Monthly Archives: September 2017

La Hougue Bie, Jersey, Underground Place for Me… Pagan Statue of Liberty!

On my first journey around Europe in 1987/88 I visited some of the biggest tourist sites, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Colisseum in Rome and Acropolis in Athens. It’s a tradition I kept up on my 25th anniversary tour, visiting Mont Saint Michel near Saint Malo; the Naeroyfjord near Bergen; Gamla Stan in Stockholm and the Nou Camp in Barcelona (should probably have been La Sagrada Familiar, but did visit other Gaudi sites!).

In Latvia last year I visited Turaida Museum in the Gauja Valley, a day-trip from Riga to Sigulda; the Open-Air museum on the edge of Tallinn in Estonia and Suomenlinna fort guarding Helsinki’s harbour in Finland.

Jersey has some very impressive castles, such as Elizabeth, guarding Saint Helier harbour…

… and Gorey (Mont Orgueil) on the east coast…

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… as well as several interesting museums, but when I found out about the 6,000 years old Neolithic burial chamber of La Hougue Bie it was the place for me to be.

The original Neolithic burial chamber, with the entrance positioned facing east so sunrise reached the back wall on the equinoxes, had a mound built over it originally, making it look very greenygrey (remembering my decade-old Blighty dominant landscape concept):

In Medieval times a church was built on top, adding another layer of grey; and it’s greenYgrey inside too!:

I entered the burial chamber three times, without intending to originally. The first time was to have a look; the second was after remembering the torch on my phone to light it up better, and the third after I’d visited the museum and found out more about it. The first photo here is looking inside, and the second out:

You may be wondering if I felt a connection to the ancestors? I don’t know really, maybe I did, or maybe it was just me wanting to, creating it more in my mind.

Making the Most of Life: Life is for the Living

I think I’ve felt more of a connection to the living creatures I’ve met the last year, decade and life. I felt more of a ‘magical connection’ this week, with an unplanned stop in the last place of sunshine before returning to ‘civilisaton’, at first just planning to get ten more minutes of hot sunshine for a Vitamin D boost, storing it up for the coming autumn.

Staring for a few minutes into lush vegetation, a tree I’ve probably passed hundreds or thousands of times began to take shape in my mind. A few trees away, two squirrels ran around the trunk, looking as if they were playing; making the most of the morning sunshine. Then water fell from one branch, looking like a waterfall; and big flying insects landing on leaves reminded me of the Avatar movie.

Standing there, with a bag of blackberries in one hand, and my t-shirt covering my front in the other (sun on my back), I knew I must have looked odd to any ‘normal’ people who saw me; but later thought I may have also resembled the Statue of Liberty (in a pagan kind of greenYgrey way!):

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Athens Football and Heavy Metal Disco Birthday 1987: Beautiful Women, Pagan Luddite and Not Being Served

For my 22nd birthday I had a fun package of being immersed in Athens youth life, watching an Athens team in European Competition before going to a heavy metal disco, seven years after becoming a big rock music fan. That was thanks to hitching, a German archaeologist who gave me a lift, and an Athenian who shared that last lift of my over month long journey from the U.K.

Connoisseur of Beautiful Women (to my Taste)

This page of diary also contains evidence that I’ve always appreciated the beauty of women, and especially their faces. It also counters those who try to lower it to seedy sleaziness. Like most of the heavy metal bands I liked, and most men I’ve met or heard about (including Professor Stephen Hawking, who was the inspiration for the greenYgrey world’s werewolf scientist Stephen Wolfing [Penthouse subscription and affair while working at university! But still love his work and admire and respect his mind and life] after watching the The Theory of Everything movie last week), there can be that element too, but I’m not one-dimensional, and think I appreciate the beauty of women more than most men – the women I like anyway, and Hawking likes! – with perhaps other men appreciating more types of women.

I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, superior or inferior, I’m just saying that’s why I am the way I am, and living as I am; writing about it may make it seem as if I want to change or prompt something to happen, but in reality I’m just writing about it because it’s true.

Athens Day Themes 

It also shows me having more luck with life, people and a dog; than things: plastic bottle and cars; in line with my recurring thoughts of being a pagan Luddite in a self-parody way; maybe there’s more to it than I realise; or can know?

It also shows me being refused service. I just accepted it and went elsewhere. At the time I probably thought it was out of order, but now with a middle-aged mind, and the way the U.K. and world is now, I understand it more. It was only a little blip anyway, and I felt Athens had been good to me, and I’d had a great experience socialising with my fellow youths doing two of my favourite pastimes.

If the U.K. and world had become the peaceful loving utopia I wanted then I would have thought it more out of order. If people don’t think that’s what I wanted, then they’re wrong. I did see myself as being on the guardian side of the counter-culture, more eco-warrior than flower-powerist, like Guns N’ Roses etc, but I did want those things for Blighty and the world. I still do, but have a more pragmatic approach to it all now!

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‘Jersey Boy’ Latham v ‘Sunny’ Latham: United 50 Years Later

Jersey Joe Walcott was the heavyweight boxing champion in 1951/52. It was before my time, and I don’t know much about him. I think I saw a little about him in some old boxing documentary, or documentaries.

Jersey Born and Bred (for a little while)

However, I was born in Jersey in 1965, and left a year or two later. So when I joked about having a ‘boxing nickname’, long after I wanted to be a boxer or had much interest in it, I thought of ‘Jersey Boy’ Latham.

That’s an example of how a little bit of my lifetime knowledge becomes a big thing in my writing. My greenYgrey writing is full of such people and places. Hopefully I helped publicise some of the good ones, as well as putting some places on the map.

greenYgreyologists analysing my writing would probably think that Jersey Joe Walcott was a big favourite of mine, but in reality he’s just a name I remembered, with relevance to my life; I couldn’t remember any of his history until looking it up just now.

I also joked using a renowned idiom: you can take the boy out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the boy!

Disclaimer: If those who heard my above creations are reading, you were the just the audience, and I was the creator. I might not have thought them up if I hadn’t been talking to you, but that doesn’t give you a share of their copyright! As I don’t ask for a share of anything you gained during our time together!!

Sunny Jersey for my Return

Another boxing name that sounded relevant was Charles L. ‘Sonny’ Liston, but that’s because I like the weather sunny, rather than liking being a son; not that I’d rather be a daughter!

I’ve thought I might have developed my love of sunshine and beaches in my first year or two on Jersey. I don’t know if I did, if it was nature or nurture, but I do know that after a wet day before, and overcast voyage, the clouds cleared a couple of hours before arriving on Jersey, and so the island looked lovely as I returned after 50 years; and especially the south approaching my birthplace of Saint Helier.

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Unfortunately, the clear sky didn’t last, and my return voyage was cancelled due to wet weather! Apparently a common occurrence with the fast ferry service.

However, I still enjoyed my last day in my birthplace, thanks to golden reflections of the sun that welcomed me ‘home’.

 

Up the Duff: Criticising Guns N’ Roses Reason

Readers who don’t know or understand my writing over the last decade at the greenYgrey, fmpoetry and here might think I don’t like Guns N’ Roses, and especially Duff McKagan, after my last blog post cited some criticisms. However, they will have missed the point, and one of my biggest motivations in my writing: that everything is criticisable, including your biggest heroes.

Kill Your Idols: Just Be Open to Criticising Them Really

In fact, I’m following the advice of Guns N’ Roses, or Axl at least, as he once wore a t-shirt with Kill Your Idols (metaphorically, I’m pretty sure, as it featured Jesus on, who’s not around any more; I think Axl’s a Christian too, as he wears big crosses now!) on; a punk message I’m sure Duff will understand, and probably support.

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I’m also probably influenced by my decade in university, when I was taught to look at issues from all angles.

I was always a bit of a contrary rebel anyway. I was at a young impressionable age when punk started, followed by Pink Floyd’s The Wall, then a full on Metal and Rock headbanger, so I don’t know if it was nature or nurture.

Unfortunately, Western culture seems to be less open now, partly because of political correctness (somebody’s very offended about everything), and partly because of the openness of social media leading to more crassness and less eloquence, volume rather than quality, therefore making more censorship seem reasonable (I accept that some people may think the same about me; and that I could also sound snobby writing that!)

Duff’s My Closest Guns N’ Roses Life Comparison

Out of the three autobiographies I read, I think Duff was my most comparable life, as he went to university and took up endurance sports to escape the excesses of the rock n’ roll life, or at least to give him another dimension to his life. Duff has also been working as a journalist, and he and his wife have also been supporting animal welfare issues.

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Of course, our lives are not equal or comparable really, as he’s one of the stars of Guns N’ Roses and I’m one of the fans, and that’s the way it’s always been; and always will be as far as I’m concerned.

Dreams do Happen, but so do Nightmares

While it may appear I have an Eminem ‘Stan’ relationship to Guns and other stars, I’m completely in touch with reality; but try not to let it box me in. Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame was a fan who did travel to California (from Denmark) chasing the rock n’ metal dream, and it worked for him!

I’ve written several books since becoming a Doctor of Philosophy, achieving my initial ambition to be published (against those who want to make me a failure), and had a little success (for the nice people who want me to be humble), but I know my place in rock n’ metal music is just as a long-term and not very fanatical headbanger.

Lars Ulrich went to the right place at the right time. Music and writing are both struggling now, due to the internet, but there are still opportunities, and I’m still doing it… because I love writing, and especially writing about things I love, such as rock n’ metal, and its culture of freedom, openness, escape and dreams…

Guns N’ Roses Layabout Image and Hard Sell Reality

Reading Duff, Slash and Steven’s autobiographies last year I realised that although they had a layabout punk image, and seemed to have emerged into stardom by accident from nowhere they had worked hard at it, flyering and even relentlessly cold calling people who registered with them.

So although their image was one of anti-capitalist rebellion, they probably played the ‘game’ more than most people.

They then had to have a good ‘business head’ while negotiating contracts, including dealing with Kim Fowley, of The Runaways notoriety.

Of course, after they got big, there were internal disputes, with Axl taking the rights to the Guns name.

Although Duff was the ‘punk’ of the group he seemed particularly peeved at all the money dealings he missed or loused up; as well as having disdain for an old music hero of his he ended up living next door to, and who still had a bad drug habit; and he then became a music business adviser: Wikipedia – he attended Seattle University‘s Albers School of Business and Economics in the early 2000s, and subsequently founded the wealth management firm Meridian Rock.

I’ve tried to keep to a soft sell in my writing career, but I now know, since last year, that if I was copying Guns, I would be much more proactive and hard selling.

I think society is full of people copying their heroes’ image, rather than the reality.

 

At Home in Athens at End of Epic Hitch-hike in 1987

We made it to Athens, and my fellow hitch-hiker who was going home, made me feel welcome. He was a cool guy, the kind who’s popular in youth, carefree and conniving, like a young Russell Brand.

Looking back at him with middle-aged eyes and brain, he looks a bit of a user, avoiding national service and living off his parents and friends. I don’t know if he was really on POAK’s books as a footballer, or if they dismissed him because of his long hair and earring. I can’t remember if any of his friends or family confirmed his story or not; and they’d probably have heard it from him anyway. I guess he did play for them, but maybe he just didn’t make it, and his hair and earring was a better reason to give for his image?

I went along with him because I was getting something out of it too. If he’d just been asking for money all the time, and not doing anything for me, I’d have gone my own way; as I’d do with some fellow worker-travellers on Crete, and other people later in life; such as those who tried to claim credit for my writing!

Anyway, I’m probably trying to analyse it too much, due to my time and training in university, and writing career, and the grooming epidemic in U.K./Europe.

You readers would probably prefer to see it as a nice friendship between two people from different countries, thrown together by fate in a magical hitch-hiking ride covering most of Greece by a driver from another country, as one hitch-hiker returned home, and the other finished his over month-long mostly hitch-hiking and sleeping rough inaugural travel journey around Europe.

Here’s the next day’s diary, as it was in all its youthful innocence back in 1987:

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90th Hitch-hiking Lift Greek Gods Heaven and Hell

My last day of hitching on my journey from the U.K. to Greece in 1987 was an epic one, as I travelled through the land of Greek gods, with the final epic lift also providing classic comedy, as there was a breakdown, and we had to be towed part of the way.

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Grenfell Government – Immigration Balance Needed

I signed a petition for better sprinkler systems in multi-storey housing yesterday, and added this statement on Facebook:

I want safe housing for everybody, which I think depends on both a responsible government policy, and limits on immigration so there is enough room and funds for those needing social housing in this country. If there are too many people, and not enough housing and money, then disasters like this are more likely to happen.

Immigration a Factor on Public Spending

However the Grenfell disaster happened, it wasn’t directly caused by immigration, but it may have risen the number of casualties: that of course wasn’t the fault of the people involved.

However, the exponential rise in immigration over the last twenty years may have been a factor, as there is less public money to go around, and more people to accommodate – thus, less money for each housing complex. I don’t know if there should still be enough money to go around, but just going from logic, it seems as if it must be a factor?

New Labour left parliament with a note saying they’d spent all the money. Corbyn’s Labour plans to spend even more, as well as having an open borders policy on immigration, without explaining where the money’s going to come from… increasing our deficit for future generations? Are the Conservatives now spending money on the right things? I don’t know.

Immigration Causes Environmental Problems

There was a similar problem after the tragic death from asthma of a girl, and the mother was reported as suing the government because of pollution in London, claiming it as a causal factor.

I have particular sympathy for the mother and daughter in this case, as I have suffered asthma most of my life, and had many nearly all sleepless nights when young, sitting up in bed because it was too uncomfortable to lie down, maybe falling asleep in the end, but only when too tired. I had to have the doctor up to the house a few times in emergencies when young, while on the road I had a couple of bad attacks after getting colds in damp conditions.

I don’t know if the mother’s case has gone ahead, or if it’s been successful if it has, but I think it should only go ahead and be successful if the mother is also calling for controls on immigration, rather than just criticising the government for their policy.

Hong Kong (when U.K.) and Dubai Examples

What’s this got to do with travelling you may ask. Well, I’ve stayed in a lot of dodgy places while travelling the world on a shoestring. I lived on the 16th floor of Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong for a few months in 1990, and we used to joke about what a death-trap it was renowned to be, and how we’d have no chance if there was a big fire. It was more of a hotel and shopping complex than just housing, but Grenfell reminded me of it.

Then after Grenfell, a similar housing skyscraper in Dubai went up in flames in a similar way, and there were no fatalities.

What was the difference between Dubai and Grenfell/Chungking? I don’t know for sure, but it seems to have been a properly planned construction without cutting costs. Dubai is a rich country anyway I think, but the United Arab Emirates also has a strict immigration policy, and weren’t even taking refugees from Syria the last I heard – compared to Europe taking millions.

Politics and construction should be about good planning and decisions, creating the best conditions for the most people possible with the money available, not just piling as many people as possible up in dangerous conditions – if things go wrong, the survivors are just likely to sue anyway, and need compensation, taking away even more public funds.

In contrast, the government has apparently been reluctant to compensate child victims of the grooming epidemic that was ignored for a decade or two, mostly under New Labour, who started off the era of mass-relatively-uncontrolled immigration.

Conclusion

The main point of this blog post has been to call for a proper government strategy to make sure there are no more skyscraper deaths like Grenfell. I think that means having strict rules on immigration and building, and not an anarchic system either on borders or in building – more like my writing career than my building one, as I was a bit of a headless chicken cowboy labourer there – which does sound a bit like my spontaneous prose coffilosophy I suppose, but I have learnt to structure and format it as well, and am proud of my book constructions.

I hope all the innocent and good victims of Grenfell get their lives back on track, and the mother of the asthma victim gets the justice she deserves, but I also want the best for my demographic, and think we’ve been overlooked and largely ignored all my life – from the attacks against the unions in my 1980s youth, through New Labour neglecting us, to the Con-Dem cuts and now being caught in the middle of Conservatives being more interested in cutting public spending and Corbynistas catering more for race and immigration than class and tradition.

 

 

Guns N’ Roses Song Remembered On The Road

I didn’t remember citing a Guns N’ Roses song in my diary travelling through the old Yugoslavia in 1987 until re-reading it recently, but was delighted to do so, after naming my memoir of the journey: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller.

Living the Dream is sometimes a Nightmare

This page of the diary also shows that I have always preferred slim waify women, preferably blonde, or honey brunettes, considering a Samantha Fox lookalike fellow traveller a ‘bit overweight’. That’s because when I said the same after a ‘relationship’ with a similar looking woman went pear-shaped people just thought I was saying that.

It also shows that I have usually been too standoffish with women, and was usually happy to take the easier option of watching the view go by, or get drunk, than enter into a relationship, or take the necessary steps of courting to make that happen. That was down to good ol’ simple shyness or uncomfortableness, and one of the reasons I liked a drink.

It also features a meeting with an old man, that was as far as I know genuine. I didn’t try and visit him in Athens afterwards. The book does include some similar situations that were dodgy, in part featured because of the grooming situation I knew was going on in Britain and Europe, and as a general warning for youth about the dangers on the streets; as bands like Guns N’ Roses were also warning.

Warnings for youths about grooming were a constant during my decade of writing, and I also tried to do the same in (post) university and work. It was my goodbye present to youth, as I passed into middle-age; as seen in poems such as the fictional what could have been Professor Green / Plan B inspired Middle-Aged Memories.

Maybe I should still be trying to be a youth, as Lemmy of Motorhead seemed to be, and was loved for it, and as I’ve said before, the goldlilocks zone for women is still 21-40; but only if they want to be with me for me, and not gold-digging! But, to be truthful, I hanker more after mature sophisticated conversation than partying and debauchery; although it’s nice to have an occasional drink.

I’m sick of explaining everything I write, but then remember that my doctor and professor examiners didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do in my PhD. I was beyond them then; in my head and world anyway, and their perception of me; which I think was generally classist, and sexist where applicable.

It’s quite ironic that people were trying to retire me when I was in my early 30s, but now they wonder why I don’t want to go out on the town when I’m in my early 50s! C’est la vie!!

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Elite Traveller and Student, not Elite Soldier

While some people may object to me using the word ‘elite’ I use it specifically and deliberately. When I’ve done my marathons I’ve not objected to the best athletes, many from Africa and Asia, being called ‘elite’, or taking my place behind them at the start, so after becoming the ultimate in studentdom of becoming a PhD, and achieving my ambition to travel to all the continents as a low-budget traveller in the 1980s/1990s, I think I’m entitled to call myself elite in those two areas – you may disagree, and you are entitled to your opinion.

Warrior Soldier Mentality in Society

I grew up on war movies and westerns, boxing fiction and reality too, so I don’t know if the warrior – soldier part of my personality psychology is nature (there is apparently a warrior gene) or social cultural nurture, but I always had it from an early age.

I thought about joining the forces at times, but wanted to be a footballer most, and anyway had asthma. By my teens I’d rebelled against authority anyway, and probably would have been diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) now; as well as ADHD and bipolarity!?

By the end of my teens I’d worked out that it could get me into trouble, and I didn’t want to spend my time in prison, so I’ve been trying to avoid trouble as much as possible since. However, travelling tends to put you in situations where trouble is likely, as does moving to new areas. Not that all trouble hasn’t been my fault, and I know that drinking too much can cause me trouble, and turn me into a troublemaker.

Scumbags Should Accept Themselves for what they Are

One of the things I like about Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses is that when they were L.A. back streets lowlife scumbags they accepted what they were, and even introduced themselves as such. Some people just won’t accept it, and hide behind ‘political correctness’. If people are poor, vulnerable or disadvantaged they are probably entitled to think they are that way for that reason, but the richer are even less likely to accept they are at least sometimes scumbags; I think it is human for everybody to be a scumbag sometimes, even if it’s just looking down on others they view as scumbags.

I’m not trying to make myself out to be a hero, or remove any blame from myself. I’m quite happy to take blame when it’s my fault; as my books, writing and poetry show; but I’m not happy to take blame when it’s not my fault, and especially when it’s being put on me by scum people; and especially scum people who think they’re brilliant, and don’t accept any blame or recognise any negativity about themselves.

The biggest scum of those people were the lifelong friends and somebody I was supposed to be in a relationship with; followed by some of the people I met in uni and work when I moved. Over the last twenty years those personal issues have been a cloud over me; mirrored in society by the rise of Islamist terrorism and mostly Muslim child grooming, rape, torture and forced prostitution.

I feel sorry for any innocent Rohingyas and other ‘Muslims’, but I still remember the YAZIDIS are being kept as sex slaves by Muslims in the Middle-East, as part of the attempted genocide of them, as well as many other victims of Islamism across the world.

Some of those people have been in the ‘establishment’, and a part of my brain thinks they’re behind it all: bring in a ‘culture’ under Multicultural Fascism that is even more sexist and paedophilic than them to make themselves look better. However, it was New Labour that brought that in, and the extreme left is still ignoring it: John McDonnell was quick to call Grenfell institutional ‘murder’, but where was he during 20 years of institutional ‘rape’ of the white underclass?

Real Hero Soldiers and the Problem with the Counterculture

I watched a couple of documentaries recently that kind of had a couple of sides to my personality in it, on different sides of ‘mainstream’ and ‘counter’ culture; documentaries that explain my shift from more ‘counter’ to more ‘mainstream’.

Storyville’s Silk Road told the sad story of a naturist libertarian intellectual who tried to create a better counterculture online, but ended up creating a dark web place for child porn, and ordering punishments when robbed, and is now serving a life without parole sentence.

The second was a Booktalk discussion with Captain Jonny Mercer, whose book We Were Warriors told of his time in the British army, including service in Afghanistan. Mercer talked very greenYgreyly (remembering my beloved greenYgrey) about himself, the British army’s failings and how he views the Conservative party he’s now joined.

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I’m Still greenYgrey

I’m not joining the Conservative party, but probably agree with them more on most things than Corbyn’s Labour, apart from animal welfare and environmentalism – Corbyn’s Labour doesn’t add up on the latter anyway, as mass immigration obviously cancels out any green initiatives.

For those who think I’ve changed drastically, well, I think I’ve probably changed less than most people my age; it’s Britain and the world that’s changed more than me. When the Falklands War happened when I was a teenager I didn’t like Thatcher and the Conservatives, but supported the war, because we were attacked and were in the right.

I’m probably still trying to prove I can be as hard as a soldier, and sensitive as a libertarian!

I went to my first festival the same year, and took my first hallucinogenic. I still think hallucinogenics can bring benefits, and have seen holiday articles in the mainstream media where they are used in therapeutic retreats. However, any drugs, including alcohol, can also lead to dependency, and a steep decline in the health of individuals, including putting children at risk from groomers, so I’m cautious to recommend it.

Tom Cruise on Booze

I’ve tried to be cautious in what I write and recommend during the last decade, and perhaps too much. Tom Cruise and other actors don’t seem to worry if their amazingly impressive brave and athletic stunts lead those who watch their films into great risk taking, so why should I – although the monotheistic mainstream like to blame me for all the problems in the world anyway!

It’s up to you, as is taking part in extreme sport, or joining the forces. I can’t advise too much, and don’t expect you to take any notice anyway, or even to have reached the end of this extreme coffilosophy blog post! If you have, thanks, and have a nice day…!