Сороковые (The Forties) by David Samoylov

The forties, fateful,

warring, frontline,

with funeral notices,

clattering trains.

The hum of the rails.

All is cold, high and barren.

Their houses have burned –

they’re heading east.

That’s me at the station

in my scruffy wool cap.

The star’s not standard issue –

it’s cut from a can.

Yes, here I am in the world,

skinny, happy, carefree.

I’ve got tobacco in my pouch –

I have a stash of rolling papers.

I joke with the girls,

and limp a little overmuch.

I break my rationed bread in half,

and I know everything on earth.

Imagine! What coincidence –

war, horror, dreams and youth!

And all of it sank deep inside me…

and only later did it wake.

The forties, fateful,

lead and gun smoke…

War wanders through the land.

And we are all so young!


by Давид Самойлов (David Samoylov)

pseudonym of Давид Самуилович Кауфман (David Samuilovich Kaufman)


translated by Boris Dralyuk

Additional information: David Samoylov (Давид Самойлов), pseudonym of David Samuilovich Kaufman ( Давид Самуилович Кауфман; 1 June 1920 in Moscow — 23 February 1990 in Tallinn) was a notable poet of the War generation of Russian poets, considered one of the most important Russian poets of the post-World War II era as well.

A recital of the poem in its original Russian:

The original Cyrillic Russian version of the poem:


Сороковые, роковые,
Военные и фронтовые,
Где извещенья похоронные
И перестуки эшелонные.

Гудят накатанные рельсы.
Просторно. Холодно. Высоко.
И погорельцы, погорельцы
Кочуют с запада к востоку…

А это я на полустанке
В своей замурзанной ушанке,
Где звездочка не уставная,
А вырезанная из банки.

Да, это я на белом свете,
Худой, веселый и задорный.
И у меня табак в кисете,
И у меня мундштук наборный.

И я с девчонкой балагурю,
И больше нужного хромаю,
И пайку надвое ломаю,
И все на свете понимаю.

Как это было! Как совпало –
Война, беда, мечта и юность!
И это все в меня запало
И лишь потом во мне очнулось!..

Сороковые, роковые,
Свинцовые, пороховые…
Война гуляет по России,
А мы такие молодые!

‘Thought, yet more thought! Poor artist of the world’ by Yevgeny Baratynsky

Thought, yet more thought! Poor artist of the word,

thought’s priest! For you there can be no forgetting;

it’s all here, here are people and the world

and death and life and truth without a veil.

Ah! Chisel, cello, brush, happy the man

drawn to you by his senses, going no further.

He can drink freely at the world’s great feast!

But in your presence, thought, in your sharp rays,

before your unsheathed sword, our life grows pale.


by Евгений Абрамович Баратынский (Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky)


translated by Peter France

‘Gotta keep living, though I’ve died twice’ Osip Mandelstam

Gotta keep living, though I’ve died twice,

and water’s driving the city crazy:

how beautiful, what high cheekbones, how happy,

how sweet the fat earth to the plough,

how the steppe extends in an April upheaval,

and the sky, the sky – pure Michelangelo…


by Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам (Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam. His surname is commonly latinised as Mandelstam)


translated by Andrew Davis

‘Twilight was turning to darkness outside…’ by Vladislav Khodasevich

Twilight was turning to darkness outside.

Under the eaves a window banged wide.


A curtain was lifted, a light briefly shone,

a swift shadow fell down the wall and was gone.


Happy the man who falls head first to death:

at least for a moment his viewpoint is fresh.


by Владислав Фелицианович Ходасевич (Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich)


translated by Michael Frayn

Happiness Week: Saturday

My cat was very playful. He still has no name. He now has a bald spot on his neck.

My skin is healing.

Watched a ‘let’s play’ through of ‘Life Is Strange’ published by Square Enix (with a very sad reference to their film ‘The Spirits Within’ not being a bad film but a cult classic as if they still cannot let go of how much of a major let down it was both financially and critically for them even all these years later…). It is a game in a similar adventure vein to those of TellTale Games escept you are able to see both outcomes of a decision by rewinding time immediately to see how the other outcome will come across. This actually limits its replay value ultimately as you will just choose ‘the best outcome’ in your first playthrough and not replay the rest of the game to reach these points again. You play as a college girl who has returned to her home town aftera number of years away who discovers she has the ability to rewind time with which she must solve, with the aid of her rebellious childhood friend, a missing person’s case and protect the town from a severe storm arriving in 4 days. It is episodic and only the first episode, ‘Chrysalis’, has been released so far. It has some real promise although the first episode has a number of generic elements (hopefully to be subverted in later episodes) but despite all the side activities you can do it doesn’t have the polish of TellTale Games’ recent releases so far.

I watched ‘The Wind Rises’ / 風立ちぬ / Kaze Tachinu on FilmFour. It is a Studio Ghibli film so it goes without saying it is fantastically high quality. However I understand why, on principle, many political groups took umbrage with a romanticised depiction of the life of the engineer who designed the Mitsubshi A6M Zero plane the Japanese used in World War II. However it is actually more correct to say the film is based on a short story by Tatsuo Hori, with parts of the story Hori based on Jiro Horikoshi with aspects of his own personality (for example the fictional account of Horikoshi’s wife suffering tuberculosis which Hori’s wife actually did suffer from and his chain smoking when Horikoshi was a lifelong non-smoker) amalgamated into a single character as the fictional Horikoshi’s of the film. An excellent film tinged with an awkwardness as you can’t escape that in realising his dream the character ultimately saw his realised dream used for war. The film tries to address this with his dreams where Giovanni Battista Caproni addresses him as a spirit guide but it falls flat due to the real world implications and for once sadly cannot be chalked up as simply ‘cultural differences’ as is the excuse often used when certain aspects of films are viewed unfavourably in different markets worldwide.

‘Forest of Drizzling Rain’ – Another ‘let’s play’ through but of an RPGmaker horror game. It was okay and had an interesting concept but ultimately the story was not well implemented and so failed on it’s potential with some very weak endings and not enough character development.

‘Prinny, Can I Be The Hero?’ – Yet another Let’s Play I watched. An action platforming PS Vita game spin of the Disgaea strategy RPG series. I still have very fond memories of playing the Playstation 2 games in the series but as I never got a PS3 or PS Vita I never kept up with the later entries. The humour is still there but this spin off seems far lighter fare gameplay wise compared to the main series. It looks fun but also quite short if you are not into purchasing download extras.

The Voice – A 16 year old mother from Bridgend. Her mother is in a Wheelchair ticking the sad background that these sort of talent shoes feel the need to shoehorn into their constructed narratives as part of an ‘overcoming adversity’ storyline. It demeans the individuals concerned and makes them figures to be pitied instead of respected in publicising their circumstances and makes it harder for an audience member to be unbiased in their assessment of the performer’s talent. Unfortunately their accents made them sound far duller than… it made them sound dull. And so Bridgend is not only the ‘suicide ring’ town of South Wales but also of tattooed underage mothers. Tidy…

National Lottery game show – I forgot what the name of it was but there was a Welsh couple on it. The guy reminded me of someone I know. They seemed really affectionate and to get on well unlike some of the more nervous couples in previous weeks. It was nice to see though it was clear the wife was the one who wore the trousers in the relationship as she was quite ‘don’t be so self-deprecating’. Also one of the things they were trying to win were proper wedding rings as theirs were from Swansea market. There’s nothing wrong with that just… you just know someone is judging them for it somewhere and thinking the Welsh, as a nation, are poor… which is sadly true as we are paid less for the equivalent work when it is done in England.

Nice relaxing day.


Normal services will resume in due course… or maybe I will do a ‘Misery Week’ which would be cathartic. Or ‘Absurdism Week’ which would be fun. Or maybe I will just leave it a few days and resume the usual update every few days. Maybe even lower it to once a week. Let us see…

Did people enjoy reading this? It seemed to be just the same few points being reiterated time and time again each day over the week.

I uploaded this with mere seconds left before Sunday began. I almost forgot to post it at all. An achievement in time management which I was quite happy with.

Happiness Week: Friday

I’ve got that Friday feeling! Other people didn’t feel that way so I tried to lead the way. Did I succeed or did I fail? It doesn’t matter because its positivity week!


A very quiet day. Good for focusing on the task at hand. At least I spent it with nice people.

Rugby is on the television tonight. The Wales vs England game. The old enemy. Took our land. Supressed our language. Mined the minerals from beneath our homes for ‘their’ empire for a pittance in payment. No one cared for anything other than this today.  You are not a Welshman if you don’t drop everything and are obsessed with the game shouting a tthe television screen decrying the events and telling ‘your’ team what ‘we’ have to do to win. I don’t watch rugby or care about it but it is on the television and is deemed a national event. I am going to go read some short stories instead… Robert W Chambers’ The King In Yellow is this weekends choice then… Ladies love watching those muscular men in short shorts running up and down a field clutching an egg shaped ball. It is all very symbolic of what fuels their libido… The way they handle those balls you can tell they would make worthy breeding stock and care giving fathers. Shame their egos are bigger than their…

Caryl Parry Jones sums up what rugby is to the Welsh national identity with this Welsh language charity single performed by her character Cameron Jenkins (the ever injured rugby player): Ultimately Rugby is an emotional roller-coaster.

Cameron Jenkins’ charity single as part of his ‘Hwpo Fe Mewn’ appeal for the BGDB charity (Living With Dislocated Fingers).
Don’t forget about our Welsh and International rugby heroes who are suffering with dislocated fingers, because it’s an emooootional rollercoaster.

The general gist of the chorus lyrics are:

‘obviously, (you know)! / Its an emotional roller-coaster /  pop it out and then pop it back in / its an emotional roller-coaster!’

Small cuts have opened on my hands during the day but they will heal now I have time to attend to skincare. Don’t mock this concern as unmanly. Cuts can get infected and become dangerous if not attended to especially with broken skin which is no longer an effective barrier to bacteria, and viruses entering the blood stream. I assure you those rugby players spend far more time on their appearance than the average person on the street e.g. designer haircuts, spray tans, etc. And for their work having massages for physio, access and the time to use the best sports equipment for exercise and support from the top professionals in the healthcare industry. And once past their physical prime they are treated like demi-Gods walking into any pub and finding a beer, free of charge, being offered to them by the lesser orders. ‘Good bloke’ is their title no matter how much of a sociopath they are in person. ‘done great things’ – like carry a ball from one end of the field to the other. These are the modern day warriors on whom society pins its reputation. Prancing primadonnas of great height and strength who drop to the floor and spend months off ‘work’ hainv top of the line privately funded healthcare if they break a toe or finger.

Hot cross buns and tea for supper.

My cat likes to go towards the door as if to escape the house but he stops short. As much as others think he will run away I think he just wants some fresh air. I think you don’t realise how revitalising fresh air is until you don’t have access to it.

One more day of the Happiness Week… burnout. So much to do and so little time.

The week seems to have gone well. Still feel something went wrong at some point though.. No, maybe not… Just have to accept things are not a constant… Not a flat circle… Time is not a flat circle… I want to rewatch True Detective again. If I do then it proves truly that time is a flat circle:

Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.

Happiness Week: Thursday

I kept my hands moisturised and they were not as bad today. In fact they seemed to have begun healing. REGENERATION OF THE EPIDERMIS!


I purchased ‘The Rough Guide to Britain’ (7th edition) for £5 from WH Smiths. It originally cost £16.99! BARGAIN HUNTING AND MAKING PEOPLE JEALOUS!

My cat is booked to go to the vet under the name of Totoro, which the cat home gave him, as we haven’t given him a name yet. In my absence a list was made of names for him. They were not what I would have chosen. They want: Alex (of Aleksandr / Alexander), Max (of Maximus or Maximillian), Donovan, Morgan, Maddox, Rhys, Rhett (After Rhett Butler from ‘Gone With The Wind), Matthias (after the character from S4C’s Y Gwyll / Hinterland), Hugo, Benedict (after Cumberbatch), Henry, Oscar, Sky, Radley, Archer, Chance, Darcy, Aramis or Milo. NAMES TO LIVE BY IN ORDER TO PROJECT MISPLACED AFFECTION TOWARDS FICTIONAL FIGURES!

They decided the short list is: Claudius, Augustus or Benedictus. GETTING ANCIENT ROME ON YOUR ASS!

All the Russian names they considered initially are ignored. So no Ivan, Dovlatov, etc, naming. PRAVDA BRAT!

The cat was a stray so Melmoth, after the titular character of Charles Robert Maturin’s novel Melmoth the Wanderer, seems a fitting name. GETTING LOST IN HIS EYES FOR A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS!

Also a co-worker suggested Spock as she has a thing for the actor Zachary Quinto. She should get her own cat… or a pet rock. SPOCK AND SYLAR SLASH FICTION!

Also someone keeps saying, in an overly dramatic way, ‘Heeeeeelllll – oooooooohhhhh’ when entering a room. I dont know if it is intentionally done to patronise others or is really how this person actually speaks… UNIQUE SPEECH PATTERN FOR THE WIN!

Someone shared a clip of a film I shared with them. Suprised and joyful! SPREAD THE PIRACY OF HUMOUR! YO HO ITS A PIRATES LIFE FOR ME ON THE GOOD SHIP YOUTUBE!

I was very helpful today. Part of a team! Part of a team! Asked if I could to take a moment out of my busy working schedule (sarcastically) to help. Part of a team! Part of a team! TEAMWORK GO! FORM OF ‘SLIGHTLY PERPLEXED FUNKY GIBBON’!

People speak at shouting level stood next to me when its not necessary. GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU HEARD WHAT I SAID BECAUSE IT WAS GOOD!

It’s Happiness Week so everything has to be stated in a positive manner! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! JOY JOY JOY!

I had carrot and coriander soup with wholemeal bread! It was filling! I have had it before! NOM NOM NOM!

I was given a waving golden lucky cat! LUCKY!

I acquired 3 tubes of vanilla, sandalwood and lotus scented incense sticks with a burner stand. He tubes were originally £5 each but I got them for £1 each. FREE MARKET CAPITALISM IN PERSUIT OF INNER PEACE! CONFORM! CONSUME! OBEY!

So much positivity… it is a tiring experience. Two more days… What can I say? I will find something…

Emilie Simon – Flowers: A French singer performing in English.

Happiness Week: Sunday

I got a new cat from Cats Protection! He was a stray and had been there 3 weeks.

They named him Totoro as he is grey and white. He must have reminded someone of the titular character of the famous Studio Ghibli Film. We have tried to think of a name for him but do not know what to call him. He has a patch fur that is much shorter on his right front leg as they had to shave it to give him an intravenous drip.

At the centre we arrived early but the receptionist let us in. There were boys told not to laugh or be noisy. I think only one of them was getting a cat and the other was his friend. They got goodie bags containing balloons and cat masks. Someone came in looking for kittens but they didn’t have any that were ready to leave their mother yet so the woman left empty handed.

We filled out the paperwork and brought him home. I picked up a lot of leaflets about cat care. I also got a car sticker. The staff at the centre think he was ‘the handsome one’.

They gave us a free pocket sized torch toy that projects the image of a mouse on the ground. He liked it. They also gave us 4 weeks free pet insurance and a discount card for the type of food they approve of called Purina.

When we put him in the spare room and opened his carry case he explored under the wardrobe but there is very little headroom under it so he laid flat with his legs out to the side so he could slip under it. He came out a few moments later.
He eats dry food. He drinks water.

He pulled up the carpet in the spare room when we had to leave him alone to get him food and other things. He was sat up on the desk looking at me open the door.

He has gone around in circles time and time again around the house. Often he is following us or playing a chasing game because we are keeping an eye on him. He is often twitching his tail back and forth. Maybe he is like Dr Banner in The Avengers where he is always angry… he doesn’t like shut doors. He runs over to them when they are shut and tries to get to the otherside.

We were given a sample of a spray to put on things to stop him spraying his scent on them. It works.
He is very playful. My relative bought him a ‘fishing’ trype toy with a small dead duck on the end filled with catnip. He really liked it.

When the others had to leave and I was left to hold him while they left I put him down after they left and he waited and then attacked my arm. He did not have his claws out and meowed at me.

He is very hungry. He is very high strung because of all the new noises. He doesn’t like the sound of the toilet water system after the toilet has been flushed. He waits outside the doors waiting for you.

Though I blocked access to my room, with a laundry basket, he still went in there and tried to go under the bed but I had blocked it with all the cases of books I have. I like to read. I have many books. He does not understand the concept of a door opening as I would swing it back and forth and he would try to scratch under it.

He has a high pitched meow. He runs up and down the stairs. He likes to sit at the top of the stairs. He likes to lie down in the centre of the kitchen and in the centre of the living room. He goes up on the chairs. He likes to explore. While exploring behind the television and furniture he got a lot of cobwebs all over his whiskers. He doesn’t like sudden sounds. He likes to be stroked a lot. He will insist on it. He is a big boy. He is very tall when he stands on his hind legs. He often has looked over things to see what is on top of them.

If you did not read this in anything other than the voice of a five year old this was less that an absolute sucess. So…This week, every day, there will be happy cheery updates because… Happy Happy Joy Joy! Happy Happy Joy Joy! Happy Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy! Once when I was jobseeking a member of a recruitment agency insisted I smile. She waited 5 minutes for me to do it. It was an abuse of power but isn’t it wonderful that she cared enough that she forced someone down on their luck to conform to her perception of reality rather than acknowledge the difference in our current situations. I’m sure she went and found someone in a wheelchair and told themm to dance. Just the kind of ‘kick up the backside’ kind of mentality the unemployed need. Recruitment Agencies are not my favourite industry. (See even that was phrased in a less than negative way because it suggests there are industires i dislike more like… war profiteering). Tomorrow more HAPPINESS!!!

7 Things You Didn’t know About Me: I am Javert apparently…

I have seen a few people do these ‘7 things you don’t know about me’ challenges on Facebook. Of course no one would ask me as I have a pessimistic mind. I would likely just make up fantastical things to joke it off and reveal nothing of myself or things I consider arbitrary like the fact I carried both a brass statue of Ganesha and some lucky coal from my grandmother in my pocket when doing many sixth form exams. That statue however has been lost somewhere. Nonetheless without Facebook’s restrictions here are some matters to state. Are they totally honest or a bit fabricated? You’ll never know and thus it’s just another layer of mystery about who it is running this on going concern.

1) Empathy over sympathy. I try to be happy. It’s just the natural ebb and flow of life. People who appear forever happy are in someway trying to avoid tackling certain hard matters in their life and potentially setting themselves up for a greater fall in the long run sadly. Prehaps it is because I too easily identify with peoples’ issues when they voice them to me and in some part ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ yet, all too frequently in my case, this means I take the burden of that person’s issues upon myself whether I can help or not. Sometimes people just want someone to listen and I would like to think I am good at this though I am not the person they wish they were speaking to.

2) I am very weary of people who immediately, upon a first encounter, use terms of familiarity if I do not know them personally. For example terms like ‘mate’, ‘butt’ or ‘buddy’. These overly familiar terms are used to make you lower your defenses by suggesting the speaker has an openness and lack of judgemental opinions. However, to me, it is a red flag telling me to be weary as the use of this bluntly ued social skill is intended to achieve something detrimental to myself – namely to make the recipient ‘off guard’ which means you don’t practise cautioun with someone whose intentions may not be that good. Often the people who casually use these terms of address are amongst the most judgemental people I have ever met.

3) ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ is my leifmotif. The first time I heard it was on an anime VHS ‘Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still: Volume 1’ which I bought at a car boot sale many years ago. It was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and an unnamed tenor. However it originally comes from the comic opera L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti.

It plays during a character’s recollection of how the world wronged his father and deemed him a monster. His father, Von Folgen a senior member of a research facility, was deemed a monster for causing the destruction of a large mass of land during an experiment involving a new power source, the Shizuma Drive, claiming it was flawed and unsafe to be used. He set off a reaction killing him and many of the people involved at the location. At the end of the anime, after the villains, Big Fire composed of the Magnificent Ten and their henchmen, have killed many of the heroes, the International Police Organisation, and have themselves fallen in battle, it is revealed that the Shizuma Drive, which had revolutionised the world and was a universally used power source to the point fossil fuels and nuclear power were obsolete, is in fact truly faulty and dangerous of a world scale. Von Folgen had seen that it would cause a chain reaction within the atmosphere eliminating the ozone within seconds and all life on the planet would be wiped out within minutes at a certain point in the new power source’s use. The villains all along had actually been saving the world the entire time and their methods, while damaging to government facilities as no one believed what they were saying, had been for the greater good compared to the heroes defence of these locations. In the end it was a pyrrhic victory. Giant Robo, the title robot, is revealed to be powered by nuclear energy hence why it and it alone could continue to fight Big Fire during the power black outs. Ultimately in order to stop Von Folgen’s ambition they had to ironically rely on the power sources which they had abandoned. By the end of the series the world has survived but is devastated as their over reliance as left them in a true dark ages while all Von Folgen had desired was for people to embrace this ‘beautiful night’ and find alternative means of power without the risk of annihilation due to greed for success.

In the context of the original aria it is a man in love with a girl who buys an elixir of love, in truth just some wine bought from a conman, and while watching the girl laments that if only she could understand him “Una furtiva lagrima” (A furtive tear) is the romanza from act 2, scene 8 of the Italian opera L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti. It is sung by Nemorino (tenor) when he finds that the love potion he bought (in fact a bottle of wine from a conman) to win the heart of his dream lady, Adina, works. Nemorino is in love with Adina, but she is not interested in a relationship with an innocent, rustic man. To win her heart, Nemorino buys a love potion with all the money he has in his pocket. That love potion is actually a cheap red wine sold by a traveling quack doctor, but when he sees Adina weeping, he knows that she has fallen in love with him, and he is sure that the “elixir” has worked.

Eventually it turns out the elixir is not required but in reality it would be a tragedy not a comedy. Nemorino seems to suffer from limerence at this point leading to…

4) I excel in formal situations rather than informal ones but that isn’t a valuable ability in society if you don’t have ‘soft skills’. I prefer one to one communication or better yet small groups. I work well in formal situations more so than informal ones. So ironically in the modern day work enviroment, where everyone refers to each other by first name, I feel a bit uneasy knowing the truth of the matter is that this is a social facade and the underlying authority and division between roles still exists.

I was for a time in charge of mentoring a group of people on interview skills. Most of them were successful in finding jobs within weeks of my mentoring which far exceeded that of the more senior experienced staff. Of course at the end of the probationary period I was let go as I did not follow the rules which made it more of a babysitting job than actually helping people get jobs. If people got jobs quickly I suppose it would somehow negatively affect the organisations profits so ironically doing the correct thing was ‘wrong’ and so I found myself ironically joining the people on this course being held back from achieving what I could. In the end I found employment by myself and so this entire process was pointless. They just let me do my own job search because I didn’t need them. I could tell stories of those who were evil and manipulated this position of power but what is the point. The abusive will always gain power in society but disguise it with token gestures of altruism they make sure people witness and will hold testimony to.

Society idolises the self promoting individual as part of a group. If you even have a passing knowledge of a sport you can identify the main figures in a sports team who are noted as excelling past their comrades however the individual who does not belong is demonised if they act in a manner which flies in the face of cohesive teamwork. A sportsman who was an excellent player decades after their career has ended will still find themselves the centre of societal events even if they treat all those they deem unworthy of their company like dirt. It is only natural such people are valued though they are everything you are told when growing up to detest. Humans are a social animal and any animal which excels is valuable as a ‘good’ example while those that do not otherwise conform are a liability to the group and must be cast out to ensure the group’s security.

Yet ironically modern life has allowed the outsider to survive though not to thrive and thus natural selection has led to many issues. Boo Radley of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ needed to be cared for by his brother yet the modern age could allow him to survive by himself as communication is less and less done face to face. Such figures are left to imagine interaction or to facilitate it only in passing and so ultimately the mind-set is forged that there is no need to invest in others as all things are fleeting. Of course people understand this in some sense but to such people that moment of loss is all the more immediate and so when it comes to pass it is a matter of fact not of loss as it is just the way things are meant to be. It may be due to people finding me a good listener.

As long as you have the right look and good communication skills it doesn’t matter if you are under qualified and shameless in your self promotion because you’re ‘the right sort’ no matter what situation you’re in.

5) I empathise with characters that have high moral standards but are ultimately flawed individuals often leading to their downfall by the end of the story. In a brief way I have always preferred characters with a staunch set of values, be they hero or villain, and willing to die for them though often these figures are presented as isolated people and not people to be viewed in any positive manner. The most well-known example would be Javert from Les Miserables. In the book he is introduced far later than in the musical but in both his view is that the law, as a set marker of morality, is unquestionable and this is reflected in his songs and ultimately his fate as he commits suicide when, depending on your perspective, he either kills himself unable to accept Jean Valjean is a morally good man though in the eyes of the law he is a criminal or, as I prefer to interpret it in line with the novel, he commits suicide because it is the logical end to the matter. In order to capture Valjean would mean prosecuting a man who is noble and doing the right thing but at the same time he is duty bound to uphold the word of the law and the simplest answer is to remove himself from the equation. He is not a villain as the musical audience wish to pigeon hole him. He is one of ‘the retched’ although instead of living in poverty as many of the characters do he is instead retched as he is restrained from doing moral right due to being so steadfastly insistent on maintaining the letter of the law even when presented with situations he knows to be ‘good’ despite not being legal.

He knows Valjean stole bread to feed starving family, he sees the benefits the factory has given to people who Valjean assumes a new identity and he sees the mercy Valjean has during the revolution even being willing to finally allow Javert to take him in so he is not in trouble. For Javert to finally find his creed to be wrong and that upholding the law is morally wrong but letting Valjean go is legally wrong so in order to resolve the matter he removes himself form the equation as stated previously.

This sentiment of upholding a creed no matter what is also present I the film ‘In Bruge’ where Ralph Fiennes as Harry Waters states killing children is something even he, a career criminal, deemed inexcuseable and in fact sparks the events of the film in motion.

At the end of the film he kills a racist midget and believing he is a child keeps to his word and shoots himself in the head stating ‘Got to stick to your principles’.

I notice in a lot of films, especially super hero ones, the hero is excused killing as long as they do not do it directly or are shown to show some partial remorse about doing it. For example in the recent Superman film he snaps General Zodd’s neck. He cries but there were alternatives on how to resolve this matter which the film makers could have taken rather than this route and justify it with ‘…and Supes decided never to kill again’. In Spider-man he leaps out of the way of the Green Goblin’s jet platform allowing the villain (who is clearly mentally ill due to the side effects of an experimental serum), to be impaled on the device while he leaps out of the way. In Batman Begins the hero manipulates the situation so Ra’s Al Ghul is stranded on a train heading into an explosion and doesn’t save him. This is a gritty reboot but nonetheless though Batmasn hasnt dirtied his hands with the actual act he did create the situation in which to kill his adversary. In these cases the hero created the lethal situation, or allowed it to occur, and we are meant to view this as the villain being hoist by their own petard. I find that the media is endorsing some very disturbing hypocrasies in morality in such films which becomes ingrained in the mindset of children. Further examples involve V of ‘V for Vendetta’ who is a vigilante and in the original graphic novel a villainous anti-hero terrorist figure fighting a totalitarian state as the greater evil yet in the film this is dumbed down to him fighting for freedom without any civilian casualties and Evie’s torture/training being presented in a far more sympathetic tone than the original story. It is no surprise that Rorschach from Watchmen is the most liked character though his morality is clearly in the mould of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism which Steve Ditko, one of the founding figures in modern American comic books fully endorsed which led to the creation of Mr A after he and Stan Lee found they had very conflicting views on how the heroes should act.

I think it should be noted that Javert mentions that he was born inside a jail and holds himself to a higher cause having been raised amongst the worst of society (which gives him a jaded perspective). Yet we are to identify with Jean Valjean who has been on the run for years. I suppose Hugo, viewing society at large, and Doestoevsky, viewing the individual’s sense in ‘Crime and Punishment’ conflict here. To Raskalnikov ultimately it is his own sense of righteousness killing the money lender, mistaking it for a morally justifiable action, which results in his personally enforced sense of guilt for the grevious act once he sees how little consequence it has had to the order of wider society. It is no doubt ironic that Raskolnikov compares himself to Napoleon in his belief of justified actions. It was a period of human history where the letter of the law and morality was being challenged and not assumed to be one and the same as it had been for centuries previously.

Porfiry Petrovich, who is the head of the Investigation Department in charge of solving the murders of Lizaveta and Alyona Ivanovna, who, along with Sonya, moves Raskolnikov towards confession operates under very different methods to Javert however. It is interesting to think that Javert, who is authoritarian, is considered a villainous figure or at best an anti-villain so we have figures like 2000AD’s Judge Dredd (based on Javert saying ‘I am the law and the law is not mocked’ and Sylvester Stallone’s role as Dredd infamously repeating the phrase ‘I am the law’) when adapted. However Petrovich, who is more open to using coercion and manipulation to persuade Raskolnikov to confess though he has no actual evidence, is adapted into friendly, almost comical, Columbo who rambles about things for a while before saying ‘…eh, and one more thing…’ before nailing the guilty with a single question about how things do not add up in regards to people’s account of the events.

6) I have not met anyone I was friendly with in school face to face in over ten years. More just by coincidence than anything as many moved to England for their jobs or even as far as Australia or Germany making themselves a life in these other countries. Even then I am not sure what the word ‘friend’ means to people nowadays when they use it. Certainly Facebook and social media with their use of ‘friend’ instead of ‘contact’ or ‘acquaintance’ have changed the context of the word’ common usage. Prehaps it could be said it has even led to misinterpretation by simplifying the language we use day to day causing us to use the word ‘friend’ when we mean an association far less intimate than the common dicitionary definition of friendship which leads to misunderstandings.

7) I find people are more prone to immediately think the worse of others than give them the benefit of the doubt. I find if you are quiet people reveal their true personality as they will assume things about you thus demonstrating their own personal prejudices. It is surprising what you discover about people this way. The extrovert with many friends, in not being able to gauge you, can become hostile as you are, to them, an unknowable element which they rarely encounter thus precieve you immediately as a threat for keeping ‘secrets’ from them when others would merely respect your sense of privacy. Some people may expect to just get their own way and as society has appeared to become more informal with people addressing their superiors by first name, rather than Mr/Mrs/Miss ____, it appears everything is more relaxed when in fact things are perhaps even more formalised in the sense of interaction where people will be forced to do certain things as a favour’ when really it is an instruction. Being in absolute control of the situation is a major hangup for many people it seems. ‘An easy life’ is the mantra I often hear stated. People want an easy life and yet this easy life comes at the expense of worsening the situations or others with ambiguity of where they stand in a group.

‘Good People’ get to do what they wish while adhering to the morality we are told to value in society leads to ostracism for making things difficult for others.

Don’t ‘stand up’ for anything just ‘go with the flow’ is deemed far better despite what we keep telling each other and holding as a virtue in our morality tales through out human history. Let those who wronged you walk away happy because, you know, they haven’t given a second thought to what they did afterwards. They owe you no apology because doing so serves no purpose for them. They’re ‘Good people’. Good people get to use violence. Good people get to demand others adhere to their morality no matter how self serving it is. There is only light and dark in their world. Good and evil. Me and them. ‘Shut up and be happy because you are bringing me down’ they might say at any point in their life from the cradle to the grave. They have a right to demand it. You don’t have a right to challenge them. They have the right to condemn you to others later even if they put on the facade of agreement. Because they’re Good People while you are an outsider even in your own community.

This is nothing but a wolf howling at the moon…