Friday, 12 September 2014

Disciplinary Graduation Day

This has nothing to do with the new book I’m afraid, simply something I cooked up harking back to - and inspired by - the good ol’ INSTITUTIONALISED series, particularly VOLUME 1: BEYOND THE STANFORD EXPERIMENT which some of you, if not most, will doubtless remember.  It is actualy an improved - I think, I hope - revamp of something I created for Tumblr.  The nurse is from an old medical catalogue, the straitjacket girls from a Yahoo Group, the background wall is several repeats of a copy taken from a background image used on THE ORIGINAL INSTITUTE website pasted together.  The barred window is of course something of a repeating motif of mine and is a de novo creation of my own hand (of which there are several versions - originally intended for a comic book project, which might still go ahead now that I’ve had a couple of donations, given sufficient funding).  This is probably not my finest bit of PhotoShop work (actually The Gimp), but I had great fun doing it.  And I hope you gain equal pleasure from viewing it.  

I have to admit to having always been fascinated by the idea of blameless captivity, yet legitimised in some manner.  The trap, which, once sprung, proves increasingly more difficult for the young (invariably – although always post-adolescent) woman or girl to extradite herself from.  And the experimental behavioural psychology study gone awry seems to fit the bill nicely, the hapless residential participants being bullied and pressurised into perpetual renewal of their candidacy.  On the other hand, there is more than one way a pretty, nubile young thing might find herself deprived of her freedom and subject to disciplinary zeal; and one such alternative scenario will be examined and explored in the upcoming new book, which by the way is provisionally titled (you have to have SOME sort of working title) ‘HOSTAGE OF DISCIPLINE’ or ‘THE DISCIPLINARIAN’S HOSTAGE’.      

Talking of donations: I have received a couple already for which I am MOST appreciative and cannot thank you enough, particularly one person in particular who has been MORE than generous – I wish I could name names, but that wouldn’t be fair, as I have to respect the donors anonymity; unless he or she wishes otherwise of course. 

Meanwhile, the wrting continues (see my comments on my last posting - in comments section) 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Domestication, Dress and Other Related Issues


The domestication process had begun day one, immediately after the ceremony, with the presentation by her spouse of her 'housework outfit'. The chores are pinned upon the kitchen door, and woe betide her if they are not completed. She feels put upon, that she shouldn't submit. And if she wasn't dressed the way she is, perhaps she wouldn't. But the way she is dressed makes her feel 'kept in her place', makes it harder to argue back.

Arranged marriages are nothing new of course, even in Western society. Same-sex marriages are increasingly becoming accepted. How long then before an arranged same-sex marriage? Consider: She has been a hell-cat, a tearaway – no longer! Those days are gone! She is married now – to a woman! A stern, hard-faced older woman hell-bent on domesticating her in a manner no man ever could. Just a year in and already she is a very changed girl, all defiance being lovingly squeezed from her like pips from a lemon. She'd been a reluctant bride of course, a committed boy-chaser beforehand. But her guardian had known what she was doing when she'd placed her future spouse over her a year previous to the ceremony as her governess. “If you can tame her, you can claim her”. 

Well, as you can see I managed to get a 'donate' button in the sidebar.  But it took half the day; it was WELL hidden on Paypal, I must say.  Almost everything I tried ended with me being directed to 'upgrade', which doubtless would have cost money I don't have.  I just hope people don't take its presence wrong.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Feedback on the Buton

Oh lord! WHAT a lot of comments the last posting produced – the most feedback I have received in such a short time since I don't know when! And all for the donate button bar two – the comment received from 'Ben J. Amen' (yes, I do know who you are. But I cant find your email address, so please email me.) and one which arrived via email. Several others which arrived through email were also largely positive, with one or two minor reservations. The consensus seems to be, then, in favour of the inclusion of a donation button and a willingness to make a small donation from time to time. So unless I hear otherwise in the next few hours or so I will go ahead with the idea – at least on a trial period. Saying all that, though, I'm not even sure it can be done on this kind of blog, nor have I looked into it thoroughly. At this moment in time I have no idea how to go about it!

Alan B (yes I know who you are, too), Ben J. Amen (see comments) and two others via email have suggested I put out some of the unfinished fragmentary stuff I have written over the years which might not otherwise see the light of day at some small nominal charge, perhaps with some words of explanation fore and aft to “set the scene”, place it in context and describe where I had intended it to have gone next, had I finished it. And as an email correspondent pointed out, it is true I tend to write the action and event-laden stuff first, as the ideas occur to me (although I already know the premise and context) and then later add in the basic scaffolding which surrounds those events – the story leading up to them, the character development and descriptive stuff / scene setting and so on.

So there is probably much there some of you would find interesting or exciting. However some of it would need editing, even as fragments and action scenes, spell checking and so on. And of course there are those “few paragraphs of explanation” it has been suggested such an undertaking would require. The idea would be to pay some sort of fee via Paypal and I would then email the PDF (as a correspondent points out – LULU, through whom I publish in addition to via my publisher, Andrews UK LTD, charge a minimum fee which would preclude my charging the suggested 50p - £1 a shot (about 1$ or a bit less I think – I'm not sure).

But at the moment I'm not certain I'd like to go down that latter route, if nothing else than for the reason that I don't know I would have the time to do the editing, spelling correction and the introductory text, without which the reader might wonder, not so much what is going on, as the events would largely be self-explanatory I would imagine, but how it all came about in the first place and perhaps who the protagonists are and their relationship and so on. Remember, this is stuff I have not looked at in a long while – one piece I wrote while down in Eastbourne two years ago I have not even looked at since, and I wont have spell-corrected it as I went along either (and my spelling can be SO atrocious, without correction you would have no idea what I was talking about.

But on the other hand, if enough folk feel strongly enough about it – and there is enough interest out there - I might give it a go in my spare time or when the ideas for the new book dry up from time to time.

So for now it's the donation button, if I can make it work / find out how to do it. I don't know how long I'll need it for, nor whether it will bring in enough to make a difference, but if it will just pay for my internet connection it would help. The work I'm doing with Roger Benson will undoubtedly prove lucrative and my new book, should I get it finished MAY prove lucrative (a bit – it's mainly a labour of love! And the work on the website wont be lucrative at all) but the problem is: they are not being lucrative right now! Oh well! And the banners you see round you don't work: the links will lead you to the relevant sites but in the most part those sites have changed their revenue collection companies and so I don't get a penny (my fault – I haven't kept up to date!).

If and when the button appears it will, I imagine, be found at the top of the right hand side bar.

Bye for now. And thanks for your feedback and to all those who have shown their support. Sometimes words are all it takes to gladden the heart! (The fact that it is a sunny day helps too!)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

An embarrassing – Nay, Humiliating – Innovation: A Request for Feedback / Your Opinion

(And I don't mean for one of my characters either)

Hi folks!

A request for feedback:

Today you find your scribe VERY much in the doldrums... Errr... Basically I'm penniless – or nearly so! At present I am putting all my energies (or nearly so) in to the new book (which is coming along nicely – or would be if I wasn't being afflicted by bouts of debilitating panic) while simultaneously working on a project alongside Roger Benson and the 3D artist, Angela Fox (which, I think is nowhere near completion and from which I am unlikely to derive much in the way of monetary reward). I'm also embroiled in rebuilding the website – The Original Institute – in which the Beyond the Barred Window site resides from the ground up (Yes, it's true I've done little with it for a year, but partly that was because of medical reasons – and all that is about to change. In the meantime, in the absence of any new publication, the income (as small as it was) from my existing titles has all but dried up – as tends to happen.

The thing is: Ordinarily - and up to now - none of this would have mattered much; I was living on savings, it was never expected to generate a living wage (and never will) and was a hobby as much as anything, albeit one I wanted to share – and enjoy sharing - with others. And then the bombshell: Yesterday, at the bank, it emerged I have nothing like the cash left I thought I had. The only way I can understand / explain the situation is that when I walked in to a branch just before Christmas and they told me the balance of my current account, it was in error. What they were referring to was another account I have which holds the remains of my life savings and which, based on the figure they told me, I hadn't expected to have to resort to until mid-way through next year. Consequently I'm in big trouble if I'm to get these various projects, which are VERY dear to my heart - to the point, with no exaggeration, they literally keep me going, psychologically speaking - finished before I am reduced to abandoning everything to run around seeking social benefit and so on (I presently do not claim income support and so on – and work is unlikely).

Sorry if all this sounds rambling but what all this is about is that as much as anything I am seeking your collective opinion: I am considering adding some kind of donation button to the right hand sidebar here and on the websites saying something like “If you have enjoyed the content here and wish to support this blog / website / the author's next outpourings please make a small donation – thank you!”.... I have seen similar elsewhere, but never really liked the concept myself (it sounds a little too much like those characters who bother me in coffee bars and so on), but things are getting truly desperate if I am to finish this and continue writing (I expect loads of folks will now pitch up and say, well why bother then – you're bloody awful! But I know SOME folks like my stuff – and it IS getting better (I hope).

Anyway... What do you think? Should I add a 'please donate' button? Or is that just TOO distasteful for words? At this stage I am asking for nothing but your opinion – and that just costs a little time and effort.... 

Either post a comment or you can email me direct:


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Pamphlet From History

On Inducting a Girl into the Household –

By the Celebrated, Major Alistair StJohn Allois Perskin


The Control, Discipline and Chastisement of the Recalcitrant Young Maid or Petulant Servant Girl: 

Modern Methods, Hints and Tips.
Being a Pamphlet Detailing Thoughts on Uniform Considerations and Choice, Duties, Assessment and Training and Featuring the Author’s Celebrated Outspoken Views Countering Current Progressive Liberal Thinking on the Subject

From the outset, on entering the household, a girl should be encouraged to immerse herself in – and be satisfied by - solely occupying herself with feminine occupations. There is a proviso one should consider here; while I say she should be encouraged, at the same time she should not be made to feel she is held in particularly high regard, nor allowed to consider the same. In the latter vein: one should never hesitate to remind her of her limitations; and if a task or imposition may be designed as an exemplar of a particular inadequacy, so much the better.

That being said: there is one important caveat, the master or mistress of the household should be aware of, which is that it is vital such an assignment or chore is not repeated on such a regular basis as to allow practice to make perfect, which is to say, to allow the girl the satisfaction of herself marking any improvement. As much as is possible, then, she should be encouraged to recognize that advancement is beyond the means of her meagre intellect. By this in effect you are doing the girl a service; it is a kindness which ultimately will lead to less frustration, less resentment, on the girl’s behalf by aiding her in her eventual acceptance of the unalterable fact that her life is now under the rigid rule of the household, and that every action, every thought running through that pretty snub-nosed tousled head, is beholden to the gentleman or lady of the house.

To this latter end it does no harm for a girl to overhear her shortcomings discussed with others, particularly as pertains to her intellectual development or lack of it. In actual fact a criticism received in such a manner will be more readily incorporated in to a girl’s persona than if she were to be directly confronted by it or berated face to face. This latter point is especially true in a situation wherein it is the stranger or visitor who initiates the discussion or points out the problem, whether it be perhaps clumsiness or some demonstration of the girl lacking ‘common sense’, and is even more especially true if reinforced by sufficiently frequent exposure to such third-party criticism.

A girl constantly and consistently told she is stupid, will in time become stupid; not in that she will be tempted to mess around, but rather in that she will come to believe herself incapable of arguing back, standing her ground or making decisions for herself and instead will tend to capitulate without struggle to whatever new restriction or stipulation one might care to impose. Consistency is the key here; once knocked off balance she must not be allowed to regain her footing. But you do not stamp on her, you do not trample her under heel. you must not seek to break her in a single step, in one full-blooded blow, as if smashing some unwanted vase in a fit of pique against the wall or in the drawing room fireplace. The human spirit is a resilient thing – even the apparently fragile spirit of a self-conscious and bookish teenage girl – and can bounce back surprisingly quickly from such a direct, dare I say brutal, assault; and bounce back even stronger as a result!. No, for a more permanent result her shy little spirit has to be crushed, slowly, lovingly, little by little and step by step. And never forget; the carrot can be as effective as the stick; though the stick should never be spared where needs must.

One may envisage the process as akin to plucking the petals from a rose. You twist off each off, one by one, each one some new rule or stipulation she must adhere to, some new, perhaps even quite minor, indignity she must suffer. But you do not leave behind just the stem; rather the time to stop is when just sufficient of the bloom remains to still be recognisable for what it once was. In that manner, by tempering one’s hand short of total personality collapse you leave the poor blameless lamb with sufficient wherewithal to assure she truly appreciates the shame inherent in the lowly station she has been brought down to; it is in that constant realisation that true humility lies.

To the latter end I would say there is no harm at all in from time to time reminding her, or contriving to have her reminded, of what she may have become had she not fallen within one’s employ and come under the control of the household. For example; if taking to the stage had once been an aspiration, however lofty or out of reach – but so much the better, if once realistically within her grasp – then a couple of theatre posters or handbills decorating the walls of her room may be in order. Alternatively, why not let her have a programme to read from time to time, procured during some visit to the theatre?

Under such circumstances as I have outlined above I would see nothing wrong with the mistress of the house sitting down with the girl and flicking through the pages with her; in fact I would think it a most instructive exercise. I make a point of suggesting the mistress of the house rather than the gentleman for such a diversion. For it is she - sharing empathy as a fellow member of the fairer sex - who is best suited to perhaps sorrowfully pointing out the pretty lead actress and how prettier still ‘her girl’ is by comparison - or would have been had circumstances been kinder - or discussing the sumptuous costumes, while commiserating over the functional dowdiness of the uniform the poor thing wears, as necessitated by the day-to-day tasks of the common domestic servant girl.

It all helps to act as a constant reminder to the girl of her station within the household, and within society as a whole. As does her uniform. And unlike some, I do not see having a household servant wear a uniform as a ‘thorny question’ or ‘problem’ whatsoever. In fact there should categorically be no question of a serving girl not wearing a uniform. There should be none of this namby-pamby nonsensical advice advocated in certain ‘enlightened’ ‘modern’ pamphlets and ‘household guides’ about how if one ‘provides an attractive uniform, little trouble will be encountered in it being worn’, to quote from one such journal.

The old queen may have passed, God rest her soul. But the Empire remains sound, the Union Jack once more flutters proudly over the Palace of Westminster, and I'm pleased to say that in this King Edward's England we have yet to buckle to women’s suffrage, thank the Lord! Well established traditional values still hold sway in polite society, despite the 'upheaval, turmoil and change' certain mischievous factions within 'the third estate' had predicted for this 'new century'. More to the point: there remain a far greater number of unplaced young women and girls wandering the streets and alleys and facing the workhouse than there are positions available within good, well structured households.

Hence whatever gripe or grumble a girl might have regarding her employer's choice of her wardrobe or other stipulation, the employer holds the whip hand in the matter, never forget that; just as one should never forgo an opportunity to remind the prospective serving girl of that fact. Nor should one ever hesitate to remind the girl how with but a single word whispered in a friendly magistrate’s or councillor’s ear, albeit perhaps eased by means of a little financial consideration, a place for her in a suitable workhouse, or even the equivalent of the old Clink, can quickly be found. The single fact remains: there are still a good few men of conscience within the legal profession and judiciary of these islands today who believe it is better to provide for a secure and structured detention than risk a pretty young innocent, if left to her own devices, descending to the level of a painted-faced young hussy or streetwalker.

With such considerations foremost in the mind, a line should be drawn under the young thing’s previous existence from the very moment she sets foot in the house. It is the author's modest, yet considered, opinion that the most efficacious path to follow in order to achieve the latter aim is to be reached by way of some contrivance or other ultimately resulting in divesting the girl of her own old togs, the aim being to get the winsome young filly placed in her employer's choice of uniform as soon as practically possible. Of course it goes without saying that the well prepared householder will have had the requisite uniform prepared, correctly sized, ready and waiting for her prospect new employee well beforehand; and in this matter the services of a good, reliable dressmaker or seamstress can prove a godsend!.

Now, should a girl arrive on the doorstep bearing luggage, then that should be taken from her before she is shown up to her room. At this early stage it is perfectly acceptable to offer some words of explanation, and a good way forward is to mention laundering or storage elsewhere ‘for the time being’. In her room a washstand with a jug and bowl should have been readied so that she might wash and a linen basket left on her bed to collect her old clothes. If you employ a housekeeper I see nothing wrong with having the woman wait outside the girl’s room to take the basket once she has changed. If not, then the gentleman or lady of the house can perform the same function. The aim is the same. The girl should have to present herself soon after, and while it is perfectly fine – a good thing, in fact – to praise her if she has made an obvious effort in arranging her personal appearance and in her timely arrival in the parlour or wherever it has been agreed to receive her, it is also the perfect moment for the householder to begin to assert his or hers authority, especially as regards to the girl’s uniform.

Some might think the latter be best served by something plain, servile, hard-wearing and serviceable and of some suitably subdued hue; in short, apparel best suited to the efficacious performance and fulfilment of those more distasteful base menial tasks one might think well below the station of housekeeper let alone the mistress of the house.

On the other hand in some households there may well be call for sumptuous layers of satin and lace, most appropriate should a coquettish demeanour be considered pleasing to perhaps indulge a whim on some rainy or snowy afternoon.

In terms of her continuing education, if such should be your wish, she might – at one’s pleasure – in addition to keeping house, be taught the more genteel arts of music, singing, drawing, sewing and poetry. But she need learn nothing whatsoever of the world of science. Nor need she know of engineering, economics or mathematics and she should be actively discouraged from any form or school of philosophical thought. She should, however, be taught all manner of those – one is to hope - strictly feminine arts as might pertain to providing satisfaction of a more, personal, nature, even if destined to fulfil the most demeaning of scullery maid’s tasks or to fill the lowliest of menial positions, perhaps to make a tweeny at most.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Spam-A-Lot... No More!

Yeah, right! Spamalot (with apologies to Monty Python's Flying Circus) is the right term - I'm getting pretty annoyed! Actually I'm getting pretty annoyed about a lot of things at the moment, not least of which being that it has been raining - HARD - and when it rains my phone line sounds like frying bacon in a pan, which of course buggers my internet connection. Thus I am in a pub so as to use their WiFi connection (currently The Toll Gate in Turnpike Lane, North London if anyone fancies a 'meet and greet' and a pint). Today I am having to do some desk research on behalf of one of my two significant others (a hospital dietician) on the dietary requirements and guidelines applicable to cardiac babies... Yahhhhn! By the way: Desk research is a sideline of mine (in case anybody has any work - I need the cash!). But what is REALLY pissing me off is this:

Up until now I have always followed a policy of allowing open access to posting comments on this blog free of moderation, rarely if ever interceding other than to post comments of my own, in fact encouraging its use as a kind of discussion or bulletin board. However for some time now I have been aware that an individual - or individuals - has / have been posting comments which on the surface look vaguly genuine but which include a link to something the person or group describes as 'my blog' but which in fact turns out to be a link to a foreign language commercial site.

Now I'm not sure what all this is about or what the individual or group concerned expects to get out of it (I suspect it is some sort of search engine optimisation strategy), but it has to stop. Therefore I have had to instigate moderation, which basically means that from now on all comments will automatically pass through me via email for vetting before being published. It's a bloody pain, but I've been driven to it. In the meantime, rest assured I will be trawling through the site removing the offending material as and when I have the time!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

There Are Worse Things Than a Caning, Dear!

“Now, dear; some ground rules:  This is not a NORMAL hospital; this is a mental hospital.  And you are here because you are a mental patient – it’s as simple as that.  I don’t want to hear any of that blathering about how you are ‘normal’, how you’ve been put in here because someone wants you out of the way…  because if that’s the case, they’ve very much succeeded.  This place is very much ‘out of the way’.  No, as far as I’m concerned, if you’ve been placed in here it is because you, girl, are a mental patient; end of story! 

Nobody wants to listen to the ramblings of a mental case, nobody will take a blind bit of notice of anything you say, so you might as well get that in your head right away.  You will not speak unless spoken to, and you will do so only in a whisper.  You will address me as Matron and you will do EXACTLY what I tell you; immediately and without argument.  And you can start by learning how to stand properly; a mental patient does NOT make eye contact with ANYONE…  EVER.  You make eye contact with ME, girl, and you’ll taste my cane across your backside…  Oh yes!  Don’t look so shocked.  I’m fully authorised to use corporal punishment if that is what it takes to tame you!  And I’ve already warned you about eye contact; on the rare occasions you’re allowed out of bed and I speak to you, you will look down at your feet, keep your head slightly bowed at all times. 

I will have no defiance; you will learn to submit to my authority to an extent and in ways you can’t even imagine…  Ok let’s have you bend and touch your toes;  I’m going to give you your first introduction to institutional corporal punishment… And before you think about refusing, think about THIS:  One word from me, one bad report or recommendation, and you could well find yourself going down the path to having a lobotomy carried out.  How do you think you will feel then – not just a mental patient but a LOBOTOMISED mental patient? ”