Are some (sweaty) Animals more equal that others

While not wanting to suggest the ultimate male fantasy that all women want to be ravished is correct, there is strong anecdotal and scientific evidence to suggest that they do prefer a dominant male partner in their sex life.

In a recent article a female journalist said that among her friends – professional couples both in well paid jobs who shared everything equally (paying the mortgage and household bills, housework and taking care of the kids) – the women were dissatisfied with their sex life. It lacked a frisson (sexual tension?) because their relationship was based on friendship and mutual respect and had become almost platonic. One woman said it was like sleeping with her brother. This feeds into the fantasy that women do not really want a caring, tender and supportive partner who is in touch with his female side – not when the lights are out. They really want someone more animal. One woman actually said she only fancied her husband when he came home straight from the gym all hot and sweaty. Are modern Western women in denial?

A recent scientific study in America supports this. A series of erotic images was shown to a group of men and a group of women hooked up to sensors measuring their physical and emotional responses. The men and the women responded almost exactly the same way to the images. But when questioned 75% of the men were honest about their arousal – but 75% of the women lied and said they were not aroused. In Saudi Arabia a dominant male society where women are repressed (at least in public) women exploit the males’ outstanding weakness – his desire to see females in the flesh, and have sex – to wield a surprising amount of power. Read the story I’VE NEVER KNOWN A WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DANCE in my book THE GULF about a new wife performing an erotic dance of arousal.

In some ways I am ashamed of this story because it is not a work of fiction. It is an account of that dance by a Western cameraman who filmed it; and it was validated by a Western woman who had played flute at many Saudi weddings and seen this many times. The cameraman said it was the most erotic thing he had ever seen.

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

and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

I hope you enjoy it.


See Cordoba . . . and live . . . and let live.

My final trip in Spain, to Cordoba, confirmed what I have always felt—that it is the 700 years of Moorish rule that makes Spain unique and different. The deeply felt Catholicism that exists in Spain also exists in many European and Latin countries; but nowhere in the Western World has the imprint of the Middle Eastern/North African Muslim Caliphates been left so indelibly.

In my last blog I dealt with the world famous Mezquita or Al Jama mosque in Cordoba that rivalled Damascus and Baghdad in its day with its mesmerizing endless avenues of hundreds of interlinked arches of alternate pink and cream stripes that are stylized palm trees dimly lit by bronze lanterns that hang on chains. And 8 kms outside Cordoba are the remains of Medinah Azahara (Brilliant Town) a beautifully planned and built city  for the religious, social, cultural and political administration of Al-Andalus (Andalucia)—a Moorish Spain that stretched to the banks of the Duero River.

But to go beyond the stunning physical beauty of Moorish Spain perhaps the true inheritance of the Moors is that Jews, and Christians, lived in harmony with their Muslim rulers, who allowed them their own laws, business and religious life, and their own districts, and left them in peace and prosperity provided they paid their taxes. And that heritage lives on today in the well mannered, elegant and courteous people of Cordoba.

It was Christian persecution that drove the Sephardic Jews from Spain, and the Reyes Catolicas (Christian Monarchs) who finally drove out the Caliphs from their beautiful cities like Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla.

“History repeats itself” so the saying goes. Is it we Christians who are the cause of the conflict between the Semitic tribes of Jews and Arabs in the Middle East? Or at the very least are we, with our millions of petro-dollars and our greedy search for cheap oil, the catalysts?

In my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” you can read how our greed has been the cause of so much of the trouble in the Near and Middle East. It’s all about the search for cheap oil supplies, and the effects that this has on the expatriates who live highly paid, but isolated, dangerous and lonely lives in order to fulfil this greed.

You can preview my book at:

and download it if you have a KINDLE.

From Friday November 15, 2013 my book is on a promotion by Amazon. For the first 36 hours you can download it for just $0.99, for the next 36 hours for $1.99, for the next 36 hours $2.99, and for the next 36 hours $3.99. Finally it will revert back to its recommended price of $4.99.

Hurry and get a real bargain. If nothing else my character driven stories are authentic (read the 5 star reviews of previous readers who have experience of working and living in THE GULF). To paraphrase a more famous author than me “I may not have written the whole truth; but I have not written anything that is not the truth.”

Good reading.


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:

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

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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:

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

They offer free delivery worldwide



He who shouts the loudest . . .

            . . . is the Winner

            “The Americans fought WWII against the Germans, with the help of the Russians, on behalf of the Jews”.

So went the opening of an article in NEWSWEEK some years ago, and it was incorrect in every fact. WWII began when Britain declared war on Germany because they marched into Poland intent on conquering Europe. America stayed out of this “European War” until Pearl Harbor, and the Russians signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler—and the plight of the Jews was never raised during the whole of the war. And after the war the horrors of AUSCHWITZ were not the centre piece of the grisly pictures of the Nazis’ concentration/labour/death camps. Yet the international edition of The Sunday Times this weekend had yet another article about Auschwitz.

Approximately 22 Million people died in various concentration camps of which about 6 Million were Jews. But there were also millions of non-Jewish Poles and French, and many thousands of Roma, homosexuals, political prisoners, Prisoners of War and common criminals exterminated in labour/death camps.

I am lucky/unlucky enough to remember WWII. I was 12 when it ended, and my father was a serious man who took and read two newspapers a day – three on a Sunday. Our house was full of news. During the war I remember nothing being reported of the plight of the Jews, and after the war the horrors of the concentration camps were depicted by Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau. Only much later were the horrors of Auschwitz detailed.  It was one of the biggest death camps and dedicated to the extermination of Jews – but it was not the biggest.

Who has heard of Mathausen-Gusen complex, which was the biggest, a category Stufe III labour camp dedicated to bone grinding down the intelligentsia of Europe, and where more than 300,000 died?  How many books, movies and magazine articles have been written about that camp?

I am not comfortable applying league tables to atrocities—the extermination of any group of humans be they Jews, Roma, homosexuals, intelligentsia—is a crime against humanity. But I am even less comfortable with people justifying evil because they had evil done to them. Perhaps it is my Christian upbringing but I find fanaticism, hate and terrorism despicable. Wreaking vengeance on those who did you evil is understandable—but savaging your friends because they do not support your extreme views (that ironically align closely with Fascism) is not.

Like most Brits, when the details of the Final Solution and the horrors of Auschwitz were revealed, I had enormous sympathy for The Jews. But this was dissipated by the activities of Irgun and The Stern Gang—the massacre at Beir Yassim, the assassinations of Lord Moyne and Folke Bernadotte, the bombing of the King David Hotel, the cold blooded execution of unarmed British soldiers, and the hanging of two captured British NCOs in an orchard, the pictures of which caused my grandmother to exclaim:

“Hitler wasn’t wrong.”

Even at my young age her comment made my blood run cold – but I do understand the strength of her emotions. She lost brothers in WWI, and she lost many nights sleep and died young because of the stress of WWII when her sons and their cousins went to war to fight the evils of Fascism. By some miracle they all survived—she did not.

            My grandmother was an Orange Lodge Protestant banner carrying Sermon on The Mount Socialist from Greenock, Scotland. She is the backbone of my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. She is real, and the stories in the book are journalistic, based on events I witnessed during 40 years in the Mideast, and the archetypes of the expatriate characters who wash up there for whatever reason.

            Read Layla and Uncle Tom’s story in my book: the Christian Palestinian woman and ruin of an elderly Englishman who against all the brutal odds tried to run a Church of England orphanage near Ramallah—and failed.

You can preview my book at:

and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a paperback yo can buy from:

They offer free delivery worldwide



Moors & Christians go Hollywood

Yesterday I blogged about the MOROS y CRISTIANOS Fiesta in our small Mediterranean town in Spain saying nobody wants to be a Christian because, while the Moors dress up in splendid robes and jewels and swagger down the avenida smoking fine Cuban cigars, the Christians drag along in grey chain mail and a white sheet with a red cross. Well they have solved the recruitment problem.

After a 10 year gap I attended the grand parade last evening and the Christians now swagger first down the avenida smoking cigars and dressed up in shiny armour and winged helmets that owe more to Darth Vader than history – in fact the whole parade in typically Hollywood fashion sacrifices history for effect and became more like glamorous Carnival in Rio.

The parade started with beautiful jet-black Andalucian stallions being ridden at high speed up and down the avenida, stopping occasionally to prance and dance. These are the tallest and most elegant horses you have ever seen – and they still have the pretty head and arched neck of their much smaller Arab thoroughbred ancestors. And the riders dressed like Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR.

Then came ranks of Christian soldiers looking very aggressive in their body armour carrying pikes and huge halberds and accompanied by bands playing with thunderous drumming, wailing fifes and triumphant sounding brass (the Spanish love noise but Alhamdulillah [Thanks to God] we were spared fireworks).

I thought Christianity was about peace and love, but these Christians, particularly the Knights Templars in their faces hidden behind highly polished medieval helmets with the pointed visors closed, and white banners with a black Maltese Cross, looked fuller of hate than love. And then a break from history: ranks of female soldiers with polished breast plates suitably modified and lots of flashing thigh between leather knee boots and micro- mini skirts.

And then another break with history:

A flock of geese being herded by two beautiful young maidens clad only in sackcloth (vestal virgins?), followed by simple little carts pulled by mules and containing goats and attended by more maidens throwing packets of raisins to the crowd – and then donkey carts being attended by Mexican peasants??????

But the Moors had the finale:

First a succession of scantily clad dancing girls waving flimsy veils around their bodies – how did Salome get in there? – or possibly they represented the concubines of the Harem? And close on their heels came the resplendent ranks of Moors looking much less warlike than the Christians, and hell bent on enjoying life. (Let’s face it the dancing girls were just ahead). And the same loud and insistent drumming, and the fifes now playing the sliding quarter tone Arab scales and not the Celtic pentatonics of the Christians – and the brass less triumphant but shouting defiance.

And then the grand finale:

A splendid Caliph in all of his pomp riding a huge ornate float pulled by two magnificent brown bulls (the ultimate Mediterranean symbol of masculine virility) attended by a bodyguard on a camel that also pranced and danced. The camel had  multi-coloured hand woven tribal saddle bags and tassles – and the dark skinned rider had the sky blue head dress of the TUAREG – the fiercely independent North African nomad.

            For all of its Hollywoodization this Fiesta still has meaning. It is a symbol of the ongoing ideological struggle between Christianity and Islam. But there is no animosity. No priests or Imams or mullahs are to be seen – and after the parade the Moors and the Christians pull the turbans and helmets off their sweaty heads and drink a beer or three, and have  a few tapas in one of the many bars that line our Calle de Marques de Campos.

            These troops of Moors or Christians, and their associated bands, come from the villages in the hills that surround us. This is the highlight of their year. Throughout the year they meet weekly to design and make the costumes, to rehearse the band and the swaying slow march that owes a lot to the Saudi Arabian Bedouin sword dance.

            The women sew, the men march, and little children start at 4 on kettle drum or fife. Teenage girls play flute or clarinet or dance the Dance of the 7 veils (or these days of equality march as soldiers), and fathers play saxophone and grandfathers play trombone or tuba. This is what builds a community and anchors it to its history.

            In Sha’Allah (God Willing) this Fiesta will never die, and In Sha’Allah I will see it again before I die.

            If my love of human history – and its indomitable spirit of survival in spite of the actions of venal, corrupt and incompetent politicians – is showing, then I am glad. To find out more about how The West has screwed up its relations with the Middle East and Islam read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

You can preview it by following my URL:

and download it as an E-book if you have a Kindle, or you can buy it in paperback from:

They offer free delivery worldwide.

Reaping the Whirlwind

John Keays very fine book “Sowing the Wind” ends with a chapter called, quite naturally, “Reaping the Whirlwind” in which he identifies the events of 9/11 as an inevitable consequence of The West’s misguided and mismanaged foreign policies in The Middle East. While I agree with that as a first analysis you need to look at the motives behind The Wests’ policies to understand the madness.

It’s all about oil— Black Gold— big easy money that is the root of all evil. If there had been no oil the only foreigners living in the Middle East would be a few archaeologists and biblical scholars being driven mad by the heat, dust and flies—and thieving Bedouins.

Before WWI Winston Churchill said “Oil is the ultimate prize equated with world mastery” and it was the struggle for that world mastery that has caused the problems —and conflicts. After WWI Britain and France carved up the old Ottoman Empire: the French took Syria and Lebanon—and the dominant British artificially created Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait by drawing lines on maps of the empty deserts—and created the Persian oil industry.

The Arabian Gulf was just a neglected backwater described in common parlance as “The arsehole of The Empire with Abadan all the way up.”

Payback for Britain’s neglect came when the USA found their way in through the fabulous oil wealth of Saudi Arabia, and then fought two clandestine wars against Britain trying to take over the British Protectorates of the Trucial States (now the UAE) and Muscat & Oman. Having failed to take over the Arabian Peninsula they turned their attention to Persia (Iran) and the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Mosedeq and installed the despicable, corrupt and despotic SHAH.

(And Russia invaded Afghanistan trying to get ice bound Mother Russia into Iran and the oil wealth and warm waters of THE GULF)

I first visited and worked in THE GULF in the 60s when oil was below US$5/barrel and it was a system of feudal Emirates on the Arabian side—and a disparate tribal society struggling to establish social democracy on the Persian side.   

And then in the 70s The Gulf States seized control of their oil assets and created OPEC (The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and raised the price of oil to US25/barrel.  And in spite of Kenneth Galbraith and other eminent economists’ predictions it did not ruin The West—it produced an economic boom. 

All those zillions of petrodollars were recycled in the 70s and 80s in rapid modernization and construction projects that made Riyadh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain glittering temples of Western consumerism and varying levels of Western hedonism in the middle of what are still essentially feudal and tribal societies—and created the tensions with traditional Islam that led to terrorism.

It was Western greed and lust for world domination that created this situation. Big easy money always corrupts.

In my book THE GULF: “Reaping the Whirlwind” I illuminate the consequences of that greed and arrogance by telling the very human stories of expatriates— damaged souls—flotsam and jetsam of western societies who washed up in The Gulf for whatever reason. Veterans traumatized by fighting politicians’ wars, failed marriages, drug crazed teenage children, bankruptcy, downsizing and redundancy etc.

Hopefully it will give you some insights into the fascinating, complex and frightening world that threatens Western security: the biblical location of The Garden of Eden—and Armageddon.

You can preview my book, and download it if you have a Kindle at:

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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.

Weaving Magic Carpets

Before the West’s greed for cheap oil and its consequences – the carve up of Assyria by the French and British after WW I, the Balfour Declaration and the problems of Palestine, the Gulf Wars and the events of 9/11 – we had a much more romantic view of the Middle East. It was the land of Scheherazade’s “Tales of a 1,001 Nights” where every night a wife used her feminine imagination to take her husband on a magic carpet ride to prevent her execution (so the brutality has always existed).

These tales, produced during the Islamic Golden Age, are actually a collection of folk tales from Persia and South Asia, probably based on the Persian Pahlavi “Hazar Afsan” (A Thousand Tales). And the tribal women of Southern Persia still weave their magic in the form of hand woven carpets and saddle bags that are now recognised as works of art.

When I worked in Iran (Persia) my Iranian friends wanted me to buy carpets. But they insisted on sophisticated and elaborate silk Qum, Kashan and Tabriz carpets. I preferred the tribal rugs of the Qashq’ai whose vegetable died natural wools, and geometric designs glowed from the walls of the carpet stalls in the Bazaars.

The nomadic tribes of Southern Iran persist in leading their harsh traditional lives in spite of the efforts of The Shahs (and the Ayatollahs) to settle them in villages and carve up their rich grazing lands into farms for themselves and their cronies. Every Spring the tribes and their flocks trek from the winter grazing in the lowlands over the snow and ice-capped Zagros mountains to the rich summer grazing in the high valleys, and back down again in the Autumn – hopefully before the blizzards. Many suffer frostbite and some die, slipping away on the ice.

Beg, borrow or steal – or even rent or buy on DVD – Anthony Howarth’s amazing documentary PEOPLE OF THE WIND to see the incredible hardships these people endure to follow literally in the footsteps of their forefathers. And read the story TRIBAL WEAVING in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”  to see how tribal women, as a defence against the coarseness and constant upheaval of their lives, use their inherent feminine artistry to weave their magic carpets to traditional designs that keep alive their cultural heritage and their tribal myths.

Their lives may be hard and short, but they are lived with an intensity and passion that is missing in The West. TRIBAL WEAVING is a story of love.

You can preview and download – or buy in paperback – my book by following my URL: