Thursday, November 10, 2005

Down with data protection and the privacy laws

Blogging is a modern form of therapy, and a substitute for a social life for people with delusions of importance like me.

Together with the fact that most people are vain and like to share their deep personal information on tv or the web or Home Truths, a privacy law is bound soon to be wildly unpopular.

People will be considered eccentric and odd if they don't want to share their private-most details, and in fact will clamour for all the personal information held about then by corporations, government depts., the DSS, NHS, and banks, to be conglomerated into one online and accessible spot, together with their blogs, online photo-galleries and email accounts, all for better management and for the purpose of archiving for a future / alien historian who, in their wild fantasies, will make their lives the subject of a monumental thesis in 5 million years time.

Soon they'll be demonstrating for the abolition of the Data Protection Act on the grounds that it INFRINGES their personal liberty.

I myself would vote for this, simply because at least I'd be able to see, and manage, what the Co-op, Sainsbury's, Virgin Trains, and credit agencies have on me, not to mention have easy one-stop access to all my personal records alongside my official online profile.

Privacy - hah! The only people who want it are those with something to hide. Eliminate these uncivic social undesirables!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Where have the energy blogs gone?

I've started a new blog - The Low Carbon Kid.

This is where I rant about oil, renewables and nuclear. The worst, sordid, pimping, whoring, desperate, self-decieving and self-destructive addiction of our time.

This blog is kept for calmer, more elevated and cultural pursuits...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Police action on Gunpowder Plot day

I went to London for the weekend and met my old friend Alan at his flat in Vauxhall - his neighbour was the Stockwell bomber. A mentally damaged and challenged individual by the sound of it, and a good choice of obedient footsoldier, subject of late night 'briefing' sessions involving Koran readings and humiliation.

I came out of Shepherds Bush tube to be confronted by a cop with a machine gun, 20 officers, several riot vans and two police horses. I said "what's going on?" and the sarge said 'football match'.

I was left wondering, is this a joke, to cover up an 'incident', or actually true, since I could see no coloured scarves.

We live in a world where it's impossible to tell - each could be just as likely.

It was the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, but nobody took the opportunity to have another go.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Letter to Dionysos

This is a letter to my son, now he is 16 and starting his A levels, which include Drama, about the coincidences linking his name to the original Dionysos...

Dear Dion

I've just discovered this, which is really interesting.

Did you know that in ancient Greece, in Athens there was an annual drama event called the City Dionysia?

Playwrights would submit plays, competing against each other. Winners of this event included Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes.

The City Dionysia was celebrated during the Greek month Elaphebolion (spanning parts of our March-April - which includes your birthday!) by the whole federation of Attic states in the sacred precinct of Dionysus, which contained temples and sacrificial altars as well as the theater, at the foot of the Acropolis.

During the classical period, this festival lasted several days and included several types of performance, all of which were also competitions for important civic honor and prizes (many aspects of Athenian society were highly competitive).

The City Dionysia was under the direction of one of the principal magistrates, the archon eponymos.

During the summer, playwrights wishing to present plays in the following year would apply to the archon for a chorus by offering descriptions of their projected plays; the archon would then choose the three who would be allowed to compete.

Each playwright would be assigned a choregos (sponsor) from among the wealthy citizens who would pay all the expenses of costumes, masks, and training the chorus. Each choregos and playwright would recruit a chorus of young Athenian citizens (originally 12, later 15); chorusmen were not professionals and required rigorous training to learn the songs and dances for the four plays they would perform.

Besides writing the plays, the playwright composed music, choreographed the choral dances, and frequently served as chief trainer for the chorus.

The archon assigned each playwright a principal actor (the protagonist), as well as a second and third actor. These actors were professionals and were paid by the state; by the latter part of the fifth century the actors also competed for a state prize.

Shortly before the City Dionysia began, the archon held a Proagon, - a sort of advertisement for the plays to be performed. Each tragedian appeared with his choregos, actors, and chorus and presented the titles and brief plot summaries of the four plays he would present at the festival.

The judging of the dramatic competitions was very much in keeping with the general methods of Athenian democratic government—any citizen should be able to participate, not just specialists, and the principles of the lottery and random selection played a significant role (giving the gods a chance to participate?).

An urn from each of the 10 tribes contained the names of citizens eligible to serve as judges; to prevent bribery, one name was drawn from each urn at the start of the festival. Each of the 10 judges wrote down three names on a tablet in the order of his selection, and the 10 tablets were placed in a container.

On the last day of the festival, 5 of the tablets were randomly chosen, and these determined the winner. Great prestige was attached to a first prize victory; there was of course a "cast party” where actors celebrated their victory.

The Bacchae is unfortunately not the Greek play you're studying! But it tells you a lot about the Greek cult of Dionysos.

Dionysos, especially under the Lydian name of Bacchus, became known as primarily a god of wine in later tradition, but in the fifth century B.C. this was only one of his functions.

He is a god of nature in all its vegetable and animal abundance. Dionysos is associated with ivy and also with the oak and fir tree (so that's why you live in the Welsh hills surrounded by pine trees and an ivy grows up the front of our house - we didn't plant it, it came!).

One of his animal manifestations is that of a bull and Bromios `roaring', a cult title used frequently in the Bacchae, may refer to his association with the bull and also the lion, although some connect this title with his lightning-struck mother. (Your mother wasn't struck by lightning but was nearly killed by a hurricane).

Snakes, which were entwined in the hair of Dionysos' maenads, are another example of his connection with the animal world as is his own and his maenads' (his female fans) attire made of fawnskin. The maenads' involvement with nature was also symbolized by a cane of fennel called a thrysos, which they carried.

Maybe you should collect the fennel seeds from the plant in our garden - they're nearly ready.

The Chorus consists of female worshipers of Dionysos called Bacchae, whose name is derived from Bacchus, the Lydian name of the god.

Female devotees of the god are often referred to as maenads (from the Greek verb mainesthai `to be mad') and also as bacchant[e]s.

In the Bacchae there are references to the story of Semele's death by Zeus's lightning, his rescue of the baby Dionysos from his mother's womb, and the sewing of the baby into his own thigh in place of a womb to conceal Dionysus from Hera (which mirrors your premature birth and insertion into an incubator - see previous blog).

The primary rite of Dionysiac religion is that of ecstatic mountain dancing. The culmination of this rite was an ecstatic frenzy in which the dancers tore apart and devoured raw an animal such as a goat or a fawn.

These two acts are called sparagmos `tearing' and omophagia `act of eating raw flesh'.

The rite of omophagia was seen as a communion with the god in that the worshiper consumed a part of raw nature which was identified with Dionysos himself (this is one reason the Romans later chose the Dionysiac religion to be a rival to Christianity, with its ritual of eating the God's flesh - communion).

The primitive rites of sparagmos and omophagia were still practiced in various areas in the fifth century. But at Athens Dionysos was a much tamer god.

His worship was there channeled into more civilized forms, such as the Anthesteria , a spring wine festival, and, of course, the City Dionysia. The Athenians seem to have concentrated on the pleasanter and more civilized aspects of Dionysus as a god of wine and of dramatic performances.

Dionysiac worship was one of the mystery cults which flourished in ancient Greece alongside state religion. The word "mystery" refers to the fact that these cults required that their rites be kept secret from outsiders.

The Greeks called the rites of mystery cults orgia - `orgies', but this word did not have the connotation of sexual license which the word carries today. There were some, however, like Pentheus, who suspected that the ecstatic Dionysiac rites led to sexual immorality.

In the Bacchae Dionysiac ritual is consistently connected with joy and freedom. The Chorus sings of the happiness of Dionysiac worship on the mountainside. The celebration of the freedom from all the constraints of civilization is summed up in the Chorus's wild Dionysiac cry "Evohe" and also represented in the simile at the end of the parados which compares the dancing of a maenad to the leaping of a colt.

One more thing about Dionysus you should like. He is a also a god of illusion.

He demonstrates vividly his powers of illusion in the Bacchae. He deludes Pentheus by making the king 1. see him as a bull, 2. think that the palace was in flames and 3. think that a phantom Dionysos he was trying to stab was the god himself.

The god's ability to create illusions is one of Dionysos' traditional powers in myth and helps explain his connection with tragedy and comedy.

Drama is based on illusion: dramatic action and characters are artificial creations of the dramatist presented in order to give the illusion of reality. Thus, it is appropriate that the god of illusion presided over the City Dionysia, Athens' dramatic festival.

What could be more appropriate than that you are now studying drama and doing a directors' course?



Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Orpheus, Eurydice and Dionysos

Jean Cocteau's film Orphée is for me one of the greatest films of all time. The myth is wound into my life.

But it is problematic in the part of Eurydice, which suffers from the French idealisation of women, all those ridiculous Surrealist nudes, or relegation of women to support roles.

It's the only problem I have with it. It looks delicious, it's very well shot and edited for the time, and the script moves well. It's much better than the subsequent self-indulgent Blood of a Poet and The Testament of Orpheus. The romance of writing/being carried away by destiny/death/love and then transcending destiny, slays me!

When I first saw it in the 1978 I was inspired and wrote and later threw away a novel based on it. It was probably terrible, with odd chunks of inspired text, and a lot of morbidity, since its title was 'desire and misery' and contained some ideas later to turn up in my tv series and comics series Doc Chaos vol 2, such as the College of Unlimited Extacy, where our hero finds the road of excess leads to ... well, I think we can guess that!

If writing Orphée now I would make much more of Eurydice.

In the original, Eurydice while strolling through the grass with a group of Naiads, was bitten in the ankle by a serpent, which shot its poison into her body and killed her. The serpent thing is very symbolic and powerful.

The Maenads are Dionysos' followers. They use wine and ritual to follow the road of excess, which leads, as we know, to.... Well, they were Eurydice's girlgang, as in the film, and exact revenge on him for losing her a second time. Typical careless man. So there's a feminist thread in this myth.

The Maenads (who looked after the baby Dionysos when he came out of Zeus' thigh) also put a snake over their locks, for Zeus crowned Dionysos with snakes when he let him come out of his thigh.

In one version of the myth Orpheus' head fell into the sea and some say it was cast by the waves upon the island of Lesbos where the Lesbians buried it, and so the Lesbians have the reputation of being skilled in music.

Others say it went down a river, still singing, and where it landed an oracle - and the Orphic religion - was founded.

The Orphic religion was based on the Dionysian one, and based on "ecstasy" (ekstasis, "stepping out"). It was supposed that it was only when "out of the body" that the soul revealed its true nature. This needed a system of purifications and sacraments, unlike most Greek religion.

Unlike the Dionysians, they were controlled and strict vegetarians and ascetics - their total opposite. Body-denying Orphism is a variation of the same Dionysus religion which we associate with ecstatic orgies and the most physical and indulgent types of worship. But they share the same goal - destruction of the self and rebirth.

Eurydice is therefore a woman torn between her girlgang and a primitive, powerful and woman-centered way of life, and Orpheus, or a male-dominated, more disciplined way.

Dionysos was born twice, and so was used by Emperor Constantine as an 'official' religion of the empire in the 3rd C AD as a rival to Christianity, where the emphasis was on resurrection.

We didn't know this at first when we named our first son Dionysos in 1989. He was born in the 24th week of pregnancy - and so was also born twice - first into a 'male' environment [Zeus' thigh / humming life-support machines in Kings College hospital); then into my wife Zoe's care when leaving the hospital at proper full term (female / Maenads).

That he survived to be healthy is very unusual. But we are eternally thankful for it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The three million year old human

Imagine for a moment that the entire human race, from the time of our emergence to the present day, is one person, now 80 years old.

Now, imagine that you are that person.

For the vast majority of your life, up to about three days ago you have lived in the midst of nature, in the company of animals, trees, birds and vegetation.
You roamed with a close-knit band of maybe 20 or 40 others, being unused to seeing crowds of people in one place.
You hunted and searched for food, always walking, sometimes hundreds of miles. You slept in trees, caves, temporary shelters or under the stars.
Nearly every day of your long life you have heard the cries of birds and other animals, the rush of water, the wind in the leaves, and have known intimately what these signs mean.
Your fears have been of hunger, of being killed by beasts, and of the mysteries in the world around you.
Still, there have been important developments.
You have acquired speech, discovered fire, and developed increasingly more sophisticated tools.
You have explored the earth, learnt how to survive in many different environments, and stored your knowledge in memory and stories.

And so, just about four days ago you discovered how to grow your own food from seeds.
You settled down with a few other bands of fellow humans, grew many different crops, kept animals that were no longer wild, and built permanent structures. By the next day your settlement had expanded to several thousand people.
Some of these didn't work on the land; they began to make things, to rule, and to trade.
This morning, you invented writing and reading.
A few hours ago you developed powerful new tools with which you could make many more things. Your city grew to ten times its size.
You no longer saw woods and fields, only streets, chimneys belching smoke, and blackened walls.
Your children forgot how to live with nature.
In the last few minutes your city has become enormous and you have been bombarded with many more new technologies and unfamiliar effects of your actions - chemicals, pollution, noise.

You eat only highly processed food, scarcely knowing where it came from.
You do not know your neighbours.
You hardly walk any more, where you used to walk 10-20 miles a day.
You do not know wild places.
The only animals you see are pets, or in cages.
You have, often without realising it, destroyed countless species.
Machines support you, shield you from the world and surround or even occupy your body.

In fact, the human species is 3 million years old.
Life on earth took 4 billion years to evolve. Our own evolution is part of that long process.
And we carry within ourselves genetic and structural remnants of all stages of that development.
Our affinity with life on this planet has its basis in our very cells and building blocks, the stuff from which we are made.

The natural world is hard wired into us.

Surrounded by our built environments we tend to forget this. But our bodies and our unconscious minds cannot.
Biophilia, a theory propounded by Edward Wilson, gives scientific credence to what we all feel must be true - that we need nature for our physical and mental health.
Our very sinews and nerves demand it, and when denied it, suffer.
This is why human beings "have an innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes" as he says.
Study after study has confirmed this view. Some of the results of these are less surprising than others. For example:

* If patients in hospitals or prisoners in their cells are given a view through their window of nature, rather than a view of buildings, then they experience reduced medical problems.

* If people living in urban communities get together to create a garden or park space, they often discover that this process creates a social 'glue', binding them together. Coincidentally, crime and other social problems can be reduced.

* all other things being equal, houses situated close to a park have a higher resale value than those which are not.

* people who are about to sit an exam or perform a stressful task do it better if they have spent a few minutes in a calm, greenspace environment just beforehand.

* Tests on North American and European adults have shown that they prefer to look at natural landscape scenes rather than urban ones.

* Increasing access by members of minority non-indigenous individuals in the UK to nature reduces their feelings of alienation and can help them feel more connected, both to their country of origin and to their current country of habitation.

* victims of torture undergoing recovery programmes have been found to have a faster rehabilitation rate when they are allowed access to gardens, particularly if they can cultivate their own plots.

Research such as this serves to establish that there is a rational scientific basis for what is generally dismissed as emotionalism. This makes it more likely that natural elements can be included in planning initiatives, whether for a new hospital or an urban renewal programme.

But, given the kind of world we live in, it's even more likely that this will happen if it can be established that there is also an economic benefit. Usually this can be found in reduced crime and healthcare bills.

How to choose a religion

What makes a good religion?

Try these 10 tests to evaluate a belief system and see if it's worth believing in.

Test 1

Is it about maintaining a powerful elite or not?
Those which are include most cults and most organised religions.
These disempowering systems tend to take your money, or impose arbitrary rules for the sake of it.
Every now and then they may issue new dictats for the sake of maintaining 'virtue' or 'morality' or 'discipline'.
They will also usually diss other belief systems. Theirs is 'the one true way'.
Their main purpose is to perpetuate their own power base.
If you're the kind of person who seeks security for their prejudices, who is afraid of other belief systems, or who believes in the concept of 'sin', then this is for you.
You'll probably also like this type of religion if you want to place your faith in an authority figure who can tell you what is right and wrong so you won't have to think it out for yourself.
You probably also like to believe that, self-righteously, your system is right and everyone else has got it wrong, and so will go to hell, or be reincarnated as a maggot or something.

Test 2

Is there a leader or guru who can be trusted?
This test is not necessarily about power and its abuse, or an elite handing down tablets of authority that came in a vision or were given by God, but about whether the teacher has personal integrity.
This is more subtle. You have to look and see whether they practice what they preach.
Do they have humility or are they arrogant? Are they wise? Do they admit their ignorance? Or do they have an answer for everything?
Are they willing to learn?
Is it about what they think or are they really doing what they say - just passing on what they learnt.
Are they cynical and corrupt?
Beware of standing on rotten timbers.

Test 3

How old is it?
A system which has entranced millions for thousands of years isn't de facto better than one invented last week, but the chances are it will have been criticised enough to have stood the test of time.

Test 4

What kind of people follow it?
You can judge a religion by its followers.
Are they mature, rounded individuals? (And we don't necessarily mean upstanding members of the community.)
Do they possess emotional intelligence? Do they practice what they preach?

Are they wise? Are they fallible?
Or are they pretentious, overbearing or self-righteous? Or, worse, passive-aggressive?
Would you really like to be stranded on a desert island with them?
If you just stick with them because it passes for a social life and you'd be lonely otherwise - well, that's fine as long as you realise that's all it is.

Test 5

Can you take the piss out of it and get away with it?
Any system that doesn't let you do that is paranoid. Forget it.
If you like the fact that your belief system will punish those who mock it, then you are a fundamentalist nutcase who has sacrificed their individuality - and anyone else's - for arbitrary rules to make your ego feel stronger. But in reality your ego is very weak.

Test 6

Does its existence add to the sum of happiness and well-being in the world?
Or has it in fact led to lots of wars, or the destruction of species and parts of the natural world, or the enslavement or disempowerment of other individuals?
If so, into Room 101 with it - I don't care how many truths it peddles - take them elsewhere.

Test 7

If a system has got this far, it gets interesting.
Belief systems come in all shapes and sizes and some ask you to believe the most extraordinary things. So how about this:
Is it a science?
Religions tend to try and explain everything.
Science, at least according to Karl Popper and other philosophers of science, doesn't - because if it did there'd be no way of proving a theory wrong.
If you can prove it wrong it isn't a scientific fact.
But also if it tries to explain the unvierse and everything, then it's not scientific either.
So you have to believe in it as an act of deliberate faith.
(On a deeper level, science is an illusion too, but that's a different story).

Test 8

Does it have good stories, rituals or art?
This doesn't mean it's intrinsically more worthy of your belief and time, but it might be more fun and rewarding.
On the other hand, beware of the fact that some religions can entrance you with a good story, or overwhelm you with an awesome environment (lots of icons and incense) or a powerful ritual.
These can be good stuff, but again - so can theatre. It doesn't make it right. Just a good story, ritual or art.

Test 9

Now, a positive test: is it empowering?
Does it make you feel good, more complete AND self-sufficient. without disempowering anyone else?
Does it help you be yourself? Does it set you free?
But beware of thinking that it does, but in reality it is a crutch to help you limp through life's hell and such.
If you need your religion more than it needs you, watch out. If someone kicked the crutch away, what would happen?

Test 10

Can you admit it is nonsense and still believe in it?
If you study all the myriad of things human societies have placed their faith in over the world over thousands of years - lived and died for - you come to realise that it's not what you believe, it's that you believe, that seems to be helpful.
But why?
Just as our bodies have a physical immune system, which maintains physical health, so our minds have a psychological immune system, which does the same thing for our mental health.
Just as we can work with our physical immune system to enhance our bodies and make them strong enough to resist all diseases and extremes of heat and cold, so we can train our minds to attain phenomenal feats of wisdom, compassion, generosity, love, self-healing, tolerance and happiness by wokring with our natural psychological health-enhancing tendencies.
For instance, our minds have their own ways of healing the damage caused by traumatic experiences.
The best belief systems work in harmony with this natural process to reduce stress, and increase self-knowledge, for example.
And, just as we use tools to accomplish things in the physical world, such as levers which magnify our strength a thousand-fold, so we can use psychic or mental tools to accomplish comparably unusual things in the spiritual, emotional or mental worlds.
The things we use as tools to do this are beliefs. Believe in something strongly enough and you can use it as a lever to make your will achieve remarkable things.

No single religion has a monopoly on 'miracles' or the power of belief.
Whether the tools they employ are stories, gods, objects, rituals, 'energy flows', incantations, systems of correspondence, or visualisations, it doesn't matter, as long as they help you achieve your end.Except maybe nowadays we'd draw the line at sacrificing a goat, chicken, virgin or small child.
You can freely admit to disbelievers and sceptics that you know these tools aren't 'real', in the sense of being detectable by scientific instruments, or provable in the lab.
But neither is love, and we would row across the Atlantic Ocean for love if we had to.Well, some people would.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Twenty First Century Taoism

John Gray's book Straw Dogs is an attempt to cover the course of human history and modern global affairs from an evolutionary perspective.
Nothing new there. But as a writer he does three interesting things:
1. He writes very well; his sentences are short and he doesn't use five words where two will do; or jargon.
2. He writes from the point of view that humans are animals. How surprising that this should be unusual, since we obviously are.
3. And he quotes from the 6th century BC Chinese taoists. Taoists believe that everything follows its own nature, and the best of all possible worlds happens when we let them get on with it. Interference just makes things worse, even when done with the best of intentions, unless you are acting directly as a result of contemplation and your own nature (this is a Zen-type paradox, and must not be taken facetiously).
So, he believes, you have first to understand the "nature of things", including humans, with care. That's what this book does, and then it tries to apply that understanding to modern politics.
The result is a radical viewpoint that has offended and shocked many and earnt the admiration of many others - including Will Self, who made it his book of the year.
Read a review here.
This is a rather negative review and is based on a misunderstanding of Taoism and of Gray's attitude.
Yes, the book is pessimistic in the sense that it lays open reasons to fear the way the world is going. Can anyone be really optimistic about this?
But it posits a way out of our dilemmas. Far from being a recipe for totalitarianism, as the reviewer suggests, the maxim that real freedom lies in having no choice, is another Zen paradox. The modern mantra of freedom of choice is based on the doctrine of individualism that has its roots in marketing theory of the early twentieth century.
Contrast this idea of freedom with that of an animal or an aborigine, eking out their daily survival. Naturally you or I do not want to live like this. They may be free, but their options are limited since they can't watch a DVD or fly to Disneyland.
But, the aboriginal way of life is certainly the most sustainable, since modern aborigines can accurately interpret Stone Age cave drawings - which betrays a continuity of culture we find astonishing if we think about it.
Freedom of choice does not equate to happiness. Nor does totalitarianism.
But in a world where basic needs (as in Masnach's hierarchy) and human rights are met, the addition of further choices (eg between ten types of washing powder, or 1000 models of car), can create unacceptable stress, because the infrastructure to supply that choice necessitates a world which is based on the exploitation of the majority (the world's poor), and destruction of the world's resources, natural and mineral.
Unless you can suggest another way?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Coincidence or Prescience?

I was on a bus in Rome when I heard about the first London bombings. [News about the second attack is just filtering through.]
The bus had a monitor with a brief news feed. At 4pm on 7.7 it said 45 people were dead. Ten minutes later it said 33. We think this revision was due to British news media playing the incident down. As if they could.
I had left the UK a week earlier. Before leaving I had written two new scripts for my comic strip Public Servants. This appears on the back page of the eponymous fortnightly magazine for senior public managers.
I sent them to the artist, Matt Buck, to draw.
When I returned to the UK, on July 11, he had drawn them. But the second had to be hastily rewritten and redrawn, because it had turned out to be terribly prescient, and its meaning had changed completely.
This item is about the script and how it changed.
The first version was as follows:

Gerhardt talking with Nigella

1. Gerhardt: The department needs to be more public-facing and customer oriented.

2. An alarm goes off, startling them.
Gerhardt: Oh my god! It's a security alert!
Nigella: Could be a terrorist! What do we do?

3. Maurice sticks his head round the door.
Maurice: It's alrght, it's just a member of the public got in the building.

Matt drew it with a big explosion effect, and had the characters jumping under the table. This is shown.
Clearly, the meaning had now completely changed, and this was now unacceptable, and the editor, needlessly, asked for a change.
My initial reaction was to change the last two panels to the one finally used the following issue, yet to be published. This has them standing in the foyer of the building, now bristling with security measures, and saying "The only trouble is the public can't get in."
This undemocratic effect of security measures was an irony that couldn't yet be appreciated, however, so Matt suggested a more sympathetic tone.
We went through a couple of variations, illustrated, and ended up with the one finally used.
We tried to avoid being mawkish, a common error by cartoonists in a situation like this, by using the silhouettes, and the ambiguity of linking arms - for solidarity, or to keep people out, or in, or what?
Do you think we have succeeded?
Let us know.
In the meantime, you can view more Public Servant cartoons at and links.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Resonant sympathy

This blog created 35th anniversary of the 1st moon landing... when I was 15 and on holiday with my parents in Cornwall.
I recall that at that point I was working on a draft of a novel based on Marvel superheroes.
How much has changed?
Now I am working on the second draft of a novel also in the fantasy sphere, called Hybrids. In all this time I still haven't had a novel formally published by a bona fide publisher.
The Moon looks on in sympathy, and I have sympathy for the Moon, which must look down upon our human vanities and manic activities with a tolerance borne of its long vigil as a witness to events on earth.