Thursday, February 10, 2005

St Valentine Be Hanged!

Monday, 14th February, London. The restaurants of the city will be filled with couples, listlessly munching their pizza, staring glassy eyed in to the middle-distance wishing they could think of something to say to each other.

Perhaps a guitarist or fiddler will sidle up to them and begin to play. He (or she) doesn’t care about what they are doing, the couple are embarrassed but they all go through with this awkward and joyless ritual. It is, after all, Valentines Day.

The tired rose on their table will fade a little bit more and lose another petal.

Other couples will have just got back from a weekend break, tired and a bit fed-up with the craft shops and cloying tea-rooms of out-of-season resorts and retreats. Yet more will wonder what to dread more, gifts of cuddly toys or of novelty, and cheaply made, racy underwear and fluffy-handcuffs. All of which are made with slight, ironic shrug, just in case the gesture is taken too seriously.

Look, if you’re in love, or if you just enjoy shagging a particular person a lot, celebrate it your own way and at your own time. Celebrate it every day it’s there.

And this Monday, well, come to SELFS and see “A Man Called” Jason Oliver discuss a, perhaps, different form of physical passion. Jason has recently been described by no-less of a wise-woman as Treadwell’s Christina Oakley as “a lively speaker and a serious practitioner” as well as “Engaging, intelligent, thought-provoking. We can only imagine that whatever he's speaking on, he makes the evening out worth the journey.” Good use of the royal ‘we’ there.

Jason will discuss suspension and other forms of body ritual and compare these with the techniques of everyone’s favourite self-loving proto-chaos magician, Austin Osman Spare.
Here's the details Jason gave me plus some other shameless SELFS promotion (location and directions after these messages:
14th February: Jason Oliver – Suspension and other Body Rituals.

Jason will discuss body ritual with specific relation to suspension, both past and present, and its relation to the death posture as posited by Austin Osman Spare. Other body modifications will be discussed as a peripheral to these body rites of passage.

Jason is studying at the Royal College of Art for a Masters degree, his main themes being body modification, ritual and associated practices.
SELFS now distributes books, pamphlets and magazines on our chosen interests of paganism, folklore, forteana, high strangeness, radical history and the occult. We currently hold:

Deptford Fun City – Neil Gordon-Orr: £2

Down with the Fences: Battles for the Commons in South London – Past Tense Press: £1

Fowlers Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green: a history of an old London
May Day tradition – Sarah Crofts: £1

LVG Vampire Chronicles Issue: Slayer Special: £2.75 (with an article by me in it).

Do contact
me if you think you have something we could distribute for you.

SELFS made the national press! One Hermione Eyre (possibly not her real name) cam to SELFS on the 10th January, made a few notes, gave Jeremy Harte the rave review he deserved and then wrote us up in the Independent on Sunday on 16th January.

The review can be read

It’s not on the Indie website so I had to scan the photocopy Jeremy sent me. We, “the pagans”, are “lovely”, says the bar staff of The Spanish Galleon, which is nice to know, and they talk about foxes a lot and wear a fair bit of purple, do a bit of note taking in green biro and but, ultimately, are “friendly” according to Hermione. Hopefully she wasn’t too perturbed by the thought of the Galleon bar-staff thinking she may be one of those ‘pagans’ (or forteans, folklorists or various other SELFS sorts).

As well as posting the above over the interweb, I have finally gotten around to setting up an online photo-gallery for SELFS which includes three pictures from the epic Jack Gale walk in Greenwich Park in 2003 and one of our first goes at watching the Winter Solstice sunrise at Hilly Fields Stone Circle in Brockley in 2003.
Also in there are a few photos, that I’ve pinched off Stewart Smith, of former SELFS speakers (me, Gordon Rutter, Richard Freeman) mingling with March’s speaker Mark Pilkington as well as (before this turns too much into ‘Hello’ magazines for pagans and forteans) some snaps of last years Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green procession around Greenwich pubs, the Lion’s Part October Plenty gathering and our growing collection of ‘plant people’ pictures.
The link to the SELFS & Forteana page is
here, The gallery is updated as often as we can so if you have any SELFS-related pictures (or pictures of cute, furry animals) that you’d like to put up there, such as pictures of speakers, SELFS or related events or anything interesting snapped in South East London then do please let me know.

SELFS meets every second Monday of the month upstairs at The Spanish Galleon, 48 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL. Talks start at 8.00pm and costs £2.50 / £1.50 concessions.

Greenwich Mainline & DLR: Turn left from the main exit, walk about 5-10 minutes, the Galleon is on your right, at the cross-roads.

Cutty Sark DLR: Turn left from the station, right when you get to the road, the Spanish Galleon is across the road.

Buses: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386.

Contact email

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