Ship Money, Gunpowder, Gordon Riots, Corn Laws, Anti-Corn Laws (that means free trade), Chartists, Suffragettes, Socialists, Westminster has been a turbulent place. In the post-Napoleonic Wars Crash, when all England was in uproar over the Corn Lawsws (that means trade justice, er, sort of), the then Houses of Parliament had to be defended by armed troops against an angry mob. Unrest continued until the eighteen thirties. The policemen's cry, offering escort at the close of session, "Who goes home?" may date from this time. Caveat: when she didn't know, she made it up. Many strange things have happened in the little green chamber, but I never heard of anything remotely resembling the Lavoisier debate.


The compelling camerawork, Eric Clapton score, the acting of Bob Peck, Joe Don Baker and the ensemble were a revelation. We were riveted, twice over, when it got an instant replay by popular demand (and taped it). I watched it again recently, my son having asked for a showing, still think it's great. I'm glad to have been reminded how much of Edge got into to Bold As Love. The emotional charge of a deliberate pace, the use of chiaroscuoro... Committee rooms, the corridors of power? When I venture into that territory, it's all hints and glimpses from Troy Kennedy Martin & Martin Campbell (as I've confessed before, most of my research is about as solid as what happens in the dreaming mind)... And where did Darius's place in the conspiracy end up? The last passages seriously incoherent, perhaps they gave up trying when Bob Peck refused to turn into a tree, but you could say the same for much of Shakespeare.


The romance of the girl who dresses up as a soldier has charms for everyone. Terry Pratchett even gives "Polly" an unwontedly serious treatment in Monstrous Regiment. Curiously, according to folklore resources, Polly (first published in broadsheet 1840) may have been a cross-dressing cross-dresser, originally a way for Jacobites to sing, discreetly, about the Young Pretender, sometimes known as "Perkins". There are no known cases of girls passing for boys and succeeding in fooling the public as rockstars (tho' I have my suspicions of Axl Rose). Dressing-up addresses no sexual-political problems, and this is how we know: a napoleonic musket, or small Dutch plastic automatic, will do its duty in any hands. An electric guitar is something completely different.



The most haunted house in London is reputed to be the setting for Edward Bulwer-Lytton's classic ghost story, "The Haunters and the Haunted; or, The House and the Brain", which involves the unmasking of an immortal Nietzchean beyond-good-and-evil superman. There's an antiquarian and secondhand booksellers on the ground floor now, as far as I know they're still doing business. Allegedly there's a police notice on the wall indoors, dating from the nineteen fifties, stating that the top floor (site of the most violent haunting), is not to be used even for storage. It was suggested to me that the original "nightingales" were whores who used to ply the gardens, but I could find no references singling out Berkeley Square as specially favoured by the industry.


         Should you ever, gentle reader, find yourself engaged in a bare-knuckle fist fight, and should your opponent lower his or her guard sufficient for you to get a hard jab at his or her exposed throat, you have the chance to inflict very serious damage, but you should take care, because it is a killer blow*, and manslaughter, you know, is a crime. This is the origin of the popular expression "going for the jugular", it has nothing to do with drinking blood, or ripping people's throats out. When I was young and hung out (briefly) with a rather rough tho' scarily well-connected Countercultural crowd (you can read about them in Kairos) I witnessed bare knuckle prize fighting at Lambourn fair. God only knows what those alpha geezers are getting up to in our violent times. But I never saw anyone go for the jugular, I'm just passing on the information from Lavengro, George Borrow. illo E.J.Sullivan.
*Also well known in Oriental bare-fist "arts" according to my sources.


"They kept hitting the concrete defences around the arse of Grosvenor Square, where there was no longer an ambassador in residence but the fort was still standing..."

Not a good part of London in which to be seeking shelter from the storm. NB any business you may have with the new embassy, better just pop it in the post. Shoreham Harbour: Imprisoned by the British #2, In 1651 the future Charles II, however, got away