Saturday, 24 December 2016

adeste fidelis

Storm Barbara is battering us, a bit, presently; I think it's still Barbara, although it might be some other bastard;  I guess it's just the ongoing commodification of everything, this baby-talking of Life itself;  I preferred that Beaufort Scale  stuff - Force 10, Gale Force, Storm Force, Hurricane Force and so on but giving storms names probably makes the fuckwit newsreaders feel more important. We have weathered worse and don't usually complain but where once I might have charged out and tried to minimise ongoing property damage, now I just let it rip.  This is just an old shed, down the side of the house, collapsing outside my window,

storing rakes and flower pots and I'd rather let it just blow into the fields than try to go and lash it down. I'll use the timber for something, even for firewood and I'll build a brick one, next time, breeze blocks, anyway.  I say I but I mean some person masquerading as a builder, the world is full of them, even here, in Arcadia, a rusty Transit and a miniature cement mixer doth a builder make, those rudimentary tools and the shameless cheek of the Devil.

We are past the darkest times, now, and the good Earth tilts lightwards;  the daffodils are already peeping through;  last time I counted there were about 5,000 of them, brightening and measuring my days,  there are a few hundred tulips, I suppose, never counted them, and they don't seem to spread as rampantly as the daffs and even though they come later their more exotic colourings - blues and purples and pinks and blacks - define and emphasise the warming Spring.

I love that piece from A Shropshire Lad, about the cherry blossom, and find myself more and more watchful of the seasons, their punctuation of my time.  

A Shropshire Lad  2: Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Christmas, however we denominate it, is a more telling punctuation mark, especially now that its in-house managers and various chief executives so water it down, adapting it to multi-cultiral, multi-genderism;  Oh, such fun we shall have, soon,  when Prince Brian becomes fid-def at large,

 fondling Christianity and Islam simultaneously, nibbling at  Sikhism and Buddhism, spit-roasting himself on a Romano-Greco skewer, reverencing all the angry gods, and none, the useless, selfish, gibbering fathead.

Those of us, though, Godlessheathenbastards, who cannot but love the idea of a Christian Christmas, tinged albeit by an ancient,  highjacked, pagan, cosmological  iconography;  those of us who love the hymns and the liturgy and the prayers, whilst despising both the  slutty celebrants and the showy congregants, those of us who are actually, as recent events have indicated, a quiet, resentful majority, must, in this bleak mid-Winter, wish each other well, for Change, like  Sumer is a cumin in.

Happy Christmas, friends.

Here's a Christmas carol you won't hear on Songs of Praise.
 Tom Waits, his songs of Love battered and abused though resilient, is what Leonard Cohen might have been, if only he hadn't been so fucking prissy. And if he'd been a musician.


Bungalow Bill said...

Beautiful, and holy, thanks. Happy Christmas to you too, Mr I, and to all on here.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that and a boot in the nuts of any cheeky swine who utters "the community of those without faith."

Five thousand Orkney daffodils...where's Wordsworth when you need the bastard?

cheers, to Mr Smith & all who gather here...


callmeishmael said...

There is something in Tom Waits' Philip Marloweish madcap jivetalk which echoes and amplifies the more formally sacred. I was just watching Alan Bennet, talking about himself for money, like he does, and I feel sure that had he heard Tom Waits as well as Bach and Chopin he would have written things rather more appealing, more useful than his customary, wretched petulance. Happy Christmas, mr bungalow bill.

call me ishmael said...

Were I you, mr verge, I'd be off down the Minster, sharpish, for some good tunes and a toothy handclasp from Archbishop John. After more than a decade St Magnus cathedral in Kirkwall seems terribly limited. Times like these that we miss the big city, its saints and sinners, their midnight drunken voices harmonising lustily and with good courage. I will post some daffodil pictures, by and by. Happy Christmas.

Caratacus said...

Sad to hear of Barbera's depredations viz. your shed, Mr. I; here in Devon we have been barely touched. There was a brief gust which made it necessary for the hen next door to lay the same egg twice, and my arrows were even more all over the bloody place than usual up at the range, but beyond that hardly anything of note.

Well, I notice that the contents of the whisky bottle appear to have evaporated before I had a chance to get to grips with them so I had better totter off and await the rigours of the morn ... Happy Christmas to one and all. I really cannot emphasise how much I enjoy this hallowed site; there are times when I nearly weep with laughter, and times when I am left speechless by just how little I know and have yet to learn.

Woman on a Raft said...

I have always hoped to see the sunset at the solstice (technically a few hours after it) at Sto-nenge. Not this year but maybe next. The area tends to have a clear sky reasonably reliably; it is sunset of choice. Then there are three dark days and by Christmas morning the sun has been 'reborn'.

But I saw a fantastic sunrise over the Hambleton hills, so flamboyant that it looked as if the sky was a tropical cocktail poured in to a silvered glass.

mrs narcolept said...

I never could listen to Leonard Cohen, not even as a teenager when all my friends were playing Suzanne. Fifty springs seemed an eternity then.

Waes Hael to all here, and I hope, mr ishmael, the storms pass safely.

Now I shall try to prove I am not a robot.

Mike said...

It already Christmas day down here. 10.50 am clear blue sky and 28 degrees, with a nice light ocean breeze. Always seems odd to be cooking turkey at this time of year. I think we still get the Queen's message? Went for a walk at 6.30 for a couple of hours along the foreshore; greetings and best wishes from passers by, all-in-all good feelings abound.

Best wishes to all.

call me ishmael said...

Yeah, me, too, king caratacus.

Just mrs ishmael, myself and my little warm, brown friend, Harris, so not too rigourous a morn, and no beast-parts or birds to roast; toyed with the idea of a Feasting/Holy Day leg of lamb or turkey crown but I can't even manage a boiled egg, these vegetarian days. I keep buying champagne, for when some utter bastard, monarch, prelate or light entertainer dies, yet can never manage to waste a bottle on, say, David Bowie or Ronnie Corbett. I will maybe try to drink some of that stash to mark the Christmastide, although I must keep some back, in case some purifying virus engulfs Sandringham and its occupants; the Queen is dead, and so is the King, and the other one, the whole gang is toast, long live the republic.

Happy Christmas to you and the mem sahib.

call me ishmael said...

Never done any of that, mrs woar. My old friend, Hodcroft, the poet, used to take me to the Lakes, to Be with the Stones, and I am now surrounded by stones, here. I have my brother's ashes, on the shelf, and keep meaning to scatter them at the Ring of Brodgar, I am sure his wouldn't be the first, this last five thousand years; maybe if I do that I might take things, the Neolithic and the Cosmos, a bit more seriously. I draw the line, however, at learning Elveish, to which purpose amny migrants are drawn here; honest, not invent.

Is there a mainbrace to be spliced on a raft? Happy Christmas, anyway, to you and your crew, moored just alongside Reality.

call me ishmael said...

Well, you managed, mrs narcolept, it is the very devil, isn't it, that stuff; I have to do it from the i-thing and it reduces me to tears of rage.

When he died I tried doodling those early Cohen songs and was surprised by how very alike they all were, musically. I think it was his early producer, Jac Holzman, who advised him to play that nylon-strung guitar, rather than a proper one, shame he didn't teach him a few more chords and time signatures. He would, however, I am sure, have made a good, if sexually predatory English teacher.

I trust that mr n, moved by the spirit of the festival, has removed his Harley-Davidson from the bathtub. Happy Christmas to you and he and all at your hearth and table.

call me ishmael said...

Happy Christmas morning, mr mike, to you, mrs mike and Pug. I don't do so much up all night leaning on the window sill, these days, but when I do it's always a joy to know that, starting the day on the other side of the world, you are as pissed-off as I by the doings of Ruin and his army of servants.

Oldrightie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oldrightie said...

I love Christmas. Told the Rev ce soir how I prayed Vlad could help bring peace to Aleppo for Christmas. He did but Rev was miffed.

Your post, Ish, moving, you silly old glorious fart.

call me ishmael said...

Not so much of the glorious, thank you very much, mr oldrightie. I am glad that at least one of us went to church. I asked mrs ishmael, a convent-school girl, if she wanted to go tomorrow; well, she responded, if YOU want to go I will certainly accompany you. Quite reaonably, I took that as a No.

I hope you continue to love Christmas and I add my good wishes to your celebrations.

Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas my dear fellow, and best wishes, and thanks for the shaing of the talented writing.
Good luck.

call me ishmael said...

Gosh, everyone is up late or early; Good happy Christmas morning to you, mr richard.

yardarm said...

Well, the axis have tilted and I`ll be looking for the buds and blossom on the trees in the park behind the house. One`s location must influence one`s reflections on the Eternal. You have the megaliths and barrows, the storm roaring up from the ocean and that great sky reflected in the mighty Flow, the silent, eerie aurora.

And if the rotten fucking harridan Gnasher continues whining for UDI I hope you berserkers and jarls tell her to fuck off, give her woad daubed transvestites the old burning boat treatment in the Flow and hoist your own flag. Sauce for the goose, etc.

Here in Mr King Caractucus`s realm of Devon its warm and drizzly and Ill soon kindle the Giule log and drink damnation to Ruin and the Regiments of the Ungodly. Merry Christmas Mr Ishmael and to all.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr yardarm, a sturdy toast, yours, Damnation. She is determinedly on the wrong road, Gnasher, sliding in the polls, estranged from Change's reality, either an unhorsed Merkel or the prospect of a steel border at Gretna Green will swiftly silence the Tribesmen's bitter caterwauling and further foul her angry wee soul. We must not let her like disrupt our comradeship; a cruel pox on all of their innards and a Hail, fellow, well met, to each other. Happy Christmas, brother yardarm.

SG said...

Thank You for all your tremendous work over the year Mr I, with which I have been keeping up to speed, but frustratingly unable to comment on readily as my I-Pad is no longer able to get past the Captcha gatekeeper (not your doing, I know - guess I should have asked Father Christmas for a new one!). Here's another of Tom Waits' 'carols' - more aimed at Easter perhaps - but captures perfectly the faux spirit of Christmas to which you allude:

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to you, Mrs I and all the other 'regulars' (or maybe that should be 'irregulars'!) here present.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs WoaR, the funny thing about LC is that some of his stuff, on the page, isn't bad. If you get a chance to leaf through his "Book of Longing", for example, "Boogie Street" and "Thousand Kisses Deep" are pretty good poems.

As for Sandringham and your champagne stash, Mr Ish, no better New Year's gift can I imagine than your having cause to pop the lot.



call me ishmael said...

Thanks mr sg, I had wondered where you were. It seems a bit random, that gatekeeping thing. I just kept cursing and bashing at it, going backwards and forwards, until it finally worked. Cracked the screen but a bit of surgical tape does the trick. Have missed your input, would one of those cheap Kindles not work? Happy Christmas, anyway, to you and your kin, and thanks for your support and assistance. I will listen to Maestro Waits in the wee, small hours, when chiding Memory creeps, and sometimes Death.

call me ishmael said...

I liked his novel, mr verge, Beatiful Losers, and I am sure mrs narcolept would, too.

Oh what a feast we will see, when Brenda takes carriage to Satan Central. I saw The Windsors, Harry Enfield and others grievously lampooning the other members of the Firm but not Phil and his Mrs and wondered if there is a self-censoring among showbiz, too timid to attack the monarchy proper, in its time of dying. The Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie may well be greedy, idle sluts, like their parents, but they are small beer compared with their vile granny.

alphons said...

Phil and his Mrs, and the rest of the tribe, are in a position that can only be viewed with pity. They are certainly financially secure and can live a life of relative ease, but the poor sods are strapped firmly to a "tradition" that is awash with more bullshit and falsehood than should be forced upon anyone. They are nothing but puppets.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for gently pointing out my error - Mrs Narcolept, yes - I didn't see there were two separate comments.

Two Christmas clerihews:

Princess Anne
is not a man.
Nor, of course,
is she a horse.


I imagine Prince Philip
is hung like a whip:
long and thin
and mean as sin.



call me ishmael said...

They have always been at liberty, m alphons, to reduce or abandon their roles, tnere are none of us compelled to remain in our birth circumstances, that this gang of depraved hedonists insults us daily, gibbering about service and sacrifice, whilst fondling Savile and Epstein should have seen them banished back to Germany, long ago.

call me ishmael said...

Stand easy, ensign verge, it is a mistake I often make, hard to maintain several strands of conversation.

I will, as usual, have to sleep on your filthy wordplay.

Anne, in the Windsors, was a ruthless tour de force by writer and performer, even more horrid than as she was described by the lovely Lady Imelda Blair.

Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas Mr Smith. Seriously, people learning elveish? Wankers!


call me ishmael said...

THank you, mr dick, and best wishes to you and your kin, at what must be a time of hard travelling. I came to learn elvish, honst, not invent