Tuesday, 23 September 2014

THESE FEW PRECEPTS.

...

POLONIUS

Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail
And you are stayed for. There, my blessing with thee.
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear ’t that th' oppos├Ęd may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.
Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee.
  Polonius to Laertes, Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3

 It is,  this achingly paternalistic stricture,  one of those seam-welded bundles of tut-tutting axiom and expansive duality, back and forthing yin and yang, resolving in smug I-Know-Bestism upon which, to an extent, rests the reputation  of William Shakespeare.

 That reputation, however,  bestows upon a rather ordinary man of rudimentary education a knowledge which could never have been his, now or then  - of travel, geography, politics, history, statespersons and diplomacy, of courts; of  languages and cultures, of scripture, classical literature and philosophy far - impossibly far - beyond the knowledge of a Warwickshire lad, come up to London, like Joe Orton in doublet and hose,  a-hustling. 

 No matter, there is no busisness like show business and to some, doubting the Bard is  Devilish heresy, as though the authorship was more important than that authored.  

Those, anyway, as bewildered as I for all my life by the array of competences displayed in these writings, the depths of knowledge, the surely classical adroitness and  specifity might usefully glance at the life and times of the seventeenth-century  Earl of Oxford, who, some contend, is - must be -  the author of much Shakespeariana.  Shakespearian scholars, of course,  abide steadfastly beyond any such uncertainty,  how could they do other?

But is it any good, that's the thing; does all this convoluted and showy moralising assist?  Oh,  it is true that we can fashion Hamlet to ourselves, we boy-men, can declaim in our own minds, in our own imagined cadences his perpetual, mutinous angst;  we can make tempestuous and extraordinary the mundane, we can see betrayal where none is;  we can all clutch at a tawdry nobility, its coat of arms rusted by  catastrophe and mayhem; it is the disreputable and unwholesome in us which Shakespeare ennobles with his fine, fine words but they are just show business and we should never see them as Virtue's repository. 

Above all, to thine own self be true is facetious dribbling,  the BigBrother, X-Factor argot of its day. Who, for God's sake, is thine own self? I'm fucked if I know, do you? Do any others, corporeal others,  know you as mongoose  or woman on a raft or noblest prospect or dyers garden?  I betcha they don't.

So, given the elasticity of identity, who's to blame, for sin and error and ruination?


By any index of human  error my early marriage was a disaster, calamitous to all involved  and for the longest time I blamed myself, even though it was I made ill, injured, impoverished and distressed; it was I crawled from the wreckage, supported only by native bloody-mindedness.  It was the launch of a  doomed vessel at which the wise would not have cheered and as these things do the sounds of its foundering reverberate down the years, its plates groaning,  its wreckage floating past, now and again, most recently in the shape of a Best Man, terminally ill, approaching me, clutching, after decades, hauling me back, dragging me down to the early wreckage  of my life.

It was the Prague Summer, did it; a Summer of Love did it; a uniform absence of Wisdom and Courage did it.  Love was all around. If only someone had found the loving but Love-less words with which to state the obvious, if only someone had held-out Jackson Browne's strong but gentle father's hand.... but it was all, then, about the recently-invented Individual and telling someone that their marriage was  doomed was, well, impolite; someone only needed to say, Look, you two are simply not compatible,  you may look very fine, but you won't be,  there is nothing wrong with either of you but by difference your union will cursed be.  Instead, everybody mouthed, Ah, bless them, being true to their own selves. going, as they used to say, with the flow. 

 A lot of them died young, that Wedding Group, some in their early sixties, some, a married couple, suddenlym,  in their forties; one by suicide,  there're only three left, now, and one of them is dying.  The guests were met, the table set and all turned to shit.

I, normally hyper-attuned to risk and peril,  should have known better; the vicar, Charles Nettleship, was as pissed as a rat, unsurprisingly,  as Mrs Nettleship was the village bicycle, some of those villagers present, in his church,  having ridden her up and down the lanes, bless her. I didn't know any of the hymns, not one, which says something because I have always known lots of hymns; indeed, I sometimes fear that Hymns, Ancient and Modern will die with me but I had never previously heard any of these caterwaulings. I didn't know any of the guests. I had never seen most of them, I still haven't. Too busy being to mine own self true to notice the bizarre incongruities of the ceremony.  Put me off weddings for life, that one.

But things change and  I stopped blaming myself or anyone else some time ago, now. 

I, for so long damned as matrimonial ruin's author, am happily married these twenty-five years;  whereas, well, never mind, save to say that irreconcileability to  married life - though not for lack of trying -  is another's portion.

This matters only inasmuch as it lays axiom waste, that of Polonious or anyone else.  It is personal reinvention in the very face of Ruin which distinguishes and redeems us, not a Fool's devotion to an imaginary self.

And that's what I came to talk about, this idea that we are inalienably who we are at any given moment when, so obviously, we are a  reactive continuum; which of us,  knowing the truth of this, has never thought: let me forget about today, until tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another day, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. In Macbeth's speech of ruin, Shakespeare contradicts the haughty Polonius and his  life-by-recipe:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)


Which is it, then, should guide us, is it judiciously chosen  apparel,  the carefully filtered word and the selectively screened comrade;  the avoidance of the random, all the infinite paranoias of Polonius, all dangerous yet avoidable by constant, watchful self-safeguarding or is it  the acceptance of Macbeth's wearily observed  futility - is there a self to which we should be true, and if there is, what is the point?

Well, there is no point to be determined, no reason;  such are mere constructs which we have devised to make intelligible for a moment what is utterly incomprehensible;  the need of a point to things is mother, father and midwife to Religions Incorporated and whether devout congregant or smirking  humanist it is pointlessness which hollows us out;  without a point, without a recognisable self, though both are a coward's confection, we would all be sprinting to Dignitas.

Yet a confected self, an identity imagined by others and enacted by the individual, is a dark master.  Yesterday, mr mirage made in heaven related the news that one Roy Harper


 was facing child abuse charges. Mr Harper is one  of that small army of distinctly British guitar players, called-up, originally, by post-war and 'fifties players like Davey Graham and Bert Jansch and which includes Richard Thompson, the late Nick Drake, John Martyn, Martin Simpson, Nic Jones, there's dozens of them and among them Harper was a determinedly original, forceful stylist, not a folk player, nor jazz, just a unique acoustic player;  his songs are often angry, sometimes poignant and one of his tunes, When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease, augmented my reporting of the loss of the late blogdog, Buster.

Even so, I never liked him, personally; he was too angry, too conceited but worst of all he was friendly with Messrs Led Zeppelin,  

a hugely over-rated rock four-piece from the 'seventies,  an ensemble whose off-stage, brutal, degrading  debauchery was and is widely known but indulged, bless, as is that of so many and none, yet, of Rock's household names has attracted the attention of the BeastPolice. Still, like Zepp, many will have low friends in high places, might even be knighted.

As well as competing among themselves  to photograph the largest head of celery inserted in a teenager, Led Zeppelin are the most comprehensively larcenous people in show business, having stolen  nearly all of their  material and impudenty claimed it as their own, even the massively lucrative Whole Lotta Love was lifted lyrically, musically and stylistically from Steve Mariott of the Small Faces.  There are channels on YouTube dedicated to exposing Zeppelin's thievery but as yet their star still shines, surviving members recently filling the Albert Hall with ageing fuckwits. Most of their peers despise them but Harper - a natural, original creative soul - was happy to associate and be associated with them.  Doesn't make him a nonce, although we should all be judged by the company we keep, over decades, grappled to our souls with hoops of steel.

When Rolf Harris was first accused  many, myself included,  were unprepared to give him the benefit of the doubt which Justice demands, well, she demands more than that but she demanded in vain.  Many of those so keen to crucify Harris now call for something else in Harper's case;  the charges are fewer in number but no less grave and they date, too,  from four decades back.  Since Harper is a  relative unknown and probably skint one can see little reason other than the pursuit of Justice  motivating the complainant and just because a man wrote and performed some genuinely original and accomplished songs, doesn't mean he isn't or wasn't a beast.  And so I differ from mr mirage and many of my contemporaries.  Hanging around with beasts, like Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, 


Harper is,  must be, to his own self being true.  

I think Harper is as guilty as Sin of, if nothing else, consorting with the extremities of  Wickedness and letting them go unreported. As we see at the PBC, it is the silent approval of others which makes all  these things possible, a conspiracy of men, generally men, being true to their selves,  their careers,  their almost certainly baseless idea of who they are.


In his defence,  the grossly obnoxious, talentless bully, Dave Lee Wotsaname, growls of a time when men were true to their own selves and groped and fondled and fucked women at will, just a birrafun,  tactile; this is all political correctness gone mad, he rages. He is now a convicted sex offender, let us see how true he can be to that self, now that his life is all used-to-bes.

Had I a young man to influence and direct I guess that I would find words inappropriate,  the tools of slippery lawyers, infinitely adaptable and corruptible.  I remember my Dad, in his cups, reciting from memory Grey's Elegy and I think that's the only thing he ever said to me which remains constant,  unassailable and precious;
 better drunken melancholy than pompous instruction. 

As the night follows day, he will be  a wrong 'un, so to thine own self be false and daily, start anew.

65 comments:

Woman on a Raft said...

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,


If this were taken seriously it would put a trillion dollar industry out of business. That alone tells you that Shakespeare's style advice is worth taking. 'Not Gaudy'. Oh how I wish I had paid more attention to that. I wouldn't be looking this very minute at a ridiculously embroidered handbag and wondering how my money-pounds had changed in to it during a brain-storm.

It is also a good rule for food.

Mike said...

"To thine own self be true" - just off to put this into practice (playing golf). Always tempting to move the ball to improve the lie, but some inner Shakespeare stops you doing it.

Bungalow Bill said...

This is a profound piece Mr I. Shakespeare, my God what can be said about such a mind, whoever may have been its owner. A poet I like very much is A.R. Ammons whose Corsons Inlet, especially its wonderful conclusion, says something of what you are saying. I would link to it if I knew how but it's easily found. He's not everyone's favourite but he seems apt in this context. Anyway, thanks for this.

SG said...

I was thinking the same Mr BB but you've said it better. Re: the "Hairy Cornflake" - I'm sure we'll all sleep safer in our beds tonight knowing that this dangerous monster is no longer at large... There's no business like show business and no trial like a show trial...

callmeishmael said...

He is unlikely to face jail, more is the pity, whilst we jail the poor over TV licenses. And show is part of the trial's purpose, deterrence. All trials, thus, mr sg, are show trials. And I will sleep sounder knowing that these proceedings may protect, by their example, some other potential victim. Rotherham is just a point on the abuse continuum upon which have also lurked with immunity so many at the PBC. I am pleased that the CPS pursued this arsehole and I hope that he lives long enough to confront or be confronted with his dreadful behaviour, to drop his bombast and learn the meaning of contrition.

Anonymous said...

Ambrose Bierce defined love as a temporary state of insanity which is cured by marriage. He also defined birth - "the first and greatest of all diasters." Bearing this in mind, much becomes tolerable but only up to a point. A psychopath, all self but with no self-awareness is always unliveable with. the Self, is possibly the thing that particular events have either wrecked or tempered, but without self awareness you can't tell and end up like Tony Blair, a peace envoy who wants more boots on the ground and can't detect a problem with that. The legend about vampires being invisible in mirrors must be an allegorical warning - these types can't reflect upon themselves and consequently run riot.
Anyway - one of your best posts. Cheers.
- richard

inmate said...

Profound indeed mr I, having never acquired an education, schooling would be a more appropriate description. Never studied the classics neither literature nor music, Shakespeare who he? I now receive my education right here from yourself and your readers.

"To thine own self be true" I could only quote my Dad; always use your manners, show respect to others even when they 'acting, talking like a cunt' never swear in front of women. These words have kept me from a beating so far.

callmeishmael said...

Heinrich Heine, who predated Ambrose Bierce, mr richard, put it: sleep is good, death is better but of course the best thing is never to have been born at all.

I challenge only the idea that the self is fixed and suggest that it is the external truth to which we should be true, not the internal self as glorified by Polonius.

I like the vampire thought.

callmeishmael said...

Yes, me, too, mr inmate, more than you could know. And that is why I come here.

Anonymous said...

"Contested Will" by James Shapiro is on the to-do list. Thanks for reminding me.

Burgess' "Nothing Like The Sun" is worth a look - one brilliant mind reimagining another, cheeky bastard.

"Reactive continuum" : I'll settle for that...

cheers

verge.//

SG said...

I'd like to think you are right Mr I, being a believer in deterrence - though only at the nuclear level. Meanwhile the news caravan will move on to pastures new. I confess I have not followed this trial closely so maybe my remarks were flippant but I very much doubt that there is any deterrent value in this outcome. I agree, however, that if it is punishment that one is after then disappointment is likely. I will think about this one some more and maybe write back.

call me ishmael said...

A woman not party to these charges, mr sg, revealed, beyond question, that he was still at it, at 69; these men must be stopped, they are part of Poison's coterie; this prick pretended to innocence on the grounds that his victims weren't children, seeking to cheesepare and nitpick his crimes out of existence.

He wouldn't like it in jail, some proper bullies in there.

call me ishmael said...

I envy your appetite for Gutenberg's Gift, mr verge; I would be surprised if I managed a dozen books a year but I read a good deal online, although that doesn't seem to count, does it, our connection to everything?

mongoose said...

A conundrum for us all, eh? We can all now be found, and found out. It was not always thus. And now it doesn't matter who wrote Shakespeare, or this or that part of it. Except I suppose to folk making their living off the difference. Traders of a different kind. But we are all harlots in the end. Which BTW is a quote from Shakespeare's Auntie Flo.

Even the King of Scotland gets out of his bed in the morning and goes to work for his crust, sells his life in his own way like many a man. Who painted the Rembrandts and the Da Vincis? The boring bits, I mean. The very-mostly nameless daubers of background are the same as the faceless actors who chinked a line sideways at rehearsal. It matters not. Is the noise good or is it bad?

As to DLT - well, I do not care about him but I fear that the state brought all its resources to bear and failed, and then decided to have another go. This should not be. Only one bully there. Majority verdict? Is bollocks anyway because it has always equalled a reasonable doubt to me. And guilty only on the new charge? Brought by a victim now a known and high level celebrity? It does not pass the vileness test to me. So git or guilty, home - to his sick wife and his conscience, and his empty bank balance would be this judge's answer.

The darker question is: why? If they cared... It has all been reghearsed here a thousand times. No credit now accrues to the state for the deliverance of aged gropers they knew about decades ago. What benefit accrues, and to whom?

Mike said...

Meanwhile, business as usual. Whatever happened post Butler-Schloss? And can anyone remember what Chilcot was about? And why were enquiries needed anyhow; why wasn't Old Bill put on the case? OK, we never really liked DLT so we'll let this one through to the keeper, but the State has infinite resources to both prosecute and cover up.

A mirage made in heaven said...

I have not bothered to plumb the depths of Mr. Harper' depravity Mr. Ishmael. I have, though, peered overboard into the murk and espied all manner of queer fish encircled by a channelling school of white Frankfurtian whales and enticed with a nibble of Crowleyian groundbait.

I was being flippant: if guilty, Roy should wilt before the whole of the law. He is perhaps a lost prophet, but, mercifully, not a Lost Prophet. A bit of a twat, but a brilliant guitarist. Let us not 'tear him for his bad verses', but because he is a sinner, not a Cinna.

Agree with you entirely about Led Zeppelin. A pox be upon their pick'n'mix parody.

Doug Shoulders said...


Muchas gracias para escritura senor Ish….estupendo

callmeishmael said...

There need be no benefit in the execution of the law, mr mongoose, other than itself; it is not a profit and loss account, if a prosecution meets the public interest test, has a chance of succeeding, as this one did, who are you to judge its propriety, to minimise its importance, would you dismiss the aged groping of your children similarly? No, you wouldn't, you would rightly expect the state to intervene and sanction the groper. I mentioned, recently, vis a vis Oscar Wotsit, the infinite resource of the state, how it is loaded against the accused but that is how it is, are we to suspend judgement, assume all innocent, pending Utopia, or the Second Coming?

The majority verdict has not been invented solely for this case but is something left to the discretion of the judge, who can be challenged in a higher court and as far as any not present can weigh these things, I, for one, am content with the process and the outcome.

As to the bard, I said that very thing, that there is an industry around the author rather than the authored. The de Vereists, however, point to the Tudor propagandising of so much of Shakespeare and that not only was de Vere of an appropriately scholarly and literary background to have written such works but he was also, having squandered his lands, in and out of the Queen's favour and reliant upon her for a survivalist's pension. I think it does matter in an historical and academic sort of way, has the entire world been duped by a rank Establishment? As usual?

callmeishmael said...

Appropriately, if unconsciously Rabelaisian, mr mirage - "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - a conceit much fostered by those who entertain us.

Doug Shoulders said...

Travis bleating about pc gone mad and that it was the norm back then is a wretched defence. It was pc that protected him. The pc of the sort that decreed that, if you work in showbiz, you don’t get your lights punched out for groping someone’s daughter. Pc is for people with a lawyer.
PC put people like him and kept them there well past their sell by date. Any cunt can spin records and talk shite. In fact, it seems to me that the bigger the cunt and the more shite you can talk guarantees a lifetime in the biz.
If any of that lot were out in the real world they’d be stiffened quicker that they could say…”Here’s another great record taken from the album…Arsehole”
The vampire mirror thing…mmm.
If my dad ever told me anything of any value I didn’t hear it. West coast of Scotland male mentality doesn’t do philosophy. I could get a fist down my throat for saying that….for being poncy.
The soliloquy on your 1st marriage Mr Ish rings bells. Couldn’t have put it any better for my own debacle…not ashamed but not proud either.
I tried to like Zepp..had to in those days…to get along with people. I secretly hated the bastards and the fucking stones. Read about their off stage antics too but it was all so boring, time after time, groupie after groupie, horror story after horror story. I understood then “Banality of evil” It’s all so fucking dull…Saville and his horror life..same ward different night ..yawn..
He got a medal for his work…mmm.. interesting..

callmeishmael said...

The poet, Felix Hodcroft, used to speak to me of a deejay who, before before, would keep him soothed, stimulated and company through the wee, small hours; I can't remember the name but I know - or knew - the type. Mark Tully on BBCR4 is the only one still doing that mix of speech and music which soothes and refreshes, whilst prodding gently, towards Understanding. Travis, mr doug shoulders, was not a member of that guild but one of Ruin's monstrous henchmen, laddered-up by Tony Benn's maritime Offences Act which outlawed free radio and ushered-in, instead, Savileism; Benn, cursed be his pipe-smoking, tea-swigging hypocrite shade, has much to answer for.

It is perhaps over delicate of me but I try not to use the phrase first marriage or indeed ex-wife, it is always former or early marriage or the person to whom I was once married; it was an error, not the first in a series of equals. If yours was as mine then that is a nomenclature to which I would bend you, if I may.

That the Rolling Stones are still playing those 'seventies songs to such acclaim is testament to Maestro Ry Cooder, who taught Keith Richard the only skill he has and to Mick Taylor, who embellshed it; for Led Zeppelin's preosterously extravagant cock-rock they have only themselves to blame.

Woman on a Raft said...

Travis's defence barrister, Stephen Vullo QC, said he had been described during the trial as the "perfect gentleman" and nothing like the "sleazy, predatory opportunist" that prosecutors had accused him of being.

There ought to be a different word for this kind of crime because it is not really about sex - it is about control. In comparision the grooming-gang crimes are comprehensible. Here, the girls are harvested so that they can be sold for sex-slavery - it's not even prostitution since the victims have so little agency. It is about sex and money. Control is necessarily there but it is a perk of the crime, not the aim of it.

In the offences which so befuddle people, the pay-off is so much harder to see they are confused as to whether it is a crime at all. But the mechanism is the same; the predator selects a victim who is unlikely or unable to protest and inflicts some act which can only be legal where adult consent is present. Instead of money or sex, what they want is control. The more transgressive the act, the more control it demonstrates.

For Savile, the biggest kick was manhandling the youngest Nolan in front of her sisters and on camera and knowing that they needed the BBC so they would not, could not, dare not, step up and punch him in the gob. Nor did anyone else in the studio.

They aren't stupid; they do not attack everyone equally. Part of the control is the other half of the equation: can I get people to talk to me seriously? Last week Myles Bradbury, consultant haematologist and leading paediatric cancer consultant, admitted to dozens of offences against his patients. There is a row going on about when he should have been stopped, but to be fair, the hospital did react when a grandparent went in and 'raised concerns'.

Bradbury managed to carry out assaults on patients by passing it off as medical examination. He did this even when the parents were in the room; best time - it shows that you are controlling the parent, the patient, the cancer.

(It should be pointed out that when he is not sexually abusing them, Bradbury is a first class clinician to whom many children owe their lives.)

Bradbury was not such a fool as to do this in front of other medics. There is a row going on at the hospital as to how he was able to neutralize the hospital chaperones just by asking them to step outside, which they always did despite what it says in the guide book. Bingo. Control of the entire system.

mongoose said...

Well, I am but me, Mr Ishmael, and it is unlike you to have sprouted this touching faith in our masters' administration of justice. It is an easy disgrace to shout "Nonce" and into the pit with them. We should ever be ccareful to separate the alleged crime from the legal process. As we must separate the poet from - maybe someone else's - poem.

It is not many days since we touched on Son Roper's idea that he would cut down every law in the land to get to the Devil. And More asks to whom he would turn when the Devil turned, the laws being flat. Well I would go further, being no lawyer hampered by what is acihevable, and would ask benefit of justice rather than law. The law being like the Savoy - open to everyone. I would give even Steeleye Span benefit of justice, and that includes the state, impudent fuckers, not having as many goes as they like to get the right answer.

And a majority verdict of 10-2 does not in itself represent reasonable doubt? Jeez, get me a wig and gown and I'll argue it. "3 out of 12? Is 3 reasonable doubt? Apparently it is. But not 2, m'lud? Who is this magic 3rd person with the wisdom of Solomon that he or she can tip the scales so?" Bollocks, I am afraid, is what all that is. A child would see through it in an instant. I'd lose, of course. Some pro would say "But the law says..." and the law again, still, an ass.

Are we to have rehearsals and rehashes? How many times are we to go through the gig? How lax are the standards to be made? And having failed to convict the first time that is even more reason to have a unanimous verdict the next! (FFS!)

And it is my view, for what it's worth - and we have among those who would know more accurately - that an element of retrials is ego and career in the CPS, and the consequent and vile, but unspoken, budgetary objective to better harvest their costs. The law - the system of legal administration of costs - has changed and a rich harvest is reaped. The ladder of law definitely has a top and we are all of us a slip of paper away from incremental impoverishment at its bottom. People, maybe some of whom we do not approve, are quietly bullied and beggared, and we should consider what other objective is served before we lightly assume that all has suddenly turned out fair and true down the Bailey.

Doug Shoulders said...

I can assure you Mr Ish that it was a slip of the pen on the keyboard to suggest that my earlier marriage was the first of a series.
I no longer dwell, refer or ruminate, but appreciate the reminder.

I recently debated the stones with a work colleague who insisted on my hearing their latest dirge…it might have been another one of their greatest hits offerings to a new buying generation. I’m sure it bombed. I didn’t listen to it….couldn’t “Fucking awful”..I critiqued He looked at me as if I’d just said that man has never walked on the moon. (Which they haven’t)
Such is the power of the bankrolling behind these people.
I’ve had very limited hearing of Ry and Roy, for the simple reason that they were associated with the aforementioned musical geniuses and decided to give them a miss.

mongoose said...

You see? I told you there would be someone along who knew better.

But putting the crime aside, Mrs Raft, what about the process?

callmeishmael said...

Ry Cooder is a gift which never stops; you will have heard his film scores and maybe not known, his collaboration with Ali Farka Tourre on Maliean music and the roots of the Blues must bring a smile to the face; the early Boomers Story is a fine, fine selection of Americana; he never stands still, is acclaimed as a treasure yet is apparently a modest man. The Stones, without his knowledge, taped him vamping on an open-G tuning and turned it into Honky Tonk Women, and everything else, since; he describes them as larcenous reptiles; you would like him, as he says, how can a poor man stand in times like these?

Roy Harper is, as I said, an interesting, inspired and dramatic singer and songwriter but we can manage without him. And may have to.

callmeishmael said...

I always welcome the speed of your response, mr mongoose but this time I feel that you have leapt on a specific and missed the general point at which I laboured, for it is I and not you who empathises with the dreadful Travis.

I was thinking about not so much the roles people play but about the sense of Self and how it so often licences the unworthy in us; I urged an ongoing shedding of skin, a constant reawakening to Life's novelty; to arise the same man everyday, unchanged by the previous one, what mad profligacy is that, squandering existence by being true to something which isn't, such is an offence against reason and consciousness itself.

Had this oaf not been so wrapped-up in himself, so bloated and distorted by the mutually protective rancid cocoon of showbiz, he would not - quibble as you might about the process - be here today.

And as for the process, any who dwell in the land of twelve good men and true are pissing in the wind, there are so many pitfalls en route to an acquittal that the wise will act to keep themselves at a distance from needing one and if that fails then he or she needs the strength of character to display one's innocence to one's peers, easier, mr mongoose, than you might think, and if one is guilty one must plead accordingly. These few precepts.........

Doug Shoulders said...


Indeed; my hearing of Ry is limited. I don't seek him out, but have surely heard the film scores and in fact I do recall now.
If he said that about the stones ...well that's fine. I should check him out now really.

I'm not entirely sure that the twelve good men and true is as you describe.
Not without its demerits to be sure. But I'd be at a loss to proffer a better alternative that could replace the concept of its original purpose.

callmeishmael said...

I wondered if you would shed your fashionista martyrdom, mrs woman on a raft, and don your figurative wig.

I don't know the case you mention but it does seem bizarre on more levels than just the fiddling with tiny people which is at its core, The hospital, in my experience, is run by bureaucratic terrorism, junior staff silenced by overmighty consultants and crass managerialists, maybe our man sought only to bamboozle his colleagues and subordinates.

As for Travis and his QC, there were many people who attested to their personal experience of Adolf Hitler's gentlemanliness and maybe they were entirely sincere; no matter, like Travis, Herr Hitler was the more often boorish and a proper cad.

I was once quite friendly with a former Radio One deejay. Malcolm lived by a completely different set of values, in which being a Sooper Personality was the only measure of a man, he could be a serial, sadistic child sex killer in his spare time but as long as he was a Sooper Personality that was all that mattered. The other thing I learned from Malcolm was that he knew fuck all even about popular music and had, furthermore, no interest in it; being a Sooper Personality, that was his thing and from what I recall it was also Travis's, though I hasten to assure mr mongoose that I do not seek imprisonment for Philistinism. Although there is a case to be made.

call me ishmael said...

I just meant that the jury system does not automatically serve the innocent, mr doug shoulders - your lawyer can be bent, incompetent or both; the police will lie their arses off; expert witnesses are paid to tell lies, obviously; the judge may be partial; the gutter press will have tried to influence opinion, an accused produced to court from custody will have been denied even a comb to make himself presentable and on and on and on. There are many pitfalls which although nothing to do with guilt or innocence can divert a jury to the former when the latter was the correct destination.

Mark said...

Who knows what people get up to in the privacy of their own homes - and for sure the 60s and 70s were a time when young girls would fight each other to bed a rock star or even a roadie if that was all that was available.
That said, I am sure that these guys knew that the little tarts they were bedding were as close to under age as made no difference.
About Zeppelin's plagiarism there are too many examples to make any doubt possible.
There was (maybe still is) a guy called Jake Holmes who wrote Dazed and Confused and he used to be the warm up act for the Yardbirds.
Naturally Zep denied ever having heard the song but did in the end add his name to the credits for the track but only as "inspired by".
As to Harper, I don't know what the case against him is but I do really like his track Song of the Ages - not that he wrote it.

A mirage made in heaven said...

It was only last week that I acquired a copy of Ry's collaboration with Mr. U. M. Bhatt entitled 'A Meeting by the River'. Unfortunately, Ry does little more than underpin Mr. Bhatt's coruscating virtuosity; sadly it does not merit any hearty recommendation.

However, another recent and deeply pleasing
discovery was 'Upojenie' by
Anna Marie
Jopek and Pat Metheny. I understood not a word of the Polish but the voice and the guitar work inspire a rapid, if creaky, genuflection.

Lastly, I never tire of Alex de Grassi's Slow Circles, one of Wyndham Hill's finest: a thing of simple timeless beauty; much, much more than the sum of its parts, poorly described as being like an aching twinge of joy, such as one sometimes encountered, unbidden, in childhood (or is that just me?).

I know that, behind the masque of satire, this is a serious blog; I do not wish in any manner to derail it. Forgive any un-topical transgressions Mr. Ishmael; music too is a serious business (especially when it has little to do with business).

Alphons said...

I think what has been overlooked slightly is the question of what is normal behaviour and what is abnormal behaviour. This must be taken into account when trying to differentiate between evil and non-evil/good and bad.
The thing is that there are as many types of normality as there are people on the planet.There is a deeply boring but thought provoking item here:- http://www.angelfire.com/realm3/accord/normal.htm

mongoose said...

Yes, all of that, Mr Ishmael, but everyman's picture is a tapestry - of threads, from, and because, and some worn out and replaced, perhaps forgottten. How could it not be? And yer man knew that. Orwell as well wrote some of it, on top of it somehow and outward looking - see your own thoughts passim. The erasure of the personal and in its place the artful collective message. Well, fuck that. We are not there yet.

Are people in public life and the entertainment industry self-centred and self-regarding, and see about them only opportunity? Of course. But we need though to look to Janner and his ilk for old men worth hanging - not DL-fucking-T. Another senior cop coming forth today saying that he was told when young to sod off and hold his tongue. These other tawdry oiks, are fish thrown to the barking seals. What about yesterday's real monsters? Or today's?

But I am not Conversation Master here. I can but keep on keeping on, as true, as best I can be, to whatever flies into my head in the wee small hours.

(A Geek Writes: BTW I have worked out that I have to press the "Publish" button twice or the comment gets lost. Is that me or is that your blogger thingy?)

call me ishmael said...

As far as I know there is no Conversation Master here, save conversation, himself and Janner is as urgently offensive as ever but that I cannot bring him to book should not still my rejoice at smaller fry being landed. I fear that you, like many's an engineer, mr mongoose, have led a life protected and focused and are simply unaware of the lifelong impact on his victim of the groper's hand, nothing wrong with blissful ignorance but by circumstance I am not so sanguine, so dismissive of the groper as a mere triviality and DLT's conviction will have brought comfort to many, all too fuckng familiar with his kind, and with the nauseating implication that his sins are slight by comparison, for they are not.

Janner and Tebbit and the rest enjoy a greater immunity than do priests and choirmasters and entertainers for they enjoy the protection of a higher mistress, they are Her Majesty's ministers and peers, not ours. One would expect that the old crow, Brenda, might, by now, have ordered the cleansing of this particular stable but we know that she sings herself to sleep, murmuring, Rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby.....for who knows, might an assault on the Beast not spill blood in ner own quarters, among her own kin? Peers, bishops, judges, chief constables and parliamentarians, they all serve the Queen and she them; that, as Mr Miliband'd say, is the thing.

Perhaps we should write to her on the matter.

call me ishmael said...

I shall go thence and be bored, mr alphons, not before saying that despite a formal framework and a tacit understanding of private, consensual behaviours we have developed a jurisprudence to deal with those who ignore consensuality, pressing themselves and their vices upon others and even beyond consensuality, as I have mentioned before, there was the Crown Court judge who stormed, You fuckers, you may well have each others consent to nail your foreskins to the bench and abrade each others scrotums with sandpaper but you fucking well don't have mine; take them down. The public good, you see, mr alphons, can't have people going around doing that stuff.

I think it was Worcester Crown Court, in the 'nineties, I will try to find it, one of the days.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, mr bungalow bill, no humbling of reality to precepts, I see what you mean, although I mostly feel, How dare there be poets? Do you suppose his precepts were the same as those I abjured? The entire poem, I felt, was a reworking of Hamlet's gravedigger's speech, although I read it but once; I will look at it again, see how it fares, thanks.

Woman on a Raft said...

You are looking for R v Brown & Ors, Mr Ishmael.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Brown

call me ishmael said...

Wow, thanks, mrs woar; you should double your fees.

call me ishmael said...

An interesting legal problem for all concerned, mrs woar, the decriminalisation of sado-masochitic assault-for-pleasure and the validity of personal consent. i suppose I shouldn't but I do agree with the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights that these activities are injurious to the wider public good and that government should therefore be at all times entitled to be conservative and expected to be so for to argue other is to eventually acquiesce in activities just a heartbeat from murder, consensual snuff, I suppose. Just almost kill me, darling, almost, you know I love it.

call me ishmael said...

Dear mr geek, I dunno, it happens to me on my i-thing, sometimes, but not on my laptop; blogger is infuriating but I know no other system and it is too late to stop now, anyway.

Bungalow Bill said...

What I like about him, and Wallace Stevens, is that an imaginative, celebratory atheist view of our living in the world is offered, and without being strident. I understand what you say , or what I understand you to say, about poets as presumptuous shamans but sometimes I find that poetry hits home more deeply than anything, even more than music.

Bungalow Bill said...

Ammons' poem Gravelly Run is the last one I'll mention as worth a look because it will be to the taste of all nature loving atheists. Time to shut up, you don't want this becoming Poetry Corner.

call me ishmael said...

You understand me aright, mr bungalow bill, altough it may be that I am angered by the professional poet, Roger McGough, say, than by the accidental, Sassoon, maybe, or that soldier from a few posts back, Seeger.

mr verge steered me to a Welsh poet, whom I liked, and my old friend, Felix Hodcroft, always had a shrewd sensitivity which would be served only by a poetic rather than a polemical expression. As part of a library job, once, I lunched regularly with people like Wendy Cope and Adrian Mitchell and wondered at their temerity, perhaps unfairly, but they didn't seem terribly bright. And although I like lots of the dead poets, it's just the ME-ness of poet and poem which distracts me from anything they might accidentally be saying.

SG said...

My brain socialist
My heart anarchist
My eyes pacifist
My blood revolutionary

Must have been a good deal of conflict between head and heart, eyes and blood Mr I.

call me ishmael said...

I think that is my point, mr sg, we are all such complex and contradictory combinations dominated by the last thing we saw or heard or read that all our cliches of Self are actually of use only to the obituarist. And he, God knows, is good for fuck all.

SG said...

Obituarists have their uses Mr I.

call me ishmael said...

Only to other obituarists, mr sg; who can know the dead, misrepresented before before they are cold? Bad enough trying to discern the truth of those with a pulse, how much more pointless, entrusting, for enlightenment, to an assemblage of cuttings and memoirs, cut and pasted?

SG said...

Sometimes that is all that is left Mr I.

Woman on a Raft said...

My recommendation is to see the tv series made by Prof David Reynolds: 'The Long Shadow' - his examination of how the view of WWI changed over the century.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04jqxtl

In the first part he tells the story, amongst others, of a mass engagement exercise which was run by a local paper.

mongoose said...

Well, I am afraid that I had never heard of the Spanner Case - although it has a somewhat disconcerting nom de something - and a little queasily, I would tend to think that (real) consent is consent. Even if it widens the spectrum of that up with which others wish to put. Else what's a liberal for, Brother I? We disagree, we would rather that it not, but it is not our business. Though I should say that I mean no disrespect to or belittling of anyone's sorrows, or of the other heartaches to which flesh is heir, if you don't know me by now.

We engineers have to fashion the bullets, you know, and there being only one lifespan for the fashioning, we must mark our targets for maxiumm effect - but needs must as we ourselves have the eyes to see them. We msut all, each of us, trust in the true aim of blokes in the same trench shooting out.

call me ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
call me ishmael said...


The then law lords, mr mongoose, ruled that one may not consent to a criminal act - assault, wounding, GBH - even on oneself; outside of consent to surgery it is simply illegal, seems quite straightforward to me, exemptions to consent. Remember the copper, up in the North country, who said that the 12 year-old entirely consented to her quintuple rape; there is no leeway in the Age of Consent, a fourteen year-old may not consent to intercourse, although the authorities have discretion, especially when the other party is also fourteen but the law is the law and if the law says: you may not perform dangerous and criminal acts upon one another I think that is entirely liberal. I find nothing liberal about one man or men nailing another's foreskin to the workbench. Fuck me, Jesus, that ain't liberal, that's fucking Rabelaisian Satanism.

As for DLT, I am sorry to have disappointed you and shaken our customary alliance. There were only two sentences about him in a lengthy consideration of the dangers of an emphatically over-defined Self, the second of which sentences was compassionate.

As for the unfairness of his public appraisal, well, Janner, Brittan and indeed Savile have not been charged with anything, much less has the evidence been tested in court and adjudicated upon, yet, in these very commentaries you have them convicted, guilty beyond doubt and deserving the sternest penalty.

Now, I entirely agree with your assessment of these individuals, despite its paralegalism.; what is it about my similar assesment of Lee Travis, as he foolishly calls himself, a man who has been charged, tried and convicted in a duly constituted court of law, which makes it so much worse than our collective baying for Jannerblood?

Engineers perforce think in a measured, evidential manner and are thus - maybe only marginally - more likely to think and react more pragmatically than we paranoid romantics; both evidence of the perils attendant upon the perceived Self, which was what I came to talk about; it is a conceit beyond your inevitable tapestries of experience; let us watch how it works, today, in MediaMinster, as we go, again, to war.

Ezra said...

"I find nothing liberal about one man or men nailing another's foreskin to the workbench."
This may be different in Jewish eyes.

call me ishmael said...

They, breeders, used to dock -chop off - the tails of Yorkshire Terriers, one of our Yorkie blokes had suffered this cosmetic torture and used to wag his whole body, God bless him, in greeting; this practice has now been outlawed, the Abrahamists, however, mr ezra, all of them, somehow, are beyond any such civilising. Oh, there will be some pseudo-scientific horse shit supporting this mutilation but it is stone age superstition at work and one day men will marvel at the whole sick business.

call me ishmael said...

Can't help himself, can he, Dave Lee? Raging, blowharding on the steps of the Court, he needs to be careful, a suspended sentence requires blameless conduct during its length, a different judge might have called him back in after those remarks; maybe there is a part of him that wants to go to jail.

Doug Shoulders said...

I believe the bone in the craw of mr mongoose is the fact that Travis wasn’t sent down after the first attempt, but they got him the next time. And why was there another trial for the same crimes?

Similarly with the war rally currently being applied today. Spurious evidence of fuckery going on didn’t work the last time. Let’s try again.

As for trapping your cock in the door for kicks…well..takes all sorts.

call me ishmael said...

I believe a retrial hinges upon a couple of things - a more or less equally-split jury, a corruption or attempted corruption of jurors or a technical error in the trial. I do not think it is as simple as the prosecution being allowed an infinite number of attempts in order to achieve a result. My own observations on Lee Travis are consistent with a healthy scepticiam about Law'n'Order generally, many, many people are deliberately wrongly convicted; I just don't think he was one of them. I also said earlier that it was unlikely and inappropriate that he be jailed but he really should watch his gob, an offender may not profit from his crime and it seems that that is what he is up to, hoping for a paid martyrdom, he should shut his fucking gob.

It is not trapping one's cock in the door which is the offence, it is trapping someone else's, quite right, too.

mongoose said...

What are you like, eh, you guys from up north? No, I do not buy the retrial business in circumstances of hung juries. It is wrong, plain and simple, and I do not care if it is the law. If the bastards cannot agree upon a verdict then there is reasonable doubt and the verdict is not guilty. How difficult can it be?

Consent too, I think, trumps law. Real consent, that is, and not some vile rationalisation or distillation of manoeuvre and control. If a chap really does want his balls nailed to a bit of ply, well who are we to stand in his way, the daft sod? But I do not care about it particularly and we shall not fall out over such esoteric tomfoolery.

You are right however and DLT just yapped his way onto the scaffold list. Gob shut and creep home, you bastard.

Woman on a Raft said...

Polonius was right. I've just taken four huge bags of gaudiness down to the charidee shop. With luck, they may even earn a few pence for a charity which I hope is worth supporting - but I'm crossing my fingers and not looking too hard because they are such a disappointment usually. Can't fix everything.

What I feel now is so much better as the wardrobe doors can shut properly and I'm not in danger of suffocating under a bling-slide. Rich not gaudy - I have a sticky note on the inside of the wardrobe door and another in the purse.

I notice Nigel Farage has decided to take on the dangerous subject of me and my shoe collection. These boots were made for walking, so just watch it, Nige.

call me ishmael said...

An ethics advisory group to the Hermanns' government has just concluded that the law against incest is unfair and violatory; even though the brother'n'sister cases examined had resulted in the births of deformed babies it was felt that since other, non-sibling but abnormal or genetically compromised partnerships were not barred from breeding why should Hans und Lottie SameFamily be discriminated against?

I was wondering, mr mongoose, if, given your hitherto unkown affection for taboo and abomination, you might be moving across the North Sea. I understand that consensual marital mornings commence with close scrutiny of each others defecatory endeavours, Ah, liebschen, look how firm und healthy are mein turds. Ja, Gunther, they are wunderbar, almost good enough to eat for mittegessen. Sounds just the place for a good liberal. Grub up!

call me ishmael said...

Careful, mrs woman on a raft, Polonius was too clever for his own good.

So far I have missed mr fruitcake but I daresay I shall catch up with his devilry.

SG said...

He's just playing to the gallery Mr I - though apparently they were handing out free fruitcake at the conference (maybe a vintage British Rail variety to appeal to the old Labour vote?...) Still, at least they have some sort of sense of humour which is something to be said for them relative to the others I guess. That Labour conference - I wonder if they can 'degrade' themselves any further or is that it? Mission accomplished! That said, having demonstrated their total unfitness for office, they are still likely to get the keys to No. 10 thanks to their rotten boroughs Cameron's attempt to outflank them on the 'Scotia' front notwithstanding.

SG said...

Yes Mr I and Mr Mongoose I tend to agree. I'd been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt for all sorts of reasons, but that outburst in court was like a slip of the mask - very revealing - the loss of control... He would do well to take your respective advice.

call me ishmael said...

Should Murdoch offer him a few pounds he will be telling us all about how he has suffered sheer Hell at the hands of PC loony wimmen. Who couldn't take a joke.