All posts by adrian

Where The Hell Are We?

We are living in an age of almost limitless information, there is 24 hour news on several competing channels, there is the internet with it’s plethora of established and new Media, all giving us tons of information.  And yet, I am sure I am not alone in feeling that the more I hear the less I know.  And it isn’t only the Media, the internet, social media – which are full of confusing and conflicting information.  We simply cannot understand what is happening; our leaders (laughable mostly, almost cartoon characters) bleat out one thing one day and another tomorrow.  We are lost in an overwhelming tide of conflicting slogans, denunciations and conciliatory gestures.  At least in the old Cold War, we knew who the enemy was (hahaha).  Now we have dire warnings of recrimination against Russia (now no longer Red but a dirty smudgy greyish blue – but who cares) if they support Assad in reclaiming hic own country from rebel forces we have paid for and trained and supported.  And yet only a few weeks ago Trump was cuddling up to Putin and saying he could do business with him.  Our own Prime Minister drags up the Salisbury poisoning whenever she is becoming bogged down in Brexit bad news, making accusations which have never been tested in any court (and unlikely to be too) insisting that Putin himself must have given the orders to murder at least Mr. Skripal (maybe his daughter was collateral damage, or maybe she was actually the target – who knows).  And six months – yes, that long, after the attempted murder – two suspects are named and unbelievably they are just beginning to de-contaminate the actual house the Skripals were living in.

And Brexit is just as confusing.  Rumours abound and every comment, loose or guarded, uttered or overheard is seized upon.  Are Mrs. Mays red lines really fixed or are they already being smudged?  Are the EU really united?  Does M. Barnier really think the UK proposals are dead in the water, or a basis for negotiating – who knows?  And back home; is Boris really plotting to overthrow Madame? Will Rees-Mogg send in the 48 signatures?  Will his group really vote against any Brexit deal?  Will Labour actually come down off the fence and stand up for the Remain voters? Who knows? And even if we find out, will any of it make any sense, or indeed any difference?

And so the show goes on.  Trump now makes us laugh with his nonsensical tweets.  We watch with fascination the soap opera of Boris and May….but maybe we should really be trying to understand just where the hell we are now.

 

 

The Reproduction Of Art

Almost all Art today is reproduced and we are happy to receive it that way.  We have perfected (almost) the experience of the original into that of the multiple.  But it wasn’t always that way.  Art itself – paintings especially were reserved for the rich; but there was plenty of Art in churches, and a few statues in large towns.  But many people drew and painted for their own joy; you didn’t need too much money really.  And when printed books became available it wasn’t long before illustrations appeared – but it was really the invention of photography which enabled Art to be reproduced.  Though I have found that there is nothing quite like seeing the originals to take your breath away.  And surprisingly the thing which affects me most is the size.  We are used to seeing books of reproduction, or computer images of a standard size.  The Seurat of ‘Les Baigneuses’ in the National Gallery is massive.  It takes up a whole wall and is amazing.  Likewise in the Orangerie in Paris, Monet’s Waterlillies is in two purpose built oval rooms and extends right round the walls, the observer sitting in the middle and surrounded by huge waterlilies, which on closer inspection are broad brush strokes of vivid colour which somehow coalesces into recognisable form as you retreat.  No reproductions can begin to do them justice.  Likewise sculpture is almost un-reproducible, there is nothing like Michelangelo’s ‘David’, all copies look just like that.  And the strange rounded figures of Henry Moore look quite silly in photographs but are imposing in reality.

Cinema took off in the early Twentieth Century, and suddenly stories could be shown, much like on the Stage at first.  But Cinema has taken on a life of its own, with it’s images ever more wondrous (and for me, with CGI, ever more pointless).  And even here now this is reproduced on DVD (itself a dying format) and able to be streamed onto your very own screen shortly after being released.

Music became reproduced in the last Century too.  And of course, this is how I mostly hear Music.  Though there is really nothing like hearing music live; we are lucky here in SW France, as there is plenty of excellent live music.  And now we have Spotify and other services streaming anything you like onto your phone and right into your very own headphones.  An Alladin’s lamp indeed.  Although I cannot quite accept it, and still like to own at least a first generation reproduction and spend an inordinate amount of money on CDs.  I like to see them on the (many) shelves, in Alphabetical order; I sometimes run my fingers over their serried ranks, almost hearing snatches of them as my fingers drift past.

What the future will hold as computer technology increases is almost unfathomable.  Real 3D reproductions may be available, with ‘real’ actors in our sitting rooms maybe, or immersing us in the very landscape of the painting, or us being and actor in a film – who knows?  But there will still be nothing quite like the real thing; though whether we will still be able to tell the difference is another thing.

 

My Record Collection 42

Billy Bragg – erupted on the scene in 1983, much like an over-ripe boil, full of anger and slashing raw guitar chords and brilliant lyrics and an even rawer East London accent.  A hang-over from the punk-era but mixed with left-wing politics and folk songs, Billy was a real breath of fresh air in a smoother than smooth music industry easing itself comfortably into it’s third decade of dross.  I caught up with Billy in 1987 when I bought Back to Basics, a compilation of his first three albums and EPs.  You can feel the transition from just electric guitar strumming to more complex arrangements – but the words are just as hard hitting, whether bewailing the Political situation or his early army training or singing about teenage love affairs in a totally un-romantic way.  The record is naïve and very basic and yet still relevant.  Why is nobody shouting about the obscenity of the Tories today?  He had a very minor hit with ‘A New England’ which was then picked up by Kirsty MaColl who had a top ten hit with it.

But Billy was never about fame and fortune; simply making enough money to survive and get his message home was enough; in a way he was far more genuinely a punk than any of those who had come a decade earlier.  Anyway, these early songs are quite brilliant, if often very short.  Stand-out tracks – ‘Tank Park Salute’, ‘St. Swithin’s Day’ and ‘A Lover Sings’ and ‘Between the Wars’. But the album leaves me a bit cold, the struggle against Thatcherism seems s long time ago, and we lost that battle.  In some ways this record seems older than even the Beatles, almost early 20th Century.  Still, a remarkable achievement to even get these songs recorded.   Billy was releasing singles and Eps and short albums during the early eighties – my next record was another collection of these called Reaching to the Converted.  Another great collection of songs; which are now beginning to be filled out with more instruments and subtler melodies – no longer shouting but singing.  The lyrics continue to amaze “How can you lay there and think of England when you don’t even know who is in the team” or “My concrete is more impressionable when it’s wet” He really was a working-class hero and poet.  Best songs ‘Shirley’, ‘Sulk’, the spoken ‘Walk Away Renee’ and ‘Accident Waiting to Happen’.   The Interntionale followed in 1990, an un-apologetically left-wing album, as if we had dared to forget Billy’s credentials.  Again an interesting record, great songs sung with much gusto.   The slim album is filled out with some live tracks and rarities. But at over 60 minutes it gets a bit tiring, not his best album really.  That was the following year’s Don’t Try This At Home, a real triumph. From opener ‘Accident Waiting To Happen’ it just rolls along; a great variety of songs – the sad admission of ‘Moving The Goalposts’, to the brimming joy of ‘Sexuality’ (Just because you’re gay – I won’t turn you away; if you hang around I’m sure we can find some common ground). The mysterious ‘Cindy of a Thousand Lives’ and a great rendition of ‘Dolphins’.  Not a bad song on the record, great production (at last), varied instrumentation and brilliant tunes; Billy had grown up with this record.

Image result for images of Billy Bragg

History Is Important

There is a saying that those who ignore History are condemned to repeat it.  I m not sure of that, but we must neither ignore nor forget History.  Many of the things we take for granted today were hard fought for and opposed by the forces of reaction.  The Conservative Party is so named because they aspire to conserve things, or so they say.  But they are actually ideologically fixated on destroying most of the progress of the last Century.  Put at it’s most basic, Conservatives believe in the freedom of the individual to pursue Wealth and Happiness unhindered by consideration for how their actions may affect others.  Socialism is basically the understanding that we are stronger together than pitted against each other, that collective freedoms are more important than individual ones, that by helping those less fortunate than ourselves we are all enriched.

And here History is important.  Votes for Women and votes for 18year olds were opposed by the Tories.  The Old Age Pension was opposed by the Tories.  The creation of the NHS was opposed by the Tories.  The Welfare State was opposed by the Tories. The legalisation of homosexuality was opposed by many Tories.  Same Sex Marriage is still unpopular among many grass-root Tories.  And now the EU is opposed by most Tories.  The policy of Austerity introduced by Cameron and Osborne has hurt poor people while the rich have almost doubled their wealth since the financial crash of 2008.

And History is really important in the realm of War.  Harold Wilson refused Kennedy’s request for British Troops to help them in Vietnam.  To our eternal shame Tony Blair colluded with Bush to get us involved in Iraq, although he needed the votes of the Tories to get it through Parliament.  It was Ed Milliband who opposed Cameron’s attempt to attack Assad in Syria, which caused Obama to think again and stopped America too.

Of course, Labour has not always been on the right side of History, but more often than not they have been.  Yes, we opposed the sale of Council Houses – and just look how successful that has been with poorer people now having to wait years for council accommodation and being subjected to the tender mercies of the private rented sector.  Yes, Labour opposed the Privatisation of the Utilities and Railways – and just look at what a success they have been with huge price increases and bumper dividends for investors.

The Tories have far more money, and a mostly right-wing Media which will do almost anything to stop an even watered-down version of Socialism ever winning an election again.  Just ask yourself, which side of History do you want to be on?

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

Or – Lessons for Young Lovers

1968

They walk together hand in hand by the pale light of a silvery moon.

He had anxiously waited and waited until almost the last dance before plucking up enough courage to ask her.  The band played a slow number and he held her hands; she moved in closer and they were soon pressed together.  He could feel the softness of her breasts through his shirt. He was fifteen, she a year older. The music stopped and before the lights went up in the youth club hall they had drifted outside and were heading for the small park.

The trees are silent sentries guarding the pathway.  The moon struggles to free itself from a hazy shawl of clouds. She half trots ahead and pulls him to her, her back against a large tree trunk. She stares intensely into his eyes and leans her face in sideways.  They kiss, gently at first but then harder, he leans against her and she takes his hand and places it on her chest.

He is terrified.

“It’s okay” she whispers, “You can put your hand in under my blouse.”

He slips his hand between two buttons and tentatively touches her. He had seen pictures of breasts behind the bike shed but never touched one before. She was the first girl he had really kissed.  “Here, let me help you” as she undoes her blouse and pulls the straps of her tiny bra down. His hand slides over her body, feeling the soft yet firm flesh. They kiss again, harder this time – her lips grinding in to his.  She reaches down and touches him through his jeans.

Shock.  The thrill and the shock of it.  Nobody had ever touched him there before.  But he is scared.  Scared of touching her; but wanting to all the same.  Scared of what they might do next.  So scared and yet so excited.  Suddenly he realises he should be getting back home. “Ten O’Clock” his mother had said “and not a minute later.”  He glances at his wristwatch.  Ten to.

“I have to go now,” he stumbles an apology. “I have to be in by ten.”

And he runs like the wind all the way home, elated and relieved.  He had forgotten to ask her out again.  All he knows is her name – Janet.  But he had held her tiny breasts in his bare hands.  He had felt her breathing, he had kissed, really kissed a girl and she had touched him there.

But the next time he sees her at youth club, he avoids her eyes.  He slouches off, hands deep in his pockets, too scared to dare to be alone with her again.

 

 

1998

They giggle as they creep into their father’s study.  Mum and Dad are out, and the babysitter is in the lounge watching TV and eating the cake and lemonade they left her.   In the dark and by the faint light of a silvery moon they sit side by side in Daddy’s office chair.  Megan reaches over and switches the computer on.  She knows the icon for the internet because her father had let her do some research for a project at school.  Megan is thirteen and her sister eleven and just started at the big school.  And in the playground joshing and giggling she had heard an older girl talk about sex.  “Oh yeah, sex” a couple of the others nodded in agreement.  But really none of them knew much at all, even her big sister was quite vague on the details.  Somehow the sex-education lessons a year earlier had all seemed a touch remote; the line drawings just a bit too complicated, the Latin names almost incomprehensible.

The screen lights up, and Megan turns to her sister Rebecca. “What shall I type in?”

“I dunno.  ‘Sex’ I suppose.”  They click on the first website that appears.  And suddenly the screen is full of naked grown-ups, with big breasts and men with huge ‘you-know-whats’.  “Oh my God, switch it off quick.”  Rebecca gasps out loud, hands in front of her disbelieving eyes. But somehow they are transfixed, unable to move as the images flicker on the screen and only after a few minutes does Megan break the silence and switch off the computer.

“What’s all this noise?” asks 17 year old Julie, the babysitter, switching on the light as the girls shriek in horror.  The screen has already thankfully gone blank. “Come on you two rascals, I thought you had gone to bed.”

“We did, but I forgot something” Megan lies.

“What in here? In your Dad’s study?”  queries Julie. “Come on, up to bed the pair of you.  If your Mum and Dad come home early we’ll all get into trouble.”

Later in their bedroom Megan calls out.  “Rebecca. Are you awake?”

“Of course I am Megan.  How can I sleep after seeing all that stuff.  How disgusting. I mean, it’s just revolting, isn’t it?”

“Well, I suppose so – but then all grown-ups must be doing that, even Mummy and Daddy.  And at least you know what Sex means now Becky.”

“Well, I don’t want to ever grow up, if I have to do that.” Indignantly from Rebecca.

“No….I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?” Megan replies.

As the moon shines its silvery light through the gap in their curtains, Megan sighs contentedly and turns over. “Night-night Becky”

“Night-night Megan.”

 

 

2018

By the light of a silvery moon Sir Cheriton Cholmondley-Brown creeps quietly forward, dressed in faded tweed plus-fours and deerstalker hat.  “Scrotum” he mutters, “hand me the shotgun. Did you fill it with pellets as I ordered?”

“Ah yes, Master Cherry – I’se done that orl-ready.”

“Well hand me the blessed thing now.”  Old Scrotum, the wrinkled retainer, passes the blunderbuss to his lord and master as onward they creep down to the trees by the lake.

 

Meanwhile his wife Felicity, fragrant, fragile and flowerlike, feathery, frothy and flighty as thrupence, is talking to her sixteen year-old daughter Jenny.  “and where is your twin sister Gwenny at this time of night?”

“Really Mummy, you are so old-fashioned.  She is just walking in the park with the Major’s son, Raiph.  It is such a lovely moon-lit night they decided to wander down through the trees by the lake.”

“Oh, I suppose so.” mutters Felicity, her mind wandering back to her student days in Paris; moules et frites, mouton cadet and dark moustachioed men in striped shirts and berets, smoking Sobranie and sweeping her off her feet.  No such action nowadays, of course.  Sir Cheriton is permanently sozzled and about as useful as a chocolate soldier in bed.  Still…she had her memories.  Ah, such sweet memories.

 

“Look” whispers Sir Cherry “just there in that clearing, something moving.”

“I can’t see nothing not nowhere.”

“Over there, see.  It must be a small deer, I can just see the white tuft of his rear moving around.”

“Oh yes.” Scrotum replies. ”But that be no deer Sir.   That be a human bum a bouncin’.  He be havin it away all right.  A bit of old rumpy-pumpy, oh yes…give it some for me, my son.”

“Shhh..you fool.” As Sir Cherry whacks him with the wooden stock of the shotgun.  “In my wood?  By God’s tiffin and turban, the filthy buggers, I’ll give ‘em rumpy-pumpy.  How dare they?  If I can’t get it up, I don’t see why anyone else should.”

“Oh let ‘em be master – they’s only ‘aving a bit of fun.  Wish I still could.”

“Shhhh…pass me my hip flask – I need to steady myself as I take aim.”  And swigging down a mixture of un-distilled rum and prune juice he lifts the gun and lets go with both barrels.  But at that very moment Scrotum trips on a branch and the gun twitches high in the air.

 

“My God, what was that?” cries Raiph, rearing up suddenly.

“Whatever it was, give it to me again Raiphy baby, that was wonderful.”

 

“Damn…missed the buggers.” Sir Cheriton scowls. Sorely disappointed, he wearily trudges home, Scrotum whistling merrily behind him.

 

“Been Out Darling?” Felicity greets him.

“Yes, just scaring off a couple of damn…er…foxes – sneaky things, foxes, always doing something they shouldn’t.  But I’ll get the buggers yet.”

“Ah, here’s Gwenny.” Felicity says as her daughter waltzes in, a big smile on her face.  “Had a nice walk with young Raiph”

“Yes, Mummy – we saw lots of pretty flowers and then it suddenly got dark so I came home like a good girl.”

“Ha…I don‘t know what you see in that stupid boy, he hasn’t a clue about anything, you know” Sir Cheriton scoffs a couple of curried quails eggs hoping to clear a slight blockage in his nether regions, and raises a small tankard of gin to his lips “Daft as a brush that boy is.”

“Oh, I don’t know Daddy – I reckon I could teach him a thing or two.” says Gwenny.

“I think you probably already have.” smirks her sister Jenny.

 

 

My Record Collection 41

BOWIE – STARMAN

Heathen came out in 2002, and what a great album it was; almost as good as his early 70’s.  But different of course.  It almost seems an older man’s record – and of course Bowie was in his 50’s by now – though still startlingly good-looking.  A slower album, but not fey or poppy.  Of his later records it is my favourite.  Best songs ‘Sunday’, ‘Slip Away’ and ‘Everyone Says Hi’.

A year later came Reality.  Again a very competent if hardly exciting album. Bowie seemed to be slipping into elder statesman of rock mode – he still had the gift of great song-writing, he could still sing, the records were immaculately produced – and yet, they were no longer exciting.  Still – not bad for 35 or so years at the top.  Best songs ‘Bring me the Disco King’ and ‘ The Luckiest Guy’.  Bowie then embarked on a massive tour – really a greatest hits, without actually many Ziggy songs really.  Towards the end of the tour he suffered heart problems and was hospitalised.  He never finished the tour.  A live album came out which I bought, and is very good, even if he does sound a bit restrained, a bit safe.

Then nothing.  Absolutely nothing for years.  Rumours were that he was ill or had aids or had simply stopped writing songs and that was the end of it.  He did appear in a couple of cameo roles and seemed to be concentrating on his art.  But ten years later with absolutely no publicity we were stunned – a new album was released.  In March 2013 The Next Day came out, with the same photo as Heroes on the cover.   The record was a huge hit and yet David did absolutely no interviews or live shows – which simply added to his mystique.  I quite like the record, although it took a while to grow on me – it almost seemed he was trying too hard.  Best songs – the single “Where are we now”, the very poppy “Valentine’s Day” and the last two slower tracks.  Then again silence.

For almost three years not a word from Bowie or his record company.  Then the exciting news that a new album and single were about to be released, followed by the devastating news of his death a day or so later.   And the record, aptly named Blackstar was his parting gift to us.  Another and a final album.  And there is a finality about this record, maybe because of our understanding that it was made just before his death.  It is truly elegiac, with clues dropped like little pieces of confetti all over it.  The centrepiece of the record is ‘Lazarus’ – a song about resurrection and life beginning anew.  The video was truly disturbing with Bowie as ‘button-eyes’ and filmed in dusky black and white.  There are truly few careers in popular music that are really important and long-lasting; I am sure that Bowie will be one of those who are studied and played and enjoyed many years after his passing.  It has been a pleasure to have been let in to his life.

Image result for images of david bowie blackstar

Let It Be – The Film

Sunday 26th August

I have been watching the Beatles films on DVD; not really  very exciting bucket list but there you go.  And the last one, which like the album, came out posthumously.  The film was made in 1969 but by the time it was released they had acrimoniously split; the film and the album were contractual obligations – and they made a bit of money too of course.  Paul, who saw himself after Brian died, as the leader of the band, wanted them to rehearse new songs for a live performance.  The idea was that it would all be filmed and shown in cinemas all over the world.  Well, the live performance ended up being a short gig on the roof of the Saville Row Apple headquarters, before being halted by the Police. Incidentally my office at the time was just a few streets away – but I had no idea it was happening and missed the whole thing.

The rehearsals seem pretty unhappy, and the first two thirds of the film are pretty dire, squabbling, and half-finished scraps of songs.  But the concert was brilliant.  I watched it three times and you suddenly realise that actually they could have blown everyone away a a live group, even though they finished touring two years earlier in America.

The tapes of the songs were handed to Phil Spector by John, much to Paul’s annoyance and the record was actually okay.  Anyway, all in all a quite sad way to end; although that live performance – especially with John’s quip at the end “And I hope we passed the audition” will live on forever

The Beatles in Let It Be (1970)

My Record Collection 40

Wednesday 22nd. August

BOWIE RETURNS

And in 1993 Bowie returned with a new album Black Tie, White Noise.  His experiment with Tin Machine had been poorly received, although I didn’t think they were so bad really.  The new album was anticipated with some degree of nervousness; had Bowie really returned or was he still in some sort of deluded wilderness?  Well, the record was a jazz album; David had always loved jazz and several earlier tracks were infused with jazzy sounds – but a whole album.  This is one of those records which has actually grown on me; I didn’t really like it at first, often my reaction to jazz – but over the years it has sounded better.  Some quite good songs too – ‘Miracle Goodnight’ and ‘Never let me down and down’ are especially good.

Three years later and Outside landed, and what a landing.  In some ways this is Bowie’s strangest record, a collaboration with Eno, a science fiction detective story made even more complicated by a meandering narrative…but actually an excellent record, the songs are brilliant and seem a mix of Berlin and earlier sounds with modern dance-like drumming.  It is also far too long – at 74 minutes it Is twice the length of his brilliant 70’s records.  It is hard to take in at one go.  As to the songs themselves, they may be among some of the best he has ever recorded.  Certainly a welcome return to form.  ‘Little Spaceboy’ (remixed by Pet Shop Boys) was a hit, I also like ‘The Hearts Filthy Lesson’ and ‘Strangers When We Meet’.  This was a concept album with a concept so impenetrable that it is pointless trying – just enjoy the songs.

In 1997 Bowie released ‘Earthling’; the cover shows him facing away and wearing a beautiful Union Jack coat.  I have never been sure of the significance of this.  The record itself was a fairly modern ‘drum and bass’ dance album – a bit shouty, but some good songs – the very fast drumming I find distracting though.  ‘Little Wonder’ is good, and ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’.   But I have never really liked the album; just one of those things.  I much preferred Hours, which came out in 1999.  This is, surprisingly after all the noisy albums, a quiet reflective gentle album.  Was it an experiment, or a long-held idea, or just a few songs left over here and there and slowed down.  I really don’t care, but it was such a pleasant surprise.  Bowie had always had that fey whimsical side, last really heard on Hunky Dory, and a great melody writer.  One has to wonder how his career might have evolved if Ziggy had never landed from outer Space.  I lov e all the songs, but ‘Thursdays Child’ and ‘Seven’ really stand out.

At this point I am inserting Bowie at the Beeb; a triple album – two discs are from ’68 to ’72 and the last is a live record from late 90’s.   The very early stuff is really interesting.  David had a record out on Deram in early 60s which I never bought; some of these songs may have been on it; ‘London by Tata’, ‘Silly Boy Blue’.  There is lots of stuff from Space Oddity and some from Hunky Dory and Ziggy.  A very nice collection – nice to hear John Peel’s voice too.  The live concert is pretty good too.

Image result for images of bowie

 

 

Democracy Can Be The Problem

Monday 20th August

Sometimes indeed Democracy is the problem.  Not the concept of Democracy, but it’s implementation.  The idea indeed that Winner takes all.  Democracy should be about both involving everyone and trying to take account of all differing views in decision making.  But because of the mechanics and the lack of any form of Proportional Representation in electing members of Parliament we never have a Government which represents a majority of votes cast, or even one backed by more than 40% of those who voted.  Governments then declare that they have a mandate for their actions, even when these were never mentioned before the election itself.

However, we also face other problems with Democracy.  Brexit itself has been declared a success of Democracy; but as the complexities of the negotiations unravel more and more people, even many who voted originally to Leave, are questioning the un-Democratic way that that decision is being implemented, with all sides of the debate appropriating for their own arguments a Democratic mandate.

But there is a further problem with Democracy in that now all the major Political parties have given the final (and often the entire) say in electing their Leaders to their members. This has, and will inevitably, result in leaders being chosen who are more radical in their Political views than the general public. Anyone deciding to become a member of a Political party is almost bound to have more Politically extreme views than the general public; Labour party members are more left-wing, and Tory members are more right-wing than the general public.  In fact, of course, most people are not that bothered about Politics at all, or at least until a General Election; and then the majority will vote the way they always or recently have.  Sea changes, and huge landslides are rarer than one would think.  Only two really in my lifetime – one, when Mrs. Thatcher won her second term after the Falklands (and even then, this may have had more to do with the SDP than people voting Tory), and Tony Blair in 1997, after 18 years of the Conservatives.

But now we have a left-wing leader of Labour, who, whatever you think of his policies, would never have been elected before ‘one member one vote’.  The Tory party appears to be shaping up for a Leadership election too, as soon as Brexit (of whatever variety) is finally declared.  Already there are calls for thousands of Leave voters to join the Tory party so that they can vote in a ‘True Brexiteer’ such as Boris or Rees-Moggs.  So, in the name of ‘Democracy’ our Politics will be more divisive than ever.  And whoever wins the next election will again declare a mandate despite in all probability winning about 40% of the vote and possibly having to cobble together a coalition of sorts.  And we call that Democracy.

Running On Empty (A Recurring Dream)

Saturday 18th August

I feel tired, but tired beyond tired.  Nothing seems to register anymore -news, politics – all pass me by in a blur of senseless information.  I feel I am running on empty.  My reserve tanks are empty and I am drifting.  Sometimes I am drifting in space, like Major Tom himself.  Sometimes I am walking, trudging along, stumbling down a road with no direction signs, simply putting one foot wearily in front of the other, my eyes fixed on the never-ending tarmac.  Sometimes I am in a car, though I am no driver – and there is no driver beside me either, but somehow the car rolls on and on.  No engine noise – the car is running on empty too.  I am alone, on a never-ending road.  I am always alone.  I have always been alone; never had a friend I could confide in; I discovered long ago that parents and teachers are not to be told things, not about your feelings, not about anything that really matters..  And sometimes I feel I have been running on empty for ever; maybe other people feel it too – how can you tell; they all seem happy enough – but then, so do I; so what does that tell you?  I wake every morning and feel so old, as if my life has been draining out for days, weeks, months – and this is indeed the last day.  The road stretches on but I feel the car is slowing, running out of fuel too.  And there is an incline ahead, a slight slope and I can feel the car visibly slowing as we crawl slowly up.  Whether the car will actually grind to a halt or will suddenly pick up speed as we crest the hill and the road dips again I am not sure.  I have no control, there is no accelerator pedal this side, and no brake either.  There is no engine noise – we are running on empty, gazing blankly as the countryside drifts slowly by..

And there, just up ahead the road disappears and the grey tarmac rises up into a wall and still the car drifts on, running on empty.  And just before we crash and I discover pain or oblivion – I wake up.  But then I wonder if I were really asleep or awake all the time.