THE CRAZY OIKLET 8
Two black girls turned up at Eddy’s accompanied by a white Nordic red-haired Amazon who actually looked half-interested in the stock. One of the black girls wore tight white pants which had a zip on the thigh at the front. I thought this odd. The thigh is an erogenous zone I suppose but these two weren’t Beyoncé and Naomi Campbell and anyway even if you were hung like a black you could hardly begin an insertion from such a location. I wondered whether to enquire about this when the one with the zip picked up a volume of glamour shots and protested that this wasn’t what she wanted at all – she wanted MEN. Whereupon Eddy backed into his cubicle (the office) and reached up on his own top shelf to produce a volume of photos by some Jap pornographer named Araki. This was more up their street and they larfed immoderately. On the shelf alongside Araki was a big hardback of Tom of Finland. A big hardback of big hards-ons one might say since this famous depiction of gay lust is another prized item Eddy is not inclined to stick on the tables. They would be quickly stolen. Eddy says he has private clients who queue up for this stuff – although I can vouch for the fact that both these volumes have been there for at least six months. The Amazon is excited by a copy of Jane Eyre but the two black girls are keen to carry on to Afleck’s Palace and drag her away.
Later two black blokes arrive. They are big beefy geezers and enquire about books on mechanics. Perhaps they’re having trouble with the microchip in the engine management system of their seven series BMW. Eddy quickly pisses them off. They’d be time wasting thickos who wouldn’t know 15mm ring spanner from a donkey’s dick. The three of us are all engineers of some description. Eddy seems to know a lot about plumbing and Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) was a machinist at AEI in Trafford Park. It reminded me of Brian Philips – one our suppliers from Shoreham on Sea when I worked for ICI. He was mad on boats, finished up on a yacht on the Florida Keys and spent time in the Navy. Brian had a degree in Engineering from no less than Trinity College Cambridge. One day he was talking to some Vice Admiral who expressed a fleeting interest in Brian’s subject “I should know more about engineering” said the old seadog “Is there a good book on it?” How we larfed. And a similar dismissive attitude prevailed amongst us, Eddy, Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) and myself at the thought that some uppity punter could think a quick flip through a book from Eddy’s could solve his engineering problems. It takes at least 10,000 hours to get good at using a file.
I am about to shoot off when Eddy accosts both Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) and me concerning an errand. One of us is asked to schlep down Market Street to Anne Summers and buy a vibrating dildo size AO priced £45. Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) blenches visibly. I ask why Eddy can’t go himself since he often nips over to the Arndale for a snack – currently his favourite is Chili Con Carne. “What?” he replies “and leave you two in charge?” It seems Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) is not up for it and I’m doubtful. I might do it for a dare. Eddy peels off five tenners and repeats the specification. “Do I keep the change?” I ask. I don’t. No, I’m not going to do it either. But on my way back I pass Anne Summers, half way down just past the Market Street entrance to the Arndale and look in. The window doesn’t have any dildoes on display – it’s just full of frilly knickers and bras. Inside there are two languid young girls looking bored. I’d have to say “of course it isn’t for me” and they’d think “that old line – dirty old git”
Next week I ask Eddy if he got his dildo. He did. He shlepped down to Anne Summers after he shut the unit. The dildoes were in a basement emporium. I could think of a few questions “How big is the OA?” “Does it go in and out as well as wiggle about?” “What colour is it?” Eddy told the assistant it wasn’t for him and when the assistant asked if he wanted batteries and lubricant he fished out his mobile and rang his mate, the ultimate recipient, who is having an affair with some randy old slut – the dildo is her idea. Yes he wanted batteries and lubricant. I guess the assistant thought – yis, that old line “It’s not for me – and then he pretends to ring his mate”.
You might think that Sean (the distinguished author of Junkyard Dog) and I were both suspicious of this subterfuge but we know Eddy well enough to know it’s not for him. Eddy’s three passions are fishing, cheroots and wine. Women are not even on the first page. Only last week he raved about a Vosne Romanee 2002 as the best Burgundy he’d ever tasted. I realised it was one I’d given him a few years ago. But do I get special consideration for this? No I don’t – I’m even asked to go and pick up dildoes.
To most oiks if you say Nietzsche they say “Bless you”. Yep the name does sound like a sneeze and if you’re a half cultured oik you’d probably say “that crazy old Nazi”. But there’s more to this very influential thinker than you might imagine. An article in the Times Literary Supplement of March 4 acknowledges his prescience in matters of psychology. His anticipation of Freud has long been accepted. But the author of the article brings out another strangely modern aspect – Nietzsche’s rejection of Free Will. I mention this since it is germane to the long debate on this topic between Alan Dent and myself. (see A Dialogue on Determinism) Dent remains stubbornly attached to Free Will (as do I – but perhaps not so stubbornly) and may return to the debate now I’ve sent him the clip below. The author says modern research shows that volitions are always preceded by brain activity before the volition becomes conscious. In other words you may think you’re deciding to lift your arm but in fact your brain has decided to do this and the sensation of deciding follows this event. Deciding is thus an epiphenomenon – a parallel mental sensation with no force in the material world.
The whole article is added to the site and can be read by following this link. Article in Full
I feel sure that Oiklet followers will be riveted by this and will attend to it as soon as the Eastenders Omnibus or X Factor has finished. Before that read the nub below:
I attach a comment from Alan Dent in response to the above. Followed by my response to his response. This is a continuation of the Debate on Determinism featured elsewhere on the site:
Alan Dent 16/3/2011
I didn't see that piece in the TLS but the pre-firing of
neurons doesn't prove determinism: it's almost certainly the case that without
volition the pre-firing doesn't happen: ie three quarters of a second before I
tap the next key on my keyboard, pre-motor neurons fire followed by the motor
neurons which control the action. But the pre-motor neurons wouldn't fire if I
wasn't choosing to type. Where is the volition located ? In my brain of course
but only because my brain is in connection with others. It's the social stimulus
that counts. Mind can't be reduced to brain. We've evolved to need a social
trigger for almost everything we do. Culture, not neuronal determinism makes us
what we are. I'm just reading Ramachandran's The Tell-Tale Brain. He takes it
for granted that things could have been very different. Contingency is built in
Ken Clay 22/3/2011
You write "it's almost certainly the case that without volition the pre-firing doesn't happen: ie three quarters of a second before I tap the next key on my keyboard, pre-motor neurons fire followed by the motor neurons which control the action. But the pre-motor neurons wouldn't fire if I wasn't choosing to type. Where is the volition located ?"
Isn't there some logical confusion here? Surely the neuroscience demonstrates that the sensation of volition follows that of the pre-firing. Your remark that "without volition the prefiring doesn't happen" would lead us to have to redefine the word volition - we need a new word since the existing one is bound up with the strong intuitions we have about free will and choice. If, by some mysterious process we actually make such choices but aren't aware of them until a train of events takes place then how can they be considered "choices"? They are unconscious brain states and if we extract consciousness from volitions and choices then we really are in a determinist quagmire.
I think the research is a powerful argument for epiphenomenalism. Powerful in the sense that it's hard to disprove (I'm not saying I'm persuaded). I still can't see that your insistence on culture adds much to the argument (of course we are social animals and many of our mental properties are social constructs) but what about simple volitions like raising an arm which even a dumb and deaf wolf-child (or indeed a chimpanzee) would have separated from society? They "chose" or think they do to move limbs or wander about.
I suppose the nub is this: if there is another unconscious antecedent to what we think of as choosing but which is, nevertheless, still choosing how do we distinguish the two? It sounds like a fudge to say we are still choosing (in the sense that we consciously choose, or appear to, after the initial event)
Perhaps I'm missing something here.
Brett Wilson draws my attention to an article in the weekend FT. Dale Peck, a yank maverick known for his scathing reviews lays into the publishing scene and proposes to do something about its dire condition. Something very like the Oik model of hand distribution and print on demand. Here are two extracts:
The full article can be read via this link: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/e2b3fd74-50e2-11e0-8931-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1HROdNHqI
Tom Kilcourse sends in his experience of print-on-demand publishing
This is disturbing. One might shrug it off by saying 'even if it is "secondhand" and sourced via USA what does it matter to the punter?'. But the point is you are at the mercy of CreateSpace and Amazon's arcane rules and may never get UK listing. I tried to re-assure Tom by citing my own experience (and that of Bob Wild's) where, via the Lulu route, we both began with USA listing and then later UK listing without doing anything to oil the wheels. I suspect Tom's book will get UK listing eventually (or would have if he'd stuck with it) but this seems by no means certain. Maybe the system is getting flooded with such projects. On the other hand Amazon's great boast is that they're an infinitely large bookshop capable of listing everything. Certainly the economies of computer storage are such that this effectively costs them nothing - there might be a small overhead putting it on in the first place.
I've just checked my own immortal tome Nietzsche's Birthday, worldwide sales to date approximately zero, and find it UK listed at £7.14 and also available "used" from USA for £20.30. I have never prodded anybody in either Lulu or Amazon to raise this unknown masterpiece's profile. Checking on Amazon.com (ie USA) I find it listed at $11 and yours by Friday if you order now. It is possible that things have changed and got worse. My hunch is that legalistic meatheads at CreateSpace and Amazon are not going to guarantee anybody anything and fob you off with a jobsworth response. The reality, I'd opine, is the experience of me and Bob Wild - the mills of Amazon do seem to grind exceedingly slow but they get there in the end. Why wouldn't they? They might make a buck.
Addendum March28 2011
Only a few days after the above exchange I get the following from Lulu
You wonder if some kind of war is hotting up between Createspace and Lulu with Amazon trying to create a no-fly zone to benefit its own partner Createspace at Lulu's expense. Why, after all, should Amazon do Lulu any favours when it's in direct competition with Createspace? In some ways it's encouraging that Geoff Bezos, the genius who created Amazon in the first place, sees publishing-on-demand as the next big thing. I get the impression that Lulu are responding to the competition by lowering their prices and offering more discounted deals. What exactly their letter means is another puzzle. I've checked all the books I've published with Lulu and they're still all on Amazon US and UK. Maybe it's just new stuff which is in limbo. But it needs watching. If Lulu do get back to the status quo ante with Amazon then no probs - but if Createspace, the new cuckoo on the block, does eject Lulu from the Amazon nest then I guess we'll all be migrating to Createspace. I can't say I relish the prospect - it'd be just like when I had to dump Wordperfect and learn Micorsoft Word.
The Oik will not be affected by this since it isn't sold on Amazon and never will be.
Further digging reveals that Createspace prints in USA (unlike Lulu which uses UK printers) and that the mark-ups are quite high.
A recent Lulu amenity is to pay you in pounds via a Paypal account. My last Lulu payment was a dollar cheque for $25 (ie approx £16) of which Natwest took £6 just to put it in my account (bankers!). So that's to be bourne in mind too. Try reading forum exchanges on the two operations at https://www.createspace.com/en/community/message/60546
Another good source is http://www.lotontech.com/publishing which gives a run down on the current scene