Thursday, 7 January 2021

The Shining City On A Hill

Americans live in the richest country on Earth, with the most liberal freedoms (no one else in the advanced nations can wander around freely with guns for example). 

History has observed that by praying on the fears of those who feel, that they've been ignored or left behind, dictators have been able to control and strengthen their own power base. And by dividing the population... they inevitably rule.

Americans are not an exclusive race. In fact they're the same people as us, who simply migrated over there and built a new nation... a mere, 243 years ago.

Life wherever you end up, is a lottery; you could just as easily have been born in a slum without clean water to drink and just a pot to piss in.

However, a YouGov poll suggests "21 per cent of voters across the board approve of Trump supporters storming the Capitol" last night... "while that number rises to 45 per cent when only looking at responses from Republican voters".

The world doesn't owe America a living. However, the world did up until now, respect America as a great nation a "shining city on a hill" a beacon of democracy. And to those who continue to say "this is not America"... unfortunately, it is right now.

Change is an inevitable fact of life and those who cannot change or evolve are left behind... and as we observe in nature, for example, they eventually become extinct.

The world is asking, why on Earth would you voluntarily choose to hasten that demise... simply because someone told you to feel sorry for yourselves?

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Populism, Conspiracy Theories... and Data Mining.

Have you ever wondered how millions of reasonably intelligent people have become convinced that the Earth is flat? What would it take for me to convince you that it was so? You'd say it was impossible... but that clearly, is not true.

To a lesser extent we've recently seen fifty four percent of the UK electorate vote to leave the EU without a valid explanation of how we do so and survive economically. We've seen life long Labour supporters switch their votes to the Conservatives, and Boris Johnson's government (despite its disastrous handling of the Coronavirus outbreak among other highly questionable mistakes) still maintaining a lead in the polls.

Conspiracy theories are not a new thing, they've been around for a very long time and to some extent can be explained as a way for the human mind to explain away events that they basically cannot psychologically deal with. We cannot reasonably say however, that all exponents of conspiracy theory are simply stupid, any more than we can say, as are all those who voted to leave the EU.

As our political landscapes are dramatically changing and with the rise of Populism, conspiracy theories are also changing along with them. Russell Muirhead, a political scientist at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, is concerned about the direction they are taking.

“Classically, conspiracy theories are propagated by people on the margins – they’re almost a weapon of the powerless, for holding the powerful to account,” he says. “But right now the new stuff is coming directly from the powerful, which is really quite extraordinary.”

Muirhead states further “There’s this effort by politicians to erase facts and evidence and remake the world into something more conducive to their goals.”

Whereas in the past conspiracies generally needed some kernel of truth in order to feed off, it's now become apparent that the new breed of conspiracy theory can be entirely fictional as in the case of the totally discredited and condemned 'Pizzagate' conspiracy whereby Hillary Clinton's campaign manager was linked to a supposed child sex abuse ring operating from the basement of a pizza outlet. This conspiracy gained such widespread support back in 2016 that it resulted in an armed American firing an assault rifle on the premises.

“Not only were there no children being held captive at the pizza restaurant, there wasn’t even a basement,” says Muirhead. “What surprised us was the way this narrative was a complete fabrication, from beginning to end".

The 'pizzagate' conspiracy serves no purpose other than to demonise the Clinton Campaign to such an extent that those receptive to the conspiracy consider by association that they are evil, (as opposed to simply being less desirable political opponents) and guarantees beyond a shadow of a doubt that those people will not support them under any circumstance.

We can see from the pizzagate conspiracy that it's clearly to the political advantage of certain individuals to be able to target those groups likely to believe in a completely fabricated conspiracy, designed in order to discredit their political opponents. So how would you do that?

The answer is Data Mining, a process of discovering patterns in large data sets with an overall goal to extract information (with intelligent methods) and transform the information into a comprehensible structure for further use.

Data mining is highly controversial because it uncovers information or patterns of information which compromise confidentiality and privacy laws. "The threat to an individual's privacy comes into play when the data, once compiled, cause the data miner, or anyone who has access to the newly compiled data set, to be able to identify specific individuals, especially when the data were originally anonymous".

Despite this threat there is strong evidence to suggest that the practice is now being used for political advantage and therefore, easy to conclude why 'Data' is fast becoming the most valuable commodity on Earth.

It's pretty much impossible for example, to rig an election with a high turnout in Western democracies, mainly due to the numbers involved and the measures put in place to prevent it; so the next best option would be to try and convince voters into thinking either that the election was not valid, or that voting for the opposition would in some way be personally detrimental to them.

The information that we voluntarily post all over social media makes it really easy to ultimately profile users as to their general level of intelligence, how politically informed they are, how susceptible they are (to conspiracy theories for example), how religious they are (more relevant in America) and their general political leaning.

After profiling they would then be targeted with the necessary (usually false) information or propaganda in order to influence or manipulate them into voting the way that those manipulating, want them to vote.

If you think that manipulation through Data Mining is in itself some kind of conspiracy and that you could not possibly be susceptible to it, or persuaded to rethink your position on how you vote for example; maybe we should consider those TV shows in which the hypnotist takes control of an unsuspecting individual's mind in just a few minutes. How easy is it to hypnotise someone and what does that actually involve?

Here's how it works (from

"Hypnosis is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion."

"And this cool fact for you: hypnosis is a natural state that you can enter several times a day. It can happen when you’re absorbed in a good book. Or when you’re totally engrossed in your favourite hobby. You can get so lost in thought when you’re driving a car that you find yourself unable to remember certain parts of the journey. Why? Because your mind wanders. Or, to be more precise, your focus changes. Instead of focusing on the world around you – the outside world – you’re focused on your thoughts and feelings – the inside world. And that’s all that hypnosis is. It’s a highly focused state of concentration in which your focus switches from the outside world to the inside world, or from the conscious world to the unconscious world. But before you can help someone focus on the inside or unconscious world, you have to do something else that’s vitally important. You have to get their attention."

I'm not for one minute suggesting that everyone who believes in conspiracy theories or who voted for Brexit has been hypnotised, but the basic principle is I believe, the same. The mind is very powerful and according to hypnotists, it is also very easy to manipulate. And data mining is a very powerful tool that can be used in order to facilitate this.

Don't believe anything you see on your Social Media feed if it begins to convince you of something that you previously were not convinced of. Fact check it! If something appears dubious, unbelievable or extreme... fact check it.

Do you really want your mind to be manipulated to the point where you are prepared to abandon all reason? Because the evidence suggests that it is not as impossible as you might think. And keep in mind, for that to happen... all the people targeting you initially need, is to get your attention.

Friday, 5 June 2020


I have vehemently been opposed to racism in any shape or form, all my life (which is a long time)... but going back to the beginning of the 70's, when it was a lot worse than it is now in the UK, two things happened that affected me greatly and undoubtedly acted upon my own personal interpretation of what is right and what is wrong.

The first instance was when we moved house and I had to attend a new school, aged fourteen in 1972. There I was, it was my worst nightmare... I was 'the newboy'. I had long hair as we all did, I'd lost all my old friends and I was standing in the playground surrounded by unfamiliar faces in a school in what I considered to be out in "the sticks" too far away, from London. One boy stepped forward and shook my hand. Julius. Julius was the one and only black kid in the entire school. A descendant, of the great Zulu nation, highly intelligent, warm and friendly, always laughing... but as I later came to respect, only a complete idiot would even contemplate getting into a fight with Julius. Julius's best friend was a boy (also called Chris) who had also been cursed with the 'creative disease'... an extremely talented artist. A year or so later, Chris, Julius's best friend committed suicide. This undoubtedly affected Julius in many ways. However, Julius was black, he stood up for himself, he answered back to the teachers (as did I). I got to stay, whereas Julius after relentless hounding by many of the teachers, was forced to leave. I have never forgotten Julius, my first friend at that school.

The second instance was around 1975. MacDonalds was new to the UK and the first MacDonalds near to us had just opened. I went to town on my motorbike to buy a record and thought I'd try a Big Mac out for myself. On the way out, a young black guy was coming towards me, so I held the door. To this day I cannot forget the look of sheer disbelief and amazement on his face that I, a white kid had done such a simple act on his behalf. We just smiled at each other, two decent human beings in a fucked up world. And I have never forgotten that day either.

In the seventies, the National Front and other extreme right wing movements were prevalent and gaining ground in the UK. In opposition the 'Rock Against Racism' movement was formed and grew from within the music business. Punk was big and most of the Punk rock bands supported it, organising concerts, supporting the cause... that 'we are all one'. Musicians, back then were all pretty much of the same mind, supporting and promoting noble causes, rather than just promoting themselves. However, the world has changed. Generally speaking, basic human rights for all of us have improved over the decades. But now, we are seeing progress halted and retroactive steps being taken by populist Nationalistic leaders in the Free World in order to gain support from those who fear change, those who hated the progress that we had made and an attempt to return to the past. A past when mistakes that were made, should not have been forgotten.

Between the years 1939-1945 Hitler's fascist Nazi party exterminated between 5-6 million Jews as well as many other races, also including the Disabled, Gays, Romani, Freemasons, even Jehovah's Witnesses. The total murdered by his fascists is estimated to be around 17 million Human Beings. Hitler's plan was to establish the Aryan 'Herrenmenschen' or 'Master Humans' who would dominate and rule the world.

Hitler however, had also not forgotten about the thousands of African/Germans who's position became more and more precarious. People in mixed relationships could be targeted for sterilisation, imprisonment or murder. In 1942, Heinrich Himmler, who was one of the architects of the Holocaust, ordered a census of the black people living in Germany. This was probably the beginnings of a plan of mass murder, but was fortunately not carried out by the time the Nazis themselves were defeated by our forefathers... many who sacrificed their lives, in order to defeat the rise of fascism in Europe.

I wonder how many people actually realise the horrors that we narrowly avoided, the sacrifices that were made and the absolute insanity, that hatred can create, when you begin to think that you are in some way, superior? And as often is the case, it is the sheer ignorance of the facts, that allows them to even begin to contemplate it.

Monday, 7 August 2017


I always put off leaving feedback, just because it's one of those things that you should do, but don't have to do. Eventually, I end up having to do a bulk feedback dump. Yesterday was such a day.

A bulk feedback dump involves clicking the "positive" button then pasting in the same feedback for everyone. I always use "AAA all the way" but for some reason, yesterday I chose to just use a double A... "AA all the way".

With around twenty feedbacks completed I hit the generic "leave feedback" button... and the task was duly completed.

However, rather uncharacteristically, it failed to register that the difficult to find nozzle washers for my ageing DeVilbiss Super 63 airbrush (that I'd ordered from a fellow airbrush artist) had not actually been received yet.

Today, I received the following message:

"Hello I see you left me feedback could you tell me please if you received your item you see I have just lost my son and my mind is a blank at the moment and I don't remember posting this. xxx"

I will not reveal the senders name, but from her screen name I would conclude that either she, or her son who just crossed the bridge... is a twin. <-

Saturday, 1 April 2017


So... it's my birthday again? And yes... it is "All Fools Day". So why has the first of April become to be associated with fools? Here's my take.

You see, the 1st April is the first day of the old Pagan New Year... (that's why the tax year still runs from April to April). April is the beginning... when Spring springs into life and everything starts to grow again!

Easter usually falls around this time too. The word Easter comes from the ancient fertility god Eastra, of Saxon origin... the goddess of spring. That really explains the Easter bunny and the egg thing doesn't it? In 1582 Pope Gregory rearranged the calendar for the christian world making the new year fall on the 1st January.

So... those who existed for countless centuries before and those of us alive today, (who have not been christened or baptised into their religion)... were regarded as fools... by those who hijacked this old Anglo Saxon festival in the name of christianity.

We all know of the abundance of historical evidence, whereby those unfortunate enough to have been placed in the care of various christian religious institutions were systematically sexually abused... and those stories keep on coming, along with the now thankfully failing attempts to excuse or cover them up.

Those appalling accounts, of what can only be described as pure evil will continue... so long as fools believe so called 'christians' have some kind of moral respectability of moral superiority over the rest of us.

So far this 'all fools day' I have read two news items... one of which concerns a self appointed London based African Christian 'preacher' who, with his assistant, stripped a member of his 'flock' naked then proceeded to sexually abuse her... under the pretence of some kind of 'baptism'.

The other, the principal or head 'teacher' of a Christian Education Alliance in Tulsa, USA... who has been arrested by federal agents for using an app to view child pornography through a chatroom.

Christianity... the events of which were passed down by word of mouth for a hundred years or so... before even beginning to be written down?

The religion that to this day, still continues to insist on 'truths'... based on absolutely no historical documented evidence... that any of it ever happened?

And you thought 'Fake News' (and those fools inclined to swallow it)... was a recent thing... didn't you? Happy April 'Fools' Day! <-

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Europe is a lot more complicated than you probably thought.

People probably wrongly assume that Europe was invaded by Germany alone during the Second World War.

Italy declared war on the Allies, Great Britain and France in 1940. Mussolini's declaration; "We are going to war against the plutocratic and reactionary democracies of the West who have invariably hindered the progress and often threatened the very existence of the Italian people."

The 'Axis Powers' Germany, Italy, and Japan took the name after the Tripartite Pact was signed on 27th September 1940, in Berlin.

Germany and Italy had previously aided General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Franco of Spain is reputed to have promised Hitler the capture of British Gibralter through Spain once Hitler had captured Cairo and Suez. Spain and Portugal were conveniently neutral and therefore, were never invaded.

Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia also signed the Tri-Partite Pact becoming member states. These countries all participated in various military aggression on behalf of the Axis, except Yugoslavia... who's pro-Nazi regime was overthrown within days of signing the pact and the decision was reversed.

Two 'puppet states', Slovakia and Croatia became client members when they signed the Pact. Various other countries including Finland fought alongside the Axis powers for the common cause, although they did not actually sign the pact.

The following European area states (although not signatories of the Tri-Partite Pact) at one point or another, cooperated with the Axis to an extent that makes their position or supposed neutrality disputable: Denmark, Soviet Union, Spain and Vichy France.

Do you really think it's a good idea to actively encourage the collapse of the EU, the union of Europe... the one thing that's held it all together, since the end of the war... seriously?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Hold On (part two)


My Father was eighteen years older than my mother and before they ever met he had survived World War II and Palestine in '46. After that, he went to South Africa where he worked as a civil engineer before returning to Britain in the mid 1950's.

*(As I wrote those lines the smoke alarm I keep in my room beeped three times... maybe it needs a new battery?).

My father left school at 14. He signed up, joining the army before war was declared on Germany. When he came out he could speak German, Italian and French, fluently, and could get by in Polish (and several more that I can't remember). There was no word in the English language (and probably the others too) that he was unable to spell correctly.

Although he was with the Eighth Army in Africa and Sicily, my uncle said that during the war there were periods where no information was available to the family, either of his whereabouts or what he was involved with.

The Long Range Dessert Group was founded in Egypt 1940, a group that never numbered more than 350 men, all of whom were volunteers. The LRDG worked with the SAS, military intelligence, and operated often behind enemy lines. There is no record of his military service, that I have been able to find.

Needless to say my father was not an emotional man. On the few occasions that I challenged him, physical violence was involved, but nothing that I didn't ask for, or deserve at the time.

My mother on the other hand, was artistic, very emotional... and apart from being evacuated during the war to Cornwall, had never been anywhere outside of Richmond Upon Thames, where she remains to this day.

Losing Control

The marriage was doomed from the outset and deteriorated drastically during my childhood and I have seen some things that a child ought not to have seen. I only ever saw my father crack once... he howled like a wolf, like a wild animal caught in a trap, something I will never forget.

Eventually, both my parents turned to drink and my mother suffered severe mental health problems as a result of not being able to receive the emotional security that she desperately required.

She became addicted to the mind altering drugs that men in white coats prescribe, drugs which mask the underlying problem, and rob the mind of all of its power... to heal itself.

Even in my darkest hours, I refused to take the drugs that were offered to me, and to this day rarely drink alcohol. (I have only really been completely drunk once, the day I got married)?

Eventually, my mother became one of those people, confined to her bed in a darkened room '... crying desperate tears, on the inside, that no one can hear'. By then, I had become immune to my parents' problems (as a self-defence mechanism),  but one day she called out to me from her room. I found her there, alone, desperate... she asked me for help, saying that she wanted to die.

A year after my Near Death Experience, I took her away from that room, returning her here to Richmond where she found someone else to look out for her, a job which has now fallen once again, to me. However, at 81 she no longer suffers from anything other than the problems of old age.

Having found my mother like that, back in '82, I asked whatever it is that's always been there, in the background; "take it from her and give it to me, I'm stronger than her."

Eight years later, I found my self back in that very same room, alone and in darkness, feeling that I had nothing left to live for. Be very careful, for what you wish.

A Fateful Day

Although no words were spoken to me during my NDE... by that which has always been there, in the background, (usually off to my left-hand side) I can equate it to 'someone'... pressing the 'pause' button.

At the time, back in '81, life was ok? I had a beautiful girlfriend that I'd met back in 1975 after having been sent to the local pub in the middle of the day, to find. I'd just got off my motorbike having returned from buying an album... 'In For The Kill' by Budgie and I was going to go indoors, to play it... like you do?

I never normally would've gone to the pub, on my own, (because I was still a bit insecure then) let alone, in the middle of the day? It was August the second... the same day that the 'Lone Arrow' portrait was painted, by psychic artist Margaret Bevan 25 years before... eight years before I was born.

I kind of just 'knew' I was supposed to go there, so I got back on my bike and drove off to the pub. I parked my bike in the carpark, went in and bought a lager shandy (I was riding!). I went back outside to find her sitting there with her friend (who I knew) on the wall, next to my bike.

Giving Up The Ghost

Six years later, as I lay in my hospital bed, it had never really occurred to me, that I had been using my girlfriend (who later became my wife) as an emotional crutch, one that had supported me since I was seventeen... one that I desperately needed then, because I had lived for a long time, 'switched off' emotionally, from the problems at home.

I also had no reason to consider the fact that the same crutch would one day be kicked from under me, forcing me into a position, that would be very difficult for me, to recover from? (To this day, she remains the only person that I have ever been that close to).

In 1981 I had my own business as a graphic designer and a large advertising account. Things were looking like I was actually going to be right (when in 1974 I had been asked during my interview at Epsom School of Art and Design...) "How do you envisage yourself by the time you're twenty five?"

When I replied that I supposed I'd own my own home and be married by then... they laughed at me, suggesting I should go and get a job at a supermarket? (I was right. Asshole).

At that point, I had no reason to 'give up the ghost' and lay down and die. However, at the very basic level, we are human animals and when an animal is wounded to the point it can no longer fully function... it will crawl off into a corner someplace, having accepted that it is time to die.


So, I found myself on 'pause'... in a 'nowhere place', pitch black, no noise, nothing. I was completely unafraid, because I'd been here before, when I was very young. But this time I wasn't falling. I was no longer that terrified three-year old child desperately trying to get back to its body. I completely understood what was happening.

I'd previously been shown my body, laying there on the hospital bed, motionless. I could see right through it, almost like a CAT scan... flesh, bone, blood and the rot, poison or whatever it was inside, that had stopped it from functioning properly. It repulsed me and I moved away from it, quickly... "that is, NOT ME!".

I said those words... except I didn't speak them, (because there is no mouth to speak them with, or ears to hear them with). But just as you may well be thinking to yourself right now, "WTF?" you can still hear those words, on the inside can't you? And... they sound exactly the same to you, as they do when you say them out loud, don't they?

There were no bright lights, or visions of doom, or tunnels or angels (or Native American Indians). My brain wasn't pumping itself full of chemicals, desperately trying to cling on to life. Like the wounded animal, it had reached the conclusion... that it was done for.

Likewise, after a week of incredible stomach pain, being misdiagnosed twice, getting up in the middle of the night, not even telling my parents (because I 'knew' they, would call an ambulance and it would be too late) driving my self in agony to the hospital, being cut open, losing over three stone in weight, my girlfriend in tears, having a junior doctor push tubes up my nose and down my throat, vomiting up dark red stuff, splitting my stitches... finally, I really had, had enough of all that!

Not many people in a state of panic or desperately trying to 'cling on' or survive... would pull the tubes out of themselves and tell their doctor to "F*ck off and leave me alone!"... would they?

And there were no other souls, spirits, guides (or whatever you want to call them)... because I didn't need them to be there, in the 'nowhere place' or in-between this one and the next one. I say no one was there which is technically correct, but that which has always been there, was still there, but maybe a bit closer than before?

I don't know what 'It' is... but certainly not 'the great white wizard in the sky'? (I borrowed that from somewhere). There was no exceptional feeling of 'love' all around me (I was a 'grown-up' by now) but there was nothing whatsoever, to be afraid of. 

I did feel slightly in awe... kind of like "don't say anything stupid right now... K?"  Because, there is, there was, something there that I can only describe as immense, probably beyond my limited ability to fully comprehend... except 'It' knew me and I knew 'It'.

Maybe 'It' is the Universe itself, because after all, that is where we were made, out of stardust? However, that only really applies to the body... the one that had broken down, that was still back there on the bed. I get the feeling that 'It' is a bit more complicated than that... probably?


Undoubtedly, some will say, I was dreaming. But in your dreams you still experience the every day symptoms of being in your body. Fear, anger, anxiety, stress, hunger... you even feel horny, in your dreams? There was none of that business going on, because I wasn't in my body and I wasn't dreaming.

As I have said, there was no reason for me to not want to carry on with my life. However, I wasn't in any particular hurry to get out of where I now found myself, either. The world is a pretty uncomfortable place... and to some extent we exist in it like a fish out of water.

Right from when you're born... frustration, hunger, then itchy school trousers,  confusion, zits, too hot, too cold, and tired man... exhaustion! You cannot even begin to imagine what it's like to be totally free, of all that... to exist completely in your natural state of being.

And yet here I was 'on hold'. No explanation as to why, other than the fact that either my body had died... or I had gotten the hell out of Dodge, before it did? No explanation as to why I wasn't going on to the next place... or being shown, or guided as to, what I was supposed to do next?

I don't know why I said it, it would have been a lot easier, with hindsight, to have decided for myself... not to go back, and face what was to come, in the years that followed, even now, thirty five years later. But I did say it:

"It's up to you..."
"Either I go on, or go back."
"It's your decision."

Looking back now I have realised, the 'pause' button was probably pressed because it wasn't entirely certain that I could survive what would follow, if I returned. I was kind of being given the option to quit, while I was ahead. I had no idea what awaited me, back here, on the Bridge... only that it was important, had purpose, and was not just for my benefit alone?

I guess those words meant "I know you... and I trust you, completely".

If I had chosen not to return to this place there would have been consequences, not just for my own personal or spiritual development, but for the others. The people you meet in this life, including your parents, your children, even strangers... something that you do, maybe in the briefest of moments, will have consequences; both good and bad ones. Nothing happens purely by accident, of that I am certain.

So, no matter how bad things get, hold on. If you decide you can't carry on with your journey, crossing the Bridge Of Life, no you won't be damned. But there will be consequences for those that you love, and who loved you back and whom you will leave, behind you.

And there will be consequences for you too. Nothing bad, but like school... this place can be a very big pain in the ass, but it is also necessary for you, to learn and to grow.

You have a purpose. You may not know what it is yet, you may never get to know... but the alternative may be that you're put on hold until you're ready to try it all over again?

You got this far... keep going. Hold on tight, to the fact that every day you do make a difference, just by being right here, right now, on a journey that was set out for you alone, to complete.

"The world is a Bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it".

"... build no houses upon it." Because the Bridge is not your home, where you truly belong. Only when you cross the Bridge will you get there and know that 'It' is awesome... and that so were you!

Peace be with you. <-

Richard Ashcroft 'Hold On': Hold On

'Lone Arrow' painted by Margaret Bevan (psychic artist) on 2nd August 1950.

**(The smoke alarm was quiet, until I got to the last paragraph, why I stopped there. Needs a new battery now).