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“Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others” is a quote popularised by Churchill (although no-one knows its origin) – and in America and Britain it is currently STRUGGLING.

For America has the Trump Saga and Britain, the Brexit Fiasco.

So how did we arrive here? The answer to both is remarkably similar…

The Year Of Living Dangerously; between late 2015 and mid 2016, a series of high-profile terrorist atrocities on both sides of The Pond (San Bernadino, Orlando, Paris, Nice and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray) struck FEAR into both populations.

And as a result, in quick succession, they voted for two things that promised BORDER SECURITY; Trump and Leave (Europe). This despite the fact that virtually all such attacks are and were committed by CITIZENS.

But not wishing to appear RACIST, significant slices of both sets of voters told pollsters they were voting/had voted the other way. Thus when the (narrow) results came out, the people were SHOCKED (although this writer, having worked out what had happened with Brexit, actually PREDICTED the Trump result).

And now here we are; Trump’s rise has mirrored Hitler’s in thirties Germany – and Britain is standing on the edge of a CLIFF.

However, despite the World believing America has suddenly turned into a nation of nazis, statistics show around TWO THIRDS of their population are politically between the moderate left and moderate right, with only about a third being solid right – and just a SLIVER of those, HARD right.

And RELIABLE polls show most British people want to stay IN Europe. As do most members of the Labour (left) party and even a fair number of the Tories (right).

So given that both countries are democracies, how the f*** did these desperate states of affairs arise?

The answer, in both cases, is that democracy has been SUBVERTED.

The thing is, if a dozen students rent a house for communal living, they can sit in a circle once a week and discuss and vote on issues like where (if at all) in the house they can smoke and who does the dishes, mows the lawn, etc. But in a country with tens or hundreds of MILLIONS of people, that is clearly impractical.

Enter politics.

The idea is simple; individuals stand as representatives of their communities and post a manifesto – a declaration of their position on the major issues – and The People (one person one vote) decide whose politics most closely mirror their own.

But then it all turns to s***.

The representatives form PARTIES, while developing The SYSTEM. Then they gerrymander the voting regions to benefit themselves (Britain has effectively had just ONE party for over a CENTURY). And use dirty tricks to disenfranchise voters whom they wish to exclude from the process. Plus businessmen ply them with huge amounts of cash which they will want returned as FAVOURS. All of which will ultimately serve to SCREW The People.

However, the saddest thing of all is that despite the fact most people are POOR – therefore need LEFT-wing representatives to be in power – both America and Britain are currently ruled by RIGHT-wing governments. And it is THEY who are destroying both countries.

This is because ALL right-wing parties are well-practised in the art of DIVERSION; conning the voters into looking away from the important issues – and focussing on those that generate EMOTION.

And even though America has swung hard LEFT in the mid-term elections – their upper house, Supreme Court and Executive Branch (Trump) are all controlled by the RIGHT.

While Britain is only TALKING about a second referendum.

Leaving the citizens of both countries PRAYING that in America, Robert Mueller (or one of a SLEW of investigations) will eventually nail Trump – and in Britain, SENSE will prevail at the last minute.

But even if these things happen, it will take a LONG TIME for peace to return to the countries that bookend the Atlantic; if Trump is impeached, his base (followers) will likely REVOLT (which will be short, but bloody) and if that second referendum DOES happen and Remain wins, the repercussions will take YEARS to subside.

And all because of democracy…

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Otherwise known as Chuckles Da Berry, Mary Rhymes-With-Toilet and Auntie – which is also known as The British Broadcorping Castration. Mr Berry passed just last year, aged 90, while Mary S… sorry, Whitehouse croaked in 2001, aged 91 – and Auntie’s not too healthy these days.

First, Chuck…

Rock ‘N’ Roll music is an amalgam of several styles; Rhythm ‘N’ Blues (Chuck, plus Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc.) Jump-Jive (early Bill Haley) Boogie and Country Rock (AKA Rockabilly – Jerry Lee Lewis) – and Elvis was the glue that held them together.

But thanks to Fifties subjugation, artists like Chuck couldn’t get arrested (although he frequently got LITERALLY arrested, thanks to his liking for young girls and not paying tax). Hard to believe now, but “Johnny B. Goode” only reached number EIGHT stateside – and did ZIP in the UK.

Here is “School Days” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4ndnDjJzg8

Nevertheless, he soldiered on and in 1964, got his highest chart-placing thence far in the UK – number three – with a novelty number called “No Particular Place To Go” (essentially “School Days” with a new set of lyrics). However it only made number ten in the US – and so began Chuck’s love affair with the UK.

Here is THAT – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6OS_ItMGpc

And it was from a live, recorded concert there in 1972 that Chuck finally got his only number one hit – on BOTH sides of the Atlantic – “My Ding-A-Ling” – another novelty number, in a sing-along style.

Which is where Whitehouse comes in…

Constance Mary Whitehouse was a nasty, Christian-Right, self-appointed guardian of public morality who headed up an organisation called the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association.

As Mediawatch UK, this beacon of repression continues to this day – but back in the Sixties people had HEARD of it, thanks to the tabloid media’s obsession with the butterfly-bespectacled bigot who helmed it.

This was tragic, since it gave OXYGEN to what was essentially a rag-tag collection of retarded freedom-fighters (fighters AGAINST freedom). In fact some morons actually thought Whitehouse was a CENSOR; having POWER to BAN things she did not like (often having not SEEN them).

Whitehouse’s main target was the BBC – in particular, the satirical sitcom, “‘Til Death Us Do Part”. Penned by legendary writer (and barely-intelligible speaker) Johnny Speight, with character actor Warren Mitchell playing its patriarch Alf Garnett, the series ran in various forms from 1965-92, spawning an American spin-off (“All In The Family”) a stage show (“The Thoughts Of Chairman Alf”) and two movies.

However, both the actor and writer were constantly bedevilled by idiots who failed to see that the intended target of the show was working-class right-wing bigots. And it was they who would CONGRATULATE Warren for “telling it like it is” – so much so that he and Speight quit doing the show for a couple of years.

Anyhoo, Whitehouse finally met her MATCH with “My Ding-A-Ling” – which is here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMddte6yD2w

By 1972, Auntie was getting seriously TIRED of barmy battle-axe Mary Whitehouse. So when she demanded they stop playing Chuck’s opus, due to its “phallic” undertones, they told her NO. And given the nature of the live record – recorded in England, remember – the more she protested, the more ABSURD she looked.

Thus despite continuing to lead her pressure group until 1994 – little was heard of either it or her after 1972…

This time every year, I send a Christmas offering to all m’chums (there ARE no Winter Solstice records that I know of). Over the last decade, there have been old ones, new ones, sentimental ones and a few deeply SILLY ones.

This year, I have gone with a CLASSIC from exactly sixty years ago (1958, for the mathematically-challenged) and for the first time I decided to include YOU, my reader, in this number.

WordPress does not take music files (“security”) – so here’s the link to it on YouTube. Hopefully, it’ll WORK.

Chuckles Da Berry will now burst forth…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVu4c7dhDRE

Cornelius on… Brightness

When I was a lad, at Copleston High, I was in the “A” stream. In those days, there were four streams, A,B,C, and D – therefore, unless a kid Slipped Through The Cracks, it was a given that all the Mensans in our year were going to be in MY class.

But only much later did I apply to join Mensa. That was thanks to one Harold Gale; a savvy businessman who built Mensa UP from an Oxbridge egghead society – until later, when a prat named Clive Sinclair blew it back DOWN again. Anyhoo, aged forty-two, I passed the supervised IQ test with ONE point to spare.

At which point, a word about IQ; a score of one-forty-eight or better puts you into the Top Two Percentile. Thus I scored one-forty-nine.

Now, the top twenty-five percent of students (that “A” stream class) which comprised my class numbered around thirty-two – the whole year being about a hundred and twenty-five – so it does not take a mathematical genius to work out the average number that could have qualified for Mensa membership should have been two-and-a-half.

And tasteless jokes about Small People aside, this equates to two geniuses and a SCRAPE – which would probably be ME.

But who were the other two? Much later still, thanks to the Interweb, I discovered who ONE was – Horse (I do not know why he got called that; he did not have a long face – quite angelic in fact) – whom I now correspond with. But who was the other one?

Of course the number two-and-a-half is only STATISTICAL. And like the man said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” (Donald Trump was unknown in those days). Therefore there could reasonably be two or even three others – or maybe just me and Horse.

But that brings me (and not a moment too soon) to the POINT of this rambling; the kid – or kids – who matched us for smarts might well have chosen to stay INCOGNITO – Hide Their Lights Under A Bushel. And the reason is not hard to see.

Thing is, since humans ran around in bear-skins (or bare skins, if their region was HOT) they EVOLVED a tendency to give a HARD TIME to anyone they viewed as DIFFERENT. This was in order to keep the gene-pool PURE.

And even TODAY we still see this displayed as rampant racism, fear of the disabled, hatred of those with “unconventional” sexuality – and a deep suspicion of those blessed (and cursed) with a high IQ.

Far from worshipping high IQ-ers as gods, kids tend to ABUSE them.

Therefore, it is understandable said high IQ-ers often decide to stay under the radar, only emerging at the END of their schooling – to BLAST through their exams!

Despite having written a fun piece of FICTION about it – which you can find at https://maxtimetraveller.wordpress.com/ – time travel does not EXIST, because time ITSELF does not exist (outside of bureaucracy).

There is only NOW.

The future has not happened yet and while I can travel from Ipswich to Felixstowe – from Ipswich to the MOON, if I have a rocket – I cannot travel to the PAST as it, like time, ALSO does not exist.

It USED to – as a man of sixty-six summers, I recall a time when policemen rode bicycles, you could smoke in a pub and people actually believed that The System was designed to help the Individual.

Now, cops drive cars and pester motorists, half of Britain’s pubs have closed; you can smoke (and drink alcohol far cheaper) at home – and people realised the truth about The System when they discovered politicians are less than honest.

When the past was the PRESENT, it existed. I was THERE when the Beatles’ “She Loves You” dominated the chart for WEEKS – and nearly DIED, because of poor housing and clothing, in 1957.

And due to Victorian inventions, I know THEY existed, thanks to their early recording media.

Plus, scientists have demonstrated to my satisfaction that millions of years before that, DINOSAURS existed.

But any attempt to go back and VISIT these times is utterly DOOMED.

Oh, you can SEE the past; if you look at the Moon, you are seeing it as it was 1.345 seconds ago. The Sun? Eight minutes twenty. And since light travels at around one foot per nano-second, even the screen you are reading THIS on is in the past.

Of course, objects STRADDLE times. I have a record manafactured in 1895 and it still plays (although I’m guessing New York cornetist, Miss Alice Raymonde, has long since left us) but they are merely ICONS from the past.

You will note that I have not even mentioned all the obvious PROBLEMS with time travel; the chronoclasms and paradoxes (stop your Mum meeting your Dad and you won’t have been born, to stop them) plus the fact that we are not up to our arses in time-travellers.

I will leave those for others. I just wanted to point out that any would-be time-traveller is trying to reach somewhere that is simply NOT THERE.

The past is DEAD.

I cannot even go back to when I began this monograph…

THE PSYCHIATRIST

My name is Dr Holden McGroyne. Modesty prevents me from adding the letters that come after my name; suffice to say that I am a respected psychiatrist, specialising in regressive hypnosis, with a side-line in previous-life research.

I advertise for subjects in a number of psychic magazines and it was thus that I encountered Jenny Taylor. She reported that she had had a number of dreams, where she was a farmer’s wife called Betty Swollocks, in the nineteenth century.

And so we had a number of sessions, during which she revealed an extensive snapshot of rural life, some two hundred years ago.

She told me she intended to write a book about her recollections; which she did. She sent me a copy and I scanned it. It was quite good; written in a gentle, naïve fashion.

However, the events that would unfold a decade later caused me to reassess her case…

THE PRIEST

I am Father Walter Wallcarpeting, for forty years I have been the ordained minister for St Dwayne The Munificent, a small church in the borough of Sproughton.

The wooden building was originally built in 1793, replacing a similar one built in the late Middle Ages that had burned down. And last year, the same fate befell my church.

Once the fire had been extinguished, the local Fire Officer investigated the cause and declared it to have been faulty wiring in the roof.

The building was completely destroyed and therefore the time arrived for the debris to be cleared so that a third church could be built on the site (luckily, our fire insurance was paid up to date).

And it was while the workmen were pulling the detritus from the crypt that they made an extraordinary discovery. Buried under the rubble was a cabinet that had sat under a pile of junk and dust since long before my time at the church.

I know this to be a fact as it was situated under the light that hung over the bottom of the stairs. Thus I observed it every time I went down to the crypt.

But it was as the men carried it out that, somewhat charred by the fire, the aged piece of furniture finally fell apart, revealing a large metal box inside.

A local locksmith managed to pick the lock and with some effort, crack it open, revealing a number of ledgers. It turned out they were the parish records, running from 1793 to 1885, after which the local town council had taken charge of public records; births, marriages and deaths.

The box was water-proof (many ancient records become water damaged; apparently the priest then in charge decided that that fate would not befall his work) and as it happened, reasonably fire-proof too. The ledgers were singed, but completely readable.

A cub reporter who was at the scene wrote a piece in the local newspaper and in the fullness of time, I was visited by a genealogist who lived nearby. She asked if she could borrow the ledgers, as they might fill some gaps in her researches…

THE GENEALOGIST

My name is Marian Fitztightly. I have studied records of the Sproughton area for some twenty years and when I heard of the find at St Dwayne’s I hastened there tout sweet. The old priest was very kind and agreed to lend me the ledgers that had come to light following the fire at his church.

At first my findings were helpful, but routine. But then it happened.

Ten years earlier, I had read Jenny’s book. I did not believe in reincarnation, but my interest in the history of the local area made me curious enough to give it a look.

And as I scanned through the ledgers, certain familiar names began to pop up. Betty herself and others Jenny had mentioned in her book. Also there was Betty’s wedding to Mr Swollocks. And all of the dates were precisely as detailed in the book. A shiver ran through me.

Then another name surfaced. Chester Drorze. He was listed as a local property owner. And re-checking Jenny’s book, I read that a man called Drorze used to personally collect the rent for the Swollocks’ farmhouse every month. Jenny had described him as having acute curvature of the spine. Actually, she had less charitably called him a humpty-back.

I then searched the ledgers for medical records, but there were none. Further enquiries revealed that during the period in question, medical records were almost non-existent.

But another find was fascinating; it seems that around 1880, the church’s graveyard became full and the local council having opened a municipal one, no more burials had taken place there. Futhermore, the priest had decided that since the graveyard had become an eyesore, with a number of headstones having fallen over, he would have the stones stored and grass over the lot.

However, he had had the presence of mind to draw an accurate plan of the graveyard, listing all of its residents. This plan was enclosed in one of the ledgers. And it included Chester.

At this point, I returned to St Dwayne’s and spoke again with Father Walter. He showed me the headstones. They were piled up in an old, locked shed at the corner of the graveyard.

I then told him the whole story and asked him if I might check the graveyard to see if Chester indeed had had curvature of the spine.

Initially Father Walter balked at the suggestion of disinterring one of his graves, but I assured him this would be unnecessary. I had a cousin who owned a ground-penetrating radar device. It would not disturb a thing. Eventually Father Walter gave his permission.

And so it was that all interested parties gathered at the spot shown on the plan. The pictures the device generated clearly showed a skeleton with a distinctly curved spine.

This last piece of the jigsaw having dropped into place, I asked Jenny what she intended doing. She replied that now having all this new evidence, she would be re-issuing her book, this time expanded by the facts that had finally come to light…

JENNY TAYLOR

So I was driving home one afternoon and I spotted someone having a yard sale. I parked up and wandered over.

At first, I saw nothing of interest and was about to leave when I noticed a pile of dusty books. As I perused them, a woman came over and introduced herself. Long story short, she had lost her husband some months earlier and he having been something of a hoarder, she had decided to make some room by selling off his junk.

When I mentioned the books she replied that she wasn’t much of “a reader” and that having glanced at the spines and found nothing that was familiar, she would let me have the lot for five pounds. A little haggling later, we carried them over to my car and I departed with three pounds’ worth of books in my boot.

I had a friend who did interior design and these days, hard covers in reasonable condition sell by the foot. People like them in their dens. Even though they are rarely read, they make the owner look intelligent.

But before I handed them on, I decided to give them a look in case they contained something interesting.

The woman’s husband must have been a bore. The books were dreary. However, one drew my attention. It had nothing on its spine and proved to have been filled with blank pages. It was intended to be used as a journal and that was exactly what had happened.

The writer was a man called Dan D. Lyon, who had been Town Clerk of Sproughton beginning in 1825 and ending some time after 1877. And in his spare time, he had written an account of daily life in that borough between those years.

But what interested me was his writings concerning one Betty Swollocks.

Dan was clearly sweet on her at first sight, but she was a married woman and thus he never even spoke to her. However, over the years his initial interest became something of an obsession. After the first few pages of the book, nearly half the contents were just about her.

And his feelings for her enabled him to write a detailed account of the life and times of this woman.

Which in turn meant that over the next few weeks, I myself became somewhat obsessed by her too. But for entirely different reasons. The age she had lived in had been simpler, slower and more peaceful. And her life had reflected this; as opposed to my life, where every day seems like a struggle for survival.

So I began to daydream about her. And eventually, I decided to write her story.

But this presented a number of problems. Dan did not encounter Betty until a few years after her marriage. Being in charge of the borough records, he had included the dates of her birth and marriage in his account. However, of her life and times between her birth and when he came upon the scene, there was nothing.

Also, after 1877 the account abruptly stopped. Either Dan had died, retired or perhaps Betty had died or moved. Either way, the journal went no further.

Thus I could not write a complete biography of the woman. And in any case, who would buy it? Dan was no Samuel Pepys. And the woman was no Moll Flanders. It was just a gentle life lived in a gentle time. No bodice-ripper here.

At which point my story might have ended, had it not been for a magazine I found lying around a friend’s house. It was the Psychic News.

As I opened it, my friend said I could keep it. She had picked it up in the tube and had no time to finish it. I thanked her and later, perusing it, came across an advert from a shrink who specialised in regressive hypnosis. Dr McGroyne was looking for subjects who believed they had lived before and was offering low rates for anyone he found interesting.

It was a light-bulb moment.

I spent some time going over the events in Betty’s life that had been detailed in Dan’s journal. Then I made up a suitably idyllic childhood for her and committed it to memory. Finally, I decided the best way to avoid problems over her later life was to “give” her progressive Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, I could not refer to it as such, as neither the condition nor Alois were known in those times.

The next hurdle would be McGroyne himself. I had never been hypnotised before and thus had no idea how much control of my thoughts I would be able to hang on to. This was worrying, but in the event, I succeeded in getting Holden to put me in a “light” trance and managed to remain the master (mistress?) of my thought processes.

And so over the next few weeks, I managed to “download” all of the material I had gleaned about Betty from Dan’s account, plus the early back-story I had composed, while being suitably “vague” about her later life. First verbally, to the doctor, then in print, on my typewriter. 

I told McGroyne I intended writing a book about Betty, being careful not to suggest giving him credit. But I suspect any enthusiasm he might have had for a piece of the action evaporated when the book came out.

After receiving rejection slips from a number of publishers, I was eventually forced to self-publish. And despite a number of interviews on local TV and radio, the book barely sold enough copies to pay for the printing. But then, ten years later all that would change.

Not being a church-goer, I was barely aware of the fire at St Dwayne’s. The first I knew of my good fortune was when an excited call came from Marian Fitztightly, a local genealogist, who informed me of the finding of the church’s parish records. Therefore, I was there when the radar contraption showed the picture of old Humpty-Back’s skeleton.

The first thing I did upon returning home was to shred, burn and stir, then bin the ashes of Dan’s book.

Only I knew of the journal. The woman I’d bought it from was not “a reader” and clearly knew nothing about it. Marian, the genealogist and Father Walter were beyond reproach and were happy to swear I could have known nothing about the contents of those ledgers, or the medical abnormality of Chester Drorze. The ledgers had been buried in the crypt of St Dwayne’s since before I was born and there were no local medical records in those days.

The chances of those records having suddenly appeared ten years after my book was published had to be thousands to one against. And the chances of there being two unrelated accounts, millions to one. And yet there are thousands of millions of people in this world, so it would only be a statistical anomaly if every now and then a millions-to-one coincidence did not happen. And here was one that had.

This time, publishers courted me.

Signing with the most generous of them, I added a long and detailed introduction and epilogue to my original book, including all of the new irrefutable proof that the story was true.

So why am I giving the game away now? Well, having sold all current and future rights to the story for a princely sum, I have retired with my millions to an island in Micronesia, where no-one can touch me. And I figured the above would teach a number of lessons about life.

The main one being that nothing is necessarily as it appears…

(C) 2018 Dorian Stentorian  –  all characters and situations fictitious  –  all rights reserved

Guy Fawkes

…the fifth of November. Throw another Catholic on the bonfire. But not that nice Mr Colbert – we need him (although hopefully LESS, after tomorrow night).

Here’s the FULL text, from around 1870…

    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England’s overthrow.
    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James’s sake!
    If you won’t give me one,
    I’ll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!