When I was at Art School in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, there was only one place to be: the Hoochie-Koochie Club. Why? Because it was the only gay nightclub. Straight women liked it because there was an unspoken rule: straights were welcome, but no hitting on the women. Straight men liked it because we were much less likely to get battered in the face there than in any of the regular meat-markets in the city. There was no pressure; you could just chill, dance, have a drink. And although the hetero was low-key, one could still get lucky.
But more than that, it was culturally cool. The gays always had the best music. They were the best-dressed cats in town and if somebody said ‘you’re looking a bit gay today’ you knew you had your fashion statement bang on. It was the era of the New Romantics and everybody was wearing eye-liner and bleaching their hair. Gender signals were profoundly mixed. Straight women wore sports jackets and top hats over jeans and men wore earrings and chiffon. The gay zeitgeist was as hip as it could be.
The New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens and many others, purported to offer a sane, secular attempt to roll back religiosity for the betterment of society. Instead, their efforts have begat the mother of all calamities.
How did this come to pass?
Scientific atheism, as promoted by the New Atheists, lacks any unifying central structure or code. Essentially it is based on a negative — not believing in God. So it can’t have a defining structure. Richard Dawkins, one of the most prominent New Atheists, tried to answer this with his ‘brights’ — which was an embarrassment. (Since at least 2014, Dawkins has self-identified as a ‘secular Christian’ anyway.)
After the Enlightenment and especially the French Revolution, European secularism based itself around Reason as the core methodology that would replace, in the minds of those who were atheist, religious belief. This reflected a rejection of hierarchical religious authority, which had begun in the Reformation. The works of philosophers like Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant and Paine promoted the idea of the free-thinking individual whose intellectual scalpel was Reason. Both of these were exported to the US.
Cognitive Dissonance is the feeling of discomfort we get when what we perceive clashes with our expectations. We all walk around in a mental model of the world. That should be obvious. But this is an immensely sophisticated system. When you enter a space for the first time your eyes target the most important elements and your mind blocks in the rest. As the moments pass, in response to sensory stimuli, the less critical areas are built up in your mental model in much the same way a as a computer works ‘in the background’
This process relies on assumptions that are made at a cognitive level. The sky is blue. I can measure that by using a type of light meter called a colour temperature meter. So while I cannot know how you perceive blue, I do know that whatever blue looks like in your head, the sky is that colour and we can agree on it.
What if you walked outside and the sky was yellow? I’m not talking about some beautiful sunset, just the regular sky. Ten minutes ago it was blue, now it’s yellow. What do you think of that?
Brain Sex? What is that? Some sort of cyber-intercourse?
No. ‘Brain sex’ is how many transgender activists explain how their condition came about. They specifically say that, ‘Transgender occurs when an individual of one sex has certain sex-related structures in the brain that are typical of the opposite sex.’
In other words, according to this notion, ‘brain sex’ is a physical condition and not a psychological one. Putting that more technically, what is being claimed is that what they call ‘transgender’ — not a scientific term — is caused by a form of intersexuality that is localised in the brain. This is ‘brain sex’. However, physical heteromorphism of this type should be observable. So is it?
Contemporary gallery art is a very expensive, publicly-funded white elephant, a crutch of the elite. To call today’s art education, which feeds the galleries with an unending supply of this visual tripe, a catastrophic disaster, would be an understatement. It’s time we stopped pandering to its promoters.
Today we live in a West where multiculturalism has all but made us forget that Post-Renaissance European culture is what shaped the world. Everywhere, people learn English. In India, Urdu is dying because students are taught in English.
Yet language is not alone amongst our triumphs. Alongside our technological and scientific prowess there is another pillar of our culture: our art.
Western feminists, for over half a century, have argued that gender itself has been the fundamental agent of women’s oppression. The solution often claimed, is to establish a matriarchy. But very few understand what a matriarchy really is.
Where society was based on forms of meritocracy — often on the power to make financial profit — artificial barriers that might exist in less fluid societies could be broken down by women excelling and so they could rise in the culture.
Only a woman would say anything was better than sex. Well, anyway, there is no risk of a ladyboy claiming such a thing, at least not when she is young, beautiful and has a body full of testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone, the individual cocktail of this hormone soup dependent on the individual.
Whatever, it does nothing to diminish the sex drive, which is, basically, turbo-charged. A ladyboy (transsexual variant) is essentially as randy as a teenage boy should be, thinks of cock all the time and dreams every night of being ravaged by hordes of lusty Lotharios. I am not kidding.
That this passionate desire to be fucked blue is shared by Filipina natal women really does make the place special; the sexual juice is oozing out of the walls.
Boracay is a bouquet of impressions. Triangular sails silhouetted against the sunset, tropical forest all around, an avenue of palms along the beach. Pure white sand, clear, unpolluted tropical water, adventure excursions, fun night-life and a laid-back atmosphere—not to mention exotic dancing girls. All this at prices that remain very reasonable. Does this appeal? Well, instead of Phuket or Bali, consider a trip to Boracay instead.
Boracay (pronounced bor-AH-cay) is an island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It’s a popular resort amongst Filipinos and other Asians. It has an amazing beach, lots of eco-tourism and adventure sport, and great night-life. However it is relatively unknown by Western tourists, and remains fairly unspoiled and friendly. Plus, for Brits and other anglophones, English is almost universally understood and very widely spoken in the Philippines.
Part Two of the series on how to repair your own violin
Basics of repair
There is a grand tradition of fiddlers who repair their own instruments, as I said. Just because you happen to be a player does not make you useless, after all.
To repair your own instrument gives great satisfaction. I have one fiddle which is over two hundred years old which I found in bits, with all her varnish stripped. She would surely be worth more financially if I had had a restorer fix her, but I did it myself, she sounds and plays wonderfully, and I get a real kick out of the fact that I saved her myself. Because, believe me, she was kindling-wood before.