Reasons to Be Cheerful. No. 376

Russia March 18th 2018. Now, before you go reaching for the sackcloth and the ashes, think of how very, VERY much  this is going to piss off Theresa May, and Boris Johnson, and Gavin “Spiderman” Williamson, and Andrew Marr, and Jonathan Freedland, and Mario Vargas Llosa (but not Henry Kissinger , alas; he’s unpissoffable). See? not all is Gloom & Doom. After all, anyone’s  gonna bring about Armageddon, it ain’t gon’ be Vlad the Impervious, innit, no matter what the Daily Mail says. And here’s an extra Reason to Be Cheerful: unlike with all those downed planes, Trump, Brexit, the Catalan Panto, chemical attacks, poisoned  has-been spooks and so on, this time we really, really can,  genuinely, legitimately and with concrete evidence on our tables, blame Russia for this. The Russians done it, your Honour! Life can be so sweet…:-)

And to keep the Ivans the Terribles company, here’s an imaginary  but stylish Mongolian Miss. She’s not afraid of overdoing it, is she?

Futile Memorials

Ciénaga Culture Dogs. Actually, in the original Ciénaga (Argentina) pattern that another fit of  “cultural appropriation” inspired this lot, they’re supposed to be llamas. But that’s neither here nor there. My beasties are dogs and that’s that. This family snap is for all the pre-Columbian cultures of South America that were wiped out, totally or nearly totally, over the centuries,  by successive waves of invaders, both foreign and domestic, but mostly foreign, from the Arawak to the Tehuelches. They are the ultimate non-Charlies and, as far as popular awareness is concerned, non-existent; that is, few people know they ever roamed the Earth and hunted and gathered and laughed and mused and made love and dreamed in the deep  forests and on the altiplanos and in the green valleys and all over the endless plains. I mean, when was the last time you saw a poster proclaiming “Je suis Mapuche!”? Just as I’m still waiting   for one screaming “Je suis Grenfell!” It’ll never cease to amaze me the infinite capacity of Crapitalism to pervert the course of reason and convince “the people” of the  righteousness of its actions, no matter how cruel, unthinking or repulsive, so that the colonization of South America, or the invasion of the North American West, or that of Iraq,  for that matter, were philanthropic, civilizing feats undertaken for the benefit of the ignoble savages that inhabited those places. Just like the enquiry into the Grenfell social cleansing* has resulted in a court   ruling that will see the owners of dwellings with dodgy, combustion-prone cladding, lumbered with thousands of pounds, as they have been deemed responsible for the removal of said shoddy materials and replacement with newer, safer ones (very possibly also of dubious efficacy). Really, if the creative inventiveness of our dear leaders could be directed towards the common good instead of the major benefit of the racketeers, this world would be a sodding Garden of Eden, forsooth!

*Have a shufti as these names:

DIY Guide to to Bewildered. I

Socratic Whirls. Real happiness, like true love, is in short supply these days. There’s a lot of ersatz geniality, frenetic joviality, spasmodically hysterical fun and veritable truckloads of prefabricated bliss, but not genuine, fulfilling, life-giving happiness. In part because it’s boycotted, when not actually demonized, by The Man’s Machine because it’s too subversive, and in part because people seem to have forgotten that this rare bird is not to be found in your 10,000 “friends” on the mind-numbing  FaceSoddingBook, or in 20,000 insipidly “inspirational” re-Twits, and even less in the 30,000 “Likes” on any (anti)social media platform. So, as a kind of public service, here are the Socratic Whirls with the first chapter of a kind of do-it-yourself guide to the bewildered hastily clobbered together with the Shoggoths, the Worms and other members of the Family. Enjoy.

And since Barbie is mentioned in the anti-list, here’s a bonus:

To paraphrase Adorno, you gotta laugh because there’s nothing to laugh about. 🙂

Futile Gestures

Vanitas Variation. Itches must be scratched. I’ve been itching for some time now to do a re-take of the old subject and my own previous version. Also, something with a Doomsday Clock in it. Another Vanitas seemed the perfect excuse.


Love Birds. Birds wrapped in a bubble of solipsistic love, in a Love Garden, observed with forensic amazement by another couple of birdies. Totally unrelated and certainly not intentionally, I nevertheless dedicate this ‘ere doodle to all the Spanish girls who have taken to the streets, blocked roads, disrupted public life and made a wonderful nuisance of themselves, today, 8th of March 2018, on International Women’s Day. Thus I break a personal tradition of never doing “Days”. Rules are made to be broken. Go for it, quillas! Tell ‘em what’s what! And remember the old song:

A kick in the groin

Can be quite detrimental

Karate is a girl’s best friend.

Another Obituary, Alas

Alien Altarpiece. I (from the Enigmatic Alien Cults series.)

In Memoriam. Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges”. 17 January 1942 – 22 February 2018

Last week another loved one, one of those I’ve never met but who had been with me from way, way back, climbed the cypress’ path, to put it with The Poet (Salvador Espriu). Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges” left the world of matter and passed on into legend and cartoon heaven. He left us, his devoted life-long buffs, desolate, bereft and deprived. He left a vast and wondrous legacy, however. His gently biting humour, his irreverence, his love of life and of  his beloved country  and its languages will live and linger for as long as there’s ink and paper or pixels and screens. Back then, even long before Spain transitioned from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Forges was there for us with his Blasillos and his Marianos and his Conchas, his funcionarios and chupatintas, his corrupt politicians and his shipwrecked chaps, and his multifarious army of characters, both human and animal, all of them invariably sporting spectacles (yes, even his sardines wore glasses). In them dark days, the natives of “clean and noble, cultured, rich, free, clever and happy”*countries had existentialist philosophers and Noam Chomsky. We  had Forges. On hindsight, and given that I never cared one fig for Sartre or his girlfriend, that Chomsky appears to have gone gaga, and that I’ve come to regard most Anglo-Saxons as a bunch of peasants, I’m so very grateful I was born where and when I was.

So, being a devout atheist yet feeling the need to formalize an expression of my grief, I betook myself to the shrine of the Great Un-Cognizable Celestial Auntie to pray for don Antonio’s subatomic particles. May they fare well and far, and fill the universe with their irrepressible joy, their kind-hearted sarcasm and their love. The pilgrimage was great fun and very educational, although most of the really juicy questions went unanswered, as I suspected they would. Like: is Auntie pregnant? If yes, who is the father of the fierce-looking maybe-baby that may or may not squat in her cryptic womb? Why are the two custodian FattyBumbums there? Have they taken to moonlighting as “security” to dodgy demiurges? And, most puzzling of all, why the scroll at Madamina’s feet bears a fragment of a poem by Joan Salvat-Papasseit? Never mind. It’s the thought that counts. And the willingness to ask the questions, especially the awkward ones.

Here’s a few links to the dearly departed stuff, mostly for the benefit of Spanish-speakers:

*Again, Salvador Espriu. Assaig de cántic en el temple

The Age of Unreason

Questions. Great big bubbles of unreason have appeared in the Continuum. Very big. Very bad. Very refractory. We’ve had to send for Toussaint, the bijou anti-hero, to come and distract them with deliberately futile attempts to reason with them as we despatch a mixed platoon of Shoggoths and Penguins to undermine the bubbles’ base of ops. (And nick their   reserves of Austrian chocolate while they’re at it. Waste not, want not, as we say in the Anti-Grid.) Scribe’s Note: The Shoggies don’t much care for fine chocolate -they prefer Smarties,the silly buggers- but the Penguins and I do. Deeply.

On a completely unrelated vein, I came across this line on Andy Weir’s Artemis. I liked it so much I thought I’d share it with you: “On a scale from one to ‘invade Russia in winter,’ how stupid is this plan?”

And to gladden the eye: Blues! Blues! I need blues! Gimme blues!

Watery Biznizz

Mermaid B&W. Here’s a lass who will never-everever need to add her name to any “#TimesApp” or “#MeToo!MeToo!” mob. She has her own interesting little ways of dealing with assholes. The baby Kraken keeps its musings to itself, unlike the philosophically inclined Black Sole, who is experiencing a fleeting spell of Noventayochismo*. (It’ll pass.)


Anti Antics

Anti-Valentine 2018. Love has always been a scarce commodity. I mean real love, not blind lust (nice though it is), or the nature-ordained and equally blind impulse to reproduce and care for any ensuing offspring (useful and pleasant as it may be), or greed (neither nice nor useful). Or sentimentality, ersatz romance, religious fervour, or any other of the socially implanted concepts that are peddled as love. One of our most un-favourite mawk-fest approaches so here we are again with our yearly anti-Valentine carnival. We shall NOT be told when or where or how or who to love! Nor shall be persuaded to buy red roses or Belgian chocolates. We do that all year ‘round if we feel like it. We dance where our hearts find us.   But we would entreat you to love your friends and loved ones, if you’re lucky enough to have any, also all year ‘round and to hell with invented traditions. Look after them and be good to one another. And spare a kind thought for them who don’t stand a chance of being loved, ever, either on February 14th or December 25th or any other time of the year: the Palestinians, the Australian Aborigines, the Yemeni, the Syrians, the Libyans, the murdered women the world over who will never be able to join the “timesup” herd because their time was cut short by some imbecile with a minute brain, a small dick and a massive ego.   The shindig is free for all, no booking needed. Usual times and places (you know the score by now). Goodie bags at the same dead drops as last year but contents to be a surprise. A free copy of Origins of the Family and a “Well Done Laurie Love!” badge to all attending. Free food, drink and shows. This year the Shoggoths have promised to surpass themselves in the spectacle department. As well as the Bach concerts and poetry recitals etc. they are offering a new variety of tableaux: neither vivant nor mourant, they call them tableaux zombie. They refuse to provide more details but, knowing them as I do, I can well imagine. I can’t wait. 🙂