The Rake

Hogarth had me all wrong you know, I wasn’t bad but just good at making bad choices and as a result I have been famous for centuries for being an idiot twice baked.

I knew them all, Tommy J and Moll and Fanny, I knew Harry F’s father when he was young, they were a lovely group of people and perfect to carouse the areas of Gin Lane  with as there was never a cross word between us.  We just accepted each other’s fallabilities and got on with enjoying life for it’s own sake, it was a wonderful era of change and development with so much to see and do.

As I sit on the steps of this great Building, staring at the wonders around me, I contemplate the past and what on earth I am to do now that I am back.  This is where I spent the final period of my last life, never hoping to smell fresh air again, and it is a novelty to be wandering around outside.

For those who do not know I am Tom, Rakewell officially but RakeHell to my friends, such as they were, and I had precious few genuine ones of those.  The three I mentioned and young Buck Flash were the best and truest but there are others who I miss now and I am a little disappointed that I will not see their like again.

It is odd to be here and free and I am not sure what has happened, all that I can tell is that one moment I was not and then in the next instant I was.  It was a little inconvenient to be naked for a moment but I am in a park and it is a Summer’s day so perhaps I will pass for an eccentric or madman (appropriate I suppose for this place) while I resolve the issue of covering myself.

I suppose that the only thing I can do is seek help but as I viewed the area from behind the mound where I appeared I could not judge which were the inhabitants of the hospital and which the custodians.  Another issue appeared to be which sex they are as they all dress the same and there appears to be little difference in hair or gait, someone I took to be a young boy lay down on the grass and removed his outer garments revealing himself to be a well formed young woman.  In fact so much of her was revealed that there was no doubt of her sex, entertaining though this view was I adjudged that she would be an inmate of the Bethlam who has escaped her keepers and felt a little sorry for her in her lunatic desire to rid herself of clothing.

Tom’s gone soft I hear you cry, where is our Rake?  Do not worry kind reader, Tom is as he was but after my past adventures I seem to have developed a little empathy for my mad brethren and I would not wish them to come to serious harm.

As I watched the young woman taking her ease in the warmth of the sun I saw a tall fellow approach her, similarly attired in a light undershirt and thick, tight long breeches of some kind.  The two were dressed so similarly that I took this to be a uniform for the establishment, it looked functional and basic and presumably was easy to clean.

To my astonishment the fellow removed his shirt, exposing his upper torso to the young madwoman and then proceeded to further remove his lower leggings and boots leaving himself naked bar some kind of short under breeches.  The girl appeared to welcome his company as she reached up and embraced him in a most familiar fashion, I was not shocked but deeply surprised at such behaviour in a very public place.  I can honestly say that I have seen more reticent greetings from the whores of Piccadilly when accosting possible clients for their services. I know this to be a hospital for the insane but even so I would not expect to see inmates of both genders permitted to fratenise in such a loose manner.  Where were the Custodians and keepers for these people?  This and many other questions which I had not even begun to contemplate were to be answered all too soon!

As I look around I notice other inmates there does appear to be a great deal of freedom within the gardens as I cannot see any of the uniformed bullies I would expect to keep order.  There has also been some massive war in my beloved London as in front of the hospital are two huge guns of a type and style that I have never before beheld, clearly great violence has been done in this city.  Perhaps it is this violence that has caused a softening of the treatment in this once harsh institution.

All that I can see just creates more questions to which I have no answers and will have none without seeking them and in order to do that I will need to be clothed as I cannot imagine that male nakedness is socially acceptable even yet.  So….clothing, hmmm!

An idea strikes me as the fellow and the girl are exercising their very public passion for each other, he is about my size or perhaps a little larger so that is a possibility but I have five clear yards distance to the pile.  There is also the issue that I have no idea of what my body is capable or what form others see when they look at me (or even if they see me at all. perchance I am some mere shade in their sight!).  This latter thought suggests others, I wonder if clothes will actually hang on me, they may just fall off or even through me….what would that feel like?  Would it tickle…. no that is ridiculous, if it fell through me it would be because I was not there and if I am not there then I need no garments as others should not perceive my shape.

This seems to be typical of my current mood, falling into flippant philosophy rather than getting on with the task in hand and thus risking the other two becoming tired of their embraces and leaving.

 

 

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Oh there I am

Two years is a long time to be considering what you have done but that is the time it has taken me to return to my writings, partly because I put them down and forget where I had left them.  Life is far too busy and there is too much fun to be had without worrying about details.

I have always been an odd mix of characters, well I would be wouldn’t I?  An aesthete, a romantic, a sportsman and a admirer of females who is hell bent on self-destruction without knowing it himself.  Alcohol, women, speed (moving at a fast rate not the other – drugs bore me) and a fairly dismissive attitude to authority where it is clearly shown to be constructed by hypocrites.  If you want to make rules in Edward’s life you had better be pretty clean yourself first!

In my youth I was normal (and tediously boring), an academicly inclined boy without a malevolent bone in his body, unless on the rugby field, who should have grown up to be a good solid citizen in surburbia with a fat wife and two boring children.

The Hydes are not like that though, their gene exists unsuspected in other families for generations and then something happens to trigger the reaction that brings the Hyde out and so Edward was born at the age of 15 after an “accident”.  There have been other Hydes, I suspect that the now notorious General Sir Harry Flashman was a Hyde, but I am not interested in the family history – just me (as always!).

Being born at 15 is not so hard and it happened at an appropriate moment when puberty was in flow, rugby was a passion and I was about to make a complete mess of the exams that everyone told me were my key to the future.  Well, you can’t have that kind of an accident at that age and still expect to be perfect can you?  The creativeness that had taken a back seat started to flow and out came the rebellious and hedonistic Edward, intent on his own personal enjoyment.

It was odd for a while, as Jekyll found all those years ago, to have a split personality where one half did not understand the other (or even possibly like them) but Edward eventually took over.  Edward arrived with his disregard for the consequences of his actions and his detachment from his family, did he love them? Probably not, they were just other humans for whom he had an attachment of sorts but whatever that was it wasn’t love.  By 18 Edward was in and settled, his “Henry” was all but gone and the languid, well dressed, champagne loving Edward was looking at life for the next source of fun or excitement…..

So it was going to be money, I had to do something for a living as my people would not permit me to do nothing, and that seemed to be where the interest lay but not ordinary retail money (although I did try that) but important money.  Naturally I went to work in a bank……

 

 

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It’s A Sin

When I look back upon my life
It’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a sin
It’s a sin
Everything I’ve ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I’ve ever been
Everywhere I’m going to
It’s a sin!

 

And thank you Pet Shop Boys for providing what would be the theme song to my life, there are other contenders of course – Jace Everrett’s “Bad Things” or Nina Simone’s version of “Feelin’ Good”

(MIchael Bubbly eat your heart out, you couldn’t begin to cover that song after her version)

Those might have got close but there is no question that the PSBs got closest and whilst it has not ALL been a sin, certainly a lot of it has had that black thread running through it.

Hogarth’s Rake, I wonder how he would have been in the modern age or eve what he would have made of it. If he came to us now what would be his reaction? Naked women readily and openly available in the Pole bars of the City (more later), with alcohol by the bucket and of so many different varieties that it makes the pictures of Gin Lane into a contemporary summary, tobacco as the poison of choice for so many, drugs – what would he have made of hallucinogenics? Would he have died earlier or just raised his hands and given up for the lack of immoral challenge?

Let’s leave The Rake and his friends of gin lane for a while because Hogarth leads us to Gillray and into a bar in the West End of London, Gillrays strangely enough where a young man sits ruminating with his oldest friend on his day……

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From Inside Henry J

What a life, if this is life at all – to be honest I’d rather not be bothered with it as I can see there is nothing after and the sooner I can reach that nothing the better.

I am Edward, a steam punk – a child of the Victorians and early Edwardians who is really out of place in the 21st century. My language is too English and too well educated, my adoration of women is unappreciated and I have far too well refined a sense of right, wrong and personal responsibility so if you believe that the State owes you a life then I suggest you leave now.

Who is Edward? A lunatic – I know this because my doctors tell me I am but to be honest that is only their opinion and the general opinion of society, other people say that wishing for death isn’t normal but it’s perfectly normal to me.

I have no value either to myself or any around me (as I see it) and I have done so many things in my life already that there isn’t much left that I would like to do and repeating things just gets boring so one day I will just load up my dueller and end my pain the way a gentleman should.

Who is Henry J? If you are asking that then your education is sadly lacking, he is the outer shell of decency that is seen by his friends and family that conceals me – his real self – the duelling, sword wielding, flower buying, woman loving creature inside.

Where is this blog going? Back into the past to tell the story of a modern rake, Hogarth revisited for the 21st century with all the cautionary tales in place………

 

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