Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

William James: Vital modern thinker

I enjoy and admire William James very much, though of his books I have only read Pragmatism more or less properly, and that several years ago. Recently, I came across WJ's essay, "Why is life worth living?" and found it firmly concerned with the issue dearest to me: what ought and can an individual contribute to human consciousness? Reading WJ more widely (if secondhand), it is thrilling to find that he beautifully bridges the 19th, 20th and 21 centuries. Read more...

Published

04 September 2022

Childhood resilience: 1800-2022

I am interested in the fashions which blow through children's fiction and, a related matter, child-rearing mantras. This is a matter of the stories we tell children, and the stories we tell about them. They are as interesting for their consistency through our recent centuries as they are for their differences. Read more...

Published

04 September 2022

“Vole” magazine (1977-81), green pioneer

Vole magazine was a pioneer of a species of “greenery” between 1977 and 1981. It was the creature of Richard Boston though I edited it very briefly toward the end. I have a complete collection of the magazine and aim to find the right archive for it. I am not content with my Vole recollections which appear below. I have always felt I let the magazine down. I hope I am not doing so now. Any corrections or improvements to this account will be very welcome. Read more...

Published

30 August 2022

Haile Selassie: Exile and autocrat

I recently (May, 2022) spent a wonderful few hours at the villa in Bath, Somerset where Ras Tafari, Emperor Haile Selassie spent 1936-40 in exile from his country, Ethiopia, which had been over-run by Italy's Fascist troops. Selassie has resonated with me since I talked with two of his admirers. I interviewed Bob Marley in July 1980 and read Wilfred Thesiger's A Life of My Choice (1987) and at some point interviewed the grand old man of desert travel and SAS action. It seems that of the two only Thesiger knew the Emperor personally. Here are a few reflections on the Emperor, and his place in history and in Bath. Read more...

Published

20 July 2022

Challenging Meta’s Metaverse

I am distrustful of the idea of Meta’s “Metaverse”. My doubts are an intensified version of the impressions I have of the corporation’s Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. My mistrust of Twitter is as long-running and profound. Meta now looks set to combine the downside of those technologies with those of online virtual reality gaming. I am not a technophobe, having used word processors to write books since the very early 1980s and internet messaging and file sharing since the late 1980s. Besides, here I am loving Wordpress. I am also a devoted fan of online digital imaging, and am trying to advance its cause. Nonetheless, the Metaverse - or "multiverses" - would be a small step for Meta, but a giant leap for mankind. We must address its hazards as well as its merits. Read more...

Published

11 May 2022

Herkenrode Stained Glass book review #2

This is the second part of a passionate (and I hope modest) layman’s tentative review of the book The Stained Glass of Herkenrode Abbey [TSGHA] by Isabelle Lecocq and Yvette Vanden Bemden, published by the British Academy and Oxford University Press, 2022. Read more...

Published

11 May 2022

Herkenrode Stained Glass book review #1

This is the first part of a passionate layman’s ignorant and tentative review of the book The Stained Glass of Herkenrode Abbey by Isabelle Lecocq and Yvette Vanden Bemden, published by the British Academy and Oxford University Press, 2022. This first outing covers some overall impressions of the work, but concentrates on the opening 40-odd pages (out of the tome's 500-odd) which focus on the Belgian abbey; the creation and reputation of its 16th Century stained glass up until the end of the 18th Century The windows' rescue and adventurous passage to England is posted as "Herkenrode Stained Glass book #2". (Their arrival at Lichfield Cathedral, installation in the cathedral, religious symbolism and recent restoration will have to wait whilst I catch my breath and read things up.) Read more...

Published

11 May 2022

Poem: Denmark Villas, Hove

Hove, in west Sussex, feels to me like an incubator of the future. It's not just that its population is youthful but that so many of the young seem successful. I imagine them to be getting and spending in ways probably not known ten or twenty years ago. This is an springtime upbeat piece, about 1,000 words in all, and takes around ten minutes to read aloud. Read more...

Published

22 April 2022

Stanley North: Artist, conservator and ruralist

This posting could be subtitled: "Adventures in ancient and Modern taste". Or: "An illustrated sketch of a controversial paintings conservator, dedicated artist, craftsman and rural revivalist". Stanley Kennedy North (1887-1942) was my grandfather and I am hoping to see his work and role recognised, interrogated and archived. Read more...

Published

14 March 2022

A spiritualism serendipity

An odd and touching synchronicity occurred whilst I was going through my father ‘s bookshelves with an eye to downsizing the collection I inherited from him. I had seen a book of his, inscribed by hand as belonging to Vera Bax (his mother) in 1951 (additionally she wrote: “First read… Read more...

Published

11 March 2022
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