Its been a strange yet effective few weeks. On returning to the UK after my swift sojurn to Italy, I developed gout rather quickly – not long after helping my pal Bendrix move home. There were also incidents with our neighbour & her misguided sense of superiority & entitlement. Apparently her piece of paper which allows her to live i her property (the deeds) is more important than our piece of paper (the tenancy agreement). The tension began on the day after I passed my driving test, when she hurtled to my window screaming & shouting in the most barbaric fashion, like a zombie pressed against my window braying for blood. She then proceeded to hack away the vegetation about the grotto Id built at the front of the house – so i moved it along a bit & she hacked that vegetation down as well. So I pulled her up, told her that if she had a problem with my driving to treat me like any Lancastrian & talk about it in a calm fashion – her response being ‘why dont you get back to Lancashire.’ Absolute philistine. So I told her I was an epic poet, said not to scapegoat us for her strategic life error of buying a house with neighbours, made her shake my hand & a tenuous peace has broken out. The whole thing has inspired me to write a novel of sorts, the first chapter you can read here...
So, it all settl’d eventually, but my crippling gout & neighbourly distrust pinned me to the house – but I havent been idle. This weekend I am about to finish my Humanology – an expansion, modernization of the Thirukkural which I’m rather excited about. It feels like its my destiny – the boy from the back streets of Burnley about to create a text that good actually make the world a better place. Its been great fun finally slotting everything into place, making last many new kurals & sprinkling the others with words, sentiments & phrases from my library – a dash of Whitman here, a splash of Spenser there, & so on. But today I feel a little strange. The end of an epoch perhaps. The Humanology also represents the end of my Silver Rose Sonnet sequence. Tomorrow I shall attend to its finale a final read through, then I am done.
Elsewhere, Tinky Disco is working on some new tunes – Solarised, Jiggy Jiggy Gang Bang – which Mike insists is now called All Swap Places – Disco Gold, Daytona Beach (based on Tam Treanor’s Soul Feel) & a new tune called ‘Im A Driver Now.’ We’ve got a gig in a few weeks at Edinburgh’s Stramash – so it’ll be good to unveil them there. The Mumble is closed down til the New Year, when I get back from a festive season in Seattle – apart from Mumble Theatre, which I’m ticking over with some cool interviews. O, & Burnley are holding their own in the Premier League, & have just beat Everton 2-1 8 my gout seems to have FINALLY cleared Up —- so yins, & yangs & all that, & lets get Humanology on the road…
It is now 5AM, on the morning of the 28th Ocotober, 2016. Yesterday was a strange day, one oif signs & omens & the such like. As I was completing Humanology, Emily bought tickets to Seattle, & Sophie came to tell me that her sister was dining with ouyr landlord their brother) who said that after recent complaints he was going to give us our notice in a couple of weeks. Perhaps it was inevitable – I did find a dead bird plumb outside our crazy neighbour’s door the other day – but the timing is strange. A month ago, when the shennanigins broke out – I was set to compose my Honeymoon poem, but the psychic shock of dealing with such a high-minded reprobate compelled to get my head down & create a masterwork (Was my thinking). This then took a full month to do, so its apt that the fallback from the encounter from the other side would first raise its head the very moment or so I felt content with my book. This is the blurb I sent my agent in India (if they’re still alive) & one publisher in the UK;
Humanology consists of 1372 kural, being brief couplets of seven words originally used by a Tamil saint, Thuruvalluvar, about 2,000 years ago. His book, the Thirukkural (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirukku%E1%B9%9Ba%E1%B8%B7) forms the core of Humanology, to which I have added a great deal of wisdom both modern & antique, then tailored the whole for the English-speaking western mind.
In essence, where most modern guidebooks a rather niche, specializing on parenting, business, etc, Humanology has something to say about everything – a universal guide to life from birth to funeral. Including my brief prelude, the text is exactly 10,000 words. The fourteen chapters are divided as follows;
Life / Mentalities / Conduct / Vice / Virtue / Money / Friendship / Passion / Coupling / Homestead / Society / Governance / War / Divinity
I first encountered the Thirukkural in 2002, when I visited Tamil Nadu for the first time. Seven years later I returned to Tamil Nadu in order to translate the text, & seven years after that I have finally worked up my modernized transcreation. The original was perhaps a little too ‘eastern’ for the west – but in my version I hope to have made the wisdom more accessible, understandable, & with the brevity of the kural form, memorable.
Interestingly, the whole essence of the Humanology is to give people advice – so last night we put it to the test, me & Emily in bed discussing our life & future the well-being of the girls. I remained strong, there’s a certain fulfillment of destiny occurring here, a chronic naturalness, if you will. Receiving that Tunbridge Wells HB overpayment in 2001, just as I was beginning Axis & Allies couldnt have happened to anyone else at such a significant time. A few months later I was in Kanyakumari seeing Thiruvalluvar for the first time. On the same trip I’m sure I was plucked out of the wreckage of a bus by Saraswathi herself. Fourteen years later, this uneducated illigitamate has finally worked up a version of the kural that should satisfy the western world, & also improve it – in the very same region where I was based (Heather Lodge) where I first began to translate the text. It all feels meant to be & the end of an era. What the future holds we do not know yet, but it should be embraced, & I told Emily as much. However, the little details do need working out & as life is game it must be played. The situation called for Composure & Planning, with the following kural being appropriate to our situation.
Where paranoia breeds panic
Hysteria feeds disaster
When equipoise fills minds
Words lilt untiltingly
Remain unruffled whenever effective
Even within infernos
Better tackling unspeculative actualities
Before gossipy suppositions
As rivers swallow stones
Composure absorbs hostility
As elephants arrows endure
Handle slander silently
Like cobras closing hoods
Over insults climb
Simple initiatives easy successes
Complexity invites complications
Sleep before rash deliberations
Night brings counsel
When leaders plan diligently
Success thrives abundantly
Thoroughly investigating prevenient futurities
Prevents disastrous eventualities
Our very cleverest rabbits
Dig several burrows