Archive for November, 2011

Looking into the abyss

Have spent the last few weeks wondering if the world as I know it is about to end. The evidence is increasingly pointing in that direction. Some say it could happen this week. Most agree that without a German volte face, we’ll know the worst by the end of January.

What would be the effect of a disorderly Eurozone debt default? Pundits offer every scenario, from brief financial turmoil at the mild end of the scale to total economic collapse and world war at the other.

Me, I haven’t a clue. But being a natural pessimist, I’m not banking on good times around the corner.

I offer no predictions or prescient economic analysis. No can do. I have only these two mildly interesting observations:

• Economic/historical point: Isn’t it fascinating how Germans, themselves victims of rapacious Allied creditors demanding debt payback, austerity and reparations after WW1 – with all the baleful consequences of that policy – are now rerunning history in role reversal by forcing austerity on their ‘profligate’ neighbours… with depressingly predictable consequences? Like the Bourbons, it seems they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

• Psychological point: Isn’t it strange how full awareness of disaster-in-the-offing in no way helps – not the tiniest, teensiest bit – to mitigate the effects of imminent crisis? Truth is, when you’re looking at a partial or total collapse of economic and social order, there’s not a fucking thing you can do to prepare or insulate yourself from it. Except stock up on chocolate.

If those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them, it seems those who learned them fully are destined to stand by and watch powerlessly while the others comprehensively fuck up the train set.

So, dear readers: Assuming the worst (and why wouldn’t I?), I wish you the best of luck, wherever and whoever you are. See you on the other side – if there is one.

Posted on 30th November 2011
Under: Rants | 5 Comments »

Of mud and geophysical determinism

allotment winter diggingHard at it again. Weeds got a bit out of control over the summer, so I’ll be trying to wrest my allotment back from Nature over the next few months.

Have been enjoying Guns, germs and steel, a book about the rise of civilisation. The stuff about early agriculture and human settlement is particularly fascinating. If you were ever under the impression that there is something innately ‘superior’ about Europeans, you badly need to read this book to understand that pretty much everything that’s happened in human affairs since about 9000BC has come about solely thanks to geophysical determinism.

And, er, that’s my contribution for today.

Posted on 12th November 2011
Under: Winter | 7 Comments »

At least the carrots are good

carrotsEr, gosh. Wow. Can it really be that long since I last updated this blog?

Dear, oh dear. I’ve not gone a month without posting since I started this nonsense four years ago. I guess circumstances must really be as difficult as they’ve felt. I won’t bore you with the details.

Anyway, I’ve actually been to the plot and dug up some veg. Carrots, my reliable standby, have been excellent this year. We’ve had buckets and buckets of ’em. A welcome consequence of the rain that otherwise ruined our summer (shame about the chickweed, which has run rampant in the wet).

Fountain in front of National Museum of Modern Art, RomeOne nice thing: I’m just back from Rome, one of my favourite places EVAH. Spent three days simply walking… and walking. Really the most wonderful city in the world: beautiful, exciting, stimulating, moving. I’m footsore, but delighted.

Just the one disappointment: couldn’t get into the Galleria Borghese, so missed the ticklesome statue of Pauline Bonaparte, posed from life as she reclined, Venus-like and semi-naked, on a divan. When asked how she could possibly have posed naked, she replied: “Oh it wasn’t cold. There was a stove in the room.”

Love it that she’s still embarrassing her wretched brother all these centuries later.

Posted on 3rd November 2011
Under: Roots, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »