Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jollification

Following on from my post about John Christopher and in response to a challenge, I thought that I'd continue in a literary theme. Dennis Wheatley was another prominent British author, who is mainly remembered for his Black Magic stories, such as The Devil Rides Out.

Although the attitude of many of his characters, many of whom are staunchly patriotic, are frowned on today, his books were always acknowledged to be informative and well-grounded, as well exciting. Besides, perhaps his values weren't so far out.
In the winter of 1947 Wheatley penned 'A Letter to Posterity' which he buried in an urn at his stately home. The letter was intended to be discovered some time in the future. In it he described his belief that the socialist reforms introduced by the post-war government would inevitably lead to an unjust state, and called for both passive and active resistance to it.
"Socialist ‘planning’ forbids any man to kill his own sheep or pig, cut down his own tree, put up a wooden shelf in his own house, build a shack in his garden, and either buy or sell the great majority of commodities – without a permit. In fact, it makes all individual effort an offence against the state. Therefore, this Dictatorship of the Proletariat, instead of gradually improving the conditions in which the lower classes live, as has been the aim of all past governments, must result in reducing everyone outside the party machine to the level of the lowest, idlest and most incompetent worker.
...

It will be immensely difficult to break the stranglehold of the machine, but it can be done, little by little; the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion. Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials."

One of my favourites of his black magic books is To The Devil—A Daughter which, quite apart from being a thrilling adventure yarn, has a heroine that I have always been actually attracted to...!

At the time that I first read it, I was listening to a particular album and, in the way that these things happen, whenever I hear the album I think of that book and, naturally, vice versa.

But, all the same, it has always struck me as immensely incongruous that I should connect such a dark and morbidly themed novel with something as light and jaunty as The Lightning Seeds' Jollification.

But then, they are both quality pieces of work...

UPDATE: another book and music connection is that of The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me with H P Lovecraft. In particualar, the song All I Want is very strongly associated with The Whisperer In The Darkness. However, whilst he had some novel ideas, I just don't rate Lovecraft as a writer.

If you want scary supernatural stories, then I would suggest that you read M R James instead...

8 comments:

verity said...

”the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion.”

OK. Blogs. Free discussion aplenty. Not secret, but then, they don’t have to be.

“Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials."

Wheatley didn’t foresee – because few were technically brilliant enough to foresee – the immense growth of the technological power of the state. Computerised identity cards are only the latest “helpful” innovation to allow the state to maintain total control over the citizenry, and it happened with such speed. Small groups of people cannot band together to break small regulations" any more They cannot even decide what household rubbish to put in their own bins.

I wonder what Wheatley would suggest in today’s context for the citizenry to wrest control back from the sleazy, corrupt nomenklatura that governs Britain today.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

But as yet official permission is not required for the annointing of the nine entrances to the body.

The paperwork would be interesting.

Katy Newton said...

I love Dennis Wheatley. I am not sure whether my favourite is The Satanist or The Devil Rides Out. I think it might just be The Satanist, because I really wanted to be the heroine.

Shotgun said...

Although the attitude of many of his characters, many of whom are staunchly patriotic, are frowned on today,

Crap.

Without these attitudes we would be speaking German or living under communism.

Not secret, but then, they don’t have to be.

So what's your real name then Verity and your address? Blogger is not UK based. Wheatley was amazingly acurate don't you think? We are a secret group.

No protests around Parliament etc. etc. ID.

Very prophetic.

verity said...

Shotgun - "Without these attitudes we would be speaking German or living under communism."

You are living in the past. We defeated Germany 70 years ago. We defeated the USSR almost 20 years ago. Britain has become more spied upon, controlled and fearful since then. We defeated the USSR, but are dailed deeper enslaved to the EUSSR.

"So what's your real name then Verity and your address?" I take your point about identity; but nevertheless, ideas that once would have had to be uttered sotto voce are now roared out to the world and ideas are catching. So speaking against the establishment, albeit it anonymously, has not been snuffed out, but enabled.

"Blogger is not UK based."

Oh, you can call me Verity! "Blogger" is so formal! You are not the bearer of secret news. Half the people blogging and writing to the Comments sections of articles in UK papers today are not UK-based.

My point was, there can be no clandestine groups of people breaking small laws any more because they have microchips in your dustbins over there. Your freedom has been nationalised. If you try to break a tiny, tiny law, you will be caught on CCTV and receive a visit from an officious police officer's assistant, or whatever they call them, who will accuse you of promoting racism or religious hatred and you will spend the ensuing year trying to clear your name.

Dick Turpin said...

When I was at college in the 70's, the bookshelves positively groaned under the weight of Dennis Wheatley's books. Now, he is relatively unknown.

I suppose equating the political left and physical disability with Satanism (the boss eyed and left hand path), did not help. As well as referring to Herr Hitler in one of his books, as ‘His Excellency’. Also, his rants against racial minorities would make Nick Griffin Blush.

As mentioned previously, his legacy is probably best remembered as one of the finest Hammer films - The Devil Rides Out.

Dr John Crippen said...

OK DK, we are both men of letters, albeit rather strange ones.

My parents did not believe in censorhsip and I was always allowed to read anything I wanted at any age.

I remember, aged 8, reading "The Ka of Gifford Hilary". I frightened myself shitless. Aged 10 I saved up my pocket money and bought The Satanist, only to have it confiscated at school.

Again, I had a look at Dennis again recently, and again found them wordy.

The Devil Rides Out? Loved it, and the Hammer Horror film is a great favourite still if only for that immortal line from Charles Grey,

"I won't be back tonight, but something will!"

Who needs Quentin Tarantino!


John

Shotgun said...

Couldn't agree more Dr John; Hammer films...made me a shiver as a kid and are probably more indelibly stamped than any other films.

Verity...I was refrring to Blogger being a US based system, so we in the UK are really virtual political insurganets when you consider we are anonymous.

The first comment was meant for DK's article and the comment made to reflect the PC attitude to people who held views like Wheatleys.