Google+ A Tangled Rope: 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Full-Frontal Accountancy

"Are those really your spatulas, uncle?"

He nodded, slowly.

"Would you tell me again the story of how you used them to navigate across the Sea of Discarded Underpants, and how you met my auntie, who was then but a poor ignorant native living in a tribe that knew little of double-entry book-keeping?"

"Well, lad I remember how the canoe capsized in a crocodile-infested stretch of the Lower Lumbago." He stared off into the distance. "It was carnage. The horror! The horror!"

He shifted in his seat, moving from quoted speech to direct first-person narrative.

Out of a party of seven, I was the only one to reach the shore alive. Even then, I had a crocodile bite the size of a telephone directory in my upper left thigh.

Fortunately, the canoe drifted towards the bank of the river where I lay. I managed to crawl towards it so that I could get a hand on it. I dragged it all the way up the bank away from the river and the crocodiles.

The only other things I was able to salvage were the cooking utensils, first aid pack and a bag of flour.

Anyway, a few days later - once my leg had begun to heal - I set off in the canoe once again, looking for food and safety. Those spatulas were the only thing I had I could use as paddles. Anyway, a few days later, I rounded a bend in the river and there she was.

She was - as you know - a member of the Calkulatori - the only indigenous tribe of nomadic Chartered Accountants in the whole of the Lumbago rainforest.

"But, uncle," I said, dragging him out of his first-person narrative. "How could they have been accountants without any real understanding of double-entry bookkeeping?"

"Ah, young Trouserweasel," he said, ruminatively, staring into the dying embers of the fire. "It is a mystery," he said at last. "A mystery that has taxed finer minds than mine." He was silent for a while. The clock struck loud in the silence. It was way past my bedtime.

"Accountancy," He said, long after I thought he had forgotten my presence beside his seat. "Accountancy is a dark and secret art, my boy. I can see that you are young, keen, eager to sample the fuller deeper tastes of adulthood, but accountancy is a heady brew, especially for the young." He turned his wise old eyes to look deep into mine. "I know what it is like to be young," he said. "After all, I was young once. A long time ago now. But I remember back at school staying up late at night in the dorm whispering about double-entry bookkeeping, unfilled tax-returns, order-books, filing systems and… yes, even petty cash receipts."

"G…. Gosh!" I exclaimed in awe. Never before had a grown-up spoke to me of such adult matters.

"Have I shocked you, boy?" uncle Toadgasket said.

"Oh… er… no," I said hastily trying to appear grown-up, a man of the world. "We… do… know… about… er…. One of the masters, last term, told us all about…." I tried to fight back the blush I felt spreading up from my neck to cover my face, I looked away from my uncle. "….Business S… s…. studies."

My uncle nodded indulgently. "Don't be ashamed, my lad." He stroked my shoulder reassuringly. "I'm glad to hear it. Why back in my day a boy could be sent down for mere possession of a manila envelope. They said that auditing would make you grow blind and that checking receipts would make hairs grow on the palms of your hands and other nonsense like that. Think yourself lucky that you live in such enlightened times." He was silent again, his hand resting on my shoulder. Suddenly, he roused himself and looked at the clock. "Anyway, my boy," he said brightly, struggling to his feet. "It is way past your bed time. Come on. Get to bed now."

I thought for a moment about all those questions I had, the questions all young boys have, about the dark and seriously adult world of business: what were invoices? Was Human Resources as wildly romantic as it sounded? Time and motion studies - I shivered at just the thought of it. But one glance at my uncle and his refusal to look back at me told me the moment had passed.

Sighing I turned towards the door and the stairs to my bedroom.

"Oh, young Trouserweasel?"

"Yes?" I turned back to him, maybe he would tell me what Sales Reps really did, or something like that.

"Do much buggery at school, do you?"

I felt my shoulders sag, deflated. "Oh, yes, lots," I said without enthusiasm. How ordinary the dull routine of day-to-day school life seemed, now that I'd had a glimpse into the real world of adulthood.

"Oh, right, Good show," my uncle said, in that falsely cheery way that adults speak to children. "Keep it up. I was House Captain of the hand-jobs team in my day, you know?"

I nodded back at him without enthusiasm and looked down at the carpet.

He came towards me. "Look, about what we were talking about earlier."

I nodded without looking up at him.

"Well, keep it to yourself, all right? All right?"

I nodded again, turning towards the door once again.

"I… I…. If you're interested I have some old ledgers you could have a look at… tonight… in bed?"

I turned to see him grinning broadly at me. I almost ran towards him as he held the dusty old tomes out towards me. I couldn't wait. I began to open one of them, there, right in front of him. I just managed my first ever glimpse of a column of figures. I felt my stomach churn with excitement.

"No, no, lad," he said, slamming the cover closed. "Take them upstairs with you. There are some things best done in privacy… if you know what I mean?"

I looked up at his kind old face. He winked.

"Yes… yes," I nodded wisely. "Of course." I felt there ought to be something else I could say, but I was too eager to be off to my bedroom where I would open those ledgers that seemed now so hot and heavy in my hand and- at long last - see some full-frontal accountancy figures in all their naked glory.

At the door, I turned to look back at my uncle. I nodded towards the ledgers in my hand. "Th…thank you," I said, turned and - once out of his sight - ran for the stairs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Case FOR ID Cards

In an announcement today, the UK government said that ID cards would be introduced as soon as possible, despite overwhelming opposition to the idea, stating, 'these cards are vital for those people who sometimes forget who they are.'

The statement added that the cards would be both compulsory and mandatory for all citizens of the UK, going on to say that, 'whenever committing a crime, criminals will have to show their ID cards to their victims to prove that they are a legitimate British criminal, and not some just some illegal chancer from abroad.' This is seen by some commentators as a response to the Prime Minister’s recent call for ‘British criminals for British crimes’. Failure to disclose proof of identity while committing any crime could result in a fine of up to £5. However, there are rumours that the government is thinking of introducing special 'short stay' ID cards for foreign criminals, such as international terrorists, who only envisage staying in this country for a limited period.

In an exclusive interview with ATR, Jackboots Lockemup, the Home Secretary said, 'the the criminal fraternity's refusal to carry any form of ID, in the past, has meant that we waste many hours of police time on establishing the identity of criminals before we can even think about locking them up. In this day and age, it will simply not do. The police have far more important things to do for me than hunt for criminals. Frankly, the criminals must learn to abide by the law, if they want to go on committing crimes. They must learn that the only people above the law are politicians.'

'Speaking of which,' she continued, 'No longer will Very Important People - like myself - be greeted by ridicule from petty-minded jobsworths when we - not unreasonably - demand 'Do you know who I am?' when faced with their niggling attempts to sidetrack us from our important drinki…er… government business.'

At a recent press conference, Deadeye Prolestrangler, the Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police demonstrated another advantage of ID cards. 'The massive increase in bureaucracy,' the Chief Inspector claimed, 'means that, once these ID cards are introduced, my men will have another excuse for spending the majority of their shift in front of the computer in a nice warm and cosy office, instead of out on the street. My officers prefer not to go anywhere where they may have to interact with members of the public, or even - in extreme situations - criminals some of whom can be dangerous and could cost us several thousands of pounds in compensation payments of one form or another.'

The Chief Constable later added, 'Of course, this massive increase in bureaucracy will mean that I will have to have a much larger staff of my own. Which means employing lots of new young policewomen in their sexy unifor… er… where was I? Oh, yes. With the huge amount of extra data that these cards will produce just think of the number of pretty-but-useless graphs and charts we can use to brighten up our press releases!'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

[Non-fiction – Science 2008]

There is the old cliché ‘some books will change your life’ – this book isn’t one of them. However, this book will change the way that you look at a very significant part of the world, specifically the ‘science’ stories in the media, and the claims made by those that inhabit the fringes of science – such as the pedlars of so-called ‘alternative medicine’.

As Goldacre says:

I would go further, and argue that science itself works very badly as a news story: it is by its very nature a subject for the ’features’ section, because it does not generally move ahead by sudden, epoch-making breakthroughs. It moves ahead by gradually emergent themes and theories, supported by a raft of evidence from a number of different disciplines on a number of different explanatory levels. Yet the media remain obsessed with ‘new breakthroughs’.

I suppose a splendid example of this media attitude to science was the recent, well, hysteria might be slightly too strong a word, but certainly the media coverage of the ‘switching on’ of the Large Hadron Collider’ seemed to be rather over the top. Especially as the LHC exists for a series of experiments that will probably take several years to resolve even the questions the scientists want to ask of the experiments they do, let alone the conclusions they eventually draw from them.

The media does though, distort every story it reports on, often by becoming part of the story itself, not just in science reporting, but throughout the news landscape from politics through, economics to wars, famines and the lost cat and ‘grip and grin’ photos in your local free sheet. An example would be the role of the BBC’s Business editor, Robert Peston is the recent credit crunch ho-ha, as to what extent he was merely reporting, or actually creating, the news stories he was involved in.

Human beings, though, do have a – perhaps innate – predilection for stories, for narrative. Therefore, for the media, if a science story can be shoe-horned into a particular narrative structure, then it stands more chance of getting published. Hence the media’s love of the ‘maverick’ story, where one person stands alone against the prevailing consensus or conventional wisdom. One of these tales told by the media was, of course, that of Andrew Wakefield and his – now totally discredited (not that it had much credibility to begin with) – claim that the MMR jab ‘caused’ autism. It has now become clear that the media’s slipshod reporting of this totally-invented ‘controversy’. (A ‘controversy’ is another of the media’s tropes for turning events into narrative, creating drama between the ‘opposing views’ – sometimes you can sense the disappointment when two people brought onto some news programme fail to disagree dramatically enough for the programme-makers.) The result of this promotion of what was – at best - a non-story about some seriously flawed, if not dubious, research has resulted in the return of measles as a serious threat to public health.

As a medical doctor Goldacre does, in this highly entertaining and thought-provoking book, tend to concentrate on health stories rather than science in general, but then so does the mainstream media. He totally destroys what little credibility those on the fringes of medicine, the ‘alternative therapists’, ‘nutritionists’ , homeopaths and others of that ilk have managed to wangle for themselves, mainly through the media’s over-credulous reporting of their scams and shenanigans. It is for this robust debunking of the charlatans and con-artists (sometimes seemingly even conning themselves as much as their punters) that I regard this book as a must-read for everyone. In fact, it would make sense for doctors to prescribe this book for many of their patients – especially the ‘worried-well’, if only for the way Goldacre shares his fascination for the wondrous delights of the placebo effect. In short, go out and get yourself a copy of this marvellous book and read it as soon as you can. In the meantime, Goldacre’s Bad Science website should be a regular port of call for everyone.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Poem: She Was The One

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

She Was The One

She was the one
who didn't let the day go.

She was the one
who held time so tightly.

She was the one
who wouldn't let the weeks go by.

She was the one
who saved up, stored,
all her hours and minutes.

She was the one
who opened up her precious
box of hoarded days
to find they had all gone.

Evaporated, dissolved into the past.
Leaving behind only the small
dull stain of her wasted life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Are You Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll?

All Right kids!

Are you ready to rock ‘n’ roll?

In which case please:

  • fill out the appropriate release forms
  • make sure you are wearing a high visibility boogie-woogie jacket
  • for those attempting heavy metal please be advised that hard rock hats must be worn in all areas
  • Be advised that all rock music is © The Devil and therefore the Management ™ cannot be held responsible for the loss or sale of any patron’s soul
  • If necessary please take the rock ‘n’ roll doctor’s advice before proceeding
  • Any suspected case of dance fever should be reported to the rock ’n’ roll nurse immediately
  • Please note that doing the funky chicken contravenes several EU animal welfare directives.
  • In case of fire, please take the Stairway To Heaven rather than use the lifts.
  • Rockin’ all night long is now no longer possible under safety legislation that prevents anyone rockin’ for more than 2 hours without a twenty-minute break
  • Goodness Gracious, those suffering an attack of ‘Great Balls of Fire’ should seek immediate medical attention
  • Do NOT step on my blue suede shoes
  • In The Midnight Hour is now classed as unsociable hours working and therefore ‘doing all the things I told you’ will be charged at double time
  • Any Foxy Lady found on the premises will be quarantined as a precaution against rabies
  • You cannot Light My Fire without a permit.
  • Eight Days A Week contravenes the EU Working Times Directive

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is Religion A Form Of Ideology, Or Is Ideology A Form Of Religion?

The smugly religious often claim that a ‘godless’ society would never work, often pointing to those they like to claim were atheist societies: namely communism and fascism, and claiming the ‘godlessness’ of those societies was a major – if not the major - reason for their ultimate downfall. However, anything beyond a cursory glance at those societies, at any totalitarian society, shows just how much such ideologies have in common with religions. In fact, seeing them as forms of religion is often the only way that such ideologies and the societies they create can seem to make any sense.

Such societies seem to descend into a form of hero worship: Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim il-Sung et al, where these leaders acquire a semi-divine or even divine status. All these becoming like gods, or like such divine figures as Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, and so on and so forth, all with a hagiography industry that makes the New Testament look amateurish in comparison.

Of course, they have their divine texts too, Das Kapital, Mein Kampf of course, but much more than that. Hitler also had a creation myth about the Aryan race, and, of course, they all promise the faithful they will one day enter paradise as long as they continue to believe.

Believe they must too, for - just like religions - ideologies can countenance no heresy. Thoughtcrime is ideological heresy, just as heresy is religious thoughtcrime. What, after all, is the difference between a show trial and an inquisition? Both are concerned with rooting out heresies before they can take hold of the popular consciousness.

Religions and ideologies both take arms against science, rationality and reason, and both for the same reason. They cannot co-exist with science, rationality and reason because of their use of the disinterred method of searching for the truth, which dismisses the revealed truths of both religion and ideology as fundamentally unsound.

Science, reason and rationality want to fit their truths to the shape of the universe. Ideologies and religions want to bend the universe to fit their preconceptions. This explains why fundamentalists of both religion and politics always seem to end up declaring wars on the modern world and want to turn back either to earlier more religious times (often just as much a myth as the rest of their religion) or to turn the clock back to some political Year Zero.

However, there are just some truths that are too obvious or too big for religions and ideologies to dismiss. Of course, this means that as religions and ideologies must distort themselves in order to get themselves around these awkward facts of the universe they cannot ignore or dismiss. This distortion turns them further and further away from the world and in on themselves, eventually losing touch with the world as they become lost and trapped within their distorting halls of mirrors.

One of the main problems with seeing the world through a religious/ideological worldview is that the world is distorted by the ideology or religion, as Dalrymple so eloquently puts it in this article about ideology:

The Persistence of Ideology - Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal.

Ideological thinking is not confined to the Islamists in our midst. The need for a simplifying lens that can screen out the intractabilities of life, and of our own lives in particular, springs eternal; and with the demise of Marxism in the West, at least in its most economistic form, a variety of substitute ideologies have arisen from which the disgruntled may choose.

Most started life as legitimate complaints, but as political reforms dealt with reasonable demands, the demands transformed themselves into ideologies, thus illustrating a fact of human psychology: rage is not always proportionate to its occasion but can be a powerful reward in itself. Feminists continued to see every human problem as a manifestation of patriarchy, civil rights activists as a manifestation of racism, homosexual-rights activists as a manifestation of homophobia, anti-globalists as a manifestation of globalization, and radical libertarians as a manifestation of state regulation.

Although, Dalrymple doesn’t mention religion in this article, it ought to be obvious that the word ‘ideology’ can be replaced by the word ‘religion’ in many places in such articles without sounding too absurd (the reverse also applies when swapping the words around the other way in a religious article).

It seems a good many of the problems facing humanity in the contemporary world (and throughout history) are caused (and have been caused) by belief, whether that belief is a religious belief or an ideological belief. This means that Tony Blair, here, is – as usual – completely and utterly wrong. Faith – belief – unquestioning and uncritical belief in anything ideological or religious, should be regarded as the problem, not the solution.

What does all this mean? Well, in my own case, I decided gods didn’t exist when I was 6 years old. I have never found anything to persuade me otherwise since then. In addition, I increasingly feel I now ought to describe myself as a political atheist, for I no longer believe any of the political ideologies from left, right or centre have the answers we need. By way of example, I believe that far from being ‘progressive’ the left is actually regressive. In consequence, am now starting to believe that not only is politics the wrong answer, it is not even the wrong answer to the right question.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Those Days Never Happened

Forget those days and walk away from them.

We did not spend those mornings walking together alone on that deserted beach. We did not spend those evenings lying together in front of that open fire.

Those days never happened.

We did not find romance, because we live in a world where romance cannot happen, because we are not the romantic kind and we do not live in an age of romance.

We were never lovers, because these are not times for lovers.

We had only a sexual relationship because that is the only language we are allowed to use; those softly-spoken words of love are not for people like us. They are not our words; it is not our language and not our time. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finding The Necessary Words

It ought to be easy, finding the necessary words. After all, there are so many words, and most of them do not mind how often you use them, or even – in most cases – what you use them for.

Words are easy like that. They don’t care if you use them in the wrong context, or in ways they were not meant to be used. The words don’t even care too much about how they are spelt. The words will sit there, where you put them, just happy to be out there. It is enough for them just to be used, rather than sitting crushed under heavy pages in the darker recesses of the dictionary, waiting for someone to stumble over them while looking for something else nearby.

It is lonely for the unused words, waiting there, other words are close by, but now word truly feels at home with words that don’t quite mean the same thing as themselves, each one is far too aware of their differences when they are pushed together like that. Definitions are important there, in the formality of the dictionary, not like out here where words run free of their meanings. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Poem: Sub Rosa

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

Sub Rosa

You keep the real shape of you
safe inside your secluded world,
where you no longer need compose
a public face to face the world.

You open your cupboard of secrets
only to your own private eyes.
Taking down the faded memories
from the high shelf of lost hopes
and carefully unwrapping them.

Lining them all up, side by side,
next to your precious bed of dreams
where you can easily sleep away
into a brighter life than this.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How The SAS Began

Many people have, no doubt, heard of the SAS. However, very few have any real knowledge of what really goes on within this - by necessity - very secretive organisation.

It all began, as most such things do, during the dark days of war. It was during WWII, just after the siege of Tobruk that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was shocked to discover that no-one really knew how much the infamous tins of 'bully beef' really cost at battlefront prices compared to the Axis equivalents. So, then, after a series of top level Most Secret meetings involving the top brass of the armed forces, cabinet politicians and the most senior civil servants, the SAS - the Secret Accountancy Service - was formed.

Initially, it was intended to work behind the enemy lines, conducting secret audits of the Axis powers’ accounts. However, vital as some of this information was in streamlining the Allied accountancy procedures, it was still not enough.

Then, one night, as he was awaiting a vital airdrop of calculating machines deep inside occupied France, Major Soggy-Biscuit of the SAS hit upon the idea of introducing fraudulent expense claims into the German accounting system.

After receiving enthusiastic approval from the British government, including a message of full support from Winston Churchill himself, Major Soggy-Biscuit in June 1942 inserted a false claim for travel expenses into the German accountancy system.

The results were devastating as the normally hyper-efficient German accountancy ground to a halt as the discrepancy was found to be unreconcilable. Consequently, with the German army, navy and air force all unable to respond during the auditing period, the British and their allies were able to mount several successful commando and air raids virtually unopposed.

There are many other Allied successes that were due to the largely unreported activities of the SAS, including such famous victories as Montgomery’s at El Alamein, which was due to an undercover SAS operation to disrupt the vital German military fuel accounting system, which meant that Rommel’s tanks could not be refuelled without someone of sufficient high rank signing the receipts.

Since the Second World War, several countries have developed their own undercover accountancy squads, to work behind enemy lines to disrupt accountancy procedures whenever possible.

It is rumoured – but, of course, unconfirmed – that the SAS themselves have successfully infiltrated the accounts department of Al-Qaeda to such an extent that Osama Bin Laden himself cannot even claim expenses for a packet of biscuits without written authorisation.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Weight

Time takes us to these places, where time has a special presence. We can feel the weight of the past pressing down on the moments we spend there. Feel the heavy hand of history pressing the past down on us as though we ought to feel its weight too.

We cannot escape the weight of humanity. We are not free to float above it all, like the birds, seeing it all spread out below as some accident of geography. This is a human created world and we are part of it, still shaping it here even in the act of preservation.

There is a world heavy with history all around us. We cannot pretend that the past doesn’t still exist and that it no longer matters. To ignore history is to live less than half a life. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Age removes possibilities one by one until all you have left are the ragged remnants of all your mistakes. Look back over the battlefield of your life: the shell holes, craters, torn bodies of lost hopes and promises made.

You charged onward, hoping for the great victory. But all you have left is a gun that has fired its last bullet and a seemingly endless no-man’s land to cross where you know you will – one-day - fall. You will become just one more statistic, just one more unknown soldier - left forgotten - who fell on the battlefield of life. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: The Accidental Woman - Jonathan Coe

[Fiction 1987]

I’ve become a great admirer of Jonathan Coe since coming across The House of Sleep a few years ago and have sought out his work ever since, but this is the first time I have come across The Accidental Woman, Coe’s debut novel.

It is the story of Maria, a woman whose life seems to be – from her birth onwards – a series of accidents; a life that happens to Maria, rather than by her design or plan.

Maria herself seems often indifferent to what life throws at her, withdrawing from it whenever possible, often in the face of other people’s attempts to get involved with her, for example Ronny’s constant attempts to get Maria to marry him.

The story itself is a rather mundane tale of a rather mundane and average life. What lifts the novel out of this though is the narrative style using a very intrusive authorial style. Towards the end of the novel, by way of example, we have this:

Let’s be honest. I begin to weary of Maria and her story. What little fun there ever was in her; and in it, seems to have quite gone away, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that she desires nothing more than to have it brought to an end, rapid and painless. Let us move on….

However, what is the greatest strength of this book – this narrative style – which takes the mediocrity of the life it tells and twists it into new – and often very funny – contortions of the typical narrative structure, can also at times be its greatest weakness through the use of too much distance and diffidence.

All in all though, this rather too short novel is still a very good read and is highly recommended as are all Coe’s novels.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Monday Poem: Footprints

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.


We turn and see our footsteps curving back.
Our every step recorded by damp sand.
This empty beach acquires a memory.

But, history is never straightforward.
See, there is the place you turned away from me.
A turbulence of sand describes it still.

And there is where I knelt in stiff damp sand,
to pick out some unusual bright stone
in lieu of any real apology.

For stones are solid, so much more than words.
They can be carried in the pocket, held
or taken out to spark the memory.

My words will need this tatty old notebook
if they are not to be lost on the wind,
or left behind like footprints in the sand.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Taking Offence

Of course, if you label something as 'offensive' to you, you do realise that you are giving it power over you, don't you, by - in effect - running away from it with your hands over your ears.

Whereas, if you ignore, dismiss or - best of all - treat it with derision then you retain power over it and limit the damage it can do to you.

But then, there are so many people out there who want you to always be a helpless victim, so that they can ride to your rescue.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The All-Nude Orienteering And Woodland Sexual Perversion Club

If you go down to the woods today, you are in for a big surprise. That is unless you are already a member of the Droitwich All-Nude Orienteering and Woodland Sexual Perversion Club.
Yes, it is time for the first DANOAWSPC meet of 2009. The weather forecast promises some unseasonably mild weather for the time of year. To us (slightly) less perverse members of society, this would be regarded as a bit of a boon, but for naked orienteering perverts, a major part of the thrill of the activity is the chance of braving some inclement weather. Striding manfully (or, of course, womanfully) naked, except for the compulsory woollen hat, walking boots and - of course, compass and maps - through thick frost-encoated brambles in sub-zero temperatures is - I'm assured - a true sign of the dedicated orienteering pervert.
Woodland perversions, especially those integrating orienteering, are not for the faint-hearted, as any bewildered weasel or stunned badger will testify, as there are none of the usual lotions, unguents, devices or even costumes. Whatever you need to achieve sexual satisfaction - whips, oils, dildos, merkins, traffic wardens or whatever - must be improvised out of whatever comes to hand in the woodland environment, which is mainly sticks, dead leaves and the occasional errant woodland creature.
The rough and ready nature of woodland perversions does come as a bit of a culture shock to those of us who regard winter sexual deviations as something more akin to throwing another log onto a roaring fire and wrapping ourselves deep inside a fur rug with a brace of debauched cake shop manageresses. But, undoubtedly for those that do think they could find enjoyment in such practices, then certainly all-nude orienteering and woodland sexual perversions are well worth a try. Although, for your first time, DANOAWSPC do recommend waiting for the more clement weather of the late spring or early summer.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Heavens Have Outworn Their Usefulness

Leave everything behind that you do not need to take with you. This will be the journey of a lifetime. It will be a lifetime’s journey. There is nothing after as there was nothing before. This is all there is. There is no secret path that will take you to a better world; there is only the best that you can make in this one.

Heavens are concepts that have outworn their usefulness, they belong to ages when people were born, lived and died into almost fixed roles. In most cases if you were born a peasant you would die as a peasant, born a nobleman you would die a nobleman and if you had the misfortune to be born a woman then there was a lot to bear before you died.

So, something was needed to keep you within your place and contented (more or less) that it was so. Therefore, the idea of heavens was created. A better life after this one – if you were good and behaved yourself, of course. Otherwise, it was the worst thing you can think of – forever.

It is interesting how all heavens tend to be more or less alike – a place free from the worries of earlier ages: easy food, endless leisure, eternal youthfulness and so on. A concept later appropriated by those early 20th century attempts to create new religions – communism and fascism – to represent the paradises that those ideologies would – one day – create, but here on earth rather than in some putative heaven.

It is just as interesting too, though, to see the religion’s visions of hell: endless toil, pain, suffering and so on. It is therefore ironic that it was something closer to these visions of hell that fascism and communism actually ended up creating, rather than anything resembling a heaven.

Maybe though, communism and fascism - as failed religions - did perform one useful service for us in showing that dreams of heavens are very dangerous things and we should always beware of people who seem to believe in the possibility of them too much. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Beginnings And An End

Let me tell you about beginnings.

Beginnings are never easy. How do you know where these things begin? You may believe that it all began when you met her, but how sure are you about that moment? Are you sure that is where it began?

There could have been something before. Something either done, or not done, which brought about this thing you see as the beginning. There is a possibility that even something else brought about those moments that you regard as the beginning.

It could even be - as they say - that your whole life was leading up to that moment. You could trace each possibility back - if your memory is good enough - to the events preceding it. In fact, why stop at your birth?

After all, the fact that it was you that were born, and not some other putative sibling of yours, is another chance possibility. You owe your existence only to that particular coupling of your parents. If that event had happened differently it would not be you here now - not this particular you anyway. If fact, would it be a you at all, or would it be someone else entirely.

The only thing you have to understand is that life is a series of accidents, some fortunate, some unfortunate and most of which will always lie outside your ability to influence or control. There are no gods, or other such forces, either, no such thing as destiny or fate.

You can – of course – regard this as proof that life is meaningless and futile, or you can step out into a world filled with endless possibility where nothing is fixed or certain. In the end it is up to you which you choose, the end will always be the same, but how you get there could be so very different. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


She was sitting on the low concrete wall, right at the back of the beach underneath the cliffs. She was alone with the baby snuggled at her breast. She had the whole beach spread out and bare before her, and the sea stretching out to the horizon.

But she was there, contained within her own universe, centred on just her and her child. Everything beyond them was indifference. Everything that mattered centred on that point where breast met mouth and was contained within her encircling arms and body. The baby was still her. They were connected together still.

I was there, outside their world, passing by, looking in… then away. I could not belong. I had no place. All I had was kept outside the world they would dwell in for the rest of their lives. 

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday Poem: Chaos Theory

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

Chaos Theory

These are words.
I do not need silence.
Silence speaks like a sullen child.
A child standing at the edge
of a deep river.
Rivers are like lives,
we flood and drown the plains
of everyone's desires.

    I have.

    I hold.

I take one step forward.
One step forward,
two steps back,
and turn around,
and turn around twice
to find a new life.
A new life, like the old one.

The old one who sits, smoking,
smoking a pipe like a story.
Story smoke curling off
over his shoulder.
Curling off like smoke into fiction.

Fiction reveals a deeper truth.
A truth like those lies you told me
and I found too easy to believe.
Believe, and God is long dead.

Dead autumn leaves,
leaves so crisp underfoot.
We walked down these roads
only a summer ago,
searching, and rescuing these thoughts
that flicker
like sudden butterfly wings.
Flickering golden bright.

Like last summer's sunlight
flickering through green leaves.

Flickering in the slow breeze,
breeze flickering grass,
grass shifting with your every breath
when you lay
on green summer lawns

only a season ago, waiting,
waiting for something
to turn these moments
into memories.