The Immoral Minority

Or how to kill Carnival

I'm glad I took my daughter a decade back - because it's killing itself through negative vibes. Me, I led a massive choir in a huge funk concert 3 years back. That's pretty positive, we turned William Onyeabor into a cultural icon = literally, I was browsing through events listings and there was his sunny mush and stetson. Nothing to do with him, it was just an icon. Anyway, I'd thought of going, I enjoy pan - but the scrum getting in put me off. And now they're adding to the scrum with more inside the perimeterm it seems. They - the Met. And I'm not talking about the orchestra.

It's not as if this 63 year old whose career took him close to Special Forces about half the time is a stranger to blades. I bear two knife wounds. The thing is, carrying is not funny, and so if you have to carry, don't inflict your fear on the rest of us. And the same applies to the Met. They've used Article 60 to suspend your civil rights in the Carnival Area on the grounds that someone died halfway across London on Saturday, in a place where such things have happened since the dawn of time. I know the spot well, in the 1980s I used to play whistle in a Friday night lockdown in The Harp of Erin the next corner up. It's an Estate Agents now. In 1595 Kit Marlowe died that way there. Over four hundred years ago, Shakespeare's chief rival, aged 29. I'd love to know the character of the poor guy who died recently was. Probably an Estate Agent. The Met's fear is understandible then. Dangerous people, Estate Agents.

But it's not just me, my lass, who as a two year old could be found being bounced on the knee of the SAS Sergeant who became iconic as the guy in the gas mask when they ended the Iranian Embassy siege, she's turned out true to type, my missus was froma family of Welsh rugby players and I'm not slight either - so she now weighs more than I do and her circle are all rugby players. They're not going, not because they can't handle themselves, but because the thing's out of control. I can think of a long list of ways to get a blade into Carnival, and so all of this tech is for show. At the same time, removing so many coppers from the rest of London paints the areas outside with a big red hit me target, so I'll remain home and welcome the blaggers with flack jacket, helmet and machete, come and get it. All of these are things I have stached against the need, because I've needed them in the past, and because where I live is half an hour blues-and-twos from the nearest nick. And for such protection I pay hundreds a year.

What is the effect of the knife arches? You have to separate yourself from your keys, your money, perhaps a pen. Those are not going to reach you again safely. An arch takes a minimum of 20 seconds a person, so 3 a minute. One million visitors will take 333 333 minutes, therefore, or the better part of 9 months. OK, they're using more arches. I hope. They'll need nigh on 10 000 to cut the wait to a reasonable 5 minutes. Is this what my money's being spent on? Crap technology? Last year they used image recognition. It didn't work, they spent their time hassling the innocent. Just because they can. IT's not going to work this year, either. It's show, look what you get for your money. Mismanagement.

Now, my missus spent years in Munich. I've been to Carnival, and I've been to the BeerFest. They're both as big. And do you know what security they have there is? A man on the door, sometimes. When you get a million people, things are going to happen, anyway, focus on dealing with that. Two women were killed overnight in Solihull. It happens. Don't play Chicken Little. Sometimes you have to trust the population a little. Oops, we're takling about the Robocop Met here. I recall going to an advance screening of the first Robocop film. In Streatham. I think I was likely the only white face in the audience. It was a scream, the banter back was hilarious. And I didn't get searched going in.

The thing is, where you have a checkpoint, you have a scrum trying to get through it. And you know who loves scrums? Thieves. Did the Met ever realise they're actually creating their own statistics? That's what I mean by out of control. The rest of London, at risk because an all-time record number of coppers are getting dahn and duty. Oh well, I've recorded my contribution to Notting Hill. In a fortnight's time, a Walking Opera tour. Me, I'll likely be under the knife - in hospital.

On communion

The common form of the Communion is one in which reconciliation to God - and thereby to one's co-believers - is managed by repentant confession, to clear the path, and the communion sharing of bread and wine.

However, when so much damage has been done, the victim's don't want to "share" with those who abused them, and their fellow travellers. That's so often the rosy path which caused the harm in the first place. The Church therefore has to choose, between those who have been driven out of communion by the abuse - and are therefore innocent - and those who abused them and claim, falsely and mendaciously, to control that communion. It's heart is in Jesus message, "wherever two or three are together in my name, I am there with them". NOT two or three hundred, NOT in the name of Rome - or Canterbury, or some other fellowship - it's just simply what Jesus said, unadorned, uninterpreted, undogmatic, plain pure and simple. Christ is with those who suffer, not with those who torture. As one of the survivors of the US abuse said, they have faith - but not in the Church.

When I was young, to give you a sense of scale, a teacher, in cahoots with a circle of bullies, tortured me to UN standards. So terrible was it that not long afterwards, one of those involved was on the cast of Lindsay Anderson's If... and what happened to me made it into the film. The wall bars. However, the British Board of Film Censors forced them to reduce it to five minutes - I went through it for forty. It destroyed my heart for exercise - and now in my 60s, that has nearly destroyed me. However, at the same time, I nearly killed the teacher, when I came across him by chance ten years later. All I knew is that my body attacked someone, and that was so weird I pulled the punch, only then realising that the person targetted was the offending teacher. I was no longer a child, but a grown man, about to be offered the opportunity to join an élite unit, very very fit, and far stronger then. An infantryman in his early twenties - against someone on the edge of middle age, taken by surprise. I think I'd have won - but I chose not to go there. It does show, however, that if you do that kind of damage to a young person, you sow the seeds of something that will last forever - as Aristotle said (later quoted by St FRancis and Loyola), Given me the child, and I'll give you the man. It is, in any case, not for the victim to administer justice - but I really don't think the poor soul's going to have a great afterlife. I wasn't the only one he was sadistic to, you see, and I cannot offer the forgiveness of the others. Nor, for that matter, is it any business of mine to offer it either, because the torture had a hidden benefit, an appreciation of the pain Jesus underwent in forgiving us, in forgiving me. Real appreciation, from experience, from slight knowledge of the reality.

Given that Christ never called people to an Organisation, indeed the opposite (in the overthrow of the Temple currency exchange - which is a tease for Justin Welby), why do we still allow Churches to be huge organisations? Mostly, the answer is, "because". Because we have to organise to have outreach. Sorry, it's the Spirit which convinces the sinner they have to change. That disposes of the survival-of-the-oeganisation argument. Because we have to organise to help Kerala (or what the need of the moment is). Good theory - rubbish in practice. Ever heard of Landcruiser Benevolence? The gang of do-gooders who turn up in a fleet of landcruisers, take a few snaps for the fund-raising, and then disappear, never to be seen again. Then there's Aid Rivalry, where CAFOD, OXFAM, MSF, you name it, turn up and have a turf war rather than get stuck in. MSF, for example, just started a mapping project at UCL - which missed the target completely. I knew someone would come and sit by me, so I went, someone with the skills to get the mapping done automatically, and far more precisely and quickly than we were. That was the old idea of the Mechanical Turk, in the early days of the Internet, when we did it by hand. Our task as intelligent humans, is to plan and manage with our feet on the ground and a Realism hat on. Why did it take me to tell them what was blitheringly obvious? Because the Organisation is bigger than the task. Again, what authority do I have for this? I was part of WEU's crisis management team, the people with the authority to get stuck in. How come we're not stuck in in Cox's Bazar? Because the people who took over from us, the EU, are useless. What's going to happen is Turkey leaves NATO, then Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, and restart WEU, my bunch, because we weren't over-administered with bureaucratic rules. And Rome's much the same as Brussels, trying to twist reality to suit its own dogma.

An Open Letter To Pope Francis

Your Holiness,

In response to your letter of 20th August 2018,

Might I draw your attention to what happened in 2004. Your Perpetual and Universal Seat of the Eucharist (per Pope Leo XIII, in the Articles of the ArchiAssociation of the Eucharist) closed to future vocations, and arranged for its dissolution under conditions which abused the rights of hundreds of local children.

I had been Jonahed in to sort out the mess, your staff now work with the team leaders I was given, under the Riverains (I'll save you the foull terminology, to protect their rights to privacy. They are very prestigeous, so you knew the heritage is in safe hands. But how did you come to lose it in the first place?

That was the question in the minds of the Belgian Supreme Court, when they asked me to dig and keep digging, to find out what they were taking on. My answer suggested a very long histpry of child abuse indeed, linked to active satanic practices. Marc Weinstein, one of Marc Dutroux' lieutenants, whose involvement is on the edge of the circle, established that, so many children from the neighbourhood needed for this ceremony, so many for that.

Where there is great good, so also there may be great evil. Good is not an absolute, it is on a scale, it is relative. By comparison with God, we are lost without hope, were it not for the gift of his son, who brings salvation to some - not all, and that's the first error in the Church's message, it is not a free gift to all. The second is a misunderstanding of the nature of sin, the inevitable consequence of that - most sins he is willing to forgive, because he understands our frailty, by comparison, children of clay and the dust to which we inevitably will return. But there is one sin Jesus condemned as unforgivable, in Matthew 18 vv 1-9, causing a child to stumble in faith. Your Church has added many others, without doctrinal authority, and killed for it, which does stress forgiveness to its limits. But abusing a child is the one instance where Jesus totally lost it, flipped his lid, and was explicit: if you cause a child to lose faith, however you do it - and that doesn't just mean abusing them directly, it also means sheltering those who do, aiding and abetting their wrong-doing and not condemning it outright, then that is the same, you deny them hope, and without hope, there can be no faith.

So, what must you do? You must make your mind up, act on Jesus' injunctions, stop trying to find ways to bring child abusers back into the flock, because we know that paedophilia is a permanent mindset which we don't know how to cure, it may be incurable. Cast those accused out, on a provisional excommunication, rescindable if their innocence is later established. And I'm not just talking about those who actively did the harm, I'm also talking about those who aided and abetted them, those fellow-travellers who refused the victims a hearing, despite knowing what was going on. That, sadly, very likely includes yourself, from the accusations made against you while you were Archbishop of Buenos Aires, in how you covered up the treatment of the Mothers of the Plaza de 5o Mayo.

How do I dare tell you this? Because I was given the vision which created the Peacemaking Movement. My mother was one of Ghandi's team, and I used it within the Western European Union to heal the rift of the Iron Curtain - having predicted it's collapse, I was privileged to be the first diplomat in to welcome their delegations when the first joined us, as a pathfinder to membership of NATO and the EU. That work, and much more like it, created the Movement in Diplomacy, and we were awarded the 2012 Peace Prize in recognition, after I closed the Organisation on 30th June 2011 - for I was the HQ Accountant who presented the final accounts, the last act of any organisation. My vocation was first tested by the Church of England's Church Army, asking me to see the hidden. I didn't, the Spirit did, through me. And much, much more like that. Sometimes I had to be Jonahed in, sent when I didn't want to go, but go I did, and once it was clear I was going, asked for the support needed. That's how I found th0 house opposite the Convent of the Eucharist, in prayer, from someone who turned out to be a family friend. In 1939, my Belgian grandmother was disinherited for little reason, my mother would soon return to Belgium with the SOE, and work from the street I was sent to. That heritage established me as an interlocutor in the area, breaking the social wall between the aristocracy and the common people.

But the message is plain. Your people are not getting the message, because you prefer to quote from the donkey who had to be goaded in the right direction, St Paul, than from his master. At least, they are getting the message, that you don't care. Not properly. If you did care, you'd make certain there's nowhere for abusers to hide. No aiders, no abetters, no apologists, get rid of the lot of them. Or we'll die of starvation after we run out of millstones, whose proper use is to grind meal to make bread, the Bread of the Last Supper, the bread of the Eucharist. But then again, perhaps I'll send you one, as a message that the rot starts at the top.

At me wit's end

Right, I was talking about who I am. Again, this will need some taxonomy to keep things structured, so:

  • Mind

    Intense World Syndrome vs Aspergers

    The extra 20% - from the inside

  • Body

    On the effects of torture

  • Spirit

    Esoterics 101

  • The extraordinary extensions:



    Reiki Master

  • ...

No necessarily in that order.

My intent is to provide some reference points so the controversial bits are on record but not in your face. To be frank, I'm comfortable with things which are so far beyond the norms as to make them almost incomprehensible to Joe and Jill Normal, although Jill lives in a world far more open to such possibilities than Joe, because she's got a creator's emotions. Don't try over-reading it in me, though, I was brought up to be very pragmatic and real, it's just that some of the stuff I've done, whilst remaining true to that test, is kind of froobie. Not the kind of real most people experience. Let me get one of my consoling mantras out of the way. The average human, I'm told, has an IQ of around 104. Mine's 153-4, when last tested, I'm aging so it might have declined a little. But 153:104 is proportionately about the same as 104:70, which means that Joe and Jill Normal are - to me - about the same as someone at the bottom edge of human intelligence is to them. It's painful, but asking most folks to follow my logic's not the easiest, because I think in a far more complex way than you. I think in networks of considerations, where I've had to learn how to identify the optimal solution, not an absolute one, although they sometimes exist. You've likely already encountered it in Stephen Hawking's work, it's hard to understand, even though he's simplified things massively. How dare I compare myself to him? Well, because his Department of Advanced Mathematics and Theoretical Physics is currently working on some thoughts I had, in answer to a request from a Gulf State, asking, "What happens when the oil runs out?" That's why your cars have batteries in them: in about 10 years time, if all goes well, we take the batteries out. An interim fix is also in place, to buy time if we have to.

The overall theme is that I think we may be moving on from Homo Sapiens. I'm not alone in thinking in this way - quite literally - as I married into a family which has the son of an Oxford Regius Professor of Mathematics married in. The females are normal - the guys are unusual, like me. We see things in terms of far more facets than most do, I for one having given up on punditry, for the reasons I've just stated. Talk about the blitheringly obvious...Paxo, Paxo, wherefore art thou, Paxo? More interestingly, when the grandson - another high-IQ supposed Asperger - and I are together, we are starting to suspect we're actually reading each other's minds. Others report our conversations are hard to follow, and it's not just because we go A-G-M-S-Z in our logic, where B-C-D-E-F are missed because they're either obvious or unnecessary complications in getting between the essential nexii in the logic, which are the said G-M-S. Why? Because we've grown. We're far larger than the ancient Romans and Greeks were - and our brain cavities are about twice as large. We suffered health hangups for a long while, which limited the amount we could learn, but this generation's cutting loose. Me, they tested - and found I use around 30% of my brain. Most people use 10% or so. You don't want to go near 100%, because at that point you overload with important logic threads broken.

More - much more - follows

A new Agenda

It has been a while since I posted, mostly because either my activities were not of sufficient interest to be worth posting about, or because discretion made it unwise...

I do, now, have something worth commenting on - actually, several things, but I'll break them apart into separate postings. This blog is, for a while, going to take a turn towards the personal, something I've studiously avoided as I hate egotism, and it'll come across as ultimate ego to most, for which I apologise. Unavoidably, the subject of "me" arises because the last few years, going into retirement, have been years of reassessment, and the conclusions I come to are somewhat unusual.

What I'm going to do here, therefore, is set out a prospectus of the ground I want to cover:

  • On the ownership of a top-level mind

  • On the general state of medicine in the UK

  • Ontology

And if the last is a puzzle, let's say that I'm not so much engaged in making my peace with my maker (we've had an interesting and very fruitful relationship for almost all my life) as learnig the lessons of it and hypothesising that Homo Sapiens is turning ito Homo Scipiens. The species which knows summat is becoming a species which perceives summat. We're moving along from the first humans, our health means we're becoming far larger, physically, than our ancestors were - for example, we've put on a good 20% in height in the last 500 years, and our brains have grown proportionately. We have brains roughly double the size of those at the birth of our civilisation 5000 years ago, and I'm in a group which uses them more - most folks use around 10% of their capacity, I use about 30%, s study shows.

As this has inevitably seen me get involved with the quacks, I've some thoughts intended to stop them from regressing in that logic. It'll turn around definitions of normality.

And finally, because what I've done over the last decade and more is relevant on that scale, I'll return to document my mantra. That certain conspiracy theorists have dabbled in the area is neither here nore there to me - the hard result is that my team control a legend. Like most legends, we have no intention whatsoever of opening the box, as what it contains is potentially dangerous. But just as others left some breadcrumbs on the way here, so I will leave some for those who follow. And as things go, that one will be clsoed to comments, as the Internet remains home to trolls. On them, may the sun rise - if you have nothing good to say, then say nothing, just accept we have a difference of opinion and leave it there. So, it's controversial. I'll give you a taster: Dan Brown fictionalised teh conspiracy theory created by Baigent and Lincoln in the Holy Blood, Holy Grail series. I've answered the theory with fact, which came a-knocking at my door - like Biblo Baggins said, the most dangerous step you will ever make is across your own threshold.

So, what's happened since I last posted? Mostly, medical. My dentistry, a disaster zone thanks to the GDC and NHS, caused overweight, and overweight caused prostate cancer, which was caught in time by the team who sorted Stephen Fry a month later. It's left me with a hernia, which is down for doing in October. Other than that, I've been off singing for a year as a result, but that was scheduled - the Southbank crashed it's VoiceLab choir, which I've been a leader of, in the wreck caused by HMG changing it's mind - all the production staff left as a result. My prompting has just restarted it. I've done a conducting course, I await the results, which I'm fairly certain I know - I need experience now. Perhaps the two will work together. I've also got irons in the fire to work with a new Choir., we'll see. I'm singing with MAddy Prior and the Carnival Band in December at the Cadogan, and likely with another ensemble a few days before, there. We'll see, everyone's on leave at the moment. i've restored my face to John Rutter's circle (which I found includes a  kids choir a gentle amble from home, where my face fit - his new work for children, London Town, is superb), but am distancing myself from the Swingles, or rather from Kings Place, over how they treat special needs. Two letters, Foxtrot Oscar. As they're home to the Grauniad, that'll come bite them in the bum. Oh, and preparing for the postings above, of course, which more resemble the assembled works of George RR Martin - in real historical life. Perhaps it's Martin's love of Tolkein, but then again I did spend three months in a bedsit on Stirling Road in Edgbaston, which turned out to have been JRRT's childhood bedroom - and so I know The Twin Towers in autumn very well. The two towers of the Reservoir Road pumping station, Victorian monstrosities, not the neo gothic fantasies of the film. I'm engaged in shedding Shakespeare, in some respects - poor Jonathon Sumption found he'd landed a live one when he presented his paper on Agincourt 600 in 2015 at the academic institution I'm on the edge of, I burnished the reputation of the house a little more by suggesting he read its motivation in the European political context of the day, specifically the Papal Council's meeting at Constatnce, tasked with restoring the integrity of the Papacy then in schism at the hands of the warring secular states in the Hundred Years war, the rest of Martin's ideation. That England brought France down in rather spectacular fashion was unexpected (I found the smoking gun in the Gesta Henrici V, the copies of the royal correspondence, which show he'd been put up to it - and started the current wave of documentary review, which shows just how difficult diplomacy was in those days when the road infrastructure remained a disaster after the Black Death, which is why Henry hugged the coast, to keep in contact with his supply train on the ships), and a real help to the diplomacy, as they were the main protagonists - it also informs their outlook towards England ever since. Yes, M Barnier, I'm talking about the obvious content you hold us in. I'm annoyed by that, having done the thinking which built the structure by not getting too full of myself. Some day some poor doctor'll give you an enema - at least if you read the Dom Camillo tales, that was a favourite Italian response to your ilk. The results will be worthy of Blaster Bates imself. The Shower of Sh!t over Schaerbeek. No, I don't French Eurocrats as a result of the years I spent with me arm up their jacksies as Head of thr English=Speaking Parents group in the Commission's School, the European School Brussels 1.


On the Asperger's syndrome

It has been a while since I posted, mostly because either my activities were not of sufficient interest to be worth posting, or because discretion made it unwise...

I do, now, have something worth commenting on - actually, several things, but I'll break them apart into separate postings.

I have, it seems, one of the highest - if not the highest - IQs on record (or at least, set the benchmark for the top-end, which doesn't mean nobody's cleverer, I'm certain some are - it's just we have no way of measuring it properly). With it comes what I am told is very mild Asperger's Syndrome - if anyone can define that. At the moment, it's a rats-nest of competing shrinks having an internal punchup while the people they're supposed to be helping watch, shocked, from the sidelines. The yanks say it doesn't exist - which might be right, if they'd only say what those of us who aren't autistic are - because I sure as hell don't think like I was told "normal" males think, if they actually do at all. Most women will sympathise, for a slightly different reason, they've got what I'd call in computing "hormone interrupts" happening so they have rafts of competing emotions going on which are the natural consequences of their-ever-changing body chemistry. I certainly think in a network of ideas, rather than the usual "if A then B" way most men do.
The thing about Aspergers is that it's not a single condition. There are low-delivery Aspies, who are on the autistic spectrum, and high-performance ones, who have traits which are utterly un-autistic. I don't have a bad sense of humour, for example. I do tend to lengthy dissertations, because what I have to say is considerably more than A=>B - and when I start to reduce the A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H to A-D-H, everyone loses the thread. But I'm not autistic, just clever, and anyone who persists in maintaining the identity between the two can stop reading now, because they're privileging observation over experience.

From my side, I most certainly have hyperperception, and hyperserendipity - I'll go so far as to credit some Muslim thinking, which points out that becoming a God-botherer is only the first step, the second is vocation in the truest sense, becoming God-bothered - in the Judaeo-Christian axis, the Samuel experience. My hyperperception manifests as a number of things, a properly-tested seer gift (which is literally that, not mine to command, so don't ask me what's going to win the 2:!5 at Haydock), Master-level Reiki (from the diplomatic field, however...) and an endoteric outlook which layers on top of normal mentation, distinct from but sometimes interplaying with the esoteric - if you like, the esoteric roughs out the strategy, the endoteric the tactics. And before you scoff, I have seriously pulled some world-changing stunts, and not the banale stuff like "well, we all change the world in our own little ways", but heavyweight stuff, which a certain US President is currently discovering isn't quite as simple as it seems, you need depth of character to win those ones.

However, that's slightly off the point. I'm not going to challenge the thesis that low-level Apergers are on the autistic spectrum - what I'm after are the high flyers like me. I can become obsessive - which seen from my end of the pipe is a viewpoint that people who think so are superficial. One of my teachers in a new skill doesn't want more than a sentence or so. Fine, I'll keep it to that for her - but I'm not going to keep my mental world shut down simply because the norm can't handle it. Take it or leave it - if you're not up to the journey, stay home. If you are, then welcome, it'll be fun.

So, if I refute the Aspergers diagnosis, why, and what do I have to offer as an alternative? The first question is quite easy: Asperger lived in a world where deviance from the norm was lethal, and many of his patients found that out the hard way, alongside Jews, Rom, homosexuals, and anyone else who was an untermensch in Nazi terms. So, if you were slow, or quick, the road led to the gas chamber. No wonder it took tenty years more for his observations to become more recognised - by people duller than him. And yet, as I point out, how can you claim common diagnosis to two or more different symptomatic pathologies? It's nonsense. And when I realised, and checked, that I'm neither unempathic nor lacking in humour, I realised that I'm not an Asperger sugffferer, whatever the shrinks may say.

So, what am I? The closest I can find so far is something called Intense World Syndrome. Here too, the authors who posited it have feet of clay, sadly: they dare not work with humans, and substitute rats. Well, I'm sorry to have to tell them, this is not Terry Pratchet''s Discworld, and we know nothing of any rodent deities: in the real world, we live with who we are, even if the boundaries are beyond your ken. The first to float the hypothesis persist in normalisation, without realising that their normal is a cut-down palimpsest of mine. Sure, I was raised in it, but some 50 years ago my trajectory sailed straight past the boundaries of that normal, and 15 years ago showed clear water between some of my work and the normal: I had to hold still until the real world caught up and I could confirm my bearings were on the hard ground of solid knowledge, and not wild hypotheses. Building on the normal, I reached a position where it was very necessary to discuss what was going on in my mind with a psychologist who could observe me well, and he was happy with the logic - and since then, I have found our paths parted, who can also live with it. His studies showed I'm using far more of my brain than most, which can risk overload - and I recognise others can't, yet. Their children will.

What I appreciate is that we know nothing of the brain structures of the first homo sapiens. What we do know is that our brains are far larger, and so it's not entirely surpriing if we do more with them - and that might suggest we're the first generations of Homo Scipiens, Perceptive Man. It's a bold claim, but not entirely new, and time will tell. I'd love to know what happens when the population can see straight through politicians, priests and con-men. We already see it in the X-Men hypotheses of Marvel Comics - my Reiki, for example, is up there in the uncanny. Well, I didn't just walk straight into doing odd stuff (although, truth to tell, when I was young, I was part of a group who levitated someone) - most of what I've done was by manageable stages beyond what I just did. Step by step. So, unlike the proverbial sparrow flying from the back of the eagles before me, I far prefer the late mediaeval paradigm of always keeping your feet on the ground, however high in the clouds your head is.

Strong - Notes for Beyond The Bassline

Strong is a song that's more defined by the spaces than the words - and so tone is essential.

For me, music is essentially dynamic, and so not only should a repertoire piece develop, but it must allow space to mature into, and to respond to the cultural context of each performance. The dots were only ever meant to be a vade-mecum, a guide to how it goes, not a sacrosanct gospel which cannot be added to or subtracted from. Sometimes, in a Bach temperament study or a complicated pice of Mozart's couterpoint harmonics, yes, it has to be done that way, but in gereneral it's an art, and art is essentially plastic, it's flexible, it can be deformed a little before it breaks. I hope you already know this, but I've seen beginners choirs which had a massive revelation whern I said it, so I'm saying it, and apologise if someone thinks it's facile - by all means add a comment!

Having spent several hours listening to innumerable covers and remixes, which amply bring out the difference between pointless second-quality covers and doing something useful with the piece, it strinkes me that there are different aspects to consider:

1. Rhythm. In the absence of a massive melody, steady impulsion is essential. This D&B remix demonstrates how far this can add something, although we don't want to go anywhere nearly that far.

2. Dynamic. We're being respectful of that, in the conceptual context of the gig. But at the same time, it can go far further in other contexts.

3. Decoration. If you listen to the various versions London Grammar themselves have released, there's a certain variation in their grace-note twirls and decorations, this isn't quite as per the dots. Listen to how Hannah ends some of the weaker phrases, she doesn't just leave them to decay, how she decorates "lion", and the "turn" twiddle on the "not" which follows, which is different from the intensity variation she uses on the one in the Child phrase. I've used this version because it focuses on the acoustic quality of the piece, with the accompaniment stripped back.

4. What's going on underneath. The basses have to think about this one, I've chosen it as it brings out things which should be concealed but latent, like the hidden lion stalking its prey.

5. What's going on on top. Echo works on this one, but it gives a hint towards a more aspirated top line. OK, she cops out on the top notes, I suspect because of a weakness of tone there, but at the same time...

And as ever, listen to each other.

Thank you for your time

Rats leaving a sinking ship

With a BREXIT vote headed towards victory, without any kind of leadership, every disreputable politician imaginable from Gove to Carswell are emerging from the woodwork claiming it was them all along. In fact, it wasn't: it was Europe itself, and partly Cameron, which did it, trying to insist on their right to tell us what we can and cannot do. It was clear from the start that the UK only ever accepted a Europe of collegiality rather than one of subsidiarity, subordinated to an unelected bureaucracy, where we contributed willingly. The legists in the Commission couldn't get their heads around it, now here's hoping they lose theirs.
The Eurocrats talk about years of uncertainty about what "out" would look like. I can tell them it's very easy, it's called go boil your heads, or rougher. They'll be left with an enormous hole in their projects, ripped out by force if necessary, and the harm may spread. Tell France it has to pick up the financial loss and Le Pen will win the elections. PIGS (including Malta and Cyprus), not a hope. Eastern Europe, faced with the return of all their expatriates here, will be in no better shape. Germany is barely able to carry itself with the refugees they've excepted. Which leaves BeNeLux and Sweden-Finland, and Ireland. The cross-border smuggling should help NI no end!

Mind you, given there's still no definitive date and the likelihood it's disappearing so far into the future it's likely to be 28th December 2017, if at all - perhaps in the good traditions of European Referenda we'll be told it was actually May 7th 2015, that DC was the elected spokesman for us all, and that he's casting the only vote which matters, to stay in.

And in the mean time, can we have a Referendum to get rid of all established politicians as a bunch of wastrel chancers, please?


So, we have a sophisticated offer on the table, which is no offer at all, does not respect the national autonomy which had been agreed on, and indeed takes us backwards because we can only get a hearing if we can line up a majority of other nations. Europe just does not get the message that the UK has had enough of being sucked inexorably into the machine eliminating National identities, run by unaccountable Eurocrats enforcing inappropriate policies without any real possibility of appeal. The very negotiation demonstrates exactly what is wrong, that we are not being given a real voice, with the deal only being ratified once we vote to stay (ie it's quite possible we won't get what's on offer), and few if any of the real concerns being addressed.
Europe, it is claimed, wants us to stay, but is not prepared to do a blind thing to encourage it. Parliament, far from being given a free voice, is full of petrified politicians afraid to step out of line, and ministers gagged. The vote is being rushed through for fear that the opposition gets its ducks in a line, suggesting there's no rational argument to defeat them, and we're being condescended to by Cameron. He's clearly off in a little world of his own, concerned about strengthening the British Position rather than addressing the problems, in other words he's more concerned with the bureaucracy than about the thing itself. At the end of the day, we have to face the choice, whether we are competent to manage our own futures or not. Do we identify with Europe, and more significantly, does Europe identify with us? I don't think we see it. There's a difference between management-light and actually involving us in the decision-making. I understand that as part of a larger whole, we don't get the only say, but as things stand, we're getting no say.
As I type, a women's cooperative puts it this way: they were tired of being done unto, they wanted to take their lives into their own hands. This, I think, is the nub of the question: are we responsible adults or malleable children? The project arose because some nations were irresponsible adults, but we were not. We were sold a Europe of cooperative peers: what we have received is a Europe of Eurocrats and the rest. A Europe where the red tape is out of control and cannot be brought back in order because it is so wilful in its sense of entitlement it does not realise it fails every one of Tony Benn's five tests for those in power.
It is typified by the Eurozone's plans for a Greek bailout: we are not part of the zone but were taken for granted as being willing to join the bailout of a problem not of our creation. When we objected, we were overruled. But this is only one case in many. Civil service has become an uncivic master, based on dogma and policy not designed for our needs. The idea of creating a wider Europe by lifting the East has become one where the East has decided it doesn't have to do anything to help itself other than help itself. And then gags us when we protest against that.
The result is that the first polls coming through on the package indicate that 69% of the UK thinks this a bad deal. That's a huge change from the figures often quaoted, and must come as a bad shock for the Stay group. But even then it's rounded down by the Press to two-thirds - whereas in fact it's well on the way to three-quarters.
Ultimately it's a question of keeping it simple. Europe's way is to complicate, because in the complication you grow the long grass into which any inconvenient policy can be kicked. Loopholes building upon wriggle-room, compounded and allowing rampant corruption to pass unnoticed. It means bureaucratic mistakes can be covered up easily, without compensation for the victims. It is everything that glasnost is not. When no man can follow the trail of bumph, let alone defend himself against it, then where is the democractic accountability?
Eventually the time comes when a decision has to be made. Should we stay in Europe? No. Many institutions may move, and we may be poorer as a result. But at the same time, we'll be honest.

An aspect of the situation is that nobody's been bothered with investigating, let alone structuring, the concerns. We have one tangible policy on the table, immigration, and even that's not being granted: what about the financial structures, the legislative process, the representative process, the disciplinary process, the appellant process? The sense of cooperation does not need to end if we leave, indeed it becomes more cleanly defined because we're not taken for granted.

A cleaner sport

The French Public Prosecutor is moving from simply the IAAF to the IOC: and the Stratford Olympics were the venue for the FIFA stitch-up of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The WAFA Report concludes that it was impossible for the IAAF Council not to have known of the corruption. And yet it concludes that a member of that body is the best man to rebuild.
Perhaps it's time to add WAFA to the list of corrupt bodies, insofar as the Russian anti-doping agency should, in a competent organisation, have been monitored itself. Quis custodiet 101: everyone monitors everyone else, and is interested in blowing the whistle on the opposition.

Perhaps we should ask Coe for a complete account of why the Olympics were so massively overspent.