Footsore and bleary: can’t write, couldn’t dom

The birth of Venus. Fresco at Pompeii.

In the last few days I’ve clambered and walked all round Pompeii and Herculaneum, and climbed from the road on Vesuvius to look down into the crater, a distance of, I’d say, about one and a half kilometres. 

All the time limping like a three-legged dog. That’s because I climbed my way into the grounds of the Villa Diodati, Byron’s old palace in Geneva.

It’s in private hands now, and closed to the public, which is a disgrace. There’s a sign nearby about how “Frankenstein” happened there. The Shelley’s house, where Bysshe and Mary were living, and actually wrote the novel, has been demolished.

By the way, the novel was conceived and mostly written by May Shelley. Percy Bysshe wrote about 7,000 words of it and had a couple of the less important plot ideas, which gets him to the status of minor collaborator. He never claimed any share of the credit.

Anyway, my leg had largely recovered, but before I went into Vesuvius’s terrain (terrain of terror, I guess I shouldn’t say) I undid all the repair work while walking through the Carraculla baths in Rome. A road made of cobble Has the power to make me hobble. It seems. 

After the ruined cities, plus the volcano that did the ruining, my feet weren’t just sore; they’d swollen up until they looked to me like someone else’s. And that someone else was possibly an elephant.

Since then I’ve kept my feet elevated, and me relaxed, as much as possible, and as a result they’re nearly back to normal size. Phew!

Anyway, I’ve been having a wonderful time, but I’m physically exhausted. That, it seems to mean, prevents me from writing. Writing takes energy, and the body has to supply it. It hasn’t been. What energy I have, I’ve devoted to making myself walk, and go and look round different places. 

I have a terrific episode of Maddie’s story (the Wicked Wednesday saga) formed in my head, but it’ll have to wait till next week, when I’ll be resting on the beach in Phuket.

It’s interesting that domming and writing both require unusual amounts of mental energy. You need desire, focus, attention to detail while shaping the direction you want to go. 

Right now, if some girl were to drape herself over my knee (or chair), I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to oblige her. Similarly, I have the plot of next week’s Maddie saga worked out, but I couldn’t write it right now to save my life. (That, I guess, is not actually true. At gunpoint, I’d write it.)

Anyway, I’ll be able to write more next week, by bribing some kid to watch my laptop when I go for swims. My journey ends on 16 May. 

Lest we forget the dead donkey

My great-grandfather was at Gallipoli. Gallipoli was an attempt to get a land pathway into Europe which British troops could follow, and attack the Germans closer to Germany than the stagnant lands created by trench warfare.

The road through Turkey would be opened by non-British troops, mainly New Zealanders and Australians, whose deaths in a futile and poorly planned operation wouldn’t be making headlines in England. There was a beach selected for this task, and naturally the British navy sailed straight past it and dumped the “colonial” troops into a beach where conditions would be intolerable if you lived, and where the Turks could sit up in the hills safely pouring lead onto the poor bastards on the beachhead. 

Anyway, my great-grandfather was stuck on the killing beach. He did what you do under the circumstances. You try to go forward, you try to kill people wearing the other clothing style, you try to keep your head down and stay alive, and sometimes you do crazy brave things because the men you’re with are doing them too. 

He came back from the meat-grinder alive but fucked. He couldn’t re-settle, he couldn’t be with his family, and he spent the rest of his life, except his last two years, trying to drink himself to death. Unluckily for him, the Mortimers have weird genes, and though he spent nearly eighty years consuming pretty much nothing but gin when he could afford it and sherry when times were worse, smoking when he could and sleeping rough, he lived until his late nineties. 

In the last eighteen month of his life, when he was ninety-six, he became the live-in handyman at a block of apartments in Nelson, chopping wood (I told you we’re genetically weird), fixing fuses and hinges and water piping for the young couples living around him. He was proud of himself for the first time since 1915.

He died in the 1990s. Someone managed to locate his family and contacted my father, who wasn’t actually a relation except by marriage, and he went down and cleared up . 

Anyway, my great-grandfather wouldn’t talk about Gallipoli, or Chunuk Bair. There wasn’t much to say. Except one thing. He said he was on the slopes with a donkey carrying water. The donkey got hit smack in the stomach by a cannon shell. It whipped its head around in time to see the middle of its body gone and its hind legs falling. Then the front of the donkey fell too, head facing my great-grandfather.

My great-grandfather used to say that the expression on the donkey’s face, when it realised it was fucked (grotesquely destroyed, if you prefer), was something he’d never forget as long as he lived. 

I never met my great-grandfather. The only time I ever saw him was when I was nine. I was at a family wedding that he, pointedly, hadn’t been invited to. He turned up drunk, with a drunk friend, and got turned away. I missed that, but saw him later at a kid’s play area with a helter skelter. He and his friend decided to walk up the spiral of the slide, and come down the ladder.

It took them a long time but they made it, with assorted family members standing a distance away making disgusted comments. I knew nothing, understood nothing, but I did feel a kind of sympathy with him. Not “that poor man”. More like, “that’s odd but kind of cool”. 

It was my mother who told me the only thing he’d ever said about his experience at Gallipoli. So I don’t know how he told that story: was it a parable about the way the New Zealand and Australian men were treated when the British decided to throw their lives onto a choppingboard? I don’t know: but my guess is that, yeah, it was that, but above all, he thought it was funny.

The people in my country have the blackest sense of humour I’ve encountered anywhere in the world. Throw in having lived through Gallipoli, and I’d say my great-grandfather would have had get a sense of humour so dark it had infinite gravity.

Anyway, I’ve never given a fuck about ANZAC Day. Nor, I understand, did he.

When I see it being used by politicians to defend more stupid military deployments, for the sake of someone else’s empire, I get really, deeply disgusted and angry. And it’s nearly impossible to make me angry.  

So, I think the poor sods in the army, navy or air force who get sent where their country tells them to go deserve sympathy, and most importantly they deserve real help while they’re alive.

But fuck ANZAC Day. It was bullshit in the first place, and it’s now been securely seized by right-wing, race-baiting arseholes. Fuck them, fuck the politicians, fuck the snivelling scumlicking bullies in the Murdoch press, fuck all that bullshit. Fuck, as I said, ANZAC Day. 

I remember the mess it made of my great-grandfather, sometimes, in bugle-free private, and I remember that poor bloody donkey. 

Message of hope for baby-doms

The most miserable experience of my life was because of bdsm. I was twenty-two, and I was very deeply in love with a woman I admired, respected, who was beautiful, who shared my political passions, whose virginity I’d taken. She’d been eighteen, and she hadn’t told me. I’d been nineteen, and I didn’t know enough to realise. 

Later, when she told me, I was flattered that I’d been her choice, and sorry I hadn’t made more fuss. She should have had more cunnilingus, and afterwards a cake with a candle. Anyway, it was done.

I don’t really have any photos that illustrate this post. But here’s a pic I took yesterday, of a Prague manhole cover, depicting some sort of strife.

But there was a problem. My deepest and most satisfying sexual thoughts, and all of my fantasies, involved bdsm, and me being a dom. I don’t think the word existed at the time.

But in my sexual dreams I commanded, fastened, spanked and flogged. I guided, I rewarded and punished, and I took.

That was what I wanted, from a willing partner having fun.

It always had been what I wanted. I’d known it since I was four, long before I was sexually focussed, let alone sexually active.

But she thought that that sort of sex wasn’t just not for her; it was evil.

She’d read Andrea Dworkin and Robin Morgan on bdsm, and so she “knew” that. There could be no such thing as ethical, or even consensual, bdsm.

I’d mentioned it once, and on seeing her reaction, I gave up. I thought it was a pity. I loved her so much I wanted to be with her forever. and that meant I’d have to bury my bdsm. Lose it. Forget about it. Cut it off me.

Of course, sexual desires and needs don’t go away. Sometimes it’d be too much, and when she was absent I’d have my fantasies and masturbate. The miserable thing happened because we were staying with her parents, and moments alone just didn’t happen.

Eventually, the desires got too much, and I took a book I liked (“The Coming of Age of Françoise Cocteau”, which I’d expected to be more stylish, though the flagellation scenes were hot) to a local park, overlooking the sea.

It was twilight cold, and no one seemed to be there, and no one was likely to come to the park at that hour. I found a place among the trees, partly sheltered by a rock, and masturbated. But I felt desolate. I was in love with a girl who loved me, and I was still utterly isolated. Part of me was disgusting to her. All of me, just then, would be disgusting to anyone who saw me.  

So I was in tears, streaming down my face, before I came, and after. Body fluids everywhere.

That’s it. That’s the experience. I cleaned myself up, binned the tissues, waited a while for the onshore breeze to remove the smell from my body, and trudged home. Despising myself.

 But here’s the thing. She left me the next year, because in the feminist circles she was moving in it was wrong to have a boyfriend at all: sleeping with the enemy, and withholding wimminlovingenergy from other women, that’s what loving me was. Eventually it got too much and she moved in with women from the sisterhood. I was collateral damage. 

It was not the happiest time of my life.

Sitting at a cafe in Prague today, keeping an eye on the square. Because life is ok.

But humans, thank fuck, are fickle, and after a mourning period I noticed that a man who’d been with one woman for four years, despite a roving eye, was a subject of sexual interest from other women. I had opportunities, and I started taking them. The second significant girlfriend I had wanted me to spank her. We explored further, and I found that I loved spanking her, and I loved what happened when we went further, too.

I moved to another city when I finished my degree, and found that my very next girlfriend wanted to be spanked and commanded too. So I’d met and bedded two women in a row who were submissive, when I hadn’t even included that in my selection criteria. I realised that my life wasn’t going to be as miserable as I’d expected. Instead life set about being fun and bringing me joy. I learned that a male dom is not short of women who want male doms, so long as those doms behave themselves like gentle men.

Because life is random, and for other reasons too obvious to explain, here’s a picture of a dog-washing shop, two days ago,  in Geneva.

Anyway, that’s my message to baby-doms. The term “baby-doms” isn’t meant to be dismissive. It’s derived from “baby-dykes”, who are among the most charming people on the planet, even if they don’t want to have sex with me.

Babyhood is a time of infinite potential. Baby-doms are people whose experience of bdsm is in its infancy, who are just starting out, and who have, perhaps, only recently become aware of their desires. Don’t despair. Life can go hard on “perverts”, and so can your own mind.

Keep your code of ethics, try to do the right thing, and persevere.

There’s nothing wrong with being a dom, so long as you obey the same rules about consent and avoiding force or manipulation that people expect in other kinds of sex. A lot of people are submissive, and they are looking for you, or someone like you.

Life gave me some miserable times because I’m a dom, but it also gave me the most wonderful experiences and times I’ve ever had. Those outweigh the bad times by a factor of, I’m not sure, but at least a hundred to one. I’d never give up being a dom, now, even if the thing were possible.     

So, be hopeful and of good cheer. Life offers paths to doms, to fit their sexual “kink” into a good, ethical life, with lots and lots of incredibly hot sex and love. 

I begin my new novel (again)

I’ve relaxed, in the middle of Ireland. 

I’m in a town called Roscrea. I chose it because it’s as close as I could find any accommodation to tiny Dunkerrin, where my ancestors, Jeremiah and Mary Mortimer, died and are buried.

I know: Jeremiah Mortimer sounds like an old codger in The Simpsons. I can’t help that.

His son, who came to the South Pacific and sired a hell of a lot of people, was called Darby. By the way, the name “Darby” is a fairly common Irish first name. Sean Connery plays a Darby in his first film, Darby and the Little People. You should see it because there’s a bit where Connery has to sing: comedy gold! Anyway, the name Darby is a sort of slang version of Jeremiah, like Jack is a slang version of John.

House of Mortimer (somewhere here, about six feet under this ground)

Anyway, Jeremiah and Mary couldn’t have afforded a headstone, so they’d have had a wooden cross at best. That’s long gone. I’d hoped to buy a mess of poitin, and pour some on the grave, one way or the other. But that was not to be. 

But here’s a picture of the last resting place of the Mortimers who didn’t go to the South Pacific and become my ancestors. 

There’s not much in Dunkerrin, though the churchyard is pretty. But I’ve been looking about the town of Roscrea, which unexpectedly turns out to have structures that were built in the tenth century, to keep Vikings away, and in the twelfth century when the Normans, having conquered England, decided to invade and occupy Ireland too. So: history! It’s all over the place here. 

For example, this is literally the view from the window of my hotel room. It’s a Norman castle, twelfth century, That house in the middle, clashing with everything around it, was built in the eighteenth century by a family who got rich occupying Ireland when Oliver Cromwell went over and did his bit.

Cromwell’s bit for Ireland consisted of burning, murdering, raping, smashing and looting. Ah well, it’s a lovely house, truth to tell, but on style grounds, if nothing else, it really, really doesn’t belong in the middle of the ruins of a Norman castle. 

Anyway, I’ve got peace of mind at the moment, and there’s a historical novel I finished a few years ago. Then I realised it has too many characters, and its climactic scene is in the middle, and it should be at the end. It needs serious repair. But I got taken up by other, more immediate, projects, including two other novels and a non-fiction book, and I shelved the flawed historical novel. Now I’m taking it off the shelf, with a fresh mind. 

It’ll be about 350 pages, and it doesn’t contain a single spanking or other bdsm scene whatsoever. I think there’ll only be two significant sex scenes of any kind, so I’m afraid my readers will have to settle for a good story, some historical scandal (accidentally discovered by me, when researching something completely different!) that will still create some uproar, some scenes of horror of the human, not supernatural, kind, and some laughs. 

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be tapping my keyboard in the bar of The White House, Roscrea. I’ll be drinkin’ Guinness, and if you pop by I’ll be buyin’.

Travelling Riverside Blues

I’m still travelling. I just had breakfast in the halls of one of the colleges of Oxford. The river I’m beside at the moment is the Thames, which is a rather gentler river while it’s up in Oxford.

I’d like to take a girl punting on the river, but she’s not having any of that. It could be the way I emphasise the word and waggle my eyebrows when I say, “I want to punt you.” 

That’s probably it. 

Here’s a pic, by the way, of the lane in Oxford that was in Medieval Times called “Gropecunt Lane”. Sadly it’s been renamed into the more decorous “Magpie Lane.” 

I had a half-arsed theory that maybe “magpie” was a Medieval way of referring to sex workers, so that the new name isn’t quite as decorous as people think. My reasoning, such as it is, was that the “mag” in magpie was a reference to the character Magdalene, also known as “the other Mary”, in the New Testament.

I was right about that, but my theory went on to speculate that since in Medieval times Mary or Magdalene was thought to be a prostitute, then maybe the word “magpie” was slang for a sex worker. So that the name “Magpie Lane” is still, in a sense about groping cunts. 

However, there doesn’t seem to be any example of “magpies” ever having been a slang term for sex workers, so my brilliant theory seems to be utter crap. Oh well. 

Anyway, I want to apologise for the relative lack of posts on this blog lately. I seem to be producing only one or two posts a week, and I’d hoped to keep up my usual rate of four a week while I was travelling. But I’m in England, at the moment, which isn’t my usual home, and I’ve got a girl with me who, even if she doesn’t want to be punted on a cold river with plenty of passers-by, does require a fair bit of maintenance and general looking after. And that’s fun to provide, so I’m busy at the moment. 

I’ll be alone again, on Monday evening, and I’ll be on a night bus or train to Liverpool. I might write something then. Then I’ll be in Ireland for a few days, chasing up some ancestors, but I may even get back to my usual schedule while I’m there.

I’ll be in France after that, then Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Then, in the middle of May, I’ll be back at home in my mountains. I’ll keep you posted!

Gay marriage and becoming an Australian

I’m living in Australia at the moment, but I’m not an Australian. There’s always been too much about the country that makes me feel like I don’t want to join it, or identify with it. 

There’s the racism, in particular.

I’m not talking about the stuff where someone is making conversation and asks a person who is black or Asian, “Where are you from?” Because there’s a possible sub-text of, “If you’re not white, you’re not from here” about it. But it can also be a well-meaning but under-informed person who means, “I think you look fantastic! Where do they make more people like you?”

My point is, it’s always a clueless question to ask, and sometimes there might be a negative racist meaning to it, and sometimes there might not be. But my sympathies aren’t always with the person taking offence. A little bit of polite person-to-person education goes a lot further, and does more good, than all the offence-taking in the world.

Anyway, when I say Australia is a racist country I’m not talking about that kind of thing.

Rather, it’s about the deliberatively, knowingly genocidal history of what has been done to the Aboriginal people. And the incredible, shockingly callous endorsement of that genocide by a fuck of a lot of Australians, once you get them in private. They don’t even need to have a drink in their hand. The day after I arrived in Australia, some quite wealthy, educated guy said to me, “oh, Abos: they should have put out more poisoned flour sacks.” 

Then I was in a Post Office and I saw a police notice. They wanted to know if the public had seen some offender. The ad said, “non-Australian appearance”. What that meant was that he wasn’t white. Then I was talking to a cop, who said it was a pity we’d moved out of the old days when they’d just take Aboriginal young men down to the station and “give them a bit of a flogging”. He was a young cop. By “the old days”, he’d mean “about five years ago”. 

It’s about the fact that life expectancy for Aboriginal people in their own country is fifteen years less than any other statistical group. Fifteen fucking years. 

And so on. And their media is run almost entirely by Rupert Murdoch, and leans so far to the right it’s lying on its side. And “lying” is the word. “Bullying of people who dare to speak out” are also the right words to describe Australia’s craven, contemptible media. 

So I don’t love Australia. I love many Australians, and like a lot of others. But the vibe of the place: No, I don’t love that. 

Now a group of right-wing nutters and church-ridden homophobes are trying to stop marriage equality from coming to Australia. They’d decided to put the issue to a postal survey, which is calculated to favour the group most opposed to gay marriage, that is, the over-65s, while cutting out the group – just about everyone 30 and under – who most favour gay marriage. 

Knowing that no one in that group uses postal mail, or checks their letter box, any more. It’s a “survey” where the homophobes get to have their thumb on one side of the scales. 

So … I’m going to have to become an Australian citizen. Not because I love a sun-burned country. The truth is that I don’t. But I approve of love, and if people want to marry the person they love, I’m not going to let a bunch of heartless bigots keep them from having that right. 

Triumph and the fountains of Rome!

I’m keeping to four posts a week, at the moment. I looked back a couple of years, back in this blog, and found I was doing seven posts a week.

They tended to be shorter, because I’d write something, get carried away as I always do, and it would turn out longer than I’d expected. So I’d chop it into two or three parts, and run them on three successive days. 

But now I’m writing a novel, and I’m keeping at it because I want to finish it soon. There are five parts, and the final part is expected to be relatively short. I’m on Part 5 now, and I can smell the finish line. I feel triumphant!

I’d like to do more discussion pieces, think pieces, for this blog.

But at the moment I can’t think of anything but Rome and a rich Scots girl, who paints but seems only able to sell her art to men who fancy her, and how she breaks through to a wider audience. I can’t afford to do any thinking except about how to make that sexier and funnier.

I just wrote a scene (for Part 4) in which the hero fetches his beautiful but mildly drunk girlfriend out of Trevi Fountain. It adds absolutely nothing to the plot, I think, but it belongs in the book just the same. 

In honour of that scene, here are some photos of girls in Roman fountains.

The top two are from a news story that said Romans were “outraged” to  find pretty underdressed girls in a fountain. Bullshit, I have to say. Possibly a couple of lemon-sucking Romans somewhere went all crinkly-mouthed about it, but Romans in general are overwhelmingly pro-pretty girl.They even seem to like underdressed, wet girls. Go figure.

Don’t let the Murdoch press (or Dacre press in this instance) tell you otherwise. In fact, don’t let them tell you anything. 

Here’s one I prepared earlier.

Whipping your way through Pompeii

I went to Napoli a few days back. The first two days I did nothing except lie in bed and cough and shiver. Ate breakfast cereal for dinner the second day because all the shops and restaurants had closed when I woke up. Anyway, I was determined to get to Pompeii, so I stayed an extra night and headed out on the third day. 

I could probably say something thoughtful about the flagellation scene at the Villa deii Misterii, but right now I don’t have the nodes. Or the lobes. My brain hurts already: I’m not going to try to think. 

Anyway, here’s a loving couple engaged in an apparent spanking, taken from the wall of the underground baths. 

When your lover (or slave; it’s hard to tell in Roman art) complains the water’s cold…

The really fascinating image from Pompeii, that I should really write about, when I’m not so fucking sick, is this one. (This was an incredibly awkward picture to take, by the way.)

Many think the woman being whipped in the first scene is the woman dancing in joy in the second. That’s certainly my take.

For now, it’s time to have breakfast, pack my bag and head to the airport.

Dublin and pain

I’m in Dublin. I had an idea, after my father died earlier this year, that I should go to Ireland, to see where I came from, at least genetically.

Statues commemorating the Irish Potato Fame. The starving, beside the Liffey, in Dublin

Both of my parents were of almost entirely Irish stock. Though the people who were my ancestors left Ireland during or shortly after the Famine, they continued to marry other Irish expatriots over the next several generations. Although there’s the occasional Welshman or Scot in my traceable ancestry, it’s basically all Irish men and women.

I’ve always been grateful to my ancestors for leaving. Ireland is still disfigured by the Catholic Church, essentially a corporation for the enabling and protection of child rapists, and for the torture and enslavement of women, the Magdalene Laundires episode being only one example of this.

I’d been in Dublin for about six minutes when I encountered a march of young women demonstrating for the repeal of Ireland’s stupid, cruel and life-threatening ban on abortion.

I make a lousy nationalist. If I’d been living in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, I’d always have voted to be part of the United Kingdom. Not out of nationalism: I’d don’t give a fuck what Cromwell did to the Irish three hundred-odd years ago. Or the Elizabethans before that. (Both sides seem to have forgotten the Scots invasion, and the land theft, famine and massacres under Robert the Bruce’s brother Edward, because that doesn’t fit the narrative.) 

I’d have voted to be in the UK because I didn’t want to have the cops, directed by the church, tell me what I’m allowed to buy in a bookshop. I’d have wanted to be able to buy contraception, which you could then do in the UK but not Eire. I’d want a woman to be able to get an abortion if she has an unwanted pregnancy. Fuck nationalism: I only care about human rights. 

So it was sobering to be reminded that Eire’s abortion law is still the one dictated by the Church. Rapists, torturers, murderers and their enablers, still claiming moral authority. Sooner that’s dumped into history’s Dead Joke Box the better. 

Anyway, the pain I cause is consensual, intended to help, to lead to pleasure and other kinds of growth, and never to cause harm. Ireland is full of the traces of the domination of an organisation that seeks no consent, and is entirely indifferent to the pain, suffering, harm and death it causes.

 

By the way, I’m thinking about pain because after Eroticon, and after seeing Gretel off on the place back to her native land, I went to Dublin and got a cold. My head hurts. Really hurts. My bones feel like I’ve been beaten up, apparently in my sleep, by the secret police. I need to cough all the time, and it hurts like hell to cough. I’ve got chills. God, I’d love a hot flush. 

On the other hand, I’m outside a pub on Talbot Street, drinking coke and watching pretty girls go by. So … silver linings, that’s what you have to look out for. 

Eroticon is (almost!) here! And I’m in London at last

Sorry to regular readers. I’ve been on the road going up through northern Italy, then Paris, and I’ve just arrived in London. I’ll probably write something about that later, but it’s hard to write much while you’re in transit. 

And though I have a lovely and loved travelling companion who speaks French and Italian, also Railway, immensely better than I do, it’s still hard work.  

I’ll do what I can in the next few days. In the meantime I’m tossing up between having a beer and going to sleep.

In the meantime, here’s “Roman Decadence” by Thomas Couture, in the Musée d’Orsay. I’m going to Eroticon’s meet and greet evening tomorrow, and I’m hoping it’s something like this.