Sunday, 30 December 2007

'The telltale signs of overindulgence...'

The following are some of the twenty questions compiled by Robert V Seliger at John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, to decide whether patients are alcoholic. The complete list is printed in today's Sunday Times, alongside an article investigating the government's latest figures on what it considers 'hazardous drinking.' A recent study, according to journalist Matt Rudd, defined 'harmful drinking as 50 or more units a week and was more common in poorer areas. But the greyer area of "hazardous drinking"- 22-50 units for men and 15-35 units for women- is where the leafier, pinot noirish parts of the country come in.' And it is just these people- 'middle-aged, middle-class drinkers drinking at home'- that the Minister of State for Public Health, Dawn Primarolo, has chosen to target in a new anti-drinking campaign intended to save billions for the NHS.

To investigate the practical effects of these new targets, the writer goes on a Morgan Spurlock-type mission over the space of four weeks: 'drinking at the upper range of 45 units a week to find out what (if anything) happened to my liver, my heart and various other organs.'

'It was a great surprise,' he writes, 'to find how easy it is to neck more than double the government maximum. One fairly tame weekend, a few glasses of midweek wine and a pub quiz and, bang, I'm a hazardous drinker. Without a single hangover.'

The results are rather surprising. 'Four weeks of what I think is civilised drinking did have an effect on my liver function. But none of the laboratory results was even close to being a problem... Having diligently measured my alcohol consumption over a month, I can now confirm that I must have been drinking not far off 40 units a week for the past 15 years. Yet, after only a few weeks off the sauce, my internal organs were fighting fit.'

Now have a look at the John Hopkins survey. Just as the government seems to want to turn us all into 'hazardous drinkers', so too, it seems, psychiatry wants as many of us as possible to believe we are 'in all likelihood an alcoholic.' Not that this develop should surprise us; it was in 1946 that the founding father of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, Major John Rawlings Reese, called for the creation of 'psychological shock troops' who, in the words of Jim Keith, 'would fan out... to engineer the future direction of society.' And since that time, the Institute has sought to apply what it describes as 'dynamic psychiatry' to as large a section of the population as possible. Is this 'survey' another manifestation of that dream? Come back on Tuesday morning and tell me how many of these questions do not apply to you.

Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

Do you find yourself in bad company or in a bad environment when drinking?

Do you drink alone?

Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?

Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

These are a small selection of the 20 questions asked. The smallprint advises that: 'If you have answered YES to three or more, you are in all likelihood an alcoholic.'

To which, what can I add, except: Happy Gregorian, everybody... Cheers!

'Sometimes I see
how the Brave New World arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives...'

Friday, 21 December 2007

'Elvis roots 'lead to Scotland'...'

'Elvis Presley's roots can be traced back to a village in Aberdeenshire, according to a Scottish author. Allan Morrison, from Greenock, said he had discovered that the musical icon's ancestors lived in Lonmay in the 1700s. Scotland was also the location for The King's only visit to the UK, a brief landing at Prestwick Airport in 1960.

Mr Morrison said the first Presley in America was a man called Andrew Presley who arrived in North Carolina in 1745. The 61-year-old said records showed that his father, also Andrew, married Elspeth Leg in Lonmay in 1713. The Presley roots in America could be traced right up to 1933, when Elvis's parents married. The singer was born two years later.

Most of the Presleys living in Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries were found in Aberdeenshire. They were based in Lonmay and the nearby villages of New Deer, Old Deer and Tarves. Morrison's book, The Presley Prophecy, covers the adventures of Andrew Presley during the Jacobite rebellion.

These roots were cemented this week by a visit to Edinburgh by Lisa Marie, Elvis's 39-year old daughter. Interestingly, all three of the Presley women: Priscilla, Lisa Marie and 18 year old Riley, flew into Britain for the Led Zeppelin reunion concert in Greenwich.'


For more on Elvis:

Monday, 17 December 2007

In the Waugh Zone

There was an interesting article in the Daily Mail on saturday, about novelist Evelyn Waugh. Well known, of course, for his brilliant and witty dissections of English life, it seems that the man was not without a much darker side. As his late son, Auberon Waugh, recalled:

'As a parent he reserved the right not just to deny affection to his children, but to advertise an acute and unqualified dislike of them... Whenever his children were around, he was liable to take his meals in the library, advancing no more complicated reason than that he was bored by our company... If it had been a joke, this undisguised dislike... would soon have worn pretty thin. Since it was plainly not a joke, it became a fact of life.'

Strangely, towards the end of his life, Waugh developed a most unusual hobby: having his teeth pulled out, without anaesthetic. 'The vulgar new school of literary biographer,' says Auberon Waugh, 'attributed it to some strain of sexual masochism, but I am not persuaded by this.' Interestingly, losing his teeth seemed to effect a spiritual change in him: 'Where before he had been gloomy, bad tempered and on occasions aggressive, he became benign and affectionate, but still his death lifted a great brooding awareness not only from Combe Florey- the Waugh family home in Somerset- but from the whole of existence.'

This 'great brooding' quality is well captured in the above photograph; which, so appropriately, sees the distinctly Crowley-like Waugh perched between two sphinxes. Describing this malevolent charisma, his son writes:

'His presence was overwhelming. He was a small man- scarcely five foot six- and only a writer, after all, but I have seen generals, and chancellors of the exchequer, six foot six and exuding self-importance from every pore, quail in front of him...' The same is captured in this portrait from his student days at Hertford College, Oxford, as found on Wikipedia.

Where did it come from? In my world, as I'm hoping some of you are starting to understand, charisma is a transdimensional construct. It's just one of the traces of the manipulating force I know as 'the Dagon.' Its 'purpose', if you like, is to anoint a guru, or saviour figure; who will leech as much energy from as many people as it can, on behalf of its alien overlords. Charisma- which is nothing other than heightened energy, chi or libido- is the 'technology' that achieves this hypnotic bind. It's the 'force' which attracts and compels others to itself.

This sort of anointing, however, first requires that an individual become 'illuminised'- i.e to participate in any or several of the many behaviours which permit the ingress of an overshadowing consciousness. As I explained in a recent article at Battling the Behemoth (here) one such vehicle is Catholicism: which, in its pristine, Babylonian form, was created for just this purpose. In Waugh's case there may well be factors which predate his conversion, which his deep love of the Tridentine litury- the name betrays its Atlantean roots- would have compounded. (Was Waugh one of those 'star people', illuminised from birth; despatched into form to effect- or reflect- some catalytic change? That would make him- like Prince Charles or Al Gore- more a sentient programme than a human being: as technology is now starting to acknowledge: click here.)

Whatever the truth of the matter, in this- as in so much else- I sense the invisible hand of the Dagon.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Musical Perambulations II

There was more rock and roll weirdness in the air this week. The big story, of course, was the relaunched Led Zeppelin- dubbed, with appropriate resonance, 'the mothership of all reunions' by Pete Pahides of The Times- who played their first concert in fifteen years at where else but the former Millenium Dome in Greenwich. (Now renamed the O2.) Regular readers of this blog will know that I have long sensed something powerful in the air around Greenwich; and not just because of its geographical status as 'the place where days begin and end.'

My intuition, this year alone, has been confirmed several times over: 'twas from Greenwich Royal Observatory that the Spice Girls announced their reunion tour back in June; in July, the National Maritime Museum (and thus, I believe, the Prime Meridian) was used as the starting line of the first official stage of the Tour de France. The borough, and the Dome, hosted Tutankhamen, in the first major exhibition of Pharaonic artefacts- outside Egypt- since the Boy King was unmasked in a televised occult ritual in November. (An exhibition which also spawned a pyramid in Hyde Park; and a 25ft-high statue of Anubis that sailed up the Thames- even, I believe, as far as Westminster- on October 1.) And in August I reported on the use of the Maritime Museum (MM) as a location in the movie, The Golden Compass- reviewed by Ellis Taylor here.

The Zeppelin reunion is as significant as all of these; not least for the fact that the anticipated world tour will forment a powerful new wave of interest in the band's guiding genius: Aleister Crowley. Indeed, several fans were filmed sporting the famous Crowley-inspired sigils, adopted by the individual band-members as personal emblems, which first appeared on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV. Peter Paphides, covering the event for The Times, seemed to discern some of this magic, when he described Jimmy Page- whose personal interest in occultism was the strongest- as 'dispensing power chords like an aged Thor lobbing down thunderbolts for kicks.' An interesting analogy, considering how recently we noted the prevalence of the Thor-inspired 'Sig Rune' in modern rock lore: in the iconography of KISS, most famously, but even (in modified form) on an album cover of one S P Morri-SS-ey.

About fifteen minutes in to the set, Paphides said, 'something of the devil seemed to get hold of them'; and that the 'volcanic fills' provided by drummer Jason Bonham confirmed 'there are some things that can be transmitted only through DNA.' A reference, of course, to Bonham's deceased father, the band's original drummer... but echoing themes we have alluded to here, particularly in this article from last month. And when the rhythm section was described as 'advancing like Martian tripods'- reinforcing the connection drawn here several times: between popular music and ET- I started wondering whether the journalist was channelling his copy from the same sphere as I do.

Marilyn Manson, he of the talismanic initials, was in London on December 6th, performing tracks from his Lewis Carroll-inspired new album 'EAT ME DRINK ME.' Allusions to the Wonderland mythos peppered the set, which included the anthem, Are You the Rabbit?'- written, presumably, for his (postponed) film project: Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll. About three days later, another MM, Matthew Murray, killed four people in two separate shootings in Denver, Colorado (home of the New World airport.) The principal target of Murray's rage- the Christian organisation, Youth With A Mission- had fallen out with him five years ago, following a fundraising concert in which Murray had elected to perform songs by Linkin Park... and Marilyn Manson. He was asked to leave the missionary training programme shortly afterwards.

Shades, perhaps, of the Lennon assassination? Mark David Chapman had ties to the YMCA, which CIA defector Philip Agee exposed as an agency front in his book, Inside the Company. And Lennon, and his assassination in particular, is back in the news again this week: following the British release of a film about his killer. (These links, predictably, are not explored.) Rather spookily, considering the recent events in Denver, Omaha, and Las Vegas, 'The Killing of John Lennon' is but one of three new films in which 'geeks with guns' play a significant part. (He Was A Quiet Man, starring Christian Slater; and You Kill Me, with Ben Kingsley as an alcoholic hitman, are the others.) This was in the same week that a lock of Lennon's hair was sold at auction in West Sussex for £24,000: a further indication of the religiosity that these and similar relics now attract.

And Killers of a different kind featured in a highly revealing interview given to Adrian Thrills of the Daily Mail: demonstrating that VALIS is just as likely to drop in to a rock star as a writer of science fiction or a Leicester-based cardiologist on vacation in Praia de Luz. Describing the lukewarm reaction to his second album, Sam's Town, the band's frontman Brandon Flowers says: 'Some people thought [the record] was self-indulgent... I don't know whether I regret it or not. I don't know if my lyrics were strong enough, but I felt a force guiding me. When I was writing When You Were Young, I felt a spirit over me. It was an album we needed to make.'

Very interesting indeed is the fact that Mr Flowers was born in the notorious programming centre of Las Vegas, Nevada... before moving to 'the tiny Mormon community of Nephi, Utah, when he was eight.' (Nephi is a popular name in Mormonism: deriving its status from the hero of the Book of Mormon, a scion of the House of David, who washes up on the shores of the New World around 600BC.) Interesting too is the name Flowers and Tana, his schoolteacher wife, have given their newly-born son, their first. Confirming once again the strange links between popular music, and the returning gods of the ancient world: Ammon.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Ziggurat City

The planned extension of the Tate Modern; note the dome of St Paul's in the background

This is the proposed design for the new Tate Modern gallery, to be built next door to the existing premises- the former Bankside Power Station, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The new building is described by Dalya Alberge of The Times as 'a futuristic, higgledy-piggledy glass structure that features huge blocks protruding from a ziggurat'; the famous stepped temples of Mesopotamia, believed to be the dwelling places of the gods. One of the largest of these structures, of which very little remains, was the Marduk ziggurat of Babylon: the Etemenanki. (So now you know where Mr Adachi gets that name from.)

The new Tate perpetuates a long tradition of rebuilding wonders, particularly in London. The famous SIS Building (at 85 Vauxhall Cross) is one of the most famous, whose ziggurat design has seen it dubbed Babylon-on-Thames by locals. Construction of that building finished in 1995; a few years later, in 2004, the city was 'graced' with a project of equal audacity: the Swiss Re tower, or The Gherkin. This latter-day Babel, designed by the ubiquitious Norman Foster- he of the Millenium Dome and the U2 Tower- glories in one of the most resonant postal address in the whole of London: 30 St Mary Axe. (He also designed the Hearst Tower in New York City.)

Of course, this tradition is hardly new; being merely the latest manifestation of a dream which is easily three hundred and fifty years old and doubtless much older: the quest for the New Jerusalem. Its British 'wing', in the eighteenth century, was centred on the 'Invisible College' of Gresham, Boyle, Newton and, in particular, Christopher Wren; who gave the capital the building which still, to this day, encapsulates that Zionist aspiration more perfectly than any other. This, of course, is St Paul's Cathedral; the very building whose famous dome (inspired by the Dome of the Rock) peers out silently from the artist's impression above. (Deliberately off-setting the towering 'phallus' of the old Bankside power station; which, since, its revamp as the Tate Modern in the late 1990s, has been crowned with a 'swiss light.')

Coincidence? Or a very specific illustration of the 'scarlet thread' which unites the old and the new? According to Rachel Campbell Johnston, the new building 'harks back to the cube: the fundamental abstract art form and the cornerstone of our modern aesthetic... [which] echoes the jumbled picture planes of Cubism; of such great founding modernists as Picasso or Braque or Gris.'

Thursday, 6 December 2007

New article...

... at Battling the Behemoth, exploring some of the connections between the murder of Meredith Kercher and the abduction of Madeleine McCann. (With particular reference to 'the Dagon' and the Serpent Cult.) Discuss.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Celebrity Nazis II

We first encountered the phenomenon of the 'celebrity nazi' back in September, when the much derided Victoria Beckham decided to compliment her pallid figure with a little grey number which seemed to pay tribute to the SS. And now, for the second time, the 'journalists' of the NME- whose symbiotic relationship with their quarry once saw the organ dubbed the New Morrissey Express- are trying to get the same mud to stick as was attempted fifteen years ago... with limited success. (Just for the record: I agree with every word he said.)

But whilst Morrissey is engulfed in a contrived storm of 'controversy', other artists can flirt with the iconography of the right and barely raise a murmur. The latest, least likely group to do so are the reformed Take That, whose comeback tour- which kicked off this week in Greenwich- has been described by John Aizlewood as 'part Nuremberg rally, part high school reunion.'

It demonstrates the law of decreasing returns that the last star to incorporate such candidly fascistic routines into his stage show was Marilyn Manson, whose 'Mechanical Animals'-era pomp and circumstance the TT boys have clearly been inspired by. When Manson did it, it provoked howls of outrage. Now, the public are so jaded, nobody notices.

'There's definitely ritual in music,' Manson said back then. 'It just depends if artists are smart enough to use it or not. Anything from a sporting event to a totalitarian rally to a rock concert has a lot of energy, which can be either chaotic or focused. When you focus it, it has a lot of power. A lot of people gave learned to do that over the years for evil purposes, whether it be Julius Caesar, Stalin or Hitler. Others, whether it be me, Madonna or Elvis Presley have used it for positive things.'

The symbol Manson paraded so prominently in those concerts was the international symbol for electricity; a clever decision by the singer, who could then claim- justifiably- that any offence generated was the result of significance falsely projected onto an entirely innocuous hieroglyph. Of course, Manson knew all too well its verisimilitude to the 'Sig Rune' popularised by the Austrian occultist Guido von List, one of the 18 so-called 'Armanen Runes' allegedly revealed following an 11 month state of temporary blindness after a cataract operation on both eyes in 1902. It was adopted by the SS in 1931; and the rock group KISS several years later- two of whose members are Jewish.

The resemblance is highly appropriate, because, in its early years, electricity was widely regarded as possessing occult properties, comparable to the workings of the Aether. Indeed, there is evidence that both its discovery and subsequent investiture were driven by occultism as much as by science; a matter to which we shall soon return. Theresa Duncan, the artist and reluctant conspiracist- who committed suicide earlier this year- was a student of the history of electricity in all its multi-faceted glory, as these surviving posts indicate. And interestingly enough, it was the same 'electrical rune'- or a variation of it- which the aforementioned Morrissey, used to ornament his 'Live in Earls Court' CD.