Friday, 27 April 2012

Art of Noise (goes East) III

Loos van Cleve

These are great!  Apparently, during a long flight, Nina Katchadourian, went to the loo and over several visits and after performing various feats of origami on the loo paper, as well as other objects to hand, has created these fabulous self portraits in a mock Northern Renaissance style.  Admittedly I did wonder when she said she "spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone."  Just the sort of thing one does when going to the loo on the plane (!)

She writes:-

"While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory's own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone."

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Eco Echo

Recently, I have been dipping and re-dipping into New Essays on Umberto Eco (ed. Peter Bondanella, Cambridge University Press 2009), in anticipation of eventually picking up and starting to read The Prague Cemetery (the first book, and first work of fiction, I bought in 2012); who's lurid, bright orange spine keeps standing out like a beacon from my other books, almost as it to say "Read me! Read me!" but somehow I hesitate, put it off for another day, tell myself I am too tired, or I simply don't feel the inspiration to read it.  Which seems to be bordering on absurdity to me, for the simple fact that I have read so much Eco previously; his fiction and his essays, as well as his work on semiotics, yet I somehow seem to put up a mental block when it comes to his latest work.

New Essays on Umberto Eco: ed. Peter Bondanella
The collection of essays mentioned above, edited by Eco-scholar Bondanella, is an excellent expansion upon understanding a number of the various themes running through Eco's works.  Ten essays are found in this accessible work. The only (obvious) regrets that any potential purchaser might have are that it was released before The Prague Cemetery, and the hefty price that Cambridge University Press have placed upon it.  Cambridge University Press really should re-release the work, perhaps in paperback, and with a more acceptable price tag, as the work could be appreciated by a greater public than the limited number who will have bought the book in the first place for nearly £60 (!)  Eco is probably one of the most well known and popular, yet mostly unread, authors of our time.  Most everyone has heard of him, not least due to frequent screenings of the cinematic adaptation of The Name of the Rose on television  - not necessarily watched by those interested in Eco's work, nor the excellent cast and direction but probably by a spate of teenage girls and gay men hoping to see a young Christian Slater's posterior on screen.  I first picked up and read The Name of the Rose when I was about 15 years old, before seeing the film, and read the Picador paperback/English translation that my mother had recently read and enjoyed.  It was one of those works of fiction that I especially remember enjoying reading when I was a teenager; others included Perfume by Patrick Suskind, I Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood; what a strange teenager I was, not least judging by what I chose to read, and enjoyed reading then.

The Name of the Rose has stayed with me over the years and it is one of those works I enjoy to revisit and read again every five or so years, as I am always able to discover something new within its pages. Each re-reading is rather like revisiting a richly decorated Orthodox church, but each revisit one is able to appreciate (more) the artwork, or the rich smell of incense, or knowing the hagiography of the saints in the murals, etc even though one feels as if one knows the place already, inside and out.  Re-reading The Name of the Rose mirrors this experience for me; as although I know the storyline, I know the murderer and their motivation, I find myself able to discover something new or my understanding is greater, and I feel that though the track is familiar, the pathway has changed.

The cover of the first edition that I read of The Name of the Rose.
So maybe, after finishing The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Susanna Clarke, I will eventually pick up and read the latest work by Umberto Eco.  I tend to leave gaps of time in between the authors I read, unlike my parents who tend to discover an author they like and then devour as many of their works they can.  Moreso my mother than my father, though my father reads so quickly I wonder how he can appreciate the books he reads.  My parents' bookshelves are crammed full of numerous works of fiction but generally by selected authors.  My mother is the main culprit behind this mild (hereditary) form of bibliophilic Asbergers, with numerous copies of books by Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coban and Jo Nesbø to name but a few.  My mother has even tried, unsuccessfully I add, to hook me on this passion she has for American crime fiction. And so, amongst the various works of fiction I have, thanks to my mother, in my collection on e will find (in both English and French) a good smattering of paperbacks by Connolly et alia.  Not to devalue nor show a lack of appreciation for the books she has chosen and although they are entertaining reading, they are not necessarily top of my list in terms of reading matter.  I guess the main problem lies in a lack of identification with the subject matter, not that my parents live in a scary suburban ghetto as described in the works of Lehane, but they did watch TV shows like The Wire, which I believe was what sparked off this interest in my mother.

I consider myself to be sufficiently open minded to, at the very least read and appreciate books that other people enjoy and suggest to me, some of which work, others don't.  Ten years ago I was recommended the Harry Potter cycle of books.  However, I gave up midway through the first book, as I felt it was badly written, aimed at children and devoid of charm.  For a long time I didn't understand the need for adults to read what might be seen as children's books; a case in point being the Twilight franchise.  Hence my initial skepticism when approaching Philip Pullman and his Dark Materials works.  How wrong I was...  So once again, if close friends and family - people I trust, recommend something to me I am more likely to give it a go, whether mainstream or not.  As a result of this illumination I have discovered the likes of Walter Moers,  Donna Tartt, Alison Weir, Margaret Barker, Mika Waltari, Marcus Zusak, Paolo Coelho, Karen Maitland, George R. R. Martin, to name but a few...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Brahmacharya of a Hedonist.

This statement, although seemingly paradoxical, reflects of what seems to be going through my being most of the time of late.  Ascetism is far too strong an expression, hence Brahmacharya seemed more in keeping.  It's a good way to excuse the current repression I am feeling at the moment, and for the most part, keeping to.  This, however is no bad thing, even if at times it leads to insurmountable frustration on my part at times, it is better than simply "making do" and selling oneself short, an easy way out or escape for most.

Despite feeling that my emotional intelligence is somewhat sapped of its lifeblood at the moment, it is not easy to determine whether this is due to external forces bearing down or whether it is internal.  It feels almost like a Trappist existence at times, yet there is little or no need to be loquacious at the moment, or if there is, there has to be some raison d'être behind such a state.  Admittedly, I used to be the first to feel the need to talk to cover up awkward silences rather than sit there contemplation and reflection when in the company of others, or another.  I feel that my mindset has changed, I enjoy conversation with like-minded individuals, verbal foreplay if you will, rather than have to listen and/or reply.  I have become more and more accustomed to my own company, no longer prepared to settle for mere mediocrity to fill in a void.  Abstinence and a Johannite lifestyle admittedly would probably be rather harsh; my skin would be too sensitive for camel hair (I can't even wear black cotton), and I don't feel especially partial to the haute cuisine diet of locusts and honey.  I also need my books around me to escape into, be it to read or to discover something new.  Would I be allowed a library in my desert cave?  Which leads on to the hedonism of my being.

People probably wouldn't see me as being a hedonist, certainly not in the obtuse manner that is screamingly evident in the conduct of others.  In some ways, I guess, I would be seen as far too sensible for such an attitude.  Yet deep within me there does lurk that inner need and the ribald pleasure one can derive from such moments.  Most of the time, I believe, such pleasure is not obvious nor evident.  For me, trivial though it might seem, simple delights can seem like hedonism when compared to the rest of my rather mundane being.  It can be seeing new books on or in my shelves, it can appreciating the taste of something delicious, or it can lying in bed on a sunny afternoon and touching, caressing, savoring the company and intimacy with someone one can appreciate, enjoy for their company and all that it entails as much as their being.  Yet for me, such hedonism is rare, yet perhaps, when it happens, that is what makes it all the more exquisite.  From time to time the apple of temptation is offered my way, more often than not I do not bite into it, simply because I know that were I to bite into it, it would have a bitter, vile taste, or I would end up munching upon a mouthful of maggots, more than sweet pulpy apple, beneath its shiny surface.  Either that or Temptation simply presents herself in the most undesirable of forms, and either makes my insides feel revulsion, abhorrence, or disdain.
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Temptation: Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Boethius has his heroine, Lady Philosophy explain hedonism:- 

"Some men believe that the highest good is to lack nothing, and so they are at pains to possess abundant riches. Others consider the true good to be that which is most worthy of admiration, and so they strive to attain to places of honour, and to be held by their fellow-citizens in honour thereby. Some determine that the highest good lies in the highest power; and so they either desire to reign themselves, or try to cleave to those who do reign. Others think that renown is the greatest good, and they therefore hasten to make a famous name by the arts of peace or of war. But more than all measure the fruit of good by pleasure and enjoyment, and these think that the happiest man is abandoned to pleasure."

Though Lady Philosophy is ultimately condemning such sentiment, one cannot help but turn the condemnation on its head and see the point behind such thoughts.  We are not talking a Utopian ideal here, espoused by Thomas More and which, to the modern man might seem to almost communist in nature.

"There is no reason for giving a denial to any person, since there is such plenty of everything among them; and there is no danger of a man's asking for more than he needs; they have no inducements to do this, since they are sure that they shall always be supplied.  It is the fear of want that makes any of the whole race of animals either greedy or ravenous; but besides fear, there is in man a pride that makes him fancy it a particular glory to excel others in pomp and excess. But by the laws of the Utopians, there is no room for this."

My current and previous frustrations, I guess, lie from a yearning or internal desire to be decadent yet to neither act upon it nor be willing to accept the consequences thereof.  So as a result such thoughts, fantasies and their ilk remain for the most part lodged within my head and tend to mutate and be released as frustration, implicit or explicit, evident or hidden.  These took on many different kinds, shapes, forms - yet generally they remain internalized and I allow them to build up; yet it is the obvious frustrations, mostly over and at the inadequacies or misconduct of others, certainly over and above those of my desires and yearnings, that when they are let loose, take the shape and form of pent up anger and rage.  Fortunately, owing to my pacific personality these displays are rare, but they have been known to surface from time to time when the screaming in my head has got too much.  This was most evident in 2010-11 when my frustration manifested itself as stress and that caused more harm to me than those to blame or those in my immediate environment.  Yet when it did manifest itself as rage, it was greeted with disbelief and/or condemnation by those concerned, for the fact that until then I had not expressed my thoughts and feelings sooner and more vocally!!  

As a result of becoming so internalized in how I feel, it means that most everything else has become remote, seemingly elsewhere and hidden from view.  Not just the negativity, the pain, the angst and the frustration but also most of that which is positive.  Being inherently rather introverted has only accentuated this and made more reluctant, partially out of diplomacy, to express such thoughts and feelings.  These thoughts and feelings include love, desire, affection and in certain cases reflect positive self worth and qualities.  This is not an emotional hijab.  Part of it is fear of being misunderstood and rejection, but, in addition it is because everything has become so entrenched in my being, it feels like pulling a screaming mandrake from the deep soil, each and every time.  So why make my ears, as well as those of others, suffer each and every time?

Astrological Chart

Having recently read P.G. Maxwell-Stuart's Astrology: From Ancient Babylon to the Present, as well as having a few other books on the subject (the history not the actual practice), and placing some degree of credence in the science, I decided to go online and draw up a astrological chart and see what it said about me and my personality.  I have always expressed a degree of belief and fascination in this science, not to reading the horoscopes in tabloids (except for fun in the company of friends) nor to the wild predictions made on commercial television regarding winners of the lottery.  For it to have been considered important by so many minds over the centuries, well, there has to be some truth there.  Above is my chart, and below is an interpretation.  Those who know me best will be able to make up their own minds as to whether this is an accurate portrait of me, or not:-

Rising Sign is in 02 Degrees Virgo
You tend to be very shy and not very self-assertive. You are supercritical about how you appear to others. Even though you may think you are uninteresting and dull, you are actually quite soft- spoken, orderly, neat and very likable. You are a perfectionist with high standards, and at times you can be quite tactless in pointing out the faults of others. Very practical, efficient and purposeful, your appearance and bearing reflect your need to appear graceful, sensible and reserved. You have a crisp, no-nonsense approach to dealing with others. Never lazy or self-indulgent, you tend to be dedicated to the work ethic.

Sun is in 03 Degrees Libra.
Very sociable, you enjoy being with others and definitely prefer not be alone. Warm and affectionate, you go out of your way to make others like you. You despise ugliness, for you being surrounded by beauty and harmony is a necessity of life. You prefer fine clothing, an attractive home and pleasant surroundings wherever you are. Your refined tastes apply to music and to art as well. At times, you are very indecisive you waver and falter when forced to make a choice because you have the ability to see both sides of any question. The positive part of this is that you are very fair-minded and can be trusted to settle disputes. Your greatest challenge is to take any one- on-one encounter and make the most of it.

Moon is in 10 Degrees Libra.
Affectionate, warm and friendly, life must be a "beautiful" experience for you. Unpleasantness should be avoided at all costs. You tend to overlook other people's faults and you would rather give in than fight. You are uncomfortable with strangers, but at ease and sociable with friends and associates. Indeed, you would rather socialize than work -- you can use your prodigious charm to avoid unpleasant tasks. You need the support and assistance of another in order to get you started on any new project -- you are not a self-starter. Be careful of a tendency to be overly self-indulgent (i.e., lazy). Your refined aesthetic sensibilities attract you to music, dance, art and any other cultured activity.

Mercury is in 21 Degrees Libra.
You are known for not jumping to conclusions about things. You tend to weigh all possible choices very carefully before making a decision. When in the slightest amount of doubt, you will compromise rather than ruffle any feathers. You are a true raconteur of culture and taste -- your ideas and opinions are neat, elegant and refined. A born diplomat, you dislike discord so much that you will go out of your way to make others feel comfortable and at ease. You speak softly and pleasantly.

Venus is in 16 Degrees Scorpio.
Your feelings about others are deep, powerful, intense and complex. When you like someone, you do so totally and obsessively if you do not like someone, they do not exist. Your faithfulness and loyalty to your lover is unquestioned, indeed at times it is too much so -- you get so possessive that you almost smother your partner. At times, your feelings are kept deep within you and, because they are so complex and intense, they frighten you -- this is the way that you try to ignore them. But the more you try to do this, the more explosive things get when you eventually do express them.

Mars is in 08 Degrees Taurus.
Careful, slow and thorough about all that you do, at times you are also willful and stubborn when others try to alter your course. You are definitely not a quitter -- you will work long and hard to get what you want. Your possessions are very important to you. One of your continuing problems is that you tend to regard the significant people in your life much the same way as you do your possessions -- you become overly attached and much too jealous. You repress your anger when you get upset and that is not healthy. Try to learn to show your anger immediately in order to avoid painful explosions later.

Jupiter is in 02 Degrees Aquarius.
Your personal growth occurs when you have the freedom to do things in new and interesting ways -- this brings out your natural inventiveness. You are an individualist, but you are also attracted to mass movements that emphasize social betterment and you will devote much time and energy to their efforts. Very fair- minded and objective, you have extraordinary skills at organization and administration.

Saturn is in 04 Degrees Cancer.
The most important issue for you is emotional security. You have a deep and gnawing fear that those on whom you depend for emotional support will prove to be unreliable in the long run. When you are unloved and insecure, you distrust others and tend to feel isolated and lonely. Very cool, detached and objective, you can be counted on -- in situations that are inherently stressful or full of tension -- not to lose your self- control. That is a great and welcome gift at such times.

Uranus is in 22 Degrees Libra.
You, as well as your entire peer group, have a very free, unstable and unconventional approach to relationships and emotional commitments. You will be attracted to experiments in marriage and shared lifestyles. Personal freedom is more important to you than entangling emotional bonds. In the realm of art and aesthetics, you are attracted to the bizarre, shocking and unusual.

Neptune is in 05 Degrees Sagittarius.
You, and your entire generation, are heavily involved in investigating and idealizing foreign and exotic intellectual systems and religious philosophies. The most extreme ideals will be pursued with gusto. You will be at the forefront of humanitarian attempts to improve the lot of those who are in need of assistance. You will be comfortable with the concept of the "global village."

Pluto is in 04 Degrees Libra.
For your entire generation, this is a time of radical changes in society's attitude toward marriage and interpersonal relationships. There is a general fear and awe at the power inherent in making emotional or contractual commitments -- they will not be entered into lightly.

N. Node is in 03 Degrees Capricorn.
You rarely get involved closely with anyone unless he or she has something specific and practical to offer you. You tend to be "all business" when it comes to dealing with others. You're usually so intently focused on a particular goal that you rarely have time for social niceties or casual fellowship. But you can definitely be counted on by others to get things done. When you say that you'll do something, you do it. As such, you're a valuable member of any team situation and will probably rise to a position of leadership within the group. Your trustworthiness and sense of responsibility are unquestioned. But do try to avoid the temptation to "use" others to reach your goals -- they might come to resent you.

Friday, 20 April 2012


This week has been rather an uphill emotional one for me.  The weather hasn't helped, prone as I am to SAD, although today, looking out the window, it's bright, sunny and blue skied, though whether or not it is warm is a different matter.  Probably not.  That said, there was and is something magical about hearing birdsong in the mornings, especially sunny ones, that allows the spirits to be lifted somewhat.

Also, this week, I have been remembering a dear friend of mine.  A very dear friend of mine.  She died a few days ago, four years ago, and on Saturday, she would have been celebrating her 90th birthday, were she alive.  I always remember her birthday, it is the same day as Queen Elizabeth II.  I think and thought of Pauline a second mother to me; I knew her for over 25 years, and enjoyed her friendship and confidence for pretty much the same amount of time.  She was a wonderful, genuine, kindly woman from Kent and English to the core.  She was a delight to be around, generally always happy, smiling and enthusiastic to hear stories and to put the world to rights.  She was kind, warm and generous in so many ways but most of all in her spirit.  She loved nature and animals, she loved art and music and she was a good warm and generous spirit.

It may seem strange but I never saw Pauline as being a little old lady towards the end of my knowing her (despite being 4' 11 and 85 years old), and well, to neither of us, it didn't make the slightest bit of difference that she was slightly over five decades older than me.  It simply didn't matter.  I sat next to her at my brother's wedding, where the photo above was taken, and remember the pleasure she took when my cousins husband took her by the hand and whisked her around the dance floor.  After which, she told us all how she used to go dancing during her time as a Wren (Women's Royal Naval Service) after the war, I think it was accompanied by a tall chap who went by the name of Ed. 

I used to be able to pick up the telephone and call her and we would speak for twenty or so minutes at a time; however the real magic was in her company.  I would be able to go around to her home near Cambridge and the side door would always be open.  Invariably I would find Pauline in the end room, if it was in the mid afternoon she might well have dozed off or if she was around when I called her name you would hear her singing voice saying "I'm upstairs", and soon enough would come down and join you.  She would always be nicely dressed, though she would describe herself as looking like a mucky pup as there might be a small splash of tea or the like on the front.  The radio would be playing, normally "the third programme" i.e. Radio 3.  Depending upon the time, we would normally have a cup of tea, and either a biscuit or better still some homemade cake, sit in the end room and put the world to rights once again.  We pent many hours in each others company, talking and listening.  I could never drink tea on my own, and to this day I still never think of making myself a cup of tea and drinking it on my own.  The same isn't true of coffee however.  Yet whenever I am in good company, I can and will drink a cup of two of slightly milky Assam, no sugar, and it tastes all the better.

I can't help but reflect and think of my wonderful friend; her ways, her manner and her interests.  These ranged from her keenness for collecting dolls houses and miniatures, as well as bisque or porcelain figures; she loved flowers and plants, especially beautifully scented roses, and of course her two little Yorkies, named Jolyon (after Jolyon Soames in The Forsyte Saga) and Meryon, or simply Joly and Mery for short.  She loved beautiful, pretty things.  She liked romantic stories and enjoyed quality drama on television like Jane Austin and Charles Dickens adaptations, as she felt there was too much sex and violence on TV.  Yet, whenever it was on, she would mutter "Why do they have to show this?!?" yet still watch on.  Her politics always amused me, holding coffee mornings to raise money either for the RSPB or for the Conservative Party, depending on whichever she felt was in greater need at that time.  Up until she was 80 she used to take "meals on wheels" to the "old dears" in and around the town where she lived never thinking she might possibly be seen as one.  She used to spend every Wednesday at the "Con Club" having lunch with "the girls", four of her friends, all in their 80s.  I guess she was reminded that she was getting old when one of them died, yet Pauline never saw herself as being old, other than when she complained of gout, from stubbing her toes on the stairs every now and then.  I used to call her from Rome on my mobile asking her if she wanted some Pleasures by Estée Lauder, and she used to ponder and remark how amazing it was that I could be calling all that distance yet sound next door.  In the end, the answer was invariably a yes.

I have attached a piece of music I know Pauline loved, and I agree, it is a beautiful piece.  It is typically English and conjures up images of the sweeping English countryside, a country which Pauline loved and was proud to be a subject of.  I have had her in my thoughts especially over the last two days.  Yesterday, as I was writing my article for my other "blog", I was reminded that I had never managed to finish reading the book 381 AD by Charles Freeman, which I had started to read a few days before she died, and I was due to come down and see her once again.  Somehow I still cannot pick it up and start to read it once again .  Since her passing, and especially in recent times, I have truly missed my friend.  Of the few photos I have framed, I have one framed of her in a silver frame.  She deserves that I feel. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Rood Awakening

Syllic wæs se sigebēam, ond ic synnum fāh,  
forwunded mid wommum.  Geseah ic wuldres trēow,
wædum geweorðod wynnum scīnan,
gegyred mid golde; gimmas hæfdon
bewrigen weorðlīce wealdendes trēow.
Hwæðre ic þurh þæt gold ongytan meahte
earmra ærgewin, þæt hit ærest ongan 
swætan on þā swīðran healfe.

Sublime, the tree was, and I was foul with sin,
wounded and filthy. I saw the wondrous tree
become more beautiful, bound with streamers,
wound with gold; gems gathered
nobly covering the King's tree.
But through the gold I could glimpse,
though buried by sinfulness, that it began
to bleed on its right side.

Currently, I am working on article on an eighth century Saxon poem for my other "blog", Echoes from the Gnosis, and just wanted to share a brief quote here from "The Dream of the Rood"; both in translation and in Anglo-Saxon.  I do admit to enjoying this poem, which has somehow survived, partially inscribed on a broken stone cross in Scotland, and in a tenth century Italian book.  The wording and imagery is powerful, strong, and spellbinding.  I felt the need to share some of it here, short of going into the lengthy academic-esque discussion I tend to explore and entertain on my other blog.

MAY 2012 (Update):  Since posting this, I have posted an article which can be found here.

Reflective Oblivion

There are many spirits, both light and dark.  We should, therefore, be prepared to accept the view that spirit is not absolute, but something relative that needs completing and perfecting through life.

This morning, my Swedish friend (yes, I can have Danish blood and put aside the old prejudices and have Swedish friends), Fred, asked for expressions for a dull, ordinary person.  I came up with the adjectives "dull" "banal" "drab" "bland".  For a fleeting moment of low self worth I thought to myself of myself, because, well, that's how I have been known to see myself.  This temporary low opinion was perhaps bolstered by the truly miserable weather at the moment, no rain, no sun - just a dull, bleak grey sky, devoid of colour, expression, or emotion.  Ideal breeding ground for my SAD in other words.  That aside, this thought was only momentary and brief because, no matter how badly I feel about myself, I don't think I could ever be accused of being "dull" "banal" "drab" "bland" nor "ordinary", and if I am, well it's by people who don't, won't, or will refuse to understand me.

In turn, this led me to thinking of a conversation I was having last night with Heidi, my Finnish friend. Contrary to popular belief not all my friends are Scandinavian; this is not an instance of "birds of a feather flock together" - well certainly not consciously.  I thoroughly enjoy my lengthy conversations with her; English is not her first language, and all too often she worries that her English is "clumsy" (her words).  Yet I really enjoy it when we catch up; it's never a case of "How you are?" "I'm quite fine, and you?", etc...  Our conversations can be silly, fun, yet at the same time can turn out to be serious and profound.  Heidi has gone through a lot in her life so far, but she doesn't seem to have lost her joie de vivre -  despite adversity trying it's damnedest at times to do so.  I find our conversations to be beautiful and honest; they transcend the occasional misspelling, banality, or wrong tense being used.  Her English is spoken from the heart, not from Fowler's Modern English (and it's eons ahead of my Finnish!!)  We were talking last night about sides to people's personalities and I was saying how all people in my life seem to see different sides to me and my being.  She promptly threw the names of various friends and acquaintances at me of  people which I or we have talked about, and asked which and what side(s) they saw of me, and I told her what I believed them to see. 

Recently I was told that part of my "charm" is the fact that I am direct with people, and try not to paint a picture of me as being something that I am not.  I guess some people are disconcerted by this idea; the norm being to paint a wonderful enlightened well rounded individual upon first meeting, and as time progresses the cracks and flaws to start to show through; but always in the hope that the person will like you just the same despite these flaws.  And that this is one's humanity starting to shine through.  Apparently I don't do that.  I let people see most of my being and who I am from the outset.  Admittedly I probably tailor myself to fit in to an extent with the person I am interacting with so as to find common ground and share interests, enthusiasm, knowledge, or whatever.  But I am still myself...  Hopefully I no longer feel the need to wear masks or pretend to be something I am not, I just am.

Talking to Neville about a month ago he said to me at one point that he didn't feel he knew me anymore.  Neville has known me for many years through good times and bad times.  I am the first to admit I have changed from the person whom he first met.  When he first met me I was sheltered, skinny (29 inch waist), shy, stressed, nervous and extremely introverted with little sense of self confidence.  I also had other traits I am even less proud of but I feel that enough of a a picture has been painted of me as the insecure 21 year old that I was.  I have expanded my knowledge, I am not as innocent and naive as I once was, and my waist has gone up and down.  I have changed, I don't feel the need to hide, to pretend, to not be any more.  Yes, I am more set in my ways, although I still am continuing to expand my mind, knowledge, interests, passions.  I try not to make the same mistakes I once did, yet I no longer admonish myself to the extent that I once did for making those fatal errors of judgment.  To quote Jung:-  Error is just as important a condition of life's progress as truth. 

Look in the mirror and you will see just the one reflection (in my case it is admittedly one that has changed in various ways over the years), but I feel that my soul, mind and being have altered.  That said, some of the fundamental traits are still there.  I may well be set in my ways but I do enjoy to expand my repertoire of knowledge and to further grow intellectually and spiritually.  Well, actually, that isn't entirely true, there are days when I wish I had a more simplistic outlook on life, as I feel jealous at times of those who don't feel the need to grow and can just settle for "simple pleasures" or see their lives/interests in black and white.  I am not talking of the minimalist existence as portrayed in Bertold Brecht's "How Fortunate the Man with None" (later sung by Brendan Perry of The Dead Can Dance).  To quote the opening stanzas:-

You saw sagacious Solomon
You know what came of him,
To him complexities seemed plain.
He cursed the hour that gave birth to him
And saw that everything was vain.
How great and wise was Solomon.
The world however did not wait
But soon observed what followed on.
It's wisdom that had brought him to this state.
How fortunate the man with none.

Upon reading and hearing these words, one cannot help but think and reflect.  The words speak of having none yet the "none" appears to that of gnosis or sophia, i.e. an absence of knowledge, understanding, wisdom.  Though these attributes may appear a curse at times, I feel I should be grateful that I am imbued with such qualities.  Though once again, I suppose if I wasn't aware of such gifts then I would be none the wiser.  With that in mind, I think someone who doesn't possess intelligence and wisdom is somehow aware of the fact, to a greater or lesser extent.  This feeling will either manifest itself in a form of paranoia, where there will be a sense of either others discussing them either front of them or behind their back, or else they will display simple indifference to the fact.  I suppose that is where I am jealous, of those who are indifferent or unaware or the contempt others may have for them, and this acts as self defense to protect themselves against any self-contempt which they might harbour. Again to quote Jung: If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool. 

So what does this make me?  It makes me just that - me; and no one else.  Despite being not always understood, or categorized or branded by others, rightly or wrongly, I still will endeavor to retain my identity and individuality.  The lack of self worth has mostly arisen from external forces, and of those, a significant number of which have been beyond my control or of others misconception (despite my bravest attempts to rectify otherwise) of who I am, internally and externally.  I can only hope that some will hope to see beyond and discover more than so many have ignored, forgotten, disregarded or simply not appreciated.

Maybe too much thinking is a dangerous thing.  I will close with the words of Dylan Thomas.

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Dépression au-dessus du jardin

Dépression au-dessus du jardin...
Ton expression est au chagrin.
Tu as lâché ma main.
Comme si de rien
N'était, de l'été c'est la fin,
Les fleurs ont perdu leurs parfums
Qu'emporte un à un
Le temps assassin...

Dépression au-dessus du jardin...
J'ai l'impression que c'est la fin.
Je te sens soudain
Tellement lointain,
Tu t'es égaré en chemin.
Tu essayes de me faire croire, en vain,
Que l'amour revien-
Dra l'été prochain...

Philosophy in the Boudoir.

The "Mauve boudoir" of the last Russian Empress, Alexandra Feodorovna

Mauve, purple, pink and violet have never, ever been to my taste.  Just to dispense with that thought before commencing upon my latest posting.  Admittedly, however, every time I think of the word "boudoir" it does conjure up thoughts of the last tsarina's famous mauve boudoir, together with images and ideas of excessive grandeur or high camp, tinged with a mix of opulent Victorian design, and excessive Russian nouveau riche.  In other words, something rather hideous, garish and crass.  Lilac is one of those colours I loath, together with cyan blue and lime green, shades I would most sincerely hope never, ever to see nor find in my home.  Ever!  Also when I think of boudoirs my mind is transported far away from tsarist opulence but to the mind of Donatien Alphonse François and his debauched masterpiece "La philosophie dans le boudoir", which lends itself to the title of this entry.  I remember first reading this, alongside Venus in Furs; Histoire d'O; Delta of Venus; Tropic of Cancer; and the Story of the Eye in my early twenties when I was in my quest of self discovery and reading a spate of "tasteful" yet eclectic, pornographic literature.  In fact, extraordinarily enough, of all the above the most arousing of the books was indeed Sade's Philosophy in the Boudoir with it's catalogue of perversions and depravities heaped upon the teenage Eugénie de Mistival. 

Throughout the course of the dialogues, there are some wonderful examples and lines, vividly conveying the need to by the author to arouse, to shock and to stimulate himself as much as his readers.  Among the words uttered by some of the characters to "educate" Eugénie are:-

"Je ne parlerai point de ces globes de chair, vous savez aussi bien que moi, Eugénie, que l’on les nomme indifféremment gorge, seins, tétons; leur usage est d’une grande vertu dans le plaisir, un amant les a sous les yeux en jouissant, il les caresse, il les manie, quelques-uns en forment même le siège de la jouissance, et leur membre se nichant entre les deux monts de Vénus, que la femme serre et comprime sur ce membre, au bout de quelques mouvements, certains hommes parviennent à répandre là le baume délicieux de la vie, dont l’écoulement fait tout le bonheur des libertins…"

"C’est une espèce de vase ressemblant à une bouteille dont le cou embrasse le membre de l’homme, et qui reçoit le foutre produit chez la femme par le suintement des glandes, et, dans l’homme, par l’éjaculation que nous te ferons voir ; et du mélange de ces liqueurs naît le germe qui produit tour à tour des garçons ou des filles."

Despite all this dianoia, as opposed to phronesis, during some of my downtime to occupy and entertain my mind outside of my usual escape into either looking at art books, or, if I feel in the mood for reading, my scope of reading material has continued to incorporate different ideas, thoughts, opinions not to mention subject matter.  Admittedly I feel rather like Boethius at the moment, with my head/mind/brain (delete where applicable) being my prison cell, and for the most part, when not just wanting to close my eyes and shut the world out I have been dipping here and there into my psychology/psychoanalysis books once again as well as various works of philosophy, and which leads us back full circle to the reasoning behind the title of this entry.

The dipping has literally been just that, not looking at anything specific.  Everything from Eco to an anthology of Jung's writings on all variety of subjects without having to go all the way through Dreams, or Modern Man in Search of a Soul, etc once again.  Throw in some Montaigne, Iris Murdoch, Erasmus, Sartre, Bertrand Russell and you're half way there.  Just allows the mind to think in all sorts of directions; throw away the compass, throw away the map, and just explore.  That's all my mind is capable of at the moment.  Thought without direction, learning without steerage. Good or bad I don't know, but excellent escapism and just enlightening.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Art of Noise I

Margaret Barker

Following the suggestion of various books to read by Mark, I have just started reading Margaret Barker's Temple Mysticism: An Introduction.  In short, I'm hooked, snared, engrossed, fascinated.  From my reading thus far Dr. Barker is on her way to joining the other scholarly writers I enjoy reading therefore joining ranks with the likes of the late Frances Yates, G.R.S. Mead, among others who I allow to enrich my mind; to enlighten my mind; in equal quota, value and worth to that of entertaining my mind.

Proof that I am open to ideas and thoughts, and that I do respect the opinions of others as to reading matter.  The same is true of music (currently listening to The Tallis Scholars' newest CD of Josquin's Masses both fitting to the mood, the reading matter, as well as being exquisite music) at times, but less so the visual arts, I am admittedly stubborn and set in my ways there there, less moving and flinching...  All the better when that sharing and recommendation is attuned, be that intellectually or just in terms of indulgent escapism into fiction, popular history, poetry, or otherwise, it feels like someone is sharing part of their world, and a common empathy/mindset/ideology, yet showing their understanding of you, and imparting a small gift.  For which I am most grateful.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tuesday Tarot

Today my mind has been allowed, by me, to wander elsewhere, off it's usual regular and somewhat ordered logical course.  Yesterday was an intriguing mélange of feelings, deep within my soul and these feelings, outcomes have been reflected within my subconscious as much as within events that are surrounding me and my being, and to be honest, I can't quite work out where my head is at this present time.

My subconscious this morning created a tarot deck within my head.  I know, not quite the same thing but as I have no real astrological training whatsoever (other than leafing through a book on the subject twenty or so years ago), I felt that this was an interesting exercise.  Part of this train of subconscious thought has no doubt entered my mind from knowing the strong images that accompany the Major Arcana cards, and although I used to own a set of Tarot cards when I was younger (sadly long since lost in one of my various 'moves'), I never owned the set (and have always wanted to) designed by Fergus Hall.  Most people will be familiar with this set as it entered the public consciousness in the James Bond film Live and Let Die.  I always rather enjoyed this ecclectic entry into the Bond franchise on various plateaux; the catchy theme song by Wings, the occult theme, and Bond meets blaxploitation (an entertaining albeit short lived genre in the early to mid 1970s). 

From that deck within my head I picked out seven cards, four Major Arcana cards and three Minor Arcana cards, completely at random.  I decided to do some digging online to find out the meaning behind these cards and have summarised below what I have found.  These are the seven that came out from my inner conscious:-


A need for diplomacy and tact.

The power of perception, the clear thinking astute-mind, is represented here in its negative manner as cunning, maliciousness and fraudulance. The card can represent cleverness and craftiness.  The "Thief" card, and though it can be taken literally (protect yourself against theft), it usually means a different type of stealing.  The querent should be warned to be on their guard.


A time of fresh emotions, feeling them purely and wondering at them.  Romance is in the stage of puppy love and crushes. 

The Page of Cups has got a great imagination, an artistic bent, and a love of story-telling which is both wonderful, but problematic, as they may let their imaginations run away with them. Very kind and sweet, they'll bring you fresh picked flower, make you a card, write you a song. When sad, they're the saddest kid you ever saw. When happy, they're positively blissful.   The card indicates an impulse, an oppurtunity, a chance. It is either an invitation to a pleasurable venture, a gesture of love, or reconciliation. The card shows the offer of peace after phases of strife and discord, the sympathy that is given us in times of pain.


A sacrifice must be made to gain something of real value.

The Hanged Man allows himself to be hung so that he can gain wisdom for the world. Like traitors of old, he sacrifices himself for a cause, and sees things from an "inverted" perspective. What is right to him is wrong to others and vice versa. And like the babe in the womb, the Hanged Man hangs suspended between one world (the womb) and the next (outside the womb). The querent is stuck and in a dilemma.  However, with more consideration we can see that in the external immobility there is a forced response, as well as the necessity and oppurtunity to achieve a transformed world and change one's life.


Guidance on religious matters and the need to find spiritual meaning in life.

The Hierophant stands for the world of belief and a deep trust that stems from this conviction of faith.  He was considered one of the three protective cards of the Tarot, which gave the course of matter a favorable tendancy.  The power of trust that the card expresses can be related to the trust we have in ourselves as well as the trust we have in a deeper sense in our personal lives and future.

The card might well be a warning to the querent, himself, against being too stubborn, too fearful of change, especially in matters of theology, ethics or traditions. The Hierophant could appear as a reminder that the aim of traditions is not to follow them by rote, but to use them to keep alive the spirit and faith of a people.


Balance, wisdom, and a need for rational, logical solutions.

Justice stands for clear, objective knowledge, conscious and decisively reached judg,ent, for incorruptability, balance and fairness.  It shows that we will get what we deserve and we alone carry the responsibility for everything that we receive and experience.  Justice urges the querent to make adjustments, do whatever is necessary to bring things back into balance: physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually. is about adjustment. The sword Justice carries suggests that sometimes this won't be pleasant. Justice pares things down with that sword so that the scales end up equal. Swords represent the mind and suggest that Justice only listens to reason, logic and facts.


A time for rejoicing and celebration.

The three of cups is an expression of joy, carefreeness and thankfulness as best expressed in the experience of thanksgiving.  It signals most strongly, however, is being with those who are emotionally in tune with you and you with them. If this card comes up regarding a question about a new relationship, it usually means that you're either discussing it with friends/family, or introducing this new person to friends/family. You're taking the next step in strengthening your emotional bond with the person.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Of Narcissus and Calidore

It's difficult to determine how I am feeling this weekend.  I am feeling insular, withdrawn and yet at same time detached from myself and everything else around me.  Yesterday morning, the weather took a turn for the worse and the absence of sunshine allowed my SAD to kick in and my mood to plummet somewhat, making my self worth and belief, which, on certain levels has fluctuated considerably over the last few weeks between one extreme and the other, drop once again.  And other than this absence of warmth, sunshine (awakening the inner Akhenaten in me perhaps and that need for the solar disc) it has made me painfully aware of my other "failings" (although that is rather a strong word) in other departments in my being.

Yet, as I say, I felt and still feel oddly removed from myself, so this isn't narcissism nor self pity nor an egocentric state of mind I find myself in.  Jung suggested that this concept was not that of narcissism and was one of individuation, however, that this state of mind was more evident as one approached old age than in one's youth or middle age (a bench I feel I uncomfortably fall between at this time of life); and that indivuation is contrary to that narcissism.  So am I being narcissist? Or individuist? Consciously or subconsciously?  Jung suggests that narcissism is doomed to fail, despite it being a defence mechanism against aging and death, however that ultimately a higher goal, an inner quest to discover a/the meaning (perhaps the elusive spark of gnosis if you will) in one's lifetime is beyond such things.  These narcissistic needs, be they gratification, validation or otherwise are mere illusions and the striving towards self-knowledge is the way out of the shackles of "the petty, oversensitive world of the ego."

The doomed Narcissus, by Caravaggio

At the moment I suppose I am wishing to flee from, for the most part of an existence I am currently entertaining.  It lacks any sort of enlightenment in any shape or form outside of music and books, if I cannot find in terms of (physical) rays of sunshine (which lifts my emotional self worth out of doldrums), I somehow need to find it on an intellectual level.  This intellectual enlightenment has been sorely lacking in my being for sometime now, yet it has allowed itself to be re-ignited for short periods of time.  For the most part, and as observed by some of those around me, that for the most part, when I discuss subjects that interest me, too much of the time it tends to be on the level of an educator (me) and student rather than enjoying an enjoyable two way conversation.  Either that or we are just talking at each other, no traffic in either direction.  Extremely rarely is it intellectual two way traffic.  The reality was first awakened in late 2010 when I enjoyed an all too brief conversation with Dr. Alan Palmer on the subject of (cognitive) narratology.  Regrettably, our conversation was curtailed before it was allowed to truly develop, yet for me, it was only when Dr. Palmer bestowed me with the compliment demonstrating that I clearly understood the concepts of the theories of narratology, and that I "was clearly a narratologist at heart" based upon our relatively brief talk.  This validation elevated my spirits and self worth to a higher level than it had been for some considerable time in my lifespan, prior to our meeting and conversation.

Admittedly I am subscribed to the social networking phenomenon that is Facebook.  I have been for five years.  For the most part, and this still remains true, I subscribed to it for the purpose of sharing photos with those close to me.  It developed into an oppurtunity to catch up with friends and acquintances, being at long last, in certain instances to put a face to the name of various other writers (well, the ones I resepcted) I had corresponded with in my "filmic" years working on DVD extras as "supplement producer."  It also has allowed me to remain in contact with various individuals I contacted, befriended over those years.  Some of these actors, directors, etc appear to have used (and why not?) this as a forum to promote themselves and their work, rather than for friends, family, etc.

However, I retain my original reasoning behind joining, rather than to build up a "network" of contacts, etc.  Upon my first joining the site, and after the novelty of the silly games, apps, etc wore off - I would receive a significant number of friend requests from "movie fans" who recalled my work in the creation of DVD extras.  Yet my sense and need for validation and gratification, despite my (even moreso then) fragile ego, still did and does not accept these individuals into my world for the most part.  I simply don't want invasion into my private world, nor do I want people who will never say anything or just want to discuss film and nothing else.  I did accept a few at first, I confess, and after a few months of non-communication on either part, generally "unfriended" them.  That said, I corresponded with a few, all thoroughly pleasant, genuine fellows (Amicus F, Daniel G, Lionel G, and Laurent K), and this acquintanceship has developed to varying levels. Though I did lay down a ground rule that I didn't want to discuss just cinema and nothing else.  I have met with and exchanged messages/emails  with Amicus, and I have spoken at length on the phone with Mssrs. G and G), though I have yet to cross paths with Laurent. 

I still do get "friend requests" from time to time from these various film fans, but I must confess I do not need, seek, nor wish for their validation.  I need to be valued for me, not a past shadow of myself in what appears like a previous life.  Also, and to be honest, I feel that if anyone is likely to be disappointed in the resulting "friendship", it is those others, for I simply do not have much interest in discussing movies, the people I interviewed (other than as people) nor my past in DVD extras.  It took me five years to re-open and talk about this area of my life again.  Plus I simply do not fit into the world of gore loving, body-piercing, tattoos, black t-shirts, heavy metal listening types; I never did.  To each their own, but my world does not revolve around cinema, nor did it, certainly not to the extent that it (still) does to so many of these fans.  I don't live surrounded by props from movies nor do I have a film posters on my walls.  I find the topic of discussing just [horror] movies, (especially zombie films) dull. This was always the case, yet it could act as an escape from having to talk about myself.  However, I feel that chapter has closed (for the most part) in my being, and, other than occasional conversations with my dear friend Adam, I either have no wish to reopen it.  I retain friendships with the film people I met simply because I liked them as people, the "awe" that they worked in movies has long since gone I fear and I cherish them more for who they are.

To be true, the only friends I feel comfortable discussing these films with are Mark V (whom I have known for nearly two decades) and we rarely talk movies,  Adam F (his enthusiasm echoes that of Mark when our paths first crossed, and though it's not entirely infectious, it's pleasurable, amusing, as much as entertaining, and when that is exhausted he can discuss other things outside of movies. Yay!), and Amicus (who for some reason, best known to him, has a great deal of respect for me owing to the various people I met, interviewed and in certain cases, know or knew).  Also with Adam and Amicus, they have other planets orbiting their suns, and are happy to open up and talk about them.  Were it just movies, movies, movies, well, I think our friendship would have just fizzled out.

Yet supposedly in life, inspiration comes from many sources.  It is difficult to pin these down for me however I understand appreciate them when I encounter them.  Having toyed with the concepts and ideas of Theosophy (the infamous school of Mme. Blavatsky) and read Ouspensky's work In Search of the Miraculous (thanks Margaret) in my past, I must say that although both contained interesting concepts and ideas, I wasn't inspired to join either school of thought in any form.  My initial reaction against the latter was mostly due to Margaret's attempts at times to "convert" my way of thinking and to join her in her "Fourth Way" school of teaching and to visit her in California as a "student".  This very idea sent alarms ringing for the simple fact that clearly Margaret was still on her quest of personal development and towards achieving the miraculous, yet hadn't appeared to achive it in that time having undergone numerous tests on both body and soul, yet seems removed, to an extent, from the process.  Added to the simple fact, I do not like any attempt to goad or convert me in terms of religion or ideology, I simply shut down when that happens.  I prefer to make decisions that appeal to my being and soul, not in any way from another's coaxing and encouragement.

G.I. Gurdjieff, teacher of "The Work".

Add to this that I felt there was a degree of being controlled by others upon initiation into these "schools of thought".  There are obvious echoes of Theosophy in the teachings of Gurdjieff (or "G" as Ouspensky refers to him throughout ).  Furthermore the beliefs of the acolytes of Ospensky's "G" and his Fourth Way, have formed a belief system that reveres a higher being in the form of Gurdjieff.  Also the needto develop a soul via, albeit through personal development, a hodge-podge of religious ideology under one aegis, incorperating everything from Sufism to Christianity; and incorperating the three paths of the fakir, the monk and the yogi into a Fourth Way., Through such learning, in an abstract way without specific guidance, would lead to the eventual development of a soul within, but only through a series of "struggles" rather than apparent enlightenment. Furthermore, despite it's cofused theology being based upon some of the concepts in earlier faiths, it all seemed terribly contrived, manufactured, and for want of a better word, all too "modern". 

Much wondred Calidore at this straunge sight,
Whose like before his eye had never seene,
And standing long astonished in spright,
And rapt in pleasaunce, wist not to weene;

Calidore, upon hearing music from Mount Acilade (a hill sacred to Venus) decides to climb it to be greeted by the vision of a "troupe of Ladies dauncing".   Upon his arrival, Calidore's enthusiasm and/or curioisty disrupts the maidens' dance, perhaps in a mirroring of Orpheus leading Eurydice from the Underworld,  enchanted her soul and all around with his music until her footsteps appear to fade, becoming inaudiable, that the inevitable plays out:

As soon as he appeared to their vew,  
they vanished all away out of his sight.

The maidens are not perturbed by the presence of nor caused to flee by Colin Clout, a shepherd, singing and playing his bagpipes, but are by the presence of Calidore, diverted and distracted from his quest to vanquish the Blatant Beast.  Somehow, in my life, I feel such affinity with the Knight of Courtesy, and though I don't believe that have an obvious beast to vanquish (other than within myself), my sentiment is that if I get in "too deep" or seek to discover something enchanting in front of me, it simply vanishes from view.  Or as in my Orphean analogy, that when there is something wonderful there, before me or behind me, but nonetheless in my aura and immediate surroundings; I cease to believe in it or my own abilities to entice so much so that I turn around to be sure, and after a moment's glimpse of  my elusive "grail", it's gone, and taken from me. Possibly forever...

The forward Youth that would appear,
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the Shadows sing
His Numbers languishing;
Tis time to leave the Books in dust,
And oyl th'Unused armours rust:

The opening words above, though possibly taken out of context, are taken from Andrew (he of His Coy Mistress) Marvell's An Horatian Ode.  The poem itself contains paradoxical themes and ideals, celebrating the return of Cromwell from Ireland, yet mourning the regicide incurred upon Charles I.  Again paradox and conflicting ideas prevail.  However, it's the opening words I recognise.  Despite being in my late 30's I still feel some of the spirit of youth within my soul, and apparantly retain some of my youthful looks, according to some of those around me, aside from my furrowed forehead which seems to have always been there, even when I did have youth on my side.  But the words reflect ideas that reverberate through my conscious; is it time to forsake my "muses", and "to leave books in dust"?  I do hope not.  Perhaps I am perhaps all too hasty in my acknowledgment that, as time goes by, that my "numbers" (ie years) are languishing.  Internally, I feel I am deteriorating, that I am not valued at my fullest either by myself nor by the majority of those around me, as so few allow me to demonstrate my worth. Intellectually, profesionally, emotionally.  In part, this is admittedly my own doing, not least, owing to some of the company that I keep, but to the inability to find nor nor move in likeminded circles.  These people largely elude me, and as soon as I happen upon them, the path I take will lead to the same conclusion as that of Orpheus' Eurydice or Calidore's maidens.

The sun is out, I need to drag myself into the fresh air, more later...