Saturday, 31 October 2009

danse macabre

Zig and
Zig and Zig and zig,
tapping out the rythym on a tombstone
with his heels
Death plays a dance at midnight.
Zig and zig and zag,
on his violin...

Hebri Cazalis, from Danse macabre

It's all's hallow eve so thought I'd post something kind of in tune, hopefully of some interest maybe!
Satan and all that malarky gets good airing at this time of year,and some say he plays all the best tunes,and is drawn to the fiddle to make his music.As a former angel why not a trumpet, surely it would not burn as easy.Why not the drum to beat time with?
The answer is simple enough. With a lot of us Satan needs a little preparation,a little prescription maybe:he must lull us, woo us, lead us down the garden path that he revealed to Faust's Gretchen- surely these are not moments in which to sound trumpets or to frighten us with dearth's loud cadences.Here our dubious friend is the master of those soft modulations that a flute or a fiddle might convey.But even the flute favoured by cloven-footed satyrs of old - is limited largely to life's peaceful and pantheistic moments.Yet after a love song has worked its magic a violin can start its great betrayal leading to incendiary brilliance - towards the flame, into the heat, with dizzying speed and awfulness. This is what a fiddle can do, as long as those who play it can summon up its magical properties.
Anyway Satan did not pick the violin himself. We did though. From myths that Nero fiddled while away while Rome burned , we have placed this instrument in the hands of our own imaginations.For Ambrose Bierce, at least, the fiddle was an annoyance- " an instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat".Bierce famously dissapeared into the wilds of Mexico never to be seen again, perhaps he should not have made fun of Satan's preferred musical toy. Others have been more respectful, not only towards the instrument but also to its makers.The worship which has indulged Stradivari and his " secret formula" for varnish is only one example among many.Are these modern attempts to recreate a magical liquid coating so different from a medieval alchemists attemts to turn lead into Gold?
Guissepe Tartini and Antonio Vivaldi were early masters. Each in their own way profiting from the violins mystique and aura. Tartini actually composed a piece now known universally as the " devil's Trill", thus identifying himself for all ages with Satan.Appropriately , Vivaldi sported a head of red hair and became forever known as the Red Priest.And what of Paginini,not only did he conquer Europe but also convinced her that the Devil stood unseen at his side while he played. Paginini's "Caprices for solo violin are testament to his uncanny abilities, and among the great admirers and transcribers of those works have been the composers Robert Schumann, Franz Lizt and Sergei Rachmaninov. Paginini became a mystical cult figure for the musical world, and no violinist since has escaped a confrontation with the devilish configurations that his long bony fingers appeared to grasp with such ease.Rachmaninov, whose own technical secrets may never be revealed completely to pianists of a newer era , was not wrong to have woven the "Dies irae" into his "Rhapsody on a theme of Paginini".
It's not all too devilish though there are friendlier spirits? Take Grieg's Puck,a mischievious soul out for a good time , and William Bolcom's "Graceful Ghost".At least if we don't trist them completely at least we don't fear them.Perhaps it is us who have created these otherworldly spirits- both good and bad.They are part of us -and perhaps we are partially responsible for what they do. As Bierce said, "To Rome said Nero:If smoke you turn I shall not ceases to fiddle while you burn".To Nero Rome replied: "Pray do your worst,'tis my excuse that you were fiddling first."Rome had her own problems apparently and remained unmoved by the concert. Not so the little goblins of fire and destruction, who took full advantage of the occasion.
Anyway it takes a kind of wizard to play Wizard's music.My grandad was a fiddler and I have seen the powers unleashed with his bow ,enchanting and moving.Anyway have a good evening, me I'm going out, found out their are some Welsh fiddlers playing in a village nearby. As autumn is glowing I'm of in search of an inspiring reel.Peace to all.Happy halloween/ Samhein.

...The winter wind whistles
through the shrouded night;
the lime trees groan, and blanched white
skeletons flit through the darkness-
leaping and scurrying about
in their shrouds

Zig and zig and zig,
each one jigging away.
One hears the rattle of dancing bones.
A lasciious pair sit together in the moss
as if to taste again
the soft sweets of life.

Zig and zig and zig
what a sarabande!
What deathly rounds, all holding hands!
Zig and zig and zag
Ah, what a splendid night for our poor world.
Long live death and equality!

Friday, 30 October 2009


free fall
80s party theme
smoke gets in our eyes
tequila shots for a pound
180 Beats Per Minute
2 days of white lines

You spin me round
like a cash machine
what time is now
cheap flatulant excesses
and a dozen whispered excuses
record revolves,jumps and skips

Autumn rain
spits its breath
Soon it will be difficult
to remember anything at all
the day after tomorrow forever nightfall
dance not angst, the burning lamp fades

Eveybodies out
everybodies in

in the garden
winter grows

breathalysed cars
with slashed tyres

a 1000 camouflauged soldiers murmour
looking up angry rumours

angry language
a little coarse

the sun is concealed
we call out

flesh of the ivy
the moon is low

the wind is green
sea is monotone.

Everybodies in
eveybodies out

WILLIE DE VILLE (August 25, 1950-August 6, 2009)Rock and Roller

Just found out Mr de Ville has recently passed away in New York of cancer, that old chestnut again.Another true original now sadly gone. Known primarily for being in the band Mink de Ville from 1974- 1986, houseband at legendary CBGBs.He went on to release a load of highly regarded solo albums, though critically recieved, did not sell in the bucketload. Nevertheless Willie was a true original, playing styles ranging from Cajun,blues, latin, primitive rock and roll,through to doowop and cabaret.He had a problem with drugs and lost his wife to suicide,but is remembered foremost for his individuality and raucous style. Sadly he will probably sell more records now, now that he is dead.Willie de Ville R.I.P

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Comfort eating

It's the time of year when my cravings for certain foods run amok. What follows are a few of my favourite recipes. Quite cheap to make in these credit crunching times. Enjoy , their tasty, very very tasty.


Make a batter with 1/2 lb of flour, 1 oz of sugar, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, a pinch of carbonate of soda, and sufficient milk to make it the consistency of cream. Beat well. Lightly grease a hot girdle and drop a spoonfull at a time of the mixture on this, turning as soon as one side is lightly coloured. To serve do not fold the pancakes. They are eaten with jam and butter.Delicious!


Put 1 and a half pounds of neck of mutton in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, bring to the boil and skim. Then add 2 coarsely chopped onions,half lb of carrots, cut in dice,half lb of turnips, also cut in dice, and 1 small swede. Season with salt and pepper, simmer gently for another 3/4s of an hour. Coarsely chopped cabbage i like to add. Fantastic

Sunday, 25 October 2009


DEGAS- Musicians in the Orchestra

Heads together, pulling
upon music's tide-
it is not their ears
but their eyes their conductor

has sealed, lest they behold
on the stage's shore
the skirts' rising and falling
that turns men to swine.

RENOIR- Muslim Festival at Algiers

People: their combs and wattles
rampant upon a background
of dung. The dancers silently
crackling on an unquenced hearth.

A mosque, a tower as deputies
in the clouds' absence; and gazind,
as at a window, the detached
ocean with its ceruean stare

MONET- Roen Cathedral, Full Sunshine

But deep inside
are the chipped figures
with their budgerigar faces,
a sort of divine
humour in collusion
with time.Who but
God can improve
by distortion?
There is
a stonre twittering in
the cathedral branches,
the excitement of migrants
newly arrived from a tremendous
We have no food
for them but our
prayers.Kneeling we drop our
crumbs, apologising
for their dryness, afraid
to look up in the ensuing
silence in case they have flown.

GAUGHIN- Breton village in the Snow

This is the village
to which the lost traveller
came,searching for his first spring,
and found, lying asleep
in the young snow, how cold
was its blossom.
The trees
are of iron, but nothing
is forged on them. The tower
is a finger pointing
up, but at whom?
If prayers
are said here, they are
for a hand to roll
back this white quilt
and uncover the bed
where the earth is asleep,
too, but neare awaking.

DEGAS- Absinthe

She didn't want to go;
she couldn't resist.
It was an opportuity
to be like other women,

to sit at an inn table,
not drinking,but repenting
for having drunk of a liquid
that made such promises

as it could not fulfill.
Her clothes are out of the top
drawer, the best her class
could provide.The presence

of the swarthier ruffian
beside her guarantees
that she put them on in order
to have something good she could take off.

ROUSSEAU- The Snake Charmer

A bird not of this
planet;serpents earlier
than their venom;plants
reduplicating the moon's

paleness. An anonymous
minstrel, threatening us
from under macabre
boughs with the innocence

of his music. The dark
listens to him and withholds
till to-morrow the boneless
progeny to be brought to birth

RENOIR- The Bathers

What do they say?
Here is flesh
not to be peeped
at.No Godivas
these.Thet remain
not pass, naked
for us to gaze
our fill on,but
without lust
is the mind's feast,
where taste follows
participation. Values
are in reverse
here.Such soft tones
are for the eye
only.These bodies
smooth as bells
from art's stroking, toll
an unheard music,
keep such firmness
of line as never,
under the lapping
of all this light
to become blurred or dim.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ideology tries to integrate even the most radical acts

Dada embodied both the consciousness of the crumbling of ideology and the will to destroy ideology in the name of authentic life. But Dada in its nihilism sought to constitute an absolute – and hence purely abstract-break. Not only did it fail to ground itself in the historical conditions by which it had itself been produced, but, by deconsecrating culture, by mocking its claims to be an independent sphere, by playing games with its fragments, it effectively cut itself off from a tradition forged by creators who in fact shared Dada's goal, the destruction of art and philosophy, but who pursued this goal with the intention of reinventing and realizing art and philosophy – once they had been liquidated as ideological forms, as components of culture – in everyone's actual life.

After Dada's failure, Surrealism for its part renewed ties with the older tradition. It did so, however, just as though Dada had never existed, just as though Dada's dynamiting of culture had never occurred. It prolonged the yearning for transcendence, as nurtured from de Sade to Jarry, without ever realizing that the transcendence in question had now become possible. It curated and popularized the great human aspirations without ever discovering that the prerequisites for their fulfilment were already present. In so doing, Surrealism ended up reinvigorating the spectacle, whose function was to conceal from the last class in history, the proletariat, bearer of total freedom, the history that was yet to be made. To Surrealism's credit, assuredly, is the creation of a school-for-all which, if it did not make revolution, at least popularized revolutionary thinkers. The Surrealists were the first to make it impossible, in France, to conflate Marx and Bolshevism, the first to use Lautréamont as gunpowder, the first to plant the black flag of de Sade in the heart of Christian humanism. These are legitimate claims to glory: to this extent, at any rate, Surrealism's failure was an honourable one.

Dada was born at a turning-point in the history of industrial societies. By reducing human beings to citizens who kill and are killed in the name of a State that oppresses them, the model ideologies of imperialism and nationalism served to underline the gulf that separated real, universal man from the spectacular image of a humanity perceived as an abstraction; the two were irreparably opposed, for example, from the standpoint of France, or from the standpoint of Germany. Yet at the very moment when spectacular organization reached what to minds enamoured of true freedom appeared to be its most Ubuesque representational form, that organization was successfully attracting and enlisting almost all the intellectuals and artists to be found in the realm of culture. This tendency arose, moreover, in tandem with the move of the proletariat's official leadership into the militarist camp.

Dada denounced the mystificatory power of culture in its entirety as early as 1915-1918. On the other hand, once Dada had proved itself incapable of realizing art and philosophy (a project which a successful Spartacist revolution would no doubt have made easier), Surrealism was content merely to condemn the spinelessness of the intelligentsia, to point the finger at the chauvinist idiocy of anyone, from Maurice Barrès to Xavier Montehus, who was an intellectual and proud of it.

As culture and its partisans were busily demonstrating how actively they supported the organization of the spectacle and the mystification of social reality, Surrealism ignored the negativity embodied in Dada; being nevertheless hard put to it to institute any positive project, it succeeded only in setting in motion the old ideological mechanism whereby today's partial revolt is turned into tomorrow's official culture. The eventual co-optation of late Dadaism, the transformation of its radicalism into ideological form, would have to await the advent of Pop Art. In the matter of co-optation, Surrealism, its protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, was quite sufficient unto itself.

The ignorance that Surrealism fostered with respect to the dissolution of art and philosophy is every bit as appalling as the ignorance Dada fostered with respect to the opposite aspect of the same tendency, namely the transcendence of art and philosophy.

The things that Dada unified so vigorously included Lautréamont's dismantling of poetic language, the condemnation of philosophy in opposing yet identical ways by Hegel and Marx, the bringing of painting to its melting point by Impressionism, or theatre embracing its own parodic self-destruction in Ubu. What plainer illustrations could there be here than Malevich with his white square on a white ground, or the urinal, entitled Fountain, which Marcel Duchamp sent to the New York Independents Exhibition in 1917, or the first Dadaist collage-poems made from words clipped from newspapers and then randomly assembled? Arthur Cravan conflated artistic activity and shitting. Even Valéry grasped what Joyce was demonstrating with Finnegan's Wake: the fact that novels could no longer exist. Erik Satie supplied the final ironic coda to the joke that was music. Yet even as Dada was denouncing cultural pollution and spectacular rot on every side, Surrealism was already on the scene with its big plans for cleanup and regeneration.

When artistic production resumed, it did so against and without Dada, but against and with Surrealism. Surrealist reformism would deviate from reformism's well-trodden paths and follow its own new roads: Bolshevism, Trotskyism, Guevarism, anarchism. Just as the economy in crisis, which did not disappear but was instead transformed into a crisis economy, so likewise the crisis of culture outlived itself in the shape of a culture of crisis. Hence Surrealism became the spectacularization of everything in the cultural past that refused separations, sought transcendence, or struggled against ideologies and the organization of the spectacle.

A pamphlet published on 7 June 1947 by the Revolutionary Surrealists, a dissident Belgian group, had issued a salutary warning to the movement as a whole. Signed by Paul Bourgoignie, Achille Chavre, Christian Dotremont, Marcel Havrenne, René Magritte, Marcel Mariën, Paul Nougé and Louis Scutenaire, it declared:

Landlords, crooks, Druids, poseurs, all your efforts have been in vain: we persist in relying on SURREALISM in our quest to bring the universe and desire INTO ALIGNMENT... First and foremost, we guarantee that Surrealism will no longer serve as a standard for the vainglorious, nor as a springboard for the devious, nor as a Delphic oracle; it will no longer be the philosopher's stone of the distracted, the battleground of the timid, the pastime of the lazy, the intellectualism of the impotent, the draft of blood of the "poet" or the draft of wine of the litterateur.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Stupidity ; a Poem for Nick Griffin

Stupidity, or dumbness, is the property a person, action or belief instantiates by virtue of having or indicative of low intelligence.Stupidity is distinct from irrationality because stupidity denotes an incapabability or unwillingness to properly consider the relevant information. It is frequently used as a pejorative and consequently has a negative connotation.


There was a problem
with question time,
man sat on panel
waiting for a final solution.
They should have
teared him to shreds
booed him out of the studio,
and even though he laughed,
Nothing really was there.
a soul like rotting meat
the deeper the grave he digs
even better, as long as it's only
he who falls in.


Sunday, 18 October 2009

PABLO NERUDA -July 12, 1904-September 23 1973) Poet of love

I discovered Pablo Neruda's work whilst recovering from a sickness,in a kind of melancholic disconnected drift.I'd been listening to lots of sad songs, not a particular good thing to do everyday,every moment. A while ago now, but around this time of the year.Autumnal breezes failed me, the long nights haunted me, and then a good friend gave me a copy of Neruda's book " The Captains Verses " and I got hooked.I have always been quite lucky ,because just in time Poets arrive and rescue me,their words offering more pain relief than bloody valium, or other so called quick instant fixes.It was years later ,I realised I had been temporarily healed by one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century.

Pablo was born in 1904 in Parral, Chile, the son of a railway worker who later moved hhis family to Temuco in the south of Chile.His first poem was published when he was 14. His original intention was to be a teacher, but he did not complete the course.By the time he was 21 he had published a collection of poems which became a best seller (" Twenty Love poems and a song of despair ",1924) noted for a charged erotism and marked him as a fine purveyor of love poems.With his success in the literary field came the opportunity to travel and earn more money with the Chilean consular service.This at first ,took him to the Far East. Later he was transferred to Beunos Aires, and in 1934 to Barcelona.It was in Madrid University the same year that he gave his first large-scale poetry reading.Shortly afterwards he was posted to Madrid, at that time the centre of a great poetic renaissance.

He was formed ,politically, by his marriage to his second wife,Delia del Carril, a veteran activist, and his experiences of the Spanish Civil War.The effect it had on him was to force him to re-think his approach to content and style.He claimed that from then on his poetry would change with the changed world to become more easily understood by the masses.In Spain he teamed up again with Federico Garcia Lorca whom he had first met and partied with in 1933 in Beunos Aires.It is hard to overestimate the influence of Lorca on Neruda both in regard to poetry and politics.Lorca once said that Neruda was incapable of irony or hatred.The latter is open to question , though a master of words, he often seemed a man of contradiction. Their were periods in his life where he seems very anti-humanist, then he discovers an evagelical proselytising, humanist viewpoint.An enigma really the sheer diversity of his poetic styles truly amazing, from love poems to surrealism, political manifestos to historical epics.An avid reader himself Rimbaud and Baudelaire were also strong influences,but his own unique style rang clear.

Back in his homeland Neruda became furiously active in raising support for the Spanish Republicans, and where he had considered himself an Anarchist became a Communist.One of his proudest achievements was helping to organise political asylum in Chile for refugees after the fallof the Spanish Republic.During the Second World War Neruda travelled extensvelly throughout Latin America.In 1945 he was elected to the Senate and awarded the top literary prize in Chile. As a communist he helped to campaign for the presidency Of Gonzalea Videla who, once he assumed power, turned against the communists. Neruda took a brave stand against Videla in public, and as a result had to take flight. For over a year he lived in hiding, moving from safe house to safe house until he was able to cross the Andes on horseback and escape to Argentina. In 1952 with a change of government Neruda returned to Santiago in triumph. In 1958 and 1964 Neruda took part unsuccessfully, in the presidential elections.In !970 and in poor health, he campaigned vigorously for his friend Allende who became President. In 1971 Neruda travelled to Paris as ambassador for his country, and to Stockholm to recieve the Nobel Prize for literature.On September 11,1973, Allende was killed during the assault on the presidential palace, and 12 days later Neruda Neruda died of heart failure in Santiago.His funeral took place amidst a massive police presence, and mourners took advantage of the occasion to protest against Pinochet's new fascist regime.

In his lifetime he produced an astonishing amount of work, much of it of love and politics, he appreciated without fear of loss, the shared love and sensuality that joins him to the earth and gives meaning to the world.Perhaps their are dark sides to him that I have missed out,his alleged misogony , stalinist tendencies but he taught me about love and many other things, and for that I am gratefull, and of course to the friend who gave me his book.

In a Famous piece,"Concerning Impure Poetry ", he wrote -

"At certain times of the day or night, it is good to look at objects at rest :wheels that have crossed vast, dusty spaces, with their great loads of vegetables or minerals, sacks from coalyards, barrels and baskets,handles and hafts of carpenter's tools. Man's contact with the earth flows flows from them as an example to the poet in torment. Worn surfaces, the marks left on things by hands, the aura of these objects, tragic at times, pitiful at others, brings to reality a kind of fascination that should not be underestimated.

In then can be seen the blurred confusion of human life, the welter of things, material used and abandoned, the imprints made by feet and fingers, humanity's lasting mark carried inside and outside all objects.That is the sort of poetry we should be seeking - poetry worn away as though by acid, by the hand's work, smeared with sweat and smoke, smelling of lillies and urine,stained by the variety of our actions, within the law or outside it.

A poetry as impure as the clothes we wear, as the body, soiled with food and shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, wakefulness, prophecies, declaration of love and loathing, stupid behaviour, shocks, idylls, political creeds, denials,doubts affirmations, taxes. "

he also wrote,

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close."

Amen I say .What follows are some of my favourite pieces of Pablo's poetry, best  in original language Spanish, but I personally don't speak it so I offer only translations, hope you enjoy.


under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,
like a green
latticework of branches,
on every leaf, drifting down like clean
white sand

A cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air

The world is a glass overflowing
with water


I crave your mouth,your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the soverign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitrature.


Facing you
I am not jealous.

Come with a man
at your back,
come with a hundred men in your hair,
come with a thousand men between your bosom and your feet,
come like a river
filled with drowned men
that meets the furious sea,
the eternal foam, the weather.

Bring them all
where I wait for you:
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be, you and I,
alone upon the earth
to begin life


Do you see thes hands? They have measuresd
the earth, they have seperated
minerals and cereals,
they have made peace and war,
they have demolished the distances
of all the seas and rivers,
and yet,
when they move over you,
little one,
grain of wheat,swallow,
they can not encompass you,
they are weary seeking
the twin doves
that rest or fly in your breast,
they travel the distances of your legs,
they coil in the light of your waist.
For me you are a treasure more laden
with immensity than the sea and its branches
and you are white and blue and spacious like
the earth at vintage time.
In that territory,
from your feet to your brow,
walking, walking, walking,
I shall spend my life.

In the night we shall go in
to steal
a flowering branch.

We shall climb over the wall
in the darkness of the alien garden,
two shadows in the shadow.

Winter is not yet gone,
and the apple trees appears
suddenly changed
into a cascade of fragrant stars.

In the night we shall go in
up to its trembling firmament,
and your little hands and mine
will steal the stars.

And silently,
to our house,
in the night and the shadow,
with your steps will enter
perfume's silent step
and with starry feet
the clear body of spring


To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning,to whoever is cooped up
in house or office,factory or women
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come,and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up,vaque and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So,drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, whatever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move,passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying "How can I reach the sea?"
And shall I broadcast, saying nothig,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breking up of foam and of qucksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.

So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

You've asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.
You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent
bell? What is it waiting for?
I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.
You ask me whom the Macrocystis alga hugs in its arms?
Study, study, it at a certain hour, in a certain sea I know.
You question me about the wicked tusk of the narwhal,
and I reply by describing
how the sea unicorn with the harpoon in it dies.
You enquire about the Kingfisher's feathers,
which tremble in the pure sprigs of the southern tides?
Or you've found in the cards a new question touching on
the crystal achitecture
of the sea anemone, and you'll deal that to me now?
You want to understand the electric nature of the ocean
The armoured stalacite that breaks as it walks.
The hook of the angler fish, the music stretched out
in the deep places like a thread in the water?

I want to tell you the ocean knows this, that life in its
jewel boxes
is endless as the sand, impossible to count,pure,
and among the blood-colored grapes time has made the
hard and shiny, made the jellyfish full of light
and united its knot, letting its musical thrads fall
from a horn of plenty made of infinite mother-of-pearl.

I am nothing but the empty net which has gone on ahead
of human eyes, dead in those darknesses,
of fingers accustomed to the triangle, longtitudes
on the timid globe of an orange.

I walked around as you do, investigating
the endless star,
and in my net, during the night, I woke up naked,
the only thing caught, a fish trapped inside the wind.

Translated by Robert Bly

" As the first bullets ripped into the guitars of Spain, when blood instead of music gushed out of them, my poetry stopped dead like a ghost in the streets of human anguish and a rush of roots and blood surged up through it. From then on, my road meets everyman's road. And suddenly I see that from the south of solitude I have moved north, which is the people, the people whose sword, whose handkerchief my humble poetry wants to be, to dry the seat of its vast sorrows and give it a weapon in it's struggle."

-Pablo Neruda, Memoirs.


Pablo Neruda: a passion for Life, by Adam Feinstein. Bloomsbury,2005

The Essential Neruda :ed Mark Eisner. City Lights 2004

HOPE not hate blog: WDL humiliated in Swansea

HOPE not hate blog: WDL humiliated in Swansea

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armoured like a rhinoceros
He hurls his tons into the crowd
From half a dozen minds he rips
Triangles of flesh and blood

Six shouts,six cardboard banners rise
Daubed with slogans saying Pain
But wilt and tear in the hundredfold
Applause of men as mild as rain

WalesOnline - News - Wales News - Welsh Defence League show true colours

WalesOnline - News - Wales News - Welsh Defence League show true colours

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Friday, 16 October 2009

HOWARD MARKS -The Origins of Smoking

PRECIOUS FEW ATTRIBUTES distiquish humans from animals.Sheep shag, monkeys wank,pigs snort, wolves piss, dolphins talk, tigers fart, dogs throw up,skunks drink,elephants sniff, horses count and leeches suck. But no animal smokes.It's not merely because they can't skin up. Animals, other than reindeer and dragons, are terrified of flames and smoke and stay away from chimneys and tobacconists. I began to research the origins of smoking.
There were two main theories, the first scientific, the second religious.
In the scientific theory ,the Welsh Wizard Merlin was the first human to smoke in the western hemisphere. Merlin shagged witches, used broomsticks as dildos, shat toadstools, and guzzled a mixture of liquid psychoactives from his Holy Grail. Merlin time-travelled to twenty-first century Cardiff and smuggled in a catatonic leek, a stereophonic spliff, a zygotic monkey, a slice of Caerphilly, a bag of magic mushrooms, a manic street preacher, two super furry animals, and a sixty- foot blow- up doll. Back at King Arthur's Round Table, one super furry got dizzy and started doing things backwards. Smoke poured out of his nostrils, the spliff went away from his mouth and he roared, " Drag On." The other super furry animals grew horns, had a huge piss and fucked off to the North Pole shouting,"Reign Deer, I'm a leek."Since then the Welsh haven't stopped drinking and smoking and producing things vaquely connected, like coal, resevoirs, crematoriums and sheep-shagging. That honour the smoking dragon and a leek after a good skinful.
Smoking wasn't exported from Wales until the twelfth century, when Price "Mad Dog" Madog ran aground in America long before Big Chief Lying Bullshit had thought of an Oval Orifice.Mad Dog's stash hadn't run out, so he offered a pipe of peace. Six weeks later, Mad Dog was back in Florida with a load of seeds, and all the Red Indians spent centuries having squaws rather than wars, bongs rather than bombs, and perfecting the art of communicating and signalling over vast distance by smoking enormous spliffs and emitting an ordered series of smoke rigs.
Due to the treachery of Big Chief Lying Bullshit, foreign tribes of Puritans,Prohibitionists and other Pricks were allowed to invade and gain control.Most ganja and ganja smokers were completely wiped out. Lucky ones (the Arawaks) fled to Jamaica and set up their culture over there. The Arawaks played ball games, sang ,feasted, danced, shagged, drank maize alcohol to get pissed, smoked dried leaves to get stoned, and snorted white powders through inverted Y-shaped tubes to get completely trolleyed. They wore sexy short skirts, tattoos, ornaments, necklaces and feathers. They had no wheels ( hadn't even thought of them)and no written language. They had a few words, including canoe (enabling transport)and hurricane (fucking up transport).Barbecue is also an Arawak word. So is hammock.So is tobacco. A typical Arawak day was up at any time, have a smoke, lie in the hammock and wait for some barbecue red snapper. Sorted.
Welshman Henry Morgan, through the devious route of rum, piracy,slavery and trade, managed to stock the island with weed-smoking Africans and hash-smoking shopkeepers from the Indian subcontinent, thereby ensurig a permanent ganja culture. St Bob Marley did the rest.

FROM: Howard Mark's Book of Dope Stories (2001)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

IOLO MORGANWG (10/3/1747 to 18/12/1826) Conjurer Of Truth

Pilate Seith unto him: What is truth?- St .John, 19.38

Just remembered who I was thinking of, when I started this blog of randomness,Edward Williams, better known by his bardic name Iolo Morgannwg.Have been inspired by him for a spell now so time for a brief introduction.He was born in 1747 at Pennon ,Glamorgan and bought up in the village of Flemington. His father was an intelligent and literate working stonemason whose career he followed, his mother a descendant of Glamorgans dynasties of Welsh poets. She never let him forget his cultural roots and heritage.
After his mothers death he became addicted to laudanum for his ashtma, but also became addicted to the world of books. Like a magpie he began plundering libraries, collections, poets homes wholesale and built himself into the most learned man in Wales on medieval Welsh literature, folklore, history and antiquities.Words and all their associations consumed him, drove him ,fired him.Hunger was in the air!
In 1773 he moved to London and became a significant figure in the Welsh community. On his return to Wales in 1777 he married his long suffering wife Peggy and tried his hand at farming and shopkeeping. In 1789 he produced some of his first known literary sleight of hands, when he bought out a colection of the 14th Century lyrical poet Daffyd ap Gwilym. Included in this edition were a large number of previously unknown poems, Iolo had claimed to have discovered. They were as good as anything Daffyd ap Gwilym had ever wrote, and notablly survived critical attention for over a 100 years when they were discovered to be forgeries.
His success led him to return to London where he founded the Gorsedd, a community of Welsh bards and it was at Primrose Hill on the summer solstice of 1792 that the first Gorsedd, Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys was held. In 1794 he published his own poetry to popular acclaim, now believed to be his only genuine work. He went on to author many more substantial works many now thought to be forgeries. Chiefly their was a 3 volume collection " THE MYRVYRIAN ARCHAIOLOGY OF WALES" published between 1801 and 1807. Essentially a collection of medieval literature, it collected the Welsh Triads and material attributed to Saint Cadoc and poems claimed again to be the works of Dafydd ap Gwilym. It also contained a third series of Iolos forged triads as well as his alterations to the authentic ones.Again undetected.
His vision represented a fusion of Christian and Arthurian influences, a proto romanticism comparable to that of William Blake and the Scottish poet and forger James Mac Pershon and a revived enthusiasm for all things " Celtic" and these elements of bardic heritage have genuinelly survived among Welsh language poets. Part of his aim was to assert the Welshness of South Wales against the prevalent idea that North Wales represented the purest survival of Welsh traditions.
Fuelled on laudenum and an inner quest he dreamt of the primitive purity of an ancient druidic system, and in his forgeries woke not to forget but to evangelise. This was the time of Revolution. A time half of Wales was starved and rioting. A time when people discovered The People, when intellectuals stamped nations out of the ground and wove new tricolours out of old legends, when among " non histrionic peoples" to publish a dictionary was deemed a revolutionary act. In this last warm freethinking , sometimes pagan, glow from an old but awakening Wales , Iolo was reborn as " THE BARD OF LIBERTY".
It is important to note that fabrications aside, he was a major scholar, the first serious Welsh Folklorist, the first to call for a Welsh National Library, museum and eisteddfod. The shop he ran in Cowbridge was notorious as a " Jacobin den; he helped to launch the Unitarian associaton in 1802 at Merthyr, he lost a job with the Board of Agriculture because he was a democrat, and was deemed to have seditious views and if the government had ever read his letter on the French landing in Fishguard in 1797, he would have been transported.He also perpetuated the myth that the Welsh explorer Madoc had gone to America and had settled with the native Americans.Later historians have found no trace.
A subversive of his time then, taking liberties with the facts in his own laudenumbed cause of truth! A time when most of Welsh history had already been airbrushed and buried. If he could correctly identify a truth he would then again correctly identify a necessary connection between it and another truth; if he found no evidence in the record to warrant this connection, he would then supply it in brilliant historical mimicry.
He believed , that Welsh poets had not been "poets" as the English use the word. They had been the ribcage of the body politic. They had been a collective memory honed for historic action. Their function had been to enable a Welsh present to construct a usable Welsh past to serve an attainable Welsh future. They had been remembrancers.
A political and religious radical although he evemntually embraced unitarianism. He opposed the ' tyranny ' of state religion and vehemently opposed the leaders of the Established Church... he considered  people like the Bishop of St Davids' Thopmas Burgess ' representing ' a system of Idiotism, of madneess or of villainy'.
The English court had its King's Remembrancer and its own fabricators. Iolo wanted to create a cadre of People's Remembrancers, who he saw perhaps in his opium imagination overload as descendants of an ancient , noble and more natural religion. Burrowing like Merlin in his books, Iolo's Gorsodd was to be the directive and democratic elite of a new and democratic Welsh nation, concieved in liberty. They were to be the People's Rembrancers to a Welsh Republic.
His lasting impact on Welsh culture is felt today. His " Druids Prayer "(Gweddi'r Orsedd) still staple of the ritual of both gorseddau and Neo-druidism.A big influence too on Robert Grave's " White Goddess". Let us remember him as a friend of language, a brilliant debunker and spinner of myth, a friend of the mystical depths, a friend of mankind. In the end the only pockets he picked were his own. Its hard to deny his genius. apparently he was  a good flute player as well . At the moment  the friends of Primrose Hill want to remove a plaque to him that has recently been erected, still rattling his bones then. nice that a compatriat is still enraging the inhabitants of regents park.  A man high on laudanum, high on life, with his pockets full of mischief , sticking his nose up to the establishment, I think it's time for a revival. I'll drink to that.

Further reading:

Geraint Jenkins (ed ) 2005- A Rattleskull Genius:
the many faces of Iolo Morganwg
Cardiff: University of Wales Press

Damien Walford Davies ( ed ) 2007- Wales and the Romantic
and Lynda Pratt Cardiff: University of Wales Press

THE GORSEDD PRAYER,called the Prayer of the Gwyddoniaid ( From the Great Book of Margam)

God, impart Thy strength;
And in strength, power to suffer;
And to suffer for the truth;
And in the truth, all light;
And in light, gwynfyd;
And in gwynfyd, love;
And in God, all goodness.

Llyma Weddi'r Orsedd, a elwir Gweddi'r Gwyddoniaid (0 Lyfr Mawr Margam)

Dyw dy nerth, ag yn nerth Dioddef;
A dioddef dros y gwir,ag yn y gwir pop goleuni;
Ag yngoleuni pob Gwynfyd, ag yngwynfyd Cariad,
Ag ynghariad Dyw, ag yn nuw pop daioni.

"My sheets of transcript,the labours of many years, are for the most part unbound and in great disorder, like everything else with me. I have always had to many Irons in the fire, a llawer unhonynt yn llosgi'n ulw ( and many burning to a cinder )."

Iolo in a letter written 26th July 1800

Friday, 9 October 2009



Saturday, 3 October 2009


The categories of naive art, art brut , and insane or eccentric art,which shade into various and further categories of neo- primitive art- all these ways of categorizing and labelling art remains senseless:- that is , not only ultimately useless but also essentially unsensual, unconnected to body and desire.What really characterizes all these art forms? Not their marginality in relation to a mainstream of art/discourse...for heaven's sake, what mainstream?!What discourse?! If we were to say that theres a " post modernist " discourse currently going on , then the concept "margin" no longer holds any meaning. Post- post modernism, however,will not even admit rhe existence of any discource of any sort. Art has fallen silent. There are no more categories, much less maps of center and margin. We are free of all that shit , right?

Wrong.Because one category survives: Capital.Too-Late Capitalism. The spectacle, the Simulation, Babylon, whatever you want to call it. All art can be positioned or labelled in relation to this discourse.And it is precisely and only in relation to this " metaphysical " commodity-spectacle that outsider art can be seen as marginal.If this spectacle can be considered as a para-medium( in all its sinuous complexity), then outsider art must be called immediate.It does not pass thru the paramedium of the spectacle.It is meant only for the artist and the artist's immediate entourage( friends, family, neighbors, tribe); and it participates in a gift economy pf positive reciprocity.Only this non-category of immediatism can therefore approach an adequate understanding and defense of the bodily aspects of outsider art, its connection to the senses and to desire, and its avoidance or even ignorance of the mediation/alienation inherent in spectacular recuperation and reproduction.Mind you ,this has nothing to do with the content of any outsider genre, nor for that matter does it concern the form or the intention of the work, nor the navite or knowinness of trhe artist or recipents of the art.Its immediatism lies soley in its means of imaginal production.It communicates or is given from person to person, breast to breast as the sufis say, without passing thru the distotion-mehanism of the spectaculat paramedium.

When Yugoslavian or Haitian or NYC- graffito art was discovered and commodified,the results failed to satisfy on several points :-
1. In terms of the pseudo-discourse of the Art World , all so called "naivite" is doomed to remain quaint, even campey, and decidedly marginal- even when it commands high prices (for a year or two (.The forced entrance of ousider art into the commodity spectacle is a humiliation,

2.Recuperation as commodity engages the artist in negative reciprocity-i.e, where first the artist "received inspiration" as a free gift, and then made a donation directly to the people, who might or might not give back their understanding, or mystification, or a turkey and a keg of beer (positive reciprocity), the artist now first creates for money and recieves money, while any aspects of gift exchange recede int scondary levels of meaning and finally begin to fade (negative reciprocity). Finally we have tourist art, and the condescending amusement,and then the condescending boredom,of those who will no longer pay for the inauthentic.

3.Or else the Art World vampirizes the energy of the outsider, sucks everything out and then passes on the corpse to the advertising world or the world of popular entertainment. By this reproduction the art finally loses its aura and shrivels and dies. True, the utopian trace may remain, but in essennce the art has been betrayed.

The unfairness of such terms as insane or ne-primitive art lies in the fact that this art is not produced only by the mad or innocent,but by all those who evade yhe alienation of the paramedium. Its true appeal lies in the intense aura it acquires thru immediate imaginal prescence, not only in its visionary style or content, but most importantly by its mere present-ness (i.e it is "here" and it is a "gift").In this sense it is more, not less, noble than mainstream art of the post-modern era--which is precisely the art of an abscence rater than a prescence.

The ony fair way (or "beauty way,") as the Hopi say) to treat outsider art would seem to be to keep it secret, to refuse to define it-- to pass it on as a secret, person to person, breast to breast, rather than pass it through the paramedium ( slick journals,quarterlies,galleries, museums,coffee table books,MTV etc.).Or even better to become mad and innocent ourselves.For so Babylon will label us when we neither worship nor criticize it anymore, when we have forgotten it(but not forgiven it!), and remembered our own prophetic selves, our bodies, our "true will."

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Originally uploaded by michael_junge
Amnesty International has serious concerns regarding unmanned drones flown from Parc Aberporth , an assembly Government - funded facility iin Ceredigion, West Wales.Elbit systems flew the Hermes 450 from Parc Aberporth in 2005 -" marking the first time a pilotless aircraft weighing more than 330 pounds had been flown in nonsegregated UK airspace."The site is now being used to test an adapted version for the Royal Air Force.
Amnesty has called on the UK government to suspend all military exports to Israel as there is substantial risk that UK- supplied arms and components could have been used to target civilians in the recent Gaza conflict.
The Hermes 450 is manufactured by the Israeli firm Elbit Systems, with engines made by its UK subsidiary UAV enginesLtd. Elbit Systems claims that the UK company produces engines only for drones destined for export, not for those used by the Israeli Defence Forces(IDF) in the recent Gaza conflict. Amnesty International is seeking assurances from the UK government that it has not licensed components for use in military drones, and that it has taken sufficient monitoring to ascertain that UK engines , parts and technology are not and have not been used in drone aircraft operated by the IDF.
The Cardigan and North Pembrokeshire Amnesty International Group is keeping an eye on the situation in Parc Aberporth, and will continue to press the first Minister and the Welsh Assembly Government to introduce to its industry investment programme.
Meanwhile fears about the safety of testing unmanned aerial systems at West Wales Airport have been expressed after a drone crashed just after take off.
MEP Jill Evans who met with members of Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice said "I am very concerned about the safety issues, especially in relation to creating the extended airspace for testing. This incident highlights how important that is.They want to extend the airspace over a wide area and the main concerns is one of safety for the local population, which I will raise in the light of this incident. Now it is even more important that WAG looks at this".
Harry Rogers of BEPJ said " thank goodness this plane was not further ino its flight. It could have been over Cardigan or Aberporth before it dropped out of the sky. This crash could be a foretaste of what is to come if a 500- square mile area of West Wales is allocated to the testing of unmanned dreones. Next time it could be someone's home or a school that the plane lands on. We need to get WAG to scrap these reckless plans."
Des Davies member of local ACTYMA campaign group opposed to development said "UAVs are 50 times more likely to crash than military aircraft, and flying them over an inhabited area is irresponsible."


"Children playing on the roofs of their homes or in the street and other civilians going about their daily business, as well as medical staff attending the wounded were killed in broad daylight by Hellfire and other highly accurate missiles launched from helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles,or drones, and by precision projectiles fired from tanks.
Disturbing questions remain unanswered as to why such high -precision weapons , whose operators can see even small details of their targetts and which can accurately strike even fast moving vehicles , killed so many children and other civilians."

From Israel/Gaza - Operation Cast Lead: 22 days of death and destruction, Amnesty International, 2009

other sources-

Tivyside Advertiser

Carmarthen Journal