Perfect Strangers

“Can you remember, remember my name, as I flow through your life, a thousand notions I have known… all my life, I am the echo of your past… a thousand warriors I have known…” Deep Purple ‘Perfect Strangers –

Yesterday morning I woke to the horrible, gut wrenching news that Terry Horbury, bass player of Paddy Goes to Hollyhead had died. As I sat and watched the tributes and pics flow in on Facebook, tears tripping me, memories flowed like a ticker tape slide show in my wee napper. What surprised me the most was that all I could see, in my mind, was laughter. I met ‘The Paddy’s’ in The Swan Fulham Broadway way back in 1988. I was sold. Every Sunday (and many more nights) I went to get my fix. Music is a form of expression and an acknowledgement of the written and/or unwritten word a form of communication that transcends all social and cultural values. Rock In Peace Terry Horbury.

Had to get my act together as I had a driving lesson, lunch with Mum and then a few beers with mates. But, and there’s always a but my thought process during the day (and the quite moments) take me to the relevance and context of how ‘we’ acknowledge our ‘selves’ to others within the confines of literature, academia, law criminal justice et al.

Chatam House Rules – “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

T.S. Elliots ‘Macavity’ the wonder cat sublimely describes the art of law

“He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s
And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair—
But it’s useless to investigate—Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
It must have been Macavity!’—but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumb;
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums…”

When one is engaged with the politque of politique, academia, criminology, sociology and dare I say it psychology, a conundrum, when dealing with the art of law (law of the land); a paradox with an eloquent sociological, scientific equation caught up in maelstrom of unequivocal (phenomenological) deliberation. Are ‘we’, not the ‘Royal we’, confused? What does this mean to the layman? Poetry and clever words set aside, as the day progressed, I couldn’t get Leviathan out of my head.

600 years ago, Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) clearly states “The value or worth of a man is, as of all other things, his price; that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his power, and therefore is not absolute, but a thing dependent on the need and judgement of another. An able conductor of soldiers is of great price in time of war present or imminent, but in peace not so. A learned and uncorrupt [or corrupt] judge is much worth in time of peace, but not so much in war. And as in other things, so in men, not the seller, but the buyer determines the price. For let a man, as most men do, rate themselves at the highest value they can, yet their true value is no more than it is esteemed by others.”

What does that mean? I conjure a later diagnosed madman Friedrich Nietzsche “Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, stands a mighty commander, an unknown sage – he is called Self. He lives in your body, he is your body. (Nietzsche, 1883).

Merlot Ponthy deliberates how “Perception then, is not merely passive before sensory stimulation, a “creative receptivity”. In this respect, it is interesting to observe that our modern vernacular incorporates this more ‘active’ and appropriative dimension of perception. After all, one is often commended for ‘perceptive’ observations, and for this to function as a compliment at all, it must admit of an individual’s creative influence, and hence some responsibility, over the manner in which they perceive”.

A translation of Sartre suggests “Reflective consciousness is the type of state of consciousness involved in my looking at a house[…] the cogito emerges as a result of consciousness’s being directed upon the pre-reflectively conscious. In so doing, reflective consciousness takes the pre-reflectively conscious as being mine. It thus reveals an ego insofar as an ‘I’ is brought into focus: the pre-reflective consciousness which is objectified is viewed as mine. This ‘I’ is the correlate of the unity that I impose upon the pre-reflective states of consciousness through my reflection upon them. To account for the prevalence of the Cartesian picture, Sartre argues that we are prone to the illusion that this ‘I’ was in fact already present prior to the reflective conscious act, i.e. present at the pre-reflective level. By substituting his model of a two-tiered consciousness for this traditional picture, Sartre provides an account of self-consciousness that does not rely upon a pre-existing ego, and shows how an ego is constructed in reflection.”

In later years, once a friend Frued, Carl Junge suggests “that everyone has both an extroverted side and an introverted side, with one being more dominant than the other, people fluctuate in their behaviour all the time, and even extreme introverts and extroverts do not always act according to their type.”

With this in mind, much later in the evening, I’m playing drunken poker dice with my pals in the pub (and yes, like Macavity, I won) my phone vibrates in my pocket. I walk outside to take the call. My dear friend who shall remain nameless, now goes under the name of “Dr…”. As I whooped and hollered like a lunatic outside the pub (receiving a few strange glances) I’m hit by the realisation that ‘we’ all have some sort of impact on those who share our time and place.

The last few months have been tough and I’ve been filled with a type of mid life crisis, as in, will I be remembered and if so how and why? When I got home the conversation continued with my ‘Dr’ friend, party their end was in full flow. This amazing human being emailed me the ‘Acknowledgements’ of finished thesis/PhD. One sentence blew me away “I would like to thank Michael Irwin…”. I met this ‘Dr’ via twitter on one of my first home leaves and was asked “are you serious about bringing reality to this world of criminology in which we live?” Three years later… well you get the gist.

So, I finished yesterday, as it started, in tears and a ticker tape slide show of laughter and new memories. They’re good tears though and I write this with nothing but happiness in my heart. I’m off now to get ready as I’m going to meet up with seven colleagues I spent time with in the big house. Aren’t we all just ‘Perfect Stranger’? Have a great Christmas folks – I already am.

About micsirwin

I'm a Postgraduate student at Queens studying Criminology, writer, poet and lover of integrity, dignity, respect and morality
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