Dingo the Dissident

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

Wednesday 31 January 2024

By the 1960s

in 'The West', adolescent banality
had replaced geriatric complacency.

Hence the slow decline (through apathy)
of crude and fragile 'Western Democracy'.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

The Christian theologian Karl Barth

declared that anyone
could find God in a dead dog.
But God was only a ghost,
not even one of the living dogs,
all of whom are gods.

Monday 29 January 2024

On the Back.

A current exhibition, Reversos, at the Prado, Madrid,
displays (by mirrors) the reverse side of paintings such as
The marriage of the Virgin by an anonymous artist.

Several of my own paintings are double-sided.
For example, on the back of this quiet 
County Down Landscape

is this joyous Portrait of Carlo Martino.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Saturday 27 January 2024

The UK in the 1950s

was so drab (but wonderfully quiet, safe and peaceful)
that when 12" (30 cm) LPs became widely available
in 'the provinces', culture-starved boys
like myself wrote to Decca, HMV, etc.,
begging for free, random record-sleeves. 
Amazingly, we received them – probably because
the recording had been superseded and they were old stock.   

I remember this splendid blue and gold photo
of Tutankhamun's mummy, which remained
until the 1990s on a wall of my boyhood-bedroom. 

LP sleeve, 1953.

(On the day I wrote this, I listened on the internet
to a performance of the beautiful 'cello version
of Franck's sonata in A
broadcast from St Mark's Church, Dundela, Belfast,
less than a kilometre from where I lived.)

I was lucky.  I might instead have received this:

or even worse.

Friday 26 January 2024

Back home in Greece

from their Sobibor bus-trip.

Already in 1973,

Olivia Manning wrote, of middle-class functionaries
and retirees :

'These people were the devourers, the enemy.
They made a ruthless demand on life. For them
the world was being squandered, is resources used up,
its wildlife decimated, it seas polluted,
the sea-life destroyed and the seabirds in their thousands
killed by their accursed oil tankers.'

'...If those people were guilty, was he not guilty, too ?
'...he was the most guilty because, more often than not,
he chose to put the destruction out of his mind.'

from  The Rain Forest.

Olivia Manning was also the author of  The Balkan Trilogy
and  The Levant Trilogy.

Later in the book another character predicts:

'We could be due for another killer as all-pervasive as the plague...
'It could be hibernating in some unexplored corner of the earth,
some fragment of primitive forest, and carried by a creature so small that no-one has noticed it...
'Not necessarily a virus, but probably: a disease as contagious as smallpox,
as virulent as plague, coming newly into a world without inherited immunity
and no present knowledge. It would take time to isolate. Before being isolated, it could bring human numbers down at a very satisfactory speed.'

This sounds partly like HIV and partly like Coronavirus.

In full spate

the local waterfall.

Thursday 25 January 2024

In his last speech as President

of the USA, Dwight D. Eisenhower
(who, through the Dulles brothers
weaponised the CIA)

voiced his misgivings about
The Military-Industrial Complex,
which may turn out to have been
less toxic to the planet
than the Medical-Pharmaceutical conspiracy. 

Wednesday 24 January 2024


is not something
we should celebrate.

Let us self-inculpate
since we cannot self-immolate.

Monday 22 January 2024

The most beautiful thing.

If you are very poor, you can
with a particular,
usually undesirable, kind of luck
do what most of the human race
cannot: leave no trace.

Sunday 21 January 2024

The latest estimate

for the cost of cleaning up Britain’s nuclear-power sites
over 300 billion dollars/euros.

I read somewhere

(a long time ago)
that Homo sapiens could have become extinct
at any time before the 16th century.  

But since then we have become
complainingly inextinguishable 
(the title of Nielsen’s 4th Symphony) 
due to simple numbers (at first) but more recently
due to the huge power gained from machines
and industry, electricity,
hygiene and medicine
and the other things contributing
to what we are pleased to call
standard of living.  

Great news for the Planet ?



Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices? 

Robert Hayden, 1966

Saturday 20 January 2024

Thursday 18 January 2024

Shakespeare's famous line

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods...
(Gloucester in King Lear)

might now be re-written:
As flies in spider-webs are we to The State.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Have you noticed

that people no longer become ?
Instead, they transition to,
just as people no longer imagine
but envision.

The English language will soon
retro-transition to Latin pidgin.

After Harlequin ladybirds came Stink-bugs.

Since I moved here a few years ago (is it six, or eight ?)
shield-bugs have proliferated inside the house in winter,
on floors and walls and windows. 
They are also known as stink-bugs,
because, when touched, they emit a smell
a bit like bitter almonds (cyanide ?)
which I quite like.
I'm sniffing my fingers while I type.

Now, are you going to tell
me that I've no sense of smell ?

I certainly would find it difficult to distinguish
the aroma of a Saint-Nectaire cheese
from the odour between my toes.

Does it really require a 'think-tank'

to come to this conclusion ?

Migration to Europe will increase in 2024, thinktank says.

Tuesday 16 January 2024


are usually partly true.

The article headlined ‘Populism is all about hair’
listed Hitler, Trump, Kim Jong-Un,
Wilders of the Netherlands,
Milei in Argentina. 

I can add Thatcher – not to mention
Mussolini's buzz-cut and Stalin's
splendid and fatally-endearing moustache.

But exceptions include Perón, Marcos, Franco,
Batista, Gaddafi, Napoleon,  
Salazar, Saddam Hussain, Mao Zedong...


In Caylus,
as in many French villages,
most street lights are extinguished at midnight.

This should benefit
the several species of bat.

When I moved here, 
an orange sodium light glared all night
opposite my house, just ten feet away
across a narrow street
unfrequented even on a summer's day.  

I disconnected it
and nobody ever came to fix it.
I'm pretty sure that no-one noticed,
let alone reported it.

But maybe when the sodium lights are replaced
with LEDs, the cutting of the wire will be noticed.
Or maybe not...

In most French villages, most streets are empty after 8 pm.

It's cold in Iowa (USA, formerly part of New France).


photo by Tannen Maury

Monday 15 January 2024

Even the Nazis

in the 1920s
realised that humans
were already stripping out
and outstripping the earth's resources.

Unfortunately they used this insight
to justify their repulsive, elitist
selective and irrational eugenic theory.

see: https://www.academia.edu/27372180

Nevertheless, there can be no solution
to global warming and appalling global waste
caused by human desire for physical comfort
without a severe reduction in human population,

especially the greatest consumers
(the middle classes and the rich)
and by abandoning most medical treatment,
almost all sources of comfort.

But of course it is at least four generations
too late for that, even it if were feasible.

And so we of the middle class drink our coffee,
eat our fish-farmed trout,
and steel ourselves for massive world migration,
famine, pandemic, war and drought.

The Human Behavioural Crisis

Sunday 14 January 2024

Build no more stately mansions,

O my soul
as the swift seasons roll;
leave your high-vaulted past.
Let every temple decompose at last,
think not of future – or of heaven – vast:
from human arrogance be free.

a riff on a poem about a nautilus
by Wendell Holmes.

A pastel palace, Kew East, Victoria, Australia.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Friday 12 January 2024

The best argument

(of several bad ones)
for hindering the arrival of refugees
(also known as asylum-seekers,
also included amongst the conveniently
diverse group known as illegal immigrants)

is that, once arrived or admitted,
so many of them and their children
become self-protectively right-wing, 

unlike the Jews of the past
(mostly from the Russian Empire)
who tended towards socialism
or at least towards a 'fairer society'.

Britain's last two noisy anti-immigrant
interior ministers
have been children of immigrants.

A position of power requires crimes to be covered up.

It is hard to have much sympathy
for a right-wing populist
vote-dredging, puppet prime minister 
who receives anti-semitic, homophobic abuse     
because he is half-Jewish and queer.

There are some very nasty Jews and sinister,
unpleasant homos - just as there are some vile
and pious, heterosexual Christians,
child-fucking vegetarians, wife-beating Rohingya...

Persecuted minorities are not composed of saints
or people without bile.

Comparative Economic Æsthetics

(a new discipline)

In terms of input of effort and expense
versus output of pleasure and excellence,
cinema is by far the worst performer.
It costs millions and vast amounts of physical effort
to produce a bad film that leaves very little mark.

By far the best performer is painting,
which, especially if you are like van Gogh,
can be produced at a tiny cost in an afternoon
and give pleasure (in inexpensive mass-reproduction)
to millions over decades.

It is not so much The Seventh Art
as a supreme form of anti-art.

A very painterly photo.

by Tennille Banks

'There's something funny in the dunny.'

Wednesday 10 January 2024

No surprise (to me).

Growing numbers of people in England and Wales
are being found so long after they have died
that their body has decomposed,
in a shocking trend linked to austerity and social isolation,
according to Dr Lucinda Hiam of the University of Oxford,
and four co-authors of a study
published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

I too may join the happy throng.

Although the internet has millions of 'pornographic' photos
of 'private parts' (some of them gruesome),
and just about every film now made
has a gratuitous 'sex-scene', it is very difficult to find
a picture of a decomposing body in a 'home environment'.
This was all I could dig up.

Prudishness is not what it used to be.

It is quite splendid

to have achieved at last
the near-impossibility
of receiving not a single card
or packet or e-mail for the Christmas/
New Year/Winter Solstice festivity.

Is it because we think we have souls

rather than cankers
that we consider 'murderers' 
to be more criminal
than abattoir-workers,
generals or bankers ?

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Gems from Carlos Ruiz.

'People talk too much.
Humans aren't related to monkeys
but to parrots.'

'Between you and me, this business
of The Seventh Art  leaves me cold.
'As far as I can see, it's only a way
of feeding the mindless and making them
even more stupid.  Worse than football or bullfights.
The cinema began as an invention for entertaining
the illiterate masses.  Fifty years on, it's much the same.'

'Money is like any other virus: once it has rotted the soul
of the person who harbours it, it sets off
in search of new blood.'

'Evil presupposes a moral decision,
intention, and some forethought.'

'The most efficient way of rendering the poor harmless
is to teach them to want to imitate the rich.'

'There are few reasons for telling the truth,
but for lying the number is infinite.'

Comments by the character Fermín in Carlos Ruiz Zafón's
The Shadow of the Wind,
which I grew tired of half-way through.

Almost all the coffee

that we drink
is horribly abused.

Monday 8 January 2024

Psychedelics and Psychosis.

Psychedelic experience is, by those who take it seriously, closely associated with context.

'The notion of  ‘set and setting’, popularised by Timothy Leary, is widely accepted in psychedelic communities; it refers to how emotions, expectations and environment can have an enormous impact on psychedelic experiences. Ongoing research focuses on how factors like music and nature can influence psychedelic experiences.

'But people who are experiencing psychosis are often met with restraint, seclusion and, far too often, violence

'No parallel concept similar to ‘set and setting’ exists in psychosis research, which continues to search for the elusive physiological Substance-M

Questions related to how psychosis is shaped by beliefs, culture, environments or relationships are rarely asked within psychiatry. Instead, the focus is largely on what causes psychosis and how it can be reduced, rather than what contextual features might give rise to more difficult or more positive experiences of psychosis.'

Extracted from an essay in Aeon by Phoebe Friesen, philosopher and medical ethicist.

I wonder how much connection there is between psychiatry psychology, psychiatrists & psychologists and psychosis...

I wonder if

the hard in the term hard cash*
has anything to do with the Duro,
a Spanish unit of currency
long before the Euro.

*liquide in French.

Sunday 7 January 2024

The eminent 'solutions scientist',

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer
who is working on the useful recycling of carbon dioxide
said that she wanted to leave the planet as she found it
She has two children.

A greedy consumer

of books from an early age,
I was sure – when my mother
bought me a solid, battered,
pre-war Royal typewriter for my thirteenth
birthday – that I'd become an author.

Unfortunately, more than
the typewriter was needed.

Saturday 6 January 2024

Degrees of Horror and of Evil.

We should recognise
that whatever vengeful dreadfulness
the Israelis (almost all of them Jews)
have committed, are committing
and will commit in Gaza (and elsewhere)

they are not throwing babies
out of high windows and catching them
upon the points of bayonets.

And the oppression suffered by the Uyghurs,
Tibetans, Mongolians and other border-peoples
of the People's Republic of China
is pretty tame compared with the
actual genocide visited on 'the Indians'
by white citizens of the USA.

Talking of whom, on a lighter note:
legally-sanctioned American Ways of Killing
now number six, in different states.

The various 'Death-penalty protocols' are:
lethal injection,
electric chair,
lethal gas including cyanide,
firing squad,
and nitrogen hypoxia.
No other country in the world offers so many legitimate
choices of dispatch, disposal and judicial murder.

(Though I myself would rather be executed immediately after judgement than languish twenty years or more in a horrific Penitentiary, Prison or Institution of Correction...or huddled refugee camp.)

Friday 5 January 2024

The World's Most Enduring Relationship.



– but not as bees love honey.

The world’s five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes to $869bn (£681.5bn) since 2020, while the world’s poorest 60% – almost 5 billion people
 – have lost money, according to Oxfam.


the day when three Iranian funders of Hamas
dressed in Armani suits, kidnapped
the King of Kings, and left a changeling
in its place.

*  *  *

Thursday 4 January 2024

Godfrey Ssebabi Baguma

is considered to be
The ugliest man in the World.

Having a different aesthetic to most people
I think he's beautiful.

The Quran says:                           
You will never see any imperfection
in the creation of the Most Compassionate.
Can you really see any flaws ?

A local persimmon-tree in fruit.

After the quinces, before the medlars
which need frost to ripen.
I thought they came from China,
but I now know that they are native to the USA.

 The North American date-plum, a tree common in the U.S. South, 
 1610s, from Powhatan (Algonquian) 
pasimenan "fruit dried artificially," 
pasimeneu "he dries fruit," 
 containing Proto-Algonquian 
*/-min-/ "fruit, berry." 

The botanical name is Diospyros kaki
and they are now sold (for some commercial reason)
as kaki-fruit
(I suppose as Chinese gooseberries
have been marketed by New Zealanders
as kiwi-fruit).

Here in France, where they were called
plaquemines – a word which comes

  probably from Miami/Illinois (Algonquian) piakimina 

– I have seen persimmons with the label
Presumably they come from Israel,
though not from 'Sharon's dewy rose'.

  with thanks to the Online Etymological Dictionary  

Wednesday 3 January 2024

The problem with being even mildly bi-polar

is that when you are in The Trough (of low pressure)
people are simply puzzled,
and when you're feeling wonderful
they think you're mad or sozzled.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

From Corsairs to Queers.

Holy Bible : Genesis, chapter 1 in Polari.

Polari, now pretty well extinct, was a pidgin language
derived from a Mediterranean Lingua Franca
used and fed by North Africans, Italians,
Occitans, French, Spaniards and perhaps Turks.

It passed into a sociolect form of English, a kind of secret-
or anti-language which included rhyming slang,
American air-force slang, drug-user slang, Parlyaree
(an older form of slang used by tinkers, beggars
and travelling players), Cant (an even older form of slang
learned and spoken in prisons), and back-slang: 
saying a word as if it's spelt backwards
as in modern French verlan (from l'envers). 

It was then, after World War One and especially
after World War Two crudely adopted as a slang
by queer men (who often ended up in prison for 'soliciting'
or 'obscene behaviour'), but since the partial decriminalisation
of queerness it has fallen out of use.

It was also regularly used by queer women, theatre folk
and 'sea-queens' in the Merchant Navy: Hello Sailor!

Polari terms and phrases were famously broadcast
around the British Isles by a 1960s BBC radio comedy
Beyond our Ken which, ironically,
helped towards its demise.

read more on The Conversation and


and watch the video of

'Not the end of the world' ?

 "...it turned out that most of the human wellbeing metrics that I’d assumed to be getting worse were actually getting better. Take child mortality: 200 years ago, almost half of children would die before reaching puberty, and that’s now less than 5%."

– from The Guardian

Readers (including me) have flocked to post replies.

Monday 1 January 2024

In the cycle

of drought and migration
to fire and sword
to drought and migration

I too am a migrant
but disquietingly comfortable.

Comfort is soft distraction from destruction.

The fools, the fools!

Were they actually welcoming 2024
(year of catastrophes) or was it just
'any excuse for a party' ?