Tuesday, July 15, 2008

sigmund turns in his grave

DMT with Freud, at 19 Berggasse, Vienna
Britain becomes ever more unbelievable. This government can't keep its grubby fingers out of anything. The latest is a plan, dreamt up by a Mental Health quango, to institute rules for psychoanalysts. Among the 450 rules will be one requiring them to 'evaluate' a patient's silences; a requirement that the analyst shall not leave his own comments till the session is almost over; and that he/she must 'evaluate' the patient's response to an interpretation.


Freud: Normally I wouldn't offer an interpretation of what you've just told me. It's important that you work it out for yourself, with my guidance. I'm like a mountain guide, not a chair-lift. But the rules require me to find out your reaction to my interpretation, so I'm compelled to offer one. I think you want to sleep with your mother.

(Patient is silent.)

Freud: Excuse me while I write. I have also to evaluate your silence.... Alright, so what's your response to my interpretation?

Patient: It's fucking shit!

Freud: Excuse me again... 'Mr X unhappy with my interpretation'.

Patient (leaping up): I've had enough. I'm off!

Freud: Please don't go yet. If you do I'll have broken another rule and will be disbarred. Lie down again and just talk to me for a while.

Patient: Well... okay. (Lies down again.) I'm only doing this because you're an old man and I know you've had to leave your cunt, uh, your country... But that shit about my m-m-m-mother. If you must know, I loathe my m-m-m-mummy... All through my childhood, whenever I was naughty, she'd make me lie on the floor, she'd pull up her skirt and sit on my face. Till I was almost asphyxiated. Ass-fixiated --hah! I suppose you're going to read something into that!... Is it any wonder I suffer from breastlessness --breathlessness? How could I possibly want to sleep with her after such nightmare experiences? You're crazy, do you know that?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

hark the glad sound!

Centenary Thanksgiving for Thomas Merritt

Order of Service: Please stand as the Dean conducts the Deputy Lieutenant… to her seat at the front of the nave…’ (Truro Cathedral, June 2008).

'Stand up –for they! I’d have turned in my grave
If I’d been in it; when they wafted up the nave
It was like they was puttin’ we simple souls in our place,
Tampin’ down the mood and the spirit, in case
Hark the glad sound!” sparked off an explosion
Of full-voiced, rapturous, Cornish emotion.

Like Billy Bray, I never stood up for anyone;
And do’ee know why? – because I was a King’s son!
Worship, for we, was like the blasting of rocks
In the bal, not that row of pasty-faced men in frocks
Who kept us flat, like wet fog hiding Carn Brea,
By jumpin’ up and bleating in turn, with nothin’ to say.

They’d ‘a’ been throwed from the pulpit home Redruth
--Or more likely, chucked off the cliff at Hell’s Mouth.
And where was the thunder of triumphant Calvary
In the Bible readings? Wisht as a gnat's wee,
It hurt me to listen! Somebody must have sieved
All the glory out, like they wanted to say He never lived –

The Infant Stranger, Jesse’s tender rod! I tell ‘ee, boy,
It smelt like a museum; with less joy
Than there was in my hovel with sand on the floor
When I called for a pen to write down one more
Heavenly tune before I went. –one more Hosanna!
And I’ve heard my curls from Moonta to Montana

Sung with ecstasy by crowds of Cousin Jacks,
Deep underground, or in chapels no more’n shacks,
But as to that gilded prison there, I thirst
For the hour when “the gates of brass before Him burst!"... '
Rising from the bench, he said, ' Well, see ‘ee ‘gain,
My ‘andsome,’ and shuffled off down St.Mary’s Lane,

A scarecrow figure, singing in croaky baritone,
The glorious Lord, the glorious Lord, of Life comes down,
Of Life comes down!”
… this crazy tramp who grieved
For majestic words, and preachers who believed,
And thought he was Tom Merritt, down a mine at eleven,
His body clamped by pain, his head in heaven.

Notes: Thomas Merritt (1863-1908), self-taught musician and composer of famous Christmas carols, despite constant ill health. Billy Bray (1794-1868), miner and inspirational preacher. ‘Bal’ –mine; ‘wisht’ –weak; ‘curls’ –carols.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

cottage pie

We had Tesco's 'Best' cottage pie the other evening, and both afterwards declared it tasteless and disgusting. We then watched an episode of the German TV drama Heimat, in which a socially ambitious lady is thrilled because some Nazi leaders are coming to visit. She lays on a lavish lunch spread, but the important guests rush off to re-occupy the Rhineland leaving the luncheon uneaten. After that, just before bed, we watched an episode of The Royle Family.

Angela dreamed that night that she was entertaining the Queen, a Prince, and about ten other royals. She served them the remains of our cottage pie. Angela never wastes any food.

And the Dream-self never wastes any chance to unify disparate material.

I completely believe in Freud's theory that the unconscious selects certain recent events in order to create a psychic drama which is meaningful and goes deep into our past. But in this case I think it could well have just been having fun. Sort of 'Okay, you don't know what to do with the half-eaten awful cottage pie; you don't like throwing it out, but it isn't really worth putting it in the deepfreeze; you've been watching a drama about VIP's coming to lunch... So serve it to them!'

It was, in fact, making a joke. And a great one. We fell about laughing when she related it. I could visualise the tableful of royalty, and Angela putting the container of heated-up yuk in the centre. But she did sprinkle some chives on it.

Her dream didn't end there. Angela, who always, to my great pleasure, dresses femininely in company, even if the company is just me, of an evening, was in jeans at the royal lunch. She thought she should put on something more becoming, and rushed upstairs to change into a dress or skirt, stockings, etc.. But the royal party left early (perhaps displeased with the cottage pie), and Angela had to say goodbye to the Queen with nothing on above the waist. The Queen, arching an eyebrow, said, 'Ah, I can see you're a single lady!' (meaning, pretty wild.) She replied, 'Well, no, actually I'm married' --pointing to a blond, foppish man in a beige suit, called Shane.

Of course if anyone can think of a deeper meaning for this dream, please let us know on a postcard.