When did the Circus leave town?

When I was  child I loved it when the circus came to town. I loved the skills of the tumblers and acrobats, the skill and daring of the pretty girls bareback riding—and of course the heart- stopping daring and courage of the lion tamers who went alone into a cage full of wild beasts of the jungle. But the slapstick of clowns frightened me, it seemed cruel and heartless, and I hated the freak shows that clustered around the circus.

And if the world of Politics can be seen as a circus, then the skilful tumblers and acrobats, the pretty and skilful bare-back riders, and the brave and fearless lion tamers have gone, leaving behind the clowns and the freaks—vain, incompetent, corrupt, egotistical and damaged personalities jostling for their place in the limelight, and more than their share of the action, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

I cannot even bring myself to write about the freaks, although most literature and drama these days seems to concentrate on dysfunctional and bizarre people as though in some way this illuminates human nature. I prefer to write about normal people in abnormal situations that force them to act “out of character”—or perhaps enables them to reveal their true nature?   

But you can read about a 20th Century clown, Captain Bob, in my  story FALSE ECONOMY that is part of a collection of stories in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” set in The Arabian/Persian Gulf from the 1960s until the events of 9/11 changed everything.

You can preview my book at:

http://amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book, you can order from:

http://thebookdepositry.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide

 

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GAY is the saddest euphemism in the English Language

          For the past 20 years or so there has been a media campaign on behalf of homosexuals that verges on the hysterical. And nowhere is that hysteria more evident than in the Gay Pride parades (and Pride is one of the 7 Deadly Sins – “When pride comes so comes disgrace, with humility so comes wisdom” ) in cities like Sydney, London and SanFrancisco that are fake copies of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

          Carnival grew out from the desperately poor people of the favelas who had no earthly way of achieving a fulfilled life. So they scraped together whatever they could beg borrow or steal and once a year dressed up and lost themselves for a week in a frenzy of samba music and dance and alcohol before returning once again the their miserable existence. And in that sense Gay Pride is similar. It is a desperate attempt to escape misery, while vainly claiming that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.

          This is clearly nonsense because heterosexual relationships produce the miracle of new life –  life that will carry forward new generations – and heterosexuals have no need to parade their their sexuality.     

Strangely enough in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” –  a series of stories about the misfits who wash up in The Arabian/ Persian Gulf – I do not deal with the issue of homosexuality because, in spite of the isolation of all male oil camps I only ever encountered one man who was possibly homosexual.

          Clive was my assistant project manager on a process plant commissioning project on a remote island in the Persian Gulf. He was an apparently rugged male, a combative and aggressive rugby scrum half – and he certainly never wore designer clothes – yet he formed close relationships with the young Arab males who worked as waiters and cleaners in our camp. He bought them (fake) Rolexes and Cartier tank watches, and brought them nice M&S clothing from the UK. Yet never once in the year I shared a trailer with him did he stay out at night, or bring any of the boys back to our trailer.

          So was Clive gay, or was he just a Westerner with a sense of guilt/highly developed social conscience? He was murdered in The Bahamas a year later trying to seperate two locals in a knife fight. I didn’t write Clive’s story, and maybe I should have done, because he was very decent human being.

          My book concentrates on American, British, Filipino and Indian expatriate misfits – VietNam vets, divorcees now remarried to Asian whores, marathon running addicts, college dropouts who love the lonely and atavistic desert etc. –  who wash up in The Gulf for whatever reason. And it puts their lives into a geo-political context.

You can preview my book at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book you can order from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide

 

Stupid Women 2 . . . Hell on Earth

          Perhaps, more than the threat of Hell’s Fire and Damnation in the afterlife women should fear the Hell on Earth of looking back in old age at their young, attractive and innocent selves, and wondering where it went all wrong.

          At the present moment there is a picture circulating on the Internet of a decrepit bag lady in a shabby mackintosh in down-at-heel sandals with thin stringy hair, corpulent and multi-chinned pulling a shopping trolley. The caption is “Guess Who?”

          Cruelly, the first picture is then backed up by pictures of a stunningly beautiful young woman, and the answer is “Christine Keeler”. This is the woman who as a barely legal teen slept with a British Minister of State, a Russian KGB colonel, and numerous Society people—and eventually brought down the government of the patrician Harold MacMillan.

          In kindness I have to say she was silly and star struck rather than stupid. Why was this poor little uneducated and rather dim village girl invited to orgiastic parties at the poolside of Lord Astor at his stately home, Clivenden, attended by politicians, diplomats, crooked property developers and members of so-called High Society? Because they are always on the lookout for something fresh to perk up their jaded appetites?

          I had some peripheral involvement in the Christine Keeler affair because I was for a year the Manager of SHELL’s aviation laboratory in Egham, the Thameside village where she lived. I never met her, but some of my lab assistants went to school with her. They say that she was unfortunate that at early puberty she transformed from a gawky ugly duckling that attracted nobody into a beautiful swan who attracted everybody. A child in a woman’s body.

         A year previously, when I was an RAF officer, and before the scandal broke, I was introduced to Antigoni the Royal portrait painter who was one of her clients. And I attended parties at Powis Terrace, a Peter Rachman (who was involved with Keeler through his girlfriend Mandy Rice-Davis) development in the then unfashionable and raffish Notting Hill.

          Now Christine is indigent and living on benefits, and is doomed to look at pictures of her young self and wonder what might have been if she had mixed with better company—like Layla, the Palestinian air hostess in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

          Yes Layla in her teens escaped the Palestinian refugee camps and hung out around the American University in Beirut working as a waitress and used her beauty to gain favours. But she passed herself off as a Lebanese Christian, made sure she learned good English, and never ever let her milk white skin turn brown in the sun. And so she landed a job with Middle East Airlines, had a hymen repair and snagged a rich Saudi husband fascinated by her apparent sophistication, and virginity.

          But life is cruel even for the young and beautiful. She could not produce a son, and so her Saudi husband divorced her. She went back to Palestine, converted to Christianity, and like most Levantine women ran to fat in her middle age. But she tried bravely to make a difference by running a Church of England orphanage near Ramallah—and was hassled by the Israelis and the Palestinians alike, her only ally a broken down old English expatriate.

        You can preview my book at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book you can order from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide