Our Way Back When — A Slide Show

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

That’s a slide — for anyone who doesn’t know, hasn’t seen.

I feel sorry for you.

You have missed an ultimate human experience: the compulsory viewing of someone else’s major life event complete with droning monologue, barks of laughter, and unending stories about people you never met and now hope you never will.

The viewing was held in a room made twilight by pulling down shades and drawing the curtains closed. Light would leak around the edges and create an uncommitted dark. Seating would be close, the room made stuffy by the slide projector and the noisy, breathing humans crowded on not enough comfortable furniture. Children sat on the floor.

Cameras and film were expensive — as was the major life event — and viewing countless slides was an essential activity. You role was to pay attention and follow along in the unfolding story. Don’t hog the potato chips and stop picking on your brother.

Slower than you would think possible, the slide projector would advance, one slide at a time dropping into the slot where a bright light would bring it to life. The projector would hum high and loud with a whishing sound. That was the fan blowing out the hot air to deliver the whooshing, stuffy experience.

It was not uncommon for people to fall asleep. If you were very lucky, you slept through most of the viewing. All you had to do to ensure the satisfaction of the host was to compliment the pictures and thank him for the joy of the slide show.

Most slide shows included an array of blurry vacation pictures marred by fingers, scowling children, and unidentifiable venues.

“Where was that, sweetheart?” The view master would ask his wife occupied with breaking up fights and offering snacks to the guests.

She would squinch her eyes at the screen. Most of the time, she had been at the great event, but these were random shots or stiff arrangements that didn’t look like what she remembered.

With great difficulty, the wife or others might persuade the view master to continue his excellent show. Keep him moving was the guiding principle.

After too long, the show would be over. Lights would be turned back on. The windows would be opened. The audience would stand, stretch, and say nice things while they escaped stuffy, tight confines.

That’s if you were lucky.

If you were family or a close friend, you might be subjected to multiple viewings.

I Want to Save My Marriage

I Need to Stop Being Honest With My Husband

Photo Art by Nick Brown

I want to clarify right away I’m not talking about cheating or doing anything devious against my husband.

I’ve always believed in honesty in marriage… until recently.

When we both met over twenty years ago, we were both going through some positive life changes that made us feel better about ourselves. We hit it off right away and were very happy.

Then certain situations occurred causing both of us to become depressed. We were both prescribed anti-depressants by our doctors. We changed our situation and things improved for us… for a while.

While my husband grew up in a loving home environment, I did not. Though there were many times he experienced sadness and a lack of self-worth. We’ve always understood each other in that way

My history prior to meeting my husband includes physical, verbal, sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts and attempts for more years than I can admit without crying… or crumbling into a panic attack or screaming. I still have nightmares about my past.

I guess you could say I’ve always been mentally ill. I have been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In addition, I have a multitude of physical illnesses.

My husband insists he loves me and does so much for me, but I honestly don’t understand how he can love such a messed up person like me, especially since my mental and physical conditions have worsened.

I’ve been crying every day for about a year now. I’m suddenly overwhelmed with deep sadness and I begin to sob so hard my entire body is shaking. Sometimes he’s at work and when he comes home and asks me how I made it through the day I’ve been honest with him. When he’s here and sees me crying, he feels it’s his responsibility to make me feel better. I’ve insisted that’s not his job. It’s my job and the job of my doctors to help me improve my mental and physical health.

Unfortunately, treatment isn’t going very well. I’ve tried too many psychiatric medications that don’t work. I’ve been psychiatrically hospitalized three times over the past six years for suicidal intention and attended out-patient treatment sessions upon discharge. Yet, I remain unable to cope with life.

I continue to have suicidal thoughts because I feel like I’m a burden to my husband. I’m unable to work or function as he does. I feel inadequate and embarrassed. My disabilities make me feel like I’m less of a person… worthless.

Still, my husband feels responsible for “fixing” me and I feel selfish for being so needy and sad. That’s not a burden he should have and I told him so. He argued that I’m his wife and his responsibility.

While I am in awe and truly appreciative of his love for me, I don’t believe I deserve it. I love him dearly and believe he deserves to be with someone who can keep up with him and who’s not so mentally damaged.

I’m trying to help myself, but we all know mental healthcare is seriously lacking in this country. The number of people who take their own life each year is staggering.

Because I love my husband more than words can describe and don’t want him to worry so much about me, I have decided to no longer tell him about my anxieties and frightening feelings. If I feel tears coming on, I will do my best to feign a sneezing and coughing attack and run to the bathroom.

I don’t believe this is being dishonest. I believe it is being kind and doing the right thing. It’s my way of doing what I can to prevent dragging him down with me. I want him to live a happier life than he is living now, even if it’s without me. It would devastate me to lose him, but I’m so mentally ill, I want what’s best for him.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation and I wonder how others handle it. I welcome all comments and suggestions.

Thank you for reading. If you are in my situation, I wish you comfort and peace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My husband and I began rescuing dogs over 20 years ago. They are our furry family and we do everything we can to help fill their lives with love, health, and happiness. We rescue the old, sick, unwanted, damaged, and on death row. Each special soul we save changes us and remains in our hearts long after they’re gone. I also create and sell jewelry and metal bookmarks to help pay for their veterinarian expenses. Please visit: https://samanthabeachcreations.com/ to see my items. Thank you for your consideration.

5 Types of Men I’ve Encountered

Are you a single and dating woman or a gay man? It’s rough out there in the dating world… or so I hear. A lot of us tend to get emotionally attached to the wrong men. After just a couple of weeks of observation, you can often tell what type of man you have and what you can expect from him in a relationship. The reason that psychiatrists use personality types is because each of us, more or less, fits into a mold from which we don’t stray too far. A particular personality type will typically act a predicted way in a given situation. The same applies to men in relationships. I’ll go through only a few types to give you the gist. I’m sure you can come up with the rest. Below is a list of characteristics in men I have observed from not only my own limited experiences but also through friends and acquaintances.

1. The first type is the Man’s Man. This man is the strong, silent type — the John Wayne of men, but hopefully one without the racism. I think we’ve all fantasized about this man at least once in our lives. He has that presence that says, “I will take care of you” and backs it up with his actions. His confidence is very appealing. Even though you’re independent, you feel comfortable just to relax and let him take over. He’s a mystery, and at the beginning, that’s a huge turn-on. After a while though, it becomes frustrating. He doesn’t deal with any emotional mumbo jumbo. He doesn’t communicate the way you want him to. You never know how he’s feeling or what he’s thinking. If you are a partner who needs to be told “I love you” constantly… this is not the man for you. He’d rather show it. Expect to be competing for his attention with whatever sport is in season… after all, he is a Man’s Man. Don’t expect him to want to spend all his time with you. He has his own friends and life outside of you. If you are a partner who likes to be reassured that you have a strong man you can depend on and you can deal with a certain level of emotional unavailability, this is the man for you.

2. The second type is the Needy, Sensitive Man. This is a man who is too emotionally available. He wants to talk about feelings more than you do. At first, it’s nice to have such a sensitive man because we all know it’s a rarity, but then it starts to grate on your nerves. He is not a confident guy who can make you feel that you can depend on him if you have to. He will try — bless his heart — but you’ll probably end up correcting his mistakes. There are no mysteries with this guy; he lets you know exactly what he’s feeling. If he gets jealous seeing you talk to a waiter… you’ll know it. If you are looking for a guy to call you five times a day to tell you he loves you, this is the guy. If you are looking for that guy who loves PDA… this is him. If you are looking for a guy who wants to spend all his spare time with you… jackpot. Just recognize that it’s not gonna be a very exciting or drama-filled relationship. In fact, it’s probably gonna be downright boring.

3. The third type is the Good-looking Smooth Talker. He knows exactly what to say to make you feel special. Be very wary of this type of man; how do you think he got so good in the first place? The answer is experience. Practice makes perfect. He’s probably a player. This guy loves the attention he gets from his partners. He’s accustomed to it. It’s not going to be easy for him to break that habit. This is the guy to get if you want eye candy on your arm to show off around your friends. But don’t get too emotionally involved, because you’re probably not the only one.

4. The fourth type is the PTSD Guy. This guy has baggage, and I’m not talking carry-on luggage; I’m talking the full, six-piece Louis Vuitton deluxe baggage. This guy looks at relationships as a way to fill a void in his life. The problem is he never addresses what the original issue is; so, the problem is never fixed, and he keeps collecting women to use as temporary band aids. This guy is a sweetheart, and, if his issues didn’t stem from childhood, he might have been the perfect guy at some point before he dated a not-so-ideal woman who broke his heart, causing him to suffer from PTSD symptoms with every partner he meets going forward. If you date this guy… well… good luck.

5. The fifth type is the Perfect Man________________________________.

The End

(P.S. As soon as I experience the perfect man, I’ll continue the blog.)

There is really nothing wrong with any of the types I have listed… if they fit your dating personality. My point is, don’t go into a relationship with one kind of man and expect him to change into another. He’s obviously not the right fit for you. Go into relationships with your eyes open, or better yet… do like me and don’t date. (Battery Operated Boyfriend)B.O.B. offers all the pleasure without the drama.

Importance Of Eggs In Your Diet

Remember the scene in Rocky, where he gets out of the bed, breaks 12 eggs in a mug and drinks them raw…. Yaaaa ….

Apart from speed and agility, reflexes and endurance the most important part of a players ability which can make the real difference is strength. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of tennis and strength together is of Nadal, crushing the ball with his big powerful arms and legs.

Diet plays such an important role in a player’s progress and performance. What goes in reflects outside right? So, are you looking to hit the ball with increased spin and power? Well, then its time to increase your strength and power.

What’s The Eggs Made Of

The best way to increase strength in the most inexpensive way is to eat eggs. According to Authority Nutrition, it is considered the highest nutritional food available. Here is a more scientific and detailed view on what the egg really contains –

Source — Authority Nutrition

A single large boiled egg contains –

  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
    • Folate: 5% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
    • Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
    • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
    • Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
    • Eggs also contain decent amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.
    • This is coming with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats.

Well that is huge. Imagine you are feasting upon around 3 to 4 eggs a day after a gruesome training session, and you will see the difference within 1 week or so.

How They Help You In Your Game –

• Eggs are way more fulfilling and keep you lean as you do not consume unnecessary calories. In short, you get fit and not bulky, which is very important for tennis players
• They supplement your muscles and help you stay longer on the court and hit the ball with extra power and energy.
• They further heal up those torn fibres and help you built strong muscles.
• Help in recovery process too

In the end I will conclude with the most renowned slogan of NCC –

“ Sunday ho ya Monday, Roz khao ande”

This Is The Little Known Secret Of Light And Darkness

He doesn’t need the sun to do it either! It is in the Bible and can change your life.

  • Are your dreams shrouded with the curtain of darkness?
  • Do the curly edges of life’s purpose fold over you dimming your dreams of success?
  • Does the cloud of darkness, defeat, and gloom fill your every waking hour?

Today is your day.

TODAY is your day to remove insecurity — self-doubt and negative thoughts out of your life’s purpose. God has a solution for you.

How many times have I read God’s creation story without digging deeper into what, how and when He did what He did? Yes, you have done the same, c’mon admit it. I admit reading, Day one He did this, Day two He did that, and on until finally He created us and said; “This is very good!”. Yep! I Got it. Let’s read on. But wait, if we spend more time meditating on words written we will see the light not seen before.

It’s in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible

“Richard, I want to solve my problems mired in the dregs of despair. How will the creation story help me climb out of the pit I’m in?”

Well, there is this little known secret of God’s awesome power revealed between Day One and Day Four. This same power is available to you and me today. Yes, it is.

This power is available to us who believe God’s creation story.

On Day One of Earth, an oddity happened not noticed by many these thousands of years later. We skim through the Creation story not giving it much thought. Yes, We believe! But miss the problem solver God encased in His story.

Find the secret within these ten verses from Genesis.

Day one.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1: 1 and 3–5

Day Four

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. genesis 1: 14–19

Did you see it?

God does not need external bodies to produce light and separate it from the darkness. God delivered light without the sun. Just meditate on the idea of how powerful God is in creation.

Do you think He can do the same for you?

He can give light dispelling the darkness within your mind.

I agree it is good for us to reach out to trusted pastors and friends when we are in need. I’m not for a minute suggesting for you to ignore help from others when it is offered.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

But God.

He can bring light to your situation all by Himself. Yes, He is willing to separate and remove the darkness within your soul. Reach out to Him in prayer. He who turned the light on in the earth without the sun will surely brighten your day.

The songwriter; Stuart Hamblen, had it right when he wrote these words:

There is no night for in His light you never walk alone
Always feel at home, wherever you may go
There is no power can conquer you, while God is on your side
Take Him at His promise, don’t run away and hide

Elvis sings it for you here.

The secret revealed

The God of creation dwells in you as a believer. The same power that separated light from darkness in nature is available to you. This God-ordained power is ready to hit the light switch in your soul. Believe and receive.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Are you dealing with problems? Go to the problem solver. He can remove the doubts. Shine His light into your gloom. Turn your defeat into great success.

Our God is AWESOME!

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment.


12 Things I’ve Come to Learn About Love

What does it mean to really love someone? This question has plagued me my entire life — or at least until recently. To put it succinctly, I’ve been a hell of a hard person to love. I’ve made a mess of the word love and everything it entails. I know I’m not alone in saying I fell victim to my own destructive behaviors. After two earlier in life emotional traumas, I was scared. Frightened. Was I even capable of loving again?

I didn’t know how to risk my heart, my well-being, my dreams and life for something that could break my heart — again. It hurt enough the first time, though my mother’s leaving us was the last thing she ever wanted. But after that, there was a different kind of hurt and that shit hurt. Really bad.

This started a forgettable decade in my life. A decade marred with pain, hurt and the absence of love, with no intentions of ever wanting to risk love, hurt and above all else, loss. So I ran, I played games and hurt some wonderful people along the way. If things ever started getting serious, I’d detach myself and run like hell.

How was I supposed to wrestle with this idea of intimacy and trusting someone with my heart? No one taught me how to deal with the pain of the past — I didn’t know how to reopen my heart. Over time, I grew numb to my behavior and the reckless destruction I had been causing along the way.

The last thing I ever deserved at this point in my life was a beautiful, open heart that was willing to love me, but for some reason, I received just that. I look back with complete disgust at my inability to love in return.

I did, however, make a change, if there is a silver lining to this story, though it was after hitting rock bottom. It’s been a long road getting to where I am now, but I’ve come to understand some things along the way — things I wish I had known years ago. If you’re reading this and are someone I’ve hurt, I’m sorry — I guess this could be my way of trying to make it up to you… to the world.

1. I’ve learned that you can see inside someone’s soul, into their heart and all of the beauty of who they are, and actually love them with their flaws, vulnerabilities and shortcomings — as well as your own. Our flaws make us who we are, they are what make us lovable and able to love the people with whom we choose to share our lives. I think it’s important to see beyond the surface, to step out of our own shoes and into the shoes of others and to let their intentions be the true source of our understanding of them. Almost always, things aren’t as they appear on the surface and rarely is our perception of a problem, flaw or challenge merely skin deep — we need to see beyond just what is apparent, and be hopeful of the people we love. If you love someone, you know their heart and the beauty of their soul — that’s where one’s intentions are housed. The same is true for you and me and for all of us that choose to step out and love. READ MORE

Under the leaves, Hearts beat

The Chronicles of Space

It’s funny, sometimes I see the finished result, before I see the first step.
I believe this is a trait we all contain. An ability to imagine.

To see a future idea. This a great thing. The starting point of invention.

The reason I’m bringing this up now, is this blog is a great example of this. I’ve been due to write a blog for a while. And as I’ve been exploring my own consciousness, and expressing through art a title came to mind: “The Chronicles of Space” . I have no idea what it means, but it sounds right.
And so came the vision, and now comes the action.

This story is a Thank you to my friends and family.
I came home from a big world trip a year and a half ago
and I feel it’s taken a while to settle back home. I’ve learnt a lot this year, and, whether you realise it or not, so many lessons have come from you. So thank you. Thanks for sticking by me and bringing me home.

These words/ these ideas that I need to express. They come from a deep place. Something I learnt while travelling, was the importance of expressing this voice. Sharing it with the world. It is something I must do, yet I’m not always sure of how to. And so the logical mind has developed. To be patient, to be observant, to be logical, and to always be learning. I place these words with care, but not too much care. I know they are not for everyone, but for those who seek, I leave them here. Behind a cover, a post placed on the flowing river — the Facebook news stream. Thanks for clicking in.

The reason I wanted to share this, is , well, to present some art and discoveries from the past couple of weeks. Which actually seems to summarise my learnings of this year. I’ve learnt a lot this year, and if I know you, and we’ve bumped into each other, you are more than likely to have taught me something. You don’t even realise it!

Chapter 1:
He walked through the forrest and came across a dinosaur.
Jesom was scared. The dinosaur pointed to the West. Unsure of the dinosaur’s Nature, Jesom did not follow. Instead he kept moving forward

There was subtle sadness there that Jacob could not describe. His unsureness levels were high and his confidence was dim, yet still there

He wanted the Answer so very much.

He began to express, and as he expressed , some sureness came

That was it!

You see, some time ago John had been travelling.

A great voyage which had given John some great insight.

He had arrived at a single conclusion.

God is the Space within Us and the Space Between Us

But Now John realised just a little more.
That the Love between him and others was intertwined with the Love within himself.

And that even the Space within him, was the space between the light particles which make him on a physical level.

And so He made a Conclusion

That the Universe was constructed with Love, and that Love is all there is

Orbiting into the new year with full fuel load

Bidding goodbye to a passing year , stereotype ! Thank for some(thing /one / few), regret some, fear some, pray for some, wish for some or wish not for some and the list goes on. The passing by – is the time that made me (you) grow , literally and metaphorically.

Its that time of year when we sit down , reflect on the bygone and resolve for the time to come , quite a cliché. What’s wonderful about new year eve is that we wish everyone as “One” and wish each one’s dreams come true. These 86400 seconds weave all 7.6 billion of us from Kiribati to Baker Island into one wish — Prosperity for everyone !

While buring fuel to reach the orbit , I have gathered more fuel to now orbit into 2018 and the journey just begins. For all those who believe Tiger Zinda Hai (:P) and believe in his reappearance , a better one – Tiger in you Zinda Hai and I wish you have gathered your fuel for 2018 and many years beyond to make a successful and prosperous year for yourself and all of us !

Be good , do good and stay blessed !

Ligeti, Painful Penile Survival



One time is not all the time, and for once I will start with the music. This supposedly anti-opera uses the orchestra and some “instruments” that are not real instruments with great imagination and great creativity. The car horn prelude opens the opera, and a second car horn prelude opens the second scene of the opera. A doorbell prelude opens the second part of the opera, the third scene of it. A simple Interlude will open the fourth scene which is the epilogue. The finale of this epilogue will be a passacaglia. The first three opening pieces are, of course, surprising on an opera stage, but car horns, doorbells, bicycle bells, train noises and many other noises of this industrial and urban type have been used regularly and even systematically by Pierre Schaefer to only quote one and he did that at the end of the second world war in Paris and went on doing it to his very end. And what about Steve Reich and his “Different Trains”? I guess the beautifully dressed Dames, Madams and Ladies in Paris Opera who had brought eggs for the end of the premiere of the creation of this opera with Daniel Mesguich as stage director in 1981 must have been shocked by this music that sounded like the noise in the streets of Paris at rush hours, and probably by the obscene language and at least erotic situations. Or maybe they were only afraid of death, I mean Death, and even maybe D-D-D-EATH, though for them surviving death with sex might be slightly too enticing to be true.

What is a lot more interesting at the level of the music is, in fact, the great flexibility in styles and genres that stick so well to the great varieties of situations and characters in the opera? The two lovers, Amando and Amanda, originally named in a far more explicit way Spermando and Clitoria by the original storyteller Michel de Ghelderode, the two lovers then who start the opera with a love scene and close the opera with another love scene, quite explicit indeed and surprising on an opera stage with noises, moanings, and other gruntings, supposedly of pleasure, bliss, rapture, ecstasy or simple enjoyment. I guess it is more acceptable for some of the Paris bourgeoise ladies since the two lovers are two sopranos, two women. That’s my next remark on this music. The voices are treated and processed as if they were instruments of their own. The voices melt into the instruments and the instruments engulf the voices to get to some kind of Brownian soup in which every note or every guttural bangarang jumps, bounds, and rebounds, jostles with others in some kind of constant evanescent and yet overpowering composition, opposition, competition and struggle for survival. We are absolutely crushed into some kind of human pulp by this music and the voices. Very often the words evade us because the voices are over-imposed onto one another, distorted or very often reduced to shouts, cries and even howling calls.

But is that an anti-opera? We all know that since the invention of the oratorio or the opera in Beauvais cathedral at the end of the 13th century for the Nativity festivities there (“Ludus Danielis” by anonymous) it has often been the case when some irregular means, some disruptive attempts were used by the composers, such as popular instruments like bells and other percussions in the afore-mentioned “Ludus Danielis,” and the braying of a donkey in the same; dancing and ballet interludes by Mozart in “The Marriage of Figaro” against the wish of the Emperor; or the use of films like in “Lulu” by Alban Berg. This opera is visual, I would even say excessively visual, eruptively visual, and the sound is supposed to make the audience get lost in the visual elements and in the various cultural, biblical or not, allusions on which it is constructed. We hence need a music that perturbs our psyche and yet mesmerizes us into some kind of unconscious loss of our cultural good manners (meaning our good conditioning and training, if not taming, the taming of the wild beast deep in our lower self), and it is fun to accept that deep dive into a world of eroticism, even soft pornography, rude words, and other insults and swear words. And yet somewhere there is a political discourse that burns and churns under the obscenities and the gross situations.

Just for this reason, concerning the music, I would advise listeners or watchers, in short, the audience to let their censorship drop and to abandon themselves in the pleasurable jubilation of being beyond the rules of good bourgeois society. It is so funny to break rules and to know that after the more-than-two-hour show of delinquency and depravity we will be able to go back out into the street and return to normalcy and humdrum life. After all, that was the objective of so many works by Johann Sebastian Bach who brought his congregation to communion with the Lord, and yet as soon as they stepped out of the church they went back to the gross, poor and cruel society they had left out behind them for something like one hour or two, back to sinning, stealing and killing if necessary. And the opening of the opera with “Dies Irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum in…” is a good introduction to what we are going to experience. A famous Tenebrae, or if you prefer Requiem. Let’s go down into the grave with some dead corpses and enjoy the night of the interment. And at the end of the opera, the English translation “All is done,” and the Latin translation “Consummatum est” of Jesus’s last words “Tam ve’nishlam” is the end of the whole interment, hence the signal the time has come for resurrection. From love to love via the destruction of the whole world at midnight and its resurrection with sunrise, we have a strange version of the death of Jesus and his subsequent disappearance from the grave, but the whole thing set as a farce, as an anti-story of our basic western myth. I will not enter too many details, after all, we all have that culture in reference, in obedience or simply in acquaintance. You have to enjoy the opera and discover the hidden meaning all by yourself because the meaning is deeply buried, interred, entombed in your own impulses and instincts. In our world where God is dead, as is well-known, we have to see what it can become in our minds today. It is a nightmare in many ways but a funny, very protected nightmare, like Dante’s descent into hell and coming out of it through the bottom entrance, in fact, the basement exit of the devil himself.

If you take it as a big metaphor of an upside-down apocalypse, you may find it funny, very enjoyable. And fun has no limits. The king of this strange Breughelland, a portmanteau word Brueghel-Hell-land, is called Go-go, like any go-go girls in some bar (“Let me have a sip of vodka from your belly-button!”), and of course, he is a countertenor to emphasize this trans-gender aspect of the story. Amando is a soprano, so why shouldn’t Go-Go be a countertenor. It is, of course, taking the Mickey bliss out of the old baroque tradition to have a castrato singing the main Biblical character in operas and oratorios, like King David for one example. So, we are entering the worst nightmarish Flemish paintings of all times, we are descending into gravissimo hell, and yet we are only visiting the Queen of Hearts (even if you are used to calling a spade a spade) and her Hatter (Twinkle Twinkle Little Piet… the Pot, and the water pot breaks on the doorstep… top the grave) in Wonderland. But this Prince Go-Go is going to fight against a Tsar mind you, Nekrotzar, who is the king of hell himself, the big lean and even skeletal reaper who is going to be completely fooled around by all the characters. Nekrotzar will decree the end of the world and yet he will fail like a defeated Puck who hardly succeeds to repair the dumb things and situations he created with his antics. At the end of the couplet, right at the end of the sonnet, when all wine has been drawn and drunk, as is well known, me, myself, and I will prick you with my phallic or penile sword, right in the middle of your stomach. And during that time Amanda and Amando have taken refuge in a dark tomb to do what we know they are doing, what we can imagine they are doing. Two dirty pigs in a grave pigsty, like “Romeo and Juliet” revisited on the sly. Go-Go has two ministers, one white and one black, a white man dressed in red and a black man dressed in blue in the Barcelonan version, and the two ministers could not care less for the state business. They are self-centered onto their egotistic umbilical exhaust pipe of their vanity and pride and they resign as often as necessary just for fun. But behind these operetta political clowns, there is the serious head of all spying security, Gepopo, which is in French a scatological reference to some chamber pot in baby-speak and the business that goes along with it. He is the shady side of Go-Go since all kings need to have a dark being controlling the situation that politicians can’t even cope with. A farce again? A metaphor one more time? Certainly! Definitely! The metaphor of a post-Nazi society that is not really abiding by this extreme ideology, but that is playing hooky with democracy and is relying on this menace as the necessary beacon that tells us there is a limit here that must not be crossed and we play, in the back of this beacon who is more often asleep than awake, the game of “Let’s go beyond the cliff and see if it really falls straight vertical into the sea.”

The Barcelonan production adds to all that ranting and raving about the Apocalypse, the Passion of Jesus Christ, another visual dimension. The stage is entirely occupied by a nude gigantic woman sprawled on all fours. She will be everything and the rest, play all roles in one, all props in one, all sizes in one: a mountain climbed up and down by many characters; a prison for bad boys or girls, who cares; some panic-room with three coppers at the end in Yellow Vests trying to do what exactly); a refuge from death or a buffet with wine and goodies; a brothel with as many pleasures as you like or a cozy bedroom lolling in the cleavage of her breasts. That nude lady turns several times from a front position to a sideways position, the right side, and even a couple of time backside position and you can imagine that Dante’s exit from hell, the backside cleavage will be experimented by several nosy characters, in and out, in and out like in “Clockwork Orange.” The thigh can open, the backside can open, and the body becomes a tunnel or a highway from the stage to the wings and vice versa. This nude woman’s body, what’s more, is used as a screen and from a Fellinian setting she turns into a skeleton or her skin is nothing but a screen onto which all kinds of atrocious pictures, or even once the flames of hell can appear, live and die. This nude lady is well-wrapped in layers of fat and several characters are just the same. Piet the Pot is even frankly obese, and he loves caressing and showing, exposing even, his skin, his flesh, and his excessive fat. Piet is a drunkard, a wino and a blissfully concentrated person, concentrated on pleasure, immediate pleasure and trying to avoid the hangover on the following morning. A difficult endeavor and not elementary at all, in spite of what Doctor Watson may say. Or is it Sherlock Holmes?

When you have said all that, you have said nothing. You need to confront yourself with the standard interpretation that it is a funny staging of a metaphysical reflection on death. In front of death, you should accept the idea that you are alone, that there is nothing beyond and that you only have the “me-now-here” dimension of life. “When one enjoys the joys of love … Let others fear the Judgement Day: we have no fears, let come what may! ‘Neath terrors dire let others bow: for us, there’s only here and now, just here and now! … just here and now!” But that is so trite, so banal, so void and fake that we find this moral (the very end of the opera) a paltry and laughable conclusion. Nekrotzar, Lord Macabre, and Le Grand Macabre are nothing but the new trinity of Flemish morbid black humor and set up in this music and in this setting, and in this stage production, any stage production, it becomes an enormous sniggering roar of Ghelderode at our gullibility. And Nekrotzar becomes an embodiment of the Flemish Till Eulenspiegel, that anarchistic trickster that still controls so many minds in Flanders. And Richard Strauss dances in his grave. I just wonder if, for some, this Tsar, this Nekrotzar is not an embodiment of Putin. Or Lenin if you prefer. Forget about Stalin.

The last remark I would like to add is about the use of language in this opera. Language is really completely exploded at times into repetitive alliterations and assonances, and even into chaotic, yet structured, decomposed sounds and words. Stammering is the major rule of the characters. Stammer and stutter and there will always be some disquieting shuddering in the backs of the audience who will turn around and look behind to make sure there is no demon in the back of the room. It is true. What use is it to speak out words and sing out sentences when anyway you don’t understand a syllable of the foreign language on the stage, either because you don’t speak it at all, or because the operatic articulation makes it inaudible. So why not reduce or amplify this language into simple vocalizations of syllables of that new operatic language which is titillating your ears with the “kikeriki, kukuriku, kekerikeke, kokorikoko, kukurikuku, etc. etc. etc.” of some “cha-chee-cho-choo-cha!” that reinvents the syllabic Maya writing system. That becomes so funny and enjoyable that you let yourself go back into your seat, your armchair, your deep sofa, and LOL! LOL! LOL! You start c*mming to terms with your mental fire and the apocalyptic explosion you are experiencing all over, inside out and outside in, from your toes to your scalp, and all that started with the singing of a cock, your cock, in the poultry-yard of some farm when the sun finally rose after this nighttime “Dream of a Witches Sabbath,” in fact a phantasmagorical “Night on a Bald Mountain.” And we are finally introduced to some Halloween celebration and we can imagine “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and Nekrotzar becomes Freddy Krueger jumping out of some frightening painting by Piet-thePot-er Brueghel the Elder. And we all know Till Eulenspiegel’s methodical trick to empty hospitals: call for one volunteer to be turned into powder you will serve to all the sick people as a cure to all diseases with a choice of fluid, chocolate, coffee, tea, or simple schnapps.

Be it read, listened to, watched or simply dreamed like that, this opera is a masterpiece that the afore-mentioned Paris bourgeoise ladies, heavily weaponed as they were with eggs, did not appreciate because of their lack of the morbid black humor that is plainly necessary to survive in this world, in this life till death us parts from our fleshy carapace.