Dingo the Dissident

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

Sunday 31 December 2023

For most humans

life is a wound

and for some it is

continual self-harm.

Our intelligence is 

frivolous and pitiless.

I wish I could do the same.

"This year I’ve learned the benefits of faking it when someone asks how are you ?

"In the past, perhaps quite madly, I have tried to answer honestly. My conversations darkened and I tried to describe the various hells of being alive, or got lost in some swampy metaphor.
"Now instead, I brightly say, Fine! And somehow it helps.
I am able to move more cleanly through the day, I use words like nice, and I smile, and I wait until the appropriate time or person before I relax, heavily, into reality..."

– Eva Wiseman

Saturday 30 December 2023

It is generally thought

that People Who Don't Belong
make good Spy Material.

But it's more likely that Those
Who Don't Belong But Want To Belong

would have a tendency
to drift into espionage.

The other day, in Tel Aviv.


Friday 29 December 2023

Aristotle wrote:

the happy are the virtuous.

Alas! millions of women are virtuous
by almost any standard,
yet are pretty (and unprettily) miserable.

'Dancing Trees',

 rue de l'Ancienne Gendarmerie, Caylus.

Just outside Caylus
(where the limestone causses (karst) of Quercy starts to yield to the granite ségala, or rye-growing, province of Rouergue)


is the Cascade Pétrifiante,
an impressive little waterfall in winter,
and a natural sculpture in summer.
It is culverted and channelled through a (presumably seasonal) water-mill at the opposite side of road.

‘It’s a golden age –

poetry flourishes in Ukraine, but at a terrible price.'

Meanwhile, in a big country very close:

'Russian Anti-War Poets Jailed for ‘Inciting Hatred’ Toward Troops.'

Thursday 28 December 2023

Politicians as seen by soldiers.

To strip them merely of
their more blatant lies
is to strip them of
their lily-livered lives.

A comment on a cult.

Sexual activity
is only a part
of intimacy – a part
not even necessary.

Post-Christmas treat.

Perhaps available from your local butcher.

'In earlier times used in the making of glue, but now widely used as a chew stick for dogs.
Being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, it is also believed [by some] to benefit human health in many ways.
It can be cooked [how & for how long?] with herbs and spices for human consumption [strong teeth and jaws required?] ;
or it is dried, stretched and cut into pieces for canine chew sticks.'

see also: 10 edible organs you should be eating or perhaps not 

Wednesday 27 December 2023

'All the world's a stage.'

You and I, unlike Shakespeare's raucous audiences,
sit silently alone – not together, but near each other
inside the theatre – not really understanding
the rage that is Humanity
outside our cage of consciousness,
beyond the speeches and the worn-out scenery.

(for Malcolm)

Tuesday 26 December 2023


 – the only religion whose only doctrine
is Getting what you want will make you happy
and getting what you want sooner
will make you happy sooner
What fools we all have been.

Scaring Winter Away.

Since I am from northern Ireland
it is appropriate today, St Stephen's or Boxing Day,
to mention and celebrate the old tradition of Wren-boys,
also known as Straw-boys, which has survived
in county Armagh and has been revived
in south-west Ireland.  The ritual of Hunting the Wren
is related to many European
midwinter festivals and processions.

Traditional English Christmas Mummers,
dressed in ribbons and rags, were active
in London up to the 1960s, as was the Mari Lywd
horse-head tradition in Wales. (Be amazed at the youTube
subtitles from spoken Welsh!) 
In England also
Jacks-in-the-Green covered themselves with ivy
to parade as spirits of the forest, and hence regeneration.
In Cantabria men disguise themselves as trees.

Irish straw-boy head-dresses retain vestiges of the horns
in some European traditions...which may have morphed
into the reindeer which pull St Nicholas'/Father Frost's sleigh.

Irish Straw Boys, 1920s.

A recent photo of a straw-boy bagpiper,
Northern Ireland.

Musical straw-boys, 1970s ?
See also here on pinterest.

Wrenboy, county Armagh, by Charles Fréger.

Strawboys at Emhain Macha, co. Armagh,
by Eamonn Quinn.

Strawboys at Armagh Courthouse,
by Eamonn Quinn.

Wrenboy, county Fermanagh, by Charles Fréger.

Mari Lwyd decorated horse-skull, Wales.

see also:


Burning the Devil, Guatemala.
photo by Edwin Bercián

Selective Information.

Hitler grabbed all attention.
The Jews hogged all the sympathy.
The books and memoirs written
about the Shoah/Holocaust,
the concentration camps and the rise of Hitler
and his gang would fill a large room
right up to the ceiling.  On the other hand,

the books about the rise of Stalin, his genocidal
reign of terror, his henchmen, his instruments of terror
and the Gulag, would fill a modest bookcase.

The memoirs of those who lived under Soviet dictators
would not occupy a small shelf.
Stalin moved whole peoples, many of whom died en route
in trains which took weeks or months to get to distant parts;
hundreds of thousands were simply done away with,
but he didn't particularly persecute the Jews.
Talented musical ones did well, as they did not in Germany.

Eighteen million Russians of all ethnicities and origins
passed through the Gulag (53 camps, 423 labour colonies)
in which nearly two million perished. A further six or seven
million were exiled to remote parts of the Soviet Union.
As in Germany, only a fraction were classed 'political'.
Then there were the POW camps (4 million internees).

Why no books, no memoirs ?  So few biographies of henchmen, Molotov, Mikoyan, Beria - not much even on Khrushchev,
but the books on Nazis, gangs, camps, extermination-camps
are legion.

The Gulag Archipelago. Click to enlarge.
 Kharp is indicated by the green arrow, top centre.

Now there is Putin.  And Navalny, apparently
his sole opponent 'with his head above the parapet'
surviving weakly in the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp.

“The conditions there are harsh, with a special regime
in the permafrost zone. It is very difficult to get there,”

said his friend, Ivan Zhdanov.  

We may hope that some details of Putin's régime,
some memoirs, will surface some day,
if only through dubious antisocial media.
Meanwhile, despite no journalists being allowed
to witness the massacre in ever-rebellious Gaza,
we are seeing smartphone images
from Israel's own Warsaw Ghetto. 
But we are not hearing much about
Israel's Palestinian (West Bank) Gau...
The testaments and memoirs are few...

Monday 25 December 2023

Another (shocking but unsurprising) statistic.

78% of 'Live-in Domestic Workers'
in the United Kingdom do not have
a bedroom of their own –
or (in some cases) even a bed.

Most of them have also had their passports
taken (hostage) so that they have no legal status
and cannot even run away
from a violent or rapist employer.

The Age of Extinction.

Research published in the journal One Health
reveals that individual monkeys are being sold
for between $20,000 and $24,000.  read more >

Photograph: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media.

Sunday 24 December 2023

Saturday 23 December 2023

'Let it Rot !'

As usual, I am at least 10 years
'behind the times',
so it is only recently that I have discovered
and, of course, welcomed
the Chinese  "Let it rot,"
摆烂 (bai-lan)
young people's movement.

Rotting is good, earth-nourishing.
Decomposing fruit can smell
more deliciously than fresh.
I am looking forward my own
decaying, horribly stinking flesh.

Let everything human go to pot
and rot and eventually turn to sludge, mud, soft stone...
and forever (and all acquaintance) be forgot !

Friday 22 December 2023

Thursday 21 December 2023

Two Great Geo-political Love Affairs.

The triangle of Trump, Orbán and Putin;

and of course Netanyahu and the shy leader of Hamas,
each validating the other,
each taking every opportunity to 'put the boot in'.

For holiday viewing

I recommend a rare but recent Egyptian film that I watched last night.  

It features a young orphan who attaches himself to a (real-life) leper who decides, on the death of his wife, to go with his donkey (called Harbi) a few hundred miles down the Nile, back to the family which sent him to the leper-colony over 30 years earlier.  

On the way they lose their small amount of money, abandon the broken cart, get thrown off a train, bury Harbi, hitch-hike, get arrested, and meet a (real-life) group of outcasts who include a dwarf and a legless beggar.

I don't think any professional actor took part.
The film (with subtitles) can be found on YIFY (download magnet) and on rutracker.org (Russian subtitles only, but srt file available on opensubtitle.org.)

Incidentally, a Muslim Hadith is repeated during the film:
'One should flee a leper as one should flee a lion.'
Leprosy being considered infectious, the Hadith means that lepers should be considered (and avoided) as natural, their affliction God-given, not as if they were demonic or satanic.

Another Hadith advises that sick camels should not be brought among healthy ones.

If you like this film, then you should also love the wonderful Chadian film,
Daratt (Dry Season), also available by torrent/magnet  – and you will have the bones of a high-culture African holiday or vacation.

There's a leper driving one of those cars!

Wednesday 20 December 2023

On the Day of Judgement

"at the end of time" 
in fifty degrees Celsius
in France
a gendarme will be stopping you
to impose a fine.

It is 750 years

                 since the death of Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi.

Soul receives from soul the knowledge, not by book

and not from tongue, and not through art

If the knowledge comes out of silence of the mind, this is
the illumination of the heart.

Viola arvensis, 'Heartsease'.

Flowers are ‘giving up’ on scarce insects
and evolving to self-pollinate, say scientists.


Field pansies (Viola arvensis) or Hearts-ease growing near Paris produced 20% less nectar and were smaller than those growing there 20 to 30 years ago... [more]

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Part of the Failure of Feminism

is the unexamined desire to keep the sugary
sexual cake while eating it

is the reluctance to stop pandering to the crude
Male Gaze (not to mention the fashion,
cosmetic and dieting industries)
by constantly flashing their primary
sexual characteristics

is the complicit refusal to allow men similarly to display
publicly their (often also) unlovely, functional
protuberances without causing an affray

and adding to the criminal statistics.

Monday 18 December 2023

I will soon be labelled

as Disabled
because, without a Smartphone,
I am ill-defined.

But I have a mind.

Today's snapshot.

'Under the Wisteria' 
– the café in winter.

Last night I had my first 'sleepwalking experience'.

I remember noticing in a dream that my feet were wet
and I was staggering, a bit disoriented;
I remember opening the sock drawer on the landing,
then stumbling into bed with drier feet.

In the morning I found two wet socks on the floor.
I could find no water or puddle anywhere in the house.
Outside was dry.
But the toilet-seat was up (I sit down to piss at night)
and the stub of a pencil was floating in the bowl. 

Sunday 17 December 2023

Desert Island Discs

 On the BBC's famous and perennial
radio programme, each 'castaway' is
(willy-nilly) given 'The Bible and Shakespeare'
to help fill in the time on Svalbard, Diego Garcia,
Quemoy, Bikini or the Falklands...Skellig Michael 
or, more verdantly, the Isle of Man.
I would want neither. Shakespeare seems to me
impenetrable with his mostly-insane characters
and their intoxicating mix of words,

while the Bible (a rather less luscious verbal pile)
is so crudely comic-strip and unpoetic
(except for Psalms and some fine short stories
here and there) that most of it would be most suitable
to light the fire or wipe my diarrhœic
arse if there were no foliage available.

Yet another definition

of Civilisation:

A refined exercise of ill-will.

Saturday 16 December 2023

There are many sub-species of Death

whose unwitting servants we are:

Mad March
Very bad

and any adjective you care to add.

(List-poems are very hard to write.)


The weather

has recently been
so unremittingly dull
and wet that my solar-powered
watch stopped at twenty
past one in the morning.

I guess that in the arctic
you might not be allowed to sell
such time-pieces
without a 'winter warning'.

Friday 15 December 2023

Having read novels all my life,

it seems to me that most men
are extensions of their cocks
and are only minimally impeded.

I am my hair,
long since mercifully receded.

Thursday 14 December 2023


is not selfish. Indeed,
no kind of love is wrapped
in selfishness.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

I am a fan

of Quranic [Koranic] Chant,
that is to say, the Holy Quran sung in its entirety,
but divided into Suras.
I listened to as much as I could on Moroccan radio.
But really, the text seems somewhat bizarre.

I guess this hardly matters,
because the Book of Chronicles (or Leviticus)
in the Holy Bible could be set to marvellous music
and we would listen, entranced.

Jimi Hendrix could have done a good job
with the complete Book of Revelation.

Poo to you, too!

The insidious arrival in recent years
of the baby-word Poo
in, for example, national and international
newspapers is a further sign of the infantilisation
at work in our culture.

Granted that fæces (and feces) or excrement
might seem too pompous (or grown-up)
there are surely better words. 

Keeping the infantilism
but adding a modicum of humour
I suggest Ploppy.

If Americans can freely write Bullshit
in their books and newspapers
and even say it in polite company,
why can the Brit-Irish not say Shit,
which is, as many of us know, an old Germanic word
with cognates in Danish Skid, German Scheiss ?

It's strange that while the Brit-Irish
are shy of, shocked by shit,
the Americans are obsessed by ass*.

*A bowdlerism of arse which necessitated
the use of the odd word donkey
for the lovely, long-eared animal.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

The United Kingdom

of Great Britain *
and Northern Ireland,
as seen by a (great?) British cartoonist. 

* Small Britain is generally known as Brittany
(Bretagne in French).

Two Ends of Awfulness

In a piece on the awfulness of National Anthems (the UK's unpoetic but not rabble-rousing dirge* at one end and France's blood-lusting, racist militarism at the other) Tim Dowling contends that the best anthems, 'like those of Kosovo and San Marino, have no words at all'.

This reminded me tangentially that San Marino (area 61.2 sq.km, twelve times the size of the Vatican City) is the world's oldest-surviving sovereign state, as well as its oldest constitutional republic, whose official founding date is given as the third of September 301 CE.

The reason it survives today is that it gave refuge to Garibaldi and others campaigning for Italian unity. 

Over the centuries, it has probably the best record in the world for accepting 'asylum-seekers' and refugees.

Its two heads of state serve concurrently and with equal powers until their term expires after six months and another two are elected: the model for Switzerland. 
It is not a member of the EU, although it uses euros as currency.

San Marino had the world's first democratically-elected communist government – a coalition between the Sammarinese Communist and Socialist Parties, which held office between 1945 and 1957.

* The words and music (a galliard) of God Save the King was, rather like the British constitution, not composed by anyone in particular, but coalesced over time.  The tune has been used in other anthems (royal, national and patriotic).

Another tidbit from WikipediaJaxa was a small state that existed during the 17th century at the border between Tsardom of Russia and Qing China. Despite its location in East Asia, the its main language was Polish at a time when the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

Monday 11 December 2023

Multinational, polyglot.

A Lithuanian dance group
with the Italian name Festa Cortese,
and the Czech instrumental group Remdih
perform Bransles d'Escosse
at Freienfels castle in Germany.

Escosse is old French for Scotland
(though the Irish have claimed
Duns [or Dunce] Scotus). 

A bransle (also branle, brangle, brawl[e], brall[e], braul[e], brantle, [It.] brando, [Sp.] bran),
is a type of French mimetic dance popular from the early 16th century to the present, danced by couples, usually in a circle,
generally in duple measure, and accompanied by singing.

They are 'many and various' : Branle double, Branle simple,
Branle gay, Branle de Bourgoygne, Branle du Rat...

A more mimetic Branle from another Lithuanian* group
– here.

Se branler in modern French means 'to masturbate'...
which is rather more joyous, literary,
cinematic – and less dank
than the inelegant and dismissive English verb 'to wank'.

*Singing (in Lithuanian) and dancing were just about the only ways that Lithuanians could hold on to their cultural identity and language when they and the Latvians, Estonians and a third of the Poles were under the culturicidal domination of the Russian Empire (until 1921-22).

Sunday 10 December 2023

Socialism and Fascism are identical

in being materialist(ic).
Both doctrines treat ethics as
an adjustable add-on.

But the decline of socialism
due to lack of slogans
has led to the resurgence of fascism.

A Mystery.

An e-mailed newsletter from my old and unpleasant boys-only school
in Belfast reveals that 'the Annual Dinner of The Old Campbellian Society will take place with our first ever female President,
former Olympian, Mrs Julie Brown (née Parkes, 7062).'

The number indicates a former pupil.  

A Julie Parkes was an Olympic swimmer for Ireland at Los Angeles in 1984, when transgender wasn't even a word.  

Campbell College remains resolutely and expensively a boys' school.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Death's almost-monotone

is the most captivating tune...

(Schubert's String Quartet no. 14
in D minor, D.810, '
Death and the Maiden'.)

...but oh! the infantile, binary obsession
(major/minor, tonic/dominant, etc.)
of post-medieval European music.

The triumph of triviality.

While the world heats up and wars rage
and millions are dispossessed, flee,
migrate, the 'serious' British press
devotes lots of column-space
to mourn a doggerel-performer
who changed his name,
a film-actor and a pop-celebrity
(both with Irish names
and unsurprisingly-unknown to me).

Coming soon: the last meal eaten by the last human.


Friday 8 December 2023


We were very tired, we were very merry—

We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. 

It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—

But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table, 

We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon; 

And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon. 

We were very tired, we were very merry—

We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry; 

And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear, 

From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere; 

And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold, 

And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold. 

We were very tired, we were very merry, 

We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. 

We hailed "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head, 

And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read; 

And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears, 

And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Edna St.Vincent Millay


The guy who wrote the amusing hoggerel below

died yesterday – and was promptly compared

with Blake and Yeats. So the trendies won't agree

that it's even worse than The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

I am in luv wid a hedgehog
I’ve never felt this way before
I have luv fe dis hedgehog
An everyday I luv her more an more,

She lives by de shed
Where weeds and roses bed
An I just want de world to know
She makes me glow.

I am in luv wid a hedgehog
She’s making me hair stand on edge,
So in luv wid dis hedgehog
An her friends
Who all live in de hedge

She visits me late
An eats off Danny’s plate
But Danny’s a cool tabby cat
He leaves it at dat.

I am in luv wid a hedgehog,
She’s gone away so I must wait
But I do miss my hedgehog
Everytime she goes to hibernate.

– Benjamin Zephaniah,
recommended as England's Poet Laureate
by fellow-intellectual Tony Blair,
but not appointed.

Thursday 7 December 2023

"I have a lot of opinions and I come by them honestly,”

writes Roxane Gay in her recent book.

I wonder how one can tell
whether or not an opinion is come by honestly
or not.

If you live alone

it is much easier to reduce domestic waste
and become a  zéro déchet household
as in Roubaix up north.

I have made two kinds of vinegar:
one is for cleaning, and the other
makes a splendid vinaigrette.
My home-made bread is also excellent.

I haven't made yogurt for a while...
but I love the sponge
made from non-recyclable potato-nets

which does nothing to slow down the Sixth Extinction.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

"Poetry makes nothing happen,"

wrote Auden.
This may be its greatest virtue.
The beauty of great poetry
is that it achieves nothing
with a passionate
or delicate insistence –

though publication,
like all human achievement,
is destructive.

At its best, poetry is satisfyingly
passive resistance.

Monday 4 December 2023

Religion is necessary –

as a fanciful substitute
for human communion,
because human disunion
is timeless and absolute.

What's yours is mine.

The happy Republic of Venezuela
is claiming the next-door region of Essequibo
which accounts for most of Guyana.
The incompetent newspaper article
on this startling démarche
doesn't bother to show a map.

Saturday 2 December 2023

My Painter-neighbour

paints mostly in violent reds.
My Jungian theory is that he paints in anger
at having so little talent,
especially as his father was pretty good
(and did quite well during WW2)
and he (who cultivates slightly Abrahamic
slightly van Gogh looks)
had a 17th century ancestor
whose name is in the Dutch art-history books.

This is one of his calmer works,
but it reminds me of Soutine.

Friday 1 December 2023

A Simpsonian Declaration.

Never having had a goggle-box
(though now I have a google-box)
I have never seen The Simpsons.
But I would like to affirm to yuh
and y'all that I am a reluctant
inhabitant of Planet Duh.

(How memes travel! Buh!)