1. i went to Kassel to see Juniper and also just get out of Munich for a bit. Kassel attracts me not at all; it’s a typical modernist German town, depressingly functional and soulless, and now swarming with military-age African and Arab “Syrian” “refugees”.
This is the modern world, it seems – concrete towns full of Muslim invaders who are generously hosted & permitted to rape and murder by the complacent authorities. Discussing jobs etc. with Corinne (she suggested i find work in a publishing house) i told her i was born a generation too late for everything: academia has been corrupted almost beyond recognition by the Left, publishing houses have no use for proof-readers, and Humanities degrees now being overabundant (thanks to Thatcher and then Nu Labour), they have next to no value for employment purposes. The days when eccentrics and misfits could get Foreign Office, journalism, or publishing jobs because they had a 2:1 in English Lit or Philosophy are about 40 years gone.
2. i watched the Harry Potter films recently, at Corinne’s instigation. i found them surprisingly good, my only cavil being the way wands are used like handguns, seemingly irrespective of the personal power & wisdom of the wielder. Several times, i thought, Where have i seen that before? – then realised they shot some scenes in Durham Cathedral, in places i’d walked through almost every day (taking a shortcut to my college).
Education is an odd concept – i learnt most at Durham from solitary study, or talking to friends; i think the only value i got of the official system was in having 4 years without necessity of work, a big library, essay deadlines (otherwise i wouldn’t have studied & written as intensively), and a community in which i found some interesting minds.
My expensive school, to which i needed 4 hours’ travel a day (by public transport) was, i would say, useless, because my mind is seemingly incapable of performing to official standards – one more reason i’m conventionally unemployable, i suppose. i learnt virtually nothing, except that a good proportion of human beings are naturally evil; and how to deflect bullying (which is useful but not much to show of 12 years’ schooling).
The only advantage i see in my expensive useless school, and Durham, are that i could develop in an unmodern environment, as much as is possible in the degenerate West. In my last years at school, the good old-fashioned wooden tables were removed and a wonderful old lecture-hall type room (with circular tiers leading to the dias) was remade into a bland modern space with white plastic furnishings and white walls. i was lucky enough to grow up among wooden desks with ink wells and graffiti which, i guess, dated from well before my birth. i was also fortunate, in the late 80s, to have several teachers in their 60s, dire and scowling old chaps, undoubtedly of a fascist disposition, undoubtedly they had taken a Hun head or two with a machete, back in the day.
Somewhat similarly at Durham, my first year room had the kind of battered old wooden furniture i recognised from school – and when a friend lived in the same room, 2 years later, all this was gone, replaced with giant immoveable plastic furnishings. Although i was born a generation too late, i was blessed to live and think in such places, just before they were destroyed.
3. i did my MA thesis on Tolkien in my last year at Durham. 7 years later i re-read his works, round about the time a door in my mind opened, in summer/autumn 2008. i would say my hamingja chose this time, to ease the transition to the midnight sun.
i have often noted a mythic quality to Tolkien, irrespective of his literary virtues; that is, his works have a magical/cultural force. Apropos Roger Scruton, the Man in Black recently wrote to me: “Reading Scruton at times brings to mind Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising books, Tolkien, and Old English literature.”
i decided to see how Cooper – another mythic writer – speaks, and found this talk:
and to my surprise:
“the actual book The Dark is Rising especially is, every inch of it, is where I used to ride my bike when I was a kid. The Manor House is indeed the local manor house, and the house in which Will Stanton’s family lives is in fact the local vicarage, where the vicar’s wife tutored me in Latin, at which i was quite terrible. i needed the Latin to be allowed to study English at the University of Oxford, and when I got there I found that the English syllabus had been cut off at the year 1832 by two of our lecturers, with the result that we all studied an enormous amount of early stuff – Beowulf, Spencer, Middle English, Malory. All those things led to the fact that, as a friend of mine said, they taught us to believe in dragons. And the names of the two lecturers were JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.”
4. The mystery of Berkano is here – the hidden continuity, a tree which blooms after the long winter. Luckily, the powers that be – the Clintons and Bushes, Soros and his ilk – operate on a worldly scale, because the spiritual is beyond their apprehension; they are evil, and may indeed dabble in occult nonsense, paedophilia etc., but they are not of the enlightened evil – perhaps no human can be, the former precluding the latter. The true powers are hidden. The good old gods are, in a sense, present in the English landscape, even in the language (in its unadulterated form, found only in the totally uneducated and those educated in the truest sense, meaning they are repugnant to the academy), and in our myths.
Tolkien had a close connection to these gods, and through long association his works and most likely body and personality bore something thereof. It does not surprise me, then, that Susan Cooper (whose Dark is Rising books are on a par with LoTR) studied under the man. This is a lineage which Soros et al. cannot extirpate easily – it would require Soviet-levels of control; and since the modern devils think in very materialistic terms, they are unlikely to move against what they would see as irrelevant “juvenile trash” (Edmund Wilson’s judgement on Tolkien). But if a fire one day rises from the ash, it will be of a secret kindling.
5. My long weekend in Kassel was good. i did little save drink gin and read and talk to Juniper. She is decidedly unmodern. She was partly raised by her grandfather, on a farm outside Kassel, with dogs and cats. Her grandfather served on the Eastern Front, as a looker-after of horses, and i guess as a farmer was far removed from modernity. Juniper gifted me two of his pipes, which i smoke from time to time.
As Nietzsche said of reading Goethe, that it did good to breathe this air, so it does me good to be with people from the old world – being with Juniper is like breathing fresh air again, because she is part of her grandfather’s world, and he was part of the 19th Century.
Juniper’s sensibilities are so. i have often noticed that animals are drawn to her – they mostly just ignore me – i think because while i have all kinds of odd noise in my head, she has nothing of the 21st or even 20th Century in her. And that absence itself is a noble and remarkable thing, a kind of wizardry if you like. So, after Faramir resists the temptation of the Ring:
‘Ah well, sir,’ said Sam, ‘you said my master had an elvish air; and that was good and true. But I can say this: you have an air too, sir, that reminds me of, of – well, Gandalf, of wizards.’
‘Maybe,’ said Faramir. ‘Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor.’