(or, if in other languages, in Italic script)

 Student: Professor, why is there something rather than nothing?

Professor: (wearily) Even if there WAS nothing, you still wouldn’t be happy

Told as a first-person story in a TED talk, but I can’t remember which


There’s a lot more good music to be written in C major

                                                                       - Schönberg


I hate the word (Spirituality). I despise it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns

                                                           - Matt Dilahunty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb23xelI89Q – 5’45”


The demon of comparison is a very pretty demon but one of the most contagious. He does not attach himself to the strong – there is not much to be gained from them; but he likes to seduce the little ones. And his seductions are, for the little and weak ones, irresistible.

                                   Feodor Sologub – In Bondage, first page


What kind of mind would do something as useless as inventing ghosts and bribing them for good weather?

            - Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works, Chapter, 8, ‘The Meaning of Life’ P. 556


There are people so poor they only have money

                                                                       - César Calvo


Forgetting history, or even getting it wrong, is one of the key elements of building a nation

                        - Ernest Renan, quoted in ‘The Edge of the World’ by Michael Pye, P.19


If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.


                                                                       Proverbs, 27:14


"We're all looking for that one very very special person who can spare us the need to mix with everybody else" - Alain De Botton


(when challenged by Stephen Colbert to explain 'why there is something rather than nothing in fewer than ten words') –

'Words that make questions may not be questions at all'

Neil DeGrasse Tyson


An economics degree is a nine thousand dollar lobotomy

Quoted by economist Prof Steve Keen


A person is a person because of people

- Zulu proverb


Minus times minus equals plus
The reason why, we won't discuss

- Hilaire Belloc


"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong."

- Friedrich Nietzsche


"If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."

- Terence McKenna


Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one's attitude to any given set of circumstances

- Victor Frankl; From Death Camp to Existentialism, quoted in To Live Outside the Law, by Leaf Fielding, Ch 14, P. 200


A bad writer can become a good critic in the same way that an awful wine could make a good vinegar

- Francois Mauriac


The present contain all that there is; it is holy ground, for it is the past, and it is the future

- Alfred North Whitehead – Aims of Education, P.3, quoted in Fifty Major Thinkers on Education (Ed JA Palmer), P. 201


"We and our whole community of canons, recognizing that the wickedness of women is grater than all the other wickednesses of the world, and that there is no anger like that of women, and that the poison of asps and dragons is more curable and less dangerous to men than the familiarity of women, have unanimously decreed, for the safety of our bodies and goods that we will on no account receive any more sisters to the increase of our perdition, but will avoid them like poisonous animals"
- 12th Century Premonstratensian Abbot, quoted in 'The Perfect Heresy' by Stephen O'Shea, in Notes to Ch 3, P.40 (on P278)

Monotheism has an appealing philosophical neatness, but it leads... apparently... to clitorectomy, so you want to watch that one.
Terence McKenna - http://youtu.be/amUjyRM6bQo


You lean over my meaning's edge and feel
A dizziness of the things I have not said
- Trumbull Stickney (1874-1904)


"Twitter: the seething collective id"
- Suffolk Blue on Chelsea Chat forum, 2015-02-18


You can have all the bananas and water you want, but it means nothing if you've no one to share them with
- Count Arthur Strong (Steve Delaney - BBC episode broadcast 2015-02.17)


To the question: How Offended Are You? –
Never. In my life everything is no problem at all. If something offebnd me it teach me something and give me more power
- London Sikh interviewed for Scene and Heard by DZ Greene, Private Eye, 1385, P.17


Understanding is the apperception of patterns as such
- Alfred North Whitehead


It would be terrible for an actor to act the same way all the time. That's what they call a 'star'.
- Alan Watts – Stop Competing With Yourself 


More money has been spent trying to find something wrong with cannabis than any other vegetable material in human history, and what they have come up with is so pathetically thin that I am confident that it amounts to a clean bill of health for this stuff.
Terence McKenna - http://youtu.be/Z4jo0ofs5g4


I mix three kraters only for those who are wise:
One is for good health, which they drink first.
The second is for love and pleasure. The third is for sleep,
And when they have drunk it, those who are wise wander homewards
The fourth is no longer ours but belongs to arrogance. The fifth leads
to shouting. The sixth to a drunken revel. The seventh to black eyes.
The eighth to a summons. The ninth to bile. The tenth to madness,
in that it makes people throw things.
(advice on hom many bowls of wine ('kraters') to drink from;
Eubulus, Semele or Dionysius (Fragment 93)


These days you don't teach philosophy, you perform it. If Aristotle were alive today he'd have his own chat show.
Timothy Leary


Thoughts run deeper than language
Noam Chomsky


I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong – neither yet bread to the wise or riches to the men of understanding; nor yet favour to men of skill. But time and chance happeneth to them all
Ecclesiastes 9:11


Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord James dead' to people who never knew Lord James was alive
GK Chesterton


Who ever knew a tall man that was clever, a red-head that was faithful or a short man that was humble?
- Medieval English proverb


"My mother, from an early age, taught me that mourning is a two-year process at the least, that if it's done properly then you come out of that and you can pick up your life again"
- David Sherlock (on his partner Graham Chapman's death from cancer) quoted in Monty Python Autobiography, Ch 6, P.314.


"The wealth and knowledge and culture of the few do not constitute civilization"
- Wallace (quoted in The Faber Book of Exploration, intro to Part 5, P.575)


In my second year I quit working on the Chevrolet line. I worked nights and I said fuck this, I am never going to work for money ever again in my life. So I quit and I got a job in a children's theatre where I made sets, and painted myself green and played the ogre.

("En mi segundo año dejé de trabajar en la fábrica de Chevrolet. Trabajab de noche y me sije, que se joda esto, nunca voy a trabajar a cambio de dinero jamás en mi vida. Así que lo dejé, me apunté a un grupo de teatro para niños y hice los decorados, y me pinté de verde para hacer de ogro!)
- Terry Gilliam (Monty Python)

"To say that these men paid their shillings to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink."
- J.B. Priestley.

"Solitude, I reflected, is the one deep necessity of the human spirit to which adequate recognition is never given in our codes. It is looked upon as a discipline or a penance but hardly ever as the indispensable, pleasant ingredient it is to ordinary life, and from want of this recognition come half of our domestic troubles. The fear of an unbroken tete-a-tete for the rest of his life should, you would think, prevent any man from getting married. (Women are not so affected since they can usually be alone in their houses for most of the day if they wish.) Modern education ignores the need for solitude: hence a decline in religion, in poetry, in all the deeper affections of the spirit: a disease to be doing something always, as if one could never sit quietly and let the puppet show unroll itself before one: an inability to lose oneself in mystery and wonder while, like a wave lifting us into new seas, the history of the world develops around us"
- Freya Stark – The Valley of the Assassins, 1934 (quoted in The Faber Book of Exploration, Part 3, P.401)

"I climbed to the summit of the dune and lay peacefully in the sun, four hundred feet above the well. A craving for privacy is something which Bedu (the Bedouins) will never understand; something which they will always instinctively mistrust"
- Wilfred Thesiger (quoted in The Faber Book of Exploration, Part 3, P.203)


"They asking me of our custom, I said 'You are ground-sitters, but we sit high upon stools like the Turk'- - The legs of chair-sitters to hang all day they thought an insufferable fatigue".
Charles Montagu Doughty; Arabia Felix – Across the Empty Quarter of Arabia, 1932 (quoted in The Faber Book of Exploration, Part 3, P.363)


No laughter is sad and many tears are joyful
- Tom Stoppard (in 'Jumpers'?)


Sometimes, too, we went out in the rubber boat to look at ourselves by night. Coal-black seas towered up on all sides and a glittering myriad of tropical stars drew a faint reflection from plankton in the water. The world was simple, stars in the darkness. Whether it was 1947 B.C. or A.D. suddenly became of no significance. We lived, and that we felt with alert intensity. We realized that life had been full for men before the technical age also – indeed, fuller and richer in many ways than the life of modern man. Time and evolution somehow ceased to exist; all that was real and all that mattered were the same to-day as they had always been and would always be; up in the absolute common measure of history, endless unbroken darkness under a swarm of stars.
- Thor Heyerdahl quoted in The Faber Book of Exploration, Chapter 1, P.105


You can't use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have
- Maya Angelou


I don’t like it and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it

- Erwin Schrödinger on Quantum Mechanics


I would find it absolutely intolerable not to be able to blame somebody for all this
- Mark O'Brien (Believing Catholic, crippled by polio from the neck down, d. aged 49)


"One of the doctor's first duties is to educate the masses not to take medicine"
Sir William Osler


The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.
- Martin Luther King (Thought for the Day, BBC Radio 4, 27.03.14)


"We used to argue theology a lot. It's a great one for kids. You don't need any facts".

- Stephen Hawking's sister on their mutual childhood in the Bio-documentary 'Hawking'


We take slave drugs to make us work a lot and think little. An Irish coffee and a short. The perfect combination for slaves.

- Joseph M Fericgla


During an interview with Dan Baum, author of Smoke and Mirrors, Nixon's aide John Ehrlichman said, "Look, we understood we couldn't make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue for the Nixon White House that we couldn't resist it."

From 'Leaf Science', 2014.01.08


On contemporary pop. "The successful artists are completely narcissistic and self-referential. Every song is about them. They talk about themselves. They talk about what they have. They talk about what they're going to do to somebody else. They talk about what they're going to get. They talk about how much money they have... They're not telling you anything, there is no spirituality, there is no idea or concept."

Bob Casale of Devo (from obituary in The Guardian, Feb 19, 2014)



"Success is buried in the garden of failure"

- Unknown quoted by Graham Linehan in Chain reaction, BBC Radio 4, Jan 2014



"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so"  - Mark Twain



"Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, 'fertility cults,' we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as 'sterility cults."

Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman


Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."
~Frank Zappa


"Obedience is the knife that guts the will of man" - Joseph of Cupertino


89% of the world's peoples take very strong psychoactive substances, and in the other 11%, here we are in the West

- Joseph M Fericgla


Anyone who distinguishes between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either
- Marshall McLuhan


A Roman would lose a friend rather than give up the chance of making a good joke
- Quintilian (???)


"Se non è vero, è ben trovato"
- Italian proverb


"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones"

John Cage in an interview with Richard Kostelanetz, 1988


Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills
- Schopenhauer


Every bourgeois, in the heat of youth, if only for a day, has believed himself capable of immense passions, of heroic deeds; every solicitor carries inside him the ruins of a poet.
- Gustave Flaubert; Madame Bovary


If it's poetry, it's absolutely rubbish, my dear. Consider yourself, have you ever met a person who started talking in rhyme? And if we all started talking in rhyme, even at the order of the authorities, how much do you think we should say? Poetry's of no use, my dear.
Smerdyakov in The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Every cliché about India is true. So is the opposite.
- Manmohan Singh


"We perceive the world of objects as essentially separate from the world of minds, making it possible for us to envision soul-less bodies and bodiless souls" – Paul Bloom in The Atlantic magazine, 2005.
(This may) make it natural for us to accept the two central beliefs of many religions: an immaterial divinity is the ultimate cause of the physical world, and immortal souls temporarily control our bodies while we live and leave them behind as they die
Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow – Chapter 6, P. 77 (Norms, Surprises and Causes)


A single cockroach will completely wreck the appeal of a bowl of cherries but a cherry will do nothing for a bowl of cockroaches
- Paul Rozin, quoted in Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – Chapter 28 (Bad Events), P. 302


Caring for people often takes the form of concern for the quality of their stories, not their feelings
Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow – Chapter 36 (Life as a Story), P. 387


The biggest surprise was the emotional experience of time spent wth one's children which, for American women, was slightly less enjoyable than doing housework
Daniel Kahneman Thinking, Fast and Slow– Chapter 28 (Bad Events), P. 295


Call no man happy until he is dead
Aristotle – or Herodotus... or Solon ??? (Or Aeschylus or Sophocles)


Memories are all we get to keep from our experience of living, and the only perspective that we can adopt as we think about our lives is therefore that of a remembering self
Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow – Chapter 35 (Two Selves), P. 381


Hence, too, doubtless, is derived the scanty salary of teachers, who are to feel themselves repaid by the sacredness of their calling alone and to "renounce" all other enjoyments
- Max Stirner: Der Einzige und Sein Eigentum – (in 1846!!)


There is something terrible in the sacred love of country
- Leon de St Just


Happiness is having a family that is well-knit, generous, and in another country
- George Burns


He (Captain Percival) then took a bible and read something concerning David and Solomon – and observed that David was a bad man – he murdered many people, etc., but Solomon was a good man – he had a thousand wives. That was right. There was no harm in having many wives, and why did the chiefs speak of marriage? Solomon was not married, etc.
Hannah Holmes said to me a short time since that Captain Percival endeavoured to get here sister to live with him. He said he was married to a wife in America, but when he took a journey inland, he had another wife there. When he went to France, he had another there, and it would be good to have another – even herself – here.
Mutiny on the Globe; Thomas Ferrel Hefferman, Afterword, P. 200

It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine
- P G Wodehouse

The nightingale has a lyre of gold
The lark's is a clarion call
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute
But I love him best of all
Hindley, quoted in 'A Georgian Love Story' by Ernest Raymond

In the various situations I've found myself in, some have been marked by such a feeling of well-being that when I remember them I am affected as if I were still there. Not only do I recall the times, the places, and the people, but all the surrounding objects as well, the temperature of the air, its scent, its color, a certain local impression that can be felt only there, and the vivid memory of it carries me there all over again
Jean Jacques Rousseau; Confessions, quoted in Restless Genius by Leo Damrosch, Chapter 4, P.82


Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,

                                  From Adonais by Percy Bysshe Shelley


The Fitzwilliam lads had been unimpressed with the veganism of some of the Sheffield Class Warriors and decided to see if they were 'up for it'. One night coming back from the pub, they dressed up in stolen cop helmets and riot shields and stormed into the house the Sheffield mob were staying in. Armed with a vegetarian diet and baseball bats the Sheffield mob battered the fuck out of the first two 'cops' through the door. 'Fair do', they groaned, and the vegan 'weaklings' were well trusted from then on.
In reverse, Bristol Class War told us that a trip to South Wales by some Bristol anarchists had resulted in a withdrawal of support for the miners 'because they ate meat'.
                                                                                     Ian Bone; Bash the Rich, Chapter 25, Pp 213-214


The Goths in Ravenna knew how to shape sunlight

- Waldemar Januszczek, article on the Dark Ages in the Sunday Times, 25.11.12


Nationalism is the strange belief that one country is better than another because you happen to have been born there

- G B Shaw


No one ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the American public

        - ?? possibly the same source as the following:

It is a sad day for capitalism when you can not fire dwarves out of cannons in central park

- P T Barnum


As we walked out on the street, Yan said she could have made a fool of that waitress but thought she was pitiful. Unhappy people are dangerous, she said.

- Anchee Min – Red Azalea, Part 3 (P 205)


In 1965, Bukowski told fellow poet William Wantling: 'I only loved one woman and, unlike all the others, she was the only one who never demanded or asked for the spoken word of it. And even over her grave I said nothing, not even in my head. But the sunlight knew, and my shoelaces, and (illegible)'

From Barry Miles' biography – Charles Bukowski. Chapter 4 ('Crinking With Jane') P. 115


"Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others."

- Ambrose Bierce – From 'The Devil's Dictionary'


There is no one else like Pere Ubu. I went to a lecture by Brian Eno in the early 80's and someone asked him what he thought of Pere Ubu. Eno replied, "Someone has to do the dirty work". I love that

Posted by Moonlight 6654 on thread under Youtube vid of The Birdies are Singing


You did not eat all day. Are you all right? The Supervisor's voice rose in the corner. You only have one stomach – can you afford to abuse it? I said, I am afraid that I'm not feeling too well. He said, don't break your nerves, because it would not be worth it; no one really cares about what happens to you. Being egotistical is not a good idea. You can eat yourself up that way. He stood up and walked out the door.

- Anchee Min – Red Azalea, Part 3 (P 241)


All immature people assign blame

- Germaine Greer


Dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire

- GB Shaw


It always happens... the best performances are before the smallest audiences

- John Adams (on Youtube video of his violin concerto in 2001)


Critic to Sun Ra – My 8-year old daughter could have played that

Sun Ra´s response – Yea, but could she have written it?


It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice

- Chinese proverb


Creation is one hell of a marvelous miracle, as long as it lasts

- From "Charles Bukowski", by Barry Miles; Chapter 11, The Old Man and His Cats, P. 289


(when challenged by Stephen Colbert to explain ‘why there is something rather than nothing in fewer than ten words’) –

‘Words that make questions may not be questions at all’

            Neil DeGrasse Tyson




An economics degree is a nine thousand dollar lobotomy

                                   Quoted by economist Prof Steve Keen


A person is a person because of people

                                   - Zulu proverb


Minus times minus equals plus

The reason why, we won’t discuss

                                   - Hilaire Belloc


"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong."
Friedrich Nietzsche


"If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
Terence McKenna


Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude to any given set of circumstances

- Victor Frankl;  From Death Camp to Existentialism, quoted in To Live Outside the Law, by Leaf Fielding, Ch 14, P. 200


It is a sad day for capitalism when you can not fire dwarves out of cannons in central park

-       P T Barnum



Woman is like a threshing-floor pounded by (the man’s) many strokes and brought to heat while the grains are threshed inside her

                                                          - Hildegard of Bingen’s take on sex


We have a saying in Sweden; The operation was very good but the patient died

            - Swedish manager Erik Hamrén after 3-2 defeat to England in Euro 2012



Un grand sommeil noir
Tombe sur ma vie :
Dormez, tout espoir,
Dormez, toute envie !

Je ne vois plus rien,
Je perds la mémoire
Du mal et du bien...
O la triste histoire !

Je suis un berceau
Qu'une main balance
Au creux d'un caveau :
Silence, silence 


                           Paul Verlaine



‘There is no quicker way to health than to do without a doctor’

-       Petrarch



Generally speaking everybody is reactionary on subjects that he knows about

- Robert Conquest’s ‘First Law’


When I was ten or eleven I was one of the leading imaginary fighter pilots of my era

-       Kingsley Amis


Plato is dear to me, but dearer to me is the Truth

-       Aristotle


Any piece of human behaviour will seem absurd if described precisely enough

            Anthony Powell quoted by Kingsley Amis in The Comic Muse on BBC Radio


Even though she has zero kids and nothing to do all day, she is the laziest woman I’ve ever seen. Including my sister Doreena who never lifted a royal finger growing up because she had the heart defect that we later found out was a fly on the X-ray machine

                                               Kathleen Stockett; The Help, Chapter 3; P.48


Nothing could be more coarse or clumsy or ungracious thatn his outside. Two large prominent eyes rolled about to no purpose (for he was utterly short-sighted), a wide mouth, thick lips and inflated visage gave him the air of a blind trumpeter

                                                          Horace Walpole’s description of Lord North


If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee

-       Abraham Lincoln


The wit makes fun of other people. The satirist makes fun of the world. The humorist makes fun of himself

                                               - James Thurber


Kafka was so important that he even influenced the writers who preceded him

                                                          - J.L. Borges


Friends are the ones who have left when the others are putting their coats on

                                   - Alex Ferguson (citado en ‘Filosofía Hoy’ 12 !)


Ars est celare artem

                                   - Horace


Middle-aged people can be divided into three classes; those who are still young, those who have forgotten they were young and those who were never young

- Lord Dawson of Penn, quoted in ‘Royal Poxes and Potions’ by Raymond lamont Brown


Labour MP Dennis Skinner was warned by the Speaker for saying “Half of the Opposition are liars”. He asked forgiveness and said “Half of the Opposition are not liars”.

El miembro de parlamento laborista Dennis Skinner, avisado por el Speaker después de haber dicho “La mitad del partido en oposición son mentirosos”, se corrigió diciendo “La mitad del partido en oposición no son mentirosos”,



Leap and the net will appear –

-       Zen Koan


“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.”                                                                   - Winston Churchill


If you can cook and play an instrument, you’ll never want for work

-       I can’t remember which English anarchist writer


“There must be less to life than this”

Francis Wyndham’s criticism of a heavyweight Angela Carter novel


Sometimes I don’t have time to wait for someone to compose the music I want to play

                                   - Derek Bailey, improvising guitarist


Leap and the net will appear

-       Zen koan


It is too late to alter the fact and regret is a fool’s emotion

            - Herbert Badgery in “Illiewhacker” by Peter Carey, Book 1, Ch 16 (P.43)

"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up"

-       Mohammed Ali


The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.
                                                                                                                                          H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“People who take themselves very seriously make me giggle, unless they're pointing a weapon at me or my loved ones"

                                                          - Peter Blegvad



Man is the measure of all things

-       Protagoras


When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around, but when I got to be 21, I was amazed at how much he had learnt in seven years.

                                                                                        - Mark Twain



No wonder either that (Adémar) should have noted with particular alarm how the heretics, even as they preached their pestilential doctrines in the woods and villages beyond the walls of his monastery, sought to set themselves apart from the common sinful run of humanity - One eccentricity in particular stood out: their vegetarianism. Indeed, a repugnance for eating meat appeared a characteristic of heretics wherever they were found. In Saxony, for instance, suspicions would immediately be aroused if a peasant showed himself reluctant to kill a chicken – for squeamishness had come to be regarded as a certain symptom of heresy. So too, in France, had ‘a pale complexion’: the inevitable consequence of only ever nibbling on turnips. In Milan, the archbishop himself stepped in to try to persuade a group of heretics, a countess among them, that it was no sin to be a carnivore – bit in vain. Back came the defiant reply: ‘We do not eat meat’.

            Here, in this bold statement, was something more than merely the articulation of a dietary fad. For if it were true, as all the signs suggested, that the end time was fast approaching, and the New Jerusalem about to descend, then how better could humanity prepare itself, the heretics appear to have concluded, than by aspiring to a literally fleshless state? To fast – in if not to fast, to subsist on vegetables – was the closest that a mortal could hope to come to the incorporeal state of an angel. Well might this serve to make a bishop nervous - for what role did it leave to him?

(The monks of Cluny) too conceived of themselves as beings set apart from the polluted world of flesh and dirt and sin; and they too, as befitted soldiers of God, did not eat meat. Any monk who presumed to break this prohibition, so Abbot Odo had warned, would find himself choking on the offending morsel to death

            Tom Holland – Millennium – Chapter 5, Apocalypse Postponed, P. 264




“I am dying beyond my means” and “Either that wallpaper goes or I do”

-       said to be Oscar Wilde’s last words


It's almost like a personality disorder you can do as a job”

                                   - Jimmy Carr on being a stand-up




Buddhists do not bow their head before any idol, reasoning that the primordial Being penetrates the whole of nature and, consequently, their heads

- Schopenhauer: Footnote (to 145; Paragraph 13) of Fragments from the History of Philosophy



Leave the ways that are making you be what you really don’t want to be;

Leave the ways that are making you love what you really don’t want to love.

                                               - Nick Drake, form the lyrics to “River Man”.


“It was a silly, harmless, accurate song of praise… (there is a) fear of offending Christians, a small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way”

            - Tim Minchin explaining his banned Xmas song (Daily Telegraph, 23/12/11)


To be old is to have more memories than projects

           - Risto Mejide


If you can’t beat them, have them beaten



Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They be Angels in Disguise

                                                                      - WB Yeats


We should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
                                                          - Nietzsche


Art is anything you can get away with

                                               - Marshall McLuhan



- Metternich (on hearing of the death of Talleyrand): “I wonder what he meant by that”.


That was the moment I began to understand that you can’t remember sex. You can remember the fact of it and recall the setting, and even the details, but the sex of sex cannot be remembered, the substantive truth of it, it is by nature self-erasing, you can remember its anatomy and be left with a judgment as to the degree of your liking of it, but whatever it is as a splurge of being, as a loss, as a change of the conviction of love stopping your heart like your execution, there is no memory of it in the brain, only the deduction that it happened, and that time passed, leaving you with a silhouette that you ant to fill again

                                   - EL Doctorow – Billy Bathgate, P. 226


A liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested

                                                          - Tom Wolfe – Bonfire of the Vanities


I like to start every day off with a smile… get it over with

                                                          - WC Fields


I was walking home and a builder working on a roof with a hammer called me a paranoid little weirdo – he tapped it out in Morse code

                                                                      - Emo Phillips


What’s the time? (the reply to be said in a gruff voice) Ten to six… roughly speaking

                                                          - Ted Chippington


What was he going to do about his trousers? … his only other trousers were so stained with food and beer that they would, if worn on the stage to indicate squalor and penury, be considered ridiculously overdone.

                                               - Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim, Chapter 18, P.129


‘Today’, he said, ‘more than ever before, man had to learn to live without things. Things filled men with fear: the more things they had, the more they had to fear. Things had a way of riveting themselves onto the soul and then telling the soul hat to do’.

                                   - Bruce Chatwin - Father Terence in The Songlines, P. 71


Dan Quayle is more stupid than Ronal Reagan put together

                                                                      - (?)


Anxiety, as any psychoanalyst will tell you, on payment of a large fee, is caused by depression. And depression, as the same psychoanalyst will tell you on subsequent visit, and for an even larger fee, is caused by anxiety.

                                                          - Truman Capote


It is more possible to life affirmatively if one finds the sound of one’s environment beautiful

                                                          - John Cage on BBC Radio 3, 18/10/90


I feel a bit ill today. I ate a tin of dogfood for a bet. I lost the bet as well… I bet I wouldn’t eat it.

                                               - Stephen Redmond


I said ‘a line will take us hours maybe;

Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,

Our stitching and unstitching has been naught

                                               - WB Yeats – Adam’s Curse


Possibly the hardest time in anyone’s life is when you have to kill a loved one because they’re the devil

                                                          - Emo Phillips


Life is a tragedy for the man who feels, a comedy for the man who thinks

-       Horace Walpole


‘There’s this, too’ said Shanahan, ‘that you have to remember the man in th street. I may understand you. Mr Lamont may understand you, Mr Furniskey may understand you – but the man in the street? Oh, by God, you have to go very very slow if you want him to follow you. A snail would be too fast for him. A snail could give him yards’.

                                   - Flann O’Brien – At Swim-Two-Birds, P. 169


“Come again when you can’t stay so long”

                                                          - Walter Sickert to a departing guest


When he does smile, he looks like he’s just evicted a widow – (?)


When asked his opinion of Welsh nationalism, Mr Thomas replied in three words, two of which were “Welsh nationalism”

                                   - From a newspaper (The Times?) interview with Dylan Thomas


I hated pity and too early in life I had learned that pity and scorn had an attraction for each other

                                   - Esther Hautzig – The Endless Steppe


Mick Jagger looks like a parody of a majorette girl and Fred Astaire – (?)


Poeta Fit Non Nascitur

“… for first you write a sentence

And then you shop it small;

Then mix the bits and sort them out

Just as they chance to fall.

The order of the phrases makes

No difference at all.

Next, when you are describing

A shape, or sound, or tint:

Don’t state the matter plainly

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things

With a sort of mental squint”.

“For instance, if I wished, sir,

Of mutton pies to tell,

Should I say ‘dreams of fleecy flocks’

Pent in a wheaten cell’?”

“Why, yes”, the old man said, “that phrase

Would answer very well”.

                                               Lewis Carroll


Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right

                                                           - Ricky Gervais, interviewed on Radio 4, 29/11/11


Let me not to the marriage of two minds

Admit impediments, love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds

Or bends with the remover to remove

-       Shakespeare – Sonnets



One celebrated Abbot from the Low Countries, Poppo of Stablo, was especially admired for beating himself on the chest with a jagged stone whenever he had a spare moment, and for never smiling. Monks who found themselves subjected to Poppo’s disciplines perhaps not surprisingly tended to loathe him – but a succession of emperors stood in awe of his austerity. So it was, for instance, that when he announced himself appalled by a craze among the young daredevils of the court for covering themselves with honey and then allowing a ravenous bear to lick them clean, Henry II promptly and contritely banned it.

Tom Holland – Millennium – Chapter 5, Apocalypse Postponed, P. 260




One is born worthy of trust, with an open face and steady eyes and remains such for life. He who is born contorted and lax remains that way: he who lies to you at six lies to you at sixteen and sixty

                                   - Premio Levi – The Peirodic Table, P.202 (Silver)


She looks like a Barbie doll that’s been whittled at by a malicious brother – (?)


The rain it raineth every day

On the just and unjust fellah

But on the just it raineth more

The unjust hath the just’s umbrella

                                               - Proverb


Teachers are by definition elitist despots. ..

It is the very dignity of a human being to make of his privacy an absolutely-charged inwardness, a room inside oneself… We live in a time when none of us knows whether they won’t come knocking at the door one night. They can’t destroy you if you carry an inner ballast – the things you love inside yourself… To be able to be alone with yourself… and you have that aloneness filled with the things you love is to have grown a little bit towards the dignity of freedom. Nothing is more terrible than that twenty hours a day of TV, the valium, the aspirin against boredom, the noise against boredom lest you hear the silence in yourself which our education is breeding, which our education is breeding… (paraphrasing Pascal*) “What is the object of being a mature human being? To sit quietly on a chair in an empty room” – there’s something terribly wrong with a culture which is now inebriate with the need of noise and of constant gregariousness

                                               Excerpts form a radio 4 interview with George Steiner


* »Tout le trouble du mond vient de ce qu’on ne sait pas rester seul dans sa chambre »


Wagner’s music is better than it sounds – (?)



-       What do you get an hour?

-       For playing we get ten dollars an hour

-       What do you get for not playing?

-       Twelve dollars an hour. Now for rehearsing we make a special rate: fifteen dollars an hour

-       What do you get for not rehearsing?

-       You couldn’t afford it. You see, if we don’t rehearse we don’t play. And if we don’t play, that runs into money

The Marx Brothers from the film Animal Crackers


Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.

                                                          FW Zappa


One could tell a man’s general character pretty accurately from the was he scrummed down. Nunn had never seen Macintosh, Goldwasser, Rowe or Riddle scrum down, but one could tell pretty well the way a man would scrum down from his general character

                                               - Michael Frayn – The Tin Man, Chapter 14


No one ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the American public

                                                                      - PT Barnum (??)


Dreams have been cast aside on the rubbish dump of our psyches… unless we begin again to tell fairytale and ghost stories at night before going to sleep, and recounting our dreams upon waking, nothing more is to be expected of western civilization

                                   - Jan Svankmajer


As the old farm saying goes; the secret of a good lay is a firm bottom

                       - Farmer captured on It’ll Be All Right On The Night


The word ‘intellectual’ has th4e same relationship to intelligence as the word ‘gents’ does to gentlemen.

                                               - GB Shaw


It is well known that weak logic often goes hand in hand with strong feelings

                                               - Oswald Hanfling


I would like to congratulate the Secretary of State for bringing down the unemployment figures. Will he now bring down the unemployment?

- Sir Iain Gilmour (Tory!) questioning the Tory government in the House of Commons


Wrong’d shall he live, insulted o’er, oppress’d

Who dares be less a villain than the rest

                                   - John Wilmot (Earl of Rochester) from A Satyre on Mankind


We hate scroungers on the dole and

We hat strikes except in Poland

                                   - from ‘The Free Press’ by Leon Rosselson


Total paranoia is total awareness

                                               - Charles Manson


As if the Rich were to blame for poverty and the poor were not in like manner responsible for riches! Is there another difference between the two than that of competence and incompetence, of the competent and incompetent? Wherei , prey, does the crime of the rich consist? “In their hard-heartedness”. But who then have maintained the poor? Who have cared for their nourishment? … But all of this does not satisfy you! Doubtless, then, they are to share with the poor. Now you are demanding that they shall abolish poverty. Aside from the point that there may hardly be any one of you who would act so, and this one would be a fool for it, do ask yourselves: why should the rich let go their fleeces and give up themselves thereby pursuing the advantage of the poor rather than their own?

                                               Max Stirner – The Ego and Its Own – P. 267


Marriage is a great institution, but I ain’t ready for an institution yet

                                   - Mae West


When I was sixteen, I could play Stairway to Heaven. Jimmy Page didn’t write it until he was twenty three. I think that says a lot

                                   - from Bad News Tour (The Comic Strip) (?) or Spinal Tap (?)


A truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the lies you can invent

                                   - Wm Blake


It is not a doctor’s job to foresee a time when there will be no sickness; it is a doctor’s job to fight sickness wherever he finds it. Don’t speak of absolutes. Don’t look forward to the stateless society. Look forward to living among men and women who will fight the evils of the state that have sorrowed their being, and whittle them away, iecemeal… bit… by… bit… by … bit

                                   - Axel Ney Hoch quoted in The Speakers by Heathcote Williams


First person – Einstein says we only use one third of our brains

Second person – What do we do with the other third?

                                   - Cartoon in Shell magazine (Reading University)


“I always thought our records were crap. We definitely succeeded on our visual appeal. It happened by chance. We were on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ and just did a routine to take the mickey out of The Shadows. Next week, it went to Number 3. We reckoned it must have been the dance , kicking our legs forward. So for the next record we did a routine kicking our legs back. And for the next, a little number with the legs going sideways. We, there’s only three ways you can kick your legs and we never had another hit”

-       Freddy Garrity (and the Dreamers?)


“I want my money back. They’re just playing exactly what they want”

                       - Customer leaving an Oxford Improvisers’ Co-op gig, disgusted


In any given set of circumstances, the proper course of action is determined by subsequent events                                                                             (?)


The difference between comfort and discomfort is often only a matter of inches

                                               - Pete Greet (some time in 1988)


Still, I don’t want to spoil your weekend, Fisher. Come in and see me first thing Monday morning when we may have to discuss legal proceedings

                                   - Shadrack in Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse


First, what is work? Work is of two kinds. The first is the moving of matter relative to its surroundings on or close to the earth’s surface. The second is telling people to do this. The first is unpleasant and badly-paid. The second is pleasant and highly-paid

                                                          - Bertrand Russell – In Praise of Idleness


Each generation laughs at the preceding fashion and slavishly follows the current one - (?)


When he cried “What the devil?” she made no reply

Up her mind and a dash for the door

                                               - Michael Flanders


(thus…) the landowner who has seized the land gets others to work it for his profit, leaving the worker with the bare necessities so that he can and will want to go on working – and the enslaved worker imagines that he could not live without the master, as if the latter had created the land and the forces of nature

                                               - Enrico Malatesta – Anarchy, Part 6


I don’t mind being called a crank. A crank is a small, simple inexpensive and efficient tool and it makes revolutions

                                   - EF Schumacher


What is once well done is done forever

                                   - Henry David Thoreau (‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’)


What is once done is done forever

                                   - Henry David Thoreau – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience


You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs, but by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men

                                               - Max Beerbohm – Zuleika Dobson, Chapter IX


Man at a party – I’m writing a book’

Peter Cook – Neither am I


Unhappy the land where heroes are needed

                                               - Bertoldt Brecht


“Anyway, I always say things taste nicer in smaller rooms”

            - Overheard snippet of conversation from ‘Quote…Unquote’, BBC Radio 4


The reason that music hall died out is because it was crap

                                               - Alexei Sayle


The nation’s morals are like its teeth. The more decayed they are, the more it hurts to touch them

                       GB Shaw – Introduction to ‘The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet’


One does not kill by anger, but by laughter.

Come, let us kill the spirit of gravity

                                                          - Nietzsche – Also Sprach Zarathustra


The young man says you are what you wear, wear well,

The old man says you are what you eat, eat well…

                                                          - Peter Gabriel (Selling England By The Pound)



Miss Prism: The good ended happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means

                                   - Oscar Wilde


Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair

                                   - George Burns


Ouspensky conceives the world of humanity as divided into three groups… the third group is that composed of people whose live are ascending. These people are those who are not hindered by their success in life. Nor are they hindered by repeated failure or increasing weakness or violence in the life, which so often characterizes the descending type.

            An ascending life connotes inward change – Unless there is capacity for such change, the life cannot change. People may be so fixed in life, so attached to their interests, sufferings, cares, anxieties, reputation, position, prestige, etc. that there is absolutely no possibility of inward change.

                                   - Maurice Nicoll - Living Time, P. 176


Not all good things are compatible

                                   - Isaiah Berlin


People can, with a little prodding in the right places, be persuaded to buy anything, eat anything, join anything, believe anything, vote for anybody or do anything you like to think of. In Britain today we persuade most people to spend their waking lives doing work they hate, spend most of their money on things they don’t need, rear children they don’t want and force them to acquire an education which is useless to them; live with women they’ve grown tired of, vote for politicians they know nothing about, respect people who sponge on them, help to enforce laws which rob them of what is rightfully theirs, give their faithful support to unions which tie their hands behind them and do all sorts of things you wouldn’t think possible…

We persuade people to swear by one particular brand of a dozen identical makes of cigarette, to favour passionately one of three negligibly differing political parties, we persuade them to worship one swindler and hate another, bow down to one layabout and spit on another, worship and obey one madman and lock up another, salute mass murderers and hang men who kill their wives and, in general simultaneously hold contradictory or diametrically opposing opinions about any human act, attitude or posture. People like yourself are allotted both the worst jobs and the least money, and are persuaded that that is the very quintessence of justice

Smallcreep and the Sales Manager, from Smallcreep’s Day by Peter Currell Brown


“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to join your revolution”

-       Emma Goldman


Daily human activity consist entirely of the movement of objects from one place to another

                                                          - Billie McCreedy


“Hollywood has colonized the European subconscious”

                                               - (?)


Threats of violence or economic sanction play a central role in holding the people in line, although as Weber very persuasively argues, the myth of legitimacy is also an important instrument of domination

                       - Robert Paul Wolff – In Defence of Anarchism – Part III. 2


“You can do whatever you want if you’re a bit of a mix-up”

- A bloke from Nottingham who we met while tripping one dawn at Stonehenge Free festival (1980?)


… all professional ideologies are high-minded. Hunters, for instance, would not dream of calling themselves the Butchers of the Woods; they prefer to call themselves the real friends of animals and Nature, just as businessmen uphold the principle of fair profit, nd the god that thieves also take for their own is the businessman’s god, that distinguished promoter of international concord, Mercury. So not much importance need be attached to the way an activity is mirrored in the consciousness of those who practice it.

- Robert Musil – The Man Without Qualities, Second Book, Part One, Chapter 72


The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth and have it discovered by accident

                                   - Charles Lamb


Lives of great men all remind us

We may make our lives sublime

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints in the sands of time

-       Longfellow


If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons

                                   - Samuel Johnson


Television is for appearing on, not looking at

                                               - Noel Coward


News is what a person who doesn’t care much about anything wants to read

-       Evelyn Waugh – Scoop


It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it

                                   GK Chesterton (who was catholic! And what’s ‘a good religion’?)


George Gershwin to Oscar Levant, while sharing a chatshow in the USA

- “Oscar, why don’t you play us a medley of your hit?”


‘Come, come’ said Tom’s father, ‘at your time of life

There’s no longer excuse for this playing the rake.

It is time that you should think, boy, of taking a wife’.

‘Why, so it is, father. Whose wife shall I take?’

                                   Thomas Moore – A Joke Versified


He that robs me of my purse steals trash

‘Tis something, nothing – ‘twas mine, ‘tis his

And shall be slave to thousands

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which makes him none the richer,

And makes me poorer yet

                                               - Shakespeare (Othello??)


It is a dangerous thing to allow one’s affections to centre too much in one person; for affection is always liable to be thwarted, and life itself is frail…

One learns to love all that is good with the same love – a love that knows of its existence and feels warmed to the world by that knowledge, but asks for no possession, for no private gain except the contemplation itself.

… Everyone who realizes at all what human life is must feel at some time the strange loneliness of every separate soul: loneliness makes a strange tie, and a growth of pity so warm as to be almost a compensation for what is lost

                                               - Bertrand Russell – Autobiography, Volume 1, P.168


Every step appears to be the unavoidable consequence of the preceding one, and in the end there beckons more and more clearly total annihilation

                                                                      - Einstein


It’s for a later period to Discovery the closer unifying laws that are already present in the works themselves. When this true conception of art is achieved then there will no longer be any possible distinction between science and inspired creation. The further one presses forward, the greater becomes the identity of everything, and finally we have the impression of being faced by a work, not of man, but of Nature

                                                                      - Anton Webern


There are a set of religious, or rather moral writers, who teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true

                                               - Henry Fielding – Tom Jones, Book XV, Chapter 1


Various people of high ability in the past have found themselves unable to extract a living from society                                  - Celia Green – Advice to Clever Children


People always think they’re in the world, but they never realize they are the world

                                               - Stockhausen (in Jonathan Colt’s book)


It is only at the approach of the fantastic, at the point where human reason loses its control, that the most profound emotion of the individual has the fullest opportunity to express itself

                                               - Luís Buñuel (??)


The essence of rhythm is the fusion of sameness and novelty; so that the whole never loses the essential unity of the pattern, while the parts exhibit the contrast arising from the novelty of their detail. A mere recurrence kills rhythm as surely as does a mere confusion of difference

                                               - AN Whitehead – Principles of Natural Knowledge


If you can’t comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable

                                   JK Galbraith


What doesn’t grow out of tradition is plagiarism

                                   - Eugenio D’Ors in ‘My Last Sigh’ by Luís Buñuel


Work is more fun than fun

                                               - Noel Coward


If it were not for the impractical characters, all the practical people would remain at the same dull stage of perpetual repetition

-       Alexander Herzen – My Past and Thoughts, Volume 1


Where the whole man is involved, there is no work. Work begins with the division of labour.

                                               - Marshall McLuhan – Understanding Media, P. 138


My Music is evidence of my soul’s will to live beyond my sperm’s grave

                                   Charlie Mingus – from his autobiography Beneath the Underdog


It is a queer World in which a Reich is considered to be mad, a Reagan, a Franco and a Nixon sane

                                   - AS Neil (from his autobiography Neil, Neil! Orange peel!)


Lack of time is always a poor excuse

                                                          - Arthur Koestler – Arrow in the Blue – P. 291


What is the hardest thing of all?

That which seems the easiest

For your eyes to see,

That which lies before your eyes

                                   - Goethe


I do not break my head very much about good ande vil, but I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience, most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all… If we are to talk of ethics, I subscribe ot a high ideal from which most of the human beings I have come across deport most lamentably.

                                   - Sigmund Frued – kletter to Pfister.


A person who does not concern himself with politics has already made the political Choice he is so anxious to spare himself. He is serving the ruling party

                                               Max Frisch – Sketchbook , 1946-49, P.233


Are you washing your hair?              No, I’m cleaning the sink with my head

Has your car broken down?              No, I’m having a shave on the fan belt

                                               - From Mad’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions”


When money changes hands it changes heads

You can’t beat a retreat

Love is that part of yourself you sell to the highest bidder

                       Random quotes from Alexis Q Harrod in the Muzak of the Spheres


No, don’t… it’ll make me conscious

                                               Frank Trundle of Dagenham (Reading, 1982)


When the public can’t understand a picture or a poem they conclude it is a bad picture or a bad poem. When they can’t understand the theory of relativity, they conclude (rightly) that their education has been insufficient. Consequently Einstein is honoured while the best painters are left to starve I their garrets.

The artist has to choose between being despised and being despisable.

In sex relations… not infrequently… there is a fundamental hostility. Each is trying not to give himself or herself away, each is preserving a fundamental loneliness, each remains intact and therefore unfruitful

                                               - Bertrand Russell, from “The Conquest of Happiness”


There are things I do not want to know. Wisdom sets a limit to knowledge.

In order to live one must evaluate.

Only as an aesthetic phenomenon is the world and the existence of man eternally justified.

I do not want to accuse. Let looking away be my only form of negation

                                                          - Nietzsche


How can someone who is warm understand someone who is cold?                                  -                   Alexander Solzhenitsyn – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich


General rules commonly extend beyond the principles on which they are founded                                                         - David Hume – Treatise on Human nature – P. 235


Never be afraid to let the field lie fallow

                                               - Roy Campbell


A dream is more often painful than happy

                                                          - Strindberg


To have done more hurt to a man than he is willing or able to expiate, inclineth the doer to hate the sufferer. For he must expect revenge or forgiveness – both of which are hateful

                                                          - Thomas Hobbes


Traditions, when vital, embody continuities of conflict

                                                          - Alisdair McIntyre – After Virtue, P.296


At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves

                                               - George Orwell (or the Buddha??)


- Is that you, Eccles?

- I don’t know. It’s too dark to see

                                               Spike Milligan (from the Goon Show Scripts)


I feel nostalgias for the present

                                               - Polish poet Woznoszcensky


You say there is no argument about matters of taste? All life is an argument about matters of taste

                                               - Nietzsche


Facts are conscripts in the armies of ideologies

                                   - Peter Singer


Not to be able to possess the beloved is not irony; but to be able to possess her all too easily so that she herself begs and prays to belong to you, and not to be able to get her: That is irony

                                                          - Kierkegaard, The Journals, 727


Self-ridicule is logically condemned to penultimacy

                                                          - Ryle – The Concept of Mind


… that mythical island whose inhabitants earned a precarious living by taking in each others’ washing.           

                                   - Lewis Carroll (in Sylvie and Bruno)


Life imitates art far more than art imitates life

                                               - Oscar Wilde


“When you say ‘hill’” the queen interrupted, “I could show you hills in comparison with which you’d call that a valley”

                       - Lewis Carroll – The Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass


It is no good trying to teach people who need to be taught

A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not

                                               - Two sayings from Aleister Crowley


“No, no, no, that’s exactly what I think and you’re wrong”.

- James Newcombe during a heated philosophical debate (Snobs and Bigots Evening; Cemetery Junction, reading, Berks. 7/12/82)


When the wise man is silent, bad… when the fool applauds; worse

-       Spanish proverb


Why, when I was your age I could believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast

                                   - Lewis Carroll (The Red Queen in ‘Through the Looking Glass’)


Garage owner in USA on being asked what is the average number of cars he fills up in a day

-       “Mister, the average varies”


Taxi driver to Stuart Lee, who had just given a list of historical reasons why we should be wary of idea that homosexuality is inherently unnatural and immoral

           - “Yeah, well… you can prove anything with facts”.


“Heaven” is eating paté de foie gras to the sound of trumpets

                                               - Sydney Smith



I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me; the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart

                                   - Jerome K Jerome – Three Men in a Boat


Life is full of promises, but then again so are fairgrounds

Most of the history of the world takes place inside people’s heads

I live most of my life upstairs

If it doesn’t make you happy, it’s no good. Which isn’t the same as saying that if it makes you happy it’s good!

There are safe bets but there are no guarantees

                                                          - Sayings of Alexis Q Harrod


A house without books is like a house without windows – No man has the right to bring up children without books to surround them

                                                          - HW Beecher



Religions are like glow-worms. They need darkness in order to shine. A certain degree of general ignorance is the condition for existence of any religion

                                               - Schopenhauer – Essays; Dialogue on religion


He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence

-       William Blake


To be free is nothing; to become free is heavenly

                                               - Fichte


The pathos of poses does not belong to greatness. Whoever needs poses at all is false. Beware of all picturesque men

                                               - Nietzsche – Ecce Homo


What a friend we have in cheese

                                               - Dame Edna Everage


I am not in favour of what you say but would defend to the death your right to say it

                                                                      - Voltaire


Lady visitor to exhibition (to Matisse) – Surely the arm of this woman is much too long

Matisse – Madam, you are mistaken. This is not a woman: it is a picture.


If your eyes were made of green glass, then nothing would be green

                       - (?) cited by R Harré in Principles of Scientific Theory


An adult knows how to love and how to work

                                               - Sigmund Freud


I have nothing to say and I am saying it

And that is poetry…

To have nothing is poetry

And it is and I am…

                                               - John Cage


I always said god was against art and I still believe it

                                               - Edward Elgar


The only subject of poetry is poetry itself and the wiritng of a poem is itself a theory of poetry

                                               - Wallace Stevens


Love and fear exhibit the same symptoms

-       Frederick Raphael


Writing with tonality today is like taking a bath in the same water that twenty other people have used previously

                                                          (?) Contemporary (= 1980s) Yugoslav composer


The mechanism of the market lures one to serve the wants of others but does not lure one to serve their highest capacities of their harmonious hierarchical development except insofar as others express their desire for this within the market

- Robert Nozick – Philosophical Explanations, P 514


The only thing that can overcome a desire is a stonger contrary desire

                                                          - Spinoza



In am 50 years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: “He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty”

                                   - Gustave Courbet


If you took all the economists in the world and laid them end to end they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion

                                                          GB Shaw


Father, oh father! What do we have

In this land of unbelief and fear?

The land of Dreams is better far

Above the Light of the Morning Star

                                               - William Blake


I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception

                                                          - Grouch Marx


Nonsense always arises from forming symbols analogous to certain uses in contexts where they have no use

                                   - Wittgenstein, quoted in GE Moore’s “Philosophical Papers


Well, you can’t satisfy everybody – especially if there are those who who will be dissatisfied unless not everybody is satisfied

                                               - Robert Nozick – Anarchy, State and Utopia, P.320


Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not

                                                          - JF Kennedy (‘s speech-writer)


Thinking is the best way to travel

                                   - The Moody Blues


Telegram from journalist to Cary Grant’s agent: HOW OLD CARY GRANT?

Cary Grant’s reply: OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?


Not to have a goal is a sign of great folly

                                              - Aristotle


To be without some of the things we aim at is an indispensable part of happiness

                                                          - Bertrand Russell


If our knees bent forwards we could hook our feet over our shoulders and roll everywhere

You can never be happier than anyone else. You can only be happy

My uncle would have been Bertrand Russell if they’d let him out of the asylum. Still… that’s why they put him in there

                       - memorable phrases from Mark Beckett (Reading University)


Do you know why god does not play dice with the universe? The universe cheats

I have never been able to adapt to the human form such that I can control my extremities.

                       - memorable phrases from Huw Jones (Reading University)


It is entirely unprecedented that nature should endow a species with an extremely complex luxury organ far exceeding its actual and immediate needs, which the species will take millennia to learn to put to proper use – if it ever does

                                               - Arthur Koestler – Sleepwalkers, P. 514



Jargon tends to make the unwelcome fact unstateable

                                               - Mary Midgeley – Beast and Man (P 88, Introduction)



Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but the sun shines on forever

                                                          - Rupert Hart Davis - Correspondence



The self is a fiction with which one eventually identifies

                                                          - Lacombe



To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown it all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is government. That is its justice. That is its morality.

PJ Proudhon – General Idea of Revolution in the Nineteenth Century – Tr: JR Robinson Pp 293-4


The last thing that we want to admit is that the forbidden fruit on which we have been gnawing since reaching the magic age of twenty-one is the same mealy Golden Delicious that we stuff into our children’s lunchboxes. The last thing we want to admit is that the bickering of the playground perfectly presages the machinations of the boardroom, that our social hierarchies are merely an extension of who got picked first for the kickball team, and that grown-ups still get divided into bullies and fatties and cry-babies. What’s a kid to find out?

                                   Lionel Shriver – We Need to Talk About Kevin - January 6, 2001


Beginning is more than half the whole task

                                   Proverb quoted by Aristotle in the ‘Nichomachaen Ethics’ Book 1


“You see, my dear Smallcreep – the product is always the same. That is just what the average dictator would require you to be, for all his brass bands and uniforms”. “But we aren’t forced to come here at bayonet-point” I said. “What dies it matter as long as you come? You hate your work and yet you do all the overtime I allow you to… On the other hand your actual output is very high, and that is a matter of efficient production methods which are not confined to democracies. In fact efficiency is one important characteristic of modern totalitarianism”. “The we live well” I said quite impatiently. “If you mean that you eat well, then I must agree, but that has nothing to do with democracy either, and pugs and horses eat well if their owners have any sense. If oyu are speaking, however, of the quality of your own lives, then I do not agree. You are as stultified as tinned sardines living in a dream world because your real world is so unfulfilling”…..


“I am sure that all these things are true” I said “but they only serve to strengthen my gratitude and comfort that we should have such a wise and far-seeing man as yourself in authority over this establishment, and I am sure that there is not one decent respectable man here who does not respect your authority”. “Save myself” said the manager, taking out a handkerchief and dabbing slowly at his eyes “for there, Smallcreep, you have hit upon the lowest piece of humbug of all. The simple truth is that there is no justification for the authority of one man over another which will stand up to the briefest examination. The whole idea of authority is humbug. I might be leading you all to Hell for all you know”.

            “Your authority comes from common consent” I said “Surely that is enough. You were put in this position of power because you are considered by us to be entirely honourable and supremely intelligent and can, therefore, be relied upon to act in the best possible way in any circumstances which may arise” I said, feeling sure that would cheer him up. Considered by you?” he said mockingly, raising his eyebrows. “If oyu are all too blind to see the way , how shall you judge if I can see it any better? If you could judge me then I should have no authority at all, because you would be as well able to see it as I was. The fact is that you do not know me, have never met me, would be incapable of assessing my qualities anyway. You do no more than vote for an agreeable face or image… Supposing that I was entirely honourable and supremely intelligent: both may serve the utmost evil… do you not understand that the idea of authority and the idea of individual conscience and responsibility cannot exist side by side in the same society, and that, in so far as you have given me authority to make moral decisions for you, you have denied the very principles by which you put me here? Do you not see that the instant I exert my authority on any one of you, I destroy the justification of consent? Authority by consent is a contradiction, without consent it is merely brute force”.

            I began to protest, but he exploded suddenly “Look at me, man” he shouted “… I am an old manwith a pot belly and a bent back. Toothless… have I supernatural powers? Am I immortal? Have I a jewel set in my forehead?”… The flesh of his face quivered and shivered in front of my eyes and his breath came in sobs. “Say nothing… of these things to anyone… If there are no justifications for my authority then it is necessary to invent some. I have told you too much, Smallcreep”. I assured him that I hadn’t really understood much of it anyway. “Anyway, it doesn’t concern me” I said. He seemed satisfied by this, let go of my throat and turned away.

                                                          Peter Currell Brown – Smallcreep’s Day


If there were no people in the world who were not interested in the universe, I should not have any views on the psychology of such people and the absence of such views would not impoverish my mental life… it is important that nothing should ever happen which might remind them (people) of their repressed drive to the infinite. For this reason, their ‘altruism’ breaks down whenever it is confronted by any person or event which reminds them of it

Celia Green – Advice to Clever Children – P. 86


In some countries it has been claimed that a citizen is not entitled to leave the country into which he has been born by chance. The meaning of this law is obviously: ‘this country is so bad and so badly governed that we forbid every individual to leave it, for fear that everybody leave it’

                                   - Voltaire – Philosophical Dictionary (“Égalité”)


Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as meaningless experiences go, it’s one of the best

                                               - Woody Allen


Wally Hope refused to shoot anyone with guns or drop bombs on anyone. He was imprisoned as he was a danger to society.

                                   Green Anarchist, January 1986


500 people are sitting dead quiet in an auditorium and are foolish enough to expose their brains to my powers of suggestion. Some revolt, but many will go away with my spores in their grey matter; they will go home pregnant with the seed of my soul, and they will breed my brood

                                   - Strindberg (Letter to Litmsansson, 14th July 1894)



Twenty folio volumes will never make a revolution. It is the little portable volumes of thirty sous that are to be feared. If the Gospel had cost a hundred sesterces, the Christian religion would never have been established          

                                               - Voltaire



Some people would never have been in love had they never heard love talked about

                                               - De La Rochefoucauld


‘A Resounding Tinkle’

                                   - Title of a play by NF Simpson


‘Don’t Cry, Darling, It’s Blood All Right’

                                   - Ogden Nash (Title of a book of poems for children)


“… is it conceivable that a man can have smoked as long as I have without discovering that thee is a complete system for the treatment of women at the bottom of his sigar case? Follow me carefully and I will prove it in two words. You choose a cigar, you try it and it disappoints you. What do you do upon that? You throw it away and try another one. Now observe the application. You choose a woman, you ty her and she breaks your heart. Fool! Take a lesson from your cigar case. Throw her away and try another”

            I shook my head at that. Wonderfully clever, I dare say, but my own experience was dead against it. “In the time of the late Mrs Betteredge” I said “I felt pretty often inclined to your philosophy, Mr Franklin. But the law insists on your smoking your cigar, sir, when you have once chosen it…”

                                   - Wilkie Collins – The Moonstone, P.170



He floats like a butterfly and stings like one

                                               - Brian Clough on Trevor Brooking


We were lucky to get nil

                       - Johnny Neal after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Rotherham (I was there)


Interviewer: Why do you have your hair so long?

Bob Dylan: So that it doesn’t get tangled round my brain


He has all the qualities of a great musician but lacks inexperience

                                                          - a critic writing about Saint Saens


We can do as we please but we can’t please as we please

                                                                      - Bertrand Russell


‘Tradition’ (in opera – some old fool’s memory of the last bad performance

                                                                      - Toscanini


We have all the apparatus necessary for a police state. Thank god it doesn’t work

                                   - Philip K Dick (writing in the eighties)


Such is life

Falling over seven times

And getting up eight

-       Haiku quoted by Barthes in ‘A Lover’s Discourse: Insupportable’.


(notorious bore to Oscar Wilde): “I passed by your house yesterday

Wilde: “Thank you”



The hooligan protested that being a free citizen he could move his fist in any direction he liked; whereupon the judge wisely replied ‘The freedom of movement of your fist is linmited by the position of your neighbour’s nose’

                                   - Quoted by karl Popper in ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’



The Vienna Boys’ Choir – a treat for any passing dog sor bats

                                                          - BBC Radio Presenter


A man who comes to a fork in the road and is equally attracted to both of them does not go across the fields between them

                                   - Bertrand Russell – My Philosophical Development, Ch 17


Rulers like to lay down lws and rebels like to break them

The poor priests like to walk in chains and god likes to forsake them

                                   - Lyrics from The Incredible String Band


Definition of a lute-player: someone who spends half their time tuning and the other half playing out of tubne

                                   - ???


What you can’t say you can’t say, and you can’t whistle it either

                        Frank P Ramsey (quoted by AJ Ayer in ‘Reflections on Existentialism’)


If you look out of the window and can see the hills, that means it’s going to rain. And if you can’t see them, that’s ‘cause it’s already raining

                                                                      - Old Mancuniam saying


By equality they (the masses) understand equality of oppression… they want a social government to rule for their benefit and not, like the present one, against it. But to givern themselves doesn’t enter their heads.

                                               Alexander Herzen – ‘From the Other Shore’ – VI 124


Whenever a woman describes a man as sweet, the dalliance is doomed

                                   Eva in We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (P 40)


History is the autobiography of a madman

                                                          - Alexander Herzen – Dr Krupov, IV, 263-4


Like many other philosophers I am inclined to classify philosophers as belonging to two main groups; those with whom I disagree and those who agree with me

                       Karl Popper – “Conjectures and Refutations (10. IX)



The hope of material betterment is… a powerful factor in the forward movement of humanity. Bu that incentive alone is not sufficient to inspire the masses, to give them the vision of a new and better world, and cause them to face danger and privation. For that an ideal is needed, a idela which appeals not only to the stomach but even more to the heart and imagination, which rouses our dormant longing for what is fine and beautiful, for the spiritual and cultural values of life.

                                   - ABC of Anarchism – Alexander Berkman, Chapter 12, P. 172


Coherence cannot establish truth, but incoherence and inconsistency do establish falsehood

                       Karl Popper – “Conjectures and Refutations (1)



Change has always come from small minorities

It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering

I am one small being in a vast society

                                   3 small snippets of J G Bennett



“Suppose that all your objects in life were realized: suppose that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to could be affected at this very moment: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?” – and an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered “No!” At this my heart sank within me.

                                   J S Mill – Autobiography, Chapter V



… the English mode of existence, in which everybody else (with few exceptions) was an enemy or a bore…

                                   J S Mill – Autobiography, Chapter II


As soon as it is held that any belief, no matter what, is important for some other reason than that it is true, a whole host of evils is ready to spring up

                                   Bertrand Russell – “Can religion Cure Our Troubles?”


Violence completes the partial mind

                                               - Henry Cow lyric


The exhibition of reading matter on most of the bookstalls in industrial localities is – to my mind – the worst indictment of present-day industrial society. To claim that “this is what people want” is merely adding insult to injury. It is not what they want but what they are being tempted to demand by some of their fellow men who will commit any crime of degradation to make a dishonest penny.

                                               E F Schumacher; Good Work P. 30 (Chapter 2)



“Might I suggest the gentleman listen more attentively”

   - Robert Fripp on being asked to turn up the volume of his guitar during a KC concert


Thee are only two types of music – good music and bad music

                                                          - Duke Ellington


All yet seems well, and if it end so meet

The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet

                                   - Shakespeare; Last words of “All’s Well That Ends Well”



Let me tell you a little something about true feelings. I’ve made a study of true feelings. Most of them deserve to be hidden


-       Walther Matthau as Pete in “Pete and Tillie”


Youth is wasted on the young                     

                                   - Samuel Beckett


I worry. I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else.

                                   - Lily Tomlin on ‘The American Way of Laughs’ (BBC Radio 2)


Sincerity is a sine qua none which guarantees nothing

                                                                      - Stravinsky


A celbrity; someone well-known for his well-known-ness

                                                          - G. Boordin


On discovering that a Boltonian friend had a girlfriend in Brighton

“Well, I hope he’s got a 200-mile long dick”

                                                                      - J Linacre


Madness is rare among individuals, but among the crowd, the race, the age, it is the rule

                       = Nietzsche; “Beyond Good and Evil”


“In the meantime, this club will go on making a happy man very old”

Ronnie Scott-s traditional sign=off after a gig at his own club, Ronnie Scott-s in London



“Man must sacrifice his suffering”


“The finding or inventing of words for incomprehensible things has nothing to do with understanding”.

P D Ouspensky; “The Psychology of Mans Possible Evolution” (Lectures IV and V)


Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

Vice is waste of life. Poverty, obedience and celibacy are the canonical vices

From “The Revolutionists Handbook and Pocket Companion” by John Tanner (of the Idle Rich) in an appendix to G B Shaws “Man and Superman”



Unpredictably, decades ago, you arrived

among that unending cascade of creatures spewed

from Nature-s maw; a random event, says Science.

Random, my bottom! A true miracle, say I

for who is not certain that he was meant to be?      

                                               W H Auden; from “Talking to myself” (1971)



“I have observed that belief on the goodness of is inversely proportional to the evidence for it”

                                               - Bertrand Russell in an interview with Woodrow Wyatt



“You’re a very clever man, Mr Russell, but I can assure you, it-s turtles all the way down”

            - Lady audience member to B R after his explanation of infinite regression



“Yeah, yeah”

- the philosopher J L Austin’s reply (from the audience) to a visiting lecturer who had stated that “in no language can two positives be used to indicate a negative”


what freedoms not some under-s mere above                      (?)


                                                          - e.e. cummings


With fellows of that sort, a uniform is the only saving grace. Lose that and they lose everything

                                   Dostoyevsky. “House of the Dead”, Part 2, Chapter VIII



The Frenchman said the marriage tie was in every case a bad thing, for if the married tired of each other it bound them together against their will, and if they did not, it was superfluous. I like that, do not you?

            Gerard Manley Hopkins: from “On the origin of Beauty (A Platonic Dialogue)”


Dr Humphrey Osmond is, indeed, a quiet, wise, compassionate Englishman. A humorous, thoughtful, scholarly scientist. A head of his time.

Timothy Leary: “The Politics of Ecstasy” Chapter 6 – The Magical Mystery Trip



Drugs are the religion of the twenty first century. Pursuing the religious life today without using psychedelic drugs is like studying astronomy with the naked eye because that’s how they did it in the first century A.D. And besides, teledscopes are unnatural

Timothy Leary: “The Politics of Ecstasy” Chapter 1 – The Seven Tongues of God


“What he doesn’t know about vampirism couldn’t fill a fly’s codpiece”

A line said by a character in the film Captain Cronos; Vampire Hunter, which drew my attention

As did “There is no problem in the world that cannot be solved by the use of high explosives” (I’ve forgotten the film, though)


I would like to have the chance to discover that money doesn’t make me happy

                                                                      - Prof Antony Flew

The first man who, after fencing off a piece of land, took it upon himself to say “this belongs to me” and found people simple-minded enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society

- J J Rousseau “Pléiade”, Vol 3, P 164 (cited in Introduction to “The Social Contrast” in the Penguin Classics version                      



He is an interesting man who lies well

                                   Gurdjieff, quoted in “In Search of the Miraculous”


The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

                                   Last words of “Walden” by Henri David Thoreau



At another time, hearing Plato’s definition of a man – a biped without feathers, and that one exhibited a cock plucked and called it Plato’s man’, he thought it an important difference that the knees bent the wrong way

                                   Henri David Thoreau ; “Walden” (“Visitors”)


“… Good God. How much reverence can you have for a supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His Divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did he ever create pain?”

“Pain?” Lieutentnat Scheiskopf’s wife pounced upon the word victoriously “Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers”

2And who created the dangers? … he was really being charitable to us when he gave us pain. Why couldn’t he have used a doorbell instead to notify us , or one of His celestial choirs? Or a system of red and blue neon tubes right in the middle of each person’s forehead. Any jukebox manufacturer worth his salt could have done that. Why couldn’t He?”

“People would certainly look silly walking around with red neon tubes in the middle of their foreheads”

“They certainly look beautiful now – writhing in agony, or stupefied with morphine, don’t they? What a colossal, immortal blunderer. When you consider all the opportunity and power he had to do a really good job, and then look at the stupid, ugly mess He made of it instead. His sheer incompetence is almost staggering. It’s obvious He never met a payroll. Why, no self-respecting businessman would hire a bungler like Him… as even a shipping clerk…. You don’t believe in the god you want to and I won’t believe in the God I want to. Is that a deal?

                                   Joseph Heller – “Catch 22” – Chapter 18


I personally prefer to call the type of government which can be removed without violence ‘democracy’ and the other ‘tyranny’

                                               Karl Popper – Conjectures and refutations, 16. X


The President is there in the White House for you. It is not you who are here for him… all architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it (did you think it was in the white or the grey stone? Or the lines of the arches and cornices?). All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments.

                                   Walt Whitman. From “A Song for Occupations”.


Young man! Your music will be performed long after the works of Beethoven and Mozart have been forgotten. And not before!

                                               Thomas Beecham’s advice to a Composition student


Whatever talents one might have been born with, the art of writing is not learned all at once

                                               J J Rousseau – “Confesions”, Book 8




I’ve seen better films on teeth – Unknown (from The New Yorker)

I haven’t laughed so much since the orphanage burnt down – Mark Twain

I laughed until I stopped…. And

Laugh? I nearlky started – both from Monty Python


Whereas in the past the point of disagreement has been between dissonance and consonance, it will be, in the immediate future, between noise and so-called sounds

                       John Cage – sleevenotes to ‘Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano’


No one but a blockhead ever wrote a book except for money

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

                                   - 2 of Samuel Johnson’s more famouse quotes



… I will even venture to say that I am like no one in the whole world. I may be no better, but at least I am different

                                               J J Rousseau: “Confessions” P 1



All intellectual improvement derives from leisure. All leisure derives from one working for another

                       Samuel Johnson quoted in Boswell’s “Life of Johnson”, Pt V



‘Divide and rule’ has been a successful maxim for two thousand years. It has created empitres of the mind no less than of the body. We can exercise power locally at the expense of slavery elsewhere.. This is a universal law that derives from the very nature of our existence in time and space

                                   J G Bennett; “Gurdjieff – Making a New World”, Ch 12, P 269


2 – only he who can look after one another’s can possess his own

3 – the more difficult the conditions of life the greater the possibilities for Work, provided you Work consciously

4 – only he can be just who can enter into the position of others

11 – man is born with the capacity for a definite number of experiences. Economising them prolongs his life

18 – help only him who strives not to be an idler

19 – judge not by tales

22 – if you know what is bad and continue to do it, you commit a sin that is difficult to forgive

24 – better be temporarily selfish than never to be just

28 – remember that Work (here) is not for work’s sake, but a means


                       Some of Gurdjieff’s sayings from the Prieuré at Fontainebleu


A strange coincidence that one small county should have given Engand her two greatest poets – for one must not forget Shakespeare.

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (born near Stratford)


Every lawyer carries with him the broken remnants of a poet

                       Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary, Part III Chapter VI


Few understand the works of Cummings

And few James Joyce’s mental slummings

And few young Auden’s coded chatter

But then, it is the few that matter


- Dylan Thomas from “A Letter to my Aunt Discussing the Correct Approach to Modern Poetry”


For if – he said – you throw among five Yahos as much food as would be sufficient for fifty, they will, instead of eating peaceably, fall together by the ears, each single one impatient to have it all to itself

                                   Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels; Book IV, Chapter VIII




so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white



                                   - William Carlos Williams; From “Springs All” (1923)


“The flowers looked as if they had been painted by a 14th Century anonymous French painter”

                       - Richard Brautigan; The Revenge of the Lawn, P. 161      


L’ésperance n’est que un charlatan qui nous trompe sans cesse; et, pour moi, le bonheur n’a commencé que lorsque je l’ai perdu. Je mettrais volontiers sur la porte de paradis le vers que le Dante a mis sur celle d’enfer ; Lasciate ogni speranza... etc...

                                                          - Chamfort


Beware of ventures that require new clothes

                                               - Henri David Thoreau


Les tracutions sont comme les femmes: Lorsqu’elles sont belles, elles ne sont pas fiéles, et lorsqu’elles sont fiéles, elles ne sont pas belles

                                                                      - ????


“Innocence is the capacity to abandon personal history. Art is the capacity to re-experience one’s innocence”

                       - Robert Fripp; Interview in New Musical Express, 15th March, 1980


“If you can’t explain it simply, you probably haven’t understood it”

                                               - Albert Einstein


It is a sign of genius to treat difficult matters simply: a sign of dullness to make simple maters appear recondite

                                               - Arthur Shopenhauer


We are like householders who own a beautiful mansion of four floors, each floor more sumptuous than the one below it, but we have forgotten how to get upstairs. We live in privation and darkness in the kitchen and basement, disputing about whether ‘livign rooms’ exist

                                   - Kathleen Riordan Speeth; The Gurdjieff Work, P.43


To talk about oneself a good deal can also be a means of concealing oneself.

Pity, in a man of knowledge, seems almost ludicrous; like sensitive hands on a Cyclops

Ultimately, one loves ones desires, and not what is desired

                                   Nietzsche; Beyond Good and Evil, paras 169, 171 and 175


Newborn seas, the tears of summer nights that turn forever in their diamond beds

                                                          - A fragment of Arthur Rimbaud


“King Crimson are just conceivably what the Beatles might have been had they not regressed into dittyland”

“Robert Fripp is the thinking man’s Jimmi Hendrix”

“They degenerated into pumping out sheet after sheet of towering barriers of sound”

“Lark’s Tongues in Aspic – a near miracle piece of vinyl”

-       Various criticisms of KC in the music press, repeated in the booklet that accompanied ‘A Young Person’s Gide to King Crimson’. I agree with 1, 2 and 4, and love the fact that the writer of 3 thinks that “sheet after sheet of towering barriers of sound” is bad.


“I want my money back. They’re just playing exactly what they want”

                       - Customer leaving an Oxford Improvisers’ Co-op gig, disgusted


Sensuality often makes love grow too quickly, so that the root remains weak and easy to pull out… even concubinage has been corrupted… by marriage

                       - Nietzsche; Beyond Good and Evil, Paras 120 and 123


Ich wohne in meinen eignen Haus,

Hab niemanden nie nichts nachgemacht

Und – lachte noch jeden Meister aus

Der nicht sich selber ausgelacht

                                   - Nietzsche; The Gay Science – Title Page


Bene navigavi cum naufragium feci

                                   Nietzsche; The Case of Wagner, Section 4


“The Eternal feminine” draws us towards Perfection

                                               - Goethe; the last line of “Faust”


Of what we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent

                                               - Ludwig Wittgenstein


There are truths of a subtle, synthetic and divine order, to express which in alltheir inviolate completeness, human language is incapable. Only music can sometimes make the soul feel them, only ecstcy can show them in absolute vision, and only esoteric symbolism can reveal them to the spirit in a concrete way

                                   - Stanislav de Guaitu; Au Seuile du Mystére, P.177


An imprisoned person, with no other book than the Tarot, if he knew how to read it, could, in a few years, acquire universal knowledge and would be able to speak on all subjects with unequal learning and inexhaustible eloquence…

                       - Eliphas Levi; Transcendental Magic; Its Doctrine and Ritual, P.480


I know nice men who have nothing to say except ‘What a nice day; may I say that today’s a nice day, ‘cause I’ve nothing to say’

Giles, Giles and Fripp: “Erudite Eyes” from the LP The Cheerful       Insanityof Giles, Giles and Fripp


If your abilities are only mediocre, modesty is mere honesty; if you possess great talents, it is hypocrisy

-       Arthur Shopenhauer; Essays and Aphorisms (On Psychology)


A chicken is only an egg’s way of producing another egg

                                   - ???


One must never enter into the relation of marriage. Husband and wife promise to love one another for eternity. This is all very fine, but it does not mean very much, for if their love comes to an end in time, it will surely come to an end in eternity. If, instead of promising ‘forever’, the parties would say: ‘until Easter’, or ‘Until May Day comes’, there might be something in what they say; for then they would have said something defeinite, and also something they might be able to keep to…

                                               Kierkegaard –The Rotation Method (“Either”, Part 8)


The use of self-control is like the use of brakes on a train. It is useful when you find yourself going in the wrong direction, but merely harmful when the direction is right

                       - Bertrand Russell; “On Marriage and Morals”, P. 155 (Chapter XXI)


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent

Philosophy leaves things as they are

                                               2 of Wittgenstein’s Top Ten Quotes


If I had all the money I’d spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink

                       Vivian Stanshall – Sir Henry in “Sir Henry at Rawlinson’s End”


-       How’s Barney?

Barney was two. That’s how Barney was and therefore of no interest to anyone apart from his parents, but… some comment seemed required of him

                                                    - ????


Unfortunately, the actor who played the lead role had delusions of adequacy

                                               - Mark Twain



‘Have you noticed’ she asked the girl ‘that the left are always drab? When I was in the Party they thought I was frivolous. They did not like me because of my dresses (…) It is capitalism, I told them, that is bleak not socialism. When there is a revolution, the people should wear wonderful clothes, streamers, flags, balloons. It should be full of joy and love, not look like a funeral. Do you like picnics?’

            - Rosa Kaletsky in “Illiewhacker” by Peter Carey, Book 2, Ch 12 (P.133)




1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything

4. When you meet with opposition… endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent on authority is unreal and illusory

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in your opinion for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fools’ paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness

- Bertrand Russell; Excerpts from “A Liberal Decalogue”


I have a fairy by my side

Which says I must not sleep

When once in pain I loudly cried

It said ‘You must not weep’

If, full of truth, I smile and grin

It says ‘You must not laugh’

When once I wished to drink some gin

It said ‘You must not quaff’

When once a meal I wished to taste

It said ‘You must not bite’

When to the wars I went in haste

It said ‘You must not fight’

‘What may I do?’ at length I cried

Tired of the painful task

The fairy quietly replied

And said ‘You must not ask’

Moral: ‘You mustn’t’


                                   - Lewis Carroll (aged 13… probably in “Misch Masch??”)


Destroy a man’s altruism and you get a savage orang-utan, but if you destroy his egoism you get a tame monkey

-       Alexander Herzen



When it comes down to it, isn’t it always the big fat zeroes that make the difference in the total?

-       Knut Hamsun – “Mysteries”, P. 286


Boldmind: We are happy in England only since everyone freely enjoys the right to say what he thinks

Medroso: We are also very peaceful in Lisbon, where nobody does

Boldmind: You’re peaceful, but you’re not happy: it is the peace of galley slaves who row uniformly and in silence

Medroso: So you believe that my mind is a galley slave?

Boldmind: Yes, and I should like to free it

Medroso: But if I’m satisfied in the galleys?

Boldmind: In that case, you deserve to be there.

- Voltaire – Philosophical Dictionary (“Liberté de pensée”)


Perhaps one has to choose between being nothing at all, or impersonating what one is

                                                          - Jean Paul Sartre; “The Age of Reason”


For the triumph of evil, it is only necessary that the good man do nothing

-       Edmund Burke


Life without Music would be a mistake

-       Nietzsche


Where are we really going? Always home

-       Novalis, quoted by Hermann Hesse in “journey to the East”


On being asked what he thought of Western civilization (at the docks at Southampton):

“I think it would be a good idea”

                                               - Mohannes Mahatma Ghandi


The day of the Sun is like the day of a king. It is a promenade in the morning, a sitting on the throne at noon, a pageant in the evening.

                                   - Wallace Stephens - Diaries


VLADIMIR: Well, that passed the time


ESTRAGON: It would have passed anyway


                                   - Samuel Beckett; Waiting for Godot


You don’t have to have spent too long thinking about stand-up to realise that even though critics and TV commissioners always talk about our art form in terms of content, it is the rhythm, pitch, tone and pace of what we do – the non-verbal cues – that are arguably more important, if less easy to identify and define.

Stewart Lee – footnote on P.299 to “41st Best Stand-up Ever” in “How I Escaped My Certain Fate”



-       How many minutes should you show a couple in bed together?

-       As many as you like, as long as there’s a bomb under the bed


- Interview with Alfred Hitchcock


“I don’t like these pictures”

“Madam, the pictures are not on trial”

            - Security guard’s reply to a comment from avisitor to a Picasso (?) exhibition


“This woman’s arm is too long”

“Madam, this is not a woman”

            - Matisse’s reply to a viewer’s comment at one of his exhibitions.


“You can prove anything with facts”

            - London taxi-driver cited by Stewart Lee in “How I Escaped My Certain Fate”


An indecency, decently put, is the thing we laugh at hardest                                

                                                          - Cicero


As dear old Kilvert notes, nothing is more tiresome than being told what to admire and having things pointed at with a stick

      Frobisher in “Letters from Zedelghem” in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


What is freedom? That one has the will to resume responsibility for oneself

                                                          - Nietzsche – twilight of the Idols; IX, 38


Freedom is the state of not being in prison!!

- Russian ‘heckler’s’ response to the impassioned plea “After all, What is Freedom?” from a podium during a meeting during the Russian Revolution.


The stationmaster’s whistle blew on time, the locomotive strained like a gouty proctor on the pot before heaving itself into motion.

“Letters from Zedelghem” (P.47) in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


We – by whom I mean anyone over sixty – commit two offences just by existing. One is Lack of Velocity. We drive too slowly, walk too slowly, talk too slowly. The world will do business with dictators, perverts and drug barons of all stripes, but being slowed down it cannot abide. Our second offence is being Everyman´s memento mori. The world can only get comfy in shiny-eyed denial if we are out of sight

                       Veronica Costello in “The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish”,

P377 of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


“A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window”

                                                          - Raymond Chandler - (where??)


But when great Love the onset does command

Base rogue(?) to thy Prince, thou dost not stand

Worst part of me and henceforth hated most

Though all the town a common fucking-post

On whom each whore relieves her tingling cunt

As hogs on gates do rub themselves and grunt

Mays’t thou to ravenous chancres be a prey

Or in comsuming weepings waste away

-       Rochester – Artemesia


Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral

                                               - Paulo Freire



For hunger or for love they fight and tear

Whilst wretched man is still in arms for fear

For fear he arms and is of arms afraid

By fear to fear successively betrayed

                                               - Rochester – A Satire Against Reason and Mankind


After a vigorous walk in summer one can be completely obsessed by the desire for a cup of water and declare that water is the most wonderful thing in the world. A quarter of an hour later there is nothing less interesting to me than water. That a person all his life long should be able consistently to honour intellect and despise nature, always be a revolutionary and never a conservative, or the other way about, that seems to me, of course, very virtuous, dependable and steadfast. But it equally seems to be deadly, repulsive and crazy, as if one wanted always to eat or simply to sleep

                                   Hermann Hesse: Psychologia Balnearia (A Guest at the Spa)


In a Wonderland they lie

Dreaming as the days go by

Dreaming as the summer dies

Ever drifting down the stream

Lingering in the golden gleam.

Life, what is it but a dream?

                                   - Lewis Carroll – last part of acrostic on Alice Pleasance Liddell


Ten thousand men all saying the same thing make it false even if it happens to be true

-       Kierkegaard


The only think certain about luck is that it will change

                                                          - (American Indian?) proverb



You have to bet on there being an afterlife or not. Only a fool would bet that there is none, since if there is not, then one will never know the result of one’s wager – and if there is, one can look back on having predicted correctly

-       Pascale’s famous ‘argument’




If you’re late, don’t hurry – you’re already late

                                            - Algonquin (Indian?) proverb


The inability to see distinctions that are obvious to others seems a classic trait of the dry drunk. 

                                   - Matthew Norman - The Independent, 6 April, 2011


Modesty is the parody of humility – Aleister Crowley


I have no sympathy with any regulations which interfere with the natural activities of human beings. I believe they aggravate whatever trouble they are intended to prevent and they create the greatest plague of humanity . officialdom – and encourage underhand conduct on both sides – furtiveness and espionage

                                               - Aleister Crowley


Wealth – the most dangerous of narcotic drugs. It creates a morbid craving, which never satisfies after the first flush of intoxication

-       Aleister Crowley


“If you’ve got anything more to say, shut up!”

-       Doris Gomez (cited by the above)


To see a World in a grain of sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

                                   - William Blake – Auguries of Innocence


I’m not saying Bernard’s place is scruffy, but vandals broke in and decorated it

-       Ivor Davis


1978 makes 1984 look like 1967

                       Cover Headline of International Times


Loneliness does not come from not having people about one, but from being unable to communicate the tings that seem important to oneself, or from having certain views which others find inadmissible

-       C.G. Jung – Memories, Dreams and Reflections, P.327


“After all, the penis is just a phallic symbol”

-       C.G. Jung (reputedly) during a lecture


He admitted but four elementary principles, or, more strictly, conditions of bliss. That which he considered chief was /strange to say!) the simple and purely physical one of free exercise in the open air. “The health” he said “attainable by any other means is scarcely worth the name”. His second condition was the love of woman. His third, and most difficult of realization was the concept of ambition. His fourth was an object of unceasing pursuit; and he held that, all other things being equal, the extent of attainable happiness was in proportion to the spirituality of this object.


                                               Edgar Allan Poe – The Domain of Arnheim, P.2


Pure art is timeless, not timely

                                               Hermann Hesse – Reflections (on Art)       


And when quarrels arose – as one frequently finds

Quarrels will, spite of every endeavour –

The song of the Juvb Jub returned to their minds

And cemented their friendship forever

-       Lewis Carroll; The Hunting of the Snark, Fit 5, Stanza 29


You are old, said the youth, and your jaws are too weak

For anything tougher than suet.

Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak,

Pray, how do you manage to do it?

In my youth, said the sage, I took to the law

And argued each case with my life

And the muscular strength that it gave to my jaw

Has lasted the rest of my life

-       Lewis Carroll; You Are Old, Father William


3 Anarchist Slogans:

No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in

Reality is for people who can’t face up to drugs

Keep food prices down, Eat the rich.


3 quotes from Hermann Hess’s “Damien”, Chapter VIII, Eva

Love must not entreat nor demand. Love must have the power to find its own way to certainty. Then it ceases to be attracted and begins to attract.

Your ‘fate’ loves you indeed. One day it will be wholly yours as you dreamed it to be, if you remain constant to it.

One never reaches home… but wherever friendly paths intersect, the whole world looks like home for a time.


Love is no more than some cosmic practical joke someone up there with no sense of humour thinks is funny

                                   - from “The Coriolis Effect” (U.S. short story)


A little passion increases one’s intelligence. A great deal extinguishes it.

                                   - Stendhal; Life of Henri Brulard, Chapter 33


Prest by necessity they kill for food

Man undoes man to do himself no good

- John Wilmot (Earl of Rochester) from A Satyre on Mankind



Sex between a man and a woman is a beautiful thing – as long as you get between the right man and the right woman

-       Woody Allen


A pleasure burdened with the obligation to substitute for other pleasures will soon become too wearisome a pleasure.

                                   - Vaclav Havel – Laughable Loves


But put one question to yourself – Why, in fact, should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth a virtue? Suppose that you meet a madman who claims that he is a afish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don’t have fins? … if you told him the whole truth… you would enter into serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad

                                               - Ibid – P.239


The three worst things in the world are alcohol, fame and women. And the three next worst things are the lack of alcohol, the lack of fame and the lack of women

-       Ernest Hemingway


I was not thinking of ‘experiences’ but of the inward knowledge of emotions. Thie, if one is rightly constituted, requires an absolute maximum of outward circumstances as its occasion and this it is that is required for the development of character and for certain sorts of writing. But there is no profit in feeling unless one learns to dominate it and impersonalize it – for people like you and me, whose main business is necessarily with books, I rather think the experience of life should be as far as possible vicarious. If one has instinctive sympathy, one comes to know the true history of a certain number of people and from that one can more or less create one’s world. But to plunge into life oneself take a great deal time and energy and is, for most people, incompatible with preserving the attitude of a spectator. One needs, as the key to interpret alien experience, a personal knowledge of great unhappiness; but that is a thing which one need hardly set forth to seek, for it comes unasked. When once one possesses the key, the strange, tragic phantasmagoria of people hoping, suffering, then dying, begins to suffice without one’s desiring to take part, except occasionally to speak a word of encouragement where it is possible

                                               - Bertrand Russell – Autobiography, P. 167


The inertia of the human mind and its resistance to innovation are most clearly demonstrated not, as one might expect by the ignorant mass – which is easily swayed once its imagination is caught – but by prefessionals wth a vested interest in tradition and in the monopoly of learning

                                   Arthur Koestler; The Sleepwalkers, Pt 5 Chapter 1


The task of an anarchist philosopher is not to prove the imminence of a Golden Age, but to justify the believing in its possibility.

                                   - Herbert Read – Anarchy and Order



From “EAVESDROPPINGS” compiled from the epomymous Radio 4 programme by Nigel Rees:

1 – Two Cambridge dons crossing the quad… one is heard to say; “And ninthly…”

2 – Two old ladies: “She had to have her leg off all the way down to her foot”

3 – “I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, but I do like my jumble sales. I mean, you’ve got to have something, haven’t you?”

4 – (of a conductor) “He’s always last

5 – (of a bad play) “Well, Emily, all I can say is I hope the dog hasn’t been sick in the car”

6 – (on decimalization) “I think they should’ve waited until all the old people are dead”

7 – Mother and child – “Did you get caught in the rain?” – “Not really. It wasn’t bad enough to come in out of from” –

8 – Little boy: “Well, why did you ask me to read out of it from for?”

9 – “So I sez to him ‘Oh’, he sez ‘Oh, it’s “oh”, is it?’, I sez ‘Yes, it is “Oh”’.

10 – (Grandad during the blackout) – “I can’t find my teeth” – “They’re dropping bombs, not sandwiches”

11 – “He’s a funny little dog, you know. He likes beer, but not bottled beer”

12 – “And you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get a budgie out of a treacle tart”

13 – “Of course, we don’t need sausages… we’ve got Mrs Robinson”

14 – “You know the day I mean, dear… the day after Christmas Eve”

15 – “Her be that old all the fluff do be coming out of her woolies”

16 – “How’s John, now?” - “Oh, he still has to stand sideways”

17 – “I’ve been in hospital six weeks now with my heart, but our Fred’s been very good, he really has. He’s built me a lovely little shed just outside the back door so I don’t have to carry the coal from all the way up the garden”

18 – (Two girls on top of a bus) ; “It’s all very well them telling us ‘Some day your prince will come’ but when he’s been and gone, you’ve had it”


Todo es contable – basta con empezar. Una palabra tras otra

-       Javier Marías; Corazón Tan Blanco


Hot having had an education, I’ve had to use my brains

-       Bill Shankly (attrib.)




The new situation will greatly simplify the present very complex problems of industry. For you must consider that capitalism, because of its competitive character and contradictory financial and commercial interest, involves many intricate and perplexing issues which would be entirely eliminated by the abolition of the conditions of today… At present these require diverse departments of study and highly-trained men to keep unraveling the tangled skein of plutocratic cross-purposes… All this would be auitomatically done away with by the socialization of industry and the termination of the competitive system; and thereby the problems of production will be immensely lightened…

            Recent statistics show that in 1020 there were in the US over 41 m persons of both sexes engaged in gainful occupations out of a total population of 105m. Out of those 41m only 26m were actually employed in the industries, including transportation and agriculture, the balance of 15m consisting mainly of persons engaged in trade, of commercial travellers, advertisers and various other middlemen of the present system. In other words, 15m persons would be released for useful work in the US. A similar situation, proportionate to population, would develop in other countries.

                                   Alexander Berkman – ABC of Anarchism – Chapter 13, P. 75


An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do

-       Brendan Behan


Water is stronger than rock

                                               - Zen koan


There really is no beginning to your talents, Jeffrey

-       Clive Anderson interviewing Jeffrey Archer


They lived in a small flat overlooking the rent

-       Traditional American


On the whole, wealth is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons

                                                          - Woody Allen


Humour is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility

-       James Thurber


No man would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next – (?)


Style is knowing what you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn

-       Gore Vidal


Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught

-       Oscar Wilde


An actor entering through a door… you’ve got nothing. But if he’s entering through a window, you’ve got a situation

-       Billy Wilder


You want coal? We own the mines.

You want electricity? We own the dams

You want nuclear power? We own the plants

You want solar power? Solar power is not feasible

                                               Caption to cartoon in Green Anarchist, January 1986



There comes a time in every man’s life

When he has to decide

Whether he wants to drive the bus

Or just go along for the ride

                       - Lyrics to a song by Randy Newman


La bondad, la austeridad, la modestia y el verdadero talento sólo conducen a la indiferencia y al olvido

Goodness, austerity, modesty and true talent only lead to indifference and oblivion.

                                                          E. Jardiel Poncela, “Amos se Escribe sin H”



Martin Amis remembers his father (Kingsley) saying that ‘the physical sensations of sex are largely magnified by love’, prompting him to think ‘So that’s why you went after love; for the sex’


If you look around the table and you can’t figure out who the sucker is. It’s you

                                                          - Old Poker saying


If a man liked his friend’s painting or writing, I thought it was probably like those people who like their families, and it was not polite to criticize them. Sometimes you can go quite a long time before you criticize families, your own or those by marriage, but it is easier with bad painters because they do not do terrible things and make intimate harm as families do. With bad painters all you have to do is not look at them. But even when you have learned not to look at families, nor listen to them, and have learned not to answer letteres, families have many ways of being dangerous

-        ‘Ezra Pound and his Bel Esprit’ from “A Moveable Feast” – Ernest Hemngway



The Buddha taught that the only thing life can guarantee is suffering, therefore we must appreciate each moment of happiness as a gift from god

                                                          - Character in the film “Beyond Rangoon”



For the Lord aimed for him to do, and not to spend too much time thinking, because his brain, it’s like a piece of machinery: it won’t stand a whole lot of racking. It’s best when it all runs along the same, doing the day’s work and not no one part used more than needful. I have said and I say again, that’s ever living thing the matter with Darl: he just thinks too much. Cora’s right when she says all he needs is a wife. And when I think about that I think that if nothing but being married will help a man, he’s durn night hopeless. But I reckon Cora’s right when she says the reason the Lord had to create women is because man don’t know his own good when he sees it.

-        Tull, in “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner, P. 38



Longing – I suppose they call it

For its habit of stretching

Time, of making days longer

How time flies

When you’re having fun

                                               - ?? (Me??)



A free society cannot be the substitution of a ‘new order’ for the old order; it is the extension of spheres of free action until they make up most of social life

                                   - Paul Goodman



If your person is of consequence to me, you pay me with your very existence; if I am concerned only with one of your qualities, then your compliance, perhaps, or your aid, has a value (a money value) for me and I purchase it

-        Max Stirner – The Ego and Its Own. The Owner. P. 265



“And besides” he added, forgetting that several excuses are always less convincing than one

                                               - Aldous Huxley; Point Counter Point


La mujer que no come contigo

O luego comerá o ya ha comido

                                   - Refrán español



The one good thing about being addicted is that at least you have to get out of bed

-        Martin Amis; Money




No one ever smiles in a self portrait

                                               Miles Kingston – The Independent; 23/09/97


‘The fallen leaves that jewel the ground,

They know the art of dying,

And leave with joy their glad gold hearts,

In the scarlet shadows lying.’

                                   Robin Williams (lyrics of ‘October Song’ by The Incredible String Band

“Unlike the others, he was truly homosexual, which he wished he wasn’t. He was in love with Paul whom he despised and who was irritated by him. Much later he married a woman fifteen years older than himself. Last year he wrote me a letter in which he described this marriage. – it was obviously written when he was drunk and posted, so to speak, into the past. They slept together with little pleasure on her part and none on his – ‘though I did put my mind to it, I do assure you!’ – for a few weeks. Then she got pregnant, and that was the end of sex between them. In short, a not uncommon English marriage. His wife, it appears, has no suspicion he is not a normal man. He is quite dependent on her and if she died I suspect he’d commit suicide or retreat into drink”.

            Doris Lessing; The Golden Notebook - The Notebooks. The Black Notebook, P. 90


Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered, I’ve seen lots of funny men

Some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen

And as through your life you travel, yes as through your life you roam

You won’t never see an outlaw drive a family from their home

                                               Woody Guthrie – ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’


The fault is great in man or woman / Who steals the goose from off the common

Yet who can plead that man’s excuse / Who steals the common from the goose?

                                               Old English Rhyme



I was lying in bed, for something to do

-     Martin Amis; Money



There’s always a tiny minority who want to stop people. Somebody had only one leg so he starts an organization to stop cross-country running.

- Webster, quoted in The Speakers by Heathcote Williams


Now, there is a law written in the darkest of the Books of Life, and it is this: if you look at a thing 999 times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the 1000th time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time

                       G.K. Chesterton – The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Book 1, Chapter 2


The trouble (…) he could see with such brilliant hindsight now, was that they had thought youth was a career, and not a preparation

-       Budd Schulberg – The Disenchanted, Chapter 11


I have nothing to say and I am saying it; and that is poetry

                                                          - John Cage on BBC Radio 3, 18/10/90


Here I sit upside down on the surface of the planet earth, held by gravity, scribbling a story, and I know there’s no need to tell a story and yet I know there’s not even a need for silence – but there’s an aching mystery

                                   - Jack Kerouac – Desolation Angels, Part Two


Women marry weak men but take strong lovers

                                   - J.P. Donleavy – Gustave G in “Meet They Maker the Mad Molecule”


“… they (the French) have certainly got the credit of understanding more of love, and making it better than any other nation on earth; but for my own part I think them most errant bunglers, and in truth the worst set of marksmen that ever tried Cupid’s patience.To think of making love by sentiments!”

                       - Laurence Sterne: A Sentimental Journey (Calais – The Remise Door)


A more extreme form of individualism is egoism, especially in the form expressed by Max Strirner in Der Einzige und Sein Eigentum (1845)… it is perhaps by rejecting such abstractions as morality, justice, obligation, reason and duty in favour of an intuitive recognition of the existential uniqueness of each individual. It naturally opposes the state but it also opposes society and it tends towards nihilism (the view that nothing matters) and solipsism (the view that only oneself exists). It is clearly anarchist, but in a rather unproductive way since any form of organization beyond a temporary “union of egoists” is seen as the source of new oppression. This is an anarchism for poets and tramps, for people who want an absolute answer and no compromise. It is anarchy here and now, if not in the world, then in own’s own life

                                   Introduction to Anarchism – Nicolas Walter


Everything is getting nearer to being over

-        Martin Amis; Money


Never has there been so much food and so much starvation, and never has there been so much music-making and so little musical experience of a vital order

                                                          - Constant Lambert – Music Ho! Part 4 (a)


You’ve got to believe that you’re going to win and I believe that we’ll win the world cup until that final whistle blows and we’re knocked out

                                               - Peter Shilton quoted in Colemanballs in Private Eye (18/4/86)


Be what you would seem to be, or if you’d like it put more simply, never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that you were or might have been

-       The Red Queen, in Alice Through the Looking Glass


If I could live my life over again…. I wouldn’t grow this moustache

                                               - Stephen Redmond


The thing to remember about money is it makes you do things you don’t want to do

-       from Oliver Stone’s film Wall Street


Silvia Sims had a shot at the part of XXXXX … and missed it

                                               - Nicholas De Jong


Y si a esto me respondiese que los que tales libros componen los escriben como cosas de mentira, y que así, no están obligados a mirar en delicadezas ni verdades, responderles hía? (haría?) yo que tanto la mentira es mejor cuanto más parece verdadera, y tanto más agrada cuanto tiene más de la dudosa y posible

                                               - Don Quijote de la Mancha – I - 47


At every village (near Agra) the driver slowed down to ten miles an hour and kept his thumb on a horn. “If a car ran over a man in one of these places·, my friend said, “the people would burn the car and kill the occupants”.  

                                   V.S. Naipaul, footnote to Chapter (P. 87) 2 of “A Middle Passage”


If you can’t be with the one you love… love the one you’re with

-       Old English proverb


You see, sex is something that we have to make new and better babbas. If you can make a babba then you are all right. I feel that it is a selfish world that wants this cheap thrill that one come by in making a babba. Forget it.

                                                          - J.P.Donleavy – The Ginger Man, Chapter 11


Neither borrow Money off a neighbour or a friendo, but of a stranger, where paying for it thou shalt have no more of it

                       - One of Burghley’s maxims in Queen Elizabeth’s reign


Elvis Dies. Good Career Move.

-       Headline in New Musical Express


No sense wasting a match… better use it to light this here joint

                                   - Fat Freddy, on arriving home to find there’s been a power cut


I’m so poor I can’t even pay attention

                                   - Tom Waits



If you would health and vigour keep

Shun care and anger ere you sleep

All heavy fare and wine disdain

From noonday slumber, too, refrain.

Each day to walk awhile you should

For this will work you naught but goof.

The urgent calls of Nature heed

These rules obey and you will find

Long life is yours and tranquil mind


Use three physicians still – first Dr Quiet

Next Dr Merryman and third Dr Diet.


            - Early English health advice quoted by Marjorie Rawlings in “Everyday Life in Madeieval Times”, Ch 9, P.220


“If you want to control your cow, give her a bigger field” – Zen Koan


“I would love to live in Manchester, England. The transition between Manchester and death would be unnoticeable” – Mark Twain


If you’ve nothing good to say about anyone, come and sit next to me

                                                          Alice Roosevelt Longworth


“It will not be from the inability of procuring loans that the system will break up” he (Paine) admonished. “On the contrary, it is the facility with which loans are procured that hastens the event”.

-       The Trouble with Tom


Communism and nationalism are both believed in as moralities and religions. That is their only strength. Intellectually, they border on absurdity.

                                   Karl Popper: The History of Our Time



… to say “beautiful” is to say “desirable”, and ever since man has built he has wanted to build at the smallest expense and in the most durable fashion, and the aesthetic enjoyment he experiences when contemplating his work comes afterward. Certainly, it has not always been that way: there have been centuries in which “beauty” was identified with adornment, the superimposed, the frills; but it is probable that they were deviant epochs and that the true beauty, in which every century recognises itself, is found in upright stones, ships’ hulls, the blade of an axe, the wing of a plane

                                   - Primo Levi – The Periodic Table, P.170 (Nitrogen)


Treason doth never prosper – what’s the reason?

For if it prosper, none will call it treason

                       - John Harington, Elizabethan poet and inventor of the flushing toilet


The whole object of comedy is to be yourself and the closer you get to that the funnier you will be

                                   - Jerry Seinfeld


Music is the cup which holds the wine of silence; sound is that cup but empty, noise is that cup but broken

                                   - Robert Fripp, from The Wine of Silence in Wired magazine



The dawn of the Millennium cannot hold up human hands and arms red with the blood of slaughtered animals... The ingenious Yankee will invent a substitute for leather and we already have enough substitutes for ivory and bone”

-       E.B. Foote, Medical Common Sense, 1870


Rock music journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read

                                               - FV Zappa


There are two schools of thought about the resilience of time. The first is that time is highly volatile, with every small event altering the outcome of the earth’s future. The other view is that time is rigid and no matter how hard you try, it will always spring back towards a determined present. Myself, I do not worry about such trivialities. I simply sell ties to anyone who wants to buy one...” Tie seller in Victoria, June, 1983

Jasper Fforde; The Eyre Affair, P.11 (2 - Gad’s Hill)


There are times when those who speak are putr above those who do

-       D Rivera


Truth is above human authority

                                                          - Bertrand Russell


There is not one female comedian who was beautiful as a little girl

                                                                      - Joan Rivers


It’s good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out

-       Carl Sagan



How can they (theist professors of phiosophy) reconcile this with the fact that in the Chinese language, spoken by approximately two fifths of humanity, there is no expression for “God” or “creation”. For this reason one cannot translate into Chinese the first verses of the Pentateuch, to the great consternation of the missionaries, to whose aid Sir George Staunton wished to come with his book: An Inquiry into the Proper Mode of rendering the Word of God in Translating the Sacred Scriptures into the <chinese Language, Londres, 1848

- Schopenhauer: Footnote (to 145; Paragraph 13) of Fragments from the History of Philosophy


My comedy is all born of tragedy. If there were no more anger or despair in the world I’d be standing in the unemployment line – next to J Edgar Hoover

                                                                                  - Lenny Bruce


When a thing is funny, search it for a hidden truth

                                                                      - George Bernard Shaw


Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man

-       Thomas Paine




His old friend John Stewart was in the city for a while.... (having thrown over a job as secretary to an Indian prince) to walk on foot through the mountains of Persia and Turkey, the deserts of Arabia and Egypt, deep into Ethiopia and into the terra incognita of central Africa, and then back around the Adriatic and the Mediterranean to Paris. When he reached Paris he was dubbed by the incredulous press “Walking Stewart.” Never was there a more apt name, for he later hiked through Lapland and down into Central Asia, and after sailing to New York walked all the way down to Paraguay. Walking Stewart became, as his friend Thomas de Quincey put it, the first circumambulator of the globe. Stewart attributed his survival to two things that struck anyone else back then as incomprehensible: a vegetarian diet and an utter refusal ever to carry a weapon

Paul Collins - The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine           HERE. The End. P.9


He (Benjamin Franklin) had befriended Benjamin Lay, a hunchbacked glove-maker disowned by the English Quakers for denouncing slavery and capital punishment as abominations.. Exiled to Philadelphia, and dismayed by to find slave-owning there too, he’d quit town in disgust and lived as a hermit in a cave outside the city limits, refusing to wear or eat anything that had involved the suffering of an animal.

                                                                      Ibid.    P.21


I love this dog more than I love you. I am not jealous of her and I don’t want to change her

                                   - Miljan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being



Thomas Beecham –

Tienes entre tus piernas una cosa de mucha de belleza y no haces más que rasgarla

Tu música será representada cuando la música de Bach y Beethoven esté olvidada. Y no antes.


Malcolm Arnold - Empieza juntos y acaba juntos y al público le da gual qué hay en medio



Rabbit had discovered something. When you do exactly what you want to do, people will follow you

                                                          John Updike – Rabbit Run – P. (?)



Everybody who tells you how to act has whisky on their breath

-       Ibid. - P.25


Whoever thinks of going to bed before 12 o’clock is a scoundrel

- Samuel Johnson


To fear is not to sow because of the birds

-       Oriental Proverb


I figure that I’m breathing in and out and I’m breathing in and out I’m doing all I can, and if I’m doing all I can, that’s all I can do

                                               - Don Van Vleit (Captain Beefheart)


When failure cannot be envisaged it is difficult to be motivated at all

                                                          Celia Green – Advice to Clever Children – P. 86


The belief in state authority comes naturally to men, it would appear. A band of robbers ride into a town with guns drawn and demand all the gold in the bank. They are called criminals. They return the next year on the same day and repeat their demand. Again they are called criminals. They put on uniforms and return each year on the same day. Eventually, they are called tax collectors. Finally, the smallest and least offensive of all the bandits rides into town unarmed and the townspeople give him their gold without a struggle. The state has arrived

- Robert Paul Wolff – In Defence of Anarchism – Concluding words



Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.
                                                          - Wittgenstein


Craft repeats the repeatable. Art repeats the unrepeatable.

Even genius doesn’t need incompetent technique

                       - Robert Fripp, from The Wine of Silence in Wired magazine, 1988


In the beginning there was nothing and God said ‘Let there be light’ and there was still nothing – but at least you could see it.

-       Lewis Carroll – Sylvie and Bruno (?)


All the world used her ill, said this misanthropist, and we may be pretty certain that persons whom all the world treats ill, deserve entirely the treatment they get. The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it and it is a jolly kind companion. So let all young persons take their choice

                                                          - (?)


A friend is the better for having faults that one can talk about

                                                          - Hazlitt


I have the very highest opinion of scandal. It is founded on the most sacred of things – that is, Truth – and it is built up by the most beautiful of things – that is, Imagination

                                                          - W.H. Mallock


Whatever you may conceive may give Offence, may by the wording of it be so softened and sweetened as to take the Edge off it, as Pills are gilded to make them less ungrateful

-       John Ray


(The above 3 from Oliver Lawson Dick’s preface to “Brief Lives: The Life and Times of John Aubrey”)


Sir Walt gives his son a damned blow over the face; his son, as rude as he was, would not strike his father, but strikes over the face of the Gentleman that sate next to him and sayed, “Box about, ‘twill come to my father anon”. ‘Tis now a common used proverb.

            - Sir Walter Raleigh invents the game of “Chins” in Aubrey’s “Brief Lives


Jesus Christ – every time I try to tell people something nice to their face, they laugh. People hate love. It threatens them. It’s like Toth decay. It smells and it husrts…. People are the only thing people have left since God packed up. By people I mean sex. Fucking. Hip hip hooray.

                                   John Updike - Applesmiths and Other Games in “Couples”, P.155


No matter what one does one stumbles into sin (he (Jacob) thought). He had been reading books of ethics filled with advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of evil, but Satan always outwitted one. He participated in all business transactions and marriages; no human enterprise proceeded without him; touch something and you hurt someone. Have a little success and, no matter how decent you were, you provoked envy

                                               Isaac Bashevis Singer – The Slave, Part 1(Wanda), P.97


No man is worth talking to until he’s been de-spunked

-       (?)


“One more French fry with mayo isn’t going to kill me”

                                                                      - Orson Welles’ last words


Funny, isn’t it? The more I practice, the luckier I get

                                                                                  Gary Player (“lucky” golfer)


The first preliminary schooling for spirituality: not to react at once to a stimulus

                                   - Nietzsche – twilight of the Idols; VIII, 6


It’s good to open your mind, but not so much that your brain falls out                                                               - Carl Sagan


At the grave’s portals unrepining,

May young life play, and where I lie may heedless

Nature still be shining

With beauty that shall never die

-       Pushkin


Allah gave all the animals fifty years each… but Man came last and Allah only had 25 years left… and Man starts complaining it wasn’t enough… Man went off and met a horse ‘Listen, my life’s too short; give me some of yours’. ‘All right’ said the horse ‘Take 25 years’. Man went further and met a dog… on he went and met a monkey, and he got 25 years out of them too… Allah said ‘As you wish… the first 25 years you will live like a man. The second 25 you’ll work like a horse; the third you’ll yap like a dog. And for the last 25 people will laugh at you like they laugh at a monkey…

            Yefrem’s folk tale, quoted in Solzhenitsyn’s “Cancer Ward”, Book 1, Chapter 3



In every murderer’s mind must be the innocent hope that he will have his day in court, to say what drove him to it

                                                          Paul Theroux, Picture Palace, Chapter 16


Only the death of children, of the ignorant and inexperienced, is truly tragic; the loss of people who died never having lived              Ibid. – Chapter 28


Hollywood was full of artists – inverted alchemists, Huxley called them – turning gold into lead

                                                                      Ibid. – Chater 27


No man in the world knows more about women than I do… and I know nothing

                                                                      - Irish saying



A Note for Biographers;

            All children’s lives are very much alike

            So my advice is to keep that early stuff

            Down to a page or two. Don’t try to make

            Nostalgia pay: we’ve all had quite enough.

            What captivates and sells, and always will

            Is what we are: vain, snarled up and sleazy

            No one is really interesting until

            To love him has become no longer easy

                                               - Vernon Scanell


Cuando la piedra da con el cántaro, y cuando el cántaro da con la piedra… mal para el cántaro

                       El zapatero en “Requiem por un Campesino Español” de Ramón J Sender


Experience is the ability to recognise a mistake just before you make it again

-       ?


Some Country and Western song titles:

“My Wife ran away with my Best Friend and I don’t half Miss Him”

“How Can I Miss You if you Won’t Go Away?” – (Dan Hicks)


Let not your left hand know what your other left hand is doing

-       Piano teacher to student


We’ve got to start thinking we’re not as good as we think we are


Managing is easy – just keep the 5 guys that hate you away from the 5 that are undecided

            Both from New York Yankees coach Stengel


By the time you’re 13, you’ve only got one “No” left; Don’t waste it on a fashion statement

-       ?

There are two types of people. Those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t.                                     - Barth


TV is a medium – so called because it is neither rare nor well done

-       Eddie Kovacs


- I thought you said “You name it, we do it”

– Oh, we do. You just haven’t named it yet

-       Kenneth Williams


An uneasy awareness is dawning that…the tongues of these damned Europeans may have to be taken seriously if they persist in pretending not to understand English

- Anthony Burgess – English Maid Plane, Pt 2, Chapter 1


The Tale of the Slave (abridged)


  1. You are a slave completely at the mercy of your master; beaten, called out in the night, etc…
  2. The master is kindlier – beats slave for stated infraction of rules – gives slave some free time
  3. Master has group of slaves – decides how to allocate things according to needs, merit, etc…
  4. Master allows slaves four alone and requires work only three days per week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
  5. Master allows slaves to work in the city for wages – requires that they send back three quarters of their wages. Retains the power to recall them to the plantation if emergency threatens land and to raise or lower the three quarters amount due to him – Restricts slaves from dangerous activities such as smoking and mountaineering.
  6. Master all ten thousand slaves except you to vote and a joint decision is made by all. There is open discussion, etc… and they can decide what happens to you. There is now, in effect, one ten-thousand-headed monster.
  7. You still have no vote but you are given the right to enter into discussions of the ten thousand to try to persuade them to adopt various policies. They then vote to decide on policies covering the vast range of their powers.
  8. In appreciation of your contributions, the ten thousand allow you to vote if deadlocked. There is a secret vote taken after the discussion. If the issue is divided five thousand for and five thousand against they count your ballot in. This has never yet happened.
  9. They throw your vote in with theirs. if exactly tied, your vote carries the issue – otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.


The Question is: Which transition from Case One to Case Nine made it no longer the Tale of a Slave?

-       Robert Nozick – Anarchy, State and Utopia, Pp 191-2


“I’ve never been to prison and I don’t want to go back”

- Salesman at an auction in East Oxford Community Centre (later arrested for fraud)



If it weren’t for the last minute nothing would get done

                                                                      Irish Proverb



Groucho Marx - What’s the difference between sex and conversation

Young lady – I don’t know

Groucho – Lie down, I want to talk to you

Rudeness is the weak man’s way of being strong

-       Aristotle


If you try to write a poem about the meaning of life you’ll end up staring at a brick wall – but if you write a poem about a brick wall, you might end up writing about the meaning of life

-       Blake Morrisson (?)


T-shirt slogans seen in Oxford: “Rehab is for Quitters” and “Success means never having to wear a suit and tie”


A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage

A dove house filled with doves and pigeons

Shudders hell through all its regions

                                   - Wm Blake


It’s very middle class to be seen to be in a hurry

- Jessica Mitford, when asked why she didn’t send letters via airmail


That a person’s elation seemed to be tightly bound to his or her unencumbrance was a detail overlooked by psychologists (not surprisingly, since psychologists tended to skirt the subject of elation all together…)

                                   Tim Robbins – Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, P. 219


The more advertising I see, the less I want to buy

                                                          Ibid. - P. (?)


The best part of an affair is going upstairs

-       French saying


The future enters into us in order to transform itself in us long before it happens

-       Rilke


Our heavens and our hells exist only to the extent to which we feed them

                                                                      - John Nash (schizophrenic economist)


Monogamy is almost impossible amongst interesting people

-       Erica Jong (?)



A wise old owl once lived in a wood,

The more he heard the less he said,

The less he said, the more he heard,

Let’s emulate that wise old bird.

                                   - Flann O’Brien – At Swim-Two-Birds



The Fool does not lead a revolt against the Law; he lures us into a region of the spirit where… the writ does not run

                                                          Enid Welsford – The Medieval Fool


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.

Success in Circuit lies

-       Emily Dickinson



Why is belief in god and the Kingdom of heaven silly while belief in earthly utopias is not silly?

                                               - Alexander Herzen – ‘From the Other Shore’ – VI 104



As is well known, human beings are better and lazier than their rules and instructions.

                                   Solzhenitsyn – Gulag Archipelago: The Supreme Measure



Love is more important than the flesh and blood facts of who gave birth to whom

                                                                      Sebastian Faulkes – Birdsong, P. 399



‘The ear is the main thing’ observed Lamont ‘You can wear the last tatter of skin off your knuckles with a fiddle and a bow and you won’t get as far as your own shadow if you haven’t got the ear. Have the ear and you’re half way there before you start at all’

                                   - Flann O’Brien – At Swim-Two-Birds, P. 153



It’s easier to spit than to wipe it off

                       Russ proverb quoted by Solzhenitsyn in “Lenin in Zurich” (last page)



(The government) were, too, in a sense victims. They were gripped by the most horrible and, perhaps, the most universal of human maladies; the belief that principles and doctrines are more important than lives

                                                                      - AJP Taylor, from the essay “Genocide”


… and this brought Ulrich back to that rather dubious notion in which he had loing believed and which he had even now not quite rooted out of himself: that the world would be best governed by a senate of highly evolved men possessing great knowledge. It is, after all, very natural to think that man, who lets himself be treated by professionally qualified doctors when he is ill, and not by shepherd-lads, has no reason, when in good health, to let himself be treated, as he actually does in his public affairs, y windbags ewhose qualifications are no better than those of shepherd-lads

- Robert Musil – The Man Without Qualities, Second Book, Part One, Chapter 40


Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough               (?)


“Sexism is being fourteen yars old your whole life; a cruel fate”

-        Carlos Fuentes


I knew this man – he didn’t want to lose his job or his dignity; but it is impossible to keep both

                                                          - Paul Theroux – Saint Jack, Chapter 2


My notion of sex, call me old-fashioned, was a satisfying and slightly masked and moist surprise, unhurried, private, imaginative and inexpensive, as close to passion as possible, neither business-like nor over-coy, maintaining the illusion of desire with groans of proof, celebrating fantasy, a happy act the price kept in perspective; give and take, no lies about love

                                                                      - Paul Theroux – Saint Jack, Chapter 15


Marriage is a sort of friendship recognised by the police

                                   - RL Stevenson



“A Roman would rather lose a firend than lose the chance of making a joke”

                                                                      - Quintillian – 6.3.28


“You can never have enough of what you don’t really need” – unknown (American?) economist, quoted in the documentary film “The Eleventh Hour”


The sale of any human faculty as a commodity is obviously a degrading process; but it is equally obvious that the difference between trading one’s embraces and other forms of prostitution – political, literary, artistic – is merely one in degree, not in kind. If we are more repelled by the former it is a sign that we take the body more seriously than the spirit

- Arthur Koestler – Arrow in the Blue – P. 264


"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” – Psalms (where?)


The same woman said she could read tarot cards and palms… offered to tell his future.

- All the permutations and possibilities of life are contained in these images, she said seriously

He watched her hands arranging the deck, pointing to once card and then the other, listened to the long tale of woe the next twenty years held in store for him. He let her finish, saw her waiting for some reaction from him, lit a cigarette, exhaled a thin mist of smoke and, laying a hand on her knee, said

-       So what’s the rush?

Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful, P. 136 (Chet Baker)


Mrs Kehoe wondered to herself if she should buy a television for company in the evenings. She worried, she said, that it might not catch on and she’d be left with it. Both Tony and Father Flood advised her to buy a set and this seemed only to cause further remarks about how there was no guarantee they’d go on making programmes and she did not think she would take the risk.

“When everyone gets one, I’ll get one”, she said

                                               Colm Toíbin, Brooklyn, Part 32, P. 176



In order to escape from prison, one must first realise that one is inside it

-       Gurdjieff


As soon as men lived in society they must have noticed that some men eluded the severity of the laws. They punished public crimes. It was necessary to create a check on secret crimes; only religion could be this check

- Voltaire – Philosophical Dictionary, P. 184 (“Enfer”)


“Under the Roman Imperium slavery became increasingly unsupportable: slaves had no civil rights and in disputes their testimony was only acceptable if it had been obtained under torture. If a slaveholder were to die suddenly or under mysterious circumstances, then all of his slaves, without regard to guilt or innocence, were quickly put to death. It is fair to say that the reliance of the Imperium on the institution of slavery must mitigate any admiration that we might feel for “the grandeur that was Rome.” In truth, the grandeur of Rome was the grandeur of a pig sty masquerading as a military brothel.”

- Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods, Part Three (Hell), Chapter 11 (Complacencies of the Peignoir: Sugar, Coffee, Tea and Chocolate), P. 176, Sugar and Slavery


“Let us declare Nature to be legitimate. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous in the first place”

-       Ibid – Part Two (Paradise Lost), Chapter 7, P. 98, Searching for Soma: The Golden Vedic Enigma


The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up            (?)


Democracy is cancerous and bureaus are its cancer. A bureau takes root anywhere in the state, turns malignant like the narcotic bureau and grows and grows, always reproducing more of its own kind until it chokes the host if not controlled or excised. Bureaus cannot live without a host, being true parasitic organisms (A co-operative, on the other hand, can live without the state). That is the rod to follow. The building up of independent units to meet the needs of people who participate in the functioning of the unit. A bureau operates on the opposite principle of inventing needs to justify its existence

                                               - William Burroughs – The Naked Lunch


Who would not give all else for two p-

ennyworth only of beautiful soup?

            Lewis Carroll, from The Mock Turtle’s Song in Through the Looking Glass


“Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life”

-       Wittgenstein’s last words


“I was sitting at the table when the thrill smote me. I had handed my cup to Miss M’Ilvaine to replenish for the first time, and as she was about restoring to me the draught which cheers but not inebriates, I should be loath to calculate the arc through which her hand appeared to me to travel on its way to the side of my plate. The wall grew populous with dancing satyrs. Chinese mandarins nodded idiotically in all the corners, and I felt strongly the necessity of leaving the table before I betrayed myself.”

- Fitz Hugh Ludolow; “The Hasheesh Eater: Being Passages from the Life of a Pythagorean (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1857), P. 86 - Cited in McKenna (Ibid), Chapter Ten, The Ballad of the Dreaming Weavers: Cannabis and Culture, Fitz Hugh Ludlow


Indifference to the cosmic fosters intense concentration on minute segments and specialist tasks… the specialist is one who never makes small mistakes, while moving toward the grand fallacy

                                   - Marshall McLuhan – Understanding Media, P. 124


“If you wound the body of a dying man, the wound will begin to heal, even if the whole body will be dead tomorrow”

Primo Levi; If This Is A Man, P.116, Die Drei Leute Von Labor


It is my great hope some day to see science and decision makers rediscover what the ancients have always known, namely that our highest currency is respect.

-       Naeem Nicholas Taeb; Black Swans, Chapter 7 – In the Antechamber of Hope, P.90; Process over Results


Only jerks have to make sense

-       Chandler Brossard – The Bold Saboteurs


“Billions of consciousnesses silt history full, and every one of them the centre of the universe”

-       John Updike


The state is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by behaving differently

                                                          - Karl Landauer


What does not grow out of tradition is plagiarism

-       Eugenie D’Ors in My Last Sigh



I loathe “the mob” while at the same time I passionately desire their happiness as “the people”

Is not lying the only resource left to slaves?

                                               - Stendhal – The Life of Henri Brulard, Chapter 15


“What’s Past is prologue”               

-       Wm Shakespeare; The Tempest, Act II, Scene I


“Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealisable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis; that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realisation of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition, which is opposed to everything in it. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it; for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable

Primo Levi; If This Is A Man, P.8, Chapter 1; “The Journey”


Let us replace the government of men by the administration of things

-       St Simon


“We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas, but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing to communicate”                                                                                         - Henry David Thoreau; On Walden Pond



The great obstacle of marriage: one wants to make love to a willing, co-operative, approving female body. In fact one is expected to make love to a partner in accountancy, a fellow businessman, a joint consultant in child-rearing, a fellow voter – and one of these many capacities, the wife may very strongly disapprove of the husband. Yet she expects adequate love to be made nonetheless. Here is the vicious circle of true companionship marriage: the more the husband and wife share all the responsibilities of life, the less they are – what lovers must basically be – simple cock and cunt. The more ‘modern’ the marriage, the more extensive the sharing, the less likely is sexual union. One is not irresistibly inclined to fuck one’s lawyer, bank manager and friendly neighbourhood philosopher – especially if in all three of these personae, the wife disapproves of one’s activities.

-       Kenneth Tynan, Diaries, P.112


People who are resistant to change usually can’t resist change for the worse        (?)


“Of course our industries will keep nearly half of Scotland living round here. They let us exist. But who, nowadays, is glad just to exist?”

“I am. At the moment” said McAlpin, watching the sunlight move among rooftops.

“So am I” said Thaw, wondering what had happened to his argument. After a moment, McAlpin said “So you paint to give Glasgow a more imaginative life?”

“No. That’s my excuse. I paint because I feel cheap and purposeless when I don’t.”

“I admire your purpose.”

“I admire your self-confidence.”


“It makes you welcome at parties. It lets you kiss the host’s daughter behind the sofa when you’re drunk.”

“That means nothing, Duncan.”

“Only if you can do it.”                   


Alasdair Gray – Lanark; Book 2, Chapter 22 (“Kenneth McAlpin”), Page 144


… “I like the idea of women, I like that you can pick them up like shells on the beach, they are all over the place, little pink ones and ones with whorls, you can hear the ocean. The trouble is… the trouble is… I think you only fall for someone… when you’re a kid… when you don’t know the world is a whorehouse. You get the idea in your mind and that’s it. And foir the rest of your life you’re stuck on her, and you think every time you turn around she’s the one or that one who comes along and smiles like her and fills her in. We have that first one when we’re stupid and don’t know any better. And we walk away and she becomes the one we look for the rest of our life, you know.

                                   - EL Doctorow – Billy Bathgate


… And Ian gave him another bear hug which Jamie now realised was a Christian hug, not a real one.

                                                          Mark Haddon; A Spot of Bother, Ch 83, P. 326


And, in his experience, women could get upset about things that never even occurred to most men.

Ibid: Ch 86, P. 334



We have so many personalities that we don’t need one more

                                                          - John Cage on BBC Radio 3, 18/10/90


The objection is made again and again, however, that the mere individual is impotent. What, it is asked rhetorically, can only one person do? The implication is that around the next corner will be somebody who isn’t only one person. Yet, when evil is afoot, people do not wring their hands, lamenting their impotence as “only one person”; they get on  with the bad work and do it efficaciously

                                               Robert Sampson – Society Without the State – P.8                                                                     

War is the health of the state

-       Randolph Bourne


One can never communicate one’s deepest pleasures. They are forever sealed off.

                                   Chandler Brossard – The Bold Saboteurs, Chapter III


When I get money I spend it on books and if I have any left over I spend it on food and clothing

-       Erasmus


The institutions a man founds and the culture he creates develop laws of their own and man’s freedom has to comply with them. He is overpowered by the expanding wealth of his economic, social and political surrounding, and comes to forget that he himself, his free development, is the final goal of all these works. Instead, he surrenders to their sway. Men always strive to perpetuate an established culture and in doing so perpetuate their own frustration. The history of man is the history of his estrangement from his true interest, and by the same token, the history of its realization.

-       Herbert Marcuse – Reason and revolution, P. 246


Stupidity is the prerogative of the wealthy. Pauper’s field is crammed with smart guys

-       Chandler Brossard – The Bold Saboteurs


Peace to men. War on institutions

-       Spanish Civil War Anarchist slogan



(Henry Perowne has just witnessed a plane crash, by chance, looking out of his bedroom window in the early morning)

That it should be him and not someone else is an arbitrary matter. A simple anthropic principle is involved. The primitive thinking of the supernaturally inclined amounts to what his psychiatric colleagues call a problem, or an idea, of reference. An excess of the subjective, the ordering of the world with your needs, an inability to contemplate your own unimportance. In Henry’s view such reasoning belongs on a spectrum at whose far end, rearing like an abandoned temple, lies psychosis

                                                                      Ian McEwan – Saturday, Chapter 1 (P.17)


It’s fortunate for the fishmonger and his customers that sea creatures are not adapted to make use of sound waves and have no voice. Otherwise there’d be howling from those crates… Naturally, Perowne the fly-fisherman has seen the recent literature: scores of polynodal nociceptor sites just like ours in the head and neck of rainbow trout. It was once convenient to think biblically to believe we’re surrounded for our benefit by edible automata on land and sea. Now it turns out that even fish feel pain. This is the growing complication of the modern condition, the expanding circle of moral sympathy. Not only distant peoples are our brothers and sisters, but foxes too, and laboratory mice, and now the fish. Perowne goes on catching and eating them, and though he’d never drop a live lobster into boiling water, he’s prepared to order one in a restaurant. The trick, as always, the key to human success and domination, is to be selective in your mercies. For all the discerning talk, it’s the close at hand, the visible, that exerts the overpowering force. And what you don’t see…

                                                                                  Ibid. Chapter Three, Page 127


The random ordering of the world, the unimaginable odds against any particular condition still please him. Even as a child, and especially after Aberfan, he never believed in fate or providence, or the future being made by someone in the sky. Instead, at every instant, a trillion trillion possible futures; the pickiness of pure chance and physical laws seemed like freedom from the scheming of a gloomy god.

                                                                                  Ibid. Chapter Three, Page 128


Charlton Heston said “guns don’t kill people; people kill people”. True, but I think the guns help

                                                                                  -   Eddie Izzard


… the self-assertion of the individual or of groups of individuals, their struggle for superiority, and the conflicts which resulted therefrom, have already been analysed, described and glorified from time immemorial. In fact, up to the present time this current alone has received attention from the epical poet, the analyst, the historian and the sociologist. History, such as it has hitherto been written, is almost entirely a description of the ways and means by which theocracy, military power, autocracy and, later on, the richer classes’ rule, have been promoted, established and maintained. The struggles between those forces make, in fact, the substance of history…. While on the other side the mutual-aid factor has been hitherto totally lost sight of; it was simply denied, or even scoffed at, by the wirters of the present and past generation.

                                               - Kropotkin – Mutual Aid


At the end of the concert, the organist stood up and received a standing ovarian

-       From an essay by one of Alison Bentley’s pupils

(And from one of Mel Houldershaw’s, in answer to the question “Who founded the police Force?” – “Old Bill”).



Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong, but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists

-       Thomas L Friedman


Then Miriam Gross, who has always been named as a model of monogamy by Kathleen and by many other supporters of the cult, sits beside me and reveals that she has been unfaithful to John three times in the last two years. The last bastions of monogamy are collapsing; even Kathleen is astonished; soon, I pray, there will be a clear distinction between what makes a pair of companions and what makes a pair of lovers

-       Kenneth Tynan, Diaries, P. 138



When we’re incomplete, we search for someone to complete us. When… we find we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners: we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfilment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is… to program for eventual failure in every relationship we enter

-       Tom Robbins – Still Life With Woodpecker, P. 157


Praise of everybody is praise of nobody

- Samuel Johnson


"Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life."

- Eric Hoffer:


“It is only a small part of life we actually live – Indeed, all the rest is not life but merely time”

- Seneca; “On the Shortness of Life” (quoted as frontispiece of ‘Engleby’ by Sebastian Faulks)


History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme

                                                          - Mark Twain


Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked                                         (Berra?)



If a Frenchman sees drunken men fighting in a tavern and a policeman looking at them with the serenity of an outsider and the curiosity of a man watching a cock-fight, he is furious with the policeman for not flying into a rage                   and carrying someone off au violon. He does not reflect that personal freedom is only possible when a policeman has no paternal authority, when his intervention is reduced to passive readiness to come when he is summoned.

The confidence that every poor fellow feels when he shuts the door of his cold, dark, damp little hovel transforms a man’s attitude. Of course, behind these jealously guarded, strictly observed rights, the criminal sometimes hides – and so be it. It is far better that the clever thief should go unpunished than that every honest man should be trembling like a thief in his own room

–   Alexander Herzen - My Past and Thoughts, Pp 452-3




“Happily married couples, he thought, stood not face to face, absorbed in each other, but back to back, looking outwards upon the World”

                       Michael Frayn – Towards the End of the Morning, Ch 8 (P.124)



“Though he has not achieved all he wanted”

“Well, no one ever does. No one who truly dares and hopes”                                                                   - Sebastian Faulks, Human Traces, Chapter XXIV, P.605


Sid also (said London was) “a far more rational society than our own. The obvious good manners and consideration of people there toward each other may be only selfish, but it’s good enough for me” he said

                       Dorothy Hermann quotes S.J. Perelman in her biography of him


“… paintings of previous headmasters, one of which suggested either that the artist was a tragic-comically inept doctrinaire Cubist, or that Mr R.B. Fenner-Crossway, M.A., was in reality a dyspeptic pattern of mauve rhomboids”

                       John Lanchester; The Debt to Pleasure, Chapter 1, P. 10/11


“Self-contained paper maps are at a disadvantage in windy conditions, the smallest gust of air turning a routine navigation into something resembling a life-and-death struggle between a snorkeller and a manta ray”

                       Ibid. P. 151 (‘Vegetables and Saladings’)


To be ironical and in the majority eo ipso a poor kind of irony. To be in the majority is the desire of all immediate people, but irony is suspicious in both directions; to the right and to the left. A really ironical person has therefore never been in the majority. That is the joker’s position

- Kierkegaard, The Journals, 574



Property is Impossible. You’ve been conned again!

                       - Anarchist slogan under King St railway bridge in Reading (1983)


In order to get a bank loan you must first prove that you don’t need one             (?)


Not all good things are compatible

                                               - Isaiah Berlin



If this is dying, I don’t think much of it

                                               - Lytton Strachey’s last words


I have, as you know, imported a French chef, who is the merriest of men and given to making puns: well, punning is incompatible with murder

                       Stendhal, The Charterhouse of Parma, Chapter 24, Court Entertainments



I have a farily precise idea of what makes me, as a writer, tick. It is the wish to treade a hundred contemporary readers against ten readers in ten year’s time and one reader in a hundred year’s time

                                   - Arthur Koestler – Arrow in the Blue – P. 41


Life is mostly froth and bubble

Two things stand like stone

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in your own

-       The Wearie Wayfarer; Adam Lindsay Gordon


And here is Kingsley Amis’s Parody:

Life is mainly grief and labour.

Two things get you through.

Chortling when it hits your neighbour,

Whingeing when it’s you.

                                   Citado en ‘Experience’, Martin Amis, ‘Feasts of Friends’, P.237


Once, down the Mumbles road along the coast, the family encountered a traffic jam caused by a serious accident. In the car there was a murmur of anxiety that Sally – then two or three – might see something frightening. Finally, we approached the crossroads, and there on the verge was a twitching, blood-bespattered figure half covered by an old overcoat. We seemed to be safely past when Eva propped Sally up on the back seat and said ‘Look at him, Sall. Writhing in agony, he is.’

                                   Ibid: ‘Failures of Tolerance’ Pp 104-5.


“Que no acabe así… diles que dije algo”

-       Últimas palabras de Pancho Villa


The rewards for being sane may not be very many but knowing what’s funny is one of them. And that’s an end of the matter

                       Nash the psychiatrist in Kingsley Amis’s ‘Stanley and the Women’


According to the most extreme form of this view the only way by which one could be sure that a machine thinks is to be the machine and to feel oneself thinking…. Likewise, according to this view the only way to know that a man thinks is tobe that particular man. It is in fact the solipsist point of view. It may be the most logical view to hold but it makes communication of ideas difficult. A is liable to believe “A thinks but B does not” whilst B believes “B thinks but A does not”. Instead of arguing continually over this point it is usual to have the polite convention that everyone thinks.

-       Alan Turing: Computer Machinery and Intelligence (The Argument from Consciousness)

(quoted in ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ by David Leavitt, Ch 7, ‘The Imitation Game’, part 3 (P. 250))


I am not wise enough to wish the world reasonable – I only desire to have follies that are amusing, and am sorry that Cervantes laughed chivalry out of fashion

                                   - Horace Walpole, quoted in English Eccentrics by Edith Sitwell

                                               (Ch ); Some Travellers, P.193)


Never do card tricks for people you play poker with                                (?)


Art is more at home with poverty and luxury than with crude prosperity, or with comfort, when it is an end in itself – if it comes to that, it is more at home with the harlot selling herself than with the respectable woman selling at three times the cost the work of a starving seamstress. Art is not at ease in the stiff, over-neat, thrifty house of the petit bourgeois, and his house is bound to be such; art feels instinctively that in life it is reduced to the level of external decoration, such as wall-paper and furniture, to the level of a hurdy-gurdy; if the hurdy-gurdy man is a nuisance, he is kicked out, if they want to listen they give him a halfpenny, and that’s that…

                       Alexander Herzen – My Past and Thoughts, P. 658



Problems are the price of success

                                   - Me


If you can choose between opportunity and security, choose opportunity. And if you have to choose between money and time choose time

                                   - Me again



I am here not because I am particularly qualified to be here, and not particularly because I was chosen or elected, but because I made up my mind to get here. Men who stop bolting horses or save their children form burning buildings are not chosen or elected. I came here by all the devices of dishonest argument, by rhetoric, bad promises, meaningless slogans, twisted statistics, proof by selected instance; I was carried here by trumped-up personalities and paid publicity agents, by carefully calculated exploitation of the prejudices, the short memories, the emotions, the selfishness and the general gullibility of the majority of you. I was brought here by methods borrowed from the fairground cheapjack and the circus ringmaster


He gave a short staccato sob and went on, “If you prevent men from seizing and wielding power over you by force, you do not solve the problem of human freedom. You merely make it necessary for others to acquire power over you by other means….”

“There there”, I said “I’m sure everybody loves and respects you, sir”. He blubbered “You would prefer an iron-handed dictator to a helpless old man like me”.

“Goodness gracious me, no sir!” I said with conviction.

… at this he straightened up like a ramrod and roared as if in terrible agonty “That is the dreadful fallacy… Why, you would kiss the ground he trod, Smallcreep… you would march behind his flag in shining uniforms, each one of you a prince, you would be men indeed, men of purpose, gods to tell the sun when to rise and set… and then, if things went wrong the whole lot of you, you would point at him and say “He made us do it… He made us do it” you would say, when the whole nation of you had cheered him on, when the saluting arms had covered acres and acres and acres where he had opassed… In all countries” he said “and at all times in history, this dreadful image persists – of a crowd of people cheering and bowing down and obeying one man. It has always signified the utmost, it is the very essence of evil”.

            I tried to comfort him “But didn’t we fight for our freedom? We would fight for it again! … “I do not doubt your ferocity. But one look at freedom and you would all shrivel up like worms in a snowstorm”, He leaned forward then, as if become just a little interested, after all, in what he was saying. “You would oscillate between the most intense boredom and the extremities of fear”. He opened his eyes but not, it seemed, to see out. “Every week I give you a pay packet, with which you can buy, if you wish, a little freedom. But none of them chooses to cash it in that way. You exchange it for families and televisions and washing machines, an come back next week for more slavery. You do not buy freedom because you dare not. In a society of free men you would be forced to face up to what you really are. In every sense of the expression you would have to do your own dirty work, you would have to forge your very own relationships with those around you…”

            “You are all like our magistrates who condemn men to prisons they themselves have never lived in, like company directors who haven’t the slightest idea of what it is like to work on a production line, like old ladies shoveling coal onto their fires without the faintest glimmer of what it is like to go down a mine and dig out the coal. You are all each others’ jailers”… “In a free society you would have no claims over complete strangers. They would help you if they felt like it, if you were a particularly generous-natured or endearing person. But if you were not, then you would have to empty your own dustbin, and dispose of your own sewage, and cure your own sickness. In a free society you would have to come to terms with yourself and with others like yourself, with the man who backs his car into yours, with the man next door who has to feed three times as many mouths as you do, with the drunks who get into your garden. You would have to sort things out with them yourself, instead of having social workers or political parties or policemen or shop stewards to do the job for you, and in the process you would be forced to face up to what sort of a person you yourself really were… All your damned courts of law and prisons and all the pompous nonsense by which what you call law and order is maintained, they are not here to protect you from a few psychopaths and criminals. They have been instituted in order that the bulk of citizens can be kept from each other and thus never need come to terms with their own rotten and distorted natures. To meet a murderer in the street is bad, but to meet oneself in the street would be so appalling a nightmare that men sacrifice half their wealth gladly to avoid it. You invest in kings and judges and whole armies at enormous cost. The latest device by which you propose to protect yourselves from yourselves is an invention which will destroy you all completely. You may call such cocktails by fancy names like National Socialism, or Democracy, or Communism, but there is very little freedom in any of them”.

            I was amazed by this, coming form a managing director. I declared staunchly and stoutly that we would never tolerate anything resembling Communism or Fascism in Britain. “Of course not” he replied “You would hang an old woman from every lamp post in London to stamp them out. In the name of anti-Fascism you would put into power the most brutal dictator you could find. In the name of anti-Communism you would submit to martial law for the rest of your lives”…. “We have freedom of speech” I said.

            He opened his eyes round and wide and said “Oh? Do you frequently make speeches? Do you fo to Hyde Park Corner to watch the buffoons? … you do not use words for communication at all, you use them to reinforce herd feelings. You talk for the same reason as sheep bleat and hens cluck. You cannot speak freely because you cannot think freely – “

            Forgetting myself I protested “We all have our own opinions. In a democracy we have the right to our own opinions”. “Opinions?” he shouted, and got up from his chair. “… You mean that you have a right to your own prejudices… Do you not agree that all this talk of freedom of speech and thought is so much hogwash and fiddle-faddle if it is not accompanied by freedom of action?”… “This is a free country” I said “The what the devil am I here for? The tourists?

…………………………………………………………………………………..                                                 Peter Currell Brown – Smallcreep’s Day


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