Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions, an uncommonplace-book from the Armpit of Diogenes, binge-thinker jottings since 2008 .

Saturday 30 December 2017

Can I put in a word ?

I am a Dog
- whatever that might mean.
I haven't a clue
what's going on most of the time
- except Food, Outings
and the boredom in between.

Friday 29 December 2017

My definition of a 'Good Novel' :

one that illuminates yet another
grim corner of the polymorphous
human psyche
while entrancing you.
Not much biography does this -
nor history, either.

Thursday 28 December 2017

I don't understand

why people want to get drunk.
I don't understand jealousy.
I don't understand rape:
sex without complicity is bad enough,
but without consent
seems to me quite horrible.
(But then, despite being male and bent,
- an old term, not used now -
I was never interested in sex for its own sake.)
Masturbation is All about Consent.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Christianity and Capitalism become one

through the near-congruence of the "stable to throne of Heaven" myth
and the several "rags to riches" stories,

though in the case of Capitalism
martyrdom just before ascending to the sky
has largely been discarded, and Heaven itself
is real-estate in Manhattan, London or Dubai.

Monday 25 December 2017

The Dissident Blogger's Christmas Office Party

was a great success.  Unfortunately, however...

...it turned into a Rave, and Wing-Commander Gabriel
of Paradise Precinct had to come and close it down -
with a tombstone !

Police tactics have always been dangerously extreme.
Especially around Saturnalia-time.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Dundonald, county Down.

Where a jerry-built hospital sags now
my mother would take me to visit
a one-woman farm : hens in the kitchen,
a pot on the fire, pale yellow cream in a churn.
Outside the half-door was a pile of muck.
I played with her Border Collie and her son
who was illegitimate like me.
We gave the calves our willies to suck.

Saturday 23 December 2017


is almost infinite.
After all,
everything about us
and our brains
and how we fall
are accident.

Friday 22 December 2017

An Ancient Phenomenon.

On hearing a nightingale last summer

while walking my dog
past a leafy, riverine cruising-spot
where sad men lurk.

There is no heaven, no hell,
no gods, no demons,
only Landscape and its inner
which desire, money, religion,
fear and property destroy.
Alas, the stupid dead,
the even stupider survivors
they have bred!

Thursday 21 December 2017

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Odysseus said

Most Greeks would rather die
than have to eat Hummous pie.
I say: if I had been an alpha-male
I'd have killed myself.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Keep up Appearances.

Play the Game
according to the Rules
(come from On High).
Don't let the side down.
Pull together...
Team Spirit...
Them and Us, Black and White,
Saints and Sinners...
All that crap which turned me not just anti-British
(tore up the passport)
but anti-bourgeois.
But I played such eminently bourgeois games
as Monopoly, Bézique, Canasta,
and Mah Jongg for the fun of company and conversation.
I remember Whist- and Beetle-Drives,
and the frequent exhilaration of the only Sport
I ever played : Cruising,
a form of gambling
in which there are few winners.

Monday 18 December 2017


is a construction of civilisation
and can exist only when accompanied
by its strange cardboard cut-out supporters
(as in an armorial achievement) Id, Libido
and Super-ego - all fed by artifacts, property,
patriotism, manufactured moralities and 'family values'.
Our egos sit on us like
conquerors' buttocks on our faces.

Sunday 17 December 2017


(when not a mirror of self-contempt)
is mostly - probably - a form of misanthropy.
The greatest misogynists are 'womanisers'.

Friday 15 December 2017

I have just read

in a thriller
that mouse-droppings soon sink
in a bowl or jar of the ubiquitous,
white, crystalline poison called sugar.
But dog-hairs stay on top.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Time is mostly blood and shit -

don't stab it -
strangle it gently and well.
Rinse your hands in piss.
Escape from the miasma
of being and being human.
Close your eyes while doing so:

we do too much looking
and not enough considering
we do too much hearing
and not enough listening
too much feeling
and not enough fellow-feeling
especially not for 'animals'
not for the downtrodden spirits.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Writing as a dog,

I don't believe
that there is such a thing as Time.
There is only The Moment.


Tuesday 12 December 2017

The (liberal) Left,

loving to define people as winners, highly undeserving winners,
losers and victims -
then by minority status, ethnicity, colour, religion, and sexuality -
fails to see that they continually create division
by obsessive definition, addition and subtraction.

Monday 11 December 2017

One of my most-persistent Earworms.

Until recently, I was slightly embarrassed
by frequently humming the catchy melody of
the Horst Wessel Lied, notorious anthem of the Nazis.

But I have discovered that the tune pre-dated Hitler,
accommodating World War I lyrics such as
Vorbei, vorbei, sind all die schönen Stunden (Gone are all the Lovely Moments)
and the Königsberg-Lied,
(Königsberg is now in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad
between Poland and Lithuania)
and, later adopted for a Communist marching-song,
was probably of Viennese origin.
So now I hum the tune - wondering what Johannes Brahms
would have done with it...


Saturday 9 December 2017

Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski's

horrible journey up the Congo River
took seven weeks in the boat named Roi des Belges -
(the appalling Leopold, King of the Belgians, who took the Congo
for its unlimited slave labour, rubber and ivory
as his lucrative private fiefdom).
Years later, Joseph Conrad (as he is now known)
took just seven weeks to write
Heart of Darkness.

In the 1920s The French Republic disposed of roughly 10,000 Africans
(mostly from Oubangi-Chari, now the Central African Republic)
to build the railway from Brazzaville (on the other side of the river
from Léopoldville, now Kinshasa) to the coast.
Ironically, Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà was a believer
in the equality of people and peoples, which is why the capital
of the People's Republic of the Congo is still called Brazzaville.

Friday 8 December 2017

My Good Deed for the Day

was to send a staggering €15 to Jimmy Wales
to help keep Wikimedia afloat.
In my accompanying PayPal message I expressed amazement
that Google with its billions cannot subsidise one of its most popular

Apart from being one of the most atrocious butchers of all time,

all we need to know about the strutting megalomaniac Napoleon I
is his comment :

The greatest woman alive or dead
is the one who produces the most offspring.

The Code Napoléon oppressed and handicapped France
for 150 years.
Women didn't get the vote until 1945.

Thursday 7 December 2017

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave : Alligator Bait

"A brief video on the use of black babies 
as live alligator bait in Florida in the early 1900s brought me here" :


Wednesday 6 December 2017


Happy Hundredth Birthday, Finland!

The great François Couperin said:

 "J'aime mieux ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend."
I'd rather be moved than be amazed. 

Worth pondering, in our age of great amazement and false emotions.


Tuesday 5 December 2017

To be planted out.

are flowers for the dead in France,
for they are in bloom on All Souls' - All Hallows - Day.
My mother loved chrysanthemums.
I too loved their russet colours and the mysterious
erotic smell that they don't have in France.
Every autumn there was a big cut
bunch of them in our narrow hallway, bought
from a seedsman, nurseryman who lived just 50 yards
from where she was born, and later taught
(and later still was buried),
and whom she'd taught when first he went to school.
Her birthday was on the third of November, 1907.

This past third of November I stole
one of hundreds of to-be-neglected
and wind-scattered pots
of gold-and-russet remembrance-chrysanthemums
from the pleasant little cemetery
where my periwinkle-covered grave awaits,

and placed it on my balcony.

Monday 4 December 2017

« L'érotisme,

c'est donner au corps les prestiges de l'esprit.  »
Georges Perros

English: "Eroticism accords the body all the prestige of the mind."

Comment: Eroticism is not love, nor is it sex, but arousing sensuality.

Sunday 3 December 2017

“When we are headed the wrong way,

 the last thing we need is progress.”

Nick Bostrom, Swedish philosopher, in “Perfection Is Not A Useful Concept”, The European Magazine, 13.06.2011

Saturday 2 December 2017

"Stinking rich"

most likely refers to the smell
of the rotting teeth in their mouths,
from eating sugar, white bread and cake.
The silver spoons put into their mouths
as babies did not protect them.
The poor were reduced to selling
their teeth which were healthy
from eating rough bread and ....ation
(though their gums were destroyed by starvation).

The rich also stank in courtrooms.
They feverishly chewed garlic, caraway, cardamoms
to prevent infection from the breath of the poor
whom they sent off to New England
then to New South Wales
for petty larceny - for the jails
were even more crowded than they are today
in England and the U.S.A.

Friday 1 December 2017

"Without fiction, we poison ourselves...

...on the lies of the first person."

Richard Flanagan, author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North
and First Person.


(PS  Today I wrote the blog that will appear on the first of February)

Thursday 30 November 2017

What I had for dinner tonight,

(by Astérix, the blogger's dog,
with just a little help from his Editor and slave)

I had:
Sautéed leeks with farce (forcemeat, raw of course)
moistened by a local free-range egg,
a Brussels sprout or two
(Que Dieu bénisse les Bruxellois!),
a few roast chestnuts,
a couple of stewed plums.
and what was left on plates
and serving dishes.
It wasn't enough.
But it was delicious.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

My Cheap Solution

to the Irish Border/Brexit problem:
give every anti-Irish Ulster family
a million pounds
to go and colonise the Sinai.

Five hundred years

since irate Martin Luther
let loose a century of havoc
with his 95 Theses,
still we have heard nothing
about his delightful dog
and his 95 feces.

The turbulent doctor had a dog named Tölpel
(which was apparently a synonym for “Dummkopf”),
and wrote:

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”

Monday 27 November 2017

As old as Adam - and language.

There was always "fake news".
The Old Testament,
The New Testament,
The Blood Crime of the Jews.

Sunday 26 November 2017

There is only one person

whom I respect and like
more than even any dog.
Here are both of them:

And here is the dog.

Saturday 25 November 2017

Friday 24 November 2017

A comment on civilisation.

A society governed arbitrarily perfectly resembles a herd of cows
placed under a yoke for the service of a master.
He feeds them just enough to put them in condition to serve.
He treats their illnesses only enough to keep them useful.
He fattens them only in order to feed off of them,

and he uses the hides of some to harness others to the plough.

Une société d'hommes gouvernée arbitrairement ressemble parfaitement à une troupe de

ufs mis au joug pour le service du maître.
Il ne les nourrit qu'afin qu'ils soient en état de le servir;
il ne les panse dans leurs maladies qu'afin qu'ils lui soient utiles en santé;
il les engraisse pour se nourrir de leur substance;
et il se sert de la peau des uns pour atteler les autres à la charrue.

Voltaire (1694-1778), Republican Ideas by a Member of the Corps, II

Thursday 23 November 2017

Dylan Thomas was an arrant wordsmith.

Darkness is sweet.
Why rage against the dying of the light ?
Why burn and rave at close of day ?
Those who fight their end are mad.
Why should old men not be glad
they're slipping creakily away ?

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Assuming that time is not an illusion,

all life is a waste of it.

As the time-dependent Schrödinger wrote :

Tuesday 21 November 2017


from water- and willy-worship to esoteric Buddhism
is just a means to justify our self-importance as a species
if not as individuals.

Monday 20 November 2017

Fear of death

is experienced only by those
who know they haven't lived.

There is of course only one way to live:
as we did for 99% of our existence as a species.
This is now - and only recently become - impossible.

The Earth is not afraid of death
even though, strictly speaking,
she is not immortal.

                          (second half)

My country, too, is the world...

...but I'll have no monument.

Sunday 19 November 2017

18 April 1999

I made a rubbing:
"The Pope gives a computer-expert a pedicure."
Eva finished painting her series of "Holy pictures."

from An Alchemist's Nightmares,
extracts from Jan Švankmajer's diary.

Saturday 18 November 2017

On the removal from power of Robert Mugabe,

President of Zimbabwe for the last 37 years,
let us not forget Francisco Macias Nguema,
first president of Equatorial Guinea (formerly Rio Muni
plus Fernando Pó and other islands)
who had a huge collection of human skulls in his mansion,
and replaced crucifixes in churches with his own image.
He abolished all education in 1974, executed and maimed civil servants,
and on his overthrow tried to flee with the entire paper currency of the country in a suitcase...

The insanity of categorisation.

"The dandelion is not a small plant,
but ‘a large tree with no investment in trunk,
major branches, or perennial roots’."

Aren't there more important things to reflect on -
such as how silly (as well as destructive) it is to be human ?

Friday 17 November 2017

Today's Ear-worm

surprised me.  Usually fragments of Brahms
or Chopin repeat in my brain all day and all night,
drowning out the occasional tinnitus -
but today, out of nowhere, came a creepy song
from a 1954 film I never saw :

...Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can.
Lord help the mister
who comes between me and my sister -
And lord help the sister
who comes between me and my man.


Thursday 16 November 2017

One of the many reasons I chose to immigrate from Northern Ireland to south-west France

is that I have always disliked - even been ashamed of - my surname:
Weir pronounced wɪər
(which has nothing to do with water,
but is an Anglicisation of the county Donegal surname Maguire
[Irish: Mac Uídhir],
for many of that name fled starvation in North-Western Ireland
to wage-slavery in Lowland [Lalland] Scotland.

In French, however, this mean-sounding, Lallands name
sings sweet and sexy:
vɛjʁ - to rhyme roughly with layer as pronounced in Louisiana.

(I'm sure y'all are grateful for this information.)

Wednesday 15 November 2017

English as a Foreign Language.

Examination question in Colloquial English :

"It is less unpleasant to be goosed by a dog
than to be dogged by a goose."  

Discuss this statement, mentioning any ambiguity that you may notice or intuit.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Next time you fail to steal something

from a corner-shop, "convenience store", supermarket, or food-hypermarket,
remember that they and their employees are part of a web
of the most organised and legally-protected drug-pushers in the world.
The slave trade was founded on sugar, not cotton.
The sugarless and scrawny poor had to sell their teeth to the tooth-rotten
(hence 'stinking') rich
in order to survive in terrible, gum-infected misery.
I was made aware over 70 years ago that sugar was a dangerous substance,
but was not discouraged from ladling it on to my porridge, nor from eating sweets.
It is perhaps the most instantly-addictive of all substances.
Saccharin (invented in the late 19th century) became a popular substitute for sugar
during World War Two, and in the 1960s was perceived as 'less fattening'.
But saccharin has consistently been trashed by the 'sugar lobby'
seizing on bad science which suggested it was carcinogenous.


Sugar is not needed even in jam, which requires only pectin
to make it set, not the caramelisation of sugar,
which should be taxed and labelled like tobacco products.

(Then there's salt, and doubly-refined carbohydrate, and "food"
consisting of doubly-refined carbohydrate, salt and sugar
sold quite legally by some of the most powerful conglomerates in the world...)


Monday 13 November 2017

To the ever-expanding acronym


I wish to add another letter :

N - for Necrophiliac,
the most harmless of sexualities
apart from committed self-induced orgasm.

Sunday 12 November 2017

Since the latest

Windows 10 compulsory "update"
I can't access the internet;
I can receive Outlook messages, but not send any...
so I have decided to go Back to Basics.

 ("The Free World" ? Kiss my furry arse!)

Cars of my dreams.

There are two.
I can't decide between
the pre-war Scripps-Booth Tricycle
with wooden rear wheels,

and the  Peel Trident bubble-car
made on the Isle of Man
(which I used to be able to see quite often
from my home in the County Down).

"A completely new design from the earlier side-engined Peel P50 microcar,
the Trident was manufactured in 1965 and 1966."


Saturday 11 November 2017

Two great talkers of the last 75 years

are richly represented on YouTube:

Orson Welles


and John le Carré


Both have beautiful bass-baritone voices
quite apart from their flowing and gently self-mocking intelligence.

Friday 10 November 2017


is a very small town in the remote west of Ireland
which has a road called Mosque Road
leading to Ireland's first custom-built Islamic place of worship.


Thursday 9 November 2017

Message to Busy People.

Death may well turn out to be
the luxurious cessation
of a whole lifetime of

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Any kind of authority

de-personalises the person who grabs
(or is awarded) it.  And that person
de-personalises all those who are subject
to his or her authority.

In England, a black or bearded Muslim-looking person is 17 times more likely
to be Stopped-And-Searched quite legally by de-personalised policemen,
no matter how well-dressed or even how well-known s|he is.

Why, in that shameful country, has there arisen no Buddy-service,
where bleached, Caucasian people accompany those with beautifully-coloured skins
and insist that the harassing policemen search them as well as their Buddy ?

Monday 6 November 2017

from Rules of Conduct for Men in High and Low Places & Positions of Power.

'When a lady is bearded
she should be treated as a lady
and not as a beard.'

- Poets Ranked by Beard Weight, Commemorative Edition.
ISBN 978-1-61608-245-1

Surely two of the greatest lines in English literature :

"On the smooth brown hair was a hat that had been taken from its mother too young."
                                 - Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister.

"What would we want with dung at our time of life ?"

                                             - Samuel Beckett, All That Fall.

Sunday 5 November 2017

Úlf Nilsen on interpreting Beethoven:

"I find it slightly curious - as a blind performer - to play music by a deaf composer."

Saturday 4 November 2017

The attitudes of the 'normal'

are more problematic
than the beahviour of the

Simply put :

if capitalism were for 'the general good'
care-workers, cleaners and nurses
would not be near the bottom
of the economic heap.

Friday 3 November 2017

Just yesterday

I was thinking that I understand dogs and how they think (more or less),
while almost all human beings I have met* have been a puzzle, mystery, opaque to me. 
Maybe I’m aspergeric, maybe I’m allergic - certainly too aesthetic...
Maybe it’s just that other people find me too full-on, up-front or embarrassingly open
(interpreted as 'confrontational') – when really I’m just enthusiastic.

* Apart from my mother (whose birthday it is: she'd be 110 today), my aunt, and Malcolm.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Did he really 'get a boob-job'

while harrowing Hell ?

And what happened to his willy ?
Did he give it to the King of Evil ?
And if so, voluntarily or not ?

Sunday 29 October 2017

Which will be the first independent state to recognise Catalonia ?

Will it be Abkhazia,
Somaliland, or
Transdnistria ?

Or none of these,
no state at all ?

Will the Republic of Catalonia
last longer than a week ?
or a month ?

Friday 27 October 2017

Confession of Jan Švankmajer

"I am a hand with six fingers with webs in between.
Instead of fingernails I have petite, sharp, sweet-toothed little tongues
with which I lick the world."

from his diary.

(His wonderful Little Otik can be torrented.)

Thursday 26 October 2017

Dissident Viking haiku

Cutting my toe-nails
beside the wood-burning stove :
a gift to Naglfar.

Naglfar was the Ship of Doom made entirely from unburnt human finger- and toe-nails.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

An Alliterative Haiku

Stunning sunset !  Stoned,
I've put on my pyjamas
back to front - again.

Sunday 22 October 2017


Middle East:
"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:
therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire."

"The problem for modern boys, of course,
was that they were not in danger of dying from bullets or bombs -
but of living a life without any meaning."

Friday 20 October 2017

A new translation/adaptation of

Rainer Maria Rilke

That heap looks like mere rubbish,
but get close and you can tell
that it's a pile of beggars.
If only they could sell
the emptiness of their pleading hands
like bogus shares.

Encouraged by his fascinated stares
they show the gawker
the festering black markets of their mouths.
They let him, with no inhibitions
(and quite affordably)
examine their skin conditions.

His face distorts, melts like moonlit
plastic before their decomposing eyes.
Thinking of the latest fatalities,
they rejoice at his discomfort,
and as he stammers his banalities
they dribble, spew and spit.

Anthony Weir

Wednesday 18 October 2017

When what I write might indicate

that I'm thoughtful, subtle and intelligent,
the intemperate things I say
in my poor socio-verbal exchanges
with actual people
show that I'm a fool, if not insane.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Helen Rumbelow’s tale of ditching the soap.

I’ve stopped washing — be honest, do I smell?

London, October 16, 2017

One way to find out who your friends are:
is to give up soap and deodorant and ask for help to monitor how bad you smell. Even my partner refuses: “Is there any hope we can keep the magic alive?” he asks as I attempt to cover his face with my armpit.
But my children, whose love is mammalian and humour is gross-out, comply. We get into a routine: my arms outstretched as if for a hug, but instead they tuck their little noses into my darkest recesses and snuffle. This feels, somehow, like it once used to.
That’s no coincidence. For I am not just neglecting my personal hygiene, like those earnest people you meet, usually in Stroud, who tell you their bodies are “self-regulating” and you nod and think, “Yeah, but you reek of hamster.”
I am conducting an experiment at the vanguard of dermatological research.

Twice a day I spray on live bacteria. Live bacteria that has been cultivated from soil. I am literally covering myself in dirt to get clean.

It sounds crazy, but is it crazier than, say, our multibillion personal-care industry being an expensive way of killing off the very bacteria that would do a better job? Day one: I put my trusty deodorant in the bin. I’ve been dependent since I was 12 years old, and to keep it would be too tempting. Instead I stand in my pants next to the fridge door and spray my pits from a chilled bottle labelled “Mother Dirt”. It is indistinguishable from water, yet costs £30. “Welcome to the future!” I say to my family. They say I smell of “puddles”.

Like so many great body-odour stories, this began with a first date. It was 14 years ago, and David Whitlock, an American chemical engineer trained at MIT, was out at dinner with a woman who kept horses. Why, she asked him, did her horses roll in the dirt? He mumbled about rubbing off bugs, but she wasn’t impressed. The date was going nowhere and Whitlock went back to his lab. Why did so many mammals roll in dirt? It must play an evolutionary role in their health.

He zeroed in on a bacteria found in soil and streams: Nitrosomonas eutropha (known as N eutropha). He scraped some off the floor of a stable in Boston. It feeds on ammonia (which is found in sweat) and turns it into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide was crowned “molecule of the year” in 1992 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Why? It has a role in alleviating depression, lowering blood pressure and regulating sleep. But its relevance for Whitlock was that it is an anti-inflammatory. He was excited. Could N eutropha gobble up your stink and turn it into a balm for your body? He dumped a bucket of the stuff on himself. “I may be crazy,” he likes to say, “but I’m not stupid.”

Whitlock has not had a shower or used soap other than on his hands since. He relies on N eutropha misting.

It is no surprise that primates and remote human tribes have a 40 per cent more diverse skin microbiome than we soap freaks. However, acne, eczema and psoriasis are also practically unknown in hunter-gatherer humans, while in the west they are sharply on the rise. Why? Medics used to think we had to get rid of the bacteria causing skin conditions. Now they have begun to think about reintroducing the bacteria that prevent them. Dermatology journals are fizzing with early success stories.

Richard Gallo at the University of California found that eczema was triggered by a deficiency of a certain strain of bacteria. It was rectified when he dosed patients with a lotion containing boosted amounts of the live bacteria — a kind of skin-bacteria transplant. The same goes for acne: we all have acne bacteria on our skin and it is thought that spots flare due to a bacterial battle we little understand.

Acne, eczema and psoriasis are practically unknown in hunter-gatherer humans

Day three: it is not a smell that’s the problem, it’s the paranoia.
I don’t stink. One spray of the mist seems to convert my funk into a sort of rainy freshness. But I can’t trust this voodoo to keep working. It’s hard not to keep my arms pinned to my sides, like a 14-year-old in co-ed PE. I have a jog, a sweaty commute and an interview with Anne Robinson. We all know we can trust Anne to mention it. Her nose gets close as we say goodbye, but it doesn’t wrinkle a bit.

In the wild, humans would be bathing in muddy water, sitting in soil and enjoying daily inoculations of N eutropha. Whitlock devised a spray to replicate this. He called it Mother Dirt and founded a company, AO Biome, to set up clinical trials on the N eutropha spray.The trials are in phase two with regard to acne and high blood pressure. The spray’s efficacy must be proven before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves it as a medical treatment. The FDA had to create a category for the live topical.

Meanwhile, the spray is available as a cosmetic product. Mother Dirt is run by Jasmina Aganovic, a 30-year-old chemical engineer who trained at MIT. She says they shift tens of thousands of mist bottles a year in America and are about to launch it in the UK.

Most customers are aged from 25 to 35, and half, she estimates, are from the “Paleo” community, which tries to replicate ancestral lifestyles. Yet the other half, she says, are those so at their wits’ end with skin problems that they will try anything. “They’re confused. They’ve done everything they have been told. We seem to be cleaner than ever, yet have more problems than ever.”

There is much talk of the gut microbiome and how it affects obesity and immunity, but no one thinks much about skin, which also teems with bacteria. The same person who smugly eats yoghurt for her gut has probably slaughtered her skin microbiome 20 times before breakfast.

That’s the problem for Mother Dirt (slogan: “I used to be addicted to soap, I’m clean now”). Base-level hygiene for most westerners is kryptonite to N eutropha. Everyone from the company stresses that they wash their hands with soap to stop communicable disease. There is no medical need, however, to soap anywhere above the wrist. Yet we do. And soap kills N eutropha. So does sodium lauryl sulphate, a lathering ingredient in almost every shampoo and body wash, which is an antimicrobial.

Not only that, but almost every personal-care product, from foundation to moisturiser, contains preservatives. These are designed to stop bacterial growth. As for deodorant, Aganovic says they have never found a “biome-friendly” one. Put like that, my bathroom cabinet seems to be crammed with the cosmetic equivalent of junk food.

We should think about our skin biome as an unexplored rainforest. There is an utterly serious scientific endeavour called Belly Button Biodiversity in which scientists swabbed 500 navels and found 2,368 different bacterial species. It estimated that more than half were new to science. Each person had an average of 67 in their belly button. In that light, modern body care is nuking the rainforest: who knows what endangered bugs you are washing down the plughole?
Aganovic knew that 21st-century customers wouldn’t give it all up to roll in the dirt, so she has come up with an alternative cleanser and moisturiser that seems to be rosewater and coconut oil. It’s fine, but for the last three days of my ten-day experiment I up the ante: I stop showering or cleansing and rely on the mist alone. (Aganovic doesn’t recommend this; she showers and mists daily.)

It’s not the smell — it’s the paranoia
My grandmother used to say “horses sweat, men perspire, ladies gently glow”. Sorry, grandma, but I glow like a bloody horse. Yet without washing at all, my much-sampled body odour isn’t as rank as it would be otherwise. When I am overdue a misting, it’s more, reported my (very) good friend, like a “faint top note of chardonnay left in the sun”. One Mother Dirt user said her altered odour reminded her of a waft of “pleasant pot”. A few minutes after misting, my faint smell vanishes.

Aganovic says that about half of users find they can give up deodorant, as she does: they have no idea why people differ. For them odour is less the point than helping skin conditions. There is much continuing research into this, but only one small double-blind study has been finished; in it the N eutropha group said their skin felt better. The only independent studies of N eutropha are being conducted by Raja Sivamani, a professor of dermatology at the University of California. Sivamani asked one group of volunteers to spray Mother Dirt on their skin, while another group sprayed water, then he studied markers for inflammation. His data will not be ready to publish for a few months.
“We can see that N eutropha appears safe, but the jury is still out on how it works and what it does,” Sivamani said. “We did see a shift . . . Maybe some of the inflammatory agents were reduced, but those results were preliminary. This science is very early.”

Other scientists are being cautious too. I speak to Carsten Flohr, the head of research and development at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust in London. “It sounds nice, but they have a product to sell,” Flohr says. Yet he remains open-minded, especially when I tell him about my armpit miracle. “The fact that there is little evidence so far doesn’t mean it doesn’t do something.”

In fact, Flohr’s research is pushing at the horizon of this new field. There is good evidence that there is an important window in infancy for establishing a healthy gut microflora, and this may be the case be for the skin. Heed this, all you over-washers of children! He also has studied how irritating sodium lauryl sulphate can be for the skin. But, I say, I now know they are in almost every bathroom product. Should we be avoiding it? “Not everybody, but certainly those with eczema and dry skin.”

Hmm. I can only say that I liked this experiment. I felt fresh. The Mother Dirt bottle is expensive, so I won’t carry on, but I will try to be a better host to my bacteria. I knew I was converted when I was involved in a kid’s bath-time and some bubbles got on to my face. I dashed to towel them off like the soap was some deadly poison. Which to my new friend N eutropha, and God knows how many of his relatives that have come to stay at mine.

* * * * *

There is actually no need to use this expensive stuff.  Just stop washing with soap everything except your hands.  Your body will acquire the necessary bacteria pretty quickly, especially if you also stop washing clothes unnecessarily and water-wastingly.

I haven't used soap for years, except for my hands, sometimes my feet (whose smell I like) - and then only soap made with olive oil and herbs.  I probably smell of dog, as well as human, but that is an added bonus - and better than hamster.

Monday 16 October 2017

ex-Hurricane Ophelia runs up Ireland

This chilling, patriarchal pronouncement

by the 17th century hypocrite Thomas Fuller
(over 300 years before Orwell's 1984)
is a mantra displayed in the Headquarters of Apple® :

Good is not good when better is expected.

Sunday 15 October 2017

My new 'portmanteau' word -


- is the feeling that kind people
(or even whole organisations) have
for distressed other beings,
while also feeling (or even knowing)
that there is nothing they can do.

Saturday 14 October 2017

The Ecological French

Now that plastic bags are allowed to be used only for squelchy things,
the use of paper bags has dramatically increased -
and many people bring them back to market-stalls to be re-used.

A paper bag can be used many times.

Friday 13 October 2017

Essence of Beckett.

"What happened ?"

"I have never known anything to happen."

- from All That Fall.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Борис Гребенщиков

The great Boris Grebenshikov updated his Facebook portrait :

His voice is not quite as good as was Vladimir Vysotsky's
but his lyrics are much better.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

It's not Consumerism

that we should (hypocritically) be condemning,
but the 'producerism' that everyone encourages,  admires.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

A very arcane piece of information:

The wonderful letter


was removed (along with several others, such as  ѭ, )
from the Russian alphabet in the early eighteenth century.

More were removed just after the revolutions of 1917.

Monday 9 October 2017

I have no difficulty in accepting

that 'everything'  (The Universe)
is physical, mathematical,
chemical, biochemical, etc. etc.,
and that we are basically puppets of evolution
with limited scope for self-alteration,
but I have great difficulty in accepting
that most people don't also accept this.

Sunday 8 October 2017


My dog was disappointed
that the meteors this Fall
weren't meatier -
in fact, not nourishing at all.