Friday, 5 November 2010

Review from Charlie Brown at The Music Critic

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Charlie Brown at The Music Critic:

The best thing about singer songwriting balladeer Marmaduke Dando's debut is it’s really enjoyable to listen to because it’s different, original and interesting. How does someone so young have such an old fashioned voice? It’s almost of an another time and place. One of sepia photographs, of melodramatic climax before something sinister slaps us from romanticism back to an inevitable reality.

Heathcliffian Surly is lyrically and vocally honed from that old school that’s close to Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel and Scott Walker but with a modern twist. From the opening track Odessa! to closing track The Last Embrace and all in between, there’s a peculiar freshness. On Life Can’t Get Any Better and the stand out ballad, This I Ask Of You, reminiscent of David Sylvian’s solo work merged with the lyrical sharpness of Nick Cave.

'If this is civilisation I want no part in it' croons young Marmaduke and his horror at the modern world may be well be his own undoing. My biggest worry about this album is despite the great quality of songs, I fear the world may not be ready for something as clever or quirky. Marmaduke Dando could’ve been on the Tube in the 80’s and then next week on a forty day UK tour supporting The Birthday Party, gaining a minor Top 40 entry with an explosive Top of the Pops performance pushing them into the top 20. In fact, if the single was the quirky Bertolt Brecht’s Alabama Song styled Give Me Detumescence they could have even have their very own Frankie and Relax controversy.

This album is worth buying for many reasons. The songs are well structured and the performances from the large supporting cast are first class. Along with the great artwork, the lyrics come in a fold out sheet and they are a remarkable literal treat.

A fantastic album.


Review from Rob F at Leicester Bangs

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Rob F at Leicester Bangs:

Marmaduke Dando Hutchings (to give the man his full name) is a London based songwriter with a penchant for morose balladry, and frisky drunken jigs. That’s what his MySpace page tells me, and it’s not far wrong. Reference is also made to a family link to pirate stock, and the popularity of Dando’s music within the halls of Parliament. Perhaps that’s true, too. The image of Dando on the cover of Heathcliffian Surly is one of an 18th century consumptive, probably not fit for a life at sea, but certainly healthy and wealthy enough to buy a seat in a rotten borough.

Musically, his influences appear purely European, with scarcely a hint of what we scribblers call rock and roll. Instead it is the influence and heritage of composers like Kurt Weill and Jacques Brel that Dando most liberally borrows from, though feel free to include names like Scott Walker and Tom Waits, who also both know their way around the European songwriting tradition. The results might have been calamitous. We English aren’t known for this sort of thing, especially with material that lives ponderously at the dark end of la rue (see what I did there?). Dando’s no Jake Thackray, sardonic witticisms are decidedly thin on the ground, though a certain gallows humour permeates Heathcliffian Surly, or at least I hope it does. Song titles such as “Dead To The World”, “The Last Drink” and “No Tomorrow” give the game away, though they’re tempered by “Life Can’t Get Any Better” and “Give Me Detumescence”, the latter causing difficulties for both my spell-check and the Cambridge University Press dictionary. I think it’s something to do with the reduction of swelling. It’s that sort of album.

There’s much here to be worried about. The gothic overtones, the carny vibe, the relentless doom and gloom, yet none of it seems in any way detrimental to an album that is undoubtedly one of my favourites of the year so far. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that if I hear a better singer-songwriter album by the end of 2010 it’ll be a Christmas miracle. Check out the man’s MySpace page for further details and to listen to a couple of songs.

Review from Charlie Ashcroft at Artrocker

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Charlie Ashcroft at Artrocker:

Portsmouth-born singer-songwriter Marmaduke Dando has produced one of those records which make you lean into the stereo a little more intently, or bemoan the fact that background noise is creeping into your headphones from the outside world.

Such is his attention to detail and delicate artistry that you’re left with no other option but to donate your full attention to the album from start to finish. From a vocal perspective, Dando comes across as a slightly more hyperactive incarnation of Antony Hegarty. It also seems fair to conclude that his musical accompaniments are rather wide-ranging throughout ‘Heathcliffian Surly’ – it’s folk music with a twist one minute, Wild Beasts-esque balladry the next.

Opening track ‘Odessa’ is a gorgeously orchestral 41Ž2 minutes, with the air of a song which should have soundtracked a tragic scene in a World War II film, while ‘Life Can’t Get Any Better’ is a quirky paean charting the directness of modern love.

The jazz-soaked shanty ‘The Last Drink’ is also a highlight, thanks to Dando’s wonderful couplet which could well be a statement to contemporary Britain: “You’re hooked on the life of the glamorous drunk/You’ve no idea how low you’ve sunk”.

This is an album which, in the same vein as the previously mentioned Johnsons/Beasts stable, won’t be for everyone, but for those who do eventually enter Marmaduke Dando’s wide-eyed world, they’re in for a treat. It’s poetry in motion for those who indulge in it, rich in texture and full of musical poise. 8/10

Review from JG at Tasty Fanzine

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by JG at Tasty Fanzine:

I'd just finished reading a newspaper article celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of DH Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' when along comes Marmaduke Dando, acerbically witty singer songwriter in the manner of Neil Hannon, Momus and occasionally Morrissey - and he's a fully paid up Lawrentian to boot : the CDs inner sleeve contains a colourful 100 or so word quote from Lawrence, one which is very unlikely to have seen publication in his lifetime.

Never really struck me as much of a loungebar sophisticate, old DH. Only too easy to imagine him spluttering through his moustache while attempting to put a banjo tune together for that 'Lizard' poem we got at school, in between throwing pieces of coal at nuns and admiring those newfangled 'futurist' ideas from Milan. Unlike Marmaduke Dando, whose musicianship is melodic and restrained, a lot like a sort of edgier Divine Comedy, employing actual pathos as opposed to Hannon's seaside japery.

Gets a bit samey over 10 tracks though, I really was listening out for a musical flourish, for a break from the repetitive keyboard-led strictures and structures, away from the unvarying tone of mildly shocked cynicism, awaiting the arrival of a trumpet or slide guitar or even a female voice to shatter the ever thickening fug of ever decreasing options, the sound of blinkers going on, the entire desperate spiralling that arrives with crushing finality at the park bench and sherry denoument of 'The Last Embrace' ....

Pulp fans, this one's for you!

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Springs of Life

I happened upon a most interesting chapter in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ today, brimming with anti-Enlightenment sentiment. It’s Prince Myshkin’s birthday, and everyone has descended on the villa he has rented in Pavlovsk, to help him celebrate. Holding court is a cretinous amateur lawyer called, Lebedyev, talking of “the springs of life”, explaining his point by telling the story of a man who in the twelfth century, to combat hunger, ate 60 monks and 6 infants. This is where Lebedyev concludes:

“Now for the conclusion, the finale, gentlemen, in which lies the solution of one of the greatest questions of that age and of this! The criminal ends by going and giving information against himself to the clergy and gives himself up to the authorities. One wonders what tortures awaited him in that age – the wheel, the stake and the fire. Who was it urged him to go and inform against himself? Why not simply stop short at sixty and keep the secret till his dying breath? Why not simply relinquish the clergy and live in penitence as a hermit? Why not, indeed, enter a monastery himself? Here is the solution. There must have been something stronger than stake and fire, stronger even than the habit of twenty years! There must have been and idea stronger than any misery, famine, torture, plague, leprosy, and all that hell, which mankind could not have endured without that idea, which bound men together, guided their hearts, and fructified the springs of life. Show me anything like such a force in our age of vices and railways…I should say of steamers and railways, but I say vices and railways, because I’m drunk but truthful. Show me any idea binding mankind together today with anything like the power it had in those centuries. And dare to tell me that the springs of life have not been weakened and muddied beneath the “star”, beneath the network in which men are enmeshed. And don’t try to frighten me with your prosperity, your wealth, the infrequency of famine and the rapidity of the means of communication. There is more wealth, but there is less strength. There is no uniting idea; everything has grown softer, everything is limp, and every one is limp! We’ve all, all of us grown limp. “

Sounds familiar…?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Formidable Marinade

A very fond memory of the album launch was captured on film, which was Mikelangelo inviting me to sing a duet of his song "Formidable Marinade". Relive the moment again below:

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Human Thing

I have been asked on numerous occasions recently, in regard to my music, "what is it that you want?". Every time I was caught off guard, and scrambled around for an answer, usually something along the lines of "err, to play nicer venues". "Is that it?", is probably what they were thinking, but dared not ask. It has prompted me to re-evaluate myself, and my music making, and to come up with some good reason for bothering.

It's certainly not money that's for sure. Anyone who makes music with some idea that they'll make pots of cash, is seriously misguided, and probably psychologically unhinged: a fool, in short. They'd be better off gambling on the stock market and continually reinvesting.

What makes me feel good is the praise, the fleeting moments of delusional brilliance, the power to captivate, the down turning of eyes when I linger too long on an audience member, the physical thrill of singing. All of this is connected to ego in one way or another, and is quite shameful to think about it all. Nevertheless, the feeling exists. Though is it enough to justify art creation?

When I question this amongst friends they all say, "but it's ok, it's an emotion like any other". Easy for them to say when the scale of ego is so small, cute, cuddly almost. Imagine it a million times bigger and it doesn't seem so quaint any more, in fact positively offensive. So being aware of ego, the satisfaction of it being a primal urge, one can accept it and overcome it. Only then can one pursue a worthwhile cause, and a more rational one at that.

Reaching this stage in my thoughts, it suddenly occurred to me. There was no need to "come up with something" as if it needed to be conjured out of thin air for the sake of having something to say. The answer had been there right beneath my nose all along, I'd just been distracted. The point of it all, not just music creation, but creativity in general, is subversion. To reject the common reality and present a different version. To corrupt and question that reality in any way possible. Personal propaganda you might call it.

The protest in my songs, which is most prevalent in "Give Me Detumescence" and "If This is Civilisation", may seem to some as a funny type of sentiment. They often make the audience chuckle, much to my chagrin. There is nothing humourous about either of those two songs, and I am deadly serious when I perform them. I hope the true message comes across when listening in private with no crowd to jostle against.

This tiny meme I have cast out, like a drop into the ocean, is worth every effort, for me alone. No matter how ridiculous it might seem and how quickly it may be forgotten, the irony of delivery, the inevitable hypocrisy, at least I will know that I have stood for the human thing, in my own way. And that is what I'm doing it for.

Dear friends,

It was almost a month ago now, but the memories of the sell out launch night at Hoxton Hall are still vivid. What a night it was. To look out from the stage upon a sea of familiar smiling faces, and to play in such a beautiful space, is what dreams are made of. Well mine anyway. Thank you for being part of it. If you'd like to relive the magic of the night, many photos have been taken. Some video footage will follow shortly too.

So, the album is OUT. If you weren't at the launch, then you wouldn't have been given a copy. No dramas necessary. The album is available for download here:

You're able to listen in full beforehand to hear what you're getting yourself into. You are also able to buy a physical copy on CD format. I am hoping to have some vinyls ready for Christmas. It will also be available on Spotify and iTunes in the next couple of weeks.

The next show we have planned will be Thursday October 28th, at the Kings Cross Social Club, in Kings Cross would you believe.

I do hope you're able to make it. Until then,


Thursday, 16 September 2010


The following text is taken from the credits on the insert for the album 'Heathcliffian Surly'.

The making of this record has been a long and arduous process, spanning at most 5 years, if you take into account the oldest songs that appear here. I have had plenty of personal crises during this period that have undermined the drive behind the record, some of which are documented here, albeit abstractly. The songs have been recorded in many a bedroom, studio, boat, and field. Even the band that contributed musical parts to these songs have undergone many line-up changes over the past few years. In fact the only constant on this whole record is myself, perhaps appropriately so, as it is a faithful expression of my character and no other, as it was in this period.

I wish to thank the following people for their help, advice, support, and inspiration that made this record possible. Thom Ntinas, a masterful engineer who has captured the sound here. Naomi Doran, a fiddler that introduced me to an entirely different kind of music, and can be heard very faintly on “All of Me”. Peter “Old Timer” Hall, who is missed dearly on this side of the Atlantic. Rebecca Jade, who better not remain dead to the world, if there is any justice in it. To Citizen Helene and Jennifer Hatt, for still talking to me. The King of Hearts, John Patterson, who lent his fast licks to “Life Can’t Get Any Better”, and for the relentless barrel of laughs. Paolo Bertagna, who plays drums with an exquisite light touch on “No Tomorrow” and “All of Me”. My old friends Greg Duncan and Odel Jeffries, who played guitar and drums on “Odessa” and “This I Ask Of You”, respectively, your legacy lives on! Marti Bowley, the longest standing member of my band, a fine double bass player and great friend, your role in this cannot be overstated, many many thanks my good man. The newest recruits in my band, Peter Maidens on guitar and banjo, Andy Marvell on drums and Sonia Gurdjieff on piano, all of whom have a remarkable ability to learn quickly, and most importantly able to suffer this fool’s whims without issue. Chancery Blame, who lends his searing violin solos to “Give Me Detumescence”. Nicole Brant-Zawadski, for the invaluable insights into how the modern world of music works. Daniel my bludda, for all the teenage giggles. Madeleine Brangwen, for doing the dirty work. Tom “the pen” Harris, for the album cover artwork. Dan Smith at Finyl Tweak for mastering. James Bowman, for giving me Sondheim. Aysha Ahmed, for giving me Lawrence. All at the Islington Arts Factory for being so accommodating. Ultrasound, still the best band that ever walked the planet, and without whom I should not have embarked on such a folly as this. Will E. Hogg, for being there for me in times of great emotional hardship. Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth, for posing the questions that no other dares to. My dear parents, for not knowing they even owned a copy of “Young Americans”. Leeland Crane, for your unfaltering support and insistence that I get on with it. Alex “Lemond Reece, for the exposure to pop music, Scotland, and Musgrove Road parties. To Russia, for Pushkin. To Holloway, for The Prince. To those bastard aspidistras that never give up, and finally, to B.S. Eliot.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

We Fucked It Up

Sobriety descends, you pull the covers up to pretend,
That this was a mistake, that I am to blame.
Well that’s not how it felt when you were screaming my name…

We fucked a flame into being, as our senses were leaving us, to the act of creation and eternal damnation. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked it up.

Deep in my arms, you struggle and then are calm.
On the tip of your tongue “Oh god, what have we done?”.
I’ll tell you just what we’ve done…

We fucked a flame into being, as our senses were leaving us, to the act of creation and eternal damnation. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked it up.

In that flash bulb of orgasm, I feel you buckle in fits of passion.
It’s a pornographic zoetrope, I grope, you groan in mock agony.
Two bodies beating in sympathy.

We fucked a flame into being, as our senses were leaving us.
The poor innocent parties and their imminent heartaches weren’t big enough to stand in our way…as we fucked a flame into being, as our senses were leaving us, to the act of creation and eternal damnation. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked. We fucked it up.

Written by Marmaduke Dando Hutchings

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


How tired and grumpy I am right now, like a battered old shoe still thumping along with a ragged foot inside. If only I could pass out and sleep for one hundred days, alas, no, I am still up and writing. It seems much more important that I relay the experience of the weekend past to the unfortunate masses that couldn’t be where I was.

Wood festival 2010, was the source of my ultimate joy this year so far. A small gathering of about 800 people, camping in meadows in the middle of nowhere. It couldn’t have been further from any festival experience I have previously suffered. No one was in my way at any point, there was distance between bodies, no officious high vis jackets, and no angry voices. Even the naked toddlers running around causing mischief, which by the way I haven’t seen since the 1980s, could mar the feeling I was experiencing. In fact, I might have even thought that children weren’t so bad after all, funny little blighters.

Now I know it’s just camping, but really, why do we not do more of it? Why is it a novelty, a past time, when it was once daily life? Emancipation from the elements, a higher standard of living, always moving away from that shabby floor that ultimately sustains us. What thanks we give it.

I puzzled over the constellations above me while Cate Le Bon was wafting softly around me, my head was spinning, but I wasn’t ill, quite the opposite, life couldn’t get any better. But then it did, I took her place on stage with my own band, and we played an incensed set to an appreciative sun-baked crowd. The final word of the festival was from Timber Timbre, who sounded like Roy Orbison trapped in a shower banging, in time, on the door to get out. In and out of consciousness they took me, and set me up for a massive fall.

After 2 days in the pure unadulterated countryside, waiting for the bus back to Oxford, stood on the highway, maniacs in cars shot past us, ruthlessly slicing all my joy. By the time I was in the plastic box watching the sunset on the fields I was not a part of anymore, it had been shredded irreparably to bits. Back to the city, back to someone’s so called “civilisation”.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Art of Decay

Every day a deeper breath,
I don't know how much I've left,
In me, I've lost the will,
To live, now all is still.

Every day another step,
One foot closer to my death.
It's the art of decay,
Better to burn, than fade away.

Every day is like the next,
I can't help but regain consciousness.
No one to devote it to,
That someone, it once was you.

Every day a deeper breath,
I don't know how much I've left,
In me, I've lost the will,
To live, now all is still.

Written by Marmaduke Dando Hutchings

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The magic of radio persists

Even in this day and age, what a phenomenon.

I shall be on Resonance FM this Wednesday from 9.30pm - 11pm Greenwich Mean Time, playing a few songs live, and a cover from 1964. You can listen on the airwaves in London at 104.4FM, or online for those who are too far away

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Hold Everything Dear

After a long run of Huxley novels, I’ve finally broken the chain with John Berger, recommended by one of the Dark Mountain founders. The book Hold Everything Dear by Berger is a collection of essays on resistance and survival, which opens with the following poem. It struck me as acutely relevant, so sad and beautiful, I had to reprint and share it.

Hold Everything Dear

for John Berger

as the brick of the afternoon stores the rose heat of the journey

as the rose buds a green room to breathe
and blossoms like the wind

as the thinning birches whisper their silver stories of the wind to the urgent in the trucks

as the leaves of the hedge store the light
that the moment thought it had lost

as the nest of her wrist beats like the chest of a wren in the turning air

as the chorus of the earth find their eyes in the sky
and unwrap them in each other in the teeming dark

hold everything dear

the calligraphy of birds across the morning
the million hands of the axe, the soft hand of the earth
one step ahead of time
the broken teeth of tribes and their long place
steppe-scattered and together
clay’s small, surviving handle, the near ghost of a jug
carrying itself towards us through the soil

the pledge of offered arms, the single sheet that is our common walking
the map of the palm held
in a knot
but given as a torch

hold everything dear

the paths they make towards us and how far we open towards them

the justice of a grass that unravels palaces but shelters the songs of the searching

the vessel that names the waves, the jug of this life, as it fills with the days as it sinks to become what it loves

memory that grows into a shape the tree always knew as a seed

the words
the bread

the child who reaches for the truths beyond the door

the yearning to begin again together
animals keen inside the parliament of the world

the people in the room the people in the street the people

hold everything dear

19th May 2005
Gareth Evans

Saturday, 13 March 2010

No more fiddling around

I have some sad news to report this week. My good friend and band mate, Naomi Doran also know as Naomi De Kleined, will no longer be playing with the band. She has decided to call it a day with my rabble in order to dedicate all her spare time to her own art work, which has been causing quite a stir in recent months. She has been a delight to play alongside these last few years and her influence on me has been in no way slight. My sincere best wishes go out to her.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Secret Cinema: Wings of Desire

The weekend just past, the band and I were booked for Secret Cinema. As the name suggests, it was supposed to be all very hush hush regarding the details of the event. Now it’s all over I can reveal what actually happened.

Secret Cinema puts on classic films in unconventional venues, then themes the night around the film. The audience does not know what the film is until they arrive at the venue. The film that was screened last weekend was Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders, set in Berlin in 1987, it follows a couple of angels that watch over some troubled characters. It’s all rather dreamy, and not a lot happens, but it’s a very beautiful film to watch.

Live at the Metropole

The venue was a disused theatre on Shepherds Bush Green, right beside the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Inside the main hall where the film was being screened, there were some circus acts and a trapeze artist, which fitted in well with the contents of the film. They also had Fyfe Dangerfield playing a few deliciously romantic numbers before the film began, swamped in natural reverb and backed by a viola and fiddle player, “faster than a setting sun…”, the soundtrack to the weekend, I melt in recollection.

Outside of the main hall, Secret Cinema created a small Berlin night club called the Metropole, with a few rooms mocked up in 1980s German decor. I was to host this area, as the owner of the club, play with my house band, and introduce a few other acts. The other main act was This Is Laura, which were possibly the most appropriate act to put on, other than Nick Cave himself.

Well with 4 screenings, that meant music either side, making it a very intense 48 hours. Matinees and evening shows on Saturday and Sunday. The crowd would walk past us to get to the main theatre, or leave the venue. Thankfully, many would stay for a drink and watch and listen to me spitting about throbbing tumours and the like, and by the end of it they were screaming and hollering and dancing and leaping around.

Certainly a weekend to remember, plenty of camaraderie between my own band and This Is Laura. I now feel very toned, like a musical equivalent of Dolph Lundgren.

There will be plenty of post promotion of this event, which I’ll post up as I receive the links to it. Though you can see a slideshow of the event here to get an idea.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Small step forward for mankind

So Obama has cut Nasa’s budget and shelved any plans for putting a man on the moon by 2020. Across the political spectrum the press are calling it a travesty. Some wildly, some barely, but there is at least a hint of dismay in all of it. America will fall behind, China will overtake them in the exploration of the galaxy, and technological “progress”, with all its unintended wonders, will be slowed. You can even hear the shuffling of nervous environmentalists in their seats, as they see all their climate change techno fixes go up in smoke.

There aren’t many things world leaders do which can be seen as a positive and progressive step forward for humanity, but this is certainly one of them. Whether it was intended this way or not, is another matter. The solution to all of Earth’s ills already exists on this planet. No amount of money ploughed into research centres for space exploration is needed in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and peak oil, bring about peace in the middle east, greater social cohesion within nations, and to raise the standard of living for those already living on earth.

We’ve had the answers to all the manmade evils and inequalities for millennia and passed them up to inflate our collective ego to an even more monstrous size. Like a pissing stream of urine, drunk on our phantom triumphs over nature, we aim for an unmarked goal, an ill defined objective. Somewhere out there, in the breadth of one careless sweep of the arm, across the unimaginable expanse of the universe is our old friend Progress.

Any old friends of mine would no doubt be splitting their sides hearing me speak like this today. As a teenager the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson captured my imagination like no other work of fiction at the time. I still find the concept of colonising and terraforming another planet incredibly fascinating, as well as the technical details involved in space travel. This stems more from my breeding however, than from any form of rational self interest.

These days I’m more likely to be swooning over the cycle of phosphorous, the basics of barbering, or the art of origami, than some form of state funded national escapism. How dull, but how bloody useful.

Practical material objects and tangible skills are all humanity needs in order to create a world in which it can live a fulfilling life. With Obama’s retreat from the race to put a man back on the moon, this should only be seen as a small but symbolic step forward for mankind.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Clarification of Division

The last post about division being the basis of evil, is a little confused, I admit.

When one looks at the alternative to individual expression, it’s herd mentality, do nothing original, raise no objection to the status quo, to follow others blindly. Not the most attractive of ideas, nor realistic. It works as a successful meme for some if not most animals, but humans have evolved to question, to analyse, to adapt based on ideas, which are all examples of individuality. So, essentially human, and not much we can do about it unless you can drug a population to act as a herd of animals.

Under that assumption, the negative effects of individualism can’t be completely eradicated, but they can be mitigated. As Huxley points out, pride, hatred and anger, are individual expressions that deny others freedom, whereas greed and lust necessarily don’t.

With this in mind, one can reject the former set entirely from one’s self without the need for constant proof. With greed and lust however, it will take analysis and judgement at every instance on the part of the individual to determine whether they are denying another of any freedom.

Admirable, but is it realistic?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The basis of evil

As if to confirm my previous rant about the evilness of individuality, Huxley comes along in the final pages of Eyeless in Gaza with the same sentiment:

“Evil is the accentuation of division; good, whatever makes for unity with other lives and other beings. Pride, hatred, anger – the essentially evil sentiments are essentially evil because they are all intensifications of the given reality of separateness, because they insist upon division and uniqueness, because they reject and deny other lives and beings. Lust and greed are also insistences upon uniqueness, but insistences which do not entail any negative awareness of others from whom the unique being is divided. Lust only says, ‘I must have pleasure’, not ‘You must have pain’. Greed in its pure state is merely a demand for my satisfaction, not for your exclusion from satisfaction. They are wrong in emphasizing the separate self; but less wrong than pride or hatred or anger, because their self-emphasis is not accompanied by denial of others.”

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Civilization and Sexuality

Taken from Aldous Huxley's Eyeless In Gaza, Anthony Beavis explains at a party in London in 1926, the correlation between sexuality and civilization. Much food for thought here:

"Civilzation and sexuality...there's a definite correlation. The higher the one, the intenser the other...

"Civilization means food and literature all round. Beefsteaks and fiction magazines for all. First class proteins for the body, fourth class love-stories for the spirit. And this in a safe urban world where there are no risks, no physical fatigues. In a town like this, for example, one can live for years at a time without being made aware that there's such a thing as nature.Everything's man-made and punctual and convenient. But people can have too much of convenience; they want excitement, they want risks and surprises. Where are they going to find them under our dispensation? In money-making, in politics, in occasional war, in sport, and finally in sex. But most people can't be speculators or active politicians, andwar's getting too much of a good thing; and the more elaborate and dangerous sports are only for the rich. So that sex is all that's left. As material civilization rises the intensity and importance of sexuality also rises. Must rise, inevitably."

Friday, 1 January 2010

In the name of vanity

What have we done with ourselves? We have destroyed the very heart of our being, in the pursuit of what noble cause exactly? What in the world could justify such a destruction?

The pursuit of specialist knowledge, the pursuit of personality, so unique on the surface at least, yet hollow as a rotten oak one hundred years old.

It’s ego that destroys anything good and beautiful. It’s ego that perpetuates misery. The unquestioning belief in the uniqueness of the individual, so strong, it’s practically a religion, or at the very least a cult of individuality.

That one is better than others, that one has the potential to be better than others, drives most of us on, into the jaws of vanity. The rest, into the fields of misery, lying fallow until sufficiently recovered, then ploughed through by another heartless machine.

All in the name of self discovery, career development, personal gain, and new experiences. And look how the world has changed, profoundly so, because of it. What a tidal wave of influence!

Happy new year, you bastards