Sunday 14 May 2023

The Sunday Ishmael : 14/05/2023

You are an utter cunt, aren't you.....good, as the plumbers say, for fuck all?

With respect, that's not the question that people are asking, the question that people are asking is which party is doing the most to deal with the recession which started in America and which no-one, absolutely no-one, apart from the man in the street, but no-one of any importance saw coming and we, the men in the armoured limousines and bombproof pensions can't be blamed for, any more than we can be blamed for fiddling our expenses which none of us were, only a few who have been paid off and agreed to be made an example of; that those of us who make the important decisions are entirely protected from those consequences, be it the two so-called main parties voting, at Mr Alistair Campbell's insistence, for the Iraq Holocaust or be it all the politicians voting for giving the banks all the people's money, well, this is the right thing then, the right decision for the country and all honourable and right honourable members are determined that I should be elected prime minister, or if not me, one of them, which, as you know,  amounts to the same thing. The main thing which you and I are agreed upon is that we shall fight to the last man to keep the legislature out of the filthy hands of ordinary people, who know nothing, least of all what is good for them. Vote for me. Or if not me, some other mad, wicked bastard.

 So, prime minister, what you are saying is that it doesn't really matter who wins the election. Or even if we have one or not ?

Well, yes, exactly,  not to us anyway. You've made a pot, I've made a pot, all our friends have made shitloads of money, we will continue, even me, to rake it in, media, politics, law, business, all one big happy greedy family, you don't think an election's gonna change any of that now, don't be fucking stupid.

Ishmael Smith, 13/09/2009 "Vote for me, its the right Sol-u-shon"

Alistair Campbell, Alex Phillips and Victoria Derbyshire on 11/05/23

 Alistair Campbell, Keighley lad,  has written yet another book. Published on 11th May 2023 and available on Amazon  in hardback at £17.27. Which is why, presumably, he appeared on BBC's Newsnight that night to publicise it. He succeeded in insulting and patronising his fellow guest, Alex Phillips, adviser to the Reform Party, former MEP and Brexiteer. Campbell led with the Brexit “lies” such as the millions which were expected to go to the NHS once the UK left the EU, leaving the field open for Phillips to attempt a blow with: “It’s very rich from the man who essentially was part of telling lies to invade a country to accuse me of dishonesty.”
Campbell loftily ignored the Dodgy Dossier attack and threw in: 
 “I think you might have lost the argument there, my dear.” Adding: ”If I may patronise you any more.” Rapidly following with: “When I say you talk nonsense – let me finish,” driving presenter Victoria Derbyshire to attempt to cut him off, saying: “That’s it now, I’m afraid,” 
But Malcolm Tucker Campbell replied: “No. I’m sorry, you bring these people on – you never challenge them. You let them talk utter rubbish about Brexit.
“And it has happened on the BBC for year after year after year.”
Derbyshire said: “I am not going to take that from you, with respect, Mr Campbell.”
“Fine, fine,” Campbell said. “Well, you don’t have to.”
But, whilst the camera was still on him and his mic was still on, he muttered:  “For God’s sake.”
What of his book? Is it any good? Charlotte Ivers, reviewing it in  The Sunday Times the next day, seemed to think not. Campbell is keen to reverse Brexit and apostrophise those who support it as dunderheads, and is deeply irritated by people who just won't be persuaded by his arguments and just bang on about the illegal war he helped bring about. Here's a quote: “Before anyone shouts, ‘Pot. Kettle. Black’ and ‘Iraq’, as happens occasionally on social media when I tackle the phenomenon of Johnson the liar, I merely point you to the several official and parliamentary inquiries that took place, none of which concluded that I lied,” he writes. 
Charlotte Ivers concludes her review: "I’m sorry. Iraq is one thing, but that writing really is unforgivable."
Good to know that Campbell hasn't lost that certain touch that so distinguished him as the Labour spin doctor:
Best have a palate-cleanser after that:

By bole and bough, still black with rain
The sunlight filtered where it would
Across a glowing, radiant stain—
We stood within a bluebell wood!

 In July and August, 2013, mr ishmael did not post at all. He had developed a serious medical condition - a complication of his diabetes, and those months were a nightmare of illness, hospitalisation in Orkney and Aberdeen, surgical intervention and heavy-duty pain killers. His illness was the reason for his absence from Call Me Ishmael. In September, he drafted this account of his sickness absence. As you can see, he debated with himself whether it was mannerly to publish it. I think he either decided not to, or things just drifted away from him, but I can't find it in the published posts. editor mr verge anthologised it from the Drafts in Ishmael's Blues, so here it is for those who have yet to purchase a copy. 


As it says on my tin, sort-of, What can you do, when you don't know what to do? I  don't know about Internet conventions.  The Internet is too new, too vast, too fast to have  developed conventions  and such mannerliness as  has been imposed by crewcut, bulletheaded billionaire IT wunderkind is only about protecting themselves from litigation and increasing their already preposterous and technically unearned incomes - this is the only business in which the customer provides the product and is charged for it by the person providing the platform or shop window - and is absolutely fuck all to do with Decency.
Bearing in mind  that the Internet's major discourse is upon the subject of the digitised reproduction of largely degenerate and unhealthy, even dangerous and rightly illegal sexual activity, it seems, in any event, contradictory to be seeking, within the same medium, a lasting code or codes of conduct. PornoWeb, the final frontier.  Whither manners, amid doggysex and wall-to-wall gangbanging?
I used to have an ongoing occasional discussion with Mr PT Barnum about all this, about the nature of cyber relationships - the sort which we have in Ishmaelia. And before that I debated it with Mr 45 Govt and others. What's real here, who's real here? What is going on here and why is it going on? Their virtual  reality and its inhabitants were to all intents and purposes virtually real, as real as real reality. 
Since my young friend stanislav and I first  started commenting over at Col von Fawkes's house of blood, I have always used other commenters' titles and struggled for a politeness, even amongst the  bilious shitstorm of late-night ranting redneckery.  But that wasn't and still isn't a protocol,  certainly isn't etiquette. Etiquette is shit.  
The Naked Civil Servant, the late Quentin Crisp, wrote a truly lovely book called Manners From Heaven, excoriating Etiquette as a system of petty obstacles devised to Keep People Out - you know, if you don't know which fork to use, my dear,  you simply shouldn't be here, just cuntishness,  Good Lord, one simply never passes the port from the left, or is it the right?  Manners, however, maintained, Quentin, our greatest stately homo,  were about Welcoming People In,  manners are the practice of Grace.
 How much, I have been wondering, of my illness and absence is it appropriate, good manners, to disclose, here, in these quarters.  This isn't a medical blog.  Amongst millions of words  I doubt if more than a few thousand have been about my health - and even when they have been, they have been light-hearted.  This, however, although it could be construed initially as a bit trivial -  a bad foot, so what ?  - is as ill as I have ever been and had, has still, the potential to kill or woefully cripple me,  people with my condition die from this shit every day of the week.
What should I say, then,  to people who have extended me sincere good wishes, who are friends in all but corporeality, how does one proceed with Grace?
I don't think I should ignore my own absence from here, even though Here doesn't exist or if it does exist, I don't know the Whereness of its Hereness;  I can be certain only of its Whenness.  As  to the Whoness or the Youness of those Here who are not me, well, some, the commenters, define their reality by the act of commenting, although far more visit regularly without commenting; this, of course, is a comment in itself.
 Both groups, however, I decided, are entitled to an explanation of my absence.  On the one horn of my dilemma is just  tact - who wants to hear about another's ill health, for fucks sake - and on the other is the recognition of the fact that, however much I eschew the notion,  it is the course of, for want of a better phrase, my personal life, and thus, inescapably, my health, which informs,   corrects and edits  these commentaries.  
It's tricky, though, on the one hand  this and on the other hand that. On the subject of dilemmas, Robert Persig counselled Don't ever  take the bull by the horns for you can never release one or both of them without being gored, instead, snatch a handful of sand, fling it in the bull's eyes and run like Hell.

I'll just write it down, briefly, with the advice that it is not for the squeamish.
What happened was that I had  the sole of my foot surgically removed, filleted and partially re-attached, leaving a gap between the arch of my foot and the back of my heel,  this gap was down to the white, glistening bone and the foot was not expected to heal.  Off with his foot! was the chorus of the local surgeon butcherbastards. 

I was rescued by my GP, bless her, who flew me to the burns and plastics unit of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which was  the department which dealt with the Piper Alpha disaster-fuck-up-massacree,  where the surgeons decided that a graft would be necessary to link the front and back of my foot,  said graft to come from my thigh and be augmented with a compound of powdered shark cartilage. 

 Before any of that could happen, however,  I need to have my femoral artery widened by angioplasty and the wound would need to heal, at least somewhat.  I was discharged home as an outpatient and here I sleep downstairs in the library and am seen daily by some very skilled  community nurses.  The wound has healed swiftly and beyond anyone's most optimistic predictions.  Anyone's but mine. 

As all should, I believe I can survive anything; it is only such unreasonable  belief that urged us from the sea, up the shore, into the trees and caves and possibly to the stars; fuck pragmatism, we're the fishmen and  the sea apes.

Flesh has grown where it was not expected to and deeply scarred tissue has knitted together;  the remnant of my heel which had protruded backwards grotequely at forty-five degrees, is now neatly cupped,  rounded, as before. This, apparently, should not have happened.  I have had Type 1 diabetes for thirty years and healing, even of a shaving cut, is notoriously slow;  my GP and the nursing team are pleasantly surprised and I am due to have  the arterial surgery in a few days. 

 I don't know how long it will take, thereafter, for the graft to take place nor how long that will take to heal.  I don't even know if I will go for a graft, so well is the wound now healing. It doesn't matter,  for there is now a realistic prospect of my having a usable foot,  rather than, as local experts preferred, a stump.  

I fucking well hate those fucking arseholeing mongreldog bastards;  rather than exploring every avenue, they do this butchering  at the drop of a hat, it's what they do, a mindset as dull and restricted as that of the physicians of old who swore by bleeding the patient half to death, as wickedly indifferent and cruel as that of the early psychiatrists,  who would affix a  budgerigar cage to the shaved head of a mentally impaired patient, in the firm belief that the  tormented bird's feet, scratching on the poor sufferer's head would excise the madness.  Oh, yes, you'll be much better without that nasty old leg, they now say, you'll be much better, you'll see, trust me, I'm a doctor.

And someone weaker than I, someone without my personal support and resources, someone less bloody-minded, less antagonistic  and notably someone without a dynamic GP would, in the face of arrogant, professional opinion be fucked; they get fucked everyday, some smirking cunt chopping their leg off.

When not confined to  bed I have been in a wheelchair and it is devilish shit; I don't think I could tolerate it permanently, never mind play sports in it,  I know that many do  and God bless them but I think I would be starting a local, pop-up, one-use-only branch of Dignitas.  I don't say that lightly,  I have had dark, dark moments and thought-through a limbless life,  a sea of troubles if ever there was one.  Mrs Ishmael and I have been joined together in holy deadlock some, I dunno,  thirty, thirty-five years and that's a hard conversation to have but have it we have.

I have also been narcotised and sedated a lot of the time. If someone had said to me in my twenties, herey'are, Ishmael, as much Morphine as you want,  just knock it back and if that doesn't work, just have some more, well,  I guess I might've been pleased,  Morphine is very nice,  a lovely feeling of wellbeing, but only for a short space of time,  addiction comes quickly and fuck the Rolling Stones and their Sweet Sister Morphine, drug addiction is rubbish.  But there is good drug addiction and bad drug addiction - if one is taking stuff for pain rather than for fun, it is said to be easier to stop.

I didn't have any choice but to become addicted but I make a bit of leeway;  sometimes, for a few days, I'm able to go back, instead, on Tramadol - bad enough - and Paracetemol and endure - accept - the feeling that, like some mediaeval self-flagellant, I am worthily paying a ruthless fixed penalty for earlier sins. 

Pain, no longer occasional, is now just part of the furniture of being. 
Try  to stay healthy, it is easier than it has ever been, and keep yourselves from the grubby hands of charlatans, bullies, floozies and dunderheads. Eat well, exercise, don't fucking smoke and if you like it, work out a relationship with booze, one that isn't guaranteed to destroy your vital organs - it will mean much less consumption than, initially, you would like;  buy the best stuff you can afford and drink less of it, occasionally, after dark  and among the voices of friends. If you have any. They're not compulsory,  not now that we can have virtual companionship

 If you contract a chronic illness, inform yourself from the good websites - New England Journal of Medicine, for instance.  Challenge your specialists, they can be wrong or misinformed, if they're any good, they won't mind your questions.  Just Fuck all those self-help groups, miserable, shambling groups of diabetics and cancerees, all with their heads up Infirmity's arse, jumble-saleing and coffee-morninging like legless Napoleonic Wars troopers, selling matches and begging.
Answers to Anagrammatical Excess 
with thanks to mr verge, the House Filthster.

strangled hitch-hiker (King Charles the Third)
canonical queers molt (Camilla Queen Consort)
onions tempt rampant playboy (tampons by Royal Appointment)
tint my sewers, babe (Westminster Abbey)
roofers give Halal scone to very hot Duchess (the sovereign's escort of household cavalry)
acid-head once ate butthole jism (the Diamond Jubilee State Coach)
Bob, a high church arse, recites pony fart (his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury) 
they won't be swearing on a Torah, to coin a phrase (coronation oath)
sect-drawn sword (St Edward's crown)
otiose pussy or a dukedom (makes you proud, so it does)

No updates from mr mike on his pilgrimage. I'm confident he's ok, just outwith technological communication with the world.

The three volumes of  mr ishmael's Collected Works, selected, edited and anthologised by mr verge, the House Filthster, are now available.  

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.

Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.


mongoose said...

Campbell did not cover himself with glory, mrs i. What a ghastly bugger he is. I am surprised that he does not get a punch in the gob sometimes. A rude little bastard and no mistake.

My bluebells have finally managed to assert themselves this year. A very nice display along the hedge and fence. I have transplanted a few to the end of the garden where it s shady. Perhaps they will start to encroach now across the patch of moss that we jokingly refer to as "the lawn".

Anonymous said...

Likewise here in the North, mr mongoose - cutting the grass is more and more a case these days of shaving the moss. But you have to try.



mongoose said...

Project 2, mr v, is lavender all along the south-facing edge. A very heavy 2 week frost killed 3/4 of my cuttings but I still have 15 maybe. Another similar amount and in a couple of years, I'll almost have the garden as I have seen it in my mind these last 30 years. The "lawn"? Well, I despair.

mrs ishmael said...

Can I recommend snakes head fritillaries? I came to them late in life, to my regret. They are just gorgeous and perfectly complement bluebells. And the name is most elegant.

Bungalow Bill said...

Dazzling on all fronts, Mrs I. Thanks for the nature pics.

Mr I composing that from where he was, remarkable.

mrs ishmael said...

Remarkable is an apt description, mr bungalow bill. He suffered a great deal with a range of diabetic complications, but he was very brave, determined to carry on as normal, and a great writer and satirist.