Slow cooking in a “Black Kitchen”.


You got to get up ..pri-tty erley in da mornin’ stoke up the German vault oven in the old “black kitchen” if you want to get a good day’s preparation and cooking in before the roast lamb (w/rosemary) is just at an itch and a scratch to be taken out from the back of the oven and generously sliced and served with the pratties and peas for dinner…

This old settler’s cottage we bought from a German Aunty (through marriage) out here in the Mallee, was a fine example of the “settler’s layout” for farmhouse and black kitchen…

“ A distinguishing feature of the German house is its high roof, below which the ‘protective’ attic was often used as a sleeping, working and storage place. Cultural ties associated with the roof were still evident in these early Australian German communities. Thus it was considered a bad omen for women in the later stages of their pregnancies to leave the protection of their roofs (once someone was unter Daeh und Faeh, that is sheltered by a roof, he or she could not be harmed by demons!). One of the ancient roof ceremonies, the Rieht/est, or the topping of the building with the roof, is still celebrated in South Australia (usually by fixing a small pine tree to the ridge).”

Although our house did not have a sleeping attic, all the other necessities were still extant…even if in a state of long disuse. For instance, when I went to restore the vault oven, I opened a makeshift flat of thin iron door to find several bricks had fallen from the roof and among the ashes left was a copy of “TV Week” announcing Johnny Farnham and Alison Durbin as King and Queen of pop for the year of 1971. So the oven had not been used since..and I suspect long before ..that date….and I see Bob and Dolly Dyer also won a Logie for that year…they were still alive..amazing!

Now these vault ovens are bloody great for doing a big cook-up in…of course, as stated, you got to get an early start to get the oven up to temperature..The first item that goes in the oven when it is raging hot is the capsicums and eggplants or any veggies that need to be grilled so the skin can be removed when thoroughly cooked…this is done by placing the hot, seared capsicums in a plastic bag straight from the is then sealed and left to cool before attending…then, when the oven is at a holding temperature of around 200deg c’, in go the assorted breads and pizza bases and buns and such things..

“  Closed-passage plans or black kitchens (Schwarze-Kiiche) are more generally found in the Barossa Valley, for example the Keil house at Bethany, and the Schmidt house at Lights Pass.” The design of this type of cooking hall stems from the late Middle Ages, when regulations began to be introduced in Germany to control the incidence of conflagrations caused by the use of open-hearth fires. Thatched timber canopies pargetted with clay were built over the hearths to conduct smoke and sparks away into similarly constructed chimneys.”

Of course, my wife, Irene, is the brains behind the preparation and cooking..I am the muscle and the swisher around of the long-handled pizza shovel..and a dexterous user of such a device..if I say so myself..and it was not my fault that I came close to taking out one of Irene’s eyes as I pulled the naan bread flans out of the heat…I claim “tradesman’s territory” of 180 deg’s from the front of the oven to safely wield that weapon!..

Around lunchtime, in goes the pizza topped with all those delicious mouth-watering ingredients that can be loaded onto a base just big enough to fit through the oven door..This is a most delicate time, as the smells of those toppings cooking and sizzlling can make a sane man desire strange is the way to a man’s heart…and when served to him with the alluring smile and generous eyes of a loving woman, there is no mountain too high, no land too far or too difficult to conquer…and no love too deep to extend for the honour of giving…good food is a wealth of knowledge combined with an artist’s hand. There cannot be a greater pleasure than the eating of such..blessed be the house that enjoys that pleasure.

“During the first decades of settlement the German settlers clung to their mixed farming techniques and continued to supply Adelaide with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and pork products. Thus on the night before market day it was a common sight to see the German women from Hahndorf and Lobethal wending their way through the Adelaide Hills, carrying wicker baskets filled with farm products to catch the early market.”……And I’ll tell you one thing I found in my study of that period of South Australian history…regardless of some Anglo citizen’s claims of being “nation builders”, if it wasn’t for those early Germanic settlers, with their dogged persistence and solid-down-to-earth ethics and hard work, the state would have folded and collapsed in around 1842, when the English speculators and conmen sent the settlement into receivership..It was those hardy German farmers kept the state alive!

It is getting close to Christmas, and this year we are having my (adult) children up for dinner, along with a grandchild…now, Irene has to shine with the home-cooked meal in that the son was head chef of an award winning bistro kitchen and so he knows the meaning of good food and good preparation..and he will always assert..; “Home cooking is a world away from commercial kitchen prepared food..and one has to discern and respect the difference”. But in the end, good food is universal.

So this year, we have stoked up the vault oven and prepared in advance some of those delightful dishes…and as ‘official taster’, I have already sampled the crème brûlée , and made myself a glutton with the frittata and the custards etc….and that is the joy of slow cooking in a black kitchen…one is asked to sample for quality the delicacy as it is cooled and of course, a degree of doubt creeps into the equation and ..” . . . perhaps another taste would give a more exacting critique..if you don’t mind?”…Now there is nothing left except to cool the prosecco, prompt the stomach and welcome the guests..

“The Keil home with its central, brick-vaulted black kitchen is a classic example of this type of house. Its gable end faces onto the main street of the village (Bethany Road, Barossa Valley) and access to the house is roughly centred on the longer elevation which lies parallel to the Hule. This arrangement allowed for easier access to a small farmyard (Haj) at the back of the house, which was surrounded by slab barns, pig-sties, a slaughterhouse, and a smokehouse.”

By Gott im Himmel!…those old Germans knew a thing or two about cooking with fire.

(All quoted passages used above are from ..: “Early German Settlements in South Australia”….GORDON YOUNG )

No longer “suitable to terrain.”

Poor Geoffery Rush .. Poor Andrew Broad … and all those other damned and condemned poor bastard hetero’ males who were mesmerised beyond capacity for self-control by that demon of delight, that goddess of goodness .. ; the female of the species … poor me … We are just no longer “suitable to terrain” vehicles driven wildly and recklessly until we breakdown on the vast desert of deluded day-dreams and await the shifted sands of bias social interpretation to bury us completely. And it’s no use us turning to our lifetime backers of our own generation .. ; our partners and wives .. or female friends .. THEY have heard all of our best lines and now snort and sneer and mock our suave / comedic impotence … and like the disgraced “Professor Rath” in “The Blue Angel”, our adored “Lola Lola”s drive us to becoming clowns and madmen … We are doomed.

Of course, the “new men” that will inevitably arise to suit this feminine dominated terrain will have none of the clownish speak and rolling eyes and drooling tongues of us older blokes when confronted with the chaste beauty of the “New Woman” … and I do not mock with that title … for surely it is so .. : a new woman drawn from all the mistakes and servitude of those older generation of ladies … we have seen it implied and written … ”time to correct the mistakes of those days, of past generations” … we read .. and it will be done … so help me God!

But back to these “new men” who are expected to service the needs of these new women … Will their temperament be softened and tamed by this new understanding of “the female within”? … Will they stand gracefully to one side whilst the women in their lives organise their habits and desires? … Will they be idle whilst the women in their lives choose time and location for any sexual activity the couple may enjoy?

Knowing males like I do, I doubt any of the above will work .. And if we were to extrapolate on the subject of male / female relationships, THAT situation is the “elephant in the room” of this modern day dilemma of why men are behaving so badly … ie; because they can … Because there is no longer a cultural or physical requirement for single males or even males in relationships to adhere to a loyalty that has no longer a need to exist. Sure, there are laws .. but what obstacle is that when passions or anger run high? … just look to the violence statistics to assure yourself. The success of a capital-based society in giving freedom of action / career / self-support to both genders, has on one hand released the male from expectations of paternal roles, but on the other hand has more encumbered women with the extra duties of career construction AND the natural inclination to have children … neither of which, if a woman in this materialist world, can in reality be avoided.

While the male can relinquish and is in some cases forced to relinquish by law his duties as a live-in father, it also has allowed him the freedom of movement to seek, court and seduce other women … many of them already single mothers .. with a career … without the encumbrances of paternal responsibility. Males of many species gather together in packs to hunt, the females in herds to protect ..

It is a piece of cake that they can have and eat as well, made all the more digestible when angry women curse and abuse men with acerbic vitriol demanding that they behave with more dignity and respect … But when the fox is let loose in the hen house? … fat chance! .. For it is written : “When the dick rises, the brains go to the arse of the pants”.

You hear of men casually setting up two or more appointments with women to meet at a certain club on Tinder, and when they arrive, they covertly sus out the best looker of the appointments and drop the others … It’s cruel, it’s vicious, it’s opportune … but since when has the hunter / capture world of sexual promiscuity ever been otherwise?

I have written about it in a scenario I was witness to a long time ago, before mobile phones, when actual face to face meet was they way it went .. When divorced / single mothers would drive to another nearby satellite city, to certain cafes, where it was “understood” that men and women in similar situations could meet for casual relationships on their days off from the shared responsibilities of the children … here .. : ..

But what of the women in this scenario? .. I have been warned off interpreting the feelings and actions of that gender by some who see themselves as both spokespersons and gatekeepers of some apparently sacred institution that needs to be shepherded away from gross male observation. I will dismiss their pultroonish possessiveness with the scorn such stupidity deserves! But yes .. what of the women? …

In my long years of attachment to ladies, I notice a different expectation of companionship with their men … and I say ; “their men”, because that is what a man becomes in a close, long-term and loving relationship with a woman .. he becomes a .. extension (if you like) of the woman’s personality .. he becomes the “arm of masculine power” to her feminine “gathering of family lives and needs” .. held in place by a strange kind of metaphorical umbilical cord that has come from the mesmerising hum of his own mother’s consoling voice from when a mere babe-in-arms … THERE is the strength of womanly power and virtue .. : “The hand that rocks the cradle . . . “ … almost tribal like .. and yes … perhaps exactly tribal like .. the perfect “rounding off” of required man-power needed for a sustainable lifestyle within even the modern suburban home.

I give you the perpetual requirements for security of existence .. : Parents / Mother – Father … shelter/home… genetic offspring / children … food/clothing/shelter all collected, food prepared and consumed by the tribal family … all gathered within the protective compound of village/suburb under the umbrella of a larger social organisation/government.

And that is it … You break apart that cohesive “basic tribal” structure , you suffer the consequences .. and I believe we are now seeing the evidence of such a breakdown, all in the interests of promoting a materialist, capital-based society that can only benefit a small percentage of people of either gender. But don’t take my word for it .. look around you when next you get out and about … look at your acquaintances and friends … What was gained and what was lost .. listen to the tales and gossip you hear as you go about your own life .. for these little clues are the whispers telling of the health and well-being of the world around you .. Don’t listen to the bombastic bravado .. THAT is mostly bluff and bluster …

Humanity may not live on bread alone. But I’ve yet to read of a full-blown revolution started on a full stomach or from the lounge-room of a contented home!

And I do believe it is loneliness for a loving relationship that drives most of the animosity in today’s world … as simple as that .. the void that no amount of bling or money can fill … ; Loneliness.

Starved into surplus.

I don’t know about you lot, but this year is the first time I’ve had to offer ‘rain cheques’ for Chrissy presents…being on just the aged pension has restricted us to just the essentials this year…like food, clothing (even as I write this, I can feel the soles of my feet touch the floor through my slippers), and shelter….we had to go easy on the wine for xmas dinner, calling a limit on cost to just over $5. Per bottle (Bertoli “Sacred Hill” Sauv’/blanc/plonk)….It’s quite good actually…and you can suck on the cork for some extra depth!…and I think my cousin Lucy is going to lose one of her geese to “a fox” sometime in the next week.

But it’s getting pretty crook…I notice there aren’t too many smiles on the young mum’s faces down at the mega shopping mall as they queue with their kiddies for a sit on Chris Cringles lap…the kiddies..NOT the mums.…and I distinctly heard one Tattoo’d, gum-chewing scrubber tell her kid to ; “Forget the bling…just ask for a  voucher”… All this when we hear the LNP government is going to cheer us up with its MYEFO telling us cheerily of a projected budget surplus….OH, Happy days!!…And over all the bon hominy Christmas muzak pumping out of the speakers in the mall, I could distinctly hear that old lag; Fagin singing his theme song ; “You gotta pick a pocket or two”

“In this life
One thing counts
In the bank
Large amounts
I’m afraid these don’t grow on trees
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two”

So the upshot is that we, the low-life citizen body is going to be starved so they; the sweet-life, can show a number in the black side of the ledger…How sweet it is! Almost as poetic as a thirsting man getting drowned in a flash flood while he digs in the creek-bed for some sustaining water…at least someone gets a smile from it!

Getting a surplus on the books while your nation starves is no big deal…For some of those tyrants in ancient times, THAT was the usual modus operandi…that and thieving funds from one side of the ledger to make the other side look better…Google ; Gaius Verres / Sicily and you can get the gist of how it is done…then as now, except that these moderns have learned from Gaius how to cover your tracks….not less vicious, not less avaricious…just less obvious…subtle is the name of the game in these times…just ask any LNP member of the house who has a property portfolio fatter than George Christiansen’s waistline…and all gotten on “hard-earned” wages.

But I hear they are “reviewing the situation….

Again from Fagin..:

“  I’m reviewing the situation.
If you want to eat — you’ve got to earn a bob!
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job?
So a job I’m getting, possibly,
I wonder who my boss’ll be?
I wonder if he’ll take to me…?
What bonuses he’ll make to me…?
I’ll start at eight and finish late,
At normal rate, and all… but wait!

…I think I’d better think it out again.”

And now, if things go right we MAY get a Labor government in next year, and that means if the MSM doesn’t go all out on a new “Kill Bill” campaign..and going by the ABC breakfast interview…did I say “interview”?…sorry , I meant “inquisition”.. this morning (17/12/’18) with Wayne Swann, THAT is going to be the common theme. I still say that it was a damn shame when a good Hue and Cry roundup followed by a solid horse-whipping of certain culprits went out of fashion…a crying shame.

As a fellow citizen of this wide, brown land..made even browner now through a lack of action on climate change aversion, I don’t need to make a list of the services and shortfalls of unfunded and stretched authorities and schemes this “fiscally responsible government” has Scrooged money from..everything from A to Zee…and this is how a LNP government gets its budget balanced…a bit like the tyrant using hanging men as a counterweight balance to weigh his gold. And what’s a life or two lost from lack of essential services when compared to that end of the financial year splurge on more medals and ribbons for the Border Force heros?…everyone loves a parade.

But I am beginning to feel a growing chasm between the “haves” and the “f#ck-offs” in this world..even with the better-served “lefties”, I can just get the glimmer..if you cock your head just that little to the right and peer, squint-eyed through that social services crack you just fell through up to the tenured positioned “fortunate sons” of that class that never seem to feel the squeeze of “fiscal constraint”…or at least have a line of credit available to them that need not involve a threat of “sixpence to the knee” if payments drop behind!

It almost makes one feel like breaking into another verse of song..:

“ What happens when I’m seventy?
Must come a time…seventy.
When you’re old, and it’s cold
And who cares if you live or you die,
Your one consolation’s the money
You may have put by…

I’m reviewing the situation.
I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay!
You’ll be seeing no transformation,
But it’s wrong to be a rogue in ev’ry way.

I don’t want nobody hurt for me,
Or made to do the dirt for me.
This rotten life is not for me.
It’s getting far too hot for me.
There is no in between for me
But who will change the scene for me?
Don’t want no one to rob for me.
But who will find a job for me

…I think I’d better think it out again!” (All lyrics in the above songs from the musical ; “Oliver”)

Yes…I too will have to “review” the situation.





A “Counterfeit Concern”.


“ The Catholic Church makes a very sharp distinction between a hysteric and a saint. The same thing holds true in the art world. There is the sensitiveness of the hysteric which has all the appearance of creation, but actual creation has an individual force which is an entirely different thing.”  From: Gertrude Stein : The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

I hold the same opinion for many of what I call “The outrage of the bourgeois beauties”…beauties not a reflection upon their physical appearance male or female, so much as a mocking of their petulant protesting. Most vociferously from the petty bourgeois class of “approved commentators” who lambast males of whatever stripe for their lack of attention to the details of various forms of unwanted ogling and man-handling listed in every reputable publication either material or ethereal that has neither the courage nor the readership numbers to question such a list….and it goes on and on…

And much is legitimate outrage…let us agree on THAT..we read of such outrages in the news every day…and there can be nothing but the most severe condemnation of those cruel and vicious acts…and then we read of the war-crimes and the treatment of refugees all over the world..and we sympathise and in some relevant cases identify with those people…and we DO feel for and all….but then we don’t go condemning EVERY ethnicity that could be associated with such cruelties…not every political party adherent that votes for those policies most hurtful..and so we ought to acknowledge that not all males..or even a scant majority are cut from the same cloth as the most vicious and the most cruel….we get on with our lives and hold such angst at arms length from the everyday needs of our attention.

The recent “Good men / Bad men” debate has crossed that line, where the grouping together (whether in indignant intent or media reported association), the good with the bad was a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Sure..the shout from the pages of social media gives ample example of “men behaving badly”…with the most vitriolic emphasis on ; “MEN!”….and I don’t shy away from the suggestions that heterosexual males do spend an inordinate amount of time cogitating over the delightful curves of the female of the species…just let one curvey-female swivel-hip past a loose group of idle males, not connected through acquaintance or friendship and nearly every man-jack eye of them will flicker toward that most attracting and beguiling sight…

We don’t make the “rules”, Mother nature does..we are just subject to them with or without consent.

Notwithstanding some of the more serious abuses on women, there have been a number of what can best be described as frivoless  complaint against male instinctive behaviour. So many and varied is the rising scale of real or perceived injury it would be fruitless to describe them..the gist though seems to be outrage at the lack of sincere concern of us males to yield our necks to the yoke of accusative submission…and all that is heard is “good men” silence.

As I said above.. Notwithstanding some of the more serious abuses on women, most men have stood silent witness to some moments of inglorious action by women they have known…but we hold our tongues in respect of that old.. and honourable.. adage : “A gentleman never tells”….However, in light of some revealed what I would bravely call ; petulant accusations by some Ladies of late, I feel it incumbent upon myself to give..if only in hint and certainly NOT in some actions by the gentler sex that would be best left “under the counter”.

As I have written in a past article on the site vis: “The Hungry Womb” and “Write Again, Blue Eyes”.. I hold no criticism against any woman seeking to address that indescribable hunger that needs attending…but there are some moments….when the “need” is more delightfully salacious than serving, and the adventures that arise (if you’ll excuse the pun) from those “fullfilled needs” give lively entertainment to us “innocent bystanders” of the “play of life”.  And so surely there is room yet on the canvas to allow the “art of life”, where it is still the norm’ to expect the males in society to be the protagonists and initiators of social connection, to display in full majesty it’s beauty and depth to an appreciative audience?

For instance, we won’t criticise “Tracy”, who on her “hens night” before her wedding next day, back in the seventies, took a shine to one of the male strippers in the club she and several of her closest friends went to and ended up banging him on the back seat of her friends Datto’ that nine months later when the baby was due she confessed to the friend that she didn’t really know whose baby it was…except that her husband had a huge mop of rich red hair…while the other bloke . . . But it was resolved upon the actual birth when the child had light wisp of fair hair..

“Geeez!..he looks like YOU Mick!!…Geeez!, he’s got YOUR eyes!…Geeez he looks just like YOU!!”…and Mick was happy…he was chuffed…he never knew..and who’s telling…not me!

And then there was my own personal experience of when I was in my mid twenties and attending a medical to qualify myself for employment up at Paraburdoo iron ore mines in WA…I had to attend this medical examination…the doctor who conducted the medical was a dark-haired woman in her forties, if I recall…and when it came to the hernia test, as was the practice in those days..I presume..not ever having that sort of test done on me before..but I was a young male and if I may modestly remark ; of reasonably handsome appearance,  and very fit and healthy…and being stripped down to my jocks, she sat on a chair in front and gently cradled my testicles in her hand..

“Cough!” she commanded……and I did…

“Again” she directed..and I did…

“And another”…she spoke…and I did…..and this is where the strange thing occurred…instead of taking her hand away, she looked into my eyes and smiled nicely, gave my testicles a gentle squeeze and said..:

“I may be an older woman..but that doesn’t mean I lack a younger woman’s desires”….and she then moved away to go on to complete the examination…

Now…that moment has haunted me and caused me some distress right down to this present moment..where here I am writing of it…because, you see…if instead of being that shy befuddled young man, I had a degree more suave sophistication in me, I could have replied to her admission with all the quiet masculine assurance of a “James Bond” type and, to keep on theme, even perhaps performed a touch of “Roger Moore” on the examination table right there and then…and none but two willing adults would be the wiser…and I could NOW rest with no-regrets.

But let us not hold spiteful to what might have been..:

“But what avails the ache

Of remorse and weak regret?

We’ll battle for the sake of

The men we might be yet!”…….Henry Lawson..; “Men we might have been”.

Yes…there are other moments of such memories best left filed away in the archives of “too judgemental”…and perhaps there are other people who would like to leave those “incriminating social faux pas” lay on the cutting-room floor, after all, there are civil laws for civil crimes and there are cultural rules for social infringments and upon the latter, I would hint that perhaps for the lesser interpretations like “ogling” or the perceived “grope” instead of caress, we leave such moments to rest upon the many likewise outraged infringments against humanity by either fate, circumstance or the “outgoing” tray on the office desk?

And we again draw from that rather forceful lady writer of the thirties..; Gertrude Stein and let the “Art of life” write the story….

“ After all, as she always contends, no artist needs criticism, he only needs appreciation. If he needs criticism he is no artist.” (Ibid).


The Hollowed Stone.

GREEK LAW SERVICES IN AUSTRALIA /Athena Touriki ,George Athanasiadis  (consultant): Greek Gods of Love

( Love: The abandoned child of sophistication.)

Romantic love.. Do we even know what it means anymore?  And if we did, how many of us would be willing to “throw it all over”..our whole lives.. on a whim of passionate emotion…I mean, now that we are all aware and sophisticated and have example and warning of just where such reckless action could lead one?..Seriously, ask yourself if you would throw yourself into the arms of another with reckless abandon these days of economic, material and social individualism?

I found this little bit of doggerel in a letter written by a young woman back in the war (2nd) years giving flight to her desire to secretly see her boyfriend and as it turned out; future husband who was a woodcutter near the Murray River.

. . . “Now I am free..

Off through the scrub I run,

Where sheep tracks only are seen,

Nothing but bush and sun.

Till all of a sudden I come

Out where an axe swings free

Cutting for love and money,

The axe bites deep in a tree.

Then the owner looks up of a sudden,

And gives me a happy smile

And says I hoped you would come,

And I stay there .. quite a while. “

The words themselves give clue to both the hunger for company and the chance for a future that only young love could be so certain was a possibility…; “ Cutting for love and money”.. What would a timber cutter’s wages be and what future for one of such qualification?.. Where would such an adult find reassurance in such a relationship…a relationship with the financial support of a labourer’s qualifications? We’ve all seen the end results of low income, low housing and child support capabilities..and it’s not nice…who would want it?

And then there’s the other end of the spectrum where a person in secure financial circumstances, has purchased property and is getting on with a good career and then they have to consider whether it is wise to bring another person into their life and home and risk having to pay over half the property if something goes wrong further down the line a little…It’s all a bit too much, really.

So where does love come into this picture of modern social sophistication?

Where now for the naïve young girl running through the scrub to meet her lover?

What has love to barter with against the considerations of a ultra-modern, materialist lifestyle?

Who needs or wants it?..

Where to for the “Wuthering Heights” ; Catherines and Heathcliffs of our post-modern world? The Romeos and Juliets? That younger you or I? In a world of “Celebrity Meet-n-Marry” Bachelor/ette on the wide-screen plasma tv’s, or type-face to type-face on some dating app on the mobile phone, there would appear to be little taste for chance and that “love at first sight” infatuation, let alone to go rushing off to another’s arms “bare-footed and open-hearted”.

So what has become of us that we have grown so cynical and hard of heart? I have heard some state quite categorically that having found “contentment with their choice” (of “partner”), they would rather all people now ignored the fact even of their obvious gender….a seeking of the invisible…beyond either desire from others or ( perhaps?) the temptation of themselves FOR another. Our sophistication has made us feel secure in our pride of conquest over even our sensual emotions to a point where some seek  psychological emasculation of any sexual hunger…a ultra modern world of T.S.Eliot’s ; “J. Alfred Prufrock”..:

“The unpleasant modern world is where “Prufrock” begins. Prufrock, much like da Montefeltro in The Inferno, is confined to Hell; Prufrock’s, however, is on earth, in a lonely, alienating city. The images of the city are sterile and deathly; the night sky looks “Like a patient etherized upon a table” , while down below barren “half-deserted streets”  reveal “one-night cheap hotels / And sawdust restaurants” . The use of enjambment, the running over of lines, further conveys the labyrinthine spatiality of the city. Although Eliot does not explore the sterility of the modern world as deeply here as he does in “The Wasteland” (1922), the images are undeniably bleak and empty.”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. (T. S. Eliot)

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky,

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

(more here:  )

Do we seek love or social redress for perceived distress..Is there justice for the bereaved or the deceived?… Perhaps today’s love can be measured in the many brilliant facets of an engagement ring diamond, or the number of ensuites in a split-level estate house within a gated community…but does it “sing”……….does it sing like the lover’s hearts when again they meet?

I think we make a grave mistake going down the path of blaming and accusing either gender of exacerbating aggression and violence in male / female relationships. Certainly men are the more violent and certainly men have fallen further into the abyss of loss of self-esteem in both work identity and family support capability..with both parties in the relationship now needing to hold down two and sometimes more jobs to pay the bills…and there may be the answer to this hardening of the hearts..There may be the enemy who is obvious but cannot be seen, is both instigator and saviour, provocateur and provider…the “passive / agressive” complicit party.. : The Capital Economy.

Speaking as author, husband ( I unashamedly confess to loathing the expression : “Partner”! reminds me TOO MUCH of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin..) father and as a man, I have to ask.. What the hell is expected of us?..Are we to remake ourselves in an image manufactured on a screen-printer’s design sheet?..according to a psychologist’s “balanced structure”?…some sort of “metro-man”, David Beckam look-alike that acts like a sculptured Svengali off the back-page of a woman’s magazine…the photo-shopped perfect image of “everyman gigolo” with just the right balance of money, muscle, a simpering gaze with tender intent…a designers delight….with that one failing….that many male models that cultivate such a persona have a preference for their own perfected gender.

We all fail the perfection test..that marketeers yardstick that seems to have grabbed the imagination of a whole generation and demands adherence from both genders to a physique, financial position and psychology absolute that is impossible to satisfy…resulting in the social chaos we hear about everyday in the news columns and airwaves. And I have to confess that it is the men who are most losing the plot on this platform of perfection…our masculinity being converted to a kind of perfumery counter of scents and washes that have debased our manhood and turned us into satyrs and sadists..our capacity of once serious working men of skill and calibre turned with this so-called “gig-economy” into part-time pantomime producers of silly bibs and bobs in jobs not worth a sphincter full of snow!

And they wonder why we go spare!..This is no argument between the rights of the genders, THAT is a secondary problem…The male argument is between ourselves and the managers of Capital…Thankfully, I am of an age where I no longer have to fight mammon for my measly mouthful..but I still recall those days when a fulltime job was shared with working till dark..and beyond..hand-building the family home…HOMES…then making my way back to a rented house to attend to the fatherly/husbandly duties…but feeling that nice, tired feeling of self-respect for doing what needed to be done for the family even with a worker’s wage…But now I see this younger generation being manipulated in and out of crappy jobs with piss-weak pay and conditions and no hope of creating that “family environment” around either themselves, their loved ones or the community…..A lost generation.

And it is not just us men who will lose it…Women; ask yourself this : Do you think, after your men have been milked to the last drop of their blood, sweat and tears and those neo-liberal economic commodifiers have finished with us… you will be spared?…..Not a bloody hope!…and of course we will ALL be offered that universal panacea of bliss and happiness..: the “career”…of shit jobs in the false haven of the “gig-economy”..that petty bourgeois cure-all that replaces all things humanism with gratuitous materialism!

Our hearts have been hollowed out like a gouged stone.

And they wonder why they go spare?

“ I grow old..I grow old..

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?  Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown,

Till human voices wake us, and we drown. “