August 10th, 2011

London, 1978

Gerard Vanderleun offers some memories of London, then and now.

I’ve got my own memories—although, unlike Vanderleun, I never lived in London. The only time I’ve ever been there was a one-week stay in 1978, accompanied by my then-husband. It was summer, the weather was uncharacteristically warm and sunny, and the food was dreadful, just as I’d been warned.

Back then I was still dancing, and so some of my time in the city was spent in London’s ballet studios. That turns out to be a pretty good way of getting to know a city and its people—at least, its young and artsy people. I was surprised to learn that London’s dance studios were a mess.

Back then, no city I knew (and that included New York) had nice studios; most were in low-rent districts, consisting of a warren of rooms with obstructing posts. But London’s hit a new low of filth. The bathrooms were so disgusting, so full of mold and mildew, that taking a shower was out of the question. The toilet paper was inadequate to its task, more like low-grade wax paper than anything else. And the people seemed angry; testy and sullen.

This hostile affect was hardly limited to the dancers. I noticed it all over London that summer. The very first day my husband and I were there we observed a number of angry encounters between strangers, a phenomenon that became commonplace. And it wasn’t as though I was unfamiliar with big cities and their mores, either. After all, I had grown up in New York, and I’d lived in some of the major cities in the US.

But this seemed different, and it seemed specifically inter-ethnic. However, none of the people involved were white. It was immigrant groups that were clashing: Caribbean blacks vs. Arabs, Indians vs. Asians, you name it and the groups were angry at each other. It didn’t take the form of riots, of course. Rather, we observed screaming matches (and even pushing) over seemingly nothing. We came to expect at least one incident for every subway ride.

Now I look back and I see that as the beginning of something. The British were worn out themselves, their glory days over, but they were trying to absorb the aftermath of an empire that was no more, and immigrants from once far-flung shores and disparate cultures were rubbing up against each other and competing for scarce resources in a manner that boded ill.

How the present riots in England relate to all of this isn’t completely clear, but I think they do. However, a great deal more is going on now, including the effects of several more decades of the welfare state, the disarming of citizens, and a system of law and order that is overwhelmed by the nihilistic population it now faces—clearly, it’s not up to the task.

And I don’t think England will ever be the same again after this; its idea of itself will have been fundamentally changed.

[ADDENDUM: Ace has some chilling must-read stuff on the riots and people's thwarted attempts to defend themselves:

"We were outside ready and expecting them," said the manager of Turkish Food Market, who asked not to be named.

"But I felt very panicky because we are not safe from either the rioters or police.

"We put all of our efforts into this shop. It took 20 years to get it like this. But we do not know about our rights.

"I'm scared that the police and the government will attack us if we defend our businesses.

"We are being squeezed between the two."]

42 Responses to “London, 1978”

  1. texexec Says:

    This kind of thing (violence in the streets in London) isn’t limited to the “poor sections” either. I was in London several years ago and stayed at a B&B in a VERY upscale neighborhood (Chelsea). While my wife and I were waiting for a bus to go to a museum, a guy and his apparently ex-significant-other starting fighting verbally. Soon, he got violent, threw down a beer bottle which broke, and started grabbing her by the neck. All this happened only a few feet from us.

    Someone called the police, who showed up very quickly. I was surprised at how brutal the arresting sequence was..on both sides. The coppers were very rough and he bit the ear of one of them to the point of heavy bleeding.

    He deserved it but still…..

  2. Artfldgr Says:

    its SOVIETIZED….

    Sovietization is term that may be used with two distinct (but related) meanings:

    * the adoption of a political system based on the model of soviets (workers’ councils).
    * the adoption of a way of life and mentality modelled after the Soviet Union.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovietization

    And what are the houses these yobs and others live in? Council flats

    In a narrow sense, the term Sovietization is often applied to mental and social changes within the population of the Soviet Union and its satellites which led to creation of the new Soviet man (according to its supporters) or Homo Sovieticus (according to its critics)

    you see… we don’t know as a peoples what it was like, and so, we don’t know what not to eat when they give it to us

    the list of soviet goals is a list of how to sovietize a culture… remove uplifting art, sex education, creation of favored classes to get people to change beahvior not to be left out, and so on and so on.. all using social engineering to make new soviet man…

    which is what all this is about…

    which is where the policy ideas come from

    as i try to say in the last post, destroy the culture you destroy the productive engine, and you destroy the credit rating, which is not built on financial transactions, but confidence in the entities ability to meet its goals

    when you go soviet, what are you worth compared to when you were not that way, and heterosexual families were normal, and social engineering was not possible thanks to an attentive mother with time, and culture ideals were tranmitted by parents, and lukaks programs were not instilled, and on and on

    all these changes…
    are the product of feminism’s improvements and other groups, but MOSTLY changes through that one group.

    IT WAS WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO

    it was never what the ad copy sold to women said… in fact even the leaders knew that, given their quotes… it was only the gullible and vain who were weak enough

    and thats all you need… a foot in the door, and false justifications…. all these points were points from soviet living that we adopted…

    and now, people are comparing and they are noting the results of soviet living and dont get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    bad toilet paper was something the soviets had, not england… until labour….

    broken families and riots was not something common among uk youth… until feminism and soviets taught and normalized riot protests for left socialist communist causes… no?

    we stopped REARING our children and started RAISING them… but who gave us the ideas and who did the behaviors that changes due to those ideas benifit? the tricked or the tricksters?

    Sovietization of the Baltic states
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovietization_of_the_Baltic_states

    one thing i see over and over is that experience is negated by fantasy, a story, etc… we side with what we like to hear, NOT what is right… so we rarely side with experience, nowlege, etc… as that is limited in its promises by what it can deliver. but the other side? it never intends to deliver, so its not limited to what it can promise you…

    look at what they promised women?

    did they get it, or did the tricksters get a collapsed culture, collapsed families, welfare state, rioting, etc?

    remember the tricksters where HONEST
    they SAID They were goping to destroy western civilization…

    co-opt half of it and sovietize it to collective ideas
    and how much farther do you have go go?
    now they are rewarding them all with diversity offices and such… just so they dont see and wont go back as the leaders said they would given a chance.

    The Soviets did not immediately install the virtually unknown leaders of the tiny existing Communist parties in each state, but rather put together a broadly left-wing coalition while simultaneously having Soviet emissaries present lists for cabinet installations about which even minor changes would not be sanctioned.

    oh.. you mean like shaddow governments and soviets (councils)..

    of course if you dont know that soviet means councils and its a society run by committees who serve higher commitees…

    you would think all these councils were harmless, and not a restructuring of the state to the soviet model

    you would also endeavor to marginalize anyhone with experience that might point it out… and you would of course favor the god of the gaps without god in the population… maybe drown them in false explanations and such… never allowing a full whole view with all parts allowed on the table… like state organs of manipulation

    The new cabinets at first denied any intention of setting up Soviet regimes, not to mention incorporation into the Soviet Union, instead claiming only to remove “fascist” politicians from office.

    -=-=-=-=-=-

    The election results were completely fabricated: the Soviet press service released them early, with the result that they had already appeared in print in a London newspaper a full 24 hours before the polls closed. The result was that all three Baltic states had communist majorities in their parliaments, and in August, despite claims prior to the elections that no such action would be taken, they were all presented with motions to ask for admission to the Soviet Union. In each case, the motions passed. In due course, the Soviet Union “accepted” all three petitions and formally annexed the three countries.

    so as i asked before…
    what stops Mr Obama from signing away and giving up the minute something bad happens?

    take a look at our democratic party and others. would they fight, or would they give up and then allow annexation instead of something else?

    here is the important part…
    it has nothing to do with anything formal
    you just act and do it, and voila, thats how it is.
    because how it isnt, is not acting or not doing..

    so assuming the situation, whout declaring it is as valid as declaring it… except that people stand around and look up waiting for the starting gun.. as pink floyd said…

    The new Soviet-installed governments in the Baltic states began to align their policies with current Soviet practices.[

    ah... so when your state aligns its policies with other states, then what is it doing? does it require a declaration of intent (that can be opposed) or does it just require acting?

    this is the point of the euro, the UN agenda 21, to which our leaders are aligning our laws with soviet laws and using foreign precedents too.

    how do you reverse it?
    make what is now abhorrent and not pc ok again!!!!

    how sovietized are we? i dont know, you tell me when the laws policies we have adopted in the past 20 years were first adopted by lenin in 1917...

    ie... we are taking the same steps, but are not allowed to know the history, so we dont see where they ACTUALLY lead, which is not where we are told they lead
    ...Population transfer in the Soviet Union
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_transfer_in_the_Soviet_Union

    you know... moving one ethnic group into an area of another ethnic group... multiculturalism in the west where forced action is not prudent, so the overt is replaced by the covert and dissimulating... and the professors and or academics who figure out how to repackage it and sell it, are lauded...

    Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite directions to fill the ethnically cleansed territories.

    state genocide... if you cant walk them into ovens, then get them sexed up, deseased up, culturally spoiled and make them unmarriable... maybe even turn them against their mates, and put off fertility....

    that way, you can destroy western civ without western civs superior abilities defend themselves. by the time they realize it, their idiot children cant operate any of the most basic equipment, nor can they self organize to oppose anything, and also can easily be swayed to an army against themselves. (Call it the blowfeld fighting fish game)

    From the newly conquered Eastern Poland 1.5 million people were deported
    -=-=-=-=-
    The same followed in the Baltic Republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.[16] More than 200,000 people are estimated to have been deported from the Baltic in 1940-1953. In addition, at least 75,000 were sent to Gulag. 10% of the entire adult Baltic population was deported or sent to labor camps.

    quoting larry Grathwohl:

    In an interview from the 1982 documentary No Place To Hide that recently surfaced, Grathwohl discussed what the Weathermen intended to do after overthrowing the U.S. government, including what they would do with those Americans who refused to embrace communism [1].

    I asked, “Well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.

    And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

    And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”

    Twenty-five million people.

    quoting Mary Daly, former Professor at Boston College, 2001

    “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.”

    what would accomplish that besides feminism?

    our multiculturalism is a social public means of trying to do what the soviets did to move populations around and insure STATE control of them.

    is london locked down, or near it?

    so does feminism, multiculturalism, self esteem / sex ed, entitlement, race logic and affirmative action, social justice, welfare, sex ed, etc…
    Lead to STATE CONTROL OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION (people)? YES…

    so turns out (again) the nutters were right
    and the liars were lying…

    given that we cant go back and reeducate the people who are fomenting the kids.. who we also are too late to educate… who have few fathers to tell them whats right or wrong… and who hate family, and so don’t care what they do!!!

    its a fait accompli… that which we would depend upon is already on the wrong side and dont know it… the police will lock down the people… they will fire into the crowd if ordered… and as can be seen, they have no problem busting down doors and accidentally killing unarmed innocents without changing the process that leads to it.

    ……..and i will finish with this part that ties it all up into one big circle.

    the idea of council flats and a room of their own, is soviet. the descriptions of toilet paper, the poor. the news of the riots… and on and on..

    is soviet living… or not living…

    and whats happening are the final steps which come from the steps already taken… ie… by imposing soviet living without the terror or force of it, the people will fight their state… and the fighting of the state will create the need for the state force to then hold down the people who dont like that living.

    ie… you create the living first, and people rebel, and you lock them down

    not you lock them down, prevent rebellion and then create new living..

    [edited for length by n-n]

  3. DNW Says:

    “This hostile affect was hardly limited to the dancers. I noticed it all over London that summer. The very first day my husband and I were there we observed a number of angry encounters between strangers, a phenomenon that became commonplace. And it wasn’t as though I was unfamiliar with big cities and their mores, either. After all, I had grown up in New York, and I’d lived in some of the major cities in the US.”

    Say, I have a kind of almost frivolous “mores”, or maybe better, “customs” question for you.

    It’s unrelated to the actual topic, or to anger, and one that you couldn’t really be expected to know the answer to simply because you have identified as Jewish. But your comment reminded me of it.

    It’s not even a question about real people. It’s about the way a movie portrays characters.

    But since you are an expert on all subjects sociocultural …

    I was re-watching that Spielberg movie “Munich” the other day. And the thing that struck me apart from how that Citroen auto constituted a staring character in itself, was how the men in general, not including Bana’s character, related to each other: With what seemed to be a kind of … I don’t know quite how to characterize it, with a kind of maybe “presumptuous brusqueness” on the one hand, and a barely submerged “emotionalism” on the other.

    Do you know anything about Israeli culture in the 1970′s?

    I kept wondering “Don’t these guys shake hands?” Does anyone really talk to people they hardly know with that kind of challenging impoliteness, even if they are subordinates? Why don’t these guys wind up standing there with seconds and shooting at each other at dawn down by the riverside, instead of the enemy?

    The movie was in my estimation fascinating. But could Spielberg’s cinematic representation of that cultural slice, possibly be accurate or fair?

  4. holmes Says:

    Everywhere around the world we see leftist factions and their resulting government-dependent mobs engaged in violent reaction, yet it’s the Tea Party, with their PTA board stickers, that is the real threat.

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    Neo,

    What you saw was Britain at the bottom — the period right before Maggie Thatcher. I was a frequent visitor in the 80′s and 90′s, and her effect was clear. Lots of privatization and an economic boom were her legacy. She even got the pay phones to work.

    It sounds like all her good work has been pissed away by people who eat their seed corn.

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    Psychological consequences – Sovki

    One of his most important insights is that the “negative selection”, including various types of visibly oppressive treatment of those whose thinking doesn’t fit the “party line” leads to development of “acquired helplessness syndrome”

    think of that in terms of whats going on…
    the people who are being attacked, have been negatively selected for so long, that they have a problem defending themselves despite huge numbers compared to the rioters.

    This phenomenon explains the traits characteristic of many ex-Soviet citizens: shyness, passivity, excessive trust – and need – of government, belief that one cannot really control his fate without a “guiding hand”.

    sound familiar? the common people who are allowing their freedoms to go, who are being arrested for defending themselves and not being passive enough, etc… and the statism they depend on to fix things

    According to Kon, “The lack of individual responsibility is a product of decades of living under limited freedom. People get used to oppression. This has always happened with totalitarian regimes. I remember, I was greatly surprised to meet people with a similar mentality in East Germany, a country that has always been very different from Russia.
    -=-=-=-
    There is a psychological term for this – the acquired helplessness syndrome. The syndrome is usually manifested in social pessimism and lack of self-confidence. The acquired helplessness syndrome is the main feature of Soviet mentality and unfortunately it is prevalent among senior citizens.”

    we have it.. the UK has it
    its replaced the can do individualist spirit

    the rioters have it… they dont see working hard and all that being the way… they are feeling helpless and are lashing out and attacking as a way to not feel that way and oppose what they feel is the target that once opposed will relieve their pain and agony… and return their freedom….

    and as i said above…
    the biggest group, is the women, and most never read anything like this, which is a description of them without the propaganda and such

    In the 1920s and into the Stalinist era the concept of the “New Soviet Woman” served alongside that of the “New Soviet Man.”

    The New Soviet Woman was a Superwoman who balanced competing responsibilities and took on the burden of multiple roles — citizen, full-time worker, wife and mother.

    so all that “i can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget your a man”, was sovietizing…

    the women today didnt know that they had become soviet women… and that it would result in the same social ills as it did back in soviet russia… and other places… but HERE we would not have the state power to prevent it…

    Soviet policy encouraged working-class women to attend school and develop vocational skills. There even existed opportunities for women to participate in politics, become party members and vie for elected and administrative positions.

    sound familiar?
    Its social engineering replacing culture!!!!

    Lenin was more feminist than stalin
    but Stalin saw that the population was going down and that the ideas were going to cause GENOCIDE…

    so he reversed that policy… sort of:
    Joseph Stalin’s policies on women were more conservative than that of his predecessor Lenin. Because he was concerned with a declining population rate, Stalin de-emphasized the Marxist feminist view of women in society, which necessitated the emancipation of the woman from the shackles of her doubly binding oppression, patriarchy and capitalism. In keeping with the party line, Stalin reasserted the importance of women in the workforce and female education, primarily literacy, although he began to emphasize the role of mother in a way that differed from more radical notions of the early 1920s.

    The “withering away” of the family was no longer a goal of economic and political progress.

    The new party line was that the family, like the state, was to grow stronger with the full realization of socialism.

    Massive propaganda campaigns linked the joys of motherhood with the benefits of Soviet power.

    Soviet ideology began to argue that women’s public roles were compatible with her roles as wife and mother. In fact, that the two reinforced one another and were both necessary for real womanhood.

    given we voted hitler man of the year, stalin twice, and obama too.. and feminist leaders from recent past are quoted as to the withering of the family.. and now the family is to be made stronger with these new family types…

    ie.. the withering of the traditional family, and the stronger homosexual adoptive etc family…

    same old soviet stuff, repackaged for an ignorant public who would rather attack someone for pointing it out, than be saved from the end result of it

    [edited for length by n-n]

  7. George Pal Says:

    England will never be the same because the English people have been made to foreswear their idea of themselves and adapt to multicultural treachery. The cultural demolishers demanding sharia zones, no go zones, in effect, muslim extraterritorial apartheid enclaves (for the time being) and other immigrants have been welcomed en masse by a traitorous class of politicians wanting to establish a permanent and immutable constituency together with those of the native population that had already been seduced by the nanny state. England is no longer England.

    From H. H. Munro’s “When William Came” (1913) (An account of an English defeat in a fictional war)
    Chapter XII – The Travelling Companions (Yeovil, the Englishman returning to England, his home)

    “A beautiful country,” said his only fellow-traveller, who was also gazing at the fleeting landscape; “surely a country worth fighting for.”
    He spoke in fairly correct English, but he was unmistakably a foreigner; one could have allotted him with some certainty to the Eastern half of Europe.
    “A beautiful country, as you say,” replied Yeovil; then he added the question, “Are you German?”
    “No, Hungarian,” said the other; “and you, you are English?” he asked.
    “I have been much in England, but I am from Russia,” said Yeovil, purposely misleading his companion on the subject of his nationality in order to induce him to talk with greater freedom on a delicate topic. While living among foreigners in a foreign land he had shrunk from hearing his country’s disaster discussed, or even alluded to; now he was anxious to learn what unprejudiced foreigners thought of the catastrophe and the causes which had led up to it.
    “It is a strange spectacle, a wonder, is it not so?” resumed the other, “a great nation such as this was, one of the greatest nations in modern times, or of any time, carrying its flag and its language into all parts of the world, and now, after one short campaign, it is–”
    And he shrugged his shoulders many times and made clucking noises at the roof of his voice, like a hen calling to a brood of roving chickens.
    “They grew soft,” he resumed; “great world-commerce brings great luxury, and luxury brings softness. They had everything to warn them, things happening in their own time and before their eyes, and they would not be warned…. They grew soft and accommodating in all things in religion–”
    “In religion?” said Yeovil.
    “In religion, yes,” said his companion emphatically; “they had come to look on the Christ as a sort of amiable elder Brother, whose letters from abroad were worth reading. Then, when they had emptied all the divine mystery and wonder out of their faith naturally they grew tired of it, oh, but dreadfully tired of it. I know many English of the country parts, and always they tell me they go to church once in each week to set the good example to the servants. They were tired of their faith, but they were not virile enough to become real Pagans; their dancing fauns were good young men who tripped Morris dances and ate health foods and believed in a sort of Socialism which made for the greatest dullness of the greatest number. You will find plenty of them still if you go into what remains of social London.”
    Yeovil gave a grunt of acquiescence.

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    Looters Literally Steel the Clothes Off Britons’ Backs

    http://moonbattery.com/stripped-naked-london.jpg

    This picture shows the shocking depths the thugs were prepared to plumb — stealing the clothes from a man’s back.

    The taller, broader man already holds a pair of white and green trainers and a white T-shirt in his hands. Now, it seems, he wants the trousers too.

    The shorter man dutifully removes his jeans, leaving only his dark blue underpants and his white socks.

  9. Artfldgr Says:

    the prior link was an example of “acquired helplessness syndrome” developed from PC using “negative selection” on the white males…

    same thing in norway…
    as the islamic youths claim to like to attack norway men and rob them, as they give in easy and dont figtht

    how about here in the US? care to see the images of the older men (and disabled woman) being attacked by people who have been “positively selected” despite their actions or because of them

    all your seeing is the releasing and use of the “brutal class” to create “red terror” and lock the passive public down… i have pointed to the process, it was used in all the states… where do you think they found brutal people to take up positions to do the things they needed to squelch the real public?

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2024284/UK-riots-2011-Liberal-dogma-spawned-generation-brutalised-youths.html#ixzz1Uf657bb2

  11. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Repeating myself a little here.

    I’ve been to England twice—once in the 1970s, once in 2005, and visited London on both occasions. Starting just about the time we arrived in 1970, you could no longer actually wander among the stones of Stonehenge, because they had been roped off, due to the threat of damage from some rock group that had tried to perform a concert among them, and from then on–certainly this was the case in 2005–you could only see them from a distance. The British Museum area looked as I expected it to look on the first visit, in 2005 it looked like Peshawar. On the my second visit, to England and Scotland and Wales, it was a startling and common sight to see abandoned churches, to see churches that had been turned into welcome centers for immigrants, or into “entertainment venues,” or which had “To Let” signs in front of them; in London we were told (this was two weeks before the 7/7 Tube bombings in 2005) that whole neighborhoods that had been filled with Englishmen had basically decamped en masse, to be replaced by Muslims, and that the neighborhood’s empty churches had been turned into “welcome Centers” for the new Muslim residents of the neighborhood.

    However, we did not encounter the conflict and ugliness in public conduct that Neo and others have reported. I guess that we were just lucky. One thing we did notice was that in all three countries, and on another later trip to Ireland as well, was that they drank like fishes.

    It appears that—just in time–we saw what remained of England, and an England that really is no more, except as an Idea, and that a fading one.

    In view of recent events I doubt that we will ever go back.

  12. Anne Says:

    While I think your assessment of some “England’s” (horrid Americanism, that) current problems is spot-on, I don’t think your experience of London in 1978 has much to do with it. So much has changed since then. If anything, the United Kingdom is now materially and culturally far more luxurious and sophisticated than the United States, albeit achieved partly by means of credit cards etc. during the boom years. I’m neither British nor American but I’ve lived in both countries and found UK bathrooms and toilet paper far superior, to use your example. I also think it’s a huge mistake to think that London is representative of Britain as a whole. It long ago ceased to be, for better or worse, a British city, thanks to the huge unintegrated “communities” of foreigners who have settled there. Nevertheless, judging by the price of goods and property in London, there are clearly an awful lot of people competing to live there, considering you think it’s such a dump. You need to travel a bit more and visit other cities to get a real idea of what the country is like.

    And while I don’t welcome the destruction of the riots, I do think of them as a good thing in a way. At least we can stop pretending that everything’s OK and that London is some kind of multicultural paradise.

    At the same time, we shouldn’t just focus on the looters and rioters alone – this situation has been partly caused by a hopeless police force who long ago lost the respect of both the poor and the middle class, because (as we’ve seen over the past few days) they are ineffective and useless when we need them, and because they throw their weight around when dealing with decent, law-abiding people who might have exceeded the speed limit by a few miles an hour, or dared to defend their own property with force. And tell me, how does this looting differ from all the people in high office, such as the members of parliament themselves, helping themselves to large amounts of taxpayers’ money that they either aren’t entitled to or, thanks to their incompetence, haven’t really earned?

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Wolla Dalbo and George Pal:

    By the British poet Philip Larkin, “Church Going” (1955):

    Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
    I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
    Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
    And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
    For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
    Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
    And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
    Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
    My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
    Move forward, run my hand around the font.
    From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
    Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.
    Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
    Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
    “Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.
    The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
    I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
    Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

    Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
    And always end much at a loss like this,
    Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
    When churches fall completely out of use
    What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
    A few cathedrals chronically on show,
    Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
    And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
    Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

    Or, after dark, will dubious women come
    To make their children touch a particular stone;
    Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
    Advised night see walking a dead one?
    Power of some sort or other will go on
    In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
    But superstition, like belief, must die,
    And what remains when disbelief has gone?
    Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

    A shape less recognizable each week,
    A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
    Will be the last, the very last, to seek
    This place for what it was; one of the crew
    That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
    Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
    Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
    Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
    Or will he be my representative,

    Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
    Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
    Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
    So long and equably what since is found
    Only in separation — marriage, and birth,
    And death, and thoughts of these — for whom was built
    This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea
    What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
    It pleases me to stand in silence here;

    A serious house on serious earth it is,
    In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
    Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
    And that much never can be obsolete,
    Since someone will forever be surprising
    A hunger in himself to be more serious,
    And gravitating with it to this ground,
    Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
    If only that so many dead lie round.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Anne: Oh, I strongly doubt that my one week’s experience in London in 1978 has a strong connection with what’s happening now. But it was a preliminary rumble that is somewhat related.

    I’m glad to hear the bathrooms are better!

    As far as the police go, though, I don’t think anyone’s ignoring that issue, especially as it relates to their persecution of the ordinary citizen defending him/herself. See my ADDENDUM to the post above.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    DWN: In answer to your question—can’t help you out; haven’t a clue.

    And I never saw the movie “Munich.” From what I’ve read about it, though, it would probably have infuriated me if I had seen it. In general, I can’t stand semi-fictional takes on real events, and the real Munich hostage-taking and massacre was a terrible and memorable event that I don’t want to see distorted for the sake of cinema.

    See this for a lot more, although it also doesn’t answer your question.

    (By the way, I’ve never discussed my own religion on this blog. Anyone is free to speculate, however.)

  16. Anne Says:

    And funnily enough (and I know this goes against the conventional wisdom that British food has improved vastly in recent years) I found the food in Britain during the first time I lived there in 1980 far better than it is now. I can still remember the sandwiches at my local pub, made with delicious local cheese and freshly baked bread, and the Sunday roast cooked by my friend’s family, with vegetables from their own garden. I find British food rather pretentious now – their idea of refinement seems to be rather cliche, such as adding lots of garlic or hot chillis to everything, or cooking meat extremely rare. Maybe they’ve swung too far the other way after being told their food was bland for so many years.

  17. Julia NYC Says:

    I was there in ’81. I loved the roast beef and yorkshire pudding, the fish and chips and the curries. Thats mostly what I ate. Haven’t been back since. Oh and the sweets. I ate a ton of cadbury chocolates and toffees. Not the greatest diet in the world. Such a shame what’s happened to England. Can’t really wrap my head around it.

  18. Wandriaan Says:

    In 1975 I visited Britain for a vacation with my girlfriend. Before that, we went to France and Italy for vacations. I still remember how we were pleasantly surprised by the warmth, the goodness and the hospitality of so many British people we encountered. It was really a striking contrast to the haughty coldness of the French and the shrewedness of the Italians. But we experienced this moral beauty only ‘in the countryside’. Outside London, that is. London then was already lacking the lovely, goodmannered ways that we encountered in the country.
    Now London seems to have become a metropolitan jungle. A time ago I read a piece of an Asian man that had come with high hopes to Britain, only to find himself bitterly desillusioned in the London life. However he also wrote that one day he went for a trip to the country, the villages etc, and yes, excited he exclaimed:’ it is still there, the old Britain I read about in Sherloc Homes and the rest, when I was a child and that I so dearly loved!’
    Perhaps it is still there. Perhaps it will recover from the countryside…

  19. Denise Says:

    I visited England twice, both times in the late 90′s. The first time I went alone. The best thing about traveling alone is that you can really observe the natives without the distraction of a traveling companion. As my visit took place during the week after Easter, there were a lot of vacationers there from throughout Europe and the states.

    English people traveling in groups rarely spoke to each other. But the French, Italian, and American groups (family or friends) were always conversing. I found the British to be very standoffish – even to each other.

    On the other hand, I fell down on one of the double decker buses and they were extremely helpful in helping me get back on my feet and making sure I was ok.

    It’s a pity what’s happening over there now. But, as anyone who has ever read the writings of Dr. Dalrymple would know, this has been a long time brewing. They have unanchored themselves from institutions which lent order and meaning to life and are adrift on a sea of alcohol, celebrity worship, and hedonism.

    Good luck with that.

  20. br549 Says:

    I’d like to read Mark Steyn’s new book. Listening to him on Hannity today, he left England for here because of what he saw coming. I know a man, a mechanical engineer, a Brit. When his parents died (only child) he packed up and came here as well because of what he saw. There is an area up the road from me (Williamsburg) with a very large area of ex-patriots who have come to live. They wanted out, and could afford to leave, and did.

    Steyn is very clear and to use a British phrase, spot on. He sees the same thing here now, just a couple to a few years behind. I don’t know if we are that far behind, considering.

    As Steyn says, if America falls into this socialism thing, goes broke, and loses its world wide influence, the ensuing chaos will be frightening, and most likely deadly.

  21. br549 Says:

    A very large percentage of Brits would leave if they could. I have read about that a few times. One can only conclude that, after what is happening now, that percentage has only risen.

    But where would you go from here? There is nowhere else. The slippery slope is steeper everywhere else. Perhaps we need to think about that, eh?

  22. Artfldgr Says:

    London Riots – Police Overrun in Woolwich
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4pcbiO4flY

  23. Denise Says:

    Dr. Dalrymple weighs in here:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2011/eon0810td.html

    He is always worth reading; he has been documenting the unraveling of British civilization for years.

  24. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I gather that there are quite a few well off British expatriates moving to the more exclusive areas of Northern Virginia, and some apparently live here but go back to Old Blighty for medical care.

    I expect that now their number will grow rather considerably, and I would also guess that there are going to be a lot fewer trips taken back to Blighty than in the past.

  25. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Actually, you have to dig for them but, the British government does release some statistics on the number of English citizens permanently leaving the UK–we’re talking tens of thousands of citizens basically going into exile each year, and each year for the last few years that number keeps growing, with their places taken by immigrants from EU countries, Eastern Europe, and the Muslim world.

  26. Yohnitzl Says:

    My parents – my father a Czech Jew, my mother a Czech whose non-Jewishness was terribly important to my father (and enforced by him) – came to Britain from Argentina with my 2-year-old self and an Argentinian Indian maid. Both my parents were overwhelming Anglophiles, though they understood England in different ways: my father, as a place where his Shoah-victim elder relatives’ beloved Austro-Hungarian Empire lived on in spirit – more generally, a country that (thank God!) lived in the past; my mother, as the eternal home of enlightened fairness, where even the monarchy meant “the exact opposite” of the stupid Austria-Hungarian one that had preceded the liberal Czechoslovak Republic! From day one, my father accepted the verdict of the Englishwoman his mother lived with (my grandmother had survived the war in the English midlands after abandoning the rest of her family to its fate), that I wasn’t “being properly brought up”. He came to hate me, probably due to the face he felt he had lost in front of those 2 women. Much more generally, English people of the 1960s hated me, beating me up in gangs of anything from 3 to 11 or more in every school break, despite my trying very hard to be “sweet” and “wanting to be friends”, and never practising any kind of violence, even in retaliation – I simply thought I had been “naughty” and deserved it. My mother never believed me – she attributed the bruises that covered me, even the time I had to go to hospital to remove a pencil-lead lodged deep in the muscle of my thumb – to “rough play”. Till she died, she said I was exaggerating: “Where were the teachers?” The teachers CONDONED this bullying – they hated white Foreigners too, “after all, we fought 2 wars against them”. (Yes, as part of the Czech Brigade based in Britain, my father had been on their side in the war.) Generally, my mother didn’t believe all these bullying stories, because Czech children would NOT have done any of these things to a minority (or any) child, and her assumption till her dying day was that England was a land of heroes, one that invented the concept of the gentleman and of fair play – how much less would English children behave like that! She considered herself to be in a vanguard of Czech people who took Englishness as a model that might one day help bring the Czech majority out of the darkness of Catholicism, insufficient out-doorsiness and other hangovers from Austro-Hungarian days. My discovery, of course, is that the English are a nation of white trash, who demand sullen inarticulacy and contempt for beauty and sentiment in anyone who wishes to have their respect, and never deserved to control the territories they once did. And the Czechs? I love them, a nation who have nothing of this violence and philistinism in them, and for whom the long history of Jewry in their midst is a beloved – and, to the extent that it is of course much diminished – lamented part of the national life.

  27. Sgt. Mom Says:

    My brother and sister and I passed through London in 1975 — I wrote about it here: http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/23807.html
    I recollect everyone we met as being wonderfully cordial towards us, ( in London, anyway – Wales was a different story!) and I really don’t remember seeing any hostile interchanges between people around us. I really don’t, although I can chalk some of that up to the fact that we were very young – I was 22, my brother just short of 21, and my sister 16, I’ve often thought how marvelously trusting my parents were, letting us go off, to explore the country that our ancestors came from, all on our own.
    We had a marvelous time, BTW. But sometimes it seems an age ago, as distant as the pre-1914 world did, to those of the later 20th century who were of an age to recall it all.

  28. Perfected democrat Says:

    “I’m scared that the police and the government will attack us if we defend our businesses.

    “We are being squeezed between the two.”

    What goes around comes around?

    Disarmed, overpowered, outnumbered in their own cities; leading to emasculation… This is the inheritance for the indigenous British, whose parents and grandparents, especially those before, who were so arrogant and brutal to so many during their colonial exploits; now the shoe is on the other foot. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them, when to this day they have elected so many blowhards in so many high places who continue to betray Israel as they did (remember the hangings of those whose only crime was self-defense) before they finally made their pathetic exit from so-called palestine. So many of the world’s problems today can be traced, or are related to some extent to European, especially English colonialism.

    I was there in 1986, the food was marginal and lodging was outrageous. Though it was quaint in a shabby sort of way, the museums and churches were something to behold, but only windows into a relic past. The Guinness was room temperature, as is apparently the way to drink it, though personally I have to wonder if it didn’t have more to do with a lack of refrigeration. The pizza in the shop windows looked stale, while there were way too many young people walking around dressed in black with shaved heads acting tough…

    The EDL and armed forces is the last chance for British honor…

  29. Promethea Says:

    If any of you are fans of comics (graphic novels) by Allen Moore, Neil Gaiman, or the original writer of Hellblazer, none of this will be a surprise to you.

    Yohnitzl @ 11:32 . . .

    Wow, what a comment! After reading the above comics, I’m actually not at all surprised by your experiences. Apparently, bullying is a grand old British tradition.

  30. armchair pessimist Says:

    Something very sick is in the air, and not just in London. Look around. Nothing seems to work anymore, not the government, not our economic system, not the schools and churches. In various ways, people have decided that, like an old car, it’s better to scrap it all and start over. Can’t you feel it too?

    This has happened before and nothing but bloodshed and evil comes of it.

  31. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Who thinks that all isn’t a huge recruiting opportunity for the BNP and other so called “right-wing” groups like them.

    Hell, if the police stand by and watch your shop or neighborhood burn, if looters can run over and kill people trying to defend their neighborhoods–toll in just Birmingham alone so far 3 dead–if the likely punishment, if any, will be an “ASBO,*” than you are obviously on your own, and will have to see to your own defense.

    *ASBO –an “Anti-social Behavior Order” i.e. a piece of paper, a “restraining order” that forbids you–with no apparent enforcement mechanism involved–from committing the same anti-social acts again.

    So, if you were swearing in public, you are forbidden from doing so again. If you were drunk in public and pissing on the side of the pub, you are forbidden to do that again and, I guess, if you were a looter you are very naughty and are forbidden from looting again.

    Yeah, that’l work.

  32. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Armchair–You might want to get a copy of the apparently influential European manifesto calling for revolution titled”The Coming Insurrection”–from reviews (I haven’t read it myself yet) a jumble of Marxist/Nihilist/Anarchist ideas written in France by the “Invisible Committee,” a supposedly anonymous collective, some of whom have already been arrested by French police–and read it.

    Is this a blueprint for what is happening? I don’t have any idea.

    You can buy a copy of this pamphlet on Amazon for less than $5.00.

  33. DNW Says:

    Neo,

    That’s what happens when I ask you to offer a social critique a movie you have not seen, from a perspective you apparently do not have.

    Regarding “religion”; although free to speculate, I would not speculate as a matter of course.

    Apparently I earlier on misread some of your commentators as implying a kind of taken-for-granted and accepted shared cultural background.

    My error.

  34. DNW Says:

    “of a movie” of course

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    Questions Arise Over Whether ‘Flash Mob’ Attacks in USA Motivated by Race…
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/10/flashmob-attacks-in-us-cities-raise-questions-over-possible-race-motivation/

    Similar attacks are also being investigated in cities likes Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee, where 30 people were arrested after alleged mob attacks erupted at the Wisconsin State Fair on Aug. 4. At least 18 people were injured in or around the grounds, including seven police officers, authorities said.

    But while some witness accounts suggest the attacks are race-based, law enforcement officials say they have no evidence to prove it.

    There was “no confession or anything else” to suggest the July 29 attacks in Philadelphia were “racially motivated,” Philadelphia Police Department First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross told FoxNews.com.

    “You can’t just simply look at the race of the offender and the race of the victim and say it’s ethnic intimidation. It may be, but we’re not sure. Does it give us pause? Yes it does,” Ross said.

    West Allis Police release timeline (of 911 calls) detailing incidents at State Fair

    http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-20110808-fair-mob-reports,0,1285413.story

    they basically do not report details… using terms like victims, people, workers, police, etc.. ANYTHING but details… anything to prevent you from forming a mental image they don’t want you to form and have said they will change news to accommodate…

    meanwhile, good people OF ALL COLORS don’t like such behavior from anyone…

    ultimately, the hiding is going to make things worse not better… just as refusing to let the pressure off a pressure cooker doesn’t result in nothing happening… with the result many times more damaging than otherwise

  36. armchair pessimist Says:

    Thanks Wolla. Looks like unpleasantly timely reading.

    “The Invisible Committee” would be just a bunch of silly French babblers, if it weren’t for the danger that the everyday people might start concluding that everything’s so far gone that the only remedy is to bulldoze the whole mess & start over.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW: no problem. I just haven’t seen the movie. As for my religion, it’s just one of many personal things about my life that, so far, I have chosen not to comment on here. Nothing wrong with talking about it, though; it’s just my sense of privacy that’s operating.

  38. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Melanie Phillips has an interesting take on what is going on in Britain at http://melaniephillips.com/.

    Since we are bashing Britain allow me to observe the acceptance of antisemitism, excuse me I mean anti-Zionism, in their media and population. That rottenness appears to be a feature not a bug (I learning geek thanks to Occam).

    Thanks for sharing that story Yohnitzl. Besides being the most poignant thing I’ve ever read here your experiences explain some things about contemporary Britain I always found incongruous; the heroism in WW2 matched with the Britain that produces hate propaganda against Israel, the US and any Britain that dares complain: weak, ashamed of a glorious history, directionless except in the pursuit of falsehoods and worse of all, not bitter or angry about any of it.

  39. Bob from Virginia Says:

    While I’m at it, did anyone ever see a restaurant that advertised itself as an English restaurant?

    I thought not.

  40. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Bob–The food in Italy and France was good–I especially liked the multiple layered cart containing the “cheese course” we enjoyed at a hotel that used to be an old monastery–six foot thick walls and all–in Arles.

    Ate at some very fancy and not so fancy restaurants in the UK–both hotel restaurants and free-standing ones, and except for Ireland–where the food was actually pretty good at one pub–the food set a new low for awfulness.

    A memorable house “speceality” of “Fish and Chips” at a little hotel in Betwsy-y-Coed in Wales featured a lightly battered, huge piece of room temperature, slimy, inedible, unscaled fish–the batter easily separated and one look, and there were not many takers on our tour bus, and we were all out hitting the shops in the rain, minus lunch.

    I like steak, and several times in different parts of the UK I ordered steak at several high-end hotel restaurants–snooty service and all–and the steak was not cooked, it was “assassinated”–dry, tasteless, and tough as shoe leather, and only a couple of local Italian restaurants we turned up on our own saved the day but, then again, maybe it was all that good wine that made us just think that their food was so much better.

    A stop at what appeared to be a restaurant featuring a buffet with an unappetizing and virtually inedible “Steam Ship of Roast Beef”, a “Carvery,” in Coventry had even its most awful American competitor beat by a mile for dreadful, totally uninspiring, and almost inedible food; I don’t even think the flies buzzing around were interested.

    The topper was a lunch stop at a famous garden in England where the tour director leading our supposedly small group, exclusive, “high-end” tour–it sure cost high-end– recommended that we eat at a particular establishment that already had what appeared to be a long line of aged pensioners queued up, each clutching what appeared to be some sort of discount coupon. Well, we added ourselves to the end of the line but, while we were standing there, we glanced through the dutch door to the kitchen that was open to see, to our horror, that the pimply faced and not too clean looking “cook,” while stirring a large tureen of apparent stew–the dish that had been recommended to us– was occasionally dipping his fingers into the stew and picking out the choice bits and eating them, and putting what he didn’t like–gristle I guess–back into the stew.

    That sure “put us off our feed,” and we moved on to another restaurant where we at least had a somewhat decent -and hopefully a more hygienic–meal.

  41. Gringo Says:

    I have never been to the UK, though I have worked in Latin America with citizens of the UK. Great Britain’s language and institutions greatly influenced ours. To a big degree we are sibling countries, part of the Anglosphere.

    Yet in the comments I am reading about either living in or visiting the UK, I find a lot of negative comments about the place. Guess we are siblings who have grown apart.

  42. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Remember the old joke that when it’s 10 o’clock in New York its 1938 in London.

    Gringo wrote “Guess we are siblings who have grown apart.”

    Two wars and a declaration of independence will do that.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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