Penis Envy is a terrible affliction

In a recent article an Australian female journalist decried the white Anglo male desire to have a society that “makes things”. She said we should get used to a society that exists on service industries.

My Father worked all his life as a welder in a shipyard – a job that was 3D – Difficult, Dirty and Dangerous. And he loved it. He was forced to retire at 68 because he was becoming too old to crawl through double bottoms, or climb 100 foot ladders.

It took him 2 years to start enjoying a well-earned retirement because he missed the camaraderie of his mates – and the immense sense of pride and self-worth when the result of their labours was a ship gliding gracefully down the slipway into the river to enter useful service as a cargo vessel, or ferry boat – or warship.

And I was forceably retired recently at 74, after 45 years in the international oil industry mostly in jobs that were 3D. 2 years on a remote Persian Gulf desert island commissioning an offshore oil field that came in on-time and below budget. Working with highly skilled, dedicated and fearless people. Divers who dived in shark infested waters to fix pipeline leaks. Helicopter pilots who flew in all weathers to keep us supplied. And marine pilots who berthed enormous super-tankers whose momentum would destroy the jetty if they nudged it – and not once, even in the dead of night, did those pilots nudge the jetty.

Another 2 years in Venezuela in the petrochemical and petroleum marine transport sector ensuring that dangerous products were transported safely, without loss of quality – and training local staff to take over responsibility.

And then 10 years in Saudi Arabia commissioning 400 km pipelines to ensure that jet fuel free of rust was delivered safely to the international airports – and to the helicopter landing pads on the Yemeni border so that gunships could patrol and discourage infiltration by insurgents.

Like my Father, a man’s life worth living – and far more satisfying than flipping hamburgers at MacDonalds for a minimum wage – or trading worthless bits of paper (a.k.a. toxic mortgages) and being paid obscene amounts of money for doing so.

If you want to know more about life in the international oil industry read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. It is not autobiographical, or a memoir. It is journalistic – based on events I witnessed, or were reported to me by reliable sources. They were expatriated like myself, washed up in THE GULF, mostly trying to escape the boring soul destroying feminine Utopia called suburbia where mowing lawns and going shopping are the heights of human achievement.

You can preview my book at:

amazon.com

and download it if you have a Kindle

or, if you prefer a real book you can purchase it from my publisher:

feedaread.com

ISBN 978-1-786975-25-6

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Stop the World – I want to get off

Am I the only sane person on this planet?

At the present moment there is 11 times more financial instruments being traded worldwide than the total World GDP. A massive bubble waiting to burst. Here in Australia private debt is 250% of GDP, and yet, in order to buy a house young couples are being encouraged to extend themselves, and borrow 8 times their joint incomes.

Yet the cause of the most recent Global Financial Crisis was the Banks and investment houses selling mortgages that they knew people could not afford (i.e. they committed fraud) and then bet against those toxic financial instruments so that they made billions when they failed. And nobody went to jail.

And the IMF have admitted that they allowed Greece to draw down 2,000 times more than the agreed safe borrowing limit. And, of course, nobody can find the papers on that, or who was responsible for signing it off.

Stop the World I want to get off.

Now the neo-liberal urban elite are decrying BREXIT, in spite of the fact that there are already 8.5 million immigrants in the UK, with more to come, in a country about a third the size of New South Wales, with a permanent population of 60 million. And the much vaunted trade with Europe is running at a Euros 89 Billion deficit per year for the UK. The EU is dominated by an anti-British bureacracy in Brussels, run by a drunken old fool, that has actively encouraged, and funded the transfer of British manufacturing and technology across to Eastern Europe.

Stop the World I want to get off.

And now on a global basis it is predicted that Robotics, and the “Internet of Everything” will be a new Industrial (Digital) Revolution that will throw millions of people out of work. And still we hear that Globalization – a euphemism for Americanization – the only way for mankind to proper.

Are we all going to emulate a society whose only philosophy is “Get rich quick”? A violent society riven by racism, where almost every citizen owns a gun: with 20,000 gun murders a year (including massacres in schools, colleges and gay clubs), with 200,000 aggravated assaults and 200,000 (reported) rapes a year – where 2.5 million citizens are in jail with a further 1 Million on parole – and where the President and Commander in Chief of 40% of the world’s miltary with his/her finger on the trigger is either going to be an ego-maniac jingoist with a ridiculous combover, or a crazed geriatric chipmunk with an adulterous husband: a Wall Street puppet whose CV is littered with shady business dealings who has shown ignorance of, or cavalier disregard for, even the most basic disciplines of national security.

Stop the World I want to get off.

But I guess it was always so. Look at the chaos in the Middle East, whose past is littered with fools, carpetbaggers, despots, religious zealots and power crazed politicians – and outright thieves. If you want insights into how it got into such a mess read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

It is a linked series of character studies of archetypal expatriates who wash up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf, victims of powermad politicians’ wars, greedy finance house excesses – and in some cases just victims of avaricious Western wives, and out of control drug-addled teenage children. Welcome to the modern world.

It is based on my 40 years in the international oil industry, most of it spent in The Gulf. You can preview it on:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Death to Drug Dealers

Living in Australia as I do I have been caught up in the wave of sympathy for the Bali Bombers sitting on Death Row as desperate measures are taken to prevent their execution by firing squad BUT – and there is always a but I guess – not anymore.

My grandaughter who is only just 5 years old came home from school using the F word. So now the evil tentacles of the “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll crowd” otherwise known as the foul mouthed Showbusiness reprobates (or the friends of Jimmie Saville) are reaching into the school playground and my grandaughter, and other children, are being robbed of their childhood innocence.

I flew into a rage at this, and the thought that in the not too distant future of them being offered drugs in the school playground and having their innocent young lives permanently blighted as is happening in America.

So now I believe that those who spread this poison through society should face the death penalty. And I believe that those weak souls who fall victim to drugs should be treated with firmness too – as they are in Saudi Arabia.

There is a drug problem there as there is in The West. About sixty percent of the 50 or so beheadings that take place every year are for drug smuggling. But the victims of the drug trade, the addicts it has created, are quietly removed from society and put through an enforced rehab program, and only released when the authorities are satisfied they are cured.

Once again the Saudis demonstrate that social stability is more important than a weak kneed concern for an individual’s civil rights.

If you want insights into the Middle East and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, based on my 40 years experience there from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

The sound of Axes being Ground is DEAFENING (Part 2)

Following on from my comments on the MH370 hijacking I had completely forgotten that the Prologue to my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” starts from the premise of a possible hijack that causes the protagonist, a world weary journalist who thinks he is about to die (and is not unhappy about that), to review his life in the Middle East – and the roller coaster ride of his past life in all of its exhilarating and frightening diversity in that atavistic and brutal part of the world.

This was my fictional means to present a series of linked stories that are authentic and journalistic based on events that I witnessed myself, or were reported to me by reliable sources. Each story features a character typical of the sorts of expatriate who wash up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf for whatever reason. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances trying to survive in a rapidly changing and hostile world.

It is in such situations that the surprising strength (or weakness) of characters shows through – revealing the truth.

You can preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

The sound of Axes being ground . . . is DEAFENING

Normally I do not comment on current affairs that are not directly related to my particular interest (obsession)with the Arabian/Persian Gulf. However I do have some personal experience of the type of situation that now surrounds the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370.

Early in my career I was in charge of SHELL’s jet fuel quality control laboratory at Heathrow airport. During that time a BA jet that we had fuelled crashed just after take-off killing everybody on board. Within a few days my laboratory was swarming with an accident investigation team that included engineers from the airframe and engine manufacturers.

I was amazed, and scared, of how aggressive they were. They demanded all my documentation and fuel samples. Fortunately my documentation and fuel quality was perfect – and one of the Government investigators took me on one side and explained their attitude. Because of the millions of dollars involved in potential lawsuits and loss of business, they were not looking for the truth – they were looking for somebody to shoulder the blame. And in these situations they usually blame the pilot, because he is dead and cannot defend himself. And that is what happened in my case, and is happening now with MH370. Every effort is being made to blame the poor pilot.

To me it is a bungled hijack. Somebody with flying experience took over the plane, but unlike the 9/11 hijackers did not have the skills. Hence the rapid rise to 42,000 feet and then the descent to 5,000 feet, and then the crazy navigation that took them out over open ocean until they ran out of fuel. Presumably the hijacker(s) were supposed to head for Australia, or The Maldives, or Sri Lanka to land and make their demands.

In my career in the international oil industry I travelled millions of miles on long haul jets – and experienced several frightening emergencies. One such emergency, when my flight was hit by lightning and tipped on its side and fell 1,000 feet, I have used as a basis of a story in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. It is only in such situations that the true strength or weakness of characters shows through.

The book is a series of stories spanning 40 years about the archetypical characters who wash up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf trying to survive in a rapidly changing world. They are people drawn to a highly paid and dangerous life-on-the-edge where men are men and women are no better than they ought to be.

You can preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

Duende, Cante Hondo . . . and all the Jazz

                        The highlight so far of what will be my last summer in Spain was when I experienced “Duende” at a flamenco recital.

Deunde (Do-en-day) is literally a goblin in Spanish mythology, and “tener duende” (to have duende) is to experience a heightened sense of awareness, of a diabolical emocion, that gives you the chills, and raises the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck. Duende exists in all arts, but in its purest and most authentic form it exists in the first art forms of primitive man—the telling of folk tales in the forest clearing, and dance around the fire—and the accompanying music of drum and flute, the purest form of emotional expression— and in song, poetry set to music .

In Spanish flamenco Cante (can-tay) Hondo, literally deep song, is just that. According to the poet Federico Garcia Lorca cante jondo is the deepest most meaningful form of flamenco, “a rare example of the primitive songs of oriental people preserved in its purest form . . .  and the oldest song in Europe”. And the people who sing cante jondo struggle with a duende that threatens to overwhelm their technique and strangle their voice. It is an authentic emotion that comes from the internal tribal memories of suffering and hardship, the spilling of blood and imminent death.

I attended a flamenco recital in the function room of a Parador, one of the chain of state owned 5 star hotels, and a rather clinical environment. And the singer was a 30 something pretty Spanish woman—not at all the elderly and severe and serious hawk faced North African gypsy with huge sweat stains under her unshaven armpits that I had heard in the catacombs below the Plaza Mayor in Madrid 40 years earlier that put Spain in my soul forever.

And the virtuoso guitarist who accompanied this modern and younger singer was just 19 years old. They started gently enough with soft flamenco patterns on the guitar and nice controlled modern flamenco, and tango, and sevillanas—she even sang some soulful Portuguese fados and a song that sounded like Jewish Kletzmer to remind us of the strong presence of Jews in Andalucía centuries ago —and finished with a rousing flamenco piece. But the encores were the highlight.

 She came back and set aside the mic, and sang three Garcia Lorca poems in unaccompanied cante jondo that had the crowd growling: this affluent and elderly 60-something 5 star hotel Spanish crowd actually growling, and moaning  like primitives. The applause was thunderous from a crowd on its feet.

And then the guitar player started to finger the delicate filigree of soft flamenco patterns while his thumb plucking the bass strings in an insistent rhythm. And the singer segued into flamenco with a deep and rich and low toned contralto gradually ascending and sliding back down those hair-raising quarter tone oriental Arabic scales. And the rhythm became faster and the volume grew, and the crowd were stamping their feet like flamenco dancers, and clapping their hands in complex cross rhythms, until at the end the singer was shrieking and wailing in an unearthly fashion, the guitarist was threshing the strings, and the crowd were on their feet again—ecstatic: this 60-something 5 star hotel affluent Spanish crowd were ecstatic. Truly climatic. Ole. Viva Espanya.

Freud was wrong. The most compelling human drive is not the primal sex urge and orgasmic gratification. It is the search for the primitive tribal memories that haunted Nietzsche—for community, for humanity—the search for our soul, and an end to Soledad, being alone, metaphysical loneliness. And in jazz, and particularly in The Blues, it is the same.

The Blues, and Jazz, is all about having soul, and improvisation, about creating spontaneously music of that moment. Of being sent: of having duende. Of something welling up from inside and taking control, and your fingers or voice go where they want to and not at your bidding. And in The Blues “the sound of a good man hurting” you have the tribal memories of slavery and oppression, of suffering, of defiant field hollers and work songs, and Christian gospel music—man’s hopeless search for pure true love and the search for God.

And that is Mick McCallister’s hopeless search, the harmonica playing, Blues musician protagonist in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. It is a classic hero’s journey as Mick, an idealistic young journalist, tries to write as honestly as possible the first rough draft of the history of The Arabian/Persian Gulf through the stories of expatriates washed up there for whatever reason. The world as it is, not as The West wants it to be. He fights the corruption and hypocrisy and the indifference and prejudices of his London editors no matter what the cost.

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 it from:

www.thebookdepository,co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide