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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

"Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"

There’s a few things we like to watch on TV. Before I talk about our TV preferences I was going to misquote Karl Marks and say TV is the opiate of the masses. Actually Karl Marks said "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes". Even then we misquote him because the full quote is : "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people". So if I think about it, my misquote perhaps should say “social media ........... is the opium of the people.”

I’m drifting away from my starting point already. We don’t watch much TV. What we do like is those elimination programmes like bake off, or I’m a celebrity. We rarely get stuck into a drama anymore. I’ve been thinking why. I think it’s because, in my case, I keep falling asleep. If I catch the elimination bit of an elimination programme I’m keeping up with the plot. If I miss the elimination bit it really doesn’t matter. If I miss too much of a drama series I’m always playing plot catch-up. I know I could watch it on catch-up TV but I still would need to stay awake and for that there's still no guarantee. My “I’ll watch that on catch-up" list is ever increasing.

One thing I have been watching is the Great Pottery Throw Down. It’s surprisingly similar and reminds me of my pottery training. (There’s a surprise!). Is there no end to this man’s talents? Back in the distant past when I trained to teach I had the option of spending some time intensively training for a second subject. I chose art, more specifically I chose ceramics. I only have a few pieces of evidence left but the programme is a great reminder of a small episode of my own past. Over the years I’ve often thought of buying a kiln and maybe a wheel but life seems to have got in the way. I did run a small slip casting (type of pottery) workshop for a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) back in the early 80s but I left for greener grass (more money). Definitely a case of “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

You may not be very convinced that I plan much anymore but some things just need to go into my schedule. I’ve just added 6 more chemo sessions to my diary along with my next phone consultation and my next blood test. My medication is rarely the same each day. I even need to plan what pills I take each day. But I rarely plan my blog posts. I just pop in what’s drifting around my noggin.

So what’s agitating the grey matter now?

Well Karl Marks is buried in Highgate Cemetery in London. I had a friend Lynne who lived in Highgate, I met Lynne in the now disappeared William Cookworthy pub. There's a story.

Or in 1957, the year I was born, a chap called Allen Saunders was accredited with the phrase “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” in a National Geographic publication which was later used by John Lennon in 1980 on a track Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) on his Double Fantasy album. Mostly people wrongly accredit the quote to John Lennon. I could expand on that.

Or I can tell you about Herman the German. You’re gonna get Herman.

Herman arrived in my life nearly 40 years ago. I think I was living at 169 Phernyssick Road in St Austell. I don’t remember the details but Herman arrived in a pot. Herman is a living organism, Herman is a friendship cake. He is probably an Amish creation. A friendship cake is a concoction that you nurture and grow over a period of about 10 days by feeding it sugar, flour and milk. At the end of 10 days you quarter the mixture. 1 quarter you keep, that’s Herman, 1 quarter you give away to a friend, that’s their Herman. then with the remaining 2 quarters you make cakes. 1 you scoff and the other you can offload to a friend as well. At the time Herman arrived, Helen my first wife, was working for Alan who owned a wholefood shop. through the shop we got to know quite a few alternative types. That's probably how Herman arrived.

Over the intervening 40 years I’ve occasionally bumped into Alan who I recently met at the top of Porthpean beach. I told him of my plight and my website. A few days later Alan arrived at me door with a pair of gloves. Another type of glove. Number 11. Heated gloves. In the words of Tony the Tiger. “They’re Great". He stopped for a few minutes during which time he asked if I’d heard of Herman the German. I had a vague memory but I couldn’t quite remember, then he said friendship cake, I remembered. He promised to bring us a Herman and a cake and provide the instructions and recipe which is exactly what he did.

I don’t think it could be the original Herman almost 40 years later but it’s definitely the same Alan.

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