They’ve stolen Christmas!! I want it back!!

They’ve stolen Christmas – I want it back!

Stolen! They’ve stolen Christmas! Not just once but lots of times!
I’d quite like it back!
It started as a pagan festival to the sun! – A great celebration to recognize the winter solstice. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. After the solstice, despite the rigors of winter that lie ahead, the days begin drawing out – the sun, the giver of warmth, light and life is coming back.
This was a thanksgiving for the bounties of the sun, a last chance for revelry and ceremony to which the community could join to celebrate life, nature and the sun.
There would be a joining of religious ceremony and secular carousing, of feasting, drinking, dance and riot from which many an autumn child would open their eyes to that sunshine.
It was stolen by the Nordic tribes who made it more of a shamanic spiritual ceremony with their animistic worship of trees and use of the mystical drug-induced insights of the tribal shaman who used fly agaric, amanita muscaria, the red and white capped magic mushrooms, to journey through the dimensions to bring back wisdom and insights from the spirit world beyond.
Nowadays we see the red and white cloaked shaman, with his magic sledge and reindeer, flying through the sky, bringing back gifts for all. Those gifts used to be knowledge.
Then came the Christians who purloined it again and redirected its focus. The rebirth of the sun was now the nativity – a child in a manger. Instead of the sun we had the light of god expressed in a small child. It was a birthday. But we still kept a bit of the feasting and drinking – though the begetting of autumn babies was now frowned upon. The emphasis was more on family and worship.
The Victorians did not so much steal it again as refine it. They brought together the many elements from the various traditions and made it more into the type of Christmas to which we are now familiar.
They stole our worship of trees from the Druids and Teutonic tribes – directly from the sacred groves to the Christmas tree and the yule log – the holy yule log the bringer of warmth and light.
They brought our shamanic mysticism from the Nordic tribes with our jolly Father Christmas – Santa Claus – the magic bringer of presents.
They kept vestiges of the feasting and drinking from the pagan festivals but all toned down and civilized.
They added in the nativity and Christian ceremonies with their midnight mass.
They added in Christmas cards and the giving of presents.
Christmas had changed from a festival where the whole village, the community, came together for a day of wild revelry and celebration of life to a more sober time where families came together to share food and drink and love.
Then the corporations moved in and stole it again. They took it over. It became a festival of consumerism. Now it was all about buying, buying and more buying. Everyone had to receive a mountain of presents or it was a failure. Every tree had to be festooned with a mass of baubles and lights. Every house needed decorating and lighting with enough bulbs to light a small city. Every city centre had a Santa. Every shop had an essential set of presents or clothes. We all purchased sufficient food to feed an army of wolverines.
Even the religious icons have been reduced to mass produced consumables. We can line up our plastic nativity scene next to our luminous Jesus, our obese Santa, our chocolate yule log at the side of the artificial Christmas tree. It is easy to see that nothing much is really sacred.
So on Christmas day we don our costumes of garish glitter, exchange our presents, act merry, eat and drink ourselves silly to the point where we can do little more than watch old films that we have seen a thousand times before and wonder what on earth it was all about.
All spiritual content has been reduced to a gesture.
The next day, with a bloated upset stomach, a hangover and a body and mind sagging with exhaustion, we gloomily try to find places for the multitude of pointless presents that we neither wanted, like or need, and finally sit down with a sigh to contemplate that there are only 364 more purchasing opportunities before we do it all over again.
Baaah Humbug!! – I want my Christmas back!

News or Propaganda??  


Who can you trust? The answer appears to be nobody.


Many people have stopped listening to mainstream news programmes on TV because they believe they are thinly disguised propaganda. They are probably right.


I lost all faith in the BBC when they deliberately inverted the sequence of events at the Orgreave Coke Plant in the Miner’s Strike. It was a deliberate editorial policy that was intended to misrepresent what had happened and place a pro-government slant on events. It was a lie.


Sky is even worse and as for Fox and most American news networks – they are blatantly biased.


Newspapers all have a distinct bias and slant the news according to their editorial policy. Most of the tabloids are atrocious, lying establishment scandal sheets. Some of the rubbish they come out with is so blatant propaganda that Goebbels would be ashamed. Even the more serious ones have their establishment bias – they are owned by wealthy people who want to express their own views.


The whole news machine drip-feeds the messages that the establishment want the population to believe. Seemingly Socialism cannot possibly work, Corbyn is a lunatic, Russia is the enemy, Assad is a monster, ISIS was not set up and financed by the West, North Korea is a monstrous place, Iran is behind much of the terrorism in the Middle East and wants a nuclear bomb to blow up Israel. But who knows?


What are the messages that they want us to believe?


Well one thing is certain – the system is set up and works for the top 1% at the expense of everybody else and they mean to continue this grossly unequal system. They want us to buy into the narrative they put out through the TV and newspapers. The establishment owns the media and controls what we think. A lot of what happens around the world is a profit-making project for rich people.


So many people put their faith in other sites on the web which they believe provide an unbiased view of world events.


I do not believe that those sources are unbiased. I believe they too have a bias and an agenda. They are as much propaganda as anything else. We are attracted to the views which reflect our own and reject all others. There is great danger in that.


So where do we turn to?


I do not think there is anywhere. What is best policy is to access a broad selection, weigh it up, think and keep an open mind – above all THINK and don’t buy into any one view.

Hull City of Culture – Octophonic Sound – Rich and Lou – John Stead, Risset and Dhomont – A World Premiere!

Following the great success of Bridges a musical event was held in the auditorium beside the river.

John Stead – the renowned Bafta Winning composer produced a new piece of work especially for Hull and the Bridges Project – Moments in Time received its world premiere in brilliant octophonic sound.

John had created the piece using the sound mechanisms of the opening of the bridges as well as sounds from all around in Hull and on the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds.

It was followed by Elementa by Jean-Claude Risset (who recently died) and then Cycle du Son by Francis Dhomont.

As the sounds wafted around the audience were able to stroll around to appreciate the variations of music emanating from the eight speakers. A magical event.

John Stead orchestrating his music.

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard mingling in the crowd and basking in the delight of a great evening as the music wafted around the auditorium and the Deep presides over it all.

A great way to celebrate Hull, Freedom and this fabulous City of Culture year!!  Thanks Rich and Lou!! Your hard work paid off handsomely.

Check out more on Rich and Lou’s site – photos and explanation

Introducing Open Bridges

Moving house – the final phase!

After having moved half a ton of vinyl, 3 tons of books, 5 tons of CDs, and most of the furniture we now come to the last phase – on Monday we have removal men coming to take our beds, TV, computer, kitchen table and settee.

I will walk around the house and relive memories from the last thirty years – memories of our children growing up, of friends, laughter, argument, fury and love. Friends, now dead, have sat within this house and I will taste their presence and think of them. Those memories are already packed inside my head but I think that they permeate the fabric of the building and something of us will remain behind to resonate within those walls.

This house has stood for three hundred years and we have left our mark on it. We have altered the infrastructure, improved the building, put up an extension and changed it for the better. Yet, even though we have spent nearly half our lives here, we were only passing through.

I look upon the bigger picture. It is the same with the planet. We are only passing through. Do we leave the world a better place from the experience of our lives? Or do we leave it the poorer?

I am going on into a new chapter of life next week. I shall leave much behind but ahead there is a new adventure. That is where I go with great enthusiasm. Life is change. It will change me – hopefully for the better!

I am under no delusions. There will be many things I miss and are saddened by.

I may be out of contact for a while. In my experience promises are rarely met. I do not expect the internet to work. I expect a period of time in which I will need to remonstrate with a lot of people to get things working properly.

I look forward to talking to you in the future from a new life!! Fare thee well!


Hull Songs Launch Concert

Liz and Opher, Dave

A brilliantly organised event. It ran like clockwork, was arranged to the last detail and hosted with warm congeniality. The eclectic range of brilliant acts was testament to the talent in Hull waiting to be tapped. This doesn’t all come together by chance. One look at Rich’s incredible photography around the room shows the genius on display. This was meticulously put together. Rich and Lou should be organising the City of Culture. They know how to do it!