Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Mother of all Cults?

Time for a rant!

Below is a discussion paper i produced for a listening session on sex and relationships at the "Facilitating Ourselves" conference of Community Building in Britain.


The Mother of all Cults?

At the last community building experience that I was able to be present at I felt moved to share that my eating was disordered, that I had spent prolonged periods drug dependent, and that a hot steamy affair had saved my life. Perhaps I will return to the demons of the 20th century (depression, alcoholism, anorexia, obesity and unfashionable trousers) at a later stage. But friends you can rest assured that I am not going to go six days without mention of issues around sexuality. Like I said all those years ago, the attitude of “We’re British we don’t talk about it!” is most unhealthy in my not so humble and no doubt very warped opinion.

Perhaps it is inevitable that, with 44 participants building an intentional community, time in plenary sessions was short, my contribution was pretty brief so people did jump to a few conclusions. One participant did seem to have issues and was somewhat offended, and more than a bit aggressive perhaps. I was able to explain to another participant that the said affair had been secret as my secret paramour wished no public displays of affection, I would have been happy to be open to the world about it. Further, both of us were single when we started the affair. I indeed was 33 and a virgin (agh!!!!). True, that the said affair was concealed from the world made things awkward for me especially as events subsequently unfolded. So yes, there was an illicit dimension in that an otherwise innocent and ethical affair was concealed. Not my idea, but since I agreed to said terms and conditions, I do in part share blame. It was very hard work, but it was fun though, and yes it did save my life. I was dying of sexual frustration, something I suspect that the asexual amongst us will never understand.

Anyway. I chatted to another participant. Explained that further to subsequent experience I had realised that having tried to believe in the cult of monogamy I remained a non believer. I believe in Love, but not in the soupiness of romance or indeed in monogamy. Monogamous relationships may, or may not be, loving but monogamy itself is not about love, it IS about ownership possession and control. Don’t believe me? Well then, do you own your lover/wife/husband’s body? Would you mind if he/she was loved by someone else?

Anyway. Who owns my body? Who decides how much and with whom I may share of it? Is Love about forsaking all others? Is love jealous (contra 1 Corinthians 13:4 if you must). Isn’t living openly non monogamously the most generous way to live? Again, not suggesting any form of non monogamous way of living as a new oppressive norm to replace the old oppressive norm. Was inspired one morning in a Doctor’s surgery seeing an NHS poster saying “Only have sex if you want to”.

OK losing the thread a bit. Started this article then went for a cup of coffee with a former fellow student who has just graduated. 3 pints of coffee, er lager, later………..

Don’t get me wrong, At the end of the day, my approach is pragmatic. If a monogamous relationship is loving I am all for it and against anyone disturbing it. Do what you like in bed, but don’t do it in the streets where it might frighten the horses!

Likesay. Explained to said other participant that I was at least in theory multi-amorous (poly=many well I wish!) she said something along the lines of cool! “I have polyamorous friends they are great, no pressure to have sex”. I wish I was so accepted and indeed, acceptance is not enough, I wish, and indeed have a need to be, appreciated. Wish I had some polyamorous friends. Wish I had some friends but there you go.

Must confess that currently when chatting on msn or okCupid or whatever, or indeed if I were to be out on the pull (sorry haven’t the energy, the clubbing scene in Leeds at least is ear drum splitting), I do tend to ask when chatting up eligible young ladies: (or whatever) “are you a card carrying member of The Cult of Monogamy?” After all, to enter a monogamous relationship would disturb an existing open relationship (howsoever theoretical) and funnily enough I thought that the basis of morality, including that of my mono friends was not disturbing an existing relationship or somesuch.

Don’t get me wrong. Have just looked up the definition of a Cult on the CIC website. But like I wrote on my blog:-

“I wouldn’t want to lose my mono friends but I think they know where I stand by
now, viz monogamy is sort of ok between consenting couples in private if well
not really. “Do what you like in bed but don’t do it in the street where it
might frighten the horses!”
“I was in the Old Bar at a gathering of folks from the LUU website message
boards and when chatting to one chap there, he said that he believed in monogamy
but was not prepared to discuss it. Absolutely fine, discussion of sex and
relationships is not compulsory. But hey, isn’t it characteristic of cults that
you don’t really question the cult?

“Funny, but when a cult has some non
orthodox sexual practice, they are condemned for it (the only examples that
spring to mind being The Family and the Rajneeshis) , whereas I suspect that
most cults are into monogamy (examples being Harry Krishna, The Moonies, The
Mormops, The Hubbardists, Jesus Army, Opus Dei, the Jobos and we could go on an
on here……..).

I tell you these monos are part of a cult!
 ”

(posted on my blog Sunday 6th March 2005

Anyway, funny how my email signature for years has been “IN AND THROUGH TRUE COMMUNITY LIES THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD” which hopefully some participants at Horn Farm will be familiar with, being found somewhere in “The Different Drum – Community Building and Peace” by M Scott Peck.

If anyone has ever read my email signature, no one ever commented. Whatever. Perhaps this is significant. But also on all but my yahoo signature I have included:-

"’I think the most dangerous parts of the current cultural trance are pretty obvious: male domination, materialism, and the absence of spirit. Monogamy is another one in there. These are cultural styles which, if not overcome, will probably contribute to our ever more rapid acceleration toward, if not extinction, at least a profound brutalisation of life.’ attributed, by Merrick, to Terrence McKenna.

Again, no comment not even something hostile.

Funny, somewhere in writings of M Scott Peck Scotty seems to say, “Hold up Free Love as an Ideal but under no circumstances practice it”. Again. What other people do in bed and with whom is none of my business so long as it is fully consensual and does not involve children or animals. Yes I am a card carrying Liberal. I do have issues however with people holding up Monogamy as an ideal. Why hold up monogamy as an ideal? Don’t get me wrong. If everyone was

As it turns out I am in theory multi-amorous if very celibate in practice. Such is life. The “New Man” was never top of the pops in the sexual attraction stakes.

Ok, at the risk of all this being a bit stream of consciousness think I will post and head home. Maybe we will have some vigorous debate at Horn Farm maybe not, maybe a further lurch into superficiality and monogamous assumptions.

See you all at Horn Farm.

Love and liberation

Bluebell Eikonoklastes


Some ranters. Ranting I presume....

Adult Education Through The Ages (part one I think…)

Here’s teach, obviously….

Alan Petford is a legend!

The Yorkshire Textile Industries through the ages were mainly woollens (made of wool, obviously) and worsteds (also made of wool, though at Saltaire of course they did alpaca worsteds)….

Bring on the wool….

don’t try this at home kidz

My desk

see a real student! Got a moby…


it you want to get a hat get a head

Wonder if I learned anything… well here goes…..

To make woollens from wool. You have to

1. wash it
2. card it
3. spin it
4. weave it
5. finish the woven woolens

Finishing might include

- fulling
- dying
- tentering
- raising
- cropping

With additional and omitted steps with worsteds. Looks like a lot of hard work. How anyone managed to make it through all those stages to produce the first ever textiles is beyond me..... Perhaps that’s why Gengiz Khan conquered half the world with little or no textile industry, the mongol yurt being made of felt instead.

Anyway, to spin the spindle was invented millennia ago and was still in use until the Industrial Revolution. A student gives it a go....

a natural

Along comes the Great Wheel.

here's a spinner...

But the hand spindle is still in use, can be used anywhere and until invention of the spinning jenny, yarn is generally in short supply, especially in areas with a textile industry.


Alan again

The Joy of YouTube! (part two of one of them occasional series…)

Showing my age a bit. “Galloping On!” the transcendent sound of Black Beauty…..

And indeed the the Holohan sisters (never heard of them but great singers) singing “Down by The Glenside” Transcendent!

Or how about a whole coven of white witches! Pagan Rock Band Inkubus Sukkubus singing Heartbeat of the Earth. Apparently on Brit Brekfast television. Looks like they managed to Evoke Angela Rippon anyway…… wonder why they are all dressed in black though.

I could be here all night….

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Textual Harassment! (part five I think but who’s counting?)

Ah drug slang and indeed other slang, so much a variable in time and place. I used to think a Bag’ed was a glue sniffer, but perhaps in some contexts at some times it means a Junkie. My brother sent me the following

“New charity on news’ Bagheds to Bagdad’ its to give them a fresh start! blessem"

Aye! Bless Them!

Sent following txt to my brother

“it was a thrill for me to meet Kennedy in that way- while i was doing my job. At that moment, I never could have imagined that fifteen years later i would be publishing nude photos of his wife.” Larry Flynt pious founder of “Hustler” amerikan jazz mag I believe.. He was in the navy on the USS Enterprise"

"Did he know Captain Kirk?" Kevin asked? Perhaps the Captain of the Enterprise at the time was Captain Kirk? Was there a Lootenant Uhura? Did he get a discrete inter-racial kiss? Or even a little more? Make Love not War! I say!

There’s klingons on the starboard side! starboard side! Starboard side! There’s klingons on the starboard side…..

My brother again sent me this one

“A recent survey found that women find different male faces attractive depending on her cycle. For example when a woman is ovulating she prefers a man with a rugged masculine face and when she is menstruating she prefers a man doused in fucking petrol, set on fire with scissors sticking out of his fucking eyes and a cricket stump jammed up his bastard arse!”

I replied

“ROFL! :-D rite on pseudo hippy bint i know said recent research shows when wimmin ovulating they r drawn 2 macho psychotic type rest of time they prefer jerks b”

Forget who sent me this one. Just as well as it might upset the feminists. I only reprint it as a sad reflection on the state of mind and indeed what passes for humour…

‘Husband and wife shopping in Tescos. Husband puts 10 cans of Stella in the trolley the wife takes them out saying “They cost £10, they’re too expensive!” Further down the aisle she puts a £20 jar or face cream in the trolley. He says “Hold on a minute that’s expensive” She says “But it makes me look so beautiful” He say…. “So does 10cans of Stella, but at half the FUCKING PRICE!”

This one too a bit lacking in political correctness…

“Everytime I see you … I smile!when u walk … I laugh! When u speak…I get excited! For some reason retards amuse the fuck out of me!”

Must confess watching “Police, Camera Crew Action!” gives me some sort of amusement…

“Police, Camera, Retards!”

A policeman’s life is not a happy one…

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Local History Quiz (part one of an occasional series…)

One for all you Armleyites. Prior to becoming a carpet warehouse, Mike’s Carpets was:-

a) a cinema
b) a Primitive Methodist Chapel
or c) a lapdancing club

Two Words

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

UFO on the Kirkstall Road?

As I wandered down the Kirkstall Road, I couldn’t help noticing this multicoloured Unidentified Flying Object looking a bit like some stray helium filled balloons. And no doubt the conspiracy theorists will have you believe that is indeed what it was. Have tried to upload to Youtube so here goes…..

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Silly Questions?

Time flies. At some point in the past when I first arrived in Leeds and was crossing the University Campus I stumbled on this heraldic achievement. Nice motto?

JAH lives!

Turns out anyway that it is the Arms of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers of the City of London. Seems the Clothworkers paid for the Textiles Building so it’s in right ordering that their Arms are on display. Seems the Clothworkers have strong connections with this University.

Likesay dialled up their website a few years ago and discovered that you don’t have to be a clothworker to be a Clothworker, or have any connection with the City of London, you just have to be the son or daughter of a Clothworker. In fact that would appear to be the only way in. Well the Livery Companies of the City of London are peculiar peculiarities I suppose. Was listening to State Controlled Radio a while back and they interviewed this vicar who was vicar of one of the myriad churches within the “square mile” not many parishioners but since there are the Livery Companies…. Anyway seemed for one annual service he had to have a tricorne hat , not wear it but have it in his hand. Managed to get one in a theatrical suppliers or fancy dress place for a fraction of what he would have paid in Weed and Ravenscroft (official robe makers to the University of Leeds).

Anyway, top of peculiarities no doubt treasured by the Clothworkers is the following. It appears that if you are lucky to get invited to dinner at Clothworkers hall, the waiter will ask do you dine with the Alderman or with Lady Cooper, which is a now traditional way of asking would you like brandy or gin. Seems back in the midst of time Alderman Cooper was at a Clothworkers Shindig and dropped dead when he got home. Lady Cooper blamed the brandy, and bequeathed funding for gin as a safe alternative. Anyway, silly question really. In my happy go lucky alcohol dependant days wouldn’t have minded both really, preferably trebles. Now I am retired of course….

Time the Worshipful Company of Yogurt Weavers of the City of London was incorporated I would certainly be eligible for election.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Charming Armley (part one of an occasional series?)

Was taking a stroll and due to roadworks on the viaduct road, only way out of Armley was over the footbridge over the River Aire. Ah the Magick of Armley to see cans of Special Brew growing on trees!

charming eh?

long shot....

The David Beckham Flag

The David Beckham Flag proudly flying over the Town Hall here in Leeds.

Though Captain Beckham has retired or something…

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Amerikan way?

According to Emma Hartley (“Did David Hasselhoff End The Cold War? – 50 Facts you need to know: EuropeIcon Books Cambridge 2007), those happy go lucky chaps at the OECD claim that Europeans work 350 hours a year less than Amerikans. I’m emigrating! Better learn the lingo though I suppose..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


a Church yesterday

A younger brother once asked in a book he had written:-

"Why should I join a Church?"

and he continues

"In seeking for the right answer, we need to ask first of all whether it is more blessed to give or to receive. It is a form of selfishness that tempts on to try to receive from all the Churches, giving them nothing but a few pence in the collecting basket. A member can give a Church far more than a casual visitor, not only money but other things more valuable, prayer, influence, work, and sympathy. "

"Again, there will come a time in our lives when we shall need Christian help and shepherding. It may be in bereavement or sickness, in poverty, or alas, in backsliding."

(from The Principals of Open Brethern, by a younger brother. (Pickering and Inglis Glasgow, Alfred Holness London and Gospel Publishing House New York) )

Perhaps we most need a community when we are backsliding. Not sure what loading backsliding has, is a backslider repentant when backsliding? Whatever. Perhaps we not only need the community when we are unrepentant sinners but also still have a right to belong.

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