In the twentieth century the pursuit of ‘bathing in seawater was no longer seen as therapeutic’ (Brunton, 2008, p173) and visitors to the sea had generally taken to outdoor exercise and by the 1920s there was also a ‘new enthusiasm’ (Brunton, 2008, p175) in the form of sunbathing. Conversely, the health of the body and the tranquillity of the mind seems to have always been an important aim of life, even if the aim of leisure time is seemingly consciously choosing against pursuits thought of as healthy. Alternative choices of seemingly destructive leisure activities do inadvertently provide some health benefits. A case in point here is the evidence provided for leisure in Brighton during the mid-1960s. The youth subculture of a group known as the Mods had an ‘almost ritual arrangement of their leisure’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p199) this included an ‘excessive cult of dancing […] pharmaceutical stimulants and participating in […] the increasing prosperity of the consumer lifestyle’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p199). Aside from the evident health benefits of the physical exercise required for their vigorous dancing, is the ritual excursion to the seaside and the associated benefit to mental health. Considering image The Rock, rear view of the Kid taken from the album booklet from Quadrophenia (Plate 4.4.42, 2008, p139) we see the kid has reached his journey’s end. As the purpose of the image is part of the Who’s multimedia package of the LP, the story and the photographs provided a multi-sensory experience ‘around a central theme’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p191) of which ‘the Who [themselves] routinely used the term Rock Opera’. Specifically, this image combined with the uplifting and contemplative timbre of ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ (Seaside Music, 2008, Track 9) seems to fit with its conclusiveness and the associated liberation it seems to provide. Following this, the line from the track ‘Only love can make it rain/the way the beach is kissed by the sea’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p194); the beach has then ‘becomes a place a where the individual is reconciled with his environment’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p194). The lyric from the track ‘Bell Boy’ a few tracks before focuses more empathically on the kid’s mental health with the line ‘a beach is a place where a man can feel / He’s the only soul in the world that’s real’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p193). Therefore, the camaraderie of the mod peer group and their associated activities may then not be the main objective; these would be what Epicurus references as ‘pleasures of sensuality’ (Pike/Price, 2008, p33). It is therefore the emotional transcendence of the escape from everyday life with beach and the pharmaceuticals which actually provide the necessary ‘absence of pain […] [and] turmoil in the mind’ to help the story’s protagonist achieve tranquillity. It is certainly not the case that wealth generates the intellect in which to enjoy leisurely pursuits, it may be the case that only a select minority might enjoy reading and philosophical discussions, yet the working class groups who may indeed put the most graft in for the minimum of reward go all out on dancing, which is good for the body and also taking part in drinking and taking recreational drugs. These habits help to contrast the stress and turmoil of daily life and although questionable, both would in moderation achieve a shortcut to a tranquil mind.
Drawing of a dishevelled vulture, with pastels by Rik Mannix
Once, when I was a child
My grandmother told me;
Treat everyone the same
That place us convicts meet,
It’s unassuming, it’s a folding table,
Seats built-in, hard and uncomfortable;
Like the faces that greet you.
Today, nothing is said about that empty seat,
Nothing is said about that missing voice
Like a growing imposing monolith, an imposing testament
That door without it’s card
Some people go to prison for greed.
Taking liberties with things that should never be theirs;
Other people’s possessions, or other people’s weaknesses,
But, some people go to prison for making a mistake
For the former, losing time is a recreational hazard,
The driving force is entitlement, or power.
For the latter, these things,
have no hold over them whatsoever
The biggest cause of conflict in prison,
Is unfair treatment by the establishment,
Or utter, utter, Lack of compassion.
One man was told to chase his papers
He did, every single day for weeks.
Eight weeks to go, nearly home
He gets an informal note under the door
NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
NOTHING TO LOSE.
Not one ‘come to the office?’
Not one ‘how are you doing?’
Not one ‘Sorry to inform you but..’
CAN’T CRY, you’re in prison,
Can’t get ANGRY, you’ll lose your levels,
FUCK IT. ‘Can you get me some spice bruv?’
Less pain, time passes,
Less pain, but double bubble,
Debts piling up, threats,
Smoke more, less pain,
Threats, Debts, Time passes,
Out of control, ‘more, I need more’
‘You need to fucking pay up you melt’
Worried, man gets tooled up.
Tension mounts, time passes,
Pressure, time passes, out of control
Hostility, nothing to lose,
‘Come on then you cunts’
……nothing is said about that empty seat
In Hellraiser, Pinhead tells Kirsty “We are explorers in the further regions of experience, Angels to some, Demons to others” – The term Cenobite is in fact a religious term, meaning a professed person who lives as part of a community, for example a monk or a nun.
It’s interesting to note, in the Bible, when god sends an Angel to act out his vengence – the person on the recieving end of the ‘Angel’ may well percieve a malevolent creature. This brings a quote from one of my favourite films, Jacob’s Ladder “Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. So the way he sees it, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all. So don’t worry, okay? Okay?” Jacobs Ladder 1990
We see discarded outside the house in Hellraiser, discarded idolatry – not unlike Archbishop Grindal’s instructions of 1571 ‘the relics and monuments of superstition and idolatry be utterly defaced, broken and destroyed’. So, like Edmund Grindal, Pinhead, a hell priest is directly challenging established religion.
In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Pinhead is performing a horrendous mockery of the Eucharist from behind the altar of a Catholic church. The priest, in rage screams ‘You’ll burn in hell for this” to which Pinhead responds with a resolute “Burn, oh such a limited imagination”
Although in the ‘Scarlet Gospels’ we head about Pinhead in an awe-inspiring cathedral in Hell, home to the fallen Angel Satan whom he attempts to overthrow -His corruption and thirst for power proves his undoing – Not unlike the traditional Catholic faith in the 16th Century, change is no doubt a neccessity and the ‘hell’ we glimpse in Hellraiser isn’t unlike the personal hell or Catholic ‘purgatory.’
Within the Hellraiser franchise, the underlying themes are heaven/hell, angels/demons, stories of souls cast in hope for salvation or destiny of eternal suffering – all of which are markedly traditional religious refrains.
But, as Pinhead once said “Do I look like someone who cares what God thinks?” – this in turn reflects todays modern society many may believe god exists, but we seldom seem to care what he thinks.
Wolffe, J – Tradition and Dissent in English Christianity
Clark, T and Clanton D – Understanding Religion and Popular Culture
My fascination with electronic music began at around ten years old. My parents home was always full of music. We always had music. There was Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, ska and two tone. This was my daily soundtrack to my life in the 80s, sweet but sad music about different lives and exciting places. I lost interest, I forgot how important music was to me. Then 1988 came. A rhythmic hypnotic beat came through from the wooden speakers of our ancient Amstrad music system. My eyes glanced over, the FM button was pushed in, the red rectangular light glowered. Bong-dong, dong, dong-daw daw-dong… The sample rang out “Jack had a groove, from this groove came the groove of all grooves…” the rhythm was unlike anything I had ever heard – on and on it looped, building and dropping, boom, clack, boom, clack. These made me close my eyes and imagine a world full of dancing smiling people. I had always spent any pocket money I had on records, but instead of going for the hit of the day, I had a very specific plan of action – to go forth and find the rarest most hard to find electronic records. I wanted Detroit Techno, Acid House, underground *this* and remixed *that*. This hobby of mine has continued for the last quarter of a century, and I’ve grown quite a collection of records. Sure my tastes have changed over the years, but nothing can take away the lighting bolt that the first taste of the amazing new music inspired my mind in such a way that I had to see it spinning on my turntables. Hypnotic and tempting, the sound filling the room in which you played them. Basslines and bleeps, till death do us part.
I think the main benefit of creative writing is as a vent to release creativity. I often think of different ideas and scenarios where I’d love to tell that story, or share the message it evokes. I think it is important to be able to express yourself with words and be it through the medium of poetry or fiction you are able to tell the story in your own way, from your own point of view. Often providing your readers with an insight into how you think and with dollops of your background and life experiences without even realizing. Writing for pleasure I believe is the key to success, writing to fulfil someone else’s remit (think journalists) is stressful and I would like to keep writing as a pleasure, this way the aim is always to convey thoughts rather than meeting an expectation.