Sunday, October 1, 2017

Alternaticity: a new forum for old CC members

A new forum has been created.

There is not much on there at the moment, but we are working on it, which will take a while. Some of the material from the CC forum will be posted there.


Friday, September 29, 2017

For CC forum enquirers

Although all my own material is saved, I am devastated by the loss of so much valuable information that other members had posted. Some of us are still in touch; perhaps something can be salvaged and we will be able to get going again.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and the Isle of Wight

When I visited Portsmouth and Southsea earlier this year, I thought about extending my explorations to another, nearby, seaside town - Ryde on the Isle of Wight. After walking around Southsea looking at places of interest, I didn’t have enough energy or inclination left, so I decided to leave it for another day. I had hoped to go much sooner, but I have finally made the trip.

Significant dates
Geoffrey Stavert, the author of A Study in Southsea: The Unrevealed Life of Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle, did some detective work and was reasonably confident that Conan Doyle arrived at Clarence Pier in Southsea on Saturday, June 24th 1882.

By coincidence, June 24th 2017 was a Saturday too, and I first intended to visit the island on that day; it seemed fitting that I would leave Clarence Pier on the same day and date that Conan Doyle arrived. However, it was a day when the weather was not very good and I didn’t feel like going anywhere.

I kept postponing this trip in favour of other things, until I realised that autumn was upon us. September 22nd was the day of the Autumn Equinox, so I thought that would be a good day to go.

Journey to Ryde on the Isle of Wight
I returned to Southsea, then travelled by Hovercraft over the Solent to Ryde.

I have made this journey before, but on those occasions Kipling and Doyle were not involved. I lived in Ryde for a short time when I was four years old, and I went back there just for personal reasons. This time, I was aware of some relevant associations.

Unseen influences on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight has a bad reputation. There are allegations of Satanism, black magic and mysterious goings on. Freemasons in business and local government are alleged to have inordinate influence on the island’s affairs. David Icke, who lives in Ryde, is one of the many people who have written about this.

I will never know why my family moved to Ryde – and some other places with interesting and sinister connections. I suspect that someone was following some kind of psychic trail.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stella Gibbons’s Juliet: different, difficult and defiant

I didn’t expect to think of anything more to say about Stella Gibbons’s books, and I knew that as she died in 1989 there wouldn’t be any more of them.

I learned recently that two manuscripts she left to her estate have been published. I didn’t expect to like the new books - I prefer Stella Gibbons’s earlier to her later books - and I didn’t expect to find anything relevant to this blog either.

The stories contain anachronisms and anomalies, recycled and repurposed characters and other material that I recognised from her previous books, and I can’t say that I enjoying reading them for their own sake very much.

However, some of what I read in Pure Juliet (a draft that was completed in 1978 and retitled from An Alpha) resonated enough to inspire an article.

I want to concentrate on one character, the eponymous Juliet, and the most relevant aspects in this book: by coincidence, Juliet’s main interest in life is the study of coincidences.

Juliet’s personality
It seems to me that Stella Gibbons wanted to create and describe someone who was in many ways her exact opposite. She has not done too bad a job of it. Much of what she says about Juliet’s character and behaviour is familiar, and some of it could apply to INTJ girls. I can identify with a lot of it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: three Napoleons and The Revolutionary Epic

I found the material for this article while looking for answers to some questions I had about Benjamin Disraeli. I wanted to know whether, despite the allegations of his enemies and detractors, he had any sincere beliefs. Did he have strong convictions about anything, or were his views changeable and just adopted from expediency?

I found that he did have some genuine and firmly-held beliefs.

The Revolutionary Epic
One thing that Disraeli definitely believed in was his own genius.
Another belief was that men are best influenced and governed by appeals to their imagination and by someone charismatic whom they could adore and obey. Someone they could hero-worship was what the people wanted. Romance was superior to reason when it came to leadership. He was right in that many people certainly do want their gods to be in human form.

These two beliefs came together in one of his attempts to make a name for himself as a creative writer.

In 1834, when he was 29 years old, he published his poem The Revolutionary Epic on this theme. It dealt with the French Revolution and the career of Napoleon Bonaparte. He considered it to be his masterpiece, the best thing he had ever done. It was going to show the world what a great genius he was, bring him fame and fortune and immortalise his name.

Or so he thought.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Some thoughts about good and bad role models

I wrote about the acceptance of responsibility a while back, as part of an exercise to start listing the attributes that in my opinion make someone a good role model.

Creating articles for this blog and making contributions to some forums has involved a lot of research. Much of the material that I have encountered recently is very disillusioning. I have seen some horrific revelations about public figures. 

These discoveries have inspired me to return to the subject of role models and associated attributes. This article continues the exercise with some ideas about bad role models and some attempts to define the qualities that make a good role model.

Bad role models
Many people are presented by the media as good examples to follow and emulate. We are given the message that we should respect these people just because of their power and position and because they are in the public eye. 

Celebrities and socialites, some talentless and lacking in achievements and with hedonistic, unwholesome or even degenerate lifestyles, are marketed as examples of success in life and good role models. After all, anyone who has millions of followers on social media must be doing something right.

They are the in crowd and we are outsiders. The suggestion is that we should admire them for their wealth, fame and glamour and envy them for and attempt to copy their lifestyles.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Benjamin Disraeli: Imperium Et Libertas, death and primroses

Benjamin Disraeli died on April 19th, 1881.

Protocol did not permit Queen Victoria to attend his funeral, but she sent two wreaths of primroses with a simple message attached: “His favourite flowers.”

She used to dispatch many bunches of primroses from Osborne House, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight, to Disraeli, for which he always thanked her effusively. Perhaps he was just being polite; perhaps he really did like primroses more than any other flower.

Queen Victoria sent primroses to Disraeli’s grave at his home in High Wycombe on each anniversary of his death until 1901, when she herself died.

Some people allege that by ‘his’, Queen Victoria meant Prince Albert’s!

Either way, because of what she wrote and sent, primroses became associated with Disraeli’s name and were featured in two legacies, Primrose Day and The Primrose League.