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That was the week that was.... - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
That was the week that was....

Well.  The Americans’s ‘statutory bye-election’, if you will, is done and dusted.  It is evident who lost.  It is rather less evident who won, actually.  It’s really quite an interesting little election, from a psephological point of view, but I shan’t discuss it here, just now.  Even to mention it with any hint at the prospect of subsequent critical analysis, I have lately found, prompts an outpouring of shrieks from those who don’t care to be interrupted in their triumphalism.  Intellectually shoddy, intellectually dishonest, intellectually catchpenny, inevitably dim-witted, and unscholarly, these, and forcibly reminding me of just why it is that I loathe, despise, and disdain feel the way I do about the Left.  I should have liked to talk about the elections as a matter of intellectual interest, but I have spent enough time over the past some decades in arguing the Left down, and I really don’t care to let that now impinge upon my relaxations.  One does rather feel that one oughn’t to let oneself be silenced by the brutes, if only because they so love to do just that, but then, if one were to dedicate oneself to never turning the other cheek on these issues as a matter of principle, even the pub would soon become unbearable, let alone the nuisance of having to stand and rebut the homilies of half the vicars in the Anglican Communion, worldwide.

 

Instead, then, I am taking the suggestion of a friend and indulging myself in the occasional – doubtless very occasional – bit of increased self-revelation.  As ever, whilst the truth of these observations is unchanged, those details most likely to identify the innocent have been subtly altered (‘subtle’ here meaning, ‘with all the delicacy of a navvy driving wedges’).

 

 

 

All Hallows’s Eve

 

And a surreal morning it was, too, to be sure.  It is one thing to sup upon horrors, it is quite another to breakfast with them.  No morning, not even that of All Hallows’s Eve, ought ever to be allowed to feature at a very early interval the baker’s daughter in costume.

 

Let me explain.  The baker’s daughter is a jovial wench of some twenty-five summers or so, with two bouncing if not overly legitimate sproglets.  She has of late availed herself of FE classes in the Arcanum of Nosh, with admirable results; her parents have given her her head and she is busily transforming their stodgy tea-room-cum-caff into a damned nice place to feed, with a marked increase in quality and originality.

 

None of this, however, can excuse the Incidents of the Morning of the 31st Ult.  Unsuspecting patrons ought never to be subjected, in the ghastly light of early morning (all right, it was my elevenses.  Stop carping about mere detail) to the sudden appearance of the baker’s twenty-scone, er, twenty-stone daughter bustling in, wearing stuffed, red-satin, bespangled demon’s horns and, for sheer drama of the role, cackling dementedly over the Coburg loaves.  (I mentioned this, in what may have been a rather shaken manner, to, er, someone who works for me, who laughed at me.  I apparently had not noticed, as had my interlocutor when she had stopped by the shops, that the costume in question also included a tail.  Well, how was I to know?  In terms of breadth of beam, the baker’s daughter is hardly a canal narrowboat, after all, and from front-on there was no way to discern the existence of a tail.)

 

Mad, really: everyone hereabouts is mad, save, naturally, your devoted correspondent.

 

Dreaming in colour

 

 

 

I am told that it is rather uncommon to dream in colour.  I find that curious; I cannot imagine dreaming in any other fashion.  Then again, I am accustomed to dreams that are both vivid and plausible, as well as memorable secundum litteram: the beginning of ‘A Valediction’ is written precisely as I dreamt it.  Certainly I can still recall after the passage of three decades my first erotic dream – and had I been paying attention, what a deal of bumbling confusion it would have precluded – and, after almost as long, my most memorable (and if I ever do run across the young man whose imagined avatar I dreamt, whoever he is, I shall be hard-pressed not to most discourteously and without warning pounce).

 

But of course one doesn’t remember all of one’s dreams, nor would one wish to do.  Two recent dreams, however, have been oddly memorable.  The first will quite possibly end up transmuted into fiction; the second quite probably will not.

 

In the first dream, I was in Somerset.  I can place the location generally, but the accretionary nature of dreams is such that exactitude is impossible: distances telescope, cardinal points alter, and places are melded.  It was high summer, and a time of drought; the hedgerows were floured with white dust, the fields made sere by heat.  I was stood upon a footbridge I know well, and which is not in Somerset, but rather may be found not a score of miles from Turriff; but the water was that of the River Tone at Tolland.  The day was hot and dry, and the trippers and tourists were swarming, insect-like.  The trains and buses were late or nonexistent, but God help any who stopped behind, for there wasn’t a bed to be had in the Ten Parishes (it was just noon and this was already in some way known to me, that every inn, hostelry, bed-and-breakfast, and Twee Place o’ Lodging was bagsed).  Worse still, one could look at the slates outwith the doors of every caff, pub, and Olde Tea Shoppe and see naught save specks of chalk left after erasure: no specialities, damned few staples, out of cider, out of real ale….  Low – Great God, we’ll need troops, Aid to the Civil Power – low – ominous, portentous, dire – low on tea.

 

And underneath it all, in the way of dreams, was the knowledge that by the hour of the first fallen shades of the dimpsey, something dread would befall.

 

The second dream was as vivid and plausible.  It was brief.  I was, rather against my will, in some drab Northern town beneath a wintry sky that threatened snow.  It was 1983, perhaps.  An event that occurred in Washington, DC, in our reality, in 1981, had not occurred – until now, far from Washington, in the midst of a State Visit.

 

Shots rang out.  American security officers and British alike bore the great man away.  Everyone was caught on the hop.  And for a few brief, silent moments, I in a damned good suit and she in her blue best as ever, we sat on the cold stone steps surrounded by controlled panic, almost forgotten although – almost casually – shielded, waiting with dread and with hope for news of Ronald Reagan: simply, in that moment, Maggie and Your Servant the Author, sitting heedless upon cold stone at the back of a blind building in winter, PM and young rah turned unpaid political supercargo.  Waiting for news of a friend who’d been shot.

 

I leave the interpretation of these dreams to others.

 

My oath!  I could easily be thus solicited

 

 

 

The nearest – and they are quite near – solicitors are making a bid, all unknowing, to prompt me to want to commission some new oaths: I’ve run through my repertory of swearing.

 

Of course, they’ve done nothing at all wrong, nor have they knowingly done anything to justify my being thus staggered.

 

Allow me to explain.  There are three partners there: the Anorak; the Irish Navvy Turned Fairground Pugilist; and the Silver-Haired Male Model Who Plays Golf.  All three are solid citizens, pillars of the community, at least forty-seven years in age, and married, with children.

 

As I assume that none is suitably ideologically pure by the standards of the Outing Left – indeed, I know that all three are rather right-centre moderate types, lazily floating between Wet Tory and Orange Book LibDem – I will also assume that I will soon know the answer to the question that plagues me, because whoever is responsible is sure to be exposed for political reasons any day know, however private and politically uninvolved he may be.  (Remember, children: if the Right does it, it’s immoral, wicked, and constitutes ‘hate speech’; if the Left does it, it’s For Your Own Good, a Blow Against Hypocrisy, and the Correct Thing to Do.  This applies to everything from outing people to advocating assassinations, and explicitly includes Jew-hatred and all sorts and conditions of racialism.)

 

The women who work in various capacities with and for these chaps are clearly selected for qualities other than the superficial; indeed, one could suggest that they are picked on the basis of the more plain, the better.

 

But whichever of the partners – the married, fatherly partners – is in charge of hiring on the spear side … well, I’m certain it’s possible to be straight and yet have this sort of eye for male pulchritude, yet one does rather suspect, well….

 

In the past two years, the male intake there from tea-boys to Newly Qualified Lads has resembled a placement for Old Boys from, oh, Bel Ami Productions.  No, seriously.  First there was the Young Professional who seemed to be genetically modified and cloned from Simon Rex and Blake Harper, and raised on an unlimited budget by the Queer Eye lads.  Of course, he’s straight.  (Sigh.)

 

Now they’ve upped the stakes.  There’s the new clerk, HK-born and devastating.  And, worse still, there’s now, quite recently added to the rota, the Very Newest Baby Lawyer, an – in the modern rather than the Kiplingesque sense – Anglo-Indian lad who is simply staggeringly scrumptious, conversable, sweet….  Worst of all for my self control, he has evidently been taught to regard me as the source of all knowledge about a common passion of ours: no, not that (not, at least, to my knowledge to date), I refer of course to the greatest of games.  Well, he has only to do that bit where he smiles at me shyly, and I’ve been hit for six.

 

There is too damned much totty about.  It’s distracting.

 

On the other hand, somewhere a gay Diversity Officer is writhing in ecstasy, I suppose….

 

I leave you, for now, with this evocative image.

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Comments
From: lunaedraconis Date: November 10th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
One does rather feel that one oughn’t to let oneself be silenced by the brutes, if only because they so love to do just that,

Please don't feel that that's what I want to do! I understand if you're tired of discussing this, but I am certainly receptive to anything that you have to say (it sounds almost ridiculous that I'm saying this) and I would definitely take it seriously, trying not to be any more intellectually dishonest than I have to be :)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 10th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Love, you were the 'varrrthest parzon' from my mind when I wrote that.

Which, I may add, was hours before I saw your post about Mr Lowry and Mr Mehlman.

No, that tiredness long predated even the US election, I assure you.
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: November 10th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
All this politics nonsense will soon blow and we can all go back quietly hating the government of the day in peace.

Although looking at it from a non involved poinbt of view is fairly interesting.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, yes.

....we can all go back quietly hating the government of the day in peace.


One rarely stops, actually, even if it's one's own party. The most fundamental of all rights is the right to barrack the bastards.
magic_at_mungos From: magic_at_mungos Date: November 11th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well, yes.

Well, barracking your own lot is quite justified because you know why they're being complete dickheads. It's just when everyone else starts, it gets out of hand :D
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: November 10th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, we don't have Left and Right here anymore, nor Liberal and Conservative. What we've got is Vested Interests and Everybody Else.

If a candidate fails to win his party's nomination, he simply runs on the ticket of the first splinter party he can find that will have him.

By voting the Democratic line straight down, what we're saying is that we would appreciate it if our elected representatives would at least pretend they care what we think, and that somebody should have been writing things down for the President to say before they let him speak in public like they used to do with Reagan, and additionally, with this President, they need to make sure he can read the words they've scripted for him, and to rehearse him on the pronunciation of the big words.

And if Halliburton is going to profit from this war, they ought to supply the troops. And among those troops should be those two drunk heifers, the Misses Bush.

Substantive change, please. Deportment, that's all we ask.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: November 10th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
...because every little child that is born alive
Is either a little Li-ber-al
Or else a Conser-va-tive...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

I of course defer to yr experience and All That...

And I think in fact that this was largely an anti-incumbency kerfuffle.

Which is why I suggested, discreetly, that the new incumbents be on their best behaviour, and, my, did THAT put the cat amomgst the pigeons.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: November 11th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I of course defer to yr experience and All That...

"I suggested... that the new incumbents be on their best behaviour..."

What pigeons? Silly birdies!

For Heaven's sake, even the religious right is saying the same thing here! Some of the results were outright sarcasm: record numbers of dead people were elected, and the usual cartoon characters and humour writers made significant gains (Malachy McCourt ran for New York State Governor.)
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: November 10th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bwahaha! Well, of all the bizarre things you've had me googling for, Blake Harper takes the biscuit, so to speak. And your choice of image made me laugh out loud. Apols if that was not the intended response...

It's repression, you know, with Grabbit&Sue; once you get married, you start fancying your own sex as a displacement activity. And if they hired a good-looking woman they'd have to fight it out for her favours, not necessarily sexual, and Mr. Male Model couldn't be sure to win.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

So long as you're happy....

So. When was I married? Because I don't remember that phase at all.
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: November 11th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your vivid picture of the Baker's Daughter in full devil outfit complete with tail had me laughing out loud. In later life perhaps she'll grow up to be the Wife of Bath!

It sounds as if your solicitors select their secretaries on the basis Office Dragon credentials. Stern efficiency combined with severe plainness and a way of dealing with junior staff that can have them speechless with terror. As a downtrodden seventeen year old office junior I aspired to be an Office Dragon some day. Sad, I know.

As for the Baby Lawyer, he sounds gorgeous.

MM
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Quite.

Your vivid picture of the Baker's Daughter in full devil outfit complete with tail had me laughing out loud. In later life perhaps she'll grow up to be the Wife of Bath!


You know, she well might do.

As a downtrodden seventeen year old office junior I aspired to be an Office Dragon some day.


Now that you mention it, I do recall the type.

As for the Baby Lawyer, he sounds gorgeous.


He is. They are. Whimper.
dolorous_ett From: dolorous_ett Date: November 11th, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even to mention it with any hint at the prospect of subsequent critical analysis, I have lately found, prompts an outpouring of shrieks from those who don’t care to be interrupted in their triumphalism. Intellectually shoddy, intellectually dishonest, intellectually catchpenny, inevitably dim-witted, and unscholarly, these, and forcibly reminding me of just why it is that I loathe, despise, and disdain feel the way I do about the Left

Hmmm... substitute Right for Left in that sentence, and you have my memory of trying to discuss politics in the Eighties, surrounded by unthinking teen Tories of the worst kind...

I'm forced to conclude that it's very hard for winners to avoid gloating, and losers to avoid sulking. And that it is foolish to judge any political party by its worst representatives, even if they are the most strident.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, certainly.

It's simply the sheer insanity of some of their 'factual' convictions....

Mad buggers, all of them.

And, yes, I can largely agree with you in invoking a plague upon both their houses, Left and Right, much of the time.
dolorous_ett From: dolorous_ett Date: November 11th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, certainly.

It's simply the sheer insanity of some of their 'factual' convictions....

Mad buggers, all of them.

See what I mean? Exactly the same as the frothing Tories of the '80s.

I do realise that we're never going to see exactly eye to eye on this - perhaps it's better to leave it at that before either of us get down to specifics, as I value your friendship!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 11th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmph.

The only thing that will ruin our friendship is if you don't participate in the new Britpickery Quiz that I'm posting within the hour.
dolorous_ett From: dolorous_ett Date: November 11th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmph.

I was about to go out for the evening, actually - but I'll keep an eye open.

Cheers!
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: November 11th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ett has just said what I was going to - so I shall pass over the politics, and content myself with observing that I have just realised that I have no idea whether I dream in colour or in black and white.†

This is curiously unsettling.

† I think I had a black and white dream the other night, but as it was about Doctor Who (Troughton era) and followed wathching the Invasion just before bed, I am not sure whether this is decisive evidence one way or the other.
bufo_viridis From: bufo_viridis Date: November 11th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am told that it is rather uncommon to dream in colour. I find that curious; I cannot imagine dreaming in any other fashion.
I did have a few black-and white dreams, and my, those were weird...

As for politics I'm waiting for dust to settle. I'm not fond of Left, but those guys had it coming and I won't cry after them. Dubya would like to be a new Reagan, but he's a far cry from RR..
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