And the yellowing streetlights are casting our doublebacked shadow long, then short, then lengthening again, again short, like a five eight rhythm as we walk, and the black shadowshape on the road looks something monstrous, like some minotaur maybe, for whom I always felt some sympathy as he could not help but be exactly what he was, the son rejected for not being the son his stepfather wanted. Rue de Rennes appears soon enough, and the intersection lights above cast four black minotaur shadows, we are in good company as they follow us, step for step, and I'm thinking on what these minotaurs might discuss when they leave. When it darkens entirely and they depart as we distance ourselves from this street, certainly more than the time of day, or night. Perhaps they'd move on, rampaging up some street towards the Boulevard Saint Germain and get a table at the Café aux Deux Magots, lighting up (after kicking in the cigarette machine, as they have no pockets to carry wallets) and demanding allumettes avec threats and menaces, avec a bottle of something impossibly strong, straight absinthe maybe, possibly neat turpentine, and they'd possibly be casting appreciative glances at the blackclad waitresses, and knowing, for certain, that they were beautiful beasts, just as their mother found their father, and knowing, with olfactory certainty, that neither waitress was in heat, although one was blushing slightly, and wary of the maitre d' lest he be carrying a serrated breadknife. Then one of them might casually mention Ariadne, and the others would snort really large snorts of smoke and snot, and furiously wonder how a stepsister could align with murderers and eventually following this line of thought through to the obvious conclusion that all families are each to their own peculiar form of insanity, and from hereon, they agree, Ariadne must only be referred to as 'The Cunt'. Maybe they'd speak of Daedalus or Icarus or Minos or even Dionysus who actually married The Cunt out of a misplaced sympathy, not for love, but none would mention Theseus directly, the despised name that must not be spoken by minotaurs. Perhaps we should leave them to their own evening, as they seem to be coping quite well, and they'll be re-enacting favourite scenes from The Odyssey soon enough, and the blinding of the Cyclops is always the first to be re-enacted, while the smoking opium in the Land of the Lotus Eaters routine is a definite wonder to behold, but their favourite game is re-enacting Aegues', the unmentionable's father, leap into the sea, taking turns to climb onto the table, pretend weep, lamenting "Woe! The black flag of anarchy sails home on wine-dark sea! Oh baise-moi! Moi fil est morte! Weep!" and clasp their hairy bosoms and theatrically fall to the tiled floor, with the other minotaurs awarding points for execution and degree of difficulty, 7.5, 7.5, 8.0. And they'd be teasing the redblushing waitress by telling her that yes, it's okay, darlin', go right ahead and touch these horninesses that spiral perfectly from our beautiful skulls, you know you want to (and it's true, they know she does). And maybe soon enough, having demanded bottles of red wine to take with them, they'll be having pissing contests up against the walls of l'Eglise on the other corner of Place Saint Germain des Pres from le Deux Magots. When the bottles are done, later, they'll maybe quietly sob and sigh as their thoughts blacken when they may contemplate their mothers and their abandonment.

Getting Off On The Classics

Thinking on things never said in any Classics class, and worse, thinking on those lies told repeatedly to every such class when I had to teach 'The Bacchae', one of them being that the form of the ritualized ecstatic dancing indulged in by the Maenads during Dionysian rituals was unknown. It is, it most definitely is, if one reads enough classical literature, looks through endless catalogues of Greek vase paintings and stitches together the clues here, the references there and some other mentions from elsewhere, throw in some Plato for seasoning, and serve it all up, rich and hot and raw and preferably still bleeding. But no, I never explained the recipe, never cooked this one up in class, and in fact I denied it's existence. Firstly, because such things tend to get repeated out of context, said over family dinners in front of the television imagining fathers hypocritically gagging on their evening meals, and mothers already semi-frenzied anyway. Second, to prepare this dish is to be somehow in a singular communion with the divine, with the gods that exist in our heads, and never for just getting off your face for the sake of getting one's face off, but perhaps I should begin the divine recipe. Here, I'm reminded of how I always taught the examiner-approved line that Cadmus and Teresias were foolish old men for dressing in their animal skins and intending to dance with the Maenads, but how I truly envied their willingness to experience everything that could be experienced no matter the cost, their "yeah, well, fuck you" attitude dismissing whatever was considered proper for old men. Plato, in 'ion', said 'they have a sharp ear for one tune only, the one which belongs to the god by whom they are possessed, and to that tune they respond freely in gesture and speech, while they ignore all others', which according to how I understand the recipe, means you find your own tune, your own music, this could be difficult, being one tune and one tune only, for me Dirty Three's 'I Offered It Up To The Stars And Night Sky' comes to mind first, loud and on repeat, although the music for your dance must be something entirely your own choice. Another clue given in the texts comes from Aristotle, who said that it must have drums, and any other instruments, be they blown, bowed, plucked or sung is entirely optional, but you are not dancing to the music as such, as the dancing is the act of becoming the music itself. If the music be the rabbit hole that Alice fell into, then the music is the hole, the music is Alice, the music is the fall. Okay, move your head side to side to the rhythm of your song, as though you were emphatically saying 'no', and while you'll probably have sore neck muscles tomorrow morning, I can recommend Tiger Balm for such morning afters. And a warning, based on Pentheus' clue in 'The Bacchae', has this line about dislodging a ribbon from his hair, shaking it back and forth bacchanting, I dislodged it, he said, and later he literally lost his head completely, so do not move your head from front to back. And here, there's an image of a queue of angry parents at parent-teacher nights, each carrying a bleeding cardboard box, demanding some kind of explanation, to which my reply should be along the lines of how they deserved it, if they were fucktarded enough to ignore Pentheus' warning. To explain, what you're doing here is understood in anatomical terms as intentionally dislodging your inner ear, the Ancients knew nothing of the workings of the inner ear, nor why if it's dislodged then one's sense of balance is seriously fucked with, although the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey do understand it, although they still explain the phenomenon as being in touch with the divine. And I recall my kids loving the propeller spin, holding onto their outstretched arms, and spinning like some centrifuge, and they delighted in their altered state of consciousness, their giddiness, the falling down, afterwards. This is a controlled altered state of consciousness, so, the next ingredient is quite simple, just add wine, preferably red, and the queue of parents wanting to kill me has just lengthened, me being the corrupter of their young, as they're usually entirely unaware that their little darlings are drinking themselves senseless on strawberry vodka cruisers on Friday and Saturday nights, as it complements the ecstasy. But the recipe states that, like seasoning, you are responsible for your own trance, and only you can know how much seasoning to include, how much wine, after the wine has been added it's no longer a controlled state of altered consciousness. The chemicals will kick in after about thirty seconds of side to side nodding, and it's now uncontrolled. The other drug apparently used by the Maenads is mentioned by Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, who either chewed ivy leaves herself, or knew Bacchants that did. A word of caution here, the toxicity of ivy leaves is not to be messed with, better to wrap them around your head instead, as Euripides suggests, On their heads they set their wreaths of ivy, oak, or flowering greenbriar. Now, the trick. The trick is to impose a centering balance on the uncontrolled, the Maenads invoked the name of Dionysus, chanting it over and over, and what your centering thought might be is entirely your own, but it must be something real, and after finding whatever invocation works best, you put your trust in it, completely and absolutely, this trusting is the hardest part. The Maenads put their utter trust in Dionysus, and keep in mind these frenzied dancers danced to cure their frenzy, to release it, to let it out, not to create it, and allowing the invoked thing, whatever it may be, to rock you and to challenge you and to be at one with and to charm you. It was a means to an end, and not just of itself. Okay, if you've centered yourself, and most beginners prefer the freeform ecstatic dance rather than the figurative, there's enough scattered clues to suggest that freeform involved leaping, spinning and drumming on the ground (it's what the thyrsus was for, to bang on the ground), although using your hands to beat the earth is fine. The figurative dance has a different flavour entirely, if you've seen Fight Club, where Marla and Joe have 'power animals', and the idea is similarly that in Bacchic figurative trance dance, these power animals would be invoked, and they danced their animals, and they became those animals just as much as they became the music. The snake was danced, as was the lion and the lioness, and some Maenads danced their bull, some the panther. The Maenads come prepared to dance their animal by wearing it's skin, but I cannot imagine dancing the really big dogs that have seriously terrified me. Teresias and Cadmus, dressed in their animal skins intended to figuratively invoke their beasts, so, freeform for all you're worth and drum like a madman, invoke the gods and dance them, although keep in mind that none of this, known as 'experimental archaeology', will get you that A for your Classics exam.


Orpheus Goes Down

But I have plenty of tricks up my khaki coloured sleeves to get me back into the light should I need them, should I want to. The dark of Hades, with it's rich black seams mined for words, the conduit between thought and expression. All the shades of dark which will always be here, for they are part of us, always there, always ready for our descents, our going downs. But just as black is not the only colour (and, in terms of colour theory, black is the absence of all colours, a void, a nothingness, a place where all light is strangled at birth, although methinks colour theory needs a slight recalibration, as it similarly excludes white). For the ascent, I intend feigning being Orpheus (which would not be for the first time), and putting complete trust in his instincts, knowing he will not be racked with indecision when faced with any unsignposted forks in the road, knowing that sometimes you just have to jump, and it matters not where one lands. And thinking on Orpheus, and of how his mother was one of the muses (Calliope actually, but perhaps he should keep quiet about this, given Eurydice's summation of all nine of them as useless cunts), and of how his father was a Thracian king, which perhaps explains his weakness for macedonian music, which he cannot explain other than describing a falling into it. But this time Orpheus would not be so arrogantly presumptuous as to assume anything on Eurydice's behalf, and once having adjusted his eyes to the dark, deciding it was not such a bad place to be, although the other option was rather than Orpheus leading the way out, and monumentally stuffing it up at the end, letting Eurydice lead the way instead, and wondering if, given the same 'don't look back' directive, whether she, too, would have peeked in the rearview mirror, and somewhere between Orpheus going down and Eurydice coming up there was to be some ruminations on the nature of Hades himself, and itself. and yes, there is a Hades, just as yes, there is a Hell, and we carry it around with us, in our heads, all the time, sometimes, it's not such a bad place to visit, and what's particularly charming is that we find our own entrances in our own ways, and our own exits, and they're usually not via the same routes. And sometimes it's fun to descend to those depths, well, maybe not 'fun' of the kind one might have had riding the dodgem' cars down at the rosebud carnival (which is actually quite depressing, in it's own way), but 'fun' as in worthwhile, and I'm imagining that on some tangential road Opheus was going to travel while going down he'd be maybe observing great writers, possibly Rimbaud maybe Cohen or Auden certainly Dylan and Sappho, all mining their own black seams, bringing all their experiences to their understandings of how best to hold the miner's pick; how best to fill those rattledented buckets, how best to understand all that precious raw material of their lives. Perhaps Orpheus would get to a wondering on how they got there, where their entrances might be, what roads they travelled to get to those precious black seams of Hades. Maybe some get there by meditation although the times I've tried to think of nothing I usually end up thinking of everything other than nothing, and there's the idea that dreaming is another descent into Hades' black seams, I'm not sure which of the writer's busily chipping away told me this (I'm going to pretend it was Sappho). And yes, Hades differs from Hell, as it's not some place of eternal torment (unless boredom is punishment enough, as it was for Achilles), and all those images from dreams making sense as they happen even if they are beyond logic, a whitened face and reddened lips, and wondering which of the others down here also use dreams as their entrance, and wondering which of them use daydreams and imagination, Dylan's thoughtdreams, if they could be seen, he said, would have his head inside a guillotine, although at the moment mine would have me attempting to create street lighting suggesting the reality of minotaurs, dreams of summer evenings dancing on the pont des arts, or by the pond in the luxembourg gardens and wondering if children sail their boats in the winter. They are real, as my descents into Hades mean they could be nothing else. To borrow a phrase from saint john of the cross (who might be down here as well), what he called those dark nights of the soul, these black seams followed and for me, being a miserable bastard drunk helps no end getting there, and, if there be Eurydice, then I'll leave it entirely up to her whether I should stay down, or if I should find someplace else, but I kinda like it down here.



Orpheus failed in the rescue of his beloved Eurydice. And wondering why the word 'beloved' is one that only appears on gravestones, with cemeteries full of the apparently beloved, even the forgotten ones that weren't. Perhaps Eurydice didn't want to be rescued in the first place, so maybe a reworking of the myth is entirely overdue. Beginning with Eurydice seething resentments at the assumptions made on her behalf by Orpheus, she was never asked if she needing or wanted 'saving', as though she had no will of her own. So maybe the myth needs an entire retelling, just as the movie 'Troy' was a rewriting of 'The Iliad', with only the names remaining the same but only needing to slightly alter one of those tiny but salient details. The story unfolds quite differently, perhaps Orpheus would be the one to step on the snake, and I'm imagining one of those shiny and black viper types, and Eurydice, never having earned her first-aid badge in girl guides, and suddenly in a quandary about where, exactly, one applies the tourniquet if the victim has been bitten on the neck, which, as fate chances it, is precisely where Orpheus has been punctured, leaving him to die. Perhaps Eurydice would be fascinated by how closely the neck wounds resembled those blueyellow healing lovebites Orpheus had given her so often, so maybe Eurydice becomes the one to make the journey instead, if she chooses to. Or perhaps Eurydice would decide to leave Death well enough alone and leave him there, and not mess with the idea of fate, perhaps she'd travel elsewhere, Hades being interminably boring (just ask Achilles), maybe journeying instead down to the refugee camp that is the Mornington Peninsula foreshore in hot Januaries, maybe she'd enjoy the night carnival there, riding the dodgem's, winning fluffy toys at the laughing clowns stall, eating pink fairy floss on a stick and hot dogs with sauce until she pukes. Or perhaps Eurydice would begin the journey to the Underworld, maybe regretting the Rosebud carnival lacking the ghost train ride that would have prepared her better for the perilous voyage, therefore having to steal a copy of The Eygptian Book of the Dead from the Rosebud municipal library as her rough guide, but maybe, on reaching the river Styx, she'd decide that Charon himself was of greater interest, had far better stories to tell, as ferrying all those souls to Hades, he must have a million of 'em. Or perhaps, returning to the established myth for just a moment, and having gotten to the other side, Eurydice may found Death himself (in the form of Hades) of far greater interest, perhaps a witty conversationalist, devilishly handsome and not at all the morbid old niece-fucking pervert she'd expected, perhaps fluently versed in contemporary poetry and existentialist philosophy. Or, in our rewrite, we could always have Orpheus doing the right thing, and asking Eurydice if she wanted to be taken from this place, although both the existentialists and Hades would both have plenty to say on the issue of the determination of whatever's considered 'right', tripping Orpheus up on the question of whether the wrong thing can be done for all the right reasons, then delivering the telling uppercutting blow by questioning him, and demanding he differentiate between his answer from the possibility that the right thing, whatever that may be, could be done for all the wrong reasons, trapping Orpheus in the classic double-bind. The kind of playful rhetoric Socrates would be proud of, and providing fuel for many nights discussions down here in les Café de Hades, je voudrais long blacks sil vous plait. And no doubt by this time Eurydice is seriously questioning why the fuck she'd even consider returning if it meant an eternity with such a dullard so easily caught in the dialectic crossfire. Or maybe just the ending could be changed, with Orpheus doing what he'd been told, and refusing to look back until they were both bathing in the sunlight and he could hear Eurydice's words likening the light to some metaphoric likeness, and hadn't suffered that twinge of human frailty the entire myth hangs on. Or maybe, given that those successfully returning from the dead tend to gather disciples and form the basis of world religions, begnning Eurydicism, which may borrow it's forms of worship from the snake-handling traditions of the american south, although such rituals were not unknown in an Eurydice's own time, given all those snake wielding priestesses of Crete. Hmm, not sure the world actually needs another religion convinced it is the only one and the true.



And where to begin, in Elysium, ou peut-être in Hades, or maybe in Hell, one seems to use these words interchangeably, as though they described the same place. Hades is not Hell, and the difference is not just in the idea that Hades is a Greek mythological concept and Hell a Christian one, but more probably in how we define our gods. "Good God!" is exactly how we want our gods to be, good, we want our gods perfect, moral and just, all-knowing but unknowable, but the pantheon of Greek gods that inhabit our own heads are anything but perfect, moral or just, they are not 'good' and definitely not 'all-knowing'. Zeus thinks, he reasons, he learns, adores his ego being massaged, particularly if the masseur is wearing a skirt, and, along the way, he lies, he cheats, he fucks, he kills, he destroys (a description that could also be applied to any of the other thirteen major gods in the Greek pantheon). They are not 'good gods', they are made more in our own image than we are of theirs, and Hades is not some place of relentless, and eternal, punishment, it just exists as a place inhabited by our shades (and a few human interlopers along the way, Orpheus, Odysseus, Aeneas and a couple of others), but then, the major player in every single world religion journeyed to the underworld and returned, not entirely unscathed, but still alive. Whereas the concept of hell as a physical place, was invented to keep the illiterate peasants in their place, to frighten them. If they could have read their Bibles, they'd discover little mention of the place, and the fanciful descriptions of fires and torture machines and torment cranked up a notch when the social systems of Europe went through revolutions of sorts. The first after William the Conqueror did his conquering thing, and the second during, and after, the Industrial Revolution when the factories, those fearful places that Blake called the dark satanic mills began destroying souls, began changing life as they knew it for vast numbers of people, and Hell was never anything other than an ultimate threat, a threat birthed after capitalism and Christianity first got into bed together and began fucking each other senseless, and it seems each fucking thereafter birthed some new feature to Hell's topography of dread. But, just for the moment, returning to the Elysian Fields instead, these fields apparently reserved exclusively for those people absorbed in the family of the gods (even though Homer put stupid Menelaus there, described in The Odyssey, to spend his eternityness fucking the beautiful Helen). But the Elysian Fields find no parallel with the concept of Heaven, as the Elysian Mysteries concern the connection between the human and the divine, it is not a reward for some life imagined virtuously lived, but an acceptance of the psychological relationship between Zeus and Hades, one seeing the world through light, the other through darkness, the two constituent parts of the same whole, and without each other neither can exist, they need each other. But no, I will not be reborn as I choose not to be, as, despite all the above, and despite what Bob Dylan believes, death is the end, for without it, my life would be meaningless. Without the full stop of death every life is meaningless. But the white goddess inhabits me, in so many ways, perhaps when I look through the viewfinder of my camera, perhaps when I suddenly know with certainty what it is I need to write, when the words flow without hesitation seemingly without conscious thought, from whatever source the inspiration, the need, the drive underlying some creative act comes (pure thought, whatever that might be, the Muses perhaps, whoever they may be), and an unwillingness to differentiate between emotions and thought, perhaps fearing the loss of emotional control by admitting to something emotionally heartfelt, and where did we come from, where are we, where are we going, thinking of Gauguin, who asked these very same questions, and the answer to all of them was to look at his paintings, to trust the art and not the artist. Perhaps like those artists, the poets that Socrates questioned, assuming that through their finely tuned words they must know things that he did not, but he was disillusioned, as they could not tell him why, could not even articulate the meaning of their own words (perhaps explaining why Bob Dylan has never responded to any question asking the meaning of any of his words, leaving interpretative work up to his listeners). Maybe, for Gunter Grass, his muses speak from the Gdansk post office, certainly for Marcel Proust from a slice of madeleine cake, for Jimmy Joyce, the streets of Dublin, for Tom Robbins, the heady scent of the late sixties before it's ideals died, but I trust their words enough for me to believe they have things of importance to say, perhaps encapsulating some things I take as poetic truths. But I do not believe that any of them pretend to speak from the promised land itself, only showing us their buckets of artfully arranged words mined from their own black seams of Hades, which exists in our own heads, as do all the gods of olympus and what they represent, love hate jealousy fear knowledge and more, Hades being the place visited every time my seemingly monthly miseries descend, the place to where my road is made smoother avec red wine and jack daniels (yes, the miserable bastard drunk's route I am quite fond of, although some imagine they can roadblock the route using the same). This place called Hades that modern psychiatry has renamed depression (and to each their own), this place closer to death than any other, that place accessed through dreams and imagination and thought, is not so bad, as one rarely emerges into the light without a head full of ideas and a mouth full of jewelled treasures. Perhaps then, I shall just talk of gods, Thales said that everything was full of gods and I say only our heads are, and I have no doubt that if he was in one corner, wearing the blue trunks, and I was in the other wearing the red, I'd take him out soon enough with a vicious kick to the balls and a nasty uppercut to the jaw. And while he's recovering, explaining to the sorry bastard that beginning in the times of Akhenaton, the heretic Pharaoh, who decided that vast numbers of the gods were to be banished, and the singular worship was to be of Amon-Ra, the sun god. He was the first, ever, monotheist, and he enforced this belief on the entirety of the population with far more viciousness than the kick I just gave him. Priests who persisted in the old ways were killed for their troubles, temples to old gods were destroyed or rebadged. He was hated like no other, as it seemed they were ruled by some madman, and when he died, the priests had no trouble convincing the next pharaoh, the boy-king Tutankhamen, to revert to polytheism, *cue much rejoicing*. To them, it made perfect sense, and it makes a certain sense to me, as if we accept that our minds are full of so many forces, some creative, some destructive, then why not accept and embrace them all, if together they constitute who we are. In Athens, there were temples dedicated to the gods of victory, good fortune, friendship, forgetfulness, modesty, mercy, peace, the list goes on, the stuff of everyday life. In the Greek pantheon there was no 'holiness' as such, there were no gods through whom salvation could be sought, Zeus, as mentioned, was just as human as we are, but modern psychology, since Freud, has given the mind clinically sterile names like 'complex', 'archetypes', 'ego', 'superego', 'id', 'sub-personalities' and probably others, and yes, these things have great power, are endlessly fascinating, and the structure of our very beings is like some playing field where rival forces, even unconscious ones, contend for power. But the Greeks gave these same things names, they personified them, Apollo, Dionysius, Aphrodite, Ares, Hades and the others, and I loathe the meditative practice of seeking Oneness, as though there was only one god to be at one with, some omniscient and omnipotent singularity, yet the forces of most modern religions promulgates the idea that there is only one god, like the Pharaoh Akhenaton did, and his newfound orthodoxy defied logic but was nevertheless enforced with a brutality typified by those who somehow imagine they have god on their side. Maybe the reality is that while contemporary theology subscribes to monotheism, we are still psychologically pagans, and we have to accept all the gods, and pay them their dues, even if that means that within our heads there is some battle, maybe many battles, always taking place, recalling Dionysius wreaking his vengeance on those who failed to acknowledge him, to show him the respect he believed was his due, well, fuck, pay him his dues then, accept that Dionysus is well and truly inside us, the side that seeks exultation and joy and wildness and getting absolutely off your face and probably fucking someone for the sheer joy of fucking someone. And yes, acknowledge Aphrodite, the goddess herself split into both the need we have for love that is fulfilling and rewarding and maybe even romantic, and the love that is the quick and probably meaningless fuck, and both aspects of what Aphrodite represents need to be paid their dues (else she gets just as vengeful and nasty and murderous as dionysius). and acknowledge Apollo, pure thought, as when Shakespeare wrote 'what a piece of work is man, how infinite in faculty', he must have been thinking of Apollo, pure thought and capable of anything (Apollo being Sartre's mind inside Iggy Pop's body). Accepting Hades, giving a name to darker shades, the personification of the fact that death is inevitable, but without him all else would be meaningless, attend to all these gods, all these psychological forces, give them conscious recognition, acknowledge the emotional power they have, and as both Dionysius and Freud proved, if we do not, they have a nasty habit of rising up and taking their revenge, we have all these forces, all these gods and goddesses, perhaps to differing degrees of intensity, some will be weak, some strong, some who may be major players at certain times may recede to the background when necessary, at various times throughout life, some god holds sway over another for awhile, eventually being replaced again by another, then another. But they are all there, and accept that these gods, if The Iliad is any guide to their behaviour, are antagonistic, are not of one accord, are in some kind of permanent cycle of conflict and resolution, and if The Bacchae be another guide, then it's acknowledgement these gods seek, not adoration, because we do not have to even like them, I'm wondering if there's any vin rouge left, I think I need to indulge the Dionysian forces for a while.



But I'd like to read essays that students would actually want to write, and I can imagine giving Classics students a topic such as:

'Of all the characters from The Iliad or The Odyssey, or those from the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides or Aristophanes, who would you either drink with, or kill, or fuck first. Explain.'






The Iliad

And this is an unexpected bonus, rather than teach my year 9 Info Tech class (we're 'doing' adobe flash, at the moment, which I actually really like, working through an introductory tutorial where they make a short flash movie, it gives me the kind of buzz I used to get teachings classics), the entirety of years 7-10 are having some science competition thing, and I'm meant to be supervising, but I know they're all cheating like there's no tomorrow but I don't really care. Perhaps I should be walking between the tables, looking stern, as though I actually care, but lemme see, Question 1, Streptococcus bacteria are spherical in shape and form chains of colonies, which drawing represents colonies of streptococcus? Well, I'm guessing the purple spheres in lengths of chain, as the other option involves rectangles and oval pill shapes and they're just not doing it for me, shall we move on, no, I can't bear it. Not that science is unbearable, far from it, it's just that every question here could be answered by anybody who's basically literate and has even a single brain cell remaining, which may explain why some of these kiddies actually need to peer at the paper of whoever's next to them to get the answer to question 1 right.
Speaking of the absolutely fuckin' brain dead, I have the dreaded year 11 classics next, it's true, I really loathe this incarnation of the Classics class, absolutely fucking loathe them with a passion, and I have no idea why any of them enrolled in the subject, only one of them has actually read The Iliad, the other's just can't be bothered. So I think I may just whinge for a moment or two, and mention that last week, after their 'homework' had been reading chapter 7, I asked each of them what they thought about the result of the one-on-one fight between Hector and Ajax, but only one could actually tell me, just one knew they'd declared a draw, of sorts. Some of them even tell me they think the book is boring, fuck!, how can a fight intended to be to the death between the great hero of Troy and the second most feared warrior from the Greek forces possibly be boring? So, I'm pencilling in an 'F' next to that fucktards name as their semester result, and probably carving it into their foreheads as well, boring? How in sweet fuckness could it be boring? It's got fightin', and dyin', it's got gods and beautiful goddesses, it's got truly good men and truly bad men, it's got descriptions of death that even Wes Craven would be proud of, it's got the most beautiful slut (her words, "No one in Troy bears a greater burden of responsibility for the fighting than you – and all because of me, slut that I am, and Paris' blind folly." E.V. Rieu translation, p.184) of all time, apparently, who allows herself to be kidnapped and thus splitting the world into concepts of east and west for the first time, and the halves have hated each other ever since. It's got the greatest warrior ever (likewise apparently), it has the gods themselves out there on the battlefield, even Aphrodite herself gets herself wounded, it's got the most sublime notions of life and death itself, it's got Agamemnon's 'take no prisoners' scorched earth policy, it's got Priam and Achilles having a good cry after discussing the nature of relationships between fathers and sons, but granted, it's singular love scene (I'm thinkin' Paris and Helen here) is perhaps a little restrained for the sensibilities of those raised on the idea that love scenes, or anything that could vaguely be called 'erotic', are defined in terms of it's proximity to porn and Paris and Helen should be going at it like energizer-powered fuck bunnies, which is kinda sad. True, Homer's style can be repetitious on occasion, as entire speeches get typically repeated, but then again, I doubt they read the speeches the first time around anyway, and if they can't see any parallels between what happened at Troy and what's happening in Iraq then they're completely brain-fucked. One even asked last week 'what's happening in Iraq?', lordy sweet fuck, I don't just find that merely sad, I find it scary that they've managed to remain so completely oblivious to anything that might be of some importance, to have never read a single newspaper (not even the Herald-Sun, biased though that paper might be), nor watched a single news report (apparently watching the Simpsons instead is better, even if it's an endlessly repeated episode). Nevertheless, I'm sure they're quite well versed in who's fucking who on Big Brother, or who's dancing with what stars, or what's on high rotation on MTV this week, fuck, I'd rather superglue my eyes shut than watch that shite. Perhaps I should just take my bag o'nails and claw hammer and nail them to the back of the fuckin' library as an object lesson to those who find reading 'boring', and I'm so fucking tired of reading so-called 'essays' merely copy-and-pasted from Wikipedia, word for fuckin' word, and exam questions asking for some discussion of some aspect of The Iliad being answered with whatever they can remember from watching the Troy movie, and telling me that Briseis killed Agamemnon with a swift dagger into his neck, and that Hector killed both Ajax and Menelaus, and some think they're being clever in thinking they're quoting Homer when they tell me that Achilles told Agamemnon that "Before my time here is done I will look down on your corpse and smile", and the next one who mentions the Trojan horse in an essay concerned with The Iliad might just die a totally accidental death, or tell me that Helen and Andromache escaped through some kind of secret tunnel should have bleedingly scarlet-lettered fucktard scratched into their foreheads, and they offer absolutely idiotic so-called 'solutions' to every quandary, every problem, every issue, as though the entire idea of philosophy is a joke, the paradoxes are just stupid if they don't 'get it', Socrates statement that he because he knows one thing for certain and that being he knows nothing, has them thinking he's admitting to some kind of stupidity, rather than the exact opposite, I could go on, and on, but perhaps I should invest in a tonnage of large red firecrackers, and a new bic lighter, and yes, it's question time:

"The Iliad ends with the death of Achilles", true/false
2 seconds, 3, 5, times up, you circled true? really? seriously?

Then congratulations, as you've just won the large red firecracker up the arse, it's wick lit and spitting sparks, and I can only see this as being a bold step forward in the unfolding evolutionary story of humankind. 'Boring' they tell me, but they're lying, they don't find it 'boring', they're actually only using the word 'boring' as an insult to whoever might be passionate about something, by calling The Iliad 'boring' they are knowingly calling me, and what I'm passionate about (or was) 'boring', as though only a fucktard like me could possibly be interested in what I'm banging endlessly on about in class. Whatever, they've succeeded in totally killing my interest in the classics, completely, I wonder if they know they've won and I hope they're happy.