Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Angst… ou Ennui?

Keith G Bowden
or The Paris Texas Hilton Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
Why does everybody get to mess around with the fabric of reality except me?” Lisa Simpson
It was raining. The party was over and there was little to do other than clear up the mess. Jerry Cornelius lay on the sofa, one hand on his needle gun and the other on Mitzi Beesley.
There is no deep underlying physical reality. There are only macroscopic quantum phenomena. The rest is metaphysical baggage.” Jerry Cornelius was in his element, bringing quotes out of a hat, albeit not always accurately. “Quantum physics teaches us to abandon the distinction between information and reality. If reality exists and if we will never be able to make an operational distinction between reality and information, the hypothesis suggests itself that reality and information are the same. We need a new concept which encompasses both.”
As is well known”, said Jerry, carelessly waving the needle gun in the direction of Alphonsus Pi, “during euphoric experiences such as orgasm, the exercise zone and so on, the bloodstream contains analogs of chemicals such as opiates. In a similar way during religious, meditative and other spiritual experiences the bloodstream has been found to contain analogs of (so called) hallucinogens such as mescaline, psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide. Hence I do not distinguish between these experiences. (Others do.) To me they are all examples of ‘direct contact with the void’”.
Since the void does not exist”, responded Professor Pi, “one could not possibly have any contact with it. I suspect that drugs foster illusions. Of course the void itself (ahem) is an illusion. And existence is also an illusion.” Jerry ignored him and continued, “I have speculated why a chemical structure such as lysergic acid should give one ‘direct experience’ of the void. My hypothesis (such as it is) is that such chemicals may have a molecular structure that, from an Everett point of view, gives direct quantum contact between the Many Worlds.”
I thought like this for a long time,” said Pi, “but no longer. I believe that the essence of the matter is the state of relaxation ... everyday ego-mind being a high (mental) arousal state anticipative of causal action to be taken; contemplative mind being a medium-to- low arousal state that performs (I believe) quantum computation on perceptions of its surround; and perception of the Void an even lower state, and sans any content - just pure awareness in a state of profound relaxation. So in this view, the presence or absence of any particular molecule is, at bottom, incidental.” Miss Brunner, who also appeared to be somewhere on the settee, groaned.
I agree, but it’s a matter of causality. The molecules get you there”, replied Jerry irritably. “I do find it a little strange however when people describe such meditative states as "states of relaxation". It is true that, in a sense, one may be able to achieve them by relaxation, or that one is relaxed when one is in such a state, but to refer to them as states of relaxation always seems to me to be missing the point. Well, the main thing is to know where you are going - regardless of how you get there – and to know what to do when you get there.”
The washing machine repair man, who was now well into his new career, chipped in, “I (at least) feel no need to subscribe to the Many Worlds thing for Quantum Mechanics (or meditative experience) to make sense - I think it's a cop-out.” Jerry’s mind was wondering. For some reason he was picturing the day he took his mother to Southend-on- Sea. Mrs. Cornelius started the day by drinking twelve pints of lager. She then became hungry and followed this up with two large portions of fish and chips and an eel pie. Jerry had a vivid image of his mother vomiting noisily over the side of the pier. It was probably the eel pie that did it, thought Jerry.
Jerry recovered his composure. “The Multiverse is not a "copout", it is simply one of a variety of ways of looking at quantum phenomena - or at least this is the general view amongst Theoretical Physicists today - and it was the viewpoint from which I was talking.” Mrs. Cornelius was very resilient. She had picked herself up, drunk some more beer, and proceeded to try every ride in the Coney Island style fun fair that took up most of the seafront at Southend. Her capacity for abusing herself seemed insatiable, thought Jerry, completely forgetting his English. What an upbringing! He wondered to what extent it had influenced his career choices.
There are however some famous people,” continued Jerry, “including Quantum Computer Scientists - David Deutsch in particular - and - strangely - Cosmologists, who believe (exclusively) in Many Worlds. (There are others who believe in the Quantum Potential in the same way.) I think that this was the point of view from which you were responding. In this case I agree with you - it is a copout (or, at least, a religion).” Jerry suspected that his telephone was being tapped again. Whenever he spoke like this on the phone the telltale clicks and buzzes of interceptor equipment were apparent. When he reverted to more innocuous subjects they disappeared again.
But do not underestimate the usefulness of Many Worlds for understanding and learning new ideas. The way in which I was using it is, I believe, appropriate. At other times I will switch to the Bohm interpretation, at others Copenhagen, etc. These interpretations are all mathematically equivalent. It does not matter which one you use to calculate, you will always get the same answers. But it does matter which one you use to model. Each will lead to different thinking about the same situation. Some will lead to new insights in one particular situation. Others will lead to different insights in different situations. That is the situation in Physics today, and I find it most satisfactory.”
Think about the LSD25 molecule from the Many Worlds point of view. If it is shown to have an exceptionally large degree of quantum coherence for its size – and if this turns out to be true of other similar chemicals – it cannot be denied that we should start to think more carefully about the nature of psychedelic experience.” The sights and sounds of both Southend and of Mrs. Cornelius continued to drift unbidden through Jerry’s consciousness.
However... this is a hypothesis that remains to be tested. One plan is to persuade Anton Zeilinger”, Jerry eyed the needle gun, “to repeat his two slit experiment with the LSD25 molecule. If my hypothesis is right it should show a considerably higher degree of coherence than anything that has been tried before.” Sarah Bellectomice’s lurchers were licking something, which once may have been edible, out of a cardboard carton on the floor. The Archbishop’s daughter rose unsteadily from Jerry’s clutch on the settee and staggered towards the door, kicking the dogs on the way past. The sound of an old Pink Floyd record drifted in through the door. It was “Animals”. Jerry smiled. He never could play the rhythm to “Dogs”.
Unfortunately” Jerry continued, “lysergic acid diethylamide is not stable enough for Zeilinger’s current approach and the only solution is to simulate the entire experiment.” Nobody seemed to be listening to him. Jerry wondered if they had any idea of the consequences of his proposal. He had access to the most powerful computer in the University, and he had been racking his brains to find a use for it for some time. Jerry looked at his watch. The Multiverse was becoming very unstable. Jherek was up to his old tricks. Jerry sighed. It was time to adjust the chronoflow again.
This story was originally published in a small private circulation physics journal under the pseudonym of Jim Colvin in 2007. It was however generally understood that it was written by Keith Bowden with a little help from his friend Louis H Kauffman who invented the character of Alphonsus Pi and supplied Prof Pi’s dialog, which originated from an email exchange between the two of them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rawlinson End
By Vivian Stanshall

A tale of everyday country folk from the extraordinary mind of Vivian Stanshall.
An episodic radio serial that spawned CD's, a film and a book

The story so far.
Towered and turreted, feudal and reactionary, the great house of Rawlinson End endures, as does its master Sir Henry Rawlinson. Its chambers and dusty corridors hung with portraits of Rawlinsons and Maynards past now gaze down on many grotesque inhabitants.
The grounds, laid with its womanly lawns, contain a lake and a Great Maze or Pickle designed by Incapability Brown, which has long since overgrown and collapsed upon itself. Those who now enter are never seen again, this included a local vicar brought over to consecrate it. It is now the domain of the last living dinosaur, a diplodocus Sir Henry has named Plunch. There is a family cemetery, the Victory Garden, where Rawlinsons and favoured servants are buried upright to save space and better fertilise the vegetables.
Less than a mile North from the house as the crow flies, longer by road along Gibbet Fork and up the Oxbrake Road, is the village with a newsagents, grocers, and the local hostelry, the Fool and Bladder. The pub stands on the banks of the River Riddle (therefore called the 'Jimmy') , there the locals can enjoy a pint a scrumpy or three. The public house faces Sensible Green, a molehill blighted cricket pitch. Other nearby places includes the hamlet Wankers Grunge, the town of Idlewater, and the dreadful encroaching Concreton.
Just beyond Rawlinson End, on the arterial road to Concreton, is the municipal sewerage works. Sir Henry makes clandestine visits here, finding relief from his chronic lumbago by bathing in its mud pools.
Concreton with its tower blocks and winking lights can be seen in the distance.
Sir Henry says it is the future and it hates us. It seems to get nearer all the time.
Regardless, the launderette has its uses, so does the local tattooist.

Cast of Characters

Sir Henry RawlinsonMaster of the Great House at Rawlinson End, aged, blustering and suffering from chronic lumbago.From his reminiscences we know of his colonial service in Africa in the thirties, India, Burma, and Indonesia. Burma gave him a taste for curry, and Indonesia some hardwood teeth. Then there was the campaign against Rommel in the Kalahari
In idle moments, gazing into the fire, he likes to relive the bombing of Dresden (February 1945).
Passes his time drinking, shooting, thwarting escapees from his private POW camp, and being important.
Great Aunt FlorrieHenry's wife, Lord Portly's sister. Aged but still beautiful. Spends her days sipping tea and knitting an interminable beige thing.
Hubert RawlinsonHenry's brother, in his mid forties and still strange. As a character he started as Hubert Maynard, variously described as Ralphs brother-in-law and uncle.He dreams his days away, entertains dinner guests with bird impressions and plays a ukelele. Has a game leg he can unscrew.His bedroom contains a collection of rotting fruit which leeches into the dining hall below, this leads Henry to wear a souwester indoors.
Humbert Rawlinson
Henry's dead brother. A big man, a ladies man, Henry describes him as a satyr. Florries real love.He was accidentaly killed by Henry in a drunken duck shooting incident. He was making an escape, trouserless, from Seth Onetooth in a boat after a bankside tryst with Rosie Onetooth.His moleskin trousers now hang like a hunting trophy over tha bar of the Fool and Bladder, while he haunts the Great House because a son of Rawlin cannot be seen dead without trousers.
Henry's motherA woman Sir Henry thinks a lot of, and wishes he didn't. She sported a large moustache which made the goodnight kiss of childhood a nightmare experience.She attended Humberts funeral, now, unknown to Florrie, living in a distant chamber at Rawlinson End and hasn't eaten any of the food for years.
Sir Hillary RawlinsonThe cheerful old master of the house. Father of Humbert, Henry, and Hubert in that order. He returned from Cairo in 1888.
Ralph RawlinsonDashing young Ralph, pronounced Raif. Sporting, known to play horseback snooker and cricket.
Gerald RawlinsonA loathesome teenager with a squint and acne. He hates everybody. He likes to deface gnomes.
Candice RawlinsonObserves the goings on in the house from her hideaway in the Round Room.
Peregin StJohn Ponsonby RawlinsonHis time is mainly spent at the gentlemans London club, the Dorian Gray. He still hasn't done it, but he's been close.
Timothy and Laticia MaynardA couple of near children with a prurient interest in vivisection. At that difficult age (wanking).
Lord Tarquin Portly of Staines and Lady Philippa Portly of StainesFamily attenders at Rawlinson End Eatings. He a lisping chinless wonder, she a wattle necked, turkey legged soak. His money keeps the estate going.
Doris and Boris HazardCard playing partners who lubricate themselves in Rawlinson company. Boris is sometimes referred to as Harold.
Mrs RadcliffeA dreadful American woman with gorgonzola legs. Sexually liberated.
Old ScrotumThe crack throated wrinkled old retainer. Has cared for Henry since he was a child.
Mrs EThe housekeeper of the great house. A martyr to her aches and pains.
Seth and Rosie OnetoothLandlords at the Fool and Bladder. Seth was once the face jumping champion of the village. They also run a business as poultry suppliers using the motto ' Turkey to the Gentry, Poultry to the Lowly'..
Reg SmeetonLocal newsagent and human encyclopedia.
William 'Buller' BulletheadLocal spiv
Dick GrufflyA local ruffian and cause of the glove tax.
Three Waistcoats LeFevreFool and Bladder drinker.
Rodney BladderknotFool and Bladder drinker.
Doctor HatringerFool and Bladder drinker.
Nipper TewkesCan be found bashing the joanna in the Fool. Lost most of his fingers rescuing the horses from a fire in the stables. After physiotherapy his 'nippers' became so strong it was not a good idea to shake his hand.
Mr. StumpyLoosening up after seven pints will play the arrers over his shoulder.
Grampus KippleLocal, troubled with flatulence.
Ben QuakebuttockThe blind old poacher.
Teddy Tidy and Nigel NiceA couple of resting theatrical artistes who lodge at the Fool and Bladder and run a mobile house cleaning business called 'Nice and Tidy'. A right couple of pairs.
Doctor and Dulcie HeadstuffingThe doctor reluctantly mans the stomach pump at the festive Eatings at the house and treats the blistered for Sir Henry's Blemish. .
Reverend SloddenClergyman defrocked, ex Broadmoor, excorcist. Has a wooden leg and is thinking of becoming a vegetarian.
PC GibbonThe local bobby of West Indian origin.
Cumberpatch SnrThe old groundsman now buried upright in Victory Garden. Hated wasps, always wore bicycle clips when mowing the lawn.
Repentance PimpleAlso buried in Victory Garden due to his unusal ability to tup sheep using his remaining three front teeth.
Mrs BladderknotLives in Wakers Grunge. A cat lover.
Mrs StretchLives in Wankers Grunge, earned Mrs E's eternal loathing for marrying the late Jack.
Mrs GiraffeA male(?) plumber,maintainer of the pipes at Rawlinson End and palaeontologist.
BonzoA Whelkhound who can usually find the lady
PlunchA diplodocus with two brains and a squeaky voice
GumsThe bulldog,now stuffed and mounted on a trolley. He has three pedals to operate his jaws, wag his tail, and cock his leg which empties the bladder. Humbert takes him walkies.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Wednesday, December 9, 2015


    Viv Stanshall died in 1995 in a fire at his flat .A great loss for those of us who loved his offbeat, loony, clever humour and time warped music. Apart from his stint as front man of the Bonzo Dog - Doo Dah Band, Viv was none other than the creator of the infamous evil old blimp himself -Sir Henry Rawlinson , of Rawlinson End - the eccentric adventures of whom were frequently featured in a series of inestimably strange episodes on the John Peel show in the 1980s. 
    Viv left us far too early, but this transcript from a TV show of the 90s may give you an insight into some reasons as to why he was such a troubled and cantankerous old boot -Viv had heavy drinking  troubles that had persisted for years and which no doubt prevented him from ever becoming more widely known- although I doubt if his strange eccentric persona would have ever appealed to Mr. and Mrs Average- whoever they are. 

The Viv Transcript. 
The show consists of a potted autobiography of our hero- narrated by his good self - which is interspersed by songs related to the difficulties Viv had with his parents - and most particularly his father - who had major problems coming to terms with Viv's artistic nature. It certainly sounds like this in turn had a major  affect on Viv and possibly led to his insecurity and problems with Mr Booze . 

Song the first.
Madness, you'll soon grow out of it , my momma told me ,
you'll soon grow up darling and you'll be normal, 
all this violence is just hormonal,
those marks on your arm are only scratches,
why must you make yourself so unattractive,
look at you wasting  away. 
Music, What's that bloody row , you call it music .
Momma its my song and I might lose it- 
only ugly noise is what I call it , to me its everything I ever dreamed of , 
I wont turn it down and be a good boy -wont you look at me wasting away.
Wasting , say I'm wasting, I'm facing an art of my own when will it end . 
when will you wake up and understand that I'm a good boy now, look at me . look at you. 

    Why me,  why won't it stop ?  I don't know . Are there any clues. ?  
Clues ? . A few years ago a woman  from the Daily mail phoned to inform me that they were doing a piece on Sir John Betjamin and they would like me to companion him in the article, I being representative of a younger English eccentric. She wanted to know  if I was still doing it ? 
Well, damn it , I don't DO it, I'm merely myself as a near as damn it without frightening the housing estates and her question was absurd rather than fatuous as it suggests deliberation - rather as though you woke up and decided- I'm going to be a Ghanaian today- or I'm going to be a giant squid for the weekend -or - I think I'll be a wardrobe for the rest of my well , err my - My word !( Sir Henry voice) "Well , strap me to a tree and call me Brenda ".
I'm what you like but don't expect me to join in, although I do like games though . You see I'm not different for the sake of being different only for the desperate sake of being myself. I can't join your gang as you'd think I was a phony and I'd know it . So , but father would rather.........
I'm right on the edge now , bursting my banks, hard enough, at the end of my tether, if I've heard it once , slipping my moorings, I'm a reasonable man , don't answer back when I ,I've asked you something, you're really pushing it aren't you, don't think you're too big , wipe that grin off your face, who do you think you are , the big I am, I wash my hands of you, I'm telling you this for your own good.
the answer is no, no , no.
 I thought my name was no , the man with no name , normal people are called shut up as I'm sure you know.

If you had the wit to realize, what you could do with your potential, 
if you had the wit to realize that you could be like me ,
you could be a barrister, a surgeon, a pontiff or a politician. 
Yet you chose to be a a parasite and an embarrassment to me .
You horrid little shit, I gave you life and this is the way that you repaid me , oh yes indeed you'll rue the day don't say I didn't tell you so. 
If only you would try , I'd swell with pride.... 
If only you would be like me!

The first two years of my childhood were wonderful. just mum and me and me and my voices, evacuated from the east end to Shillingford Oxford. Idyllic !. I remember everything, bombs whumping and deranged cows budging into the kitchen and mum shooshing them out with a broom.
I was freakishly precocious-first words at four months and I could have a conversation with you at 10 months and that's pretty scary and I was running, running , running .I had to be strapped into my pram and I can still smell that pram and feel the sticky blue leatherette of it. I hated it and the tugging. The Thames at the bottom of the long garden with paddle boats ,sardined they were with dancing battle happy on leave soldiers and their girl friends dancing and shouting back to me and the music was this sort of stuff. 
Let a great big grin be your insurance, take out the tee-hee policy today ,
just grin, grin, grin, misfortune flies away , Mr Opportunity takes off his hat and says.
Keep on smiling, the paths are paved with gold , your father grinned on the dotted line and out the barrels rolled,
Let a great big grin be your insurance, take out the tee-hee policy today
Now Mrs Grim lives down our street and a grin would crack her face , she never has a spot of fun , she disapproves about everything about the human race, she wears her hair in a hot cross bun, I wish they'd drop her on the Hun ,so the boys can all come home .......”
Thanks to Count Kryzal for the corrections and a big two fingered saltue to the bastard who called me a cloth eared motherfucker for getting it wrong ( Archive ed )
Sadly for me when the boys did come home they included my demobbed father who now got it into his noddle that he was Officer Class and by the time we moved back to Walthamstow in E17 he spoke like this ( plummy upper class voice  ) Hello, - ( Viv puts on gruff East End voice) -So orn the streets I was speakin like this or I'd get me ead kicked in and at ome it wos ....
Hello papa, shall there be buns for tea ? 
Officer Class he determined to be a chartered accountant and to this end he polished his shoes so shiny that when you looked down you could see all the way up to his suspenders - or up skirts if if you fancied it. Then he covered his shoes in rubber galoshes and with bowler hat rammed on tight and brolly grasped he would every morning roller skate from Walthamstow to the city. It was thus explained to me and with the utmost solemnity that ,common as I was , with polished boots and  effort it was possible to roller skate right to the top of -and out of - your tree. 
The self made man formula manifest my father was quite normal. I quickly learned to roller skate and to go bald. I was downright terrified of him and still am and he's been dead for more than a year . Everything I did was a disappointment and everything I didn't  - sport , maths -was a disappointment because he could do it and when it became clear to him that I was incorrigibly to become one of them - that is to say, an artist- he disowned me - when he refused to hold my hand after the age of five it was the beginning of the beginning - not surprisingly I became a - Geezer.

Geezer, wot a ginger geezer
I nearly ‘ad a seizure
When I clocked ‘im in the frog 
Spruced up in me piccolo 
Me titfer an’ me daisies 
Bowling down the rubba with me cherry china Fido. 
Rolled an oily rag 
Me cherry bread and cheesed 
You won’t Adam wot I sees
Some geezer, an ooly ginger geezer
A geezer with a hooter I suppose
I really had to rabbit and pork
To this geezer
Itie ice cream freezer 
              Ginger geezer sees y’ around
Back in the old days champagne ague hurdy gurdy, Mr Slater plays a solo on his bass saxophonio. ( many thanks to       for the cockney translation ) 

I do remember persuading my mother to persuade my father to allow me to have a duffle coat and on the first day of wearing it in the street a little boy crowed to his mother look at that man  and she replied don't look at him, he's a crank.
My fringe was licked and held down with a hair clip and I was wearing my school tie. My mother explained to me cranks , we don't know any of them and what's more they're common. I was 13. I then tried to be a Teddy Boy , hiding my drape jacket and drainpipes behind the coal bunker , but the posh accent that had been literally bashed into my head kept on leaking out so in that particular gang I was tolerated as an amusing mascot. My mum taught me to knit and crochet when I was tiny and Teddy Boys don't knit. 
Meanwhile my father spent the last 20 years of his life vigorously watching television.

Growing up to be like dad, death defying times ahead, telling new stories over days when dad was older than the . 
Now he sits and has ever comfort and sits with a washable cover , but it worries him that his life has gone by .
So he says to his son. I don't want to, I don't pay to, I've retired you see. But it worries me ,how can I convey to , you might turn out to be , possibly....an armchair like me. 
 But alternately.
( fast )
A fresh faced boy in navy blue, showered shaved and shiny shoes, new o level, five feet eight, the ideal young girl vitiate. 
OOOH , the morning round is lots of fun, especially if its raining , we look real sports in our knee length shorts, its all part of the training. There's badges, .... and lots of swanking 
and the bromide keeps you from thinking about anything at all....
I don't want to , I'm not paid to, I've retired you see, but it worries me that you might turn out to be , an armchair like me.
Possibly, an armchair like me.
About this time  I became disaffected with the Roman Church , it wasn't so much being slapped around the chops in communion  me 14 and naughty kneeling at the alter rail and Canon Bishop - a fierce Irishman and his head carved from  a beet root - bearing down dispensing the host catches me having a crafty butchers at the other communicants , eyes closed , tongues hanging out and I can't keep a straight face , so in the in  nomini patris I copped a spiritus sancti right round the noui and I go back to me pew and Me mum thinks good god he has the state of grace in him . It was the translating of the mass into English so you could understand it -I confessed to my mum that I now didn't understand it at all - without the hallucinatory mumbo jumbo it became for me at best vulgar and far too dull for my kidney. I like my steak heretic and bloody ... 


He's walking on the water spreading his light, spreading his light ,
He raises up a dead man and makes him feel all right, 
I can see him waiting , spreading his light all around.
When your ship is sinking he's the bung in your punt . 
If you cant find your keyhole , hooray for Holman Hunt
He even works on weekends , he is never out to lunch, spreading his light all around.
In the night he's made of poplin , spreading his light,
the shepherd plays Scott Joplin , spreading his light
Squeezing on his organ , spreading his light and clinging to the old rugged cross. 
Get that good mans hair cut,  spreading his light, for you can say he's there but for the grace of god go I .
I can see him waiting for you to say goodbye, spreading his light all around.
   From the squeezable age of three until I went to art school and sipped of the classless grape of meritocracy , even yobbos can sculpt- I can recall almost nothing - the most of it, the horror- has been blanked out, save that I was improper, unfit- unfit  - and a sissy - but rather curiously clever , so therefore I was doing it deliberately and was therefore - A SHOCKING WASTE. My biological childhood was not so much bad, as bewildering and I got through it not so much courageously but rather hopelessly , innocently burdened with the ineducable conviction that I was destined to be AN ARTIST and I really couldn't help that - shocking waste or not.  The trials and astonishments did provide the stuff from which I fashioned my work so the kiddish things I did then in secret I now do in public,

What the hell am I doing this for, 
What the hell am I doing this for
For I'd rather cut my hands than let a stranger play my lead guitar 
For I'd rather cut my hands than let a stranger play my  old piano
For I'd rather cut my hands than let a little stranger blow my saxophones
Sometimes I get so weak willed and crazy, frustrated and angry ,so wired up and weird and lonely ,
So lonely , so lonely , so lonely, so lonely , so lonely , so lonely , so lonely  , so lonely , so I let a complete stranger play around with me.
Why am I so choosy , who do I think I am, why am I so picky, when I know that a quickie ,will come to a sticky end .
Which just about says it all I think ,Viv was a troubled spirit. Whilst he was busy making us laugh, he himself was often deeply unhappy.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

back to front...enjoy _

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

joie de vivre

Monday, September 7, 2015


Monday, August 17, 2015


The Old Jewry—Early Settlements of Jews in London and Oxford—Bad Times for the Israelites—Jews Alms—A King in Debt—Rachel weepining for her Children—Jewish Converts—Wholesale Expulsion of the Chosen People from England—The Rich House of a Rich Citizen—The London Institution, formerly in the Old Jewry—Porsoniana—Nonconformists in the Old Jewry—Samuel Chandler, Richard Price, and James Foster—The Grocers' Gompany—Their Sufferings under the Commonwealth—Almost Bankrupt—Again they Flourish—The Grocers' Hall Garden—Fairfax and the Grocers—A Rich and Gencrous Grocer—A Warlike Grocer—Walbrook— Bucklersbury _ 

 Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: Ellery Queen’s Misadventures of SH

Misadventures_CoverYou’ve probably heard the name ‘Ellery Queen,’ but you may not know that it’s actually the name for joint efforts by cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee. They were important players in the mystery field for decades, with Dannay being a notable Sherlockian.
In 1943, Dannay planned The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, an anthology of parodies and pastiches. Unlike today, Holmes anthologies were unheard of back then. Due in large part, as we’ll see, to the management of the Doyle Estate by Sir Arthur Conan’s sons, Adrian and Dennis.
The book, by Ellery Queen, was unveiled at a Baker Street Irregulars gathering in 1944. I gave a taste what dealing with Doyle’s two sons could be like in my post on “The Man Who Was Wanted.” There’s more of the same in this tale.
Adrian heard about the collection and went off in his usual rage, telegramming his brother Denis (also a wastrel) in Spain. Denis cabled the Estate’s law firm and instructed them to demand that Queen and the publishers, Little, Brown and Company, stop publication and withdraw all copies. They were also to be sued for damages.
To quote Denis’s cable to the lawyers: “It is obviously a flagrant example of that very sort of piracy, striking at the very roots of the literary value of the property which my father left to his family, against which we have fought together in the past…books which will completely devaluate and ruin the whole value of the Holmes property, including films, radio and stage.”
There is more blathering by both brothers about the great damage and disgrace being heaped on their father’s legacy by this collection: “most reprehensible attempt at literary piracy,” “plagiarism,” “financial ruin of our valuable literary estate,” and royalties would flow into the pockets of “every plagiarist and literary trickster who cares to make full use of world famous characters created by my father…”
Apparently the legal feedback to the Doyle brothers was less than encouraging and they shifted their emphasis towards getting some kind of “token royalties.”
However, the Doyles lashed out (their typical response to everything) at The Baker Street Irregulars, telling them that there were to be no books or articles involving Holmes or Watson published without their express permission. Likewise, a threat of going to the Supreme Court was made to Little Brown and Company with the same admonition.
Queen had previously used a Holmes work without getting the proper permission from the Doyles and this weakened their standing on this issue. Queen agreed to a $500 payment to the Estate and an apology, which would settle all matters. Denis insisted no further editions of The Misadventures be published. However, Adrian vetoed the agreement because it would allow the current edition to continue being sold.
The Doyles were prepared to go to court: Little, Brown and Company however, was not. The publishers agreed to pay $1,000 and to stop publishing The Misadventures as well as the previous book with the copyright issue. They were allowed to sell the 388 copies still on hand, but the book could never be issued again. Nor has it been. The original print run of 13,564 seems to be final.
The Misadventures included “The Adventure of the Norcross Riddle,” by August Derleth. This was the first new Solar Pons story in over a decade and brought the Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street back to life. Or at least to Derleth’s pen. Pons is an Edwardian edition of the great detective and as true a successor as we’ll ever see.
Derleth would write over a dozen new Pons stories in the next two years and prepare a collection: In Re Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Solar Pons. However, despite enthusiastic support from folks like Dannay, Vincent Starrett, and Anthony Boucher, Derleth could not find a publisher. Though several were interested, they were not willing to battle the Doyle brothers after The Misadventures adventure.
Derleth already had his own publishing company, Arkham House. He added the Mycroft and Moran imprint and printed it himself. Now the Doyles would have to bully him. And August Derleth didn’t bully easily!
Misadventures_PonsThe collection was published in 1945 and the following year, the Estate’s lawyers sent Derleth a letter, demanding that he immediately drop the book, which they referred to as an unlawful and unauthorized use of the Holmes property.
Derleth was unfazed and ignored the threats. He corresponded with several notable Sherlockians and was confident of his standing. Of the Doyles he said, “…the dog in the manger attitude of the Doyles is disgusting; here we have a spectacle of a couple of lazy louts simply existing on their father’s work. Doyle himself was always very gracious…”
Derleth astutely noted that if the Doyles sued and lost, Holmes could be declared in the public domain and their gravy train would dry up. “The plain fact is that the Doyle sons are a pair of lazy bastards who have tried to eke out a complete living from the process of their father’s writings.” That sounds about right.
Derleth continued selling the books and would eventually publish over sixty Pons tales. While the Doyles had stopped The Misadventures, that collection had revived Solar Pons and they were unable to stop August Derleth.
Over fifteen years after The Misadventures, Adrian was still gloating: “The great majority of the stories contained therein were well calculated to damage the high standing of the Holmes stories which are acknowledged to be literary classics and are included in the Oxford ‘Classics of English Literature.’
I ran into my own experience regarding fear of the Doyle Estate in the 2000s. With John Gardner’s permission, I had written a pilot episode and pitched a British tv series based on his excellent Holmes pastiche, The Return of Moriarty. With a referral from an author on screenwriting in hand,  I talked to a well-established agent in England. A client of his had run afoul of the Estate on a Holmes project and he wanted no part of anything to do with the great detective.
It’s Elementary – This volume has nothing to do with a goofy 1991 collection by the same name. That one did have a Solar Pons story: a parody called “The Adventure of the Snitch in Time,” a time-travel parody written by August Derleth and Mack Reynolds.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Sunday, January 27, 2013

modern miracle ~

Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire on 18 May 1749, the son of the local vicar. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a local surgeon and then trained in London. In 1772, he returned to Berkeley and spent most the rest of his career as a doctor in his native town.
In 1796, he carried out his now famous experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps. Jenner inserted pus taken from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into an incision on the boy's arm. He was testing his theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of the greatest killers of the period, particularly among children. Jenner subsequently proved that having been inoculated with cowpox Phipps was immune to smallpox. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society in 1797 describing his experiment, but was told that his ideas were too revolutionary and that he needed more proof. Undaunted, Jenner experimented on several other children, including his own 11-month-old son. In 1798, the results were finally published and Jenner coined the word vaccine from the Latin 'vacca' for cow.
Jenner was widely ridiculed. Critics, especially the clergy, claimed it was repulsive and ungodly to inocculate someone with material from a diseased animal. A satirical cartoon of 1802 showed people who had been vaccinated sprouting cow's heads. But the obvious advantages of vaccination and the protection it provided won out, and vaccination soon became widespread. Jenner became famous and now spent much of his time researching and advising on developments in his vaccine. Jenner carried out research in a number of other areas of medicine and was also keen on fossil collecting and horticulture. He died on 26 January 1823.

Friday, January 11, 2013

many a good hanging has prevented a bad marriage ~

here's a few lines of from the upper-hand of ..The Beggar's Opera _

  _Filch._ 'Tis Woman that seduces all Mankind,
    By her we first were taught the wheedling Arts:
  Her very Eyes can cheat; when most she's kind,
    She tricks us of our Money with our Hearts.
  For her, like Wolves by Night we roam for Prey,
    And practise ev'ry Fraud to bribe her Charms;
  For Suits of Love, like Law, are won by Pay,
    And Beauty must be fee'd into our Arms.

_Peachum._ But make haste to _Newgate_, Boy, and let my Friends know
what I intend; for I love to make them easy one way or other.

_Filch._ When a Gentleman is long kept in suspence, Penitence may break
his Spirit ever after. Besides, Certainty gives a Man a good Air upon
his Trial, and makes him risk another without Fear or Scruple. But I'll
away, for 'tis a Pleasure to be the Messenger of Comfort to Friends in
Affliction.    [Exit _Filch_.

_Peachum._ But 'tis now high time to look about me for a decent
Execution against next Sessions. I hate a lazy Rogue, by whom one can
get nothing 'till he is hang'd. A Register of the Gang, [Reading.]
Crook-finger'd _Jack_. A Year and a half in the Service; Let me see how
much the Stock owes to his industry; one, two, three, four, five Gold
Watches, and seven Silver ones. A mighty clean-handed Fellow! Sixteen
Snuff-boxes, five of them of true Gold. Six Dozen of Handkerchiefs, four
silver-hilted Swords, half a Dozen of Shirts, three Tye-Periwigs, and a
Piece of Broad-Cloth. Considering these are only the Fruits of his
leisure Hours, I don't know a prettier Fellow, for no Man alive hath a
more engaging Presence of Mind upon the Road. _Wat Dreary_, alias _Brown
Will_, an irregular Dog, who hath an underhand way of disposing of his
Goods. I'll try him only for a Sessions or two longer upon his
Good-behaviour. _Harry Paddington_, a poor petty-larceny Rascal, without
the least Genius; that Fellow, though he were to live these six Months,
will never come to the Gallows with any Credit. Slippery _Sam_; he goes
off the next Sessions, for the Villain hath the Impudence to have Views
of following his Trade as a Tailor, which he calls an honest Employment.
_Mat of the Mint_; listed not above a Month ago, a promising sturdy
Fellow, and diligent in his way; somewhat too bold and hasty, and may
raise good Contributions on the Public, if he does not cut himself short
by Murder. _Tom Tipple_, a guzzling soaking Sot, who is always too drunk
to stand himself, or to make others stand. A Cart is absolutely
necessary for him. _Robin of Bagshot_, alias _Gorgon_, alias _Bluff
Bob_, alias _Carbuncle_, alias _Bob Booty_.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

you poor take courage, you rich take care ~

In 1649
To St. George’s Hill,
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’s will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common
And to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it will be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Spring up at their command

They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feed the rich
While poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to the masters
Or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers’ claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace
The orders came to cut them down

World Turned Upside Down - Leon Rosselson

Friday, January 4, 2013

Black Kiss ~

Dagmar Laine & Berverly  Grove
 looking for clues!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

R. Crumb ~

                                  a meat & two veg man!

I, Sociopath ~

the Boy Looked At Johnny - Julie Burchill & Tony Parsons (Pluto Press). 
Acerbic look at rock'n'roll more akin to dipping it in acid. Their scatter gun approach is likely to piss everyone off but that is probably what they intended. An essential read if not least to chuckle at their comments. Irreverent ? of course. Stupid ?- of course. Some fair points but it seems they set in motion the fashion for journalists to slag punk after it made their name for them. However the last laugh is on them with their sad championing of Tom Robinson as the great rock hope....oh dear _

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

drive thru' ~

    my favourite photo of last year, Pippa Middleton,
           a dumb down,no class, no brains, nice ass, waste of space!

                                                                 eat cake baby..

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year Play-Mates!

I'm suited & booted, my old lady is dressed to do ya harm..with a gram of the finest flake and a bottle of gold under the arm..we're ready to step out to spread a little love to one & all,
there's nothing left to say,
 I wish ya  everything your heart desire's _ JoHnny ~

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shelley at Oxford part 2

                        an un-fed head will eat it's self ~


Shelley at Oxford part 1

                     the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate ~ 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Sacred Cow ~

The Missionary Position ;
This book details another side of the Catholic Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta.  Anyone with that long a title must surely be most beneficial to the existence of mankind.  Right?
Missionary positionFrom an interview with Mother Theresa:
Q:  ”So you wouldn’t agree with people who say there are too many children in India?”
A:  ”I do not agree because God always provides.  He provides for the flowers and the birds, for everything in the world that he has created.   And those little children are his life.  There can never be enough.”
Perhaps there is another opinion:
God obviously does not provide for every animal and plant.  Nor every person.  Species go extinct.  Animals starve to death from competition in the wild.  Plants whither and die in drought.  People suffer and starve.  This woman dedicated her life to helping the poor.  Her help included spreading religion and an anti-birth control message.  She may have fed the poor but also helped to create more poverty.
Our society has brought us unprecedented wealth through our growth in technology.  It has also wrought great poverty in underdeveloped societies.  Charity is a temporary fix to a growing problem.  It is the basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that should be granted to all people.  Instead, billions of people are unable to pursue these goals because they don’t have their basic needs met.  They don’t have food, shelter, drinking water, medicine, or sanitation.  I therefore urge you to give whatever you can in charity, but I also urge you more importantly to promote the development of mankind worldwide so that people can have not just the opportunity to survive, but to thrive.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


gone to Corsica, to see my brother..Merry-Crimbo!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

clouds ~

one day, I'll fly away!

mont saint-michel _ 

all cried out ~

my beautiful friend has left the building..good-nite Baby..I will miss U..much love _ JoHnny

Friday, December 21, 2012

as above, so below ~

At Camp Quest, the five-day "atheist summer camp" for children that ended on Friday, campers were challenged to prove that unicorns do not exist. It is to be hoped that the children did not spend too much time on a logical impossibility. It is much easier to prove that God cannot exist because He is a contradiction in terms. However, both God and the unicorn exist as ideas, and ideas, whether muddled or not, are real. The imagination of a child who was utterly unfamiliar with either God or the unicorn would be cruelly impoverished.
A clever child might argue that the unicorn could exist because it is no more absurd than the narwhal whale. The twisted tusk of the narwhal is what was supposed to grow from the head of the horse known as the unicorn. The centrepiece of a 15th-century Flemish mille-fleurs tapestry in the Victoria and Albert Museum is a unicorn, with a horn exactly like that: a narwhal tusk projects from its forehead, and a heavy tail with flukes, like a whale's, flourishes above its back. The background is studded with symmetrically placed flowering plants, plus the odd exotic game bird. I would give much to know what the tapestried picture means. Are all the featured creatures imaginary? Is the invented world of human fantasy here presented as superior to reality? Without knowing more about the idea of the unicorn, there is no way I can know what I am looking at.
A horse with a horn is not a contradiction in terms, unless I define a horse as a hornless creature. It makes no odds that a horse has no need of a horn. The narwhal does nothing with its "horn", which isn't even a secondary sexual characteristic because some females have them as well as males. The tusk is actually an overgrown incisor tooth. In theory, horses, too, could start growing a tooth into a tusk and then into a horn. Rhinoceroses have single horns made of modified hair; the mane of a horse could one day develop into a kind of horn. It hasn't happened – as far as we know – but no evolutionist should discount the possibility.
What cannot be decided is whether the designers of unicorn tapestries, and there are many such, thought the beasts existed somewhere on earth. Some cross-fertilisation of faith with imagination would have been needed to generate the collective energy that produced the tapestry sequences of the late 15th century. The most famous of these is the seven-piece sequence of La Chasse à la Licorne in the Cloisters Museum in New York, which was made in Brussels or Liège between 1495 and 1500. The seventh tapestry, La Licorne Captive – which shows the unicorn, bloody but serene, resting in a circular corral set in a field of a thousand flowers – has inspired thousands of needlework kits and millions of tea-towels, posters and wall plaques.
Humans have imagined unicorns since antiquity. The earliest natural histories describe a one-horned, hard-hoofed, horselike creature, which gradually finds its way into bestiaries as the unicorn. In the 12th-century Bestiaire of Philippe de Thaon, the unicorn is represented as a female; it is attracted by the perfume released when a virgin exposes her nipple, and falls asleep by her side. A Strasbourg tapestry in the museum at Basle shows a bare-breasted virgin with flowing hair and a unicorn in her lap, caressing its mane and horn. The gender of the unicorn remains mysterious. Pisanello's medal of Cecilia Gonzaga (1447) and Annibale Carracci's design for Domenichino's fresco of the Maiden and the Unicorn in the Palazzo Farnese (1604) both celebrate the power of maidenly modesty to subdue animal lust.
For centuries, Vikings trading in Europe sold narwhal tusk as unicorn horn. It was believed to possess the magic properties of neutralising poisons and curing melancholy, and fetched a price by weight higher than gold. There are unicorns in the English Bible of 1560, and in the Authorised Version of 1611 that replaced it, apparently because of a misconstruction of the Aramaic for "wild ox", which was remarkable for size and strength but would not be tamed to the plough. The Scottish royal coat of arms was upheld by two unicorns, of which one was imported to the British crest when James I ascended the throne in 1603.
The counterpoising of the lion with the unicorn is a feature of the second most famous tapestry sequence to survive: the six-piece allegory of La Dame à la Licorne in the Musée de Cluny. In three of the six panels, the lion and the unicorn function as bearers holding pennants, the lion on the lady's right, the unicorn on her left, just as for the royal coat of arms.
We cannot now read the story told in La Dame à la Licorne or La Chasse à la Licorne. We have lost the rules of those iconographic games and replaced them with fantasy embodiments that are far cruder and nastier than the snow-white horse with the horn, the goat's beard, the cloven hoofs and the lion's tail.