We’ve lived through an exceptional era and ties.

Just been reading a piece by Claud Cockburn about Al Capone in which he met and interviewed him. Triggered by Cockburn expressing some sympathy about growing up in a poor environment Capone reacted with praise for the American system; freedom, enterprise and pioneers and contempt for socialism and anarchism. He kept repeating ‘My rackets are run on strictly American lines.’ Despite all his egregious criminal activities, carried out ‘on strictly American lines’, he was eventually imprisoned for tax evasion.

Now to my chemo addled little brain this has modern day parallels with someone. This person has run his life and businesses on ‘strictly American lines’ using and abusing people to further himself up to and including probable treasonous activities with foreign powers. Relevant authorities have not seen his tax returns for many years, maybe he could be imprisoned for tax evasion.

Al Capone was at the peak of his powers around the same time as the Great Depression. As we all should know this led to the rise of some rather unsavoury characters and political parties culminating in the Second World War. After the war there was a massive move towards more ‘progressive’ politics, the creation of welfare states, greater emancipation of women, non-whites and other groups.

Until the 1970’s, when the Austrian and Chicago gangs (Capone was also based in Chicago) led by Hayek began the ‘neoliberal’ fightback. Despite this more liberal thought and legislation continued through our lifetimes and I, and I’m sure others, couldn’t countenance the rise of the current American president and the corrosive effects of the likes of farage and johnson. But placed within the context of the longer term drumf is not such an anomaly, more a reversion to American type.

I think it no co-incidence that part of his make-up, on top of his whiteness and maleness are his ridiculously big and long ties. I hate ties and have very rarely worn them since leaving school. I was regularly fined at my last rugby club Esher as they demanded we wore club ties for league matches, I reluctantly wore one round my waist. Anyway enough of my petty shit, ties.

Ties are worn as the de facto male uniform along with typically boring and bland suits. I think that this attire has the effect of accentuating the tie which, of course, is an accentuation of the phallus. Apart from drumf exemplifying this I have corroborative evidence. For a number of years I had in my class a male student who had a predilection for the male member and would occasionally try and touch others crotches; once, in a crowded motorway urinal area I had to tell him that if he wanted to look at penises to just look at his own. Anyway, my class was once favoured with a visit from a senior manager and one of my favourite inspectors. The male inspector was dressed in typical fashion, plain suit and tie. As soon as the student saw him he went straight towards him as if to shake hands and grabbed his genitalia. Stifling a laugh I moved the student away and suggested he tried again this time just shaking hands. I am convinced that the inspectors’ tie was an overwhelming signal for the student.


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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