among us, well, it is one of the enduring mysteries of our age.
I know no-one even remotely famous, much less celebrated for dressing-up and play-acting; poor, poor, pitiful me.

I watched a science show during which I was reminded that it was the Nazis at NASA who introduced to us the spectacle of achievers applauding themselves, as one of the things  they were paid to do happened as it should.  It hadn't happened before that, self-applause, or applauding the moment; now, everybody claps at the drop of a hat, Christ, they even clap corpses, in boxes, deaf, blind and dead.  This show was about a deep-sea research vehicle, one commissioned, apparently, to enhance the careers of a bunch of academics, all bent on understanding the deep ocean floor, no-one said how this research would help the black children get a drink of water, but fuck 'em, eh, the thirsty ye have always with ye, and they're mostly niggers, who gives a fuck about them;  and anyway, if you can go to the fucking moon without any discernible good reason,  why then, who's to argue about spending tens of millions of clean-water dollars on fucking about eleven kilometres down where the Sun don't shine? Not me, academic careers are vitally important down here in my end of the lifeboat - funding, research, papers and prizes, those're the real issue here; fuck that clean-water dollar shit, just let them drink mud, what doesn't kill 'em'll only make 'em stronger.  Science, though, we can't do without  all this shit that we don't even know we don't know about.  Until some scientist discovers it and fits it into the Great Reverse JigSaw Puzzle of Everything.

Anyway, after some hours of clapping themselves as the  robot submersible passed another kilometre below the depth reached by the  previous deepest submersible ever, this thing reached the bottom, eleven kilometres down in the Pacific.  And there, right before its searchlight, eleven thousand metres below sea level, was  a little white creature, about an inch long, with three pairs of legs. Whatever it was, it didn't have inches and inches of armour on its back, to protect  from the 1tonne to the square centimetre pressure above it; didn't have banks of powerful batteries to power its movement;  it was just living there, getting on with its life.

The people who cannot even pronounce research claim to be doing it. 

Most of the little sperm chappies had an easier race than I, but they still constitute failure and, who can say, knowing the overwhelming urgent  rush to life,  also knew death's disappointment, if disappointment it is. The gazillions of might-have-beens, should-have-beens, could-have-beens, beaten to the post by the stronger and faster or flushed away in a tsunami of poison, surely, for anyone with any decency the race to be born was competition enough; having won it, shouldn't we winners co-operate.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

When Corona came to Town

Well, it's Bo-Jo this and Ho-Ho that,
And kick him out, the clown,
But it's Saviour of his Country
When Corona came to Town
(apologies to Kipling)

Thursday, 19 March 2020

The Chronicles of Ruin



It is in an old, roofless, dilapidated building, without windows or doors, more a few piles of rubble than a building, set in a devastated, once-urban wilderness, two hundred years hence, it is night-time, a handful of dirty, hungry people huddle together.
An Elder speaks: “Gather close, where the walls meet, against the cold, we last few people of the Tribe, we, the remnants of a once mighty people, throw more shitcake on the fire, set Watchmen against the coming of Others, and I will tell you the tale – as my Sire told me and his Sire told him and his Sire told him, back, way back, since the coming of Gordon’s Ruin. These, children and friends, are the legends and commentaries, the hymns and prayers of stanislav the Polish plumber; make unto each other the sign of Ruin and say, after me, the first commandment of stanislav the Pole: Up against the wall, motherfuckers………”
All: “Up against the wall, motherfuckers; up against the wall, motherfuckers, up against the wall, motherfuckers.”
“And Gordon the Ruiner was born, some say hatched, in what were called the BadJocklands o’ Fife, far distant, ten nights march, in a place of ever-warring tribes, of filth and disease, where men dressed and acted as women and women were thrashed like mad dogs and all were an abomination and it was a land of inebriate, cross-dressing, wife-beating, child-molesting Jock sonsafuckingbitches…”
“and it was a land of inebriate, cross-dressing, wife-beating, child-molesting Jock sonsafuckingbitches”
“And Gordon’s father was an Voodoo Witch Doctor of this Tribe and the Keeper of the Bones and Spells and Curses and lived in an fucking manse, which is an Ancients’ word for an knocking shop and an place of Devil worship and infamy and he did go among the tribe and rebuke them and take from them their tokens and goods – as such they had in the days of Plenty, before Ruin claimed all – and spend it upon women’s undergarments for himself. And he was called also an clergyperson, which was a word used by the Ancients to indicate an defiler of children, an filthy fucking bastard.
And Gordon’s birth brought Darkness at the break of Noon and he was seen as one afflicted, sour and ugly but the old tribes did not, as do we, set the mutant out for the dogs to kill and consume, but nourished him instead, for this was Before Ruination came at Gordon’s hand, and there was food and shelter and thanks to stanislav the plumber, water sprang from magic pipes beneath the earth – honest and not invent, pipes, filled with clean water grew everywhere and the Ancients, Before Ruin, knew not of drinking from puddles, or collecting rainwater, as is our custom, now, now that Gordon the Ruinous, skulking and plotting and lying and feuding, has forever laid waste all that the Ancients had made. And Before Ruin, shit was not hoarded and mixed with straw, by the children, for fuel, but washed away down magic pipes into the dead seas. Imagine, water for all, as much as they could drink, so abundant that they splashed it all over themselves, several times a day. Our chronicler saw to it, stanislav was his name and plumbing – or planting and growing the magic water pipes and cutting through all the shit – was his game, Up against the wall motherfuckers, his constant cry, as Ruin’s cold hand gripped the Place ”
“Up against the wall, motherfuckers.”
“And as Gordon grew, even his Sire, the Preacherman and tight-fisted Presbyterian sonofafuckingbitch……”
“Tight-fisted Presbyterian sonofafuckingbitch.”
“…looked on him and said unto his woman, this one must go away and be taught bribery, blackmail and deceit, bullying and cowardice, for he has about him the look of an cunt, an right cunt. And he will flourish in the world of cunts and we shall all prosper from his cuntishness. Look, he cannot speak but only stutter, his jaw jerks even as unto an fiddler’s elbow, dropping like an hangman’s trap-door; down and up, down and up, gulp and spasm, twitch and shudder, as though he were plagued or poxed. And look, ye, at his hands, all bitten and gnawed even until they bleed. This is no ordinary youth; this is an freak, an control freak.
And so Gordon went unto an cuntish gathering place and practiced the dark art of cunting or hooning and after many moonturns, came down from the BadJocklands, where sister mated with brother and mother with son, unto this Place, then called the place of England, an merry place, filled with carefree, flirtatious, dancing men called Morris, gaily striking sticks together, singing fol-de-rol and yo-ho-ho, setting forth, after handsome maidens, on Bright May Mornings, eating the multi-hued fishcreatures of Saint Rick of Padstow, the poultry of St Jamie of Sainsbury and, it is fabled, licking the Crème Brulee off of the Tits of the blessed Saint Nigella; not for the Ancients the foraged rats and weeds, which form our sustenance, the snar-ed blackbird and sparrow, the root porridge and flat bread. But then came Gordon. And with him he brought cuntishness and stupidity and greed and vanity and cruelty and set to his lifework of Ruination and Despair.
And he did promptly prohibit the dancing Morrises and much else of the England place until it was said that one could not walk down the fucking road without breaking the laws of Gordon or being killed by his men-at-arms. And strangers came from Elsewhere at Gordon’s urging and Gordon the Ruinous Jackal gave unto them the homes and trades, the wet-nurses and splinters and bleeders and apothecaries of the Ancients and the ones from Elsewhere, in their millions, gave Gordon their support, for it was not their Place and they cared not for it one trifling bit, not even an flying fuck but cared only for Gordon’s plunder which he did share with them gladly in exchange for their votes. And lo, as he curtailed the freedoms of the Ancients, he celebrated by eating snot, before the people, even from his own nose.”
“Eating snot, before the people, even from his own nose.”
“And in those days, stanislav tells, were viewing boxes, powered by the Gods in the above Place, in which magic happened and Visions of tiny people, much like, even copies of real people, spoke out loud from the innards of the box and there were, too, before Ruin, other Places, beyond. And there other tribes could look into their viewing boxes, in a place that was called All Over The Fucking World. And in All Over The Fucking World the multitudes who then lived, in plenty, Before Ruin, could see Gordon, the filthy, snot-eating Ruiner of all things, but did only laugh and deride and not, as they should have, put him out for Death’s Harvest Home, the horrible fucking bastard.”
“Put him out for Death’s Harvest Home, the horrible fucking bastard. Put him out for Death’s Harvest Home, the horrible fucking bastard ”
“And Gordon fell in with Kinnockio the Clown and Blair the Grinning Butcher and Imelda the Greedy Scouse Gob and was at once at home among them for they were all useless, idle, thieving cunts……”
“Useless, idle, thieving cunts.”
“…. Feuding, hating each other, bound together by Treachery’s harsh cords, steeped in offence and foulness, pious and righteous their discourse, squalid and filthy their habits, all, as the Ancients said, fur coat and no knickers.”
“All fur coat and no knickers.”
Kinnockio the Clown was then leader of Gordon’s Tribe but was an piece of worthless garbage, tripe; an spluttering charlatan. stanislav tells how Kinnockio, the Welsh Git, could not walk in an straight line without falling over on top of his woman, Greedy Glenys; could not speak but only issue interminable, repetitive proclamations and in a contest between Kinnock and an twittering, walking fencepost called The Major, the people of the Ancient tribes so detested the worthless, spluttering Kinnockio that he lost the contest, even though he should have won, the horrible, thieving Welsh bastard.
“The horrible Welsh git. Up against the wall, motherfuckers and ginger bastards.”
“Kinnockio whined and windbagged that the place of England deserved to have him botching things up, deserved his sticky Welsh fingers in their pockets, his cawing, sing-song reproving voice in their ears, bleated that the scribes had done for him, The Last Pilgrim Exeunt Must Snuff out the Candle, they had said, should Kinnochio become Chief of Chiefs. And after the horrible and stupid Welsh git was sent to Away in Brussels, a place of thieving and embezzlement and perversion, where he and Glenys and their vile spawn made merry, came another Jockman to lead, an oily, puffed-up sanctimonious bastard, an lawyer, which is an Ancients’ word for thief, and his name was called John Smith – or, in some versions of the Saga, John Smith’s Best Bitter – and he anointed both the Grinning Butcher and the Snot-eating Freak as his heirs and not an moment too soon, children, for Old Smith did die straightways, from an sudden illness or was poisoned and killed by younger men of his own tribe – Byersites, Milburnites, Boatengites and by their witches, Margaret and Patricia and Ruth Man Kelly and Harriet SourSister and by Imelda the Cavernous Scouse Gob, who stood to profit the most. – Quick, fresh shitcakes for the fire, the blood thins and chills the heart as the Saga of Ruin unfolds.
And after the Deceasement of Smith, Gordon did plot and intrigue against all and blackmail and bully any in his path to secure unto himself the Chieftain’s role which was his by right, he claimed, as a Son of the Fucking Manse. But his tribesmen knew that others too, in addition to his kin, would see Gordon as defective, misshapen, maladroit and untrustworthy and Gordon’s paramour, call-ed Sneaky Pete, acclaimed, instead, Blair the Grinning Butcher and his woman, Imelda, which event threw Gordon into an rage for the rest of his life, the horrible bad-tempered tantruming snot-eating fucking bastard.
“The horrible bad-tempered tantruming snot-eating fucking bastard.”
“Rejected thus for his vileness and ugliness of spirit, Gordon the Ruiner, cursing, thwarted, secured unto himself an place behind the Throne, as Treasurer, from whence he harried and disrupted the doings of Tony and Imelda the Freeloader, who, thieves, cowards and liars themselves, could not restrain the malice of Gordon the Ruiner, nor withstand it. Gordon, feuding, even, in Night-time’s foetid loneliness, with himself, and plotting, whispering contagion and malfeasance, spiteful and vindictive so conspired against the Grinning Blairs they were compelled to abandon the Cunt Throne to Gordon and set themselves to mendicancy, to begging, in the place called All Over The Fucking World, which no longer exists. And by means of numbers pulled from the air – or, as stanislav tells it, Rubbish fucking tractor production statistics – Gordon persuaded some, called Hefferites and Kavanaghites and Toynbeeites and ToiletsMaguireites that he was an genius and an saint when in truth he was nothing but an fucked-up mouthy cunt with shit for brains, with an disposition so vile that people cowered from his rages, which were frequent and Gordon the Ruinous spared not even himself from his rages, so stupid was he that he had once bashed an eye out from his own head and was good even for fuck all… “
“Good even for fuck all..”
“…….and since youth he had blethered, Oh, Forgive me for being a useless, cack-handed, clumsy, ham-fisted, lumbering, pasty-faced, lardy, spluttering nincompoop, it is because I am a person of one-eye-edness, not that I ever mention it to gain sympathy (wink, wink).
stanislav is not clear about the legend of the rocking horse but it is fabled among other Ancients scholars that Gordon, among his male intimates, did often act and dress as an infant, an gross, vile, bloated infant wearing nothing but an cloth around his privates, into which cloth he could warmly and moistly soil himself and be, for a few minutes, happy, squelching in warm shit, shit filling his snotty nostrils, shit oozing-out from the towel, down his fat thighs; shit Paradise. And it was said that one of his counsellors did fashion an image of Gordon the Shitty Ruiner, sat astride an rocking horse, a pink, naked, blubbery babyman, clad in only a shit towel, or an nappy, pouting. And, for fear of it being shown to the Ancients in the place of England and in All Over The Fucking World, Gordon, the Ruinous Shitman Gordon, would permit the image-maker every license, tolerate his every offence until, eventually, terrified, he appointed him as Deputy Ruiner, which, for the Ancients, marked the true beginning of the end, with the coming anew of Sneaky Pete, now Lord Peter, the Foul Cocksucker, the Age of Ruin had properly commenced……”
“The night blows, now, cold and rainy; the wind howls like an hammer and we must find shelter from the storm, behind piled rocks with sticks sharpened against Beasts and Others, who would bite and tear at us, steal our shitcake, our dried ratflesh and all our treasures. Tomorrow is an day of Scavenging, we might find an tin or two of baking beans, in some Holy Retail Ruin. And if so there will be Feasting and I shall continue the Saga of Gordon the Ruiner. Make, friends and children, the Sign of Ruin to one another and say, after me, the second commandment of stanislav the plumber:”
“And they shall be taken, all, and given an quick rub-down with an housebrick and dropp-ed down an mineshaft”
“And so should it have happened, Sleep well, itinerant paupers, ragged and frightened, cold and hungry, in the wreckage and squalor left us by Gordon the Ruinous. Amen”


Thin, ragged children skip and tumble, chanting:
“Ring a ring a mortgages A pocketful a credit cards Re-Cession, De-Pression We all fall down.”
Others, having shared a nest of small, fire-blackened mice, make the movements of an old, country dance, from long ago, before Armageddon, before Ruin:
“Mandelson’s blue, dilly-dilly
Mandelson’s green Gordon’s a freak, dilly-dilly Peter’s a queen.
If we grow up, dilly-dilly If we grow up We shall be poor, dilly-dilly We shall be poor.”
After a day scavenging and hunting small rodents, the small tribe returns to the camp, calling greetings:
“Yo, friend; curs-ed be the snot-eater.”
“Yo, too, may his one good eye be pluck-ed out…”
(both) “And stomp-ed underfoot.”
Others, catching-up, complete the ancient curse:
“And may legions piss in his dead, empty socket.”
It is a similar pile of bricks and breeze blocks to the one in Book One, a weak fire, made from twigs and compressed shit splutters, the tribe, pitifully thin, cold and dirty, gathers around the Elder.
“Today has been a good day, none have been carried away by Others, to be topp-ed and eaten; none have wandered in the Poisoned Fields and died, thrashing, vomiting their lungs down their fronts – from toxins, children, deadly filth, bequeathed us by criminal industrialists who lived among the Ancients and enslaved them – and we, helpless, watching, unable to end their agony in the traditional manner. Today, only one infant, and it an skinny runt, was devoured by rats, it’s mother even now, an panting beast with two backs, behind yon rusty old wheeled carriage, making an new life. Treasure was found, two tins of small, oily creatures, some say they are fish although none alive now have seen fish, and five tins of beef which is corn-ed; enough, with careful sharing, to Feast the whole tribe.
Come now, let us settle, but watchfully, send men and women with sharpened sticks to guard against Others, throw fresh shitcake on the fire, chew on these roots, and huddle ye close, whilst I tell more of the Saga of Gordon the Ruiner as it was told by my fathers and theirs. Tinsman, fetch the Sacred Opening Tool and make ready the Feast. Turn to your neighbour, make the sign of Ruin and say the prayer of stanislav, the Polish plumber:
“In my country would hang this bastard up by neck off lamppost for few hours and then chop off fucking head, stick-up on spike and piss down throat and feed body to bogblokes, bastard is good for fuck all and waste of fucking space is; is worse than fucking Jock, innit, this bastard, Hoon ? As much use as chocolate fucking blowtorch, eh? Send horrible fucking bastard straight down in Hell and hot poker shove-up in poxed-up murderer’s arse is, for ever and ever, Amen. Let him tell Mr Devil he simply doesn’t accept this or that, fucking lying fucking bastard shithead sonofafuckingbitch. And God bless from stanislav, friendly Polish plumber, do good job and cheap for cash. Take off shoes and everything.”
(All) “In my country would hang this bastard up by neck off lamppost for few hours and then chop off fucking head, stick-up on spike and piss down throat and feed body to bogblokes, bastard is good for fuck all and waste of fucking space is; is worse than fucking Jock, innit, this bastard, Hoon, is fucking rubbish, could kill ten times and still not enough would be? As much use as chocolate fucking blowtorch, eh? Send horrible fucking bastard straight down in Hell and hot poker shove-up in poxed-up murderer’s arse is, for ever and ever, Amen. Let him tell Mr Devil he simply doesn’t accept this or that, fucking lying fucking bastard shithead sonoffuckingbitch. And God bless from stanislav, friendly Polish plumber, do good job and cheap for cash. Take off shoes and everything.”
Historian’s note. The Sign of Ruin varies from tribe to tribe. In some it is a silent mouthing of: Oh, for fucks sake! several times; in others it is a cartoonesque miming of manic, high-speed nail-biting or of exaggerated nose-picking, studious mucus examination and determined oral consumption and in yet others the Tribespeople drop their shaking head into both hands, like one bereaved and devastated and chant: All is gone, All is gone, admit it, take Flight. In the long dark decades after Ruin, when the tribes could just about remember Plenty, people would huddle together, leafing through a fragile holy scripture, called an Argos catalogue, looking at the images of Holy Stuff and chanting, Oh, the fucking horrible one-eyed Scotch git, over and over and over.
“Once, Before Ruin, were many; as far as eye could see were Ancients, beyond counting on all our fingers. And they dwelt together in shining temples called City and Town and they travelled, on these same pathways, not darting and hiding in The Great Ruin, as do we, from pile to pile but in moving carriages, powered by Magic. And Gordon the Ruiner said they must work and toil that they might have carriages, man and woman and child, but then said unto them that it was wrong to use them, naughty and inconsiderate, and did penalise them mightily for even the Magic which was needed to make the carriages go, and for taking the carriage into City and Town they were penalised further and beggared and for driving the carriage quickly they were punished even though the Carriage was made to go quicker and quicker and Gordon said Buy Carriages for the Eck-onomyStupid but use them not for they will cause the Sun to melt and all will die. And lo, when people stopped renewing their carriages for they had become an pain in the arse Gordon lamented and took the people’s treasure and gave it up unto the CarriageMakers, whose carriages no bastard, what with one thing and another, wanted the fuck to have do with, in order that ever more carriages be made and lined-up, for no-one to want. And Gordon smiled and called this an Stimulus to the Eck-onomyStupid. And the Ancients looked at Gordon the Ruiner and thought This is an Fuckwit, innit. He taketh unto himself our Treasure, for which we have toil-ed long and hard and pisseth it up the fucking wall, like an pestilential cunt and an fucking lunatic. And the people of all the tribes did cry out, You have no legitimacy here, Gordon; Tony and Imelda, The Horrible Fucking Thieving Cow did have some right to govern the Tribes but you have not any, give unto us an election, you fucking one-eye-ed Scotch bastard. But Gordon did say No, you don’t want an election, instead, you want me to preach at you, of Vaaal-ewes and Visions, trust me, I know what you want, far better than you know what you want. My father was an clergyman (which as we know, children, is an Ancients’ word for an child molester, an filthy fucking bastard) and though dead he talks to me yet. And he sayeth unto me, Gordon, my son, thou art the cleverest one-eye-ed Scotch bastard in all Time and you must rule and rule and rule; why, therefore, have an election when only I am suitable to rule and do unto you all the Right Thing, even though it is wrong. And with such statements did Gordon the Ruiner make clear unto the Tribes that it was his intent not to make good his early promise of an election but to shit, instead, long and hard, in their faces. And so he did.”
Historian’s note: Scotch or Jock or drunken, idle, wife-beating, child-molesting, cross-dressing, inbred, beetle-browed, ginger imbecile are believed to be terms for the inmates of a secure Reservation in the North, wholly supported by the wealth of the Ancients, until Gordon the Ruinous burnt it all. Gordon himself was a Reservationee but by sleight of hand and bombast for a long time persuaded people that he was a proper human being and not, as he obviously was, a mutant, snot-eating bastard.
“They say cocaine’s for horses and not for men, they say it’ll kill you but they don’t say when.” From an Ancients’ lullaby.
A child: “Tell us, Old One, of Bo-Jo the Ho-Ho”
“Ah, Bo-Jo the Ho-Ho, he was an clown, an laughing stock, good, as stanislav did say, for fuck all, not even for tying the thongs on his own footwear, lest he fall over them and smash his stupid grinning face on the ground. Bo-Jo, against all sense and reason for he had never accomplished anything in his life save debauchery and twaddle, became Tribune of City and did have it all at his feet and all the maidens therein and he was loved for the simple reason that he was not Gordon or one of Gordon’s servants as had been the previous Tribune, Ken the Whine, who was an utter cunt and did consort with Reptiles and with brigands and butchers from Beyond, bringing them even unto City and celebrating their slaughter of Innocents, whining and smirking, like an walking arsehole. And so Bo-Jo the Ho-Ho was Tribune of City almost by default and knew not even the first thing he should do save say Ho-Ho-Ho at all who questioned him. And the children of City, parentless and ill-guided, took to stabbing at one another with blades and Bo-Jo the Ho-Ho said only Golly Gosh and Ho-ho-ho, little buggers, eh, what’s to be done, teach the little perishers latin, eh, that’s the ticket, Ho-ho-ho, never did me any harm. And multitudes remarked that lo, ipso facto, quad erat demonstrandum, neither had it done him much fucking good, the useless, idle coke-snorting buffoon.
Blame me not, Ho-Ho-Ho, he would say, for anything, I’m only the man in charge Ho-ho-ho, you knew what you were getting Ho-ho-ho, jolly good laugh, eh, cogito ergo cuntum est, eh, Ho-ho-ho; it is chaps, the little white powders, doncha know, Mayor’s Little Helpers, Ho-Ho-Ho.
And Bo-Jo the Ho-Ho came from an tribe within an tribe; there was George Osblow-Ho-Ho who was judgement-impair-ed by means of being an coked-up wastrel and good, as stanislav the plumber taught us to say, even for fuck all, the useless, innumerate little fuckpig, and William Ho-Ho-Ho-Mr-Deputy-Spanker-I-Yam-Ay-Very-Clever-Fellow and Dave Camero-Ho-Ho who pretended to be Chief and he did surround himself with thieves and nincompoops with whom he had been an rich young bully and they were call-ed the Bullying club and did foregather and by means of potions and powders did make themselves even stupider that they had been born, which was already considerably well blessed in the stupidity department and they did go a-bullying and rampaging among the Ancients and it was such qualities of leadership which led the Ho-Ho-Hos to think, Fuck me, chaps, if that Jock spastic can do it, why, so can we and so they did preach to the Ancients an tale of compassionate Ho-Ho-Hoism, which was just an form of Gordonism in an set of garments painted with stripes and an loud voice. And much splitting, was there, of infinitives, seeking, as did Dave Camero-Ho-Ho, the perfect bite of sound, as they called their lies, each and every last sorry-arsed, shit-eating, thieving, lying, degenerate, sonofafuckingbitching one of them.
(all, making the sign of Ruin) “and every last sorry-arsed, shit-eating, thieving, lying, degenerate, sonofafuckingbitching one of them.”
Elder: “But enough, children, of BoJo the Ho-Ho, he is incidental in the Saga, which laments, down the ages of Man, the Horror and Terror and Mayhem wrought, in his cowardly misbegotten life, by Gordon the Ruiner……And Gordon did issue an proclamation to the Ancients saying, Buy ye all an dwelling of thine own for we have no interest in building ye homes that ye might rent, it is only by massive indebtedness that ye can become true citizens, so said the Empress Thatcher and so say I, Gordon; buy even an broom cupboard or an carriage shed and buy it with an loan from scoundrels and thieves for tomorrow it will be worth twice its worth today, I, Gordon, decree it, and ye may take the gain and spend it on Chink rubbish from Beyond and cheap-flight holidays with Air Begorrah and its Leprachaun owner, Flying Officer Michael O’Mouth, for the day after tomorrow it will be worth four times as much and growth thereafter will be expo-fucking-nential, meaning not a proportion of the original sum but an multiple of each successively increasing sum, not an incremental increase but an exponential increase and those who say me wrong are enemies unto the State, or I, Gordon who are one and the same, and indivisible; those who deny me are BoomandBusters and I say No More to them, An end Unto Them; what goes up must stay up, it is the law of gravity; I have, economically speaking, made the cyclical linear, and all by the simple means of not, as it may appear, burning all the money, throwing the gold in the ocean and making you all bankrupt but by inverting reality; this means that the pound in your pocket (a token by which the Ancients’ labour was exchanged for goods) is not worth a pound but ten of pounds or an hundred of pounds, however many pounds I say it is worth then so shall it be. And however many there are I shall take them from ye and give them unto the Bankers, without whom, we, or me, at any rate, are all fucked and in so doing shall I save the Eck-onomyStupid.”
But the children, many of whom would soon die, from filth and hunger, here, in Fourth World Britain, or would be taken by Others or Beasts and who shivered, homeless and knew nought of comfort or security, dozed-off, their hunger pains stilled for the moment by sardines and corned beef, pulled from the ground. And those grown ones as had survived, knew too well the Saga of Gordon the Ruinous, how once there had been more than enough for all and yet, in scrambling to give the most to the least, the greatest to the fewest, in his urge to give to the rich from the poor, Gordon had destroyed all. And they were weary of it.
They cared not to hear more of the Saga on that night and the Elder, sensing their despondency, crawled to his own, special, pile of rocks and meditated On His Time Of Dying, it would be soon, he had been, after all, in the Ancients measure, nearly twenty three years Born in Ruin.
The tribe made the brief sleeptime salutation to each other- “the man was an ruinous cunt” response: “An utter fucking bastard.” And went to the Shitcorner to make shitcake for the fire, before a fitful, shivery sleep.
Gordon had robbed them, yet lectured them, even as he plundered; Gordon had destroyed Learning and Care and Order; had robbed the Old of peace and comfort, the Young of safety and the people had been lied unto, year after year after year until finally, calling for an examination of accounts they found that nothing was there, all was illusion, everything which was, was shit. And even as the hungerwars loomed and merchants closed their doors and the Ancients fell idle and frightened, Gordon the Foul did still address them as though they were imbeciles. I am like unto an great artist, he said. I am reminded, he said, of Titian – although, as any who had read Gordon’s writings would know, he would not know a Titian should one fall from the wall and land on his mis-shapen gulping head – I am reminded of Titian who did not do his best work until his old age. And I am like Titian. It is true, of course, that Titian did not fuck-up everything he touched and turn it unto shit, not that I have and it is true that I am not an artist and have not an creative instinct in my hobgoblin body but even so, you all know what I mean, Titian, old age, greatness…C’est moi, as I am reminded that the Germans say. And the Ancients cast around for means to rid themselves of this blustering freak and could see only the Compassionate Ho-Ho-Hos and despaired of the whole fucking nonsense.
And I am reminded, insisted the jumped-up, immature, malformed, snot-eating, gulping, stuttering, tongue-tied spasming bastard, facetiously, condescendingly, that I speak latin, (even though I don’t,) and you don’t, well, few of you – and the people turned one to another and as early as that day, commenced to making the Sign of Ruin, Head in hands, Oh for fuck’s sake, he’s barking – and Y’know, credit, which is the means by which I have engineered this great Eck-onomyStupid miracle of prosperity and growth and an EndToBoomAndBust, almost, is based on the latin word, credo, which means Gordon is Great and always does the right thing for small people and hard businesses, yes and families, too, of which I, of course, have one, and if you believe that you will believe anything, and you obviously do. So, there you have it, there it is, not only does my friend and student, President Obamalamadingdong, do exactly as I advise but even those old scholars, Socrates and Pliny and Zorba the Greek, they all believe in me, too, it’s there, in black and parchment, Gordon is Great. To-morrow, I shall paint my masterpiece. All over you.
Historian’s note. It is believed that the Saga of Gordon the Ruinous was never completed and told for centuries only in fragments. So completely dispiriting was any examination of the One-eyed one’s record that few could stomach it in its entirety; stanislav the plumber on whose commentaries the Saga was based was an indignant outsider who railed against Gordon and his work, but to no avail; professional chroniclers, up their own and each others’ arses, dismissed his work as notorious, infamous, excoriating, shocking, preferring their own insular and equally ruinous, feeble commentaries – the why-of-whys and the if-onlys of those who felt, that by their timidity they would stay closer to the House of Gordon. They were cunts.
More of the Saga may yet emerge, much, as the Ancients said, had been done, yet much remains to be done.
Times are perilous, eat as much mouse as you can keep down and stay close, with sharpened stick, to the shitfire; Ruin stalks the night.”