Celtic Illumination, part 320, I will arise and go now.
Normally when I would sail into Liverpool on a ship, or ferry, I would be out on deck admiring the Liverpool frontage. I had always associated Liverpool with The Beatles and of course there was the, often spoken about, great connection with Irish people. Even the Liverpool accent is claimed by expert linguists to be a mixture of a mild Lancashire accent and the Irish accent. There’s a large Irish population in Liverpool, a thriving Irish centre and even a huge memorial for the dead from the Great Hunger, in the garden of Saint Luke’s Church, in the city. But this time I was arriving in a totally different place. The real history, I now knew, was being massaged, being covered up, the men who had made their millions, from their disgusting trade in human flesh, wanted to be seen and remembered as successful, decent, people. Orwell really knew what he was talking about.
The ships that drained the food from a starving Ireland also carried the diseased and terrified Irish poor; these vessels became known as ‘coffin ships.’ Thousands of starving people were arriving in Liverpool and many would like you to think that they were cared for, rushed to hospital and saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cellars, no better than dungeons that had been used to coral the poor West African slaves, had been bricked up because of the disease they had carried, were now opened and the Irish herded in to these death traps. In order to encourage the starving Irish to enter and remain in these squalid pits, eight hundred members of the local Orange Lodges were seconded into the local police force and made special constables. The main purpose of the Orange Lodges is to promote hatred of Catholics, and from the reports of the time, they now relished their new found power, beating and openly murdering people who were too weak to stand.
You may be starting to get an understanding now of what flashes through an Irish persons mind when someone starts telling Irish Jokes, inferring that the Irish are a second rate people, stupid, lazy and good for nothing but drinking and fighting. And you will also understand that when an Irish person says “Tiocfaidh ar la.” (pronounced ‘chucky are la’) or in English “Our day will come,” they really, really, mean it. And if you have any doubt about what I had told you, then look it up on the internet and do your own research. I had to laugh when I flashed about the internet checking one or two facts when I came across an information sheet for the Merseyside Maritime Museum. http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/archive/info-sheet.aspx?sheetId=67
Just have a look for yourself, second line of the first paragraph, and you will see them mention ’indentured servants.’ In fifty years’ time no one will question it, no one will stick up their hand and shout, “Oi!! Don’t you mean slaves?”
It was soon after my arrival back that I found myself in a position where I wanted to stick my hand up and shout stop. It’s all right I wasn’t with any slavers, I was with the Transcendental Meditators again. Through my writing circle I had met Gladys Mary Cole, a prolific and respected writer who taught at John Moore’s University in Liverpool. Gladys had actually liked some of my short stories so much she suggested that she might use them to teach her students how to write the short story. Gladys had been invited to a presentation evening at the Golden Dome in Skelmersdale and asked a couple of us, from the writer’s circle, to accompany her for support. I can remember sitting alongside Gladys on the front row wondering what on earth was going on. Along one wall of the Dome were stacks of mattresses that the Meddies used to practice their yogic flying on. I hoped they were not going to give us a demonstration of their yogic flying, not unless we were all issued with shotguns and someone shouted “Pull!” every time one of the idiots hopped across the floor like a constipated frog.
On the stage before us was a chair, nothing special, just an ordinary dining chair on which they had set a large framed photograph of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In front of the chair, on the floor, was a small glass vase with a bunch of dead and decaying flowers hanging out and over. We were offered some form of fruit drink and some cakes and biscuits. With the connection to The Beatles, and flower power, you would have hoped that they would at least have served up some hash brownies, but no such luck. The chief Meddie then began to address us. He began to read The Lake Isle of Innisfree, by William Butler Yeats. This would be a poem that most Irish people would know and enjoy and probably quote you most of it off the top of their heads. He’s probably best known for the epitaph on his gravestone which reads, “Cast a cold eye on Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by!”
The chief Meddie now begins to break the poem down, stating that Yeats was actually practising and promoting Transcendental Meditation. “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree. It isn’t Innisfree,” says the fellow, which has me thinking, as I have actually seen the actual island and knew and understood what Yeats was talking about. “No,” he says, like a snake oil salesman preparing his pitch. “What he was saying was ‘In is free.’ To go inside one’s self, to meditate, makes you free,” the Meddies were lapping it up. “And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made.” Here he started going on about using natural materials and not harming the earth. “Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee; Nine,” he almost hums. “Nine, the magical number nine which represents attainment, satisfaction, accomplishment, and our success to achieve an influence in our circumstances. And then there’s the honey bee,” he sings, stating that the honey bee was a messenger between the spiritual world and the real world, but it also signified wisdom. Meditating brought you wisdom.
It was good to get away from them that evening, I had wanted to take the fellow to task over his interpretation of the work but thought better of it, and after all I was a guest. It certainly had been quite an intense period in my life and a real game changer, as they say. But as you all know in my life everything happens for a reason. The double top secret cabal, who were preparing me to become the world’s leading Master Candle Maker, the High Chief of the Clan O Neill and the true King of Ireland can almost be forgiven for the extreme and exhaustive training they had put me through, now that we would begin to see some of the problems that I would have to deal with. From murderers to meditators, I had to meet them all.
And the idiots, let’s not forget the idiots, the brainless morons, who like the worker bees, spend their whole life performing the one function of serving their queen, no matter what hue, shape, or form she takes. I was back at a word processor at the local college correcting the corrections that the typing students had corrected, incorrectly. I sensed someone standing beside me. I, looked and saw it was a female tutor who had been going around handing out small posters, or fliers if you will, that were asking people to vote for her as the deputy head of the college. “What are you doing?” she asked. Now if you saw somebody sitting in front of an Apple Mac computer using the keyboard to input information from an open file. Many people could assume, or even work out, what you were doing.
“Typing,” I said, leaving out of course the ‘you fecking idiot.’ “But are you a student here?” she asked, I sensed trouble coming. “No,” I said. “I’ve been given permission to tag along for certain sections of the media studies course, but I’m not a student.” “Well this equipment is for the students of this college only, so you will either have to join the media studies course as a proper student or leave the college.” You often meet people who deserve a good slap but this was a female flavoured woman, plus, a good slap might have knocked some sense into her. I had no choice but to sign up for the course, although I refused to wear the leotard and ankle warmers, come on, with legs like mine! I had no intention of attending any of the classes but for some reason she was on my case and actually forced me to attend class.
She ran one of the section of the course and we were told that we had to design and prepare a questionnaire which we would print off and survey at least one hundred local people about a proposed magazine or newspaper we were launching. Then we had to, based on what we learned from our survey, create the front page of our publication. We were allowed to take one whole day off to go to the local shopping centre and carry out our survey. I took my one hundred survey sheets home and filled them out myself while enjoying a nice coffee in my favourite armchair, as the other students ran around the shopping centre annoying people. The following day she had assembled a group of tutors who listened to our presentations. I hadn’t bothered preparing the front cover, all the others had.
As I was asked to stand up I made a point of checking out through the window. I showed them my survey findings and then explained what I had created as a front page for my newspaper. “Great,” she says. “Can we see it?” “Ah,” says I, looking out the window again. “I wanted mine to be really good so I sent it off to a publisher in Preston, I’m expecting the courier to have the finished article here any moment.” She gave me full marks for that and all the other tutors were suitably impressed. The only thing I could think of was how on Gods earth these people ever managed to get an empire in the first place.