songofcopper: (Pyjamafied)
Oh dear, having started again to say things here I am now becoming a Regular Nuisance, innit.

Anyway, I couldn’t NOT tell you about these gems. It’s not my intention to become some kind of news aggregator, but these items are quite irresistible.

File both under ‘You Absolutely Could Make These Up; In Fact, Someone Already Has’ - call it the opposite of ‘fake news’, this is more like Life Imitates Art.

First, this - a church service conducted in Polari: Church 'regret' as trainees hold service in gay slang

Think Julian and Sandy - it’s impossible to read this without hearing it in the accents of Kenneth Williams. And it’s rather difficult, as a 21st C. human, to decipher the full implications of such an occurrence. On the one hand, ‘queering the liturgy’ seems like a valid experiment. On the other, there might be a more relevant way to do that than invoking quaint old gay argot. But there again, perhaps it’s a pertinent comment on contemporary conditions: conducting a church service in the secret code that queer folks were obliged to use in order to hide in plain sight during more oppressive times does highlight the current predicament of gay clergy and churchgoers. The Church of England does not yet conduct same-gender marriage ceremonies, and though there are plenty of openly gay clergy, they are expected to refrain from marrying their partners and encouraged to keep their relationships platonic.

Anyway, everyone’s apologising like billy-o for the unfortunate incident. Whilst it’s easy to conclude that it may have been rather artless to address the Holy Spirit as ‘the Fantabulosa Fairy’ (yes, really!), some might feel that letting certain kinds of love go unacknowledged and uncelebrated is the greater sacrilege.

Secondly, how about this tattoo backstory: The man who sold his back to an art dealer

The gist of it is, Man has back tattooed by famous artist; work is sold to a collector; on man’s death, ownership of his hide will revert to said collector. The instant I read this I thought of Saki’s story ‘The Background’ - in that tale, a man’s back is tattooed by a renowned artist, the man fails to pay for the work and ownership of the piece (still attached to the man) is given to the town of Bergamo. Conflict ensues. I shall not spoil the ending in case you haven’t read the story before.

One other impressively Sakiesque point of interest: the real-life present-day artist who has decorated a human canvas is apparently well known for his controversial practice of tattooing live swine. Art fans can buy these works, which are delivered into their possession once the pigs have died of old age. Clearly, this raises all manner of ethical issues - not to mention practical queries. Considering that a pig is unlikely to enjoy being tattooed, presumably they must have to be sedated or anaesthetised in order to endure the experience. Couldn’t the artist avoid controversy (and porcine distress) by tattooing recently-deceased pigs instead? Or is the inconvenience to the pig of being drugged and decorated outweighed by the subsequent benefit of having a nice life and the opportunity to die of old age rather than ending up as sausages? Maybe it’s some kind of comment on farming standards or dietary morals - or just a modern outbreak of artistic decadence.
songofcopper: (neg)
Question: Must we automatically despise people for the wrongs they do? (You must, as always, supply your own value for 'wrongs'.)

On a related note, in referring to my own acts, I can no longer think of 'right' and 'wrong': only 'correct' and 'incorrect'. I find this makes useful contemplation much easier.

Further: people do like to say that if you're not supposed to do something, this makes it more attractive. But that is only true when there is some sort of circumscription - some proscription - for you to kick across. For example: no non-religious person is truly capable of blasphemy - and blasphemy, for a non-religious person, holds zero allure. Myself, I will not wear or use any religious symbol. I just will not. First, because they are not meaningful to me. Second, because offending against orthodoxy would itself be meaningless for me - it would be a completely pointless expression of... what? Poor manners? Thirdly, there can be no thrill in it. Nothing I could do with a crucifix could be anything other than... lame, and insincere.

I saw a young man in town today with 'Day of the Dead' iconography tattooed up his arms. Unwise of me perhaps to adjudge him un-Mexican in the extreme, based only on his appearance, but he did look terribly English, and those sugar skulls are excessively fashionable these days. I had to wonder whether he'd chosen the device for spiritual (anthropological?) reasons, or just because it looked nice. We have a phrase for that nowadays - 'cultural appropriation'. Fair enough. Personally I don't want to cluelessly ape the symbols of a culture I have not experienced. But then again, what cultural devices have I, that could be appropriated by others? It's disturbing to realise that you have nothing of the kind - no sacrilege is possible, no defilement.

No line there for another to cross, and no currency in crossing another's. Where, then, does desire originate? And how can I feel in the presence of another's trespass?

How very curious it is: with very few exceptions, the figures who interest me the most tend to be trespassers*. This, despite my own complete and utter harmlessness. I can even be somewhat clairvoyant here: being drawn to persons who appear fairly socially acceptable - admirable, even - at first scrutiny, but whose inner life is later revealed to plumb depths that would enrage, disgust or shock most nice folks. It should be pretty clear to you that I am not most nice folks. Well, I'm nice. But... I can condemn an act, but find it very hard indeed to condemn a whole human being.

Context-free, is what I often am. I have no home-context in which to situate my reckonings - no ground zero. In all things I'm a pair of scales that insists on balancing. The Devil's Advocate - or just on the fence? Except... there is no fence!

Often we 'go with the majority' rather than following Instinct. Context-free: at this point in the Lifelong Trek I don't find it helpful or comfortable to judge my actions based on how many people agree with me or would do the same as me - or how many would condemn me. Correct and incorrect are not to be arbitrated by others. Context-free.

Moral questions - ack. I must abstain from parsing them, being unequipped to do so. My only correct response to anything is to strive to be sincere and to be self-defined. I forget this occasionally, and want others' approval, forgetting that perhaps the onus is just as much on them to earn mine.


Today in the bookshop we were presented with a slim volume of verse (listen to me, 'a slim volume of verse'... stock phrases au-go-go!!) - translated from the Japanese, into German. I once passed a GCSE in German (I got a 'B') which enables me to pronounce it beautifully, whilst understanding something in the order of every ninth word. I stood there, making the correct mouth-noises, whilst my two friends - the one my Anglo-Saxonist colleague, the other our pop-culture-expert regular - tilted at translation, indulging in flights of lateral guesswork. If I do say so myself, it sounded very well, my recitation; but other than divining the poet's interest in cranes and cherry-blossom (to which the pen-and-ink illustrations conspired to clue us in), the meaning remained elusive. I rather prefer it that way, for once in my life.


Coda: I voted today, in the local elections; and the only honest (...honest!) choice was... the Green Party. I can't imagine they'll get in, despite my (...ha!) illustrious patronage. Once again I prove HARMLESS, and leave no mark behind me.


[*Post-scriptum: Case in point: I posted this on Facebook earlier:

"Did ya ever get the paranoid feeling that Salvador Dalí was following you...? I've been reading his novel, 'Hidden Faces' (no, no, his navel! His Magnificent Octopus! ...Baldrick must've been a surrealist!) and his 'Secret Life of Salvador Dalí'. The navel-octopus is pretty good; the 'Secret Life' (an autobiog - an autofiction?) is where it's at, though - it's just as you'd imagine it would be, only more coherent/clever/readable. Anyway, I turned up to the bookshop today to be confronted with the sight of Himself staring out from the cover of some exhibition catalogue, whilst beside it sat a general book on surrealism. Then some donations came in - a book about Ms. Gala's progress through the ranks (Eluard, Ernst, Dalí), and a huge book of colour reproductions of Dalí paintings. I suggest: The man loved notice so much he can still feel us looking at him! Even posthumously, he queues up to be admired, drawn to where the eyes are! May madness: mind your shadow, and don't leave your watch on the windowsill in the sun. :-)"

As Max Bialystock said, 'They find me... how do they find me?!' Well... sometimes, Clive, I find them.]


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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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