The Fifth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Yes, I have taken to reading up the screen rather than down.

Sorry, you probably have no idea who I am or what I speak of, but that is the point of this whistle-stop tour of the seedier parts of the Diocese.

Oh, yes, I will have the extra large option, thank you.

Anyway, enough distraction… Ooh, I didn’t know they made those here? Mind if I try one? Well, same to you buddy.

Ah maps, both good and saucy. Did I mention seedy? Not to say that the Diocese has much by the way of less-than-seedy parts on its cheaply-produced visual aids. All of its parts are classified ‘Naughty.’ So much so that Mr. Ransome has replaced all maps of the Diocese with an A4 page featuring Verdana 64 point script of the word ‘Naughty!?!’

Mmm… Nice girlfriend; shame about the ape holding on to her shoulder. Sorry? Oh, you were listening.

Yep; reading up the screen. It’s one of those strange traditions we have in Western Society (TM) that we read from right to left… Sorry, you’re right, left to right and from top to bottom. So now I read from bottom to top. It passes the time and makes you think about the dissimilarity between the kinds of visual information we present to the laid public.

It’s a bit weird; you start off having no idea how things started, although sometimes you get a hint if the text has multiple pages. And you’d be surprised how often written materials have boring beginnings/endings.

Ah, yes. Thank you. Flannels in the corner? Thanks.

Yet reading bottom to up seems like a pleasant fix to common neck and back problems; go from a painful posture to a pleasant one over the course of a document.

It is somewhat informative of human nature that almost all (fortunately) documents only make sense in one direction.

Oh, you going? Want to exchange numbers?

Unpleasant harpy.

Crunch.

The Fourth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

A distraction from the day’s festivities. I want to tell the great unwashed public a little something about friendship.

I have shunned, for a little while now, the usual mores and requirements of civilised society. I can do this because if there are only a few utility monsters, like myself, then the world finds us charming and we can get away with ediquitte murder. Still, that is a matter for another time…

And that time is now!

Sorry, dizzy spell.

One benefit to my nature is my almost blase approach to friendship. I do not feel obliged to friends perhaps in the way that society dictates I should. I like my friends and when I think of them, sometimes rarely, sometimes often, I think of them fondly and want to be with them. I do not, however, feel that I have to maintain friendships.

It’s a weird phrase, ‘maintain friendships;’ I suspect that most of you will both find my disdain of this maintenance both good and bad.

The bad first, because the bad is the most obvious; we do not like to maintain such things because such maintenance indicates a level of work that denigrates the notion of friendship. A friendship that needs this kind of maintenance is no real friendship; it is pure obligation and nothnig more. The friendship is kept alive via esoteric, quasi-erotic rituals designed to make you forget that you have moved on, matured or killed one of their family members (or vice versa).

The bad is obvious and it is unfortunate just how often it is true… Especially of you.

The good notion of maintenance is that friendships should not become stagnant and thus be of need of constant work. This is, of course, not true. I’m not denying the terrors of stagnation, but I am wondering why we feel that a friendship needs work to avoid. Surely the maintenance cost just indicates that the bad notion has arrived and you’re not willing to admit to it just yet.

Happiness is a strange form of apathy mixed with contentment.

I have a few really good friends. I am happy with the number; I have some of my very best friends safely ensconced in foreign climes and there are some people, two couples to be precise, who have kept me sane over the last few years, and to them I owe a great debt I can never repay. One of these sets of people I see weekly, the other I see twice a year and speak to just over double that.

Yet I am as close to the other as I am to the former.

Friendship is a bond, possibly one with filligie and naughty lingerie. When I feel its call I obey it. Yes, I regret not hearing it more often, but then again, perhaps it would not mean as much if I did.

Well, that’s serious. I was going to give a talk on why underwear is oppressive and I find myself waxing lyrical on platonic-bonding.

I really shouldn’t drink tea.

The Third New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Most of you, if not all, were probably not expecting me today, here and especially in this tawdry uniform. I can explain; you see I have been let off early for good behaviour.

Indeed, I have been remarkably good in recent times; in an act of perverse mismanagement the Church is currently suffering a surfeit of funds, partially because I’ve been gainfully employing myself but mostly because I’ve stopped Brother Morthos from taking any money out of the ‘Shoot the Tories Into Space’ Fund (which, for the numerically interested of you, is responsible for 13% of the most recent advances in mid-to-large range projectile technologies).

Employment has been interesting; in need of a little more pocket money and a reason to leave the Bunker I became the Papal Under-secretary’s Under-secretary, making me simultaneously Mr. HORansome’s boss and underling. Whenever he fired me I’d just sign (and then counter-sign) a new contract, type another derogatory note to the Pope (the few of you who are not mentally challenged will know that this (or that) is me (or I?)) and then use Ransome’s stamp to signify it. It was then the matter of a moment to deliver said note to myself and then subsequently ask Hieronymus to send himself a note to the tune that I was notifying him that I would be watching his work all the closer. One should never call my Mother a deranged fruitbat with a brain the size of a Bismarck Herring.

Work, as you can ascertain, is ‘Fun’ for all concerned. Although I worry about the raft of conditional statements I have begun using…

The old days of slinking off to my bunk bed with a book of jumbo-sized elephant parts and a wagon of ‘holy water’ have gone the way of the gannet; now I type away for hours on end and have lustful thoughts about the women who wander in to our office asking about the services we offer (there is a sign outside which says ‘Woman, come in and ask about our services!’ which Hieronymus assures me was left over from the last establishment that lurked here). What it is that Ransome tells them I’ve yet to overhear, but it mustn’t please a large section of the female populace because he gets slapped (well, more so than usual).

Hieronymus Oliphant Ransome, Papal Under-secretary and guttersnipe, who I am sure you have been asking after recently, has taken to his native gutter journalism like, well, a guttersnipe. After the incendiary remarks made about him by one of the Cardinals (who is now very much on the outside of Neo-Catholicism) Mr. Ransome has taken to writing pieces on just how ineffectual any kind of social policy is, and why your Mother, in particular, is a deranged fruitbat with a brain the size of a Bismarck Herring. Considering that the Neo-Catholic Church really espouses no particular politic either way this has come as a shock to at least one member of the clergy, who was surprised that there were still elections going on.

Hieronymus’ views can be summarised as ‘The world is a collection of processes, none of which have any particular assigned purpose, and thus the world is working out as the processes dictate, which is neither good nor bad;’ at least this is the view he put forward in ‘Drinking With Children: Gin for the Under Fives as a Social Experiment.’ As far as I can gather, having had to type up most of it, his argument is that the world isn’t mean to function in any particular way; it’s just meant to be. If there is no purpose to existence other than to exist then you really can only pass judgement over existence if you import an idea of how things are meant to work, and that is a suspicious move (apparently). He calls the view that the world isn’t working out as ‘middle-class angst,’ claiming that it is symptomatic of the middle-classes to be brought up believing in things working out for the best and then being shocked when the world doesn’t provide it without large-scale help.

Frankly, I can’t help but be bemused by it; he seems to be espousing a kind of middle-class angst about middle-class angst (and if you buy my bemusement then I’m showing some degree of middle-class angst about middle-class angst about middle-class angst; this could go on ad nauseam)…

Which is why I plan to retire from my working life and returned to the onerous responsibility of keeping Morthos away from the torture cages and puppy farms. I’ll miss the steady pay check and the playful punching of the groin that my employer delivered, as well as not being able to engage in the jabbing of his kidneys on a daily basis, a regret I will just have to bear.

But it does have the immediate benefit in that I will not need to worry, unduly or at all, about the pros and cons of the modern lifestyle and the invasive nature of the media. No longer will I need to read social commentary or be made aware that certain things are just not done. Piqued self-interest always comes before the Empire’s fall and I want to be holidaying elsewhere when that happens, preferably in a bunker.

Ah, there comes the local constabulary; they’ll want to know what exactly I’ve been covering up with this policeman’s helmet.

Ta ra.

The Second New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

From the mists of time comes a tale oft told…

In the short time I have been amongst you (five minutes if you count my dashing off for a pee when I arrived) I have learnt a great deal of your ways (your hygenie really is some of the worse I have ever seen, and I’ve spent time in the Filth Pits with the Not-so-Sanctus, More-Unsanitary Jack) and come to realise a fundamental truth about all of us, by which I mean all of you.

You see, you’re not like me.

Many of you are bound to be fainting with relief (or due to the stench) on this matter, and I blame you not. Being unlike me is probably a good thing; being unlike the person next to you is equally beneficial. Oh, you wear the same stained uniform (one which you dare not let your partner wash because they’ll ask that awkward question about the white mark on the left leg), you belong to the same clubs, read the same magazines and jointly worry about the opposite sex (in marathon drinking sessions). Fact is, if I were to look upon you from up on high, and I do, then I might well think of you as homogenous. Undifferentiated midgets, even.

But I know there is difference amongst you.

Which leads me on to the second point, which is the greater of the two and has less import to your egos. You see, just like there are differences amongst you there is also a quality of sameness that isn’t just the shared presence of noses, ears and the ever important left leg (without or without aforementioned stain).

Differences can be aggravating when you note them; well-loved films that suddenly get released in new versions often cause conniption fits, as can the presence of new radio series based on old books which were themselves the result of new radio series at at earlier stage of television’s development. It seems that you either need to be unnoticeably different or very noticeably different to be appreicated. Just being different seems not good enough.

Ah, commonsense truisms, you are thinking… And you are right. Can I offer a solution? No… But I now understand the ‘Why?’ of it all.

Minor differences are celebrated because they allow enough differentiation to make life distinguishable. Two friends, no matter how sexy their miniskirts, cannot wear the same (by which I mean highly similar) pink Ralph Lauren polo-shirt. It would cause trouble, misidentification and possibly the destruction of teenage sexual misadventure.

Major differences, the most uncommon, I am somewhat apprehensively pleased to say, are good because as long as they occur infrequently amongst the population then people find them interesting, amusing or charming rather than offensive and problematic. I can be brash, bombastic and overly open and honest and liked because of it for the sheer fact that virtually no one else is willing to be me.

I think people must think that being me is awkward or embaressing. And thank the gods above and below, because I’d hate to think that you wanted to be me. I have enough trouble with myself without all of you interferring.

Although it would improve your sanitary conditions, so you might want to consider it, you filthy beasts.

Oh, and if someone could remove this codpiece from my forehead I’d pay good money for the service.