I’ve been on a course for the last three days. It was all about how to sail through life with less angst, albeit with the same degree of effort….on the reasonable assumption that more effort with lower blood pressure might mean (a) I’ll be around for longer and (b) I’ll be attacking the Bad Guys rather than damaging myself.

I won’t say it was an unqualified success, but I came out of it bigger and stronger than when I went in – and I got some down-time from blogging. My tutor and I agreed to differ on software producers (I think they’re binary Asperger’s sufferers led by crooks, Teach said that it was just the way it is) but we did both agree that the economic model we live under is insane, liberty is disappearing along with freedom of choice, and only a backlash led by the new emerging generation can stop Western civilisation from descending into the sewers.

The Course Tutor offered the added advantage of being a talented snapper, and supplied me with some updated site images as part of the package. In return, I offered to pay for lunch at the Grappe D’Or in Monbazillac. I’d say we both did well out of it.


The dear old golden bunch of grapes is one of those wonderful sub-Bergerac eateries that remains a family-run treat appealing to traditional standards, while still employing inventive chefs. This judicious mixture keeps on appealing to the better-off end of those aged roughly 35-95 and their families. Philippe & his missus ensure that the standards of service, customer care and presentation never waver from top notch: so while these days the joy of a meal there is increasingly rare, I never feel cheated.

It was bloody terrific, and the wine selected (a 2012 Chateau Tours des Gendres Gloire de mon Père) went fabulously with the Chateaubriand Edward VII we shared. At 13.5%, the Cab-Merlot-Malbec blend was a tad debilitating for lunchtime, but less than half of it was consumed – the remainder being taken back home for human rather than canine consumption.

The Conti family bought Chateau Tours des Gendres in 1925, and it too now has a third generation updating its wine output, and nuturing the tradition of approval based on quality.

Believe me, I am fully aware of how blessed I am to be able to enjoy these sorts of pleasures. I mention them here as classic examples of the triumph of communal over global output….not to promote poncey impressions of faux sophistication and the gloating life of a bon viveur roué. I don’t sport open-toed sandals (although my tutor-guest did) and I don’t frequent overpriced New York chique eateries: there is a massive territory called Real Life between the two.

There is no reason on Earth why – at some point in a much better and more egalitarian future – everyone in the world shouldn’t be able to enjoy life for what it is- and rare treats because they are rare.

But a world in which 3% take rare things for granted (and the other 97% can only dream about ever having them) is not in any way ‘the natural order of things’: it is the end result of unnatural ideologies – and far worse, it is the beginning of the bloody slaughter we call revenge.

Neither neoliberalism nor communism will ever lift us out of hierarchical prisons….because neither belief system is based on anything to do with normal anthropology. The same is true of Islamism and radical feminism: all of these mad belief structures are reduced to rubble in the harsh glare of empiricism, and the cool synthesis of utilitarian thought.

Aim for the greatest possible fulfilment of the greatest number. An imperfect species must never aim for Utopia, for no species is a deity. Aim for the stars, but do not assume total success. All false assumptions in the end lead to Dystopia. Results of that deluded certainty include US global hegemony, the European Union, the USSR, the French Revolutionary Terror, and Erdogan’s pathetic belief in the new Caliphate.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.