This Internet Site


PLAIN Lifestyle, FEW Possessions, GREAT Contentment –
Humility, Modesty, and Empathy
in a World of Self-Deification, Hedonism, and Greed

Over the past 40 years, I have observed with distress
as the human race – generally,
has descended to below the level of animals –
in morality,
as well as comparative mentality.

Since 1990, “Self Esteem” – the worship of “Me”,
has replaced courtesy, consideration, and compassion
in the bulk of observable humanity.

Ten minutes spent noting “blog”-, “social media”-,
and YouTube comments
will readily reveal the depths of depravity
in which modern multitudes now wallow.

Young people – below the age of 40, it seems –
can barely even communicate without obscene profanity
or crude vulgarity,

utterly bereft of the self discipline
and standards of basic maturity
to even spell properly;
or the humility to learn anything
of mental or moral consequence.

Rising above sheer laziness is –
very clearly, too much of an effort.

This Internet site is an extension of my Conscience:
an attempt to convince modern-minded humanity to
Pause … Consider … and THINK – like men and women;
rather than React – like children … or savages.

It has been kindly suggested to me
that while people may find the concepts expressed here
to be curious,
they do not like to be ‘told how they should live.’

Permit me to point out that
this Internet site contains … OBSERVATIONS
that have been made over the course of my life.

Nothing more.

While reading the contents of this Internet site,
it may well be that … YOUR … Conscience
may be telling you how you should live:

I am not.

You can be an atheist, a Buddhist, a Christian;
you can hug trees,
or worship the Third Moon on the Right:

as long as you do not inflict fear, pain, or injury
upon any animal, child, or peaceful adult –
I am not the least concerned with how you live
– provided you harm no peaceful creature.

Whilst this site does reflect my disgust at the
discernible degradation of humanity
in the space of the last 30 years particularly;

and my inability to find any point of similarity between me
and the world and its people
that I see and hear displayed around me,

it consists of straightforward Observations.

Nothing more.

This Internet site is as you see it:

I am just one man who began using a computer in 2001
because I could no longer buy ribbon cartridges for my typewriter.

The thoughts presented here are merely observations
that are presented as a result of 50 years
of watching human society progressively degenerate;

and to lament the almost-complete elimination
of moral decency: courtesy, consideration, and conscience.

Criticism is good: it keeps a wise man or woman ‘sharp’ –
PROVIDED, of course, that the one doing the criticizing
is QUALIFIED by Humility, Wisdom, and Mature Life EXPERIENCE.



The half-dozen-or-so personal portraits on this Internet site
are included as my attempt at being sociable,
congenial … friendly:
much like the photograph of an author
on the inside back fly-leaf of a book.

I am just one man.

I have no part in any company, corporation,
denomination, or agenda.

I ask people to comment … to share photographs, links,
a bit of conversation … to be sociable,
because I would be interested to meet any thoughtful,
quiet, and congenial folk who may still be left in the world.

I am not interested in your money, email address,
or any other thing wherein people now generally presume
that everyone is a thief who is ‘out to get them’.

I have no interest whatsoever in being “liked”, “friended”
or having you “subscribe” … Although, it would be nice
to ‘meet’ folk who have the capacity
to think independently of a television,

and aspire to something other than
vanity and constant entertainment.

This site consists of the observations
of a quiet and peaceful man who is
incapable of ‘fitting in’ with modern-minded multitudes.

More than a few folk have told me
that what is here, has been of help to them.
For that, I am exceedingly thankful.

Most simply ‘take’ and have neither the decency,
nor the conscience to leave a congenial comment.

It is never nice to admit that one has no friends, however,
as much as I love the amiable conversation
of articulate and genteel people,

I have found that people do not want the company
of a man who cannot talk about ‘partying’,
popular entertainment, or vanity possessions.

It has been the experience of my entire life that,
once the initial fascination wears off,
folk invariably walk away.


This Internet SITE …

When I began this Internet site in March of 2012,
it was intended to be a place for those who can remember

when the terms “Lady” and “Gentleman”
actually had relevance;

when young women were not ashamed to be ladies,
nor sought to imitate the pathetic macho posturing
of vicious and vulgar men …

… and being a mother at home
was the most honourable job in the world;

when men had enough maturity and respect for other people,
to tuck in their shirt, and exercise self discipline
in conduct and conversation;

when courtesy, consideration, and conscience
still distinguished men and women … from savages;

and children were taught enough respect for adults
as to address them as ‘Mr’ ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’.

It is heart-breaking to realise that
the things that I value in life –

conscience, courtesy,

consideration for neighbours;

the ability to read, write,
and carry on a conversation;

making an effort to be congenial,

– have not only vanished,
but are now regarded with suspicion,
derided as “weakness”,
and viewed with contempt;

to see that anything that advocates moral discernment,
self control, or moderation
is now reviled as “Hate Speech” ;

and to understand that this is now a world
where those who cry for “Equal Rights”
– once they get what they want –
are the very LAST to give equal rights
to those who are different from themselves.

Moral Integrity and Conscience are CLEARLY
all-but non existent in the world today –
as is PLAINLY observable in the daily conduct
and conversation of multitudes.


Until we became familiar with the Internet
and ‘had a look around it’,
I had never imagined ‘ordinary’ people to be
as vulgar and alliterate;

or as vicious, callous, and apathetic towards anything
that did not immediately gratify their lusts, ease, or vanity.

Good people ‘post’ a nature video;
a film-clip of their dog,
or even a portion of a documentary film,
and the comments that appear below
seethe with filth, vulgarity, and contempt.

I shall never forget the film on a mother with her autistic child,
and the comment from America
that the woman should have … “put your retard down”.

Or the assertion below the piece on the Amish farmer and his wife,
noting that “they are all pedophiles [sic], brainwashed, and stupid”.
“What a f–king useless, boring life” declared another. [ my edit ]

The depravity of modern mankind – especially young people –
is completely beyond my capacity to fully take in.

It took me less than a week to realise
that I cannot ‘surf’ the Internet.

To attempt YouTube is to wade through a cesspool of filth:
find a video of bluebells growing in a woodland clearing and, it seems,
there will be some vile, obnoxious creature
spewing profanity and invective at that.

My brief look around the Internet
taught me about the 21st century –

– actually, it explained a great deal.

Why it was, for instance, that
whenever I held the door open
for a young woman at the supermarket,
she tells me that she can ‘get it’ herself.

Why people stand in the checkout queue
bellowing into ‘cell phones’
for all around them to hear …

… or why one cannot spend ten minutes
in any public place
without hearing “f**k“
after each use of the word “the”.

They even have a slogan now – “WTF”.

The filthy obscenities of forty years ago
… are now a fashion statement.

There just is no lower depth of depravity than that.


It has been distressing to see –
not only the progressive infantilising of the human race,
but – the willingness with which multitudes
have facilitated it –

people striving with every waking breath, it seems,
for no higher goal in life
than to be entertained;

men dressing like slobs;
spewing vulgarity and obscenities
as so-called ‘conversation’ –

and women doing everything they can
to imitate men.

The 21st century is an age that is CHARACTERISED by
laziness, greed, and malicious vanity –
in which the humility to learn has utterly vanished.

Skill and wisdom gleaned from life experience
are now relegated to … “Well, that’s your opinion”
by people who, generally, can no longer spell,
write cursively, or even read anything
requiring an attention span.

Attempt to help by correcting a person’s grammar
and they will call you a “Grammar Nazi”.

It is not merely that people are unbelievably ignorant:
but they dogmatically Insist upon being that way.

Human beings no longer have the ability to blush.
And shame is a thing of the past.

We have come to understand the ease
with which modern “friendship” evaporates
in an instant.

Simply being ethical and quiet
is enough to earn the hatred of multitudes
in whose seared consciences, the very existence of morality
moderation, and self discipline … is a ‘thorn’.

I live in a wilderness, as far as the world today is concerned.
The last time that I had anything in common with contemporary society,
the radio was playing The Original Cast
singing the morality tale, “One Tin Soldier” …

and even television stations broadcast the nightly message:
“It’s ten o’clock: Do you know where your children are?”

Of course, this is a world that could not care less
WHERE their children are .

This is the 21st century: an age in which human beings
WANT to live in a moral sewer where

“Do what thou wilt,
shall be the whole of the law.”

And anyone who might reason them away
from that self-serving existence
is dismissed as a sad fanatic
who has nothing of value to offer
beyond … ‘complaining’.


From Northern Ireland, having served – since 1982,
as a lecturer, school-teacher of Oxford English,
and writer of bespoke documents in prescribed English,

my wife and I live a plain lifestyle without television, stereo,
newspapers, or cellular telephone,

in a 1920’s farmhouse
contentedly avoiding the noise,
vulgarity, and ‘party’ mentality of modern humanity.

No longer being called upon to lecture on
“Principles of Dress and Deportment for Professionals”,
or to write bespoke documents in Oxford English,
I occasionally speak upon aspects of
“Contentment, Plain Lifestyle, Few Possessions”.

The seven-year effort to build a Visitors’ Garden,
located on our farmland, has thus far
met with no interest from local people.


A practitioner of Wing Chun Gung Fu
and traditional Japanese culture,
I can most often be found in the garden,
quietly reading an historical book;
or finding solace in the serenity of tea
and aroma of toasted vanilla pipe tobacco.

I have lived my entire life as a quiet, peaceful human being
always seeking to help others;

but have now reached its latter end
in the deep distress of realising
that the world into which I was born,

no longer exists.

Visitors will find that this Internet site reflects
those obviously unwanted, ‘out-of-touch’ characteristics
which define me.

That most return here repeatedly,
yet refuse to extend the civility of a comment or greeting,
continues to be a source of deep discouragement to me.

This Internet site consists of “Old Paths”
that are now despised in the modern world –

written from the perspective of a man
who remembers … and laments
a world that is now long gone.


P Livingstone

A Solitary Journey: Walking On …


It is, I believe, part of maturity to admit
when one’s best efforts are ineffective
and unwelcome.

This Internet site was intended
to make people stop and consider;
… and serve as a place where people doing that,
could exchange thoughts, and memories,
and empathy.

The premise of this site has been
that human beings have become excessively self-centred
to the extent that vanity and entertainment
have replaced courtesy and moderation.

Of course, what I had realised
by the end of the second year was that,
to present such a notion is “offensive”
to 21st century conceit.

“No one is going to tell me how to spell correctly!”

If the Internet is any indication,
human beings en masse have degenerated, morally,
to below the level of animals.

Unable to communicate without profanity,
their ability to think:

to spell, speak properly,
exercise maturity, patience,
and discern right from wrong –

effectively places multitudes
slightly higher than a vegetable.

You cannot reason with people
for whom thinking and discerning
is too much of an effort –

or worse:
is seen as sufficient excuse
to mock, insult, and slander
any who do.

In the 1960’s we, as schoolchildren,
were encouraged to ask questions.

For a Child in the 1960’s to ask questions …
was … Admirable.

For an Adult in the 21st century to ask questions …
is to be ridiculed, degraded, dismissed as a …  “Theorist”.

General observation will readily reveal that
what frequently passes for an ‘adult’ today
… does not possess the basic mental capacity
( to inquire, to think, to discern )

of a child from 50 years ago.

“Grammar Police”.  Some obnoxious, derogatory phrase
or deluge of filthy profanity is now attached
to anyone having the self discipline
and presence of mind
to stop, discern, and consider …

… by those whose conceit and arrogance
permits them to insist that No One
is going to correct them,
or make them better human beings.

Intelligence, discernment, courtesy,
humility, patience, professionalism;
to speak and act with self-controlled maturity;
to rise above the vulgar obscenities
of gutter-level creatures – No!
No … they are far too ‘smart’ to allow
any such ‘old fashioned’ notions to affect them.

It is impossible to edify anyone who wants to be
– insists upon being – ignorant.


The human mind has been conditioned to believe
that evil does not exist in the world;
that the abuse of power or authority
for personal gain … never occurs.

The ability to think has been sacrificed
on the altar of TV and the popular press
– as would be self evident
if most would but pause long enough
to discern their own mind …

Mention one particular word in the English language …
and most can not see it, or hear it – (or even call it to mind)
without INSTANTLY adding a second word to it.

Their brains have been so programmed – altered –
as to make it an involuntary action.

Why, right now … Test Yourself …


You have already added that second word.

Is that fair of me to say ?

I know you have.
And that is no Theory.


It is not that people can not think:
It is that To Think
is too much of an inconvenience.

Actually being civil …
is too much of an inconvenience.

The whole of the Internet – YouTube, ‘blogs’,
daily newspaper articles, ‘celebrities’, media sensationalism,
Hollywood sewage, or men chasing a ball around a field …
Everything! – receives comments from those who visit.

But not here.
Not from people who return here, time and time again.
The capacity to leave a word of thanks, or encouragement,
or even greeting … does not exist in any but a very few.

Seeing that, tells me that this site
will never serve any meaningful purpose
in the world and mentality of today.


Those pieces written about the things
most dear to my heart and mind –
things that (I would have imagined) … SHOULD …
wrench at the heart-strings of human conscience
[ “A Dog, and Blind Man, and Modern Humanity”, for instance ]
and stir such righteous indignation as to Demand a response

– have received Not One single comment
in four-and-a-half years.

The Internet is saturated with comments
on any aspect of contrived fear-mongering,
iToys, “movie reviews”, ‘celebrity’ gossip,
and absolutely anything on the television …

but present the lack of Observable basic compassion,
common courtesy, and mature conversation
in modern humanity,
and there is … silence.

I was raised with the conviction that, if I enjoyed,
or benefitted … was taught, or was challenged
to my own edification … I said ‘Thank You’, or
‘I enjoyed that’; or, ‘That made me think’.


I remember my grandpa telling me that:

You cannot hurt a kind person more
than by taking their kindness or their hard work
… and then ignoring them.

And it is true.

I had determined to close this site down
and remove myself from the Internet
in November of 2014.
Three people asked me to stay.
Which I did.

I never heard from a single one of them, again.

I determined to close this site down
and remove myself from the Internet
in October of 2015.
Three people asked me to stay.
Again, I renewed

Last October, 2016, I had had enough.
But stayed because four folk asked me to remain.

I have asked people – during the last four years,
to Help Me to understand, if there is something
about modern humanity that I cannot see,
or do not comprehend.
Again, silence.


The site has been a failure.
But not from any lack of effort
and attention to detail on my part.

I have respected my conscience
and used any skill I possess with words
to present the best possible appeal
to sober-minded reason
that I am capable of offering.

If my grave has a headstone,
at least it can read: “He Tried”.

I was going to make the comments “open” – but if I remove the
Enter E-Mail Address requirement, this site will receive
around 120 pieces of advertising “spam” a day …

Other than occasionally returning here,
I shall not know if comments have been left.
But of course, why would there be? Why would anything change?
I always have a spark of hope … Which is why this has to stop.

If any of the topics here are of interest enough to any new visitor
who might arrive, do leave some word – it will not appear publicly,
and I shall see it eventually.

One can make the effort to converse with people;
but if those who stop to listen
refuse the courtesy of speaking –
what more can one do ?

The words of John Owen, chaplain to Oliver Cromwell
most adequately sum up
the intent of this Internet site
when he observed, some 350 years ago that:

“None do so feelingly bewail the sins of the times
as those who have a tender heart;
affected with … compassion over the souls of men.

Nothing can evidence a love to man more
than a sorrowful reflection upon that wickedness
which is the disturbance of human society,
and the ruin of the soul.”

If I did not have immense compassion for people,
I would never have continued
past the first year of this site.

But when people are – generally,
vicious in their sentiment,
and, at best, apathetic in their silence,
I must be satisfied that I have done all that I can
on the Internet.

I cannot understand people today;
and it is certain
that they cannot understand me.

If YOU, arriving here today, will reciprocate
my efforts to be sociable to you,
– Write, Comment, share thoughts –
I shall certainly reply in a spirit of conversation
to keep this Internet site going.

Failing that, I believe that here
I shall have to let it rest.

P Livingstone
31st December 2016


Beauty in the World

An honourable man or woman
will be ashamed to speak once,

what the depraved

boldly proclaim
every hour.


A Beautiful World ?

I suspect that I am the only person on earth
who is repulsed by the phenomenon that, in North America,
the first question a person will (invariably) ask
when meeting someone for the first time is …

“What do you do ?”

“I am a cardiologist”.
“I am a multi-national banker.”
“I own a successful [such-and-such] company.”

As though being unemployed, or a janitor,
or the lowest attendant in a company,

has any bearing upon the moral state of an individual;
or offers any criteria at all
whereby his or her character
may be rightly discerned.

In the course of my Dad’s deteriorating medical condition
since 2007, I have observed
– well enough to ‘write it in stone’ as it were –
that the most obnoxious, condescending, self important
and impatient ‘learned men’ on earth,
have been medical doctors who are ‘Specialists’ –

a phenomenon throughout “academia”,
which is far from unique to the medical profession.


Show me a man who is rich and powerful …
and I shall keep careful watch upon my meagre purse;
and be sure to sign nothing.

WHAT do you do … ?”

It is interesting to reflect that … in the 1960’s and ‘70’s,
we used to meet someone and were satisfied to ask –

HOW do you do ?”

Let a man or woman speak for five minutes,
and I will have their character –

which is of far more importance (to me)
than their daily occupation.

“I am an unemployed failure who tries to
dispense kindness, compassion,
and moral good, whenever I possibly can.”

“Hello … Very nice to meet you”.


“But, this world is filled with beauty!”

Surely, that person must know nothing of
the content of this Internet site,
who would see a need to inform me
that this world is filled with beauty:

I … KNOW … that this world is filled with beauty.

I am also aware that it is filled – saturated …
with progressively degenerate,
malignant, cruel, and selfish
human beings who are UTTERLY without
any observable trace of self restraint
or courtesy towards others.

Girls who, in the 1990’s,

thought it no insult
to be called “bitches” and “whores” …
are now the mothers of children and teenagers;

boys who sauntered around
with smirking faces
and referred to the girls with whom they copulated
as “bitches” and “whores” …
are now the ‘fathers’ of children and teenagers.

And it shows.

Visit YouTube. Visit tumblr. Visit Facebook.
Humanity is now explicit, vulgar, and vicious
– observably sadistic;
spewing malice and profanity
at those who are quiet, peaceful, or polite.

It is not that brutality is anything new;

it has just become Vastly more prevalent.


This world is filled with beauty … ???

Perhaps, you have taken a drive into the countryside;
and pass through a quaint little village … ?

Visit the same place on a Friday or Saturday night,
and rejoice if you do not find
some car-load of belligerent humanity
blasting the stillness with the repulsive noise
from their ‘boom car’.


Do you se a mountain meadow?

There will be some malignant human being
waiting to turn it into a quagmire: destroy it
with their ‘dirt bike’, snowmobile, or ‘ATV’.


Do you see deer contentedly grazing
in a woodland clearing?

There will be some malevolent human being
who wants to pretend he is “A Man”
by putting a bullet in it;

or worse, the repugnant fantasist
who will subject the animal
to the drawn-out torture of an arrow … or two …
or three – as terror, shock, and suffering
suck the life from the tormented animal.


Do you see a river, alive with leaping salmon?

There will be some human being – or two, or twenty –
who want to seduce those fish into biting on a hook,
tearing at it in their struggle to escape,
before slowly drowning in air;
or feeling the ‘mercy’ from repeated battering
with a wooden truncheon —

… because their family is hungry, waiting
in their wilderness cabin for their father
to bring home the food
which will keep them alive that day ?


… because some sadistic Human Being
finds his ‘sport’ – pleasure … his (or her) “manliness” –
in tormenting and killing
some peacefully-existing animal.


Where Ever you see Peace, Quiet,
Tranquillity … Beauty:

there will be SOME Self-worshipping, Malignant
Human Being
doing his best to destroy it.


I would love to be wrong.

I began this Internet site as a way to meet kind, thoughtful,
sober-minded, moral human beings;

I wanted this to be a place where folk could
support, and console, and commiserate with,
each other.

I wanted this to be a place filled with
comments, and thoughts, and observations
from kind, and gentle, and considerate humanity.


What I found … was a place that is used regularly
by people who cannot find the decency to say “hello”,
“thank you for the work in putting together that article”,
“I was challenged to read that” … or,
“I, too, remember when — “

People not only Refuse to be civil,
but have not the slightest twinge of conscience
about arriving here, making use of the time, effort,
and attention to detail that is presented …

and leaving without so much as a ‘How do you do?’
– never mind note of appreciation or encouragement.

People go out of their way to be ‘ugly’
through apathy, laziness, outright selfishness –

and then prate on about the ‘beauty’ in the world.


“Beauty” has not got the first chance in this world.

If I am leaving the supermarket,
and happen to notice or look with admiration
at a woman who is dressed like a lady,

– and reflect with profound sadness
that there was a time during my youth,
when women routinely looked like that
in the days before femininity was obliterated,

there will be some bystander with a “knowing” smirk,
noticing me … “eying up” that “chick” –
because after all,
any mature man who looks at a woman is (obviously!)
doing so with a lascivious eye.

If I stop, when passing a school playground,
to look and smile at the antics of little tykes
swinging, and running, and sliding down the slide:

there will be a half dozen samples of modern humanity
feeling for their “cell phones” – and mentally rehearsing
whatever three-digit number will serve to alert
police about the “paedophile” “eyeing the children”.

This world is filled with beauty ???

Not where modern-minded human beings
are to be found.

“Beauty” … is being systematically eradicated
from this world.

The human race of today … is NOT the human race
into which I was born and raised.


With rare, rare exception, the modern individual
has not the humility to be humble … or teachable
… or genteel.

He and she is far too busy dominating and demonstrating
what an important and successful person they (think) are.

“Beauty” has been trampled underfoot by … “Me”.


For me, few things are more profoundly sad to see
than an elderly American man
wearing one of those ‘trucker’ caps, or ‘baseball’ caps,
bearing some logo such as “USS Conflagration” or,
“Proud Veteran – 42nd Jackboot Division”.

Or seeing clothing or stickers on automobiles:

“Alumni of Pedantic University”

“Automobile Association Member”

“Proud Parent of a Barely Literate Secondary School Honour Role Student”.

or even, “I shop at the Co-Op”

It is a practice that leaves me frequently
overwhelmed with the notion
that I must be the only person living on this earth
who has NOT felt the need to broadcast,
when introducing myself, some …

Tribal Affiliation,

Vicarious Association,

or, worse –

announce to the world
that I drive some Expensive Brand
of over-sized or ostentatious automobile;

live in the Stuffed-shirt Estates section of the city;

or subject people around me
to the crass noise of an American motorcycle
that sounds like a flatulent refrigerator.

All of which – given a moment’s sober-minded consideration,
serves NO higher purpose … than to say to the world:

‘I am a pretentious attention-seeker’.

This vaunting of vanity clearly affects
even those who do NOT have a surplus of money

… yet trumpet the trivial toys with which they
squander their time, amass their credit card debt;
and gleefully imagine that possessing, makes them ‘special’.

What emptiness of existence that person must inhabit
who boasts about owning some ‘brand name’ … object.

People BUY fleeting, commercial toys,
and identify with them –

… rather than TRY to improve their own
courtesy, consideration;
conduct, and conversation

— and be identified by THAT.

Kindness, Compassion, Discernment, Empathy;
the willingness to pat a dog on the head,
feed the birds,
saying “Good Morning” to every bleary-faced,
texting automaton that passes you in the street …

Become known for THESE things

… rather than the self-serving tribe
or agenda with which you affiliate;

or what brand of toys you own.


This world is ‘filled with beauty’ ?

The only thing threatening
the natural beauty of this world

is the evil of self-serving human beings
who see it – and everything in it –
as existing
for their Profit or Amusement.

People, generally, strive for,
and seek to be identified with,
things that I do not want to be near;

and impress each other with things
of which I would be most ashamed.


When I expressed the sentiment, a few years ago,
that people should place their head
on their pillow at night, and –
as they drift off to sleep – ask themselves:
‘What have I done today
that has lasting, moral consequence?’

And when they wake the following morning,
vow to live as though they knew
they were to die that night,

I had not realised that that notion to

“live each day as though it was your last”
had a far different connotation to multitudes

who regard it as an excuse to “party”,
travel to exotic places,
experience new things, and generally –
use that time to gratify every lust, curiosity, or vanity.

Live each day as though it will be your last:
and endeavour to have people associate your name
with something higher than vanity,
ambition, or entertainment.


Let me meet the man … introduce me to the woman

who realises that they have to go
right back out to the shops
because they forgot to buy a new bag of bird seed,

and cannot bear the thought of birds arriving
at the little feeding table in the garden –
only to find it empty.

THAT is the type of Person
whom I ( in starting this Internet site )
had so desperately hoped to meet.


The type of a tree is known
by the fruit that it bears.

The same is true
for a man or woman.

P Livingstone
31st December 2016


Mr Brett, and Mr Holmes …


A Craftsman …

I had been contentedly enjoying a frothy Mocha coffee,
when the man and wife walking past my table
outside the coffee shop – paused,
and came back to ‘have a word’.

The man said that they had seen me a few times,
and – having noticed the pipe, waistcoat, and watch-chain,
had several times wanted to come and say ‘hello’.

Sitting down, they chatted about life, and the world,
and the change in people; lamenting, as they did,
over the utter loss of anything of refinement.

The man mentioned – amongst his examples –
the noticeable “garbage” that constituted television,
he said, for the past twenty years.

Learning that I had no television, he asked
if there was anything I remember ever enjoying
on the TV.

As anything manufactured by Hollywood
was immediately excluded,
I was able to name only the 1995 BBC production
of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ … which led me
to mention the death of Jeremy Brett.


In the later 1980’s, I felt a strange kinship with Mr Brett
based upon his confessed meticulous attention to detail
on (what was for me) the last continuously running,
quality production to be broadcast on a television set.

Twenty years Before the insulting displays
that had previously flowed from Hollywood;

and, After an array of characterisations
which bore little or no resemblance to the literary figure,

Jeremy Brett was the only actor
to ever make a visible effort
to bring the character descriptions of Conan Doyle,
or the illustrations of Sidney Paget
to life in the character of … Mr Sherlock Holmes.

To have seen, recently, in a 30-second ‘trailer’,
this much-beloved character … degraded
by the cheap and tawdry antics of an American actor who,
with money from his producer wife,
portrayed ‘Holmes’ as a martial arts thug;

accompanied by a ‘Watson’ who
leaned forward as the pair sat in a Hackney cab,
to punch ‘Holmes’ across the face
– was absolutely appalling.

Now, while it is evidently essential to have
ill-disciplined thugs as ‘heroes’ in America,

one would have hoped that Hollywood MIGHT
have the decency
to Leave Victorian Britain

(and the historical characters whose literary identities
are a part of that time and that place)


But then of course, Decency no longer exists
in a world that glories in displays
of crude behaviour, vulgarity, and violence.


Britain itself has discarded its once-renowned ‘reserve’
in order to pander to the boorish obscenity
of the 21st century television watcher.

Even the BBC have degraded Conan Doyle’s meticulous,
violin-playing, theatre attending,
pipe smoking gentleman

to a vulgar, smart-mouthed yuppie
contending with ludicrous comic-book-esque ‘villains’.

It is not enough that liquor-swilling,
‘partying’, irresponsible, obnoxious,
smirking, mental adolescents
can don a stretchy suit and become a comic book ‘super hero’ –

but now beloved literary characters are similarly degraded
in order to suit modern immaturity, selfishness, and depravity.

Neither before nor after Mr Brett’s faithfully scrutinised portrayal,
have either Holmes or Watson been portrayed in a manner
that is faithful to their creator’s original.

Growing up, we never had a television in our home
and the only sights I ever caught of one were
when calling at the home of a schoolmate.

I remember once, the high excitement
of being asked by one chap
if I would like to come to his house that Saturday morning,
to see a Sherlock Holmes film on their TV.

I cannot adequately relate the thrill of anticipation
in the prospect of actually seeing
my favourite literary figure ‘brought to life’, as it were –
moving … speaking … “living” ( !!! )

rather than just being described
on the printed page of a book.

The day arrived – Finally !!! – and I scarcely knew whether to
join my friend in lying on the floor in front of the TV,
or sitting on the settee and leaning against the armrest.
The excitement was incredible !

As the credits began, I could hardly believe
that I was about to see Holmes and Watson in action.

I could NOT believe it.

And then …

… What?

WHAT … ?!!!

I kept looking at my friend … then, at the screen …
then, out the window.

What … Was … This ???

THIS was not Holmes and Watson.

Some obnoxious, big-headed narcissist,
pontificating to some bumbling, dim-witted fool
who all but walked into walls ???

WATSON !!! — I finally yelled at the screen,
was a Physician —
a British Army Surgeon !!!

whose clear-headed skill and expertise
saw him piecing together
men torn apart by cannon fire
in Afghanistan.

WHAT this Bumbling, Stupid … OAF !!!
had to do with John Watson, M.D.
was beyond me.

This wasn’t just … wrong:
it was Offensive.

I remembered thanking my friend for his kindness
and thoughtfulness in inviting me to his home – but,
I did ask him (as politely and delicately as I could),
if he particularly want to see this.

We ended up getting on our bicycles
and riding down to The Melrose
where we picked up a bag of sweets each,
and headed off to Orangefield Park
to watch the swans,
while working our way through the little paper bags
of lemon bon-bons.

That night in bed, I looked through my illustrated
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes …
and did my best to forget about the disgrace that I saw
on that television set.

Fleeing the pain of being thrown away by a girl I loved,
I literally had ‘run away’ and joined the military.
And it was there – 14 years after that ‘TV experience’,
that – in 1984, I saw Sherlock Holmes ‘brought to life’
in personality and mannerisms
by Jeremy Brett.

Here too, John Watson, ‘late of the British Army’
was presented as the thoughtful and sober-minded physician
by fellow actors David Burke, and then, Edward Hardwicke.

THIS – for the first time Ever, WAS
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.


Jeremy Brett had not only meticulously scrutinised
every detail written by Conan Doyle about Holmes,
but studied – in detail – the illustrations of Sidney Paget –

at one time, going ( to the horror of the series’ producers )
to the extent of cutting his own hair to replicate
the unusual haircut of Holmes in one particular drawing
where Paget had Holmes sitting in thought, legs drawn up
against his body, whilst staring into the fire.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s own daughter
wrote to commend Brett
for his portrayal of her father’s fictional creation
telling him that HE was the ‘Holmes of my childhood’.

Even on the death of his wife in 1985,
Brett never wavered from his meticulous portrayal
of Sherlock Holmes. Although deeply despondent,
he consistently presented the Holmes of literature
to multitudes who probably did not even appreciate
what they were seeing.

( It is certain that, if they did – if there was
even the SLIGHTEST appreciation for Brett’s faithfulness,
public outcry would have prevented
the abominations in the years that followed.

But, of course, half-way through the 1990’s … humanity
was well on its way ‘out’. )

I am still amazed, regularly, at the compliments
received – almost daily ( just this morning, as I write these words )
simply because I dress the way that I do.
But, it explains a great deal to me about the ease with which
Brett’s Holmes can be ‘replaced’ by such low-quality vulgarity.

Gentlemanly decorum … and lady-like femininity
are clearly a ‘threat’ – offensive –
to the vicious self centred, domineering mentality
of modern masses.

Those few who do appreciate these things, are overwhelmed
enough to pass an appreciative comment
– which is what happens to me.

A very sad statement when wearing a shirt with a collar,
and shoes that require polish,
or a waistcoat (commonly seen in the 1970’s),
is remarked upon with sincere appreciation
by a few discerning souls who remain in the world.

Human beings now, are brutal;
and they want to see brutality …

And so, the modern “Holmes” becomes a snide creature
perfectly suited to the ‘standards’ of the 21st century.

The gentlemanly dignity
having gone out of modern men
who now dress like slobs,

it can be no surprise to realise
that a self controlled, dignified Holmes
would be ‘boring’ to profanity-spewing yobs,
who do not possess the class to even tuck in their shirts.


I cannot imagine that anyone under say, 50,
can possibly imagine the extent of decline
in precision workmanship …

or the cheapening – ( if not outright dismissal ) –
of absolutely everything that requires Skill,
mature Experience,
and meticulous Attention to Detail.

Jeremy Brett was a man who delivered that
precise attention to detail:
he was a skilled craftsman – a master
in his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

Comments on the Internet openly attest to the concept that,
to present Brett’s Victorian Gentleman Holmes
to modern-minded masses, is – truly,
to throw pearls before swine.

Sherlock Holmes was a Victorian Gentleman:
he was neither a wise-cracking, martial arts thug;
nor an obnoxious vulgar yuppie.

It is a disgrace that every last thing – in the 21st century,
must be brought down
to the gutter level of the crude masses;

a statement upon the modern world
that some things cannot be left alone
simply … out of respect.


Jeremy Brett was a flamboyant, extroverted theatre actor
who was known to address those with whom he worked
as ‘darling’.

Yet he made it a studied habit to become ‘Holmes’ –
an intense, irritable, introverted character
who was utterly disconnected from humanity,
and would spend an entire night
smoking one bowl of tobacco after another
in the course of fixating upon a problem.

It is (for me) disturbing to note that the producers
of the Sherlock Holmes series
seemed so unmoved at Mr Brett’s declining health
that they even allowed him to film
during that final two years of the series –

when Brett’s features had so swollen
from treatment for depression
that he barely resembled the Brett / Holmes
of the first four seasons.

When filming the exceedingly poorly ‘interpreted’ screenplays
for the last two years, Jeremy Brett was a
very sick and weak man.

Edward Hardwicke, born on the 7th of August 1932 …
died from cancer, age 78, on the 16th of May, 2011.

Jeremy Brett, born on the 3rd of November, 1933 …
died from heart complications on the 12th of September, 1995.

He was 61.


I remember, in the late ‘80’s, reading of Mr Brett’s
life-long struggle with melancholy;
his meticulous drive for PRECISE attention to detail;

and his constant effort to rise above
the mundane, ‘lowest common denominator’ laziness
of the changing world around him.

We had ( it seemed to me )
a great deal in common.

I thought, in 1989, about writing a letter to him –
to thank him, and (perhaps) encourage the man.

But I remember thinking: “How many ‘fan’ letters
must that man receive in a week? He would never even
notice one from the likes of me.”

And I never did send one.

But the point is, of course – upon sober reflection:

He may never know who I was …
… But I knew who he was.

And – given the disgusting spectacle
that has had the impertinence to pass
as “Sherlock Holmes” in the years since,

I truly wish that I had, at least, made the effort
to write … and say “Thank You.”

I suppose that is what these words
are about, really …

My way of doing now, what I never did then —

leaving a few words to say,

Thank You, Mr Brett,
for the joy that your skill, dedication, and efforts
have given me.

You brought a childhood literary hero to ‘life’.

And for that, I am exceedingly grateful.

P Livingstone

The Spider’s Web … Austerity Measures ?


Venus and Jupiter display above the mountain behind our house.

For the second time in a few months,
a visitor has presented the concept of “bio diversity”
to me; and

whilst this second has been merely as an aside
to a larger, general question,
the first had been phrased as a definite challenge – an admonition –
that I should be doing more to “care” for this world.

As I did not address that first presumptive remark at all,
I thought it might be prudent
to present a few thoughts
with regard to this notion that I, and folk like me
… should “care”.

I would have thought that it SHOULD BE crystal clear –
from the content of this Internet site,
where I stand with regard to ANY aspect
of kindness, care, courtesy or consideration –

most especially where peaceful and gentle creatures
– ( whether man, animal, or nature in general ) –
are concerned.


One of six rabbit kittens whose early-morning wailing
was heard by our mastiff, Seona:

They had, presumably, been disturbed and scattered by a raccoon,
and were left blind and crying, to try to find their bearings.
Collecting the tiny animals and re-building their now-exposed rabbit den
using fresh straw and a wood cover,
I fed them all with skim milk from a syringe
before ‘tucking them in’ to their restored home.

Their mother re-appeared at four o’clock that afternoon.
We still see them today, two years later.

Dispensing kindness SHOULD be the practice
of EVERY human being that possesses
a working conscience.

There has been, over the past (I suppose) 15 years,
a renewed religion of EARTH WORSHIP –
that I remember being last foisted on us
in the early 1970’s
… under the phrase “Ecology”.

They even had their own flag: green, with a big “e’ in the corner.

What appealed to the hippies of the latter ‘60’s,
now appeals to the glass-and-chrome living urbanites
of today.

It is a ‘bandwagon’ that is ridden
by the hand-wringing masses of society …

… which is driven OVER the top
of people who are conscientious;

and driven AROUND those
who are the cause of damage in the natural world today.


I have neither part nor interest in this decade-long
proliferation of Fear … from

supposed “over”-population,
(the whole middle latitudes of Canada
consist of tens of thousands of areas
of vast open, unpopulated wilderness –
as, I suspect, are the same latitudes of Russia and Scandinavia (?) )

the sun,
the seas,
the temperature,
“Second Hand Smoke”

and every-and-any-other particle of Sand
that has been presented as an Avalanche
in order to breed fear.

The destruction of plants, and animals, and wilderness
is a topic that SHOULD BE taken up with
the TWO forms of human life who do Just That –


those “film stars”, “celebrities”, and CEO’s
who go from A to B in Leer Jets and Limousines,
and have walls and ceilings
decorated with 24 carat gold leaf –

yet whine,
and call for the little old widow lady
in her cottage in Killarney
to practice “austerity measures” …



those wanton beer-swilling, groin-scratching savages
who destroy nature
with the noise and carnage from ‘dirt bikes’,
ATV’s, and Snowmobiles.

BUT — To raise any such matter

with a man who feeds birds all year,

and is moved to tears (as I was last night)
when he has to lay a mouse trap
because the little creatures
have ventured into the kitchen — NO.




I will NOT abide being equated
with the arrogant, self-serving narcissists
who regard this world and everything in it
as being here for their amusement
… or source of profit.


As of this coming year, we (in this part of the world)
will be forced to do
what folks in Japan have been subjected to
for awhile now:

pausing to poke through all household rubbish …
banana peels go here; cardboard goes there;
batteries go here; and if-you-are-not-sure-where-that goes,
consult a list — Compliance and Human Automation.

And … WE … will be forced to pay for the special bin
that will be delivered to our house.

Rotting food will be picked up once a week;
all other household rubbish, every two weeks.

Which is fine, of course, because corporations
and politicians, and royalty … will all be doing
exactly the same thing.

Won’t they?

Ban the little old man
from smoking his briar pipe
in a city park –
that wisp of smoke will kill your children !!!

but think nothing of the 600 cars, trucks, and buses
that spew benzene, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide
all over you – and your children
every single hour
in Vancouver, New York, Moscow, Berlin, or Tokyo.

I believe it was 17th century Irish writer Jonathan Swift

(he of the satirical illustration about self-important warmongerers;
“intellectual” pedantics; and the brutal creatures
which character ‘Gulliver’ eventually realises are human beings)

who observed that

The Law is like a spider’s web:

it catches flies …
but allows wasps, hornets,
and other large and dangerous predators

to fly free.

The same is true of the fantasy plethora / deluge of
fear-mongering that has been proliferated of late.

Yes, I will do what I am told to,
because I want to live peaceably.

But – to those who are ever seeking
to ride the rails of nit-picking fear-mongering;

or jump on the bandwagon of every newly invented
criticism based upon hypochondriac absurdities


If you have concerns about the abuse of this world,
or abuse in this world …

… DIRECT your call for accountability
TO those creatures
who are responsible for the abuse.

And leave those of us
who exercise
due conscience and consideration

to live our lives in peace.

P Livingstone
Modern Humanity


Sincerity, Integrity, Character … is Consistent


It is not falling into a mire
that is the disgrace –

but lying there,
and wallowing in it.

An honourable man or woman WILL … ‘fall’
from time to time.

Through fear, or panic, or lust,
Integrity may be discarded in a fit of passion,
loneliness, or melancholy –

BUT those of moral principle
– though defeated for a while,
will see their own disgrace
and remove themself from it.


A loud, over-bearing braggart
may well keep quiet for one hour at a funeral,
but he is still a loud, over-bearing braggart.
THAT is his regular state of existence.

A “special occasion”, ‘special day’,
or ‘moment of reflection’,
will do nothing to change What he is.

The Character of a man or woman is revealed
by the consistency of conduct and conversation
that is manifest in their every-day life.

A righteous man; an honourable woman,
need no special occasion
to activate courtesy, consideration, or conscience.

That the filthy obscenities of 50 years ago
are now considered ‘normal’
in the speech of modern society,

reveals the scarcity of considerate,
self-controlled, and morally decent human beings
in the world today.


In a recent journey to the city, I noticed the
tinsel-sparkling sentiment “Good Will Toward Men”
in relation to the liquor-swilling festive hypocrisy
known as “Christmas” – a time
(it is glibly touted) for … “peace”.

While having no intention of repeating the observations
made in the 2012 article
“The Hypocrisy (and Blasphemy) of Christmas”,
conscience bids me ask people today
to earnestly consider whether “special”
seasons, days, or events
are beneficial …

Or is it possible that they could be … detrimental?

The lifelong observation of people has satisfied my conscience
that the setting aside of certain dates in the year
does nothing more than foster a spirit of legalism
– insincerity; hypocrisy; even apathy –
in the bulk of their participants.

In the 1960’s, we, as schoolchildren, started each day
in the gymnasium, by reciting the Lord’s Prayer,
singing a hymn (usually “All Things Bright and Beautiful”),

and generally being instilled with the sentiment that WE …
were not the centre of the universe.

That was then.

Of course, in this enlightened age,
such activity has long since
been eradicated from the public school system
in which teachers must NEVER interfere
with a child’s self esteem.

After all, it is highly imperative that Dick and Jane
have very high opinions of themselves,

so that they can become teenagers
and tell their elders to ‘f**K off”.

Now then, let me ask you:
In such a world as that –
of what use is a “Day of Prayer” or a “Moment of Prayer”
… to a nation that has completely obliterated God?

It is nothing but an empty gesture;
a farce;
a display of utter hypocrisy
by people who ordinarily would not give “God”
a second thought in their daily lives.

It is Hypocrisy.

And yet, it is a farcical display that is
melodramatically performed by politicians and ‘leaders’
whose laws and proclamations have remove from their society,
the very “God” unto whom they pretend to pray.

It is a joke to the atheist – And rightly so.
It IS a joke.


By a single action, or a single occasion,
people fool themselves
into thinking great things of themselves,

while the regular conduct of their lives
consists of gratifying NOTHING but vanity, ambition,
laziness, and the constant pursuit of entertainment.

Special Days, Dates, and Ceremonies
do nothing
but harden the hard-hearted
in their own conceit,

and foster a spirit of hypocritical legalism
by making people think that, because they

put a coin in a tin,
send a box of food to a ‘food bank’,
or give a second thought to an abused animal
on some isolated, single occasion,

they are therefore, “doing all that is required” of them.

At “Christmas” people send cards

(though, I understand that email is now serving
insincerity and laziness with the utmost in non-effort)

to family members with whom they have
Not One Moment’s Contact
for the entire rest of the year.

But, they have “done their bit” –
they have observed that “one special day a year”
and so, nothing more should be expected of them.

The hypocrite can once again return to 364 days
of revelling in what matters most –

ME … and My Entertainment.

I am against the “observance” of “special” days
for the simple reason that
the only thing “special” about them

is that they give the vast majority of apathetic humanity
the chance to tell their barely lukewarm consciences
that they … ‘care’.

People push a banknote into a tin
(80%+ of which, pays the salaries of CEO’s, staff,
and brochures of some ‘charitable’ organisation)
and see themselves as the saviour of abused animals.

[ During the 12 weeks I could endure at the SPCA,
concrete-enclosed dogs spent 23 hours-plus
with NO metal stimulation,
NO TOY with which to play;
and most had NOT EVEN a Bed on which to lie.

Walk in and ask for an impromptu tour of the kennels
before writing a cheque to support
isolation and mental-and-emotional torture. ]

People “give” … secure in the conceit that they have
“done their bit” … No further thought required.

To a genuine heart … “Special” days are NOT required.

Those who ARE “the real thing”
will show it –
Every Single Day of their life.

Their conduct and conversation will reveal
– to every person who spends more than
three minutes in their company –
precisely what type of person they are.

The man or woman who is concerned for the welfare of animals,
will be concerned for the welfare of animals
in EVERY aspect of his or her daily life.

They will not buy anything other than Free Range eggs;
will not give their money to “corporate”
meat suppliers that slaughter animals en masse;

they will NOT buy cosmetics or cleaning products
UNLESS assured that that product does Not engage
in ‘animal testing’;

they will scrutinise local animal products and ask questions
before spending money to support businesses.

Unlike the most – who will buy whatever is ‘on sale’.

Those who ARE who they say they are,
WILL keep their word.

They will show – all the time – that
they mean what they say;
and say what they mean.

Suffering and brutality exist in this world
because of the “Me First” attitude of conscienceless creatures:
people who become malignant – by action or apathy –
any time their own laziness, conceit, or ambition
is seen to be ‘threatened’.

Kindness, Courtesy, and Compassion will be evident
in the conduct and conversation of those
who are TRULY “kind” people.

Show me what you do on a Day-to-Day basis;
NOT what you do every now and then,
never mind just one day a year.

Those who require “a day” to spur them to
thought, consideration, or action … are neither
thoughtful, considerate, or conscientious.

Their kindness is ’empty’ – hypocritical.

I was asked whether I believe that a ‘special day’
for kindness, sincerity, compassion, empathy,
– is a good thing.

I have answered – “No.”

Being on the “outside” of humanity,
and having observed human beings for 55 years now,

one day a year will do nothing
to change the selfish spirit
that actuates an individual for 364 days a year.

It strengthens the hypocrite in their hypocrisy,
but has no effect on those who are genuine.

Kindness will be habitual
in those who are TRULY kind.

To such a person, a special ‘occasion’ or ‘day’

will be no different

than any other.

P Livingstone