Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Saint Anthony's Tears

Well here come the comets of August, and if the cloud lifts, at about 10pm we'll all look North-East and go awwwwwwwww!! ooooooooooooohh!! and suchlike.. over the next 2 nights, there will be several comets a minute. Make a wish on each one, why not, and see how quickly your desires dissipate. Still, it's cheaper than fireworks. They are called St Anthony's Tears because he used to stash his Swan Vestas in his ducts. Apparently.

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Anxiety and Depression F.C. v Wisdom Athletic

I went to see my therapist after a break of one month. I said, I am just as anxious and insecure as I used to be. He said, no you're not. Now you have new insecurities ! He was right of course. I have a whole football team of them, jostling in the tunnel, fit and ready for the new season.

Footballers tart themselves up all the time. They often do not accept the ugly truth of their short-lived careers, bad hair, and appalling fashion blunders. In fact, the dressing room is a cosmetic temple. One purpose of therapy is to learn to accept the basic facts of your makeup. Lipstick, eyeliner, blusher. I was carrying injuries from my childhood which made some aspects of my adult behaviour self-defeating and caused me to become regularly depressed. I went back four times before I summoned up the courage (became desperate enough) to start to deal with these fears and blocks. It was tough and I don't recommend it. Do it only if you can handle the major and minor revolutions in your human interactions, sudden losses and irreversable changes in social relationships, the heady battles for promotion and glory, the pursuit of silverware, unusual bruising, press exposure, scandal, and the inexorable slide into relegation.

Some cliches need a good airing to defust them. Over the moon. Sick as a parrot. The Serenity Prayer being another.

"God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed;
Give me courage to change things which must be changed;
And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other."

Serenity. Acceptance. Courage. Wisdom. Discrimination. A superb midfield lineup.

Of all of these, acceptance came last for me. I had plenty of courage from early on, bearing in mind the fact that my parents drugged me on the advice of the family doctor. I can identify with Lou Reed whose loving parents were similarly misguided.. so I learned early not trust received wisdom and to lie to adults about who I was and what I was doing. Ref - I didn't dive.

Wisdom, now that's wonderful system, much loved by the fans, which I advise you forget all about.

TS (Thomas Stearns to his chums) Eliot said,

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is
the knowledge we have lost in information?"

From "The Rock". In defense, Thomas Stearns was indeed such a rock.

About Wisdom Athletic. Great team, should do very well this season after a disappointing aeon.

I read the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, and the I Ching, both excellent books, the second containing it is said commentaries by Confucius, a great attacking winger with a superb turn of speed and devastating accuracy. Something about ancient Chinese morality and their timeless grasp of the essence of being always appeals. Mao with his offside tinkering attempted to wipe it out, but it persists to this day, in it's modern form, as Falun Gong, supporters of which the contemporary Chinese authorities continue to persecute (along with Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and many other non-league religions).

I like the Tao Te Ching a lot. It can soak up pressure deep in it's own half, but it hits you every time on the break. It's also shorter than the Bible or the Koran. My favourite translation of the Tao Te Ching is by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.

In this work of 81 stanzas, ideas about piety, loyalty, and the value of knowledge and wisdom, are often seemingly stood on their heads. Number 19 says

"When cunning and profit are renounced,
stealing and fraud will disappear.
But ethics and kindness, and even wisdom,
are insufficient in themselves"

and Number 20

"He who seeks wisdom is well advised
to give up academic ways"

Alan Hansen said,

"He who spends too long with the ball
Will be caught in possession"

To which I would add, he who seeks wisdom should look no further than the Isle of Man

- a fantastic centre forward - never stopped running - and a model passport photograph.

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Grin and Bear It !! Germans Uphold Right to Smile in Stereotype Defiance Shock !

Here is the proof that Germans really can and do uphold the individual's right to self-determination and personal expression, even as the British fall into the paranoid American trap of rights restriction (all in the name of the sacred War on Terror)...

Which neatly scotches another stereotype. Go Germans !! Smile and be scanned !!

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Doctors, Postmen and the War on Faria

There is a particularly British obsession with sex which permeates and characterises our culture - currently being played out in the Football Association nonsense about the secretary that Sven fucked. Who gives a fuck ? And, what about this woman's rights to privacy in the matter of her sex life ? Completely overlooked in the boys' own media madness which the tabloids and the TV fuel. It's disgusting.

Meanwhile, the Post Office is offering cars and holidays for people who don't take days off sick, and GPs are being allowed to opt out of working evenings and weekends, which means home attendances. Hang on - why don't we offer Doctors cars and holidays for attending poor unfortunate patients who fall sick on Friday nights or Sunday mornings ? It's disgusting.

Pah and Bah.

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Sunday, August 01, 2004


Went to watch an outdoors version of Romeo and Juliet last night at the Priory, which for people who are not buried in English tabloid news, is an addiction recovery centre, which happens to be set in parkland in a mansion designed by Nash.

The ensemble was skillful and enthusiastic, Will's text well interpreted and confidently espoused, although the well-known plot was occasionally raced through and I felt the cast were either too concerned that the audience would become impatient with the 16th century, or else they were all gagging for a drink at the rugby club - to which the audience were cordially invited after the show.

My dislike for the Romeo was based purely on his looks - passing boring I felt - but he grew on me and his cry of anguish of learning of Juliet's death provided the most memorable and marvellous moment as it echoed across the park and carried to the distant lake, alarming a bird settling down for it's evening roost. His performance was in the end well-judged and believable.

Juliet played the almost-14 year old fairly well but was guilty of gabbling her lines and I felt she sacrificed tenderness for hysteria too early on. All the comic passages and fights were well-staged and energetic - better than the National Theatre said Jo's boyfriend Dan - and the overall movement excellent. Even a wooden and stolid Paris couldn't ruin the play. My favourite character part the Priest was finely played with great detail, arch asides making excellent sense, and some real pathos, with the Nurse coming a close second, played in a broad Welsh accent with great humour. I sat next to Alex who muttered about the age of the Juliet. It seemed to really bother him that she was 13, even though he phrased it with humour.

In fact the age of consent was I believe raised in this country from 12 to 16 in late Victorian times because of the high level of child prostitution, a fact I like to remind people of when they talk of a return to Victorian values. As for sex at the age of 13 or 14 - I can remember it distinctly, fumbling nervously in Spa woods with my first breast, wondering whether I could get into the knickers and if so would it be biting off something (figuratively) more than I could (metaphorically) chew. I felt excited confused and guilty all at once. I wish I had been allowed to explore in safety and freedom. I don't know whether I would have killed myself if forced into sexual liason and marriage... I guess just about everything is overwhelming at that age. I think I would have accepted the banishment and enjoyed Mantua.

On the way home there were some delays and I got stalked at Southgate by a young rather deranged-looking east european woman. She got on the same carriage as me - I got off at the next stop. She was definitely confounded ! Ay ay ay. The perils of benefactors, the blessings of parasites.

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