Friday, 27 March 2009


Jonathon Porrit: "Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure. Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one
way to reduce that impact."

That isn't a solution, it's a post-mortem!

Porrit is right, of course, about one thing: while
the land available for agriculture competes with housing and industry, to say nothing of the environmental impact of a rapidly rising population, a forecast by the European commission predicts that Britain's population will increase from 60.9m today to 77m within 50 years, making it Europe's most populous country. The same statistics indicate, too, that France’s population went up by 300,000 in 2006 to 63.3m, the highest birth rate in three decades. And the Spanish government, apparently, plans £ 2,000 awards for mothers on the birth of each child. Thus the only possible course as to future demographic intentions is
instantly perverted and in direct contravention of all ecological

Such numbers, too, show the extent to which policies to promote
childbirth, including cash payments and subsidised immigration, have salvaged
what was once assumed to be the elusive fragment of a declining European race.
The population of developed nations was generally expected to remain unchanged
and would, indeed, have declined but for immigration. To wit, Russia's
population is actually shrinking by about 1m a year. However, ministers freely
acknowledge that imposing any kind of immigration quota is taboo in economic
circles, and any attempt to revise established views on pro-creation provokes
fierce resistance. That such lack of insight should exist at so critical a time
seems difficult to imagine, and I must admit even I am surprised at the sheer
vehemence of the opposition one encounters when challenging the pro-creative

In WW2, the tide turned at Stalingrad.

Though neither Hitler, Stalin or Mao had a serious strategy for
improving the fortunes of the human species, they certainly kept the numbers
down. Inevitably, too, while the aspiration is identical, their likes will
return. Nor do I need to elaborate what will happen in a such a scenario, other
perhaps then to stress that ever increasing populations are bound to increase
the risk of conflicts over food and control of the world's resources, including
an increasingly precious commodity – Lebensraum. In addition, more of
us than ever are experiencing a version of the psycho-pathology made collective
by overcrowding. All these psychotic humans, where do they come from? Or more
importantly, how do you spot one?

'I am a child of this age,' said Nietzsche, 'a decadent. But only I
know that!'

And, yes, any notion that carbon technologies are truly concerned about
the fate of humanity, or the planet, or the future, is risible. Forgive the
expletive, but that’s bollocks. It’s tragedy replayed as eco-farce. Just another
illusion for the undoing of mankind. A giant Ponzi scheme, awarding subsidies to
selected emitters or paying new polluters with old polluters' money. No wonder
they don’t seem to be able to stop. So you cut down old trees in order to make
room for planting new ones! Or build Third World factories so western countries
can pay to clean them up. Separating the facts from the myths and the propaganda
is not easy in view of capitalism's ingenuity in milking the carbon markets,
admittedly, but suddenly the world is full of mad scientists who want to combat
pollution rather than apply Ockham's razor and cut populations. Logically, of
course, in the hothouse of daydreams charlatans are inevitable. But for all its
vast reputation, PR and self-importance, you feel that even the Great Green
Movement neither understands the complexity nor acknowledges the inherent
reciprocity of the world's demographic economy any better than anyone else.

Clearly nothing has changed in the relation between economic and
population growth. They are synonymous. One is the flipside of the other. By
contradistinction, a relevant paper from Professor Kevin Anderson, director of
the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research duly noted that: "Unless economic
growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonisation, it is
difficult to foresee anything other than a planned economic recession
being compatible with stabilising the climate."

Elementary, my dear Professor, elementary!

Meanwhile the world's population is continuing to grow by about one
million humans every single week
, and will do so for the foreseeable
future. And that, to me, is the true legacy of our present enlightenment.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009


"Opposition to wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt." Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary.

'The death of a species,' wrote Charles Darwin, whose view on natural
selection I have no wish to misrepresent, 'is a consequence of non-adaptation of
circumstances.' And whatever else may have been said since, as a statement of
fact, actual or potential, it seems remarkably in accordance with the need for
the species to fall in with the nuclear forces of evolution. And nobody
ever made this more clear than the admirable H.G.Wells when, in The Fate of Homo
, he issued a 'last' resounding warning to mankind: 'Adapt or perish,
that is and always has been the implacable law of life for all its children.
Either the human imagination and the will to live rises to the plain necessity
of our case, and a renascent homo sapiens struggles on to new, a harder and
happier world dominion, or he blunders down the slopes of failure through a
series of unhappy phases, in the wake of all the monster reptiles and beasts
that have flourished and lorded it on the earth before him, to his ultimate
extinction. Either life is just beginning for him, or it is drawing rapidly to
its close.'

These words, at any rate, proclaim the weakness of the ecological
. For if it hopes to salvage the Earth, it has no measures for saving
humanity. Indeed, the first thing to be noted is that 'wind and water power were
the main energy sources of post-medieval industry' (Hoyle, Energy or
), that they represent the least efficient form of energy production,
a form of power in its declension, no less. Perhaps the clearest indication,
therefore, of this declension is to be found in the fact that our "Friends of the Earth" are
actually willing to exchange the prospect of nuclear fusion for the subsistence
of a wind-and-water economy; that, I repeat, they have actually succeeded in
placing fidelity to the Earth before the ability of a highly technological
civilization to master its own central and salving destiny, its conquering
vision and cosmic ambition.

Public opinion, on the whole, has followed the retrogressive judgment
here, but I am not so sure it is right. For if the world's verdict endorsed that
judgment, it would represent a highly improvident depreciation of the skill and
ingenuity offered to it by a technological civilization. One thing, in any case,
is certain, we would be left in no doubt where its spirit resides. For the
pessimism conveyed in the demoralization of an age whose judgements no longer
embrace transcending or even confident standards, is not merely ecological. It
is evidence of deep changes in the orientation of the collective psyche. It is
fundamental to a world lost, in more recent times, in impossible ideas of a new
intellectual darkness. In an illusory nostalgia for a remote and rustic past. A
mellow eventide of butterfly and thistledown as the great concluding age of
peace, or what is held to be the last and most perfect phase of human existence.
Without regret and without ambition. Even though it can accomplish nothing
except the petrifaction of all that which lies at the basis of a healthy and
progressive civilization. And the triviality of much or it, rather than the
propensity for windmills and hydro-electric power, explains why the Great
Green Manifesto which seems to have become a kind of highly charge panacea for
the correction of all social ills, reads remarkably like a repeal of the
principal contents of Magna Carta or the Glorious, the Bill of Rights.

We should, with perhaps equal plausibility, also remember that the
meaning of Life - even in its most ill-conceived moments - is by no means
confined to the extreme monotony of our quotidian existence on Earth, nor
exclusive to the problems of an organic, environmental, or social kind which
have held the stage for so long. That would be utterly to misconceive its
nature. It is manifest with the same decisiveness in the concept of nuclear
energy as one of the most dynamic catalysts of a highly indeterminate stage in
human development and, we may add, of hope. Less dynamic perhaps but none the
less relevant since the whole of human civilization was based on its universal
and redemptive power. Indeed, it may be taken for granted that if we fail to
take the necessary steps to preserve either of these Promethean gifts and keep
alive for all time the two most powerful forces known to man, we might just as
well give up the quest for the stars and enter a period of universal
retrogression. For what it comes to, in the final analysis, is the exclusion of
any reasonable thought about preserving the balance between ecological
prescriptions for a brave new world and the total legislation of human life.

As for the rest, one soon wearies of such prattle. Indeed, the
banalities vary. But whether ecological, pacifist, irenic or activist, and
however irreconcilable in their ideological different ways, we are provided with
no central purpose upon which to extend our future hopes. The initial impetus
spent, clearly and unmistakably they all rest on a compulsory sacrifice of what
is perhaps the most dynamic heritage of human evolution: its transcendent
genius, the true bestower of all our noblest values.


Sunday, 1 March 2009


You’ve been a lousy audience, and I am going fishing. Thank God for that...


PS.: until further notice!

Friday, 27 February 2009


At nine minutes before eleven P.M., I rang the bell at no ** Windermere Lodge, Hornsey Lane, Highgate. At five minutes past eleven, Jessica stepped into
view, her hips swinging in time with her breasts. She was a real looker. A beguiling 5ft 10in confection of honey-blonde hair, limpid blue eyes, baby-doll
face, snake hips, and the contemptuous posture of a woman who found herself consistently in demand. Extreme desirability had a lot to do with it. She could
get anyone she damn well pleased. Okay, we’re looking at a rock’n raver - an open vintage Ocelot jacket, a tiny black mini-skirt, the smallest of black lace see-through bustiers, 18in upper thigh circumference (above the thigh you’re on
your own), silk-stockings and, of course, four-and-a-half-inch fuck-me stilettos.

‘I was going to wear something revealing,’ she confided to me. ‘Those little see-through hot pants from Agent Provocateur, but how can I without
looking like a load of soft porn. I mean, I don’t want to seem like a pushover.’
'Little late in the day,' I thought.
Zinc lips, bright eyes, faux-tanned skin. I always thought looking the
height of seasonal glamour tended to be part of the retail deal. I couldn’t
picture her doing anything for sex if she had to wear plain clothes and no
lipstick, but was beginning to wonder what superbly outrageous homage to
tinsel-glamour I myself had paid. Thank heavens for beautiful women. ‘You don’t
have to be a pushover,’ I said. ‘You can be sexy and still have class.’

‘It’s impossible for me to be cool, stylish and fashionable, and not
look like every man’s favourite fantasy. Sometimes I feel like the biggest C in
town,’ she said, ‘rather like a West-End production, with everybody wanting a
part in it.’ She sighed, ‘so, you know, you get laid a lot.’ She recognized, she
explained, the role of the penis, but professed to be unsure whether male and
female libidos were not altogether mismatched. Whether or not was open to
question, she said expansively, milking the pregnant pause, ‘but for every man
you jerk off, there’s two dozen priming their barrels. Unless, of course, they
already have their dicks up each other’s ass.’
‘I shouldn’t be at all surprised,’ I said. I must confess, though, I was inclined to think that she’d
been putting it a little strongly.

‘Sometimes I wish they would put their
penises away and do something useful. I’m sick and tired of ending up with a
dick in my mouth every time I leave the house.’ She took out her compact and
looked into the mirror. ‘All men are potential rapists, you know.’

‘No kidding?’ I said, groping for an answer. ‘That’s a serious

‘But it’s the women who make them so. Let’s face it,’ she elaborated with a throatiness in her voice that made my lips tingle. ‘A woman’s vagina is an amalgam of chemistry and biology, of taste and flavour that deter and attract
simultaneously. Its various aromas, scents and biological reverberations are very cunning and entirely irresistible.’

I felt myself reddening. The phrase reeked of cunnilingus. ‘It motivates men more than anything else in the world,’ I said, somewhat flustered. ‘It appeals to suckers like mangos to flies.’ She threw me a disdainful
look. ‘Just think about it.’

‘Thinking about little else,’ I said, starting the engine.

(Jessica was no mere prostitute down on her luck. She was a child of
progress. This was a woman who might go down into dirt, but whoring for her was
an informed career choice. The toughest part of the blessed thing was that while
Jessica was getting tied up, spanked or sodomized indoors, I would be waiting
outside, sitting in my cab...)

Monday, 23 February 2009


Crushed: “Ouch. I suppose one thinks of Taxi driver, immediately.”

Paul W. was the night-controller, possibly the most thankless and gruelling job in the entire driving business. A compulsive gambler, he was one of the toughest guys you’d ever hope to meet. He was also trying hard to reduce his life-span by smoking Capstan full strength at the rate of forty a night - a brand which I thought no longer even existed. Nor was it surprising in the circumstances. The types he had to deal with confounded every expectation. It was difficult to imagine a more polyphonous lot. Paul always rose to a crisis.

Genius is an ambivalent term, but it somehow approximated his ability to do justice to everyone. Here the happy accident of being an ex-market trader stood
him in good stead. He was a veritable switchboard, capable of instant calculations and astonishing feats of memory. He was also a brilliant talker with a gift for repartee and an extraordinary semantic ability. He would
communicate in every jargon, tongue or vernacular ever devised by man. Like so
many gregarians of his type, he thrived on pressure. There was an acute cerebral
intensity in his intellectual make-up. He was one of the most alert and
perceptive men I had ever met. As a controller he was remarkable. Not just
because of his microchip memory, but because he had infinite patience with his
drivers, such as Tutu, a quiet mathematical student from Delhi with brooding
looks and tragic eyes.

There was but one stipulation: Don’t screw up!

‘There are only two things you have to remember,’ Paul W. invariably
admonished his new recruits. ‘Never fall asleep behind the wheel, and always pay
your rent on time.’

No other references required.

‘You are now a fully licensed cab-driver. God help us all!’

(Paul Wyfield now runs a fruit & veg stall in Covent


Saturday, 21 February 2009


Hush, sleep the everlasting sleep
Dream the everlasting dream
Take a kiss from my dark lips
And forever hold your peace, hush...

If I gave you my eyes
Would you give me your teeth
Or bite while you could not see?
Would you take my thoughts,
Spin them into your soul
Or blow them into a whisper?

You can’t deny your destiny,
Sleep my child, sleep,
Fall into my arms forever,
Follow me, hush, hush...

(Kylie - child prostitute)

It sounded almost as if she was reciting from the far end of an
interminable underpass. She was pleading, I knew, almost like I should do
something. But what could I say to this melancholy refugee from the
free-floating horrors of her own obsessed imagination. These were the classic
symptoms of drug-induced hallucination. And I had neither the skill nor the
inclination for abandoning myself to the fantasies of a susceptible and
over-imaginative child.

She was right, of course, on one score.

One day she simply wouldn't wake up, lacking the vitality that
energizes life. One day she would come face to face with reality. It was just a
matter of time. Life is consciousness, and like consciousness extinguishable. I
felt alert to a situation that seemed nevertheless unreal. Some psychic
dichotomies were irreconcilable. Here she was, neither woman nor child, neither
wicked nor innocent, perennially dodging the soporific affections of some
psychotic entity, spinning her soul into a web. Almost as if she no longer
belonged to herself, waking up was a struggle. A reluctant return from the magic

The ravings of a fourteen-year old? Certainly. But that doesn’t mean
that she didn’t have a point. At least fallen angels have some hope of
redemption. She had nowhere to turn but to drugs and dreams for her salvation.
Already, she was in freefall. I could almost see her hurtling to her death.

As she walked towards the mansion in the crisp morning air, she struck
me as the loneliest figure I had ever seen. I heard the crunch of her footsteps
on the gravel. A waif-like, insubstantial figure, apparently quite alone.

(From a true recollection, based on Kylie, a child prostitute -
fourteen years old. The poem is her own - the events are authentic).


Monday, 16 February 2009

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL - and may the Force be with you... I left this link on Alastair's newly inaugurated blog, and promptly
ran into one Alina Palimaru, authorized moderator and young amant de coeur:

To Selena Dreamy:
First of all, your hyperlink does not work, so you may want to go back to
school for some computer workshops!
Eventually, I did find your blog page with your views about Alastair Campbell...much to my dismay! I know there are people who disagree with his political views, and other personal aspects of his life. We are all entitled to our opinions. Unfortunately, we are not entitled to our own facts!
Let me just copy a passage from your meaningless diatribe, to demonstrate
what a sick, depraved and pathetic little brain you have! Selena Dreamy:
"Alastair’s past history was an unbroken chain of disaster, his blunders ranging
from minor tactical gaffes to major strategic errors, to say nothing of his
psychotic breakdown, clinical depression anduncontrollable outbursts."
For your information, Alastair is a brilliant political communicator and
strategist, and his fanclub includes, among little people like myself, Bill
Clinton, Gen. Wesley Clark and many other prominent international figures. He
also happens to be the "architect" of one of the most spectacular political
comebacks in England's history. He may have made a few mistakes along the way,
who hasn't? He actually did assume responsibilty for some of them.
But your passage seems to imply that Alastair himself is entirely responsible for his
breakdown and depression. You should be ashamed of yourself! You are welcome to
visit this blog and submit constructive criticism. I always enjoy a healthy
policy debate. But if you intend to return with more unsubstantiated junk, just
to brag about how much venom you harbor, then I will only say that you and your
blog are a fraud!


And here, with due respect, is my rejoinder:

To Selena Dreamy:

"First of all, your hyperlink does not work, so you may want to go
back to school for some computer workshops!"

You're absolutely right. I am, without reservation, a hopeless plodder.
I also know that therapy - not schooling - is my only shot at technological

"Eventually, I did find your blog page with your views about
Alastair Campbell...much to my dismay! I know there are people who disagree with
his political views, and other personal aspects of his life. We are all entitled
to our opinions. Unfortunately, we are not entitled to our own

I believe we are all agreed that it is better to be familiar with the
facts before proclaiming oneself informed. For the level of ignorance that was
being displayed in the catastrophe of Blair's foreign policy during Alastair
Campbell's years as director of communications and strategy, was extraordinary
by any measure. And indeed, to say that the wrong countries were invaded for the
wrong reasons, secularists confused with fundamentalists, and a clueless
intelligence community retailed progressively destabilizing information, would
merely be to report on facts. Not to mention an administration which was blinded
by political arrogance and ideological obstinacy and, apparently, unaware that it
was collaborating in the greatest geo-political disaster story of the past four
decades. As, in the event, a more specific charge would be that, under the
doctrine of collective responsibility, the entire UK government of the day may
have been guilty of war crimes.

"Let me just copy a passage from your meaningless diatribe, to
demonstrate what a sick, depraved and pathetic little brain you have!"

Bless your little heart, Alina, you must have misunderstood my demon - this
particular gift I own of plucking the strings you respond to in exactly the musical style I prefer. It just so happens that I’m quite happy and forbearing about descriptions of this kind. It’s one of my many failings as a blogger and my concurrent deterioration as a human being that I have no desire to pretend to something I am not. I've never been an ethical persona. Call it deplorable. Call it picking up traits from your mentor Alastair Campbell - mine being the Virgin Mary - it is all the same to me. Though who turns out to be the Devil and who is the Saint, rather depends on whose side you're on.

"For your information, Alastair is a brilliant political communicator
and strategist, and his fanclub includes, among little people like myself, Bill
Clinton, Gen. Wesley Clark and many other prominent international figures. He
also happens to be the "architect" of one of the most spectacular political
comebacks in England's history."

Ooops - I have my doubts about the divine properties of Bill Clinton,
to tell you the truth. Admittedly, I was originally an unsuccessful teenage
violinist in New York. But when, as associate Director of Research, I worked at
the Library of Congress, with a coveted pass to the White House Rose Garden, it
soon became clear to me that deception formed the basis of his entire presidency
- such as the granting of pardons, squelching an investigation, awarding a
contract, deferring a regulation or looking forward to yet another "appropriate
enquiry", to say nothing of his groundbreaking "I did not have sex with that
woman!" So don't bore me with this American rogue. As for "the most spectacular
political comeback" - it seems to me that you are a starry-eyed devotee
retailing information to fit pre-existing norms, whereas I represent the
wholesome scrutiny of the people. And Alastair can certainly be under no
illusion as to the nation's feelings with regard to himself.

“But your passage seems to imply that Alastair himself is entirely
responsible for his breakdown and depression. You should be ashamed of

But I am. I am deeply troubled by it - unlike Alastair and numerous
obsessed persons under the misapprehension that they have some sort of claim on
public sympathy. In fact I still wonder about his downward spiral into
alcoholism, and whether or not to acknowledge it as a complex affective
pathology. I went cold turkey on every depression I have ever had, self-induced
or otherwise. Perhaps Campbell saw things differently from his psychiatrists,
but, despite his colossal sense of victimhood, the man should never have been in
politics. It may not be my business, but at the end of the day, it's my ass.

"You are welcome to visit this blog and submit constructive criticism.
I always enjoy a healthy policy debate. But if you intend to return with more
unsubstantiated junk, just to brag about how much venom you harbor, then I will
only say that you and your blog are a fraud!"

I have few virtues, sweet Alina, one of them being that I am the only
blogger to have declared herself a "fraud." It's in my profile. At the same
time, of course, you're missing a fundamental distinction: A pseudonymous
persona is not the same as a fraudulent identity. Indeed, a maverick deception I
can suffer, but a political toady I have no time for.

Finally, may I say that you are adorably homely, formulaic, endearingly
predictable and plainly out of your depth. As for Alastair, I'm afraid I find a
strong disposition in myself not to think so well of him as you seem certain I
ought to. Indeed, I might even claim that his blog is a confused amalgam of
careless, futile, and, at times, blatantly disingenuous allegations, replete
with more political inaccuracies and psychological misconceptions than any other
blog I have come across in two years of reviewing them (with the exception, of
course, of my own!), but I will not! In fact, I beg you all to give a moment of your time to Alastair's blog, and to peruse it for yourself. You will not
find it hard to come up with your own conclusions.

And may the Force be with you...


Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Can't work out the language. I guess it's either Finnish, or perhaps Hungarian. Any clues?

"Modern fiziğin Bu eğilim, elbette, tüm malzeme çözmek için elektromanyetik dalgalar bir evren. Eğer kulak zarı, eşdeğer bir titreşmesinde ses sıvı olarak kulak içinde oluşturulur. Bu, ilgili beyin söyler sahası, hacmi ve süresi veya elektromanyetik "sesin frekansı". Aynı şekilde, bir alıcı ile bir koku molekülünün Docks, sinyal geçecek için beyin's takas olan koklama ampul, kokuyor. Esasen, de elektromanyetik radyasyon tüm aralığı - gama ışınlarından, x-ışınları, ultra mor, görünür ışık, kızıl-ötesi, mikrodalgalar, radiowaves vb - ötesinde algılanabilir vizyon için retina's eşiği, görünen renkler ise, üzerinde her yönde spektrum sadece elektromanyetik frekansları farklı. Ne zaman ışık retina üzerine düştüğünde, kimyasal değişiklikler belirli teşvik oluşabilir ile insan beyin kendisi için içerik yorumlar elektrik faaliyetleri onun duyusal
deneyimi. Bu tonlar, sesleri, tonları, renkleri, blushes veya boyalar, ancak
beyinde duygulanımlar!"


Saturday, 7 February 2009


The White Man’s Burden?

That was the slogan, and how weird was that? To say nothing of the
imperial, hubristic, thankless sordidness of it. Meanwhile, the white man’s
humiliations mounted. The loss of the American Presidency was a more or less a
foregone conclusion - given McCain’s fractious relationship with his own party.
McCain the renegade was barely tolerated.

So, it all adds up to one of those stellar moments when the political
planets were in exactly the right alignment for a really bright supernova. It
was the vision of Obama that appealed, as much as the man. He sniffed the air
and scented victory. It was a summons rather than an election. Equivocation,
finally, was over for the Afro-American, as the country's fate was bound over,
inexorably, to the "Black" Man who suddenly felt that he had a promising future,
not just an intolerable past. But above all, this was a battle of the New Age
against the old, to suit an era in which the white man’s hegemony has arguably
run its course. This was the political solar plexus. Circumstances, rather than
ideology, had propelled the freshman senator into becoming the first black
president of the United States - and thus, the repository of their hopes.
Deliverance is at hand, the civil-rights movement has reached its apogee and the
continent’s great profiteers and speculators are seen to stagger as the world's
tectonic plates shift beneath them.

The countdown to the future has begun.

The temptation to play with the idea of Armageddon and the presently
perceived economic threat from the newly gravitating Third World races might be
sacrilegious. But even if you feel that global warming is for wimps, you have to
accept the scientific evidence that the planet reacts to all types of stress,
whether ecological, demographic, energetic or nutritional. And even without
invoking the much maligned sense of entitlement of the Caucasian races as a
remarkable feat of historical unscrupulousness - and their past history, after
all, is part of the indictment against them - it is nevertheless the case that
they were the true upholders of the surpassing human values, of progress and
respect for the “Higher Man” and his institutions of science and technology, the
product of enlightenment and its intellectual tradition, the purveyors of a
finely-tuned hereditary sense of inquiry and method, to say nothing of the
pursuit of knowledge that has the potential to uncover fundamental properties of
our future universe.

Obama offers an alternative which turns the decline of the white man's
mandate into an instrument of future hope. If not the coup de grace, it
may certainly be the turning point in the fortunes of the industrial nations.
Some compared it to Nelson Mandela’s ascent in South Africa where, meanwhile,
for the unconquerable Master Race, there is no prospect but evacuation. Nor
should this be construed in any pejorative sense, but nothing I know about those
up-and-coming races suggests that scientific altruism or the quest for knowledge
could ever have been a motivating factor in their quest for the social
recognition of a variety of essential human requirements, or indeed, for a
humane and equitable freedom.

God knows, how weary we are of squalor, poverty and deprivation, but
any notion that such up-and-coming masses are in any sense concerned about the
welfare of the world, or the planet, or the future, is laughable. A deadly
conflict between two competing giants is already delineated. As Asia’s power
grows, that of the West diminishes. Frankly, I have to say I'm torn on this one
and not sure where lies the future direction of man’s ascendancy. The scientific
evolution and the Conquest of Space is neither an affair for sedentary Caucasian
nations nor for the newly developing Third World races. The unwashed multitudes
of the world are inevitably too concerned with survival to give much thought to
“higher” aims.

Nor is this all: the question now arises whether 'the first of the
human race' will prove to be the last, the Nemeses and destroyers of the world,
or whether they will actually begin to take their own future more seriously in
hand? The 'white man' of today must bear his burden. It may be necessary for him
to surrender the very way of life that the precursors of our own day found so
congenial, the very planet, perhaps, from which he commenced his assault on the
Planets which the rest of mankind may be too improvident, indifferent, hostile
or hungry to participate in.

Even so, and this is not perhaps the place to expound Darwinian
evolution, but its operative formula that evolution not infrequently proceeds
through the elimination of 'specialized types' and the survival of the simpler
and more adaptable forms of life, is really a good summary of the irreconcilable
antagonism of the principles upon which it is based. Much would depend, of
course, on the nature of the decline. On whether for instance it is caused, in
the language of the evolutionists, by 'a new vigorous society overrunning a
senile one,' or through 'the total collapse of the more advanced technological
societies, and a reversal of human life to the primitive subsistence level.' No
doubt the two are related. But with the latter in mind, it is not perhaps
unreasonable to say that a condition of their pre-eminence is that 'the first of
the human race' - and technically at least this may have been applicable -
establish new claims to immortality or else, whatever their other claims, make
room for supercession.


Thursday, 29 January 2009

THE STING or The Story Of How Gordon McCabe Shot Himself In The Foot

This Is The Story Of How Gordon McCabe Shot Himself In The Foot In Front Of An Audience That Included A Dutchman, An Elberry, A Kindly Cynic, And One Selena Dreamy Who Reported The Matter To The Relevant Authorities.

Having long had serious doubts about my own identity, Gordon's feat might have been be a simple trick, embellished by second sight and wishful thinking, perhaps, but somehow I always knew that someone like Dr McCabe would come along and sort it out. I am, indeed, a close observer of this Doctor of
Philosophy - who I'm acquainted with professionally and fond of personally - and even though Gordon's actual findings were preliminary and had not been subject to peer review he went ahead and published them.

"I formed the suspicion long ago that Selena was male. In fact, my suspicion was quite specific: I guessed that Selena was Dr David Oderberg, from the Philosophy
Department at the University of Reading."
(Gordon McCabe)

This was undoubtedly an incriminating statement! And as such, accordingly, I needed to declare an interest. I'm not acquainted with Dr Oderberg, and for all I know he may well be Miss Selena Dreamy, or a kind of quantum-Doppelgänger. But that would be to place the theory before the
evidence, and as theories are themselves based upon evidence, they must always
be open to amendment in the light of new or conflicting information. And since,
precisely on the information available - I myself inclined to a different view,
I sent Prof. Oderberg an email:

"I'm not certain, Sir. But I think I stumbled across something at the
Comment Section of that you were not supposed to see. Come and share this bit of gossip:"

The die was cast, and for Dr Gordon McCabe nothing would ever be
the same again. Indeed, if this has ruined your day, Gordon, don't be
disconcerted. I want to apologize for the wicked Prof Sonderberg. The punishment
inflicted upon you has been severe, if not inhuman. At the same time, of course,
the comparison constitutes an unbearable insult to my own person, needless to
say. Indeed, as a philosopher, he has, it seems to me, an altogether
unsophisticated relationship with anger. And perhaps, at least in retrospect,
that is his chief transgression:

"Hello, thank you for this email and for drawing this bit of stupidity
to my attention.
Gordon, how dare you post such a ridiculous piece of
speculation. I have no connection whatsoever with any of this.
I demand an immediate retraction on this blog, with apologies.
Next time you are inclined to speculate about who people are, you might consider asking them first so as to corroborate your fanciful hypothesis."
Prof. David Oderberg
University of

Then came the problematic part: and, here, predictably enough, is
Gordon on his way to do penance:

"David has asked me to retract my hypothesis, and I’m more than happy
to, and apologise for identifying him with Selena Dreamy."
(Gordon McCabe)

By means of that extreme simplification, two mock-philosophers
managed to sidestep all the elegant solutions associated with that noble
discipline. Truth to tell, for someone used to the exercise of reason and the
concept of philosophy as a search for intellectual salvation, it is all very
strange and alarming. Indeed, there is a lesson here. Philosophy - and surely
that is a point upon which all sides can agree - is an ancient art, the
essential foundation of all other inquiries, the generator of higher thought,
and based on the idea that human existence may be alleviated through rationality
and mutual understanding.

I know that's all relative, but frankly, contemporary philosophers are
a fearful jest upon a fearful age, if I might be allowed this freedom to express
myself. And just so you won't look a dupe, Gordon, when next divining an
identity, I'd like to clear up a common misconception: A pseudonymous identity
is not the same as a false identity. It is the work of the devil. A transgression peculiar to the Internet age, replete with everything that makes the cyber sphere, and the vast opportunities it creates for ethical and professional deception, such a virtual torment.

In a word, a loony bin!

But what I meant to be saying before I was so enticed by one of my multiple personas - troublesome little trolls - is, that as an American subject, I respectfully decline to answer any
further questions concerning my gender or identity by virtue of my
constitutional privilege under the Fifth Amendment!

Dreamy (Miss!)

PS.: for all other enquiries, please refer to my gynaecologist!

Friday, 23 January 2009


"...meant to say but keep forgetting, you should post some samples from
your book on your blog - the equivalent of letting a potential buyer flick
through a book in Waterstone's.
Best wishes etc.... "

The above is from an e-mail I received a little while
ago. And below is, not an excerpt from the book in question, but the version of
an extract which I myself posted, in the fall of 2004, to Gillon Aitken
Associates, Literary Agents, London S.W.10.

“As for the story I cannot really see the point in dwelling on it.“ I
wrote. “It has a beginning and an ending, a denouement where you would expect
it, some truly offensive language and some psychotically violent and
child-chillingly hideous villains. I know what you're thinking - I'm under no
illusions here - but it seems to me that in spite of an appearance of
considerable complexity, any story is only as good as the telling. The proof of
the pudding, in other words, lies in the reading.” And lets be frank about this,
I’m never even going to attempt a *great* fictional masterpiece. My passion is
philosophy and the pursuit of reason. But I am not, as might have happened once,
above writing a damn good social satire or, in the event, even entertain a few

Unsurprisingly, Kate S. was ‘not in love with it.’“I didn’t find myself
responding positively so I’m obviously not the right agent for you,” she wrote
with impeccable common sense. Bless her.

If the eminently sullen nature of my query produced a response which no
consideration of literary irreverence could mitigate, the fifth chapter would
definitely have put paid to any possibility of that. Not because it’s the
slightest chapter. But because the temperate Ms Shaw could not possibly have
approved of it. Frankly, I myself was astonished one morning in the summer of
2003, in the midst of my deepest slumber, to learn that I had been placed under
arrest. And, for those of you who might suggest that my life has been an ongoing
triumph of impeccable conduct, I am afraid to say, the allegation was one of a
serious sexual nature.
And here’s how the whole thing started.
My friend Benny told me about this party and how it was going to have all
the cutest chicks in town. The instant I arrived, he said “Try the Appleton
I had barely opened my mouth.
Then his pals and their girlfriends piled in. Six hours later I found
myself at a police station in Wembley Park - a West London district of whose
existence I had previously been altogether ignorant.
I was stripped naked. A desk sergeant asked me a quantity of highly
inappropriate questions. A custody officer advised me on my rights. I was then
supplied with a prison issue boiler-suit - entirely made of paper - and
"charged" with affray, sexual harassment and attempted rape!
Imagine that!
Then the cell! A bunk, a sink, a john.
No amenities, except for a paperback left lying on the bunk. ‘The Satanic
‘. I’m not even a fan of Salman Rushdie‘s. The only thing I like about him
is his incredibly lovely fourth wife. That said, I may not have the prominence
of Salman R., but the reason I don’t have his wife is not my lack of virility.
That thought cheered me up a lot. Whatever was going to happen next, I
blissfully drifted off to sleep.
My slumber was interrupted when an audible gasp arose from a startled woman
PC who tugged at my sleeve and pointed in the direction of my groin. I snapped awake. For reasons completely unrelated to my libido, an awkward matter had presented itself. It looked three-dimensional. It felt three-dimensional. It was unmistakable:
A giant erection!
As I lay napping on my bunk, a highly volatile and critical development had been unfolding in my boiler-suit. It seemed like the prelude to an explosion. Given the nature of the paper vestment, nothing substantial restrained the projection. The WPC then said that I could be guilty of an offence of indecent exposure with intent to insult a female under the 1824 Vagrancy Act. The maximum penalty, she added was three months imprisonment.
She was looking at the ceiling, not at me.
Nor could I possibly have conceived that the English criminal justice
system and a natural urinary inclination could be combined to form such a devastating indictment. I scarcely knew what to say. I also explained that my physical appearance was the result of too much Appleton Special, a giant hangover, and pressure on the bladder.
What else was there to say? That I was pleased to see her?
I didn’t tell her about Salman’s wife, though. No need to get cute with the
Nor did I mention that the Appleton Special was 100% proof. That it can
cause double vision, pink hallucinations and visitations from airborne
elephants, is what I have also good reason to believe.
As I was led into the interrogation room the constable simply waved me
inside. He did his best to ignore the fact that there was an unauthorized
hard-on on the make. Flushed with adrenalin, it was still straining to gain
altitude. The paper suit seemed remarkably compliant. There was nothing
ambiguous about it. The cops kept their distance. Once inside, though, there was
a universal gasp, and it wasn’t one of approbation. It was evident the
detective-sergeant in charge of the interrogation alternated between
astonishment and reprimand.
“Good Lord,” he said, stating the obvious.
Force majeure!” I replied, by way of explanation.
“Straighten up, man!” he said - not without awe.
Hardly the best move to make under the circumstances!
“Sit down!” he barked.I was happy enough to do that.
“Are you drunk?”I admitted I was.
“Do you have a drinking problem?”“No, Sir,” I said. “I have a problem
staying sober!”
He didn’t crack a smile. Privately, of course, I agree, my appearance told
heavily against me, even though the only credible piece of evidence produced by
the Crown was a substantial erection. How substantial depends on which account
you believe. Mine or the police’s.
And that’s about the size of it.

Meanwhile, I want to set your minds at ease as much as I can. I want you to
know that I was granted bail in accordance with the Bail Act, 1976, under the
provisions of Section 34/37 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and granted
unconditional release. Would it bother you if I also claimed that I am less
disturbed by the evidence I presented to the Crown, than by seeing that the
question of my gender should have become the subject of so much hesitation on
this board? Conflating fact and fiction, I would remind you, is the essence of a
writers' license, and so far as you are concerned, gentlemen bloggers, perverts and doggers,
rest assured that I always considered, and shall continue
to consider, myself delectably, scrumptiously, deliciously...

Miss (!!) Selena Dreamy

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


THE BETTER MAKER by Walter Aske.
Lulu 278 pp £ 7.29

"I mean that I came home more greedy, more ambitious, more voluptuous and even more cruel and inhuman - because I have been among human beings" Seneca

Walter Aske has a way with words. "Darkly attractive with words" - to paraphrase Sini Kaattari, one of his main characters. Nor is he part of a literary movement or creative writing club, but a man of great introspection and originality. For his main theme, unprofessed, is undoubtedly himself. Maintaining a symbiotic colloquy with love and despair, The Better Maker is an excellent example of how the use of language sets one apart; how its rendition, not the story is paramount.

Using a well-established literary device that allows one timescale to
be relevant to another, Patrick Sadler's Italian fast-forwards give his life a
posthumous meaning as well as guiding the eye of the reader to the ultimate
denouement of his literary composition. On the face of it, Patrick seems
destined to be a pariah. Morose, insular, lugubrious, he has in effect turned
himself into an outcast. Again and again, his adult behaviour has roots in his
childhood: ...his introspection, his suspicion of his own insignificance, his
self-obsession, his ambiguous relations with Sini Kaattari and - of which she is
seen as the epitome - with Polly‘s nose. One remains profoundly struck by the
miserable aspect he presents. Rigid with intimidation, he has a defeated look
about him. A symptom, no doubt, of the overarching need to be loved. Perhaps the
story is apocryphal. But it has the sound of psychological truth. And on this
point as on others it does not lack credibility

Above all there is a sense of restless uncertainty:

"He studied her for some hint of his failure, why she had withdrawn
from him in the Leech Hall, and avoided him since. And why now she had taken him
into her kitchen, and offered him tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate even. Then
his gaze dropped and he stared at the table, fighting to withstand the love that
would compel him to speak, to speak and so err in her strange kingdom. If his
love had scared her so, then he must act outside of love; but that misleading
angel had him, as surely as ever. Within a minute his easy, sleepy warmth had
contracted to silence. He was barely aware of her or himself; he had sealed
himself into a numbness from which he could act without love. The music met the
silences strangely.”

While he endures a major psychological crisis - that of falling in love
- people around Patrick Sadler are both charmed and alarmed by his tranquil
defiance of convention. Like the Roman Seneca, Patrick is dismayed with himself,
but even more dismayed with his fellow men, and he functions on the assumption
that they are not to be trusted. At the same time, one is struck by his strange
passivity in the face of his “Torment.” Reacting with the same stoicism he has
displayed as a child, the victim refuses to protest the treatment the world is
dishing out to him. Tortured by inner demons and a sense of his own
worthlessness, he's less of an arrogant or Rimbaudlean rakehell than he is an
abandoned and impassive outcast. His entire attitude is complete denial.

Some of its content makes repetitive reading. There are too many recurring,
campus canteens that badly need to have their mash potatoes fed to the pigs. And
a number of his dialogues are diminished by a plethora of insider innuendo. A
sort of campus repartee. I wonder, too, whether the university content isn't
responsible for some the style, which, at times, is remorselessly collegiate. In
fact, the atmosphere is, if not pretentious, somewhat affected, even if the
finest passages are composed in an archaic, oblique and enigmatic style with a
terseness that - for all its infusion of "fearful secrecy" - has few equals. Or
at least, few that I know of. And yet, paranoia can be catching. Becoming ever
more detached and mysterious - in the words of Sini: "You are not exactly human”
- their "forbidden" relationship seems more suited to the sadistic moral
universe of 13th century Florence than the Runnkirk of 1999.

"He dreamt of her death. he dreamt of his. Knives in the night. He woke
in his flat and rolled to his unsteady feet, listening and waiting, then unable
to sleep, worried for Sini across the town. They both waited their end, her
shaming, and what hell would follow after. Their love did not feel blessed and
wonderful; it was urgent. They both talked of how long they could love like
this, before a world they both saw as cruel and stupid found them out. They
shared an intimation of doom that went beyond scandal or separation"

Fear feeds on itself and prophecies of doom become self-fulfilling:
“Sini died on Christmas day.”

One of Walter Aske's amazing qualities is the potently
self-deprecating irony and wit that he applies to potentially heart-rending
situations. His ability to handle emotional restraint is extraordinary. There is
a memorable scene in the nocturnal college library where Patrick feels haunted
by a ghost - which then turns out to be Sini incarnate, who promptly takes him
home. What follows is a tragicomedy. He declares his love for her as he lies
prostrate under a pile of vestments from a coat-rack which has collapsed and
buried him. One wonders what Henry Miller would have made of it - the great
master of the hilarious and grotesque. And Strindberg's taste for bad omens
would have been no less well served - to take the other extreme. Indeed, some
may argue that if you are used as a butt for fate or buried under a pile of
coats, some of love's dignity is lost. But even though Patrick is hardly
expansive in his emotions, for the time being he appears a contented man.

He dreaded the fading of his love for Sini - and so did I. In truth, I
felt a terrible hole in my stomach. And, I suppose, if I'm honest, I also felt
affronted when "she took his now eager cock in his mouth". It jars (- which is,
of course, precisely the point that the author is making). Polly Church, on the
other hand, never lives up to her promise. I retained a feeling of distinct
unfamiliarity. "The one deeper, bonded in his blood and bone; the other an
unsettled revenant, a catalyst."
The result, inevitably, is an untidy compromise
until I lost them again in a long bluster about Schubert, Mozart, St Augustine,
Apocalypse, Christ and the pretensions of literary theorists. Followed with
another exegesis by Polly Church on Abelard and Heloise in - if I have got this
right - Dante's Inferno, plus a giddy succession of non sequiturs blazing away
with all the dizzying complexities I had previously devoured about Patrick’s
disintegrating life. It was 3 am - the hour of the wolf - and I had enough of
death, Satan, the Viking and a man called Gaston who devotes himself unashamedly
to succeeding as a bohemian temp. I told myself we'd reached the central fire.

Now, I am no great creative writing fan. And some books have a longer
life than their authors. Most of them don't. But I have a hunch that what makes
The Better Maker unique has more to do with the dark poetic spirit of its
author, the vogue for personal deprecation and its spark of nihilistic chemistry
than with any capacity for explicit, blatant mainstream perceptions. The author
started as he meant to go on and he writes well, in an "untutored" fashion.
Clearly, in scale, scope and significance this is an Erstlingswerk, and I had an
extraordinary sense of its singularity. In fact, Walter Aske is an accomplished
communicator, but he also needs to be a skilled editor in order to render the
intricate convolutions of the story accessible to the more general reader - for
that "less is more” continues to be an excellent recommendation, here as
elsewhere. Commercial success, admittedly, is only a remote possibility. But
then, success and genius are not synonymous - far from it! In fact, he would
never make it as a writer-in-residence employed by Camden or Islington Arts
Council. And we should all be thankful for that!

Oh, and lest I forget, if you have never heard of Walter Aske , you may be surprised to learn that he is none other, of course, than Elberry of The Lumber Room.


Sunday, 18 January 2009


Kayfabe: "Our Government tells us it's expecting to borrow £60bn this year
and a further £100bn next. Many other countries in Europe will be doing much the
same. In the US, as we know, Congress famously approved an extra $700bn of
borrowing to fund the bail-outs. Obama says he's going to spend a similar amount
on New Deal style projects - in addition to the regular Federal deficit of a
$trillion or so. So I dunno... how much new Global borrowing does all this add
up to? Couple of $trillion? Five trillion.. more?"

Yep, much more! $ 53, 000 000 000 000 trillion, to be exact!

According to the financial expert David Walter ("An American Time
), America's total liabilities, including public debts, actually amount to
$ 11 trillion, added to which there are currently unfunded obligations in social
security benefits of $ 7 trillion. Unfunded medicare promises, apparently, add
up to some $ 34 trillion, to which for good measure he attaches another $ 1
trillion for miscellaneous requirements. All of which adds up to a grand total
of $ 53 trillion in terms of negative equity - or $ 175. 000 000 per person - in
order to deliver on the obligations and promises of the US government.

I, personally, cannot vouch for these figures. But anyway you slice it,
wowza! There is nothing in human experience to compare with it. What we are
dealing with here is not an event of negative equity, but a process of financial
meltdown at a rate ten times higher than the growth of population.

Meanwhile, in America, apart from the huge tax-cutting and public-spending
package sketched out by Barack Obama last week, its central bank, The Federal
Reserve, has already stepped up its quantitative easing, as if we could conjure
away financial immolation and find economic immortality through printing
banknotes. But perhaps our most spectacular failure is with the fundamental
problem of balancing the structure of the global economy with the demands of the
global ecology. While the future will be disintegrating in yet another ferocious
spiral of boom and bust, all efforts would have to be concentrated on urban
demographic growth in order to increase the world's fiscal population. Precisely
because growth and productivity are linked to the volume of consumer population,
the only answer to long-term economic decline, is more humans and plenty of
them. Nor - in the full understanding that this, too, is an adjournment rather
than a annulment of an inevitable confrontation - does it offset the burgeoning
new carbon emissions created by the requisite high birth rate and the steady
flow of migrants to the West.

Here is a human explosion waiting to happen!

And carbon capture technology, to tell the truth, will not be keeping
pace with the urban population increase. It is a classic case of untested
assertions. Carbon trading, too, is by definition a strictly temporary
expedient. I have no fundamental objection to such Keynesian ideas as
deficit-financing - I don't understand it, so I don't object to it - but if
Messrs Brown & Co are confident that we should continue to consume more than
we produce, it is obvious to me, that Keynesian insanity is a natural result of
the belief in charlatanism. Indian jugglers may perform such feats of
escapology. But then, of course, they are tied up inside a sack and thrown into
a river. Which rather suggests to me that Anglo-American conmen should be
treated likewise.

There is no way to spin it, folks. The dirty fact of the matter is,
that we can’t escape; we can’t hide; and we can’t possibly have the cake and eat it.


Tuesday, 6 January 2009


LIVING OUTSIDE TIME: "When I think about the character of China I struggle.
This surely is not only because I do not know the language. I sense that it is a
different world, not just a different part of the world. Despite the obvious,
profound differences between Islam and the West; despite, moreover, the
increased personal freedoms here in China - with respect to personal matters
such as alcohol and relationships – I do feel that China is more exotic and
strange to me than was Kuwait."

Cultural differences are like alien worlds. Indeed, culture moulds our thoughts so much that we cannot even conceptualise ideas for which we do not have precedents. And the value and
rightness of Western knowledge are not empirical absolutes. Which often makes me
wonder how presumtuous it is, indeed - as if they were divinely ordained - to
measure everything by the moral standards of the West...

The Judean-Christian morality may well be regarded as the chief
instrument regulating legislative questions subsequent to the Roman Empire. But
I, myself, am more than puzzled. What Christianity achieved by a bold stroke of
dogmatism, the world now accepts as an inherent good, which plainly it is not.
It is nothing but the identification of the supreme power with the supremely
self-serving choice. And by that identification the Anglo-American dominated
West bestows upon itself a legitimate and divinely sanctioned international
authority. And don’t tell me, folks, that world supremacy was not acquired by
effective and brazen occupation.

Nor does it prevent me from recognizing that oriental cultures have
completely different conceptions of either freedom or personal constraint.
Muslim culture wilting under the heel of the American imperialist, means more to
its adherents than all the social opportunities of a way of life directed at
nothing but the pursuit of happiness. And just how honestly anyone can claim
that the world promised by America is the best of all possible worlds, is rather
a matter of perspective. As for that freedom we worship so much, we have
considered chiefly its rewards. Impressive though it is, it may well be the
secularised version of the descent into Hell. So far as Islamists are concerned,
every constraint and taboo which builds a civilized society has been swept away.
Sexual license is at a premium, the dissolution of the family progressive,
homosexual union administratively sanctioned, paedophilia rife, crime out of
control, violence glorified, drugs the great sustainer of the multitudes.
Whereas Islam - with its gigantic affirmation of Allah - has all the attributes
associated with the propagation of the human heritage and the continuity of the

Or has it? Or is that which dominates the entire bloody sequence of
current events but a dichotomous fanaticism, impounded in its own mad,
delusional "freedom" one the one hand, and a deeply entrenched fundamentalism on
the other?

It is never a matter of iniquity. It is always a matter of cultural or
religious perspective. But it is compelling, nevertheless, to observe how the behaviour of one
side always reinforces that of the other.

There is no way I am going to forego the freedom my Western heritage
bestows. But while you and I believe it possible for Western Hellenistic
Enlightenment, ultimately, to democratise the entire globe, I personally, find
it an imposition to think that a fourteen-hundred year old theocratic culture
like that of Iraq or Afghanistan can be emancipated during the course of a
single war. The reform of Islam is a contradiction of terms. The democratisation
of Islam signals the death of its own oriental identity. Nothing less. Indeed,
let the record show that this war has been responsible for turning the austere
religious tenets of an obscure Saudi tribe - the Wahhabis - into a worldwide
Islamic fundamentalist revival!


Thursday, 1 January 2009


ALL SHOOK UP: Though a brilliant logician and an enviable blogger whose writing is clear and lucid, ASU clearly cannot see the forest for the rubber trees. I suspect it relates to his fundamental inability to embrace the fact that he does not exist. The human mind is perversely immune to such logic, and ASU cannot be sure he is ruthless enough to believe in a philosophy informed by mind-bending quantum equations and distorted by relativistic insights. For some, quantum physics is still a religion, and the knowledge and mastery of science the centre of its mysteries. Astrologers such as Mystic Meg, of course, will tell you that they've known this all along, but the experience has done nothing to change ASU’s mind. Indeed, he has difficulties restraining his annoyance at the complacent arrogance of Selena’s tone, and I am fully conscious that such censure is well and truly judged. Trust me to mock someone whose only crime has been to be a agreeable and generous conversationalist. Shame on you, Miss Dreamy.

APPLEYARD: A regular domestic Messiah, see BRYAN

BLOGGERS: Everyone, it seems, is at it, except the paedophiles and the
Brownies. Rabble-rousers, liberals, bigots, zealots, pornographers, the
pro-lifers, homophobics, psychopaths, and even the Sioux. A constant flow of
hard drive addicts who rant to get their latest fix. In terms of subject matter,
it's open season. Frankly, if someone's going to have an vacuous, pointless
hobby, I'd rather it was sex. I only read bloggers who adore fornication and are
enthusiastic about the death penalty. In any case, I have never been at ease
with this world of digits, where you can't tell whether anyone is who they say
they are, and that obviously excludes myself. But you know what scares me most
of all? Bloggers are like the bubonic pest, the black death, the plague of
locusts - you can never kill them off!

BOB: The Dutch like to lecture other countries about the evils of too
much legislation, and Bob is a man who can detect flaws down to the atomic level
of intellectual resolution. But whereas I believe that reality is an illusion
that can only exist in the mind, his point indubitably is, that the world turns
on mutually exclusive delusions, and that it is never as simple as black and

BRYAN: Never trust a man who uses self-deprecation, it is impossible to
provoke him. Afflicted with an inner restlessness that is compounded by a
chronic inability to sleep, Bryan’s psychological profile fits the contours of a
high-functioning intellectual suffering from emotional deprivation. There is
little doubt that Bryan desires to be loved. Or that this tenderness towards
himself may cost others dearly. Though I did all I could to be provocative, he
stubbornly refuses to be engaged. Understandably! At stake is his whole design for living, the
dream of a liberal intellectual who has built his career entirely on academic
ephemerals. Bryan has lived on the edge of great ideas, and his shoptalk abounds
in tantalizingly loose ends. But does his clean, unchallenged reputation stand
up to scrutiny? Or has the Messiah lost his call? The buzzards are circling.
Beware the Ides of March.

DICK MADELEY: A pseudonymous identity is not the same as a phoney
identity. Is your identity defined by law, or by what you believe you are, in
your own mind? Handsome, shrewd and disarmingly affable, Dick’s first discovery
of himself was of a man as far as possible removed from Richard in origins and
fortune. But behind every great man, it is said, there is a great valet. And as
such he has become confidante and counsellor of numerous television
personalities and society ladies, including his charming spouse Judy, to whom he
preaches an admirable if outdated nineteenth-century morality. See RICHARD

DREAMY: As a blogger I am not worth much but I have the advantage that
others are worse. As a leggy blonde in hotpants and stilettos I really am a
cliché, a woman driven by oestrogen, rather than expertise - but inevitably I
have a lot more admirers then (see) SELENA

CRUSHED BY INSOC: Crushed needs no attempts at cheerleading from
myself, idolised as he is by his numerous readers. Everyone agrees that he is
clever and charming but in truth, as yet, I don’t really know him. Evidently, he
is an operator who beguiles his audience. And an affable participant in the
genteel, informal debates on uncontroversial subjects, such as sex and cocaine. May he blog happily ever after…

ELBERRY: Elberry is the laureate of
the loner. Witches and sorcerers are still proscribed, but Elberry is spreading.
Born of bitterness and cynicism he has the whiff of the serial killer about him
( – which, I sense, is l’eau du morgue). In certain ways he’s representative of
what's wrong with all of us. Because we owe our identity largely to psychotic
forces and have no wish to appear a failure to ourselves, we feel bound to pour
scorn on the rest of world. These experiences are indeed consistent; they are
nothing but the ever-present grievance of the humbled man. Elberry’s problem is
not original in this respect. But rather than plunge into a deep depression or
suffer invisible blows to his psyche, he reacts with the same obduracy: (alternatively: see ÜBERMENSCH). Also see THE LUMBER ROOM

HAVERS of HAVERING ON: The last of his kind, writer and musicologist
Richard Havers can be found, fortuitously but appropriately, in the heartland of
northern politics where the principal source of all moral wealth is England
still. And the unreserved aversion which he shares with almost everyone for the
Scottish author of our economic discontent is more than matched by his total
contempt for the devious turncoat Mandelson. It takes a remarkable investment to
dislike as keenly as he does, though, in truth, I’ve often thought of shooting
Mandelson myself.

HELEN's FIRST LANGUAGE: Why are there so few women at the highest level of science…?

JONATHAN: A man whose comments reveal a high level of irritability, and
whose leitmotif is a never-ending: "I don't understand…” He believes that the
heart's creative wisdom has a more important message than the logic of the mind
and needs his Saviour like a father. His anxiety is like that of a child fearing
abandonment. I shook him to the core, because he suddenly saw the fundamental
dilemma besetting his personal destiny when reproduced on a higher,
anthropomorphic plane. No doubt his crucial hesitation is whether our idea of
God can be purely spiritual or must be in part at least, be an anthropic one.
Nor is there any reason to doubt the sincerity of Jonathan’s investment. In
fact, I don't know any seeker after the truth of whom I am disposed to think
more highly.

THE LUMBER ROOM: Glum bulletins proliferate, but
spurred on perhaps by simultaneous perusal of the tractates of those very
elusive thinkers Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein, Elberry’s public transformation
from college pariah to exiled intellectual is now almost complete. The LUMBER
ROOM’s true purpose - despite some rather odd personal statements - makes one
feel that he is sustained and animated by the whole notion of literature, and it
is that which seems to have prevented him from turning himself into nothing but
a self-lacerating outcast. The Lumber Room is a remarkable mixture of insider's
knowledge, philosophical speculation and literary assimilation. Highly recommended.

McCABE: Gordon acts the part of the theoretical
physicist brilliantly, but philosophy, you feel, has never really been his first
love. Prompted by nonhuman emotions and perceptions, the logical, unemotional
part of his blog is performed excellently. But always remember that he will
employ scrupulously formal syntax, and that there is no conspicuous
demonstration of wit. Mathematical reasoning is the only way to grasp the
fundamentals that lie behind what Gordon observes. Where others have a vision,
Gordon has a balance sheet. But thank you, nevertheless, Dr McCabe. I always
profit from your blog. As a specialist in data processing, you have, at all
events, provided us with the certified statistician’s view of philosophy.

for a few instalments and then become dull, embarrassing self-parodists for the
rest of their time. Nor do I wish to suggest anything of the kind. On the
contrary. I know Richard Madeley is an intellectually most alert and very
complicated individual, and I think it would be presumptuous and wrong on my
part if I were, in any way, to second-guess his motives. The Richard Madeley
Appreciation Society
is one of the great classics in blogging history. But the
tragedy of Dick’s talent is the missed opportunities it represents. If you want
to drive a man to become a radical destroyer of his proper genius, just give him
half a dozen blogs…

MUTLEYTHEDOG: Lovable, cuddly, in the most promiscuous sense. A canine
who said nothing that could not be found on the walls of a public convenience
and whom I’ve previously nominated as my choice for comedian of the year. Fact
is, I seriously intend to retrain as a counsellor for people who have been
exposed to Mutley’s website, or been contaminated by his wit. Which, roughly,
amounts to 15% of the UK population.

NIGE: The little Little Englander. Sublimely believes in the divine origins of Shakespeare. A gracious blogger. Tasteful. Exemplary. Nige writes carefully, elaborate when necessary, but in that proper English tradition which includes humour and élan and just a trifle recklessness whenever so appropriate.

THE OVERMAN: The Who? A signed copy of my best-selling autobiography
plus gratuitous sex (where applicable) for the first correct answer!

PERCY: No one can ever say you lack candour, Sir Percy - a
conclusion entirely uncompromised by his rough, untrimmed beard. Veteran biker
and a man of strong will, fixed opinions and mercurial temperament, he seems
ideal for the type of woman who says “let there be war.” Still ponders the
amount of sperm he dispensed since first he worshipped at Selena’s fountain.
He’s disappointed when people agree with him, so he dissents just for the hell
of it. What happens next is anyone's guess -

PERVERTS: see Percy

SELENA: Polemic backed up by a considerable body of research, and genius is an
amplifier often used when promoting herself. In fact, she has a tendency not to
engage in conversations, but to descend into them, often from an elusive height.
She is dogmatic, overbearing, deceptively articulate, with a sort of despotic
predominance and a tendency to overrule everyone. Irritating at best, obnoxious
at her worst - your continued patience is appreciated. See ÜBERMENSCH

SUSAN B: one of Bryan’s favourite groupies, Susan is an uplifting
discovery. Refreshingly of her own mind. Independent, highly literate, though
given to daydreams and flights of adulation. Like her a lot.

THE SPINE: This weblog is well grounded, brilliant, perceptive,
sublimely satirical!

TRADITIO ET VIRTUS: So much about blogs is down to atmosphere and
conception. This has a stillness, suggesting an almost serene engagement. The
fascination of a poet's soul for the power of the infinite. Reach for the stars
but eschew the gutter - behold, we can make thoughts come

ÜBERMENSCH: “The noble type of man feels himself to
be the determiner of values, he does not need to be approved of, he judges ’what
harms me is harmful in itself
.’ He knows himself to be that which in general
first accords honour to things, he creates values.“ (Nietzsche, Zarathustra).