I received a message from Facebook saying I was blocked from the site because a post violated its policies. It didn’t say why I’d violated its policies. Yes there is such a thing as Fee Speech. It’s called Defacebook. ♣
Tag Archives: Mike Magee
Catalogue produced by Henrik Bogdan. He now has all the letters sent to me by Kenneth Grant, archived in his university. ⇓
LAST week, I was invited by three top boffins to the John Radcliffe hospital to discuss the rather new syndrome, transient epileptic amnesia – TEA for short. I’ve turned into a case study!
Professor Butler couldn’t remember he’d met me before, it’s fair to say, although professor Arjun Sen said: “Oh nice to see you again.”
Professor Sen said: “Are you still drinking?” I said yes. He asked: “About the same amount?” I said yes.
Arjunaji indicated that was OK. And didn’t mention smoking fags this time around.
But Arjun did ask me how much I remembered about 2016. I told him: “About 20 percent.” He looked shocked. Of course I remember the death of Tony Dennis.
Met another top prof at the John Radcliffe, a man who specialises in occupational stuff. Apparently I was writing perfectly cogent IT stories for the whole weird period. He said: “OK, that’s a different part of the brain.”
Professor Butler is a very cool guy. He asked if I dreamed. Well I do, in full colour, panaroma view. He reckons I’ll have to take the anti-convulsant lamotrogine drug for the rest of my life. But, he added, rather wittily: “The condition is so new we haven’t had a patient die us on yet.”
I HAD a couple of communications this week from people I still know about a controversial London geezer.
The first was from a woman who seems to have something of the investigative journalist about her. You can find that here.
The second bit I also saw this week, and from a woman, was actually published 10 years ago but I’ve only just seen it, and you can find that here.
Both pieces are about some old geezer who used to live in a little town called Mehmadabad, not far from Ahmedabad. According to the old geezer, when I visited in 1978, Mehmadabad was ruled by a younger brother of Ahmed. But what I would I know about that? It was a dusty little town when I visited it all those years ago, even though Mr Lawrence Amos Miles tried to convince me that when the Muslims conquered Gujarat, it was full of gardens and fountains. ♦
Monastic Wanderers: Nāth Yogī Ascetics in modern South Asia
Author: Véronique Bouillier
The Western academic study of the Nāth sampradayas is really in its infancy, but in the last couple of years a few people have had a fair crack at making sense of the impenetrable mysteries of this rather heterodox cult.
One is David Gordon White with his rather sensationally titled Kiss of the Yogini and Sinister Yogis. Phil Hine, at enfolding.org has many interesting things to say about the origins and nature of the traditions.
Now Véronique Bouillier – through Manohar Publications – has had published her Nāth Yogī Ascetics in modern South Asia, which we’d say is really a tour de force. I guess we have to blame the copy editor for forgetting to translate French sometimes in the book, and also for the sometimes very confusing use of different calendars so that you don’t know which one is being used. This is definitely the best book I’ve read by a Westerner on this tradition since Briggs’ Gorakhnath and the Kanphata Yogis was published in the 1920s.
There is now an English translation of a seminal text attributed to Gorakshanath, the Siddhasiddantapaddhati – this book, in five chapters – gives the central inner precepts of the Nath tradition.
Bouillier – a French anthropologist – covers a number of the different manifestations of the different subsects of the sampradayas today, and her work is very revealing as she’s travelled through greater India – so including Nepal – to reach her conclusions. Did you know there’s a Gorakhnath temple in Sri Lanka in the vicinity of Kandy? I do, and there is.
The author comes to the conclusion that the different traditions in India and Nepal have somewhat diluted their core message and indeed the different monasteries she visited do have some variations that are adopted for modern life. While in the past the cult had kings as their patrons, to a greater or lesser extent the merchant classes have taken over that role.
She is particularly interesting in the details she gives about separate ashrams, really maths, that she has visited recently. She explores, in particular, the story of Ratnanath (pictured) and the weird goings on in Mangalore. A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of his book, Isis: Goddess of Egypt & India, which makes interesting reading.
She has a deal of interesting information about the monastery based in Fatehpur in the Sekhavati district of Rajasthan, which allies itself to the division allied to the Mannath panth. I’ve been to this monastery and to surrounding Mannath monasteries twice – on the latter occasion for a big festival for the 150th birthday of Amritnath, the saint responsible for the inauguration of the monastery. I also met Véronique Bouillier when I was there in 2002. The surrounding monasteries are also most interesting, one of them containing the samadhi (tomb) of the founder of the Mannath panth. Pictured above is the current mahant (abbot) of the Fatehpur ashram.
Bouillier makes the point that Matsyendranath (pictured), the supposed founder of the sampradaya, isn’t held in very high esteem amongst modern day naths. Matsyendranath is the supposed author of the Kaula Jnana Nirnaya – a work of the Yogini Kaula school, and Bouillier’s book sometimes hints at the tantrik bases of the modern sampradayas.
If you’re seriously interested in this tradition, I thoroughly recommend this book.
The book costs Rs 1,395. I tried to order it from Manohar’s site which only apparently works with US dollars and Indian rupees, but my kind friends in Seattle bought me a copy and posted it to me in Oxford. Hence the review.
ABERDONIAN and self-confessed individual Mike Magee has passed on into the vale wherever the vale is.
He was a lazy, self-obsessed bastard and often got cross at things, even things that he didn’t need to be cross about. In fact, I can’t think of a positive thing to say about the git.
He leaves, as his legacy, nobody that gives a flying fuck. He paid all his bills and left his puny life without owing the taxman anything.
He will be missed, grievously, by HMRC, the tax people who had hoped to extract more from him before he croaked. Let’s hope and pray that he goes to a tax free zone. (Not Switzerland, Ed.) ♠
This is the text of a tribute I made to dear Tony Dennis at his funeral on the 7th of March 2016. Later we adjourned to his local, The Wheatsheaf, in Ewell, where we all drank to the health of his family, friends and many colleagues.
“I talked to Tony Dennis just a few days before he died. He was cheerful, optimistic, even enthusiastic about the future and had a writing project lined up that sounded full of promise. We were going to meet up in the near future, a future that he was never to see.
“I couldn’t imagine then that just three weeks later I would be standing here in front of his family, his friends and his colleagues, paying this small tribute to him and his memory.
“I first met Tony in, I think 1989, when I was editing a weekly magazine for IDG. That would be the same year I first met the very lovely Dave Evans who we’ve also lost. The three of us became the best of friends over the years at one period meeting every Monday, for many years, in one or other of our favourite pubs in Soho or Fitzrovia.
“Tony was unfailingly kind and helpful to his colleagues and would go well out of his way to make people feel comfortable and to give them useful guidance if they were new to the world of tech journalism. He was just kind.
“He was tremendously popular with his journalistic colleagues and that’s shown by the outpouring of tributes to him on social media. I know that he had a wide circle of friends outside journalism and no doubt they feel the same grief as we hacks do.
“I will miss Tony Dennis hugely but have nothing but the fondest memories of him. I’m sure that’s the way we all feel. I will never forget him.”
DEAR #HurdontheHill also known as Will Hurd, the congressman for the 23rd district of Texas, wherever that is.
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