Belly Dancers and Big Bikes

One of the feature writers in THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN wrote about a party she attended where there was a beautiful young belly dancer, and her husband could not take his eyes off her, and talked to her for an hour after her performance. But the writer said she was not jealous because he has the same sort of intensity about big superbikes (pull the other one).

But seriously, the male animal is programmed to respond to a number of stimuli, including nubile maidens and powerful steeds. And thinking of the recent UK scandals of Showbiz personalities being indicted for having sex with underage girls, there has to be a degree of compassion (but not for the depraved like Jimmy Saville who interfered with 9 year old boys and girls, and the handicapped). Being surrounded by underage Lolitas desperate to be in the limelight must be a terrible temptation – especially where alcohol loosens inhibitions.

So do we insist on strict moral judgments – or do we deal pragmatically with the world as it is?

It must be equally tempting for pretty young girls to use their sexuality to get what they think they want (after all belly dancers are highly regarded in the Arab World).  And having done that, it’s not too much of a stretch for some of them to become call-girls; a (relatively) easy way to make an affluent living. And if prostitution is the oldest profession then war must be the second oldest. We have always had it, still have it, and probably will always have it. So is it wrong to make a living from war, or prostitution?

Someone has to make the guns, missiles, ammunition, airplanes – and someone has to supply, distribute and sell them. It’s a business like any other. If you don’t – someone  else will. And someone will one day take a maiden’s virginity and she will lose her innocence. And if you don’t – someone else will. And if she uses sex in order to survive in the fog of a war zone who can blame her? It’s a bastard world – and I didn’t invent it.

Read my story IF YOU DON’T . . .  in my book THE GULF: “Reaping the Whirlwind”

You can find it and preview it by following my URL:

and you can download it if you have a Kindle. If not you can purchase the paperback from:

To find it just type in Mike Richards. They offer free delivery worldwide.


I’ve never known a woman who couldn’t dance

We call it dancing—but why do you think discotheques are so popular with young women?

I have written before about the innate artistry and sensitivity of tribal women in the Middle East—particularly Persia—that enables them to preserve and refresh their nomadic culture and myths by weaving vibrant and stunningly beautiful rugs. Another gift that women carry is the innate ability to sway their supple bodies sensually—and erotically—to music and the rhythm of the drum. This is a talent lacking in most men, except those of African/Afro Caribbean ancestry.

Through all our layers of so-called civilization women have maintained an overwhelming biological urge to choose the best mate, and to reproduce healthy and strong children. And in most societies they do this by making bold eye contact and displaying their bodies the best way they can. Even in Saudi Arabia—where women’s bodies are covered by a black obayah, and their heads and faced covered by a hijab—the nubile maidens make sure that their obayahs are tailored to the contours of their bodies, and their hijabs are so flimsy that you can see their faces, or reveal their heavily made-up eyes. And repressed as they no doubt are, when they are in all female company, off come the obayahs and hijabs and they dance crazy mad.

When I worked in Saudi Arabia I directed a number of training videos, and my professional American cameraman was invited to big Saudi wedding, and allowed to film the womens’ party. (The receptions are segregated into a male and a female gathering). He described it in detail as the most erotic thing he had ever seen, and I have tried to replay this in my story I’VE NEVER KNOWN A WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DANCE, in my book THE GULF: “Reaping the Whirlwind”

In true journalistic style my story was authenticated by a woman friend who had worked as a teacher in Saudi Arabia for 9 years and attended a number of weddings.

Out of shame that this is not really a work of fiction, I amended the title slightly from COULDN’T to WOULDN’T and added an imagined beginning and ending to give it context. You can read the full story—and many others about the Middle East—by following my URL:

and downloading the Kindle edition. Or if you prefer a paperback you can order it from;

They offer free delivery worldwide.

The iron Curtain – and the Irony of Iron Man

It is ironic that the rigorous training schedules of the West’s Iron Man competitors grew out of Eastern Europe’s ruthless selection of gifted children to live their lives as elite athletes to prove the superiority of Communism over decadent capitalism. And that irony deepens when you consider that the pastime of competitive running for sport grew-out from dedicated amateur athletes: British Oxbridge graduates running for the joy of it. And the fashion for jogging and marathon running en-masse grew out from dissolute British colonial administrators’ bored with boozing and eating public school comfort food. They called themselves “drinkers with a running problem”, and founded the Hash House Harriers.

The Hash was founded in the Selangor Club in Malaya before WW II, based on the British public school Hares & Hounds paper chase.  A few good runners would speed off and leave a paper trail for the snuffling hounds to follow. It wasn’t that serious, and there were “Tiffin Wagons” along the way to provide liquid refreshment. The idea caught on rapidly with British colonial expats, and “Kennels” were established in Kabul, Sinai, Addis Ababa and The Falklands. It died off during the war, but was revived shortly after, and kennels were established again wherever British expats gathered. There is even one in New York (and there was one in The Green Zone in Baghdad during the Second Gulf War).

For the elite few the running was more serious, and led to “Chariots of Fire” privileged Oxbridge graduates like Dr. Roger Bannister and Christopher Chataway, who gave their all to break the 4 minute mile barrier, and establish British dominance of middle distance running for two decades. The response of the Eastern Bloc took the form of athletes like the original Iron Man, Czech colonel Emile Zatopek, who pushed through his pain threshold by sheer willpower and swept aside the Oxbridge amateurs. The West worked hard to catch up, and the fierce determination of American athletes to sacrifice all and to win at any cost re-established dominance.  But “win at all costs” comes at a price (not the least the present drugs in sport scandals) – and for a while at least the Russians and their satellites found that finishing second and relying on charisma sometimes has its benefits.

Read my story THE MAN WITH THE FACE OF A FISHERMAN, based on The Hash House Harriers and the Bahrain half-marathon, in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. You can preview the book, and download it in Kindle by following my URL:

Or if you prefer hard copy you can purchase a paperback with free delivery worldwide from:

Thanks for your support


I have not posted for over a week because we have moved back to Spain after 11 months in Australia – and I had forgotten what fun Spain is. Nothing works. We have had problems with water, electricity, Sat TV and finally with internet – only overcome this morning. But what is most scary is how quiet Spain is as a consequence of the GFC and the Eurozone crisis.

We arrived in Barcelona mid-morning, picked up a hire car and drove to the airport TRYP Hotel as usual, too tired after 22 hours of flying to attempt the 500 Km drive home. Usually the roads around the hotel are jam-packed and it is difficult to find parking. There was a 60% availability of parking spaces. And next morning when we left at 7 am – normally rush hour in a busy commercial centre like Barcelona – there was very little traffic on the roads. And we had the main highway from Tarragona to Valencia – the Autopista del Mediterraneo – almost to ourselves. Few people can afford the tolls?

How long will it be before the young people will rebel against 40% unemployment and cause serious, and I mean serious, civil unrest?

And still the incompetent and corrupt politicians, and the greedy and incompetent bankers and financiers, insist that laissez faire capitalism (where 1% of the population control 90% of the wealth, and want even more) is the correct system for a civilized society.

Perhaps now I will find the motivation to finish my second book GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”. In the meantime you can access and review and download my first book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” by following my URL:

This shows through the stories of expatriates washed up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf the consequences of the West’s botched foreign policies and greed for cheap oil. History repeats itself – first time tragedy, second time farce.