Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Barbra Streisand, The Gospel Truth and Summer Schedule


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.. It has also been the first week on the summer schedule which will be focused on health, music, book promotions and humour.  Throw in some reblogs of some of the outstanding blogs and I hope that when you have time to come in from the garden you will find something that you enjoy.

Apart from my own garden I will be completing a three R’s challenge.. Reading, Riting and Relaxing..I am of course as keen as always to promote authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and those who receive great reviews and those posts will continue. However the Book Reading at the Cafe will be back in September.

After the series on Barbra Streisand in a few weeks, William Price King will be taking his usual summer weeks off for performing and relaxing with his family but will be back in September with a new series.

This is the first summer in four years where we have not been doing up a house to sell, or doing one up to live in.  We intend to take some time out to explore and meet up with old friends. I hope to have some photos to share with you of our day trips.  I will still be here once or twice a day but I will be around less on social media.

My thanks as always to William Price King and Paul Andruss for their amazing contributions to the blog..Also this week to guest writer Horatio Grin who has shared his research into the origins of our beliefs in gods and fairies, sometimes revealing where the two crossed paths.

Thanks to you for your wonderful support and feedback.

Here are the posts this week in case you missed them.

William Price King meets some Legends

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/new-series-of-william-price-king-meets-some-legends-barbra-streisand-the-early-years/

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/smorgasbord-writer-in-residence-the-gospel-truth-by-paul-andruss/

The Black Bitch and other Tales by Geoff Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/the-black-bitch-and-other-tales-the-captain-and-the-tiger-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/the-black-bitch-and-other-tales-the-lobster-pot-by-geoff-cronin/

Guest writer – Horatio Grin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-1-lost-beginnings-of-the-fairy-races-by-horatio-grin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-2-tales-of-the-old-gods-by-horatio-grin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-3-twilight-of-the-gods-by-horatio-grin/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-genie-hunt-by-m-c-tuggle/

The Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-shehanne-moore-and-gigi-sedlmayer/

The Swamp Fairy

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-colleen-chesebro-natalie-ducey-and-malia-ann-haberman/

Air your Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-jacquie-biggar-sacha-black-and-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-shehanne-moore-and-kevin-morris/

Personal Stuff

My thanks to Dan Alatorre for a very pleasant interview over on his blog… where I managed to give away a number of secrets.

An Inteview with Dan Alatorre: https://danalatorre.com/2017/06/19/author-profile-20-questions-more-or-less-with-sally-cronin/

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Health 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-immune-system-how-it-works/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/guest-posts-revisited-jane-hanser-the-burden-interview-of-mothers-caregivers-sons-and-daughters/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/guest-posts-revisited-cook-from-scratch-with-author-j-p-mclean-roasted-tomato-sauce/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-immune-system-ignorance-is-not-bliss/

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-misunderstandings-and-hair-removal/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-bless-little-children-and-the-scots-irish-english-welsh-and-french/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/the-afternoon-video-when-cats-take-over-your-ipad/

Smorgasbord Poetry

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/weekly-image-and-haiku-sacred-flower-of-the-incas/

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thank you again for your visits and feedback. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – The Gospel Truth by Paul Andruss


Welcome to the latest in the exclusive posts written by Paul Andruss for the blog. We are accustomed to Paul’s skill in deconstructing the myths and legends of real and other worldly beings and today he covers one of the most controversial legends of them all!

Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells
(Paleographically dated to 600-800 AD)

Now this is trickier than getting your keys out of a bag of rattlesnakes.

And before you get on the blower to the Pope in Rome demanding the first fatwa in Catholic history, this ain’t about who He was or even if He was. I’m only examining the evidence. Even if I wanted, I couldn’t change your mind; not by one scintilla, jot or iota. What you believe is down to you.

The New Testament consists of:

4 Gospels – considered, by the faithful, eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life. And Acts of the Apostles, a companion volume to Luke’s Gospel, recording the history of the early church after the crucifixion of 30 AD. It is believed they were written 65-120 AD. But not by the people whose names they bear. Because it has a different viewpoint, John was thought written much later, until a fragment of it, uncovered in Egypt, forced scholars to rethink John’s date to around 100 AD.

Because many Church Fathers disputed St John wrote Revelation, it was almost not included in the New Testament. It is dated to 60-100 AD.

There are letters (epistles) by St Paul, some more genuine than others; by Jesus’s brothers, ‘according to the flesh’, James and Jude; St Peter and St John. Church historians believe Paul’s letters, written between 50 and 60 AD, are the earliest church documents.

So far so good…

Except, we don’t have any original documents, only copies of copies of copies removed by hundreds of years, and with centuries of errors.

Passages from the New Testament were quoted around 100-150 AD, but those documents are now lost. All we have are quotes from writers living a couple of hundred years after the original authors. This is a problem. Without source documents we don’t know if the quotes were ‘corrected’. For some quotes sound similar but are not as they appear in the Gospels. And there are different versions of Gospels around today.

We don’t know how old the oldest extant documents are. None are radiocarbon dated. Radiocarbon-dating of small samples could give dates within 50 years. Yet dates are still assigned through the traditional method of palaeography: the study of ancient handwriting. This technique, around since Erasmus in the 1510s examined Vaticanus, dates the time of writing by how the handwriting looks.

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were radiocarbon dated they were found to be older than estimates based on palaeography. This did not suit Church historians who argued for a date later than Christianity because the Dead Sea Scrolls uncomfortably contained unique Christian ideas.

Dating documents through palaeography seems odd, especially in light of the Turin Shroud. For centuries people argued it was Christ’s burial cloth until it was radiocarbon dated to the Middle-Ages. Even then many ‘experts’ swore the radiocarbon dates were wrong.

Churches have always sponsored biblical scholarship. So while scholars disagreed with each other, they were not prepared to jeopardise their careers by trashing hundreds of years of established ‘evidence’. In a way it is a bit like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin without ever asking if angels exist.

In the 20th century, secular historians argued Jesus never lived at all; pointing out:

  • Many pagan gods had virgin births.
  • The Greek word translated as ‘virgin’ only means ‘young woman’.
  • The word for Joseph’s profession ‘carpenter’ means ‘scholar’.
  • Herod was dead when Jesus was born.
  • There is no evidence the slaughter of the innocents ever happened.
  • Nazareth is not in an ancient list of towns.
  • Nazoreans were Jewish mystics who took vows of celibacy and denial.
  • The Sermon on the Mount (blessed are the meek etc.) belongs to Jesus ben Sira who lived 50 years before Christ.
  • The crucifixion narrative can be constructed from Old Testament quotes concerning the messiah.
  • St Paul and the early Church Fathers talk about Christ the Son of God but never Jesus the man.
  • The gospels have a shaky grasp of verifiable historical events and do not know the geography of Israel.

The English word Gospel comes from the Greek ‘Evangelion’ meaning ‘Good News’. It first appeared on a peace proclamation when Augustus became Emperor at the end of the Roman Civil Wars 30 years before the birth of Jesus.

Early Church Fathers do not mention Gospels. Some speak of ‘Memoirs of the Apostles’ but do not give names or details. St Clement’s letter, thought to be written 40 years after Clement died, says Peter’s disciple Mark wrote down the saint’s favourite quotes from Jesus; after Peter’s martyrdom around 50 AD. The word Clement uses means pithy sayings. He makes no reference to a Gospel.

It is believed the synoptic (one-vision) Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) were written 65-120 AD. While largely similar they do not exactly correspond with each other. John differs widely from the others, even down to the day of the crucifixion and who witnessed it. Because of this, John was considered the last one written; until that pesky fragment turned up. Now it’s the earliest document we have. Arguments still rage over the fragment’s palaeographic date.

Mark, deemed the first (and shortest) gospel, influenced Matthew and Luke. Early fragments are paleographically dated to 250 AD. Earliest fragments of Matthew are paleographically dated to 175-250. Fragments of Luke and Acts are paleographically dated 150 -200.

In 1958 a document was found dating to 1646. It quotes a passage from an early Church Father about a Secret Gospel of Mark, presenting Christianity as a mystery cult focusing on resurrection and initiation. Mark in both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus ends abruptly without mentioning the resurrection. In Vaticanus the rest of the page is left blank. In modern versions we have a various longer endings for Mark.

Many believe the original Matthew was the lost Ebonite or Hebrew Gospel. Quotes from the Church Father Papias show his version of Matthew is not the one we have today.

There is evidence the Gospel used by the heretic Marcion influenced Luke. Acts divides into the early history of the church in Jerusalem, Paul’s conversion and mission to the Gentiles; then abruptly shifts to a first person plural (we) narrative for long passages. This suggests different documents were collated.

15 other books detailing the acts of individual apostles never made it into the New Testament.

The earliest copies of the New Testament are the Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. (A codex is a book, not the usual Greek and Roman scroll.) Some think they belong to the 50 copies of the Bible the Emperor Constantine ordered, around 350 AD, for his new churches in his new city of Constantinople, when he legalised Christianity. If so they were written some 320 years after the crucifixion.

No one knows anything about the Codex Vaticanus until it turns up in the Vatican Library in 1475. It is a myth the Vatican Library hides all sorts of ancient documents. Rome was looted and burned so many times it is doubtful anything survived. It was due to a lack of books Pope Nicholas V spent a fortune founding the Vatican Library in 1448.

Sinaiticus was found in St Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai desert in the 1850s.

Although large parts are missing, it is the most complete early text in existence. It contains books excluded from the New Testament by the council of Bishops in 350. These include some of the oldest Christian writings such as the Letter of Clement, the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermes: early books of church lore.

When it was found churchmen denounced Sinaiticus because it varied so much from Vaticanus. There are 3036 differences between the two gospel texts, not counting scribal errors. Experts say it is easier to find 2 consecutive verses that differ than agree. Perhaps this means there was not one version of the Gospels even then.

Christianity was fragmented right from the start. Something the church was reluctant to admit. 200 years after Christianity became the official religion of Rome, Christians were still killing each other over whether Jesus was God or similar to God!

A century after the crucifixion an early Church Father insisted there were only 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, because there were 4 winds and 4 pillars of the earth. Yet he knew more gospels existed: Gospels of the Hebrews, Ebonites and Nazarenes – Jewish Christian sects believing Jesus was the Jewish Messiah; the anti-Jewish Gospel of Marcion; the Gospel of Peter that said Christ felt no pain when crucified and did not die, but was ‘taken-up’. Shocking as it sounds this may be the earliest account of the crucifixion.

These biographical gospels vanished when Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire; probably because they did not toe the official line. Today they are mainly known from later writers quoting early Church Fathers condemning them as heresy and giving scraps as examples. Recent finds of papyrus fragments in the Middle East show there were other gospels telling Jesus’ story. They are similar to known gospels, but not from them.

There were Gospels of Thomas, Wisdom of Christ, Mary Magdalen and Philip, which only listed Jesus’ sayings. These were lost until a cache was discovered buried in the Egyptian sands at Nag Hamadi. The Gospel of Philip is famous because Dan Brown seized on a line in the Da Vinci Code: Jesus often kissed Mary on the… and here there is a hole in the parchment.

The Letters, or Epistles, of the New Testament throw little light on Christian history. James ignores the fact it is written by Jesus’ brother and gives a sermon on why Christians should be Jews. Jude claims he is James’ brother but not Jesus’ and is another sermon.

Peter comforts a persecuted group. Two of John letters are sermons and the third a short note warning against a heretic. All are believed written after the authors died.

Paul letters are mainly exhortations not to slip into heresy. 7 of them are considered genuine because they confirm incidents in his life quoted in the Acts of the Apostles and bear his name, 2 are undecided and 4 false. There is no supporting evidence for the 7 genuine letters other than writers quoting earlier authors.

Many books about the early Christian period (including Roman historians like Tacitus) went missing after Christianity became the official religion. Some went missing in the last few centuries. This led some historians to claim the Church was rewriting its past. After all, history is written by the winners.

Until something changes, like better dates, more discoveries or even a new way of thinking about early Christianity, we might never know the Gospel Truth.

©PaulAndruss 2017

 

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen.

Thomas the Rhymer

Finn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, explicitly sexual and disturbingly violent, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

Finn Mac Cool

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

You can find all of Paul’s posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share the post on your own blog and networks. Thanks Sally

 

 

Writer in Residence Extra – ‘Well, I’ll be a Monkey’s Uncle!’ by Paul Andruss


Another dip into the archives on Paul’s blog for this final post in the Evolution series that we have been featuring. You only have to watch nature programmes featuring Chimpanzees for us to recognise certain characteristics and mannerisms that we associate with our upstanding human species.

However, we have not treated our distant relative with respect or kindness and for many it has been with downright cruelty. I was privileged to film a documentary at Monkey World in Dorset some years ago and seeing those who had been rescued from a life in a laboratory was life-changing.

As always Paul approaches the subject with thought provoking honesty.

Oliver- the Humanzee?

‘Well, I’ll be a Monkey’s Uncle!’ by Paul Andruss

There are repeated reports of a human – chimpanzee hybrid, called a humanzee.
The first is from the year 1,000 AD when the Benedictine monk, Peter Damien, claimed he saw the monstrous offspring of a woman and an ape. More recently, a circus chimpanzee called Oliver (1958-2012) was touted as such.

Oliver was bald with a flat almost human face and freckles. Rather than knuckle walk, like chimps, he preferred to walk upright. It was also claimed Oliver preferred women to female chimpanzees. In 1996 a geneticist examined Oliver’s chromosomes and found he had the normal amount for a chimpanzee, which is 24 pairs. Humans have only 23.

Chimpanzees and humans last shared a common ancestor between 9 – 5 million years ago. In the human branch, 2 chromosomal pairs fused reducing the number from 24 to 23. Scientists believe this resulted in neoteny. It means characteristics in young animals survive into adulthood. In the case of our early ancestors this produced a flatter face and longer legs, perhaps encouraging walking upright.

One argument against chimps and human interbreeding was the different number of chromosomes prevented fertilisation.

However, mules are  horses (31 chromosomal pairs) crossbred with donkeys (64 pairs). Zebras, with 16 to 23 pairs – depending on species – can breed with horses (31 pairs) as can the original wild Przewalski’s Horse, with 33 pairs. So, it is certainly possible for humans and chimpanzees to interbreed.

In addition, about 98% of genes are common to both our species. In rare cases, humans are born with regressive traits such as tails and grasping hand-like feet.

In 1977 a researcher discovered human sperm could penetrate the simian egg’s protective membrane – designed to keep out foreign bodies.

In 1920, a Russian scientist fell out of favour with the Soviet government before he successfully fertilised female chimpanzees with human sperm. In 1967 a similar experiment was abandoned in China after successful fertilisation. In 1980 it was rumoured the experiments would resume.

Now we know it is possible, all that remains is to ask… Why?

Why would we want to do it?

Humanzees, as genetic products, would have no human or animal rights. Forget advanced robotics with billion dollar budgets and artificial intelligence. If hybrids were created, they would be the true robots – from the Slavic word Robotnik meaning slave.

In slave-owning societies throughout history, slaves were worked to death, or abandoned when no longer useful, physically and sexually abused, and even murdered with impunity by their owners.

Oliver, the human-like chimp was owned all his life. Owned & sold on. From 1989 to 1998, he was kept in a tiny cage by a laboratory leasing animals for scientific testing. He ended up crippled with arthritis from his confinement and almost blind. There was evidence of neglect and physical abuse. He died at half his expected lifespan.

Don’t you feel proud to be human?

©Paul Andruss 2017

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen.

Thomas the Rhymer

Finn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, explicitly sexual and disturbingly violent, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

Finn Mac Cool

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

You can find all of Paul’s posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share the post on your own blog and networks. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Story Festival and weekly round up – and The Mummy!


Welcome to a slightly shorter round-up this week as I get back into the swing of things after my weekend in London.  You can read all about the day at the 3rd Annual #BloggersBash in my post earlier today: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/thebloggersbash-2017-time-to-turn-virtual-hugs-into-real-ones/ and I hope that next year more of you will be able to join the party.

David came with me for the weekend and we flew by City Jet into London City Airport and if you are travelling to spend the weekend in London then I can recommend this as an airport. Small and easy to navigate and there is a Docklands Light Railway station that links to Bank station and Central line into the heart of the City.

We opted to stay at the Travelodge which to be honest is cheap and cheerful. But we reckoned we were only going to sleep there and at the weekend the airport is on restricted hours meaning you can get some sleep! They were very friendly and the rooms are fine and economical. We spent what we would have on accommodation at central London rates on eating out during our stay… and perhaps the odd G&T!.

Friday night was very nostalgic. We both worked in the Docklands from 1987 to 1996 and when we first started Canary Wharf was still a hole in the ground. The amount of construction in the last twenty years is astonishing and we barely recognised the place. The year that I left to move to another part of the company, a floating Chinese Restaurant opened in the wharf where our office was based. The Lotus is like a paddle steamer and so 22 years after my leaving lunch.. we enjoyed a feast for two… including our favourites Crispy Duck and some Sake…

On Saturday we split up and David headed off to see his brother and family and I headed off to the hugfest in Central London.We had booked to eat at Zedel’s Brasserie in Piccadilly Circus after the #BloggersBash but David sent me a text to get a cab to The Cafe Royale where we downed a couple of G&Ts before heading off to eat.

The weather was sweltering all weekend but we had pre-booked tickets to see The Mummy and after a lengthy walk around Marble Arch and Oxford Street we retired to the air conditioned Odeon.

To be honest I would only give The Mummy 6 out of 10. The movie had some great stunts and special effects but they were linked with a very suspect script. It was not Tom Cruise’s finest work and Russell Crowe spent most of his time mumbling into his beard with a dodgy English accent. The Mummy herself however did a pretty good acting job!  If you like action with little plot then it is worth going to see.

We were not up with the lark but with the first plane taking off at 7.00 on Monday morning. We had breakfast in the airport and a pleasant hour long flight back to Dublin where thankfully we remembered which row we had left the car in at the long term carpark! It was a great weekend with plenty of highlights and I do have one tip for you if you are going to London for sightseeing and are going to use public transport of any kind. Buy an Oyster Card online before you go (can take a while to get to you) or buy at a station. This will save you at least half on your fares and you can use on the Docklands Light Railway, Underground and buses. https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do

I will be updating the directories with all of last week’s posts but I wanted to mention the wonderful writers who took care of Smorgasbord while I was off gallivanting. The Short Story Competition was a huge success and I must also thank Paul Andruss for providing his usual fantastic post on Friday morning.

For those of you who missed the finale of The Stevie Wonder story with William Price King here is the link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-stevie-wonder-highlights-from-the-last-20-years/

You will find links to all the contributors blogs and social media in their individual stories and if you missed.. here they are.

Thanks to Paul Andruss, Sheila Williams, John Howell, Phillip T. Stephens, Mary Smith, Wendy Janes and Robbie and Michael Cheadle. 

You will also find three of my stories from my previous collection and hope you enjoy.

Thomas the RhymerFrankenstein

Paul Andruss with the background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/writer-in-residence-frankenstein-by-paul-andruss/

Boy with a Harmonica

Sheila Williams with a story set in France during World War II with a supernatural twist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/smorgasbord-short-stories-festival-9th-12th-june-boy-with-a-harmonica-france-1943-by-sheila-williams/

Albert

Sally Cronin –  Meet a man who was the perfect candidate for the job set in the near future.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-june-12th-june-albert-the-perfect-candidate-by-sally-cronin/

Saturday 10th June.

The Matmakers

Geoff Cronin – As a boy Geoff befriends the travellers who come to the beach near his home every summer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/the-black-bitch-and-other-tales-the-matmakers-by-geoff-cronin/

The World Darkly

John Howell with a story that makes you rethink your approach to finding lost property!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-the-world-darkly-by-john-w-howell/

The Last Emperor

Sally Cronin with a story of redemption and loyalty in the Magic Garden.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-tales-from-the-garden-the-last-emperor-by-sally-cronin/

Sunday 11th June

Flinches

Geoff Cronin explains the old country ways of bird catching.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/the-black-bitch-and-other-tales-serialisation-flinches-by-geoff-cronin/

Search and Seizure

Phillip T. Stephens with a futuristic look at border and customs control.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-search-and-seizure-by-phillip-t-stephens/

From Hackney to Hollywood

Wendy Janes takes us on the trail to stardom from Shakespeare in Hackney to the chat show sofa in Hollywood.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-from-hackney-to-hollywood-by-wendy-janes/

Monday 12th June

The health benefits of laughter and an invitation to join the academy with your favourite jokes, videos or images.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/smorgasbord-health-2017-laughter-the-best-medicine-the-health-benefits-and-the-laughter-academy/

Sir Chocolate and the Stolen Moon and Stars

Robbie and Michael Cheadle bring us another adventure story starring Sir Chocolate in verse and also Michael’s original concept for the tale.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-sir-chocolate-and-the-stolen-moon-and-stars-by-robbie-and-michael-cheadle/

Trouble with Socks

Mary Smith with a story of how simple things can become very important to us.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-trouble-with-socks-by-mary-smith/

Elaine

Sally Cronin with the story of a woman planning to surprise her husband on his birthday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/smorgasbord-short-story-festival-9th-12th-june-elaine-by-sally-cronin/

 

My thanks for all your support during the week and over the weekend. Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories Festival – 9th to 12th June – The programme of events.


As you may have already heard there is a #BloggersBash going on in London this weekend and having been unable to go the last two years, I am delighted to be heading off tomorrow.

As usual when taking a break I invited some guest writers to contribute their fiction short stories to keep you entertained while I was offline. And I am very grateful to Sheila Williams, John Howell, Phillip T. Stephens, Wendy Janes, Mary Smith and Robbie and Michael Cheadle for their wonderful tales.

There will  also be the regular posts from Paul Andruss and the start of the serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s second book written when he was 84 years old with more stories of life in Ireland in the 1920s onwards.

On Monday morning I have also scheduled a health post and an introduction to a new series.. The health benefits of laughter and the Smorgasbord Laughter Academy.

The Programme – Friday 9th June

Thomas the Rhymer

Frankenstein

Paul Andruss with the background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Boy with a Harmonica

Sheila Williams with a story set in France during World War II with a supernatural twist.

Albert

Sally Cronin –  Meet a man who was the perfect candidate for the job set in the near future.

Saturday 10th June.

The Matmakers

Geoff Cronin – As a boy Geoff befriends the travellers who come to the beach near his home every summer.

The World Darkly

John Howell with a story that makes you rethink your approach to finding lost property!

The Last Emperor

Sally Cronin with a story of redemption and loyalty in the Magic Garden.

Sunday 11th June

Flinches

Geoff Cronin explains the old country ways of bird catching.

Search and Seizure

Phillip T. Stephens with a futuristic look at border and customs control.

From Hackney to Hollywood

Wendy Janes takes us on the trail to stardom from Shakespeare in Hackney to the chat show sofa in Hollywood.

Monday 12th June

The health benefits of laughter and an invitation to join the academy with your favourite jokes, videos or images.

Sir Chocolate and the Stolen Moon and Stars

Robbie and Michael Cheadle bring us another adventure story starring Sir Chocolate in verse and also Michael’s original concept for the tale.

Trouble with Socks

Mary Smith with a story of how simple things can become very important to us.

Elaine

Sally Cronin with the story of a woman planning to surprise her husband on his birthday.

I am sure you will enjoy the stories from my guest authors, and as I shall be offline completely for the weekend from tomorrow, I will catch up with you on Monday evening. 

As I will not be here to click the share buttons.. I would be very grateful if you would do so for me.  Thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Reblog – The Pool of Salmacis by Paul Andruss


Our writer in residence Paul Andruss has an amazing blog of his own where he dives behind and beneath myths and legends as well as some oddities to entertain, inform and fascinate. This week he turns his spotlight on Mount Olympus and some of the shenanigans that the Gods got up to… As mere mortals we can only read and marvel….

Salmacis & Hermaphroditus become one flesh (Andruss)

Hephaestus, the club-footed blacksmith god was thrown down from Olympus after his mother, Hera, rejected him because he was deformed. Needless to say Hephaestus’ skill with forging weapons was so great, the Olympian gods needed him long before he needed them. To soften his heart Zeus, gave Hephaestus Aphrodite as his bride.

The beautiful goddess of love was not pleased and never lost an opportunity for taking her revenge by having affairs; often with other gods. The result of one such tryst with fellow god Hermes was her son Hermaphroditus.

As you would expect of any child whose mother was the goddess of love, Hermaphroditus was a bit of a stunner, but being brought up in secret, away from people and hidden from the gods for fear of reprisal, he was also naive.

Our story begins when Hermaphroditus, hot and tired from the day’s hunting chanced on a pool, deep within a shady glade, and thought to quench his thirst.

©Paul Andruss 2017

Read the rest of this myth and find out what happens to Hermaphroditus: http://www.paul-andruss.com/the-pool-of-salmacis/

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

You can find articles that Paul has written for Smorgasbord in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, Justice ‘East End’ Style, Skin and Bones


Welcome to the round up for the posts this week just in case you missed any. I feel a little guilty since I spent quite a bit of time off line and not spending time with your blogs but I promise that just another week to go and I will be more attentive.

The plan was to get the next volume of What’s in a Name finished.. I have two more stories to go Y and Z… already in my head and then I have some surprises to add that will be revealed when it is published.  A slightely different appoach to the names from K to Z with just ordinary people doing something they will be remembered for.. Even if it is only by those they love.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a story using an illustration by the very talented Donata Zawadzka.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-short-story-tales-from-the-irish-garden-after-the-festival-illustrated-by-donata-zawadzka/

This story along with 24 more make up the sequel to Tales from the Garden but this time set in Ireland. Queen Filigree is forced to escape from the palace beneath the magnolia tree in Spain and to seek refuge with her Irish cousin.

I am working with Donata who is producing four central illustrations that head up the four seasons in the book and I am very excited by the project. And I have to thank Paul Andruss for introducing us. It will be in print as well as Ebook and is the first book of mine to be written in Ireland since 1999.

You can find out more about Donata at her website and her sales site:  http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery
Buy her work on Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations

I have managed to get some gardening done this week which has a duel purpose.. I pot plants and plot stories!  I am going to do the same this week whilst I finish the current projects but I will be in each day to check up on things and have a chat.

Thank you for all your wonderful support and wonderful comments… I am hugely grateful.

Now for a look at the posts from the week… with additional thanks to my two collaborators.. William Price King and Paul Andruss.

William Price meets the Legends

A brand new series and this time the artist is the amazingly talented Mr. Stevie Wonder who has entertained us for over 50 years. His first performances at age 11 propelled him to early stardom and some of his most iconic hits were written when he was a teenager.  To get you in the mood is one of my all time favourites.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-stevie-wonder-the-early-years/

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

Paul explores the origins of music and you might look at chimpanzees in a different light.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/writer-in-residence-extra-song-and-dance-man-by-paul-andruss/

The Colour of Life – by Geoff Cronin

Just a few more chapters to go in my father-in-law’s memoir but since so many of you have enjoyed I will also be serialising his second book of tall tales.. This week too I pay tribute to my mother-in-law Joan who would have been 97 yesterday. A lovely woman with the most infectious laugh you will ever hear.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/the-colour-of-life-serialisation-the-rosary-1955-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/the-colour-of-life-extra-behind-every-great-man-joan-cronin-1920-1994/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/the-colour-of-life-tommy-and-the-fish-and-the-power-of-prayer/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview

Just  a reminder that if you are in the bookstore you are welcome to do a book reading and interview. The details of how to do that are in this post.  My guest this week was Richard Ankers and next week Sandra J. Jackson and C.S. Boyack.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-reading-and-interview-richard-ankers/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore then please pop in and take a look at this post which has a link to what you need to send me.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-13-steps-to-evil-by-sacha-black/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

If you are in the bookstore you can enjoy regular updates of new releases, great reviews or offers.. Just send me an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-dan-alatorre-and-angie-dokos/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-deanie-humphrys-dunne-and-lesley-fletcher/

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

This is open to all authors on the bookstore shelves or not… just send the link to your latest great review to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-jessica-norrie-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-annette-rochelle-aben-and-hugh-w-roberts/

Smorgasbord Poetry

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for her contribution to this post this week.. In a dilemma about which cake to bake for her husband’s birthday she took to verse…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/smorgasbord-poetry-which-cake-by-robbie-cheadle/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/smorgasbord-poetry-dark-waters-by-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Short Stories

The Sewing Circle is about a group of elderly residents of an East London estate whose lives are devastated by the actions of a family of thugs.  Here are all three episodes. More stories from this collection next week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/smorgasbord-short-stories-the-sewing-club-part-one-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/flights-of-fancy-short-story-anthology-novella-the-sewing-circle-part-two-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/flights-of-fancy-short-story-anthology-the-sewing-circle-part-three-by-sally-cronin/

Some personal stuff

I was delighted to be interviewed by two writers this week. The first was with Amy M. Reade.

https://amreade.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/sally-cronin-is-back/

And the second was with Lisa Burton.... courtesy of Craig Boyack.

https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/odd-job-girl-on-lisa-burton-radio/

I was also very honoured to be nominated in the Most Informative Category for the #BloggersBash this year and voting is now open. There are ten categories and some wonderful nominees.. Please head over and vote for your favourites.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/smorgasbord-reblog-bloggerbash-2017-voting-is-now-open/

Smorgasbord Health – Let’s Walk a Marathon Challenge

This week.. how to burn extra fat…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/lets-walk-a-marathon-update-and-methods-to-burn-extra-fat/

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skeleton-the-progresson-of-osteoporosis-over-50-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skin-the-largest-organ-of-the-human-body/

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch

I would love to hear from you if you have a recipe made from fresh ingredients that is a favourite.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/cook-from-scratch-the-sandwich-that-packs-a-punch-with-link-to-140-fillings/

Humour

Put your troubles away for a little while and enjoy the outlook of a pug who has a neural problem but does not let it get him down..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/the-afternoon-video-when-adverts-are-better-than-the-television/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-time-for-some-laffs-joys-of-old-age-and-a-slice-of-scotland/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/lets-walk-a-marathon-the-agility-circuit-try-and-keep-up-with-this-jack-russell/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/smorgasbord-time-for-some-laffs-things-are-not-always-what-they-seem/

Thanks for showing up, commenting, sharing and being so supportive.. hugs Sally

Keep smiling

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Re-Blog – So, Did Those Feet? – By Paul Andruss


Last Friday Paul Andruss wrote his usual Friday post for the blog which was the story behind the legend, William Blake. Here is a follow up article on Paul’s blog.

With apologies to Terry Gilliam of Monty Python, Glastonbury Tor & of course God (Andruss)

This is a companion piece to the William Blake post written exclusively for Smorgasbord- Variety is the Spice of Life. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/writer-in-residence-william-blake-a-man-born-before-his-time-by-paul-andruss/

It explores the legend behind the lines in Blake’s poem Jerusalem…

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God,

On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

In the Middle-Ages it was widely believed Jesus came to England with his uncle Joseph of Arimathea (who took his body from the cross).

Cornwall had been trading in tin for 2,000 years before Christ. In the story, Joseph was a wealthy merchant who came to buy tin. Jesus accompanied him on trips to Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire during the years not mentioned in the Gospels; those between Jesus visiting to the Temple aged 11 and beginning his ministry around the age of 30.

There are places named after Jesus in Cornwall, like Jesus Well. Jesus is also mentioned in local songs and stories, such as he taught miners how to smelt tin from ore. According to one tradition Jesus lived in the Mendip village of Priddy. In another, he built a wooden church where Glastonbury Abbey now stands. The same tradition has it Joseph of Arimathea and his followers fled to this church after the crucifixion.

Other tales claim Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was the daughter of a British chieftain. This is a variation of the legend told about Constantine the Great’s mother. (He was the 1st Christian Emperor.) Arthurian legend has it Arthur was related to Joseph and thus to the Virgin Mary and Jesus, as Joseph was Mary’s uncle.

More recent stories claim a link between the Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect from the Dead Sea, and the British Druids. They add Jesus came to Britain to study under them. This view seems based on Julius Caesar’s book the Gallic War where he says Britain was the centre of the druid religion and French druids came here to complete their education.

Read the rest of this thought provoking article: http://www.paul-andruss.com/so-did-those-feet/

 

Writer in Residence – William Blake A Man Born Before his Time by Paul Andruss

Status


This week Paul Andruss shares an exclusive post written for Smorgasbord. I am guilty of not looking beneath some of the books and poems that I have read. William Blake was required reading at school but I now realise how sanitised those lessons were. We never got to hear the cool bits.. or the events and writings that were frowned upon. And that lack of telling the story of the men and women behind the classics of the day meant that many of us did not revisit them in adulthood. As it was with Blake and for me… However, in his usual well researched and well crafted article, Paul Andruss does what my teacher was not permitted to do and ignited my imagination and desire to know more.

Ancient of Days (Frontispiece from Europe a prophecy- Blake)

William Blake 1757 –1827 is best remembered for lines from a handful of poems.

Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green?

The Tyger

Tyger, Tyger burning bright,
 In the forests of the night;

Auguries of Innocence

To see a world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand
and eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all of heaven in a rage

The Sick Rose –   

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm…
  Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy

William Blake 1757 –1827

William Blake was born in 1757 to English Dissenters who had separated from the Church of England over State interference in religious matters. At the age of 10, he had his first brush with the spiritual and mystic realm that came to dominate his life, experiencing a vision of a tree full of angels on Peckham Rye Common. Blake continued to have visions throughout his life.

Around this time his parents sent him to drawing classes. When the young Blake developed a preference for engraving, his father apprenticed him at 14 to a print-maker. As a printer and engraver Blake was able to print his own poetry books illustrated with hand-painted watercolours.

Dismissed as idiosyncratic, his genius was ignored during his lifetime. An exhibition of his paintings was poorly attended and the only review hostile. In his twilight years Blake gathered a small group of disciples who kept his flame flickering until his biography in 1865 introduced him to the poet Swineburne, luminaries in the Arts and Crafts movement and the Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Pre-Raphaelite revival during the hippy era ensured Blake’s rediscovery. His unique artistic style and mystical poems struck a chord with a generation yearning for spirituality. Today he is chiefly remembered for his hand-tinted etchings and two collections of illustrated poems: Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794).

A large part of his work languishes unknown. These are his visionary books, a series of almost incomprehensible interrelated illustrated poems. Described by Blake as prophetic and apocalyptic, they show him to be a revolutionist.

A prophet is not a fortune teller but someone God uses as a mouthpiece. For Blake, God was the embodiment of natural truth and justice, while the church was no better than the Biblical Great Whore.

Babylon the Whore mounted on the Great Beast from Revelation (Blake)

In the Greek, Apocalyptic means to uncover or reveal; accounting for the Apocalypse of St John’s other name: the Book of Revelation. Having said that in Blake’s day the word meant the same thing we understand today: the end times. Yet in Revelation, when the old world is swept away, the righteous inherit New Jerusalem. Rather than the penalty of sin, it is the harbinger of heaven on earth.

Blake may have deliberately sheathed his work in allegory because his radical political views were considered treasonable. He was tried for sedition in 1803 after an altercation with a soldier where the old man was supposed to have cried out: ‘Down with the King!’ He was acquitted.

Blake was an advocate of the Free Love Movement, which wasn’t about throwing your car keys into a fruit bowl – I’m pretty sure Mrs Blake would have had something to say about that. Rather it espoused the political equality, and social and sexual freedom of women. It also advocated the removal of all laws against adultery, homosexuality and prostitution. And was the director ancestor of the Suffragettes and Family Planning.

Blake believed marriage was slavery. This was a time when marriages were often arranged. A woman was required to be obedient and subservient to her husband. Her wealth became her spouse’s on marriage. More or less considered her husband’s property, she was obliged to fulfil his needs and condemned to perpetual pregnancy.

It wasn’t until over a century later, Margaret Sanger opened the first birth Control Clinic in New York City in 1921. The police closed it down. A year later, Marie Stopes – scientist, academician, campaigner and author of the best-selling female sexual health manual, Married Love – opened a Birth Control Clinic in West London that fared better.

Blake was an admirer of the radical English philosopher Thomas Payne whose work ‘The Rights of Man’ played a significant role in the American Revolution and provided the blueprint for The American Constitution and The Bill of Rights. He also admired the French Philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, who most famously said: Man is born free and is everywhere in chains. He may have even met Rousseau during his exile in London during the 1760s.

England was the birthplace of revolution. In 1215 King John capitulated to the barons in the Magna Carta. In the 1649, Parliament executed King Charles who believed he was directly appointed by God. In 1688, the Glorious Revolution saw Parliament overthrow of the Catholic sympathiser James II in favour of a restricted monarchy by his daughter and her husband: William and Mary.

Yet, the American Revolution was viewed as a unique and radical event in that it enshrined the rights of citizens and created an egalitarian society. Although women were not in actuality much better off, the ethos of Revolutionary Motherhood gave women a say in rearing their children and eroded the patriarchal rights of paterfamilias. Marriage focused on love and affection rather than wifely obedience; allowing the next generation to choose their spouses and use birth control.

Educated in the newly translated Greek classics, and struggling to shake off the last shackles of absolutism in religion and politics, Europeans looked on the American Revolution as a renaissance of (in their idealised view) ancient Athens: the birthplace of democracy (rule of the common people). That was in fact a slave owning society that denied rights to women.

America a Prophecy Frontispiece (Blake)

In ‘America a Prophecy’ Blake lauds America for overthrowing tyranny, considering it a beacon of liberty and equality. In ‘Visions of the Daughters of Albion’, he has the women of England look to America, where he believes all discrimination one day will end and where they will receive equal rights.

From the Visions of the Daughters of Albion (Blake)

Blake created a whole mythology around his romanticised version of England. He renamed the country Albion, after a giant who settled here island and whose sons and daughters inhabited it for a thousand years until Brutus came from Troy… the story which begins Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘History of the British Kings’.

Blake was very much in tune with contemporary historical ideas when he created his mythology, borrowing heavily from the Bible, including the newly translated excluded books, fragments of classical myth and medieval works such as Geoffrey of Monmouth and the ancient Welsh Black Book of Carmarthen and Red Book of Hergest.

As with all his work, at the heart of his mythology is a lament for the loss of the traditional rural past and a condemnation of the industrialisation and urbanisation ruining England’s once green and pleasant land. Blake’s poem Jerusalem (in full below) is a plea to end the madness of modernity and return to Eden, where Adam and Eve were equal.

It references the medieval story of Jesus visiting Glastonbury in England with his uncle Joseph of Arimathea. Christ’s presence made England a holy land; a New Jerusalem. Where, in the words of John Ball’s sermon preached 400 years earlier during the Peasant’s Revolt…

‘When Adam delved and Eve span who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men… I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty’

During his life Blake saw the agricultural villages and cottage industries that characterised Britain since the Middle-Ages, being overturned by farming machinery and more efficient practices requiring fewer workers. Common land was enclosed by landowners – preventing tenant farmers and smallholders the right to graze animals on common ground – denying an important source of additional income and effectively reducing them to servitude.

Abandoning the traditional way of life, the rural poor flocked to the newly expanding squalid overcrowded cities. Here they were forced to work long hours for little money and less consideration, as unskilled labour in the new steam powered manufactories – giving us the modern word factory.

Is it any wonder the French industrial poor threw wooden clogs into the machines that destroyed their livelihoods? The wooden clog or sabot gave rise to the name Saboteur.

Some analysts equate the ‘dark Satanic mills’ of Blake’s Jerusalem not with the new manufactories but the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford – spewing out the new-age men of science and engineering, and the clergy who enslaved Christ’s own Englishmen for the greedy landowner and fell industrialist.

Others, less given to allegory, point out he could be referring to Albion Flour Mills the first big factory in London, situated close to Blake’s house. When it burned down, possibly due to arson, a contemporary illustration showed the devil squatting over the burning building.

In 1776, France had helped the American Revolutionaries. This was more to piss off the English than for any genuine fellow feeling. The French Monarchy was far more totalitarian.

Thirteen years later it seemed only fair the Americans should in turn help the French Revolutionaries … despite their actions not displaying much gratitude to the French king. (In thanks, the French Republic later gifted America with the Statue of Liberty. Constructed by Gustav Eiffel, a copy gifted by America to France, stands in Paris not far from Eiffel’s Tower.)

With the French Revolution came another prophetic book ‘Europe a prophecy’, where Blake praised the French, as he had the Americans, for having the courage to do what the English would not: embrace liberty, fraternity and equality. This has led some to consider ‘The Tyger’ (in full below) a paean to the French Revolution.

Blake’s fervour is evident in lines like

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

A reference to Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods, putting man above the rest of creation; which begs the question: if man is the pinnacle of creation why are some less than others?

And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand & what dread feet

The French Revolution began among the poor and disenfranchised – the labourer working with his hands to produce a wealth he does not share. His tools, used to make profit for others, will now smash his chains. Its revolutionary anthem was the marching song ‘La Marseillaise’’ calling volunteers from Marseilles to fight tyranny-

“To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
Let an impure blood
Soak our fields!”

The Tyger’s concluding lines can be simultaneously read in two contradicting ways.

Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Is Blake parodying his earlier poem ‘The Lamb’ (from Songs of Innocence) with a jab at the complacent and long-suffering English working class; unfavourably compared to their French brothers?

In his complex mythology Blake thought Christ visited England. If Christ is the Good Shepherd; we are his flock. Unlike the tigers of France, Englishmen are content to be sheep and so he wonders: Is the god of universal justice, pleased to see his chosen people bought off by boiled beef and carrots?

By the time the poem was published in 1794, the ideals of the Revolution were lost to the Reign of Terror. Aristocrats and citizens alike where daily denounced and guillotined to the clack of les tricoteuses’ knitting needles. Worse the Terror played into the hands of the English Establishment who had always belittled the Revolution. The English press jocularly compared English Slavery to French Liberty in contemporary cartoons.

French Liberty and English Slavery (a satirical cartoon)

Because the Tyger is a savage beast who knows only how to destroy and devour, do we, in Blake’s last lines, hear his despair that man, by his very nature, is incapable of embracing the universal justice of brotherhood, equality and freedom?

End-piece to Jerusalem (Blake)

JERUSALEM

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

THE TYGER
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

©Paul Andruss 2017

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Finn Mac Cool

Paul has written four novels, Finn Mac Cool, and the (Harry-Potteresque) Jack Hughes Trilogy. ‘Finn Mac Cool’ and ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ are available for free download

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

You can find all of Paul’s posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

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Smorgasbord Reblog – An Ancient Roman Myth – Paul Andruss


There is only one writer I know, Paul Andruss, who can dispel a Roman Myth with such style.. As to the menu of the Roman feasts and shenanigans… flamingo tongues and stuffed dormice.. no wonder the empire fell..

Romes mythical founders Romulus & Remus were suckled by a she-wolf

Since I’ve done the Greek myths to death, how about an old Roman myth for a change?

The Ancient Romans loved their orgies, right? Sex; gluttony; sickening violence: you name it they loved it.

From lunchtime to dawn, guests consumed lashings of wine and exotic foods, such as ostrich and peacock brains, flamingo tongues, porpoise meatballs, stuffed dormice, boiled parrot (yes, that’s right; it’s not a typo for carrot) and sow’s udder served steeped in its own milk.

‘No, honestly, just the green salad would be lovely thank you. Did you say the chef had washed his hands? Well, just a cup of boiled water then.’

Obviously eating and drinking copious amounts all day and night necessitated something a bit more drastic than the odd gulp of Milk of Magnesia. So dining rooms were furnished with an adjacent cubical called a vomitorium. Here you could talk to god on the big white phone – you know… ‘Oh God! Oooh Godddd. Oh dear Godddd, noooo – before going back and enjoying yourself some more.

Read the rest of this enlightening dispellation of a Roman Myth: http://www.paul-andruss.com/an-ancient-roman-myth