KEEPING YOU IN THE PICTURE

KEEPING YOU IN THE PICTURE

John Murray offers Bargain Online Fiction Tuition. Novels, stories and memoirs, all given detailed and precise criticism. He has published 10 novels and been longlisted for the Booker Prize, and won the Dylan Thomas Award for short stories. For more details contact john@writinginkythnos.com

SEX. Months back I argued that any piece I had put on these pages, if it had sexual references in the title, though at first it seemed a highly popular attraction, did not in the long run gather more views than an austere and even deadly earnest theme. I’m having to revise my opinion, as in the last week or so there have been an inordinate number of folk scrolling back through the archives to How To Have Sex When You Are 100, Peace, Quiet and Nakedness, How to Get a Young Wife, The Dear old Arse, Naked and Shamed, Prudes and Censors etc. Nothing wrong with that of course, for as a wise and elderly lady psychotherapist once said to me at a dinner party, and her hand was even chastely on my knee at the time, sex is a healthy activity and a strong sex drive is a healthy thing. Just for the record though, an anomalous number of followers out there have been reading the ancient post of The 2 Dogs of Kassos. Nice to know there are some truly dog-daft folk out there. Me too. Perhaps you know that the Bombay Parsees/ Iranian Zoroastrians believe the dog to be sacred, and you sometimes see photos of a bespectacled priest with a dog on a lead, beaming back at the camera. This is not the only reason why I very much admire this excellent monotheistic faith. Instead of interring or cremating their dead, they put them on elevated slabs called Towers of Silence and let handy birds of prey devour them. Some folk might find this reflection tasteless even gruesome, but to me (nearest and dearest, please take note) and it’s not just because I love birds, this seems the ideal way to go, as being either buried or burnt both seem highly unsavoury options.

ANIMAL PLANET PORNOGRAPHY. I wrote about this recently vis a vis the associated National Geographic Channel and their love of the salacious and plain perverse as applied to innocent animals. Today blaring away in the Glaros the AP surpassed itself, and gave a trailer entitled Blood Animals – Bred For the Kill. It showed  big cats of both sexes in various pens awaiting their slaughter at the hands of rich gobshite foreigners, mostly factory-produced rigid-jawed macho Yanks in ugly dark glasses, all interviewed to give their delightfully fuck the tearjerkers, the cats love the chase as much as we do, points of view. The writing on the entrance to this splendid enterprise was in Dutch, so I presume it is sited in South Africa. If you care about animals, one simple and painless thing to do is stop watching both of these ludicrous and frequently disgusting channels, and tell all your friends to do likewise.

THE VERY OLD. My Aunty Margo who I’ve previously mentioned, turned 97 in a Cumbrian care home 3 days ago. I received an emailed photo of the party, and she and my 73 year-old Aussie brother were smiling together at the camera. She was beautifully dressed, her hairdo immaculate, and she looked no more than 80, even though she is stone deaf, her eyesight isn’t brilliant, and she is not as fearlessly mobile as she used to be. Up until 2 years ago she was living alone in her own upstairs flat, lugging all her loaded dustbin bags down of a Wednesday night, and was so charismatic that she received more visitors every day than say Madonna or Cliff Richard. She had so many friends she would send out at least 100 Christmas cards, regardless of the massive outlay on stamps and cheery festive greetings. She would bake 5 Christmas cakes, and everyone knows what a finicky thing they can be, exact oven temperatures included, keeping only one for herself and a bachelor nephew, who always ate with her on Christmas Day. Her visitors, relatives, church friends, vicars from 50 years ago, were usually half or a third of her age, but they came to her needing her, more than she them. What I mean is because she was a charisma she held the floor, and by and large they listened enthralled. They also came for her remarkable homemade cakes and scones, and in my case she gave me full meals, usually a very nice bit of Marks and Spencer’s white fish, and for pudding would try to force 4 Wagon Wheels or 4 Kit Kats on me, which didn’t take much forcing of course.

Margo is an extremely devout Evangelical Christian whose only reading is her Daily Bread booklets with Bible verses expounded at length. Otherwise her sole recreation apart from talking to friends is to watch the TV news, during which quite rightly she falls fast asleep, snoring open mouthed at say reciprocally open mouthed George Osborne. She used to show me her vicar’s Newsletters and his sermons were exhortatory and uncompromising to the nth. It was all about Absolute Trust in the Redeemer and about Justification Through His Blood Alone. No one, not even a so called saint,  could count on their own deeds, however good, and we have all fallen short of the Ineffable Glory of God. This is the kind of thing fluty C of E vicars might preach about, but always soften it, and give their own sunny travesties, so that it ends up watered down beyond recognition. You may recall the conservative UK novelist AN Wilson (born 1950) at one point seemingly relented of his declared High Anglican convictions on the grounds that Christ’s teaching (‘love your enemies’ for one thing; ‘judge not that ye be judged’ for another) are so impossible, he can’t possibly have meant it, and that the Sermon on the Mount injunctions were more a kind of rhetorical extreme intended to shake us all up. Tell my Aunty Margo that, Andrew Norman Wilson. Eminent as you are, and she is no red-blooded socialist believe you me, I think she would not hesitate to give you a thick ear, and it would not be of the rhetorical kind.

 

 

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