Saturday, 26 May 2018

Changing Society

“To revolt within society in order to make it a little better, to bring about certain reforms, is like the revolt of prisoners to improve their life within the prison walls; and such revolt is no revolt at all, it is just mutiny. Do you see the difference? Revolt within society is like the mutiny of prisoners who want better food, better treatment within the prison; but revolt born of understanding is an individual breaking away from society, and that is creative revolution.
“Now, if you as an individual break away from society, is that action motivated by ambition? If it is, then you have not broken away at all, you are still within the prison, because the very basis of society is ambition, acquisitiveness, greed. But if you understand all that and bring about a revolution in your own heart and mind, then you are no longer ambitious, you are no longer motivated by envy, greed, acquisitiveness, and therefore you will be entirely outside of a society which is based on those things. Then you are a creative individual and in your action there will be the seed of a different culture.
“So there is a vast difference between the action of creative revolution, and the action of revolt or mutiny within society. As long as you are concerned with mere reform, with decorating the bars and walls of the prison, you are not creative. Reformation always needs further reform, it only brings more misery, more destruction. Whereas, the mind that understands this whole structure of acquisitiveness, of greed, of ambition and breaks away from it — such a mind is in constant revolution.” — Krishnamurti
. Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

More on Fekenham Swarberry - "In The Frog and Radiator" - "Terrence Humshaw’s Revenge"

Terrence, Terry to his colleagues in the bank, woke early if you call coming out of a fitful, alcoholic induced sleep at 3.30 waking. His tongue had felt like the inside of dead huskie’s rectum. He had tossed and turned the hours until seven which he thought far too early an hour to wake on a Sunday. He got out of his single bed located in the box room to the sonorous sounds of his wife’s snoring in the master bedroom down the landing. His feet scrabbled around for his slippers which when located his toes scurried into like mice afraid of the daylight. He got up, pulled on his dressing gown and gazed at his reflection in the mirror. It was a familiar yet startling sight.
Balding with thin, wispy strands that stood up as if seeking the nourishment of sunlight after so many hours of darkness. A large, round face underscored by a double chin covered in a gingery stubble. Ears with large lobes that hung stalactite-like to the edge of his jawbone giving him the look of the laughing Buddha. Bloodshot eyes barely visible from the surrounding flesh that hung from sacks of skin grown loose. A nose so swollen in appearance to that of the Proboscis Monkey’s which attempted the unlikely possibility of dipping its end into its owner’s mouth, a mouth that ran from left to right across the lower half of his face like a knife slash on a rubber tyre.
He stuck out his tongue to greet the morning. The tongue didn’t like what it saw and rapidly retreated to his mouth. He needed a drink by so determined to go to the kitchen and make some tea. He rubbed his nose with the back of his had staring at the windows smeared with shaving soap that his beloved wife, God bless her itching haemorrhoids, couldn’t be bothered to clean. Hooking his forefinger into the glass of gin that sat on his bedside cabinet that he soaked his false teeth in he sat up.
He went to where his boot sat at the edge of the bed. Inside was a small bottle. In the bottle was a lethal liquid poison. Then he pulled his gown collar up around his ears. His beloved wife couldn’t bear the heating on until well after breakfast which meant a cold shower, a cold shave but, thankfully, a warm shit. She didn’t object to hot tea though first thing every morning, so his target was the kitchen. Treading softly along the landing, avoiding the first creaky floorboard so as not to wake his beloved wife he tiptoed along like a ferret with dodgy knees stalking an arthritic rabbit.
Last night whilst getting very drunk in The Frog and Radiator, Terry had sat close, very close, to Ethel Blowvalve. Ethel was a woman who Terry had long admired. Had he a candle he would light a flame and hold it aloft for Ethel. Ethel was a woman of flesh, much flesh and this too attracted Terry. Oddly, Mrs Humshaw (Terry seldom if ever used her first name) was fat but her fat had grown from lack of exercise and one too many cakes whilst Ethel’s had been delivered in cushioned satin boxes wearing a purple Basque with green laces.
He had followed five pints of Widows Whiskers with the same amount of whiskey chasers. As he had felt himself sink into the dull void of intoxication he had watched fascinated as Ethel, in conversation with friends, had heaved her beautiful, bounteous belly onto the tabletop where it briefly wobbled as though it had a life of itself. The very act of her stomach dancing on a table fluid with the spilt remains of a cocktail of alcoholic beverages had been unbearably erotic.
He had tried to catch Ethel’s eye but instead caught Arthur Bentwhistle’s who had told him to “Drink up, Terry. Time t’go. Think ‘o the missus waiting for you. Dinner as hot as her good self.” This made him snigger. The only time his beloved wife had been hot was the night of their honeymoon. She often thanked him over the years for giving her her first and one and only orgasm. Theirs had not been a passionate marriage.
Terry had risen from the table knocking glasses over as he did. It was the only time Ethel looked at him. He patted his pocket ensuring the bottle was still in place then ricocheted across the floor like a renegade cue ball.
No matter the convolutions, calamities and catastrophes Terry met on the way home he never remembered them. Nor the journey home at all. His boots, his trusty boots that he always wore when on a bender were his guidance system. It was they that ferried him down the country lane past twig, root and branch. As for the bumps and bruises that blessed his battered body he could only surmise his beloved wife had used an assortment of implements to batter him with. These normally included a frying pan, rolling pin or the antique flat iron bequeathed to her by her grandmother. Terry had no memory of events after he had left the pub but he had clung on in resilient desperation to the bottle now in his hand.
The kitchen was cold but then again, the whole bloody house was cold except, of course, for her upstairs snoring the sleep of the unsuspecting. “The only thing she does well in bed.” Thought Terry rummaging around for the tea caddy.
When he’d procured the poison from an unwholesome urchin of no fixed name or abode, he had been told that four drops from the tiny bottle would be sufficient. Terry had asked what if he used the whole bottle only to hear an answer that delighted him – “You could kill a whole village with that tiny bottle.”
“What about a large cow?”
“You could wipe out a herd.” Replied the scruffy man through yellowing teeth.
“That’ll do,” said Terry passing the insalubrious individual a large note. 
Now, as the kettle sat on the stove, flame licking its base, so Terry took out two china teacups from the Welsh Dresser and one silver spoon. Beloved Wife wouldn’t entertain mugs (“Surprising as I married you,” she once quipped) preferring bone china. He placed the cups onto saucers and the silver spoon in a saucer to his right. The kettle was trilling. The water within coming to the boil. He pulled down the teapot from the shelf, ladled three spoons into it, “One for me, one for she and one for the pot” then, kettle whistling, poured the steaming water into the pot. Terry left the pot to brew and then pulled a glass bottle of disinfectant from far under the kitchen sink. He had long ago boiled the bottle and then refilled it with whiskey. Placing it far at the back under the sink was perfectly safe as it sat behind the wicker tray the beloved kept her cleaning fluids and whatnot in. He unscrewed the top, took a slug and said, “Hair of the dog.”
Pouring milk into china cups as “one is meant too” Terry took the bottle of poison from his pocket, poured the content into the cup, took out another spoon with which he stirred the brew then washed spoon under the spigot.
Cups balanced firmly on a tray, Terry began to climb the stairs of his cottage. Taking gradual but purposeful steps Terry could hear the snore of his wife buffeting bedroom walls, bouncing off bedhead before brazenly bursting out onto the landing.
Holding the tray with his left hand, Terry took a firm grip of the doorknob with right opening the door a crack. The sight that greeted him was not an aspect he regarded with pleasure. There before him, chins hung upon the duvet, denture less mouth agape like the maw of a flaccid fish, a hair net firmly placed on barnet, snores rising from a nose with elongated and flared nostrils, uvula swinging like the bells of Winchester Cathedral, in short it was a vision most horrendous, an apparition terrible to behold.
Terry crept softly forward crossing the carpeted floor to where his wife lay with head pushed forward. Bending so close his lips nearly brushed her shell-likes he bellowed like a bellicose bullhorn.
His wife shot bolt upright, spittle flying like the spray from a garden sprinkler.
“ERGAH,” was the unknown adjective she vocalised.
Terry sniggered. He seldom laughed for if he did his own dentures would clatter between his gums with percussive intent.
“Why do you always wake me by shouting?”
“I wouldn’t want you not to hear me.”
“All of Dorset could hear you and at this point are looking about them for their first drink of the day.”
“Yes, dear.”
“You smell of last nights, booze.”
“Yes, dear.”
“Go away.”
“Yes, dear.”
His wife snorted, picked up her teacup and took a sip.
Terry departed leaving teacup, saucer and wife to get better acquainted. He slid out of the master bedroom with its luxurious mattress and made his way back to box room where you couldn’t swing a dead kipper let alone a fish. Unless of course, it was a very small fish. Maybe a baby goldfish.
Placing the other cup of tea on his bedside cabinet he sat his well-cushioned posterior onto his bed. Yawning broadly, happy as a pig-in-a-poke now that the poison cup was being supped by his beloved wife he lay back against the pillow.

He awoke ten minutes later with a start, picked up his tea and drank every drop of it even though it was tepid. It was then he spotted the silver spoon lying in the saucer.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Monday, 21 May 2018

By Changing Ourselves we Change the World

“War is the spectacular and bloody projection of our everyday living. We precipitate war out of our daily lives; and without a transformation in ourselves, there are bound to be national and racial antagonisms, the childish quarrelling over ideologies, the multiplication of soldiers, the saluting of flags, and all the many brutalities that go to create organized murder. Education throughout the world has failed, it has produced mounting destruction and misery. Governments are training the young to be the efficient soldiers and technicians they need; regimentation and prejudice are being cultivated and enforced. Taking these facts into consideration, we have to inquire into the meaning of existence and the significance and purpose of our lives. We have to discover the beneficent ways of creating a new environment; for environment can make the child a brute, an unfeeling specialist, or help him to become a sensitive, intelligent human being. We have to create a world of no government which is radically different, which is not based on nationalism, on ideologies, on force.” — J. Krishnamurti
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Royal Wedding

I am a republican. By that, I mean someone who dislikes the institution of a monarchy. What is a monarchy? What does monarchy represent? Privilege. Privilege is immoral. We see privilege in all walks of life. Privilege is wrong but is perpetuated by the neoliberal society we now live in and have for the last 39 years. If monarchies are to go then so must neoliberalism. Both walk hand in hand with each other.

The mainstream press floods their readership with propaganda, a propaganda that not only supports the monarchy but also spreads insidious myths about 'the other.' The immigrant and the poor. It also maintains having a 'work ethic' as though working for the privileged few is a moral imperative when in fact, when logic and only logic is applied, it is nothing short of the acceptance of the many to a form of slavery.

Many Americans would have us believe that their nation has no working class as all Americans are equal. They most certainly do have a working class and even those they call middle class are nothing more than working class with money. There is no equality in the USA.

Throughout history, capitalism has failed. It failed in 1929 when the Great Depression arrived. The Great Depression was fueled by neoliberalism, by allowing capitalism a free reign. The rich got obscenely rich on the backs of the poor who metaphorically and factually ate shit. When F.D.R, a 'New Dealer,' instigated a controlled capitalism to not so much replace the old method but to rein in the madness of having the machine control the people who manufactured the machine in the first place. This 'New Deal' meant having instead the people control the machine.

The New Deal came on the back of seeing an American society witness the unheard rise of its workers turning Socialist. Unions were formed by the sons of men who would have baulked at the very thought of collectivism. This was because the workers were sick and tired of seeing all their hard work turned into cash that bankrolled their bosses. They collectively rose up and said with one voice - 'No More.' F.D.R had little, in fact no, choice but to create something better. Bingo! The Golden Age of capitalism was born. From 1947 until 1979 productivity increased, businesses made big bucks, the rich got richer but so did the poor. Social needs were met, a fairer society grew out of the past mistakes. In my view this was no where near good enough but it most certainly was better than what we have now.

This wave of State Capitalism, tender at first in its application, made its way to Europe, to Britain where the likes of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan tempered a nation brainwashed by right-wing ideology into a nation where fairness seemed possible. The NHS and the Welfare State were born.

Stateside, the capitalist propaganda machine went into overdrive. Macarthy pointed the finger of the righteous right who promoted individuality over collectively accusing anyone mildly of the left, be they, Socialist or left-of-centre Democrat, as being Communist. This hogwash saw the likes of John Wayne ride his noble stead over the heads, backs and dreams of caring liberals as the right deliberately defamed and shamed anyone with even a modicum of fairness in their bodies as being less than patriotic. Nationalism's flag was flown high. Patriotism of the nation-state was the epitome, the ideal that cemented the American dream, that made the so-called land of the free available to buckle down to work again for the money-man. The land of the free was free to be fucked up the ass as Hayek's vision was gradually reinstated.

Thatcher then Reagan rode roughshod over principles, over the likes of the Golden Rule as they posited the principle of Avarice over shared wealth. It was a return to the free for all malady that had caused so much hurt, so much pain, not to mention the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Second World War, all over again.

Now we have the marriage of Prince Harry to Megham Markle. Good luck to them I say. To hate anyone, even someone so rich as the Windsors, so privileged as their family is, is wrong. I do not like the institution but cannot find it within me to hate them. The fact they, or the government, or of anyone who works for one or the other, had the homeless brushed off the streets in case the media, the world who were looking on, observe the poor behaving the only way they can when deprived the basic need of having somewhere to live, is obscene. Such an act is disgusting and rightly must be condemned.

But who to blame?

What I do dislike is the way in which the common man doesn't think for him or herself. How they, and they only, are the cause of all this utter nonsense. The common person does not understand the basic principles of democracy. They vote time and again with fear as their motive, a fear created and maintained by the media, by those whose best interests are served best by stirring enough falsehoods into their papers as to fog the minds of the many who purchase their dire diatribes.

We do not need leaders. We do not need authority. We do not need cabinets. What we need is a democracy and to have that the common man needs to understand what is required of them. For if they really want to be free, not the illusion of freedom, that they need to demand a better education, a better knowledge of politics, to drop their opinions and pick up the facts. They are slaves to the wage, slaves to someone else's desires and whilst they remain as such the elite will forever brush aside the likes of riff-raff like us.

I have nothing against there being people richer than me. Wealth is an illusion of happiness. I have nothing against Prince Harry marrying whomever he wants. I have everything against there being the many divisions in society, divisions that are immoral.  But don't go blaming just the monarchy. Blame yourselves.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

At The Movies - Me and Squid - "Jumanji" - "A Wrinkle in Time" - "Finding Your Feet" "Deadpool 2 (next)

Of all the films as written of here, all were seen some months ago. Quite why I didn't write this post at the time I can only guess at. Laziness perhaps? Anyway, whatever the reason I am writing mine and Squid's response to those films and how we felt about them now. The first we saw was "Finding Your Feet."

"Finding Your Feet" is a film that is defined by its audience as much as by the story it tells. Like "Hampstead" of the "Marigold" films or "Somethings Gotta Give" it is about people of a certain age, people of my generation or simply people growing old having loved and lost perhaps or never having found that certain someone finds them in their matures years. Maybe not defined as such as many of those that paid to see the film along with Squid and me (and Squid is after all only 26)  were far younger than any of the characters in the film. However, many were not. 

What I liked about the story is that it offers hope to the likes of me. It offers hope to all those whose first love failed for whatever reason but, as the saying goes,  find that 'love springs eternal.' What I liked about the two central characters, as acted by Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall, is their ordinariness. Without any deprecating comments about appearance or judgemental statements of either the Mister or the Ms' (hate that nonsensical title) lack of Hollywoodesque good looks, both she and he are exactly the sort of people I see each and every day and very much like myself - average. Average in the roles they play but the performance they give is of the highest standard. Funny at times with echoes that surely resonate with many who have watched the film. Tender, sharp, yet filled with an honest portrayal of the ageing process. Scenes where those who now find themselves a little out-of-step with contemporary fashions and fads seek other sources of staying alive, of having fun.

Sandra Abbott is married to a once high ranking police officer, now retired, who has made it into the House of Lords. Being Lord Abbott means effectively making Sandra Lady Abbott. Coming from a very run-of-the-mill family, her sister lives in a council flat,  this societal elevation means a great deal to Sandra. It is a fact she imparts to anyone who wants to know but also those that don't. She catches her husband kissing her best friend and is horrified to learn the two have been having an affair for years. Leaving husband to wed his paramour, Sandra takes refuge in her sister Bif's flat. This comes as something of a shock as Bif is the mirror opposite of Sandra. Bif is bohemian, unconventional, free-spirited and very outspoken. She serial dates men just for the sheer enjoyment of having sex. No strings attached. 

Then there is Charlie as played by Timothy Spall. Charlie is one of those rare breeds nowadays, one of the fast vanishing Chirpy Cockneys. Spall plays this to perfection. He executes his acerbic one-liners with dry aplomb. Charlie has a wife who is drifting in the uncertain seas of dementia. She seldom recognises her husband and at one point reacts badly to his presence. She is dying but Charlie stays loyal.  The problem begins when Sandra meets Charlie. At first, Sandra is so far up her own self that Charlie is put-off by her pretentious manner but slowly but surely he comes round to her ways as her ways gradually fade from her looking down her nose at the hoi polloi as she recalls she is of the hoi polloi.

Good film. Filled with some very funny moments but also some rather moving ones.

Squid gives it four stars.

A "Wrinkle in Time" had me holding my breath in eager anticipation of seeing it. Sadly, and I seldom write about books, music or films I don't like, but this was a grave disappointment for me. 

Nothing wrong with the cast nor their performances. I found there was far too much CGI. So much so that the effects castrated the script. Originally this story was written with a Christian bias. That was jettisoned in favour of what some call rather strangely in my view -New Age mysticism. There really is very little that is new about the philosophy espoused her as it merges Pantheism with Zen with Tao and a sprinkling of Eckhart Tolle. All of which I approve wholeheartedly of. Somewhere along the line, this wonderful idea folds in on itself as philosophy enters the bottom of a fantasy based sci-fi flick.

Sorry to sound so rude but no matter how good the concept was the delivery failed to meet expectations - my expectations.

Squid gives it three stars. I give it two.

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" Hah. How do you follow Robin Williams film? It was filled with action, adventure, fear, tension and a whole barrel of fun. Well, what you do is do much of the same but this time with a bag full of laughs. Not better laughs but good ones all the same. Oh, yes, before I proceed. This film was released late 2017 but we didn't get to see it until much later.

I laughed. I laughed a lot especially at Jet Black's performance which, seeing as he is an avatar a girl enters to play the querulous role of a female lost without her mobile phone, the ability to send text's but a female rather taken with finding a penis where no penis used to be, well, who wouldn't laugh. When he/she has to take a leak against a rock, turning round to gaze at another male doing same, I found hilarious. All that male etiquette about not looking at another chaps willy when all he/she wants to do is stare long and longingly at said males member.

This film could so easily have flopped into a vaudeville following where Robin Williams film led but it doesn't. It is very funny and yet manages to maintain enough tension to capture the audience's attention throughout.

Four college students, each punished with detention for committing various wrongs find themselves having to de-staple a ton of books ready to go into the recycling bin. The four students are Spencer Gilpin, Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, Bethany Walker and Martha Kaply. As the four set about their onerous task Anthony discovers a long disused video game system. Spencer helps Anthony set up the game. On screen, there are four names to chose from before playing the game. The four students all select one.  Anthony selects Franklin " Mouse" Finbar, a short zoologist, Spencer the tough guy of the troop, the muscular Smolder Bravestone whilst Bethany chooses "Shelly" Oberon thinking Shelly is a girls name when in fact it is a foreshortened variant of Sheldon, a fat, bearded male cartographer. Martha selects the beautiful, martial experts and commando Ruby Roundhouse. Each of the four is then 'sucked' into the game where they find themselves a part of a parallel world filled with life-threatening dangers. 

Okay, not much of a plot you might say but allowing for that it still makes for some great entertainment. All four actors put in some fine playing, notably Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson (who really takes a lot of mickey out of himself,) but also Karen Gillan who remains one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who's companions and who's recent well-chosen parts has seen her taking parts in some major Hollywood films. As Ruby Roundhouse she displays her character as dangerous to mess with but hopeless at playing an alluring female intent of captivating male guards.

We bear witness to a host of animals, from panthers to rhinos, from elephants to hippos, from monkeys to crocodiles as the run over, maul, attack and intimidate the four luckless heroes as they set about winning the game.

Yes, we enjoyed this film. Not sure it is better than the original even if it may have made a bigger hit at the box office but enjoyed we did.

Squid gives it four stars. squid knows best.

And Next...DEADPOOL.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog