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Posts tagged ‘Avalonia’

Catholics – EA. Vol. XI


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XI …

Catholics in Avalonia, like Catholics everywhere, look to their parish priest for guidance.

The parish priest – usually called Father O’Malley – looks in turn to his Bishop. The Bishop looks to the Cardinal. The Cardinal looks to the Pope. The Pope looks to God …

God looks embarrassed.

God’s embarrassment is not surprising, since Catholics believe that every sperm is sacred. They also believe that all Catholics are cool hipsters – i.e. there are no wankers amongst them.

Restorationist Christians – EA Vol. XV

Alfred the Great

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XV ….

Restorationist Christians pray for the restoration of what they see as true royalty – the Saxon line of King Alfred the Great – to the throne of England.

In Avalonia they hold regular outdoor services in the Athelney marshes, one-time fortress hiding place of Alfred. But their main HQ is the King Alfred Orthodox Christian Centre on Glastonbury’s Fisher’s Hill.

A window in their HQ displays a rather lurid postcard. It depicts the Resurrection – or “Restoration” as they call it – where those who are Right enter Buckingham Palace, whilst those who are Wrong are cast by Alfred’s descendants into a fiery pit that bears more than a passing resemblance to the oven where the King is said to have burnt his cakes.

Greenlands Farm (1)

Greenlands Farm

Soon after moving to Avalonia I bought a copy of the local newspaper, intending to scan the “Accommodation To Let” adverts. But I got no further than the front page, which expressed shock, horror and outrage over the arrival of “The Convoy” [see Medieval Brigands] at a place called Greenlands Farm.

I almost fell over. It couldn’t be true! No! I’d just escaped from all that [see Molesworth Green Gathering]! It was done with, finished! I’d only been in Glastonbury a few days – surely these people weren’t actually following me around the country?

It had to be a mistake. Maybe a cub reporter had got it wrong? Perhaps it was only a couple of gaily-painted, horse-drawn wagons arriving in Glastonbury at the appointed seasonal moment, gently following the ancient route of the Gypsy Switch, just as their forebears had done since time immemorial. A few cooking pots, the curl of wood smoke and two freshly-skinned rabbits. Surely that’s all there was to it. And in the hysteria surrounding Stonehenge and the recent “Battle of the Beanfield”, some local resident, newly-retired from Surbiton probably, had maybe panicked, picked up the phone and yelled, “the Convoy are coming, the Convoy are coming – I can see the snow on their unlaced boots!”

Needing to find out the truth, I set off to search for Greenlands Farm and check out this wild story.

Having walked through shady Wick Hollow and skirted the Tor to my right, I passed a couple of local farmers who were leaning on a fence, anxiously chewing straws and clearly agitated by the news, apparently just in, that a mysterious Swami [see Swami Bharmi’s Ashram Acolytes] had elected to join the burgeoning encampment.

“Whatev’r be ‘e thinkin’ arv”, said the grizzled sod-buster to his neighbour.

“Eee bain’t thinkin”, replied the other, “tain’t thinkin’ ad aowl, an tha’z the poind zee …. ‘eee bain’t thinkin’ o’ nuthin’. They hippos caowls it ‘no moind’, or zum zuch narnzenze.”

“Ar”, said the first, “tha’z the buggher. Oi rairck’n you’m roit there.”

As I drew closer to the hamlet of Wick itself – and thence Greenlands Farm – my thoughts wandered back to my first encounter with The Convoy, when I was living in the city of Bath. They’d arrived out of the blue, occupying the rugby fields on the edge of the city. The local paper reported outbreaks of hepatitis, the rugby fixtures were cancelled, the city council met in emergency session and the populace seemingly teetered on the edge of panic: Genghis and his Mongol hordes were poised outside the city walls, ready to sweep down upon us.

As dusk fell, I had walked out along Bath’s London Road to see for myself. Getting nearer, I heard the sound of voodoo drum beats … dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah. Smoke trailed upwards. The light from what seemed like hundreds of camp fires flickered in the sultry gloom. I continued onwards. The drums were very loud now. Dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah, dum dum dum Bah. As I turned onto the Rugby Field track, there it was – a huge sign in lurid, dripping red paint: “Welcome to Doom City” ….

With an effort I snapped back to my present surroundings. The birds were twittering, the hedgerows were ablaze with flowers and the winding lane led over a cattle-grid towards the entrance to Greenlands Farm. Here, to my huge relief, was no Doom City, but instead a run-down 43 acre farm, including sun-dappled apple orchard, clucking hens, a small, peaceful scattering of benders and buses, and the portable ashram of His Holiness Sri Ananda Jacaranda Swamiji Bharmiji Ji …

The original aim at Greenlands had been to establish a semi-monastic, land-based Christian community (the first near Glastonbury since the dissolution of the Abbey under Henry VIII, 450 years ago). The farm was run on the principle of kindness to animals. And the owner, being short of labour and farming expertise, had opened the farm to anyone – ideally pilgrims to Glastonbury – able to help on the farm in exchange for a place to live.

This, by a long and tortuous route, had eventually led to the midnight arrival, in twos and threes, of Rainbow Fields (Village) on the Road [1] and a few other assorted “Convoy” types. The fuse – or Wick – had been lit. What became known as ‘The Hippy Wars’ had begun, and with it a 24-hour police watch on the farm.

In the next 26 weeks this titanic struggle was to feature no less than 21 times in the front page headlines of either (and usually both) the Western Gazette or the Central Somerset Gazette. It was indeed an epic saga, a bit like The Archers[2], conveniently serialised in weekly parts: “The Greenlanders – an everyday tale of country folk”.

Initially, at the time of my first visit, there were only a small number of travellers at Greenlands. The Swami, however, from his long years in the mountains, had learnt to think big. Quickly adopting the appropriate lingo, he announced through his many acolytes a “Children of the Rainbow Gathering” in the “Free State of Avalonia”. The news spread like wildfire. A further 300 travellers arrived and the town was gripped by hysteria – or was it the other way around?

Seizing the opportunity, one of the new residents at Greenlands announced a “Festival Organiser’s Forum” – although soon afterwards, and given the number of anti-organiser ‘anarchist- travellers’ by then arriving at the farm, this event was hurriedly renamed “Festival Forum for a Future” … but it was too late. As the initiator later wrote (by then a broken if wiser man): “… we opened with a session called Organisation & Anarchy. This was perhaps a mistake.”

Sri Ananda Jacaranda was content to let the chaos flow around him. When pressed by reporters he smiled serenely and described life in the Greenlands’ orchard as “muddy fun”. When pressed even further, he raised his hand to quell the general hub-bub and said, “If you push something hard enough it will fall over”. The assembled press scribbled furiously, evidently expecting more, but His Holiness stepped into the ashram and would not come out, despite repeated cries of “Please Mr. Jacaranda, give us a statement”.

This stand-off continued for some hours, but the Swami’s aloofness only added to the density and fervour of the media pack outside, especially since news had now reached them from the slopes of Glastonbury Tor of his earlier pronouncement (i.e. “Nothing Once Known is Never Forgotten”).

Eventually, just as the sun was sinking, a folded slip of paper appeared from under the ashram portal. Whooping with excitement, the nearest hack scooped it up. “What’s it say? Read it! Read it!” came the cries. In the gathering gloom of dusk, the reporter cleared his throat and stood up straight, trembling slightly. A great sense of history and drama washed suddenly over him. He unfolded the paper and, peering at the single, scrawled line, his voice rang out across the hushed ranks, “Everything You Know Is Wrong” …

But all this and more was yet to unfold as I meandered through the orchard, where the tranquil whispering of leaves gave no inkling of the dark passions to come … [see Greenlands Farm Part 2]

[1] The name adopted by remnants of the ‘Rainbow Fields Village’ following their eviction from Molesworth air base [see Molesworth Green Gathering].

[2] A long-running radio drama series here in the UK.

Elementary Time Travel – EA. Vol. XXIII

Time travel

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XXIII …

The Reading Organisation for Research into Elementary Time Travel (R.O.R.E.T.T) is attached to the Faculty of Parapsychology in the University of Avalon (UoA). It is the only UoA-affiliated organisation to issue exam-results in advance of the actual exams, depressing though this is for some of the students.

In R.O.R.E.T.T’s own words, their research involves: “… the study of Precognition .. its practical uses for political purposes …”

Needless to say this research has attracted the attentions of MI5 and the like, particularly since the very existence of Avalonia is a politically sensitive issue for the UK government. However, all attempts to infiltrate R.O.R.E.T.T have so far failed, since the identity of the would-be infiltrators is known to members “ahead of time” as it were (or will be), before the agents themselves have even been chosen … and in one case even before the agent had been born.

The security services have struggled in vain to resolve this paradox, in one instance even lying to themselves about their own agent’s true identity in a desperate attempt to circumvent precognition. This might have worked, except that when the agent in question attempted to contact his masters they refused to accept his credentials, charged him with impersonating a government official and filed his report under “Deliberate Misinformation”.

R.O.R.E.T.T’s occasional seminars on “Psychic Ecology” are sought after with particular eagerness, with competition for places being especially keen amongst far-sighted environmentalists and visionary Greens. Indeed, seminar places are reserved so far ahead of any advance publicity that the seminar leader has given up actually choosing the seminar dates herself and merely goes along with the inevitable.

R.O.R.E.T.T has a sister organisation called R.O.R.A.T.T (the Reading Organisation for Research into Advanced Time Travel), but of this we do not now write further for reasons that will always have been obvious to some.

R.O.R.A.T.T members – and you know who you are, or know who you will be – can appreciate the subtle rationale for this discretion. Anyone else wishing to know more will need to enrol with R.O.R.E.T.T in the first instance (and R.O.R.A.T.T in the second instance), or else read the appropriate entries in Vol. XXIV of the Encyclopaedia Avalonia, should this ever be published.

The Guild of Immortalists – EA Vol. III


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. VIII …

The Guild of Immortalists cleave to the notion of physical immortality. Believing death to be a mistake, they campaign endlessly for its abolition and once broached the subject with a local Member of Parliament … but discussions broke down almost immediately when, as a committed Conservative, he made clear his views on bringing back the rope.

At social gatherings Immortalists have a tendency to panic when the chit-chat turns to cyclic patterns of birth, life, death and rebirth. Thus they do not mix well with either Servants of the Goddess or Priestesses of the Nine-fold Muse, finding mention of Pluto and Persephone to be far from relaxing and being deeply unsettled by tales of harrowing hell, the Underworld, Hecate, midnight cross-roads and the Morrigan.

The Guild of Immortalists are rumoured to believe that having sex at least twice every 24 hours is a way of retarding the ageing process.

The Guild of Immortalists:

  • Tribal motto: “Deus Sex Machina”.
  • Tribal refuge: Windmill Hill and (Sundays only) the 4th Dimension
  • Favourite colour: Eternal Flame Red
  • Favourite TV programme: Dr. Who
  • Favourite films: Peter Pan; Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Favourite dangerous sport: Near Death Experiences
  • Favourite saying: “Never say Die”

The Glastonbury Carnival – EA Vol. XX


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XX …

Ah yes … the annual “Glastonbury Carnival”, much enjoyed by stout Glastonburgers[1].

To most people the word “carnival” conjures up images of people dancing in the streets, sultry night air, wild music and even wilder abandon. This is something of a contrast with the bizarre phenomenon that arrives in Glastonbury in the middle of each November. People come from far and wide to see it. Crowds of people, up to 100 million strong, line the streets, muffled to the eyebrows, their pinched and frozen faces seeming even whiter in the reflected glare of the ten billion light bulbs that edge and adorn the processional, tractor-drawn floats.

Each float blasts out a different song – usually “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, “If I Was Rich Man” or one of Abba’s “Worst Hits” – and these raucous sounds compete both with each other and the yammering generators that are towed behind each float. No one in the crowd dances, for there is no room to move and you wouldn’t want to dance to these songs anyway. Besides, Glastonburgers – especially the stout ones – rarely dance and certainly not in public on an icy-cold High Street. Perhaps they are simply overwhelmed, pushed into hypnotic trance, by the sheer volume of sound and light. The exhaust fumes from 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel must also take their toll.

In fact the only people who dance are those on some of the floats. This “dancing” usually consists of a short sequence of vaguely synchronised movements, about 20 seconds for the complete routine, endlessly repeated over and over to the same jingle as the float grinds slowly along its bulb-lit way. The whole procession takes over two hours to pass. That’s a lot of 20-second dance-routines per float, more than 360 to be precise.

Each float has a different focus and judges award a prize for the best one. It’s a curious thing, but many of the themes seem to centre on sado-masochism. Witness, for example, a float called ‘The Flight of the Valkyries’: as Wagner’s dramatic music poured forth, a variety of scantily-clad men and women lustily whipped other scantily-clad men and women who were chained to poles on the ‘ship’s deck’. The crowd was suitably stunned, but this was possibly shock from the absence of an Abba song.

Preparations for this grand Carnival begin long beforehand, when the floats begin to take shape. The Glastonbury Times[2] has described how:

“All over the region miniature building sites ring to the sound of hammers and portable radios far into the night, and in a couple of months … traffic on the main roads will become chaotic as crocodiles of enormous edifices, their secrets coyly draped, lumber painfully up hill and down dale, followed patiently by vehicles large and small, unable to go about their lawful business until the sacred carnival floats reach their destination.”

The usual result, the article noted, was “Thirty or so Young Farmers doing a step-and-kick routine dressed as golliwogs.”

[1] Not be confused with Glastafari.

[2] Published by Unique Publications.

Methodists – EA Vol. IX


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. IX ….

Methodists are just that – methodical. In their systematic search for Truth they leave few stones unturned and are therefore not welcome at Stonehenge.

There is method even in their madness, and for this reason the “method school” of acting is named after them.

This should not be confused with the “rhythm method” of Catholic thespians, who will only agree to full performances at certain times of the month, tending otherwise to withdraw from the stage before the play has reached its climax.

GlastonSpeak – EA Vol. VII


Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. VII …

GlastonSpeak – The Essential Guide was compiled by a reader in mytho-linguistics at the University of Avalon.

Its original release into the public sphere was marred by confusion and controversy, as some of the publisher’s more unscrupulous sales staff sold copies into Tourist Information Centres on the false premise that the book was actually called Glaston’s Peak, an essential guide to the famous hill (Glastonbury Tor) that rises spectacularly above the surrounding Vale of Avalon.

Several law-suits were only narrowly avoided, especially when copies were purchased by a group of American tourists from the Bible Belt. These had not really wanted a book on mytho-linguistics in the first place. Indeed, several of them had great difficulty reading any text not peppered with words like “begat”, “sin” and “struck down” (AE editor’s note: we would say “liberally peppered”, but this seems inappropriate in the circumstances).

Although most of the text was beyond them, said tourists did strenuously object to an entirely whimsical entry under “American” which ran as follows:

“Originally, American was pronounced Amohican, derived from A Mohican, but that was before the national gene-pool declined.

Thus the popular term ‘red-neck’ refers to Americans who are either deeply embarrassed by the post-Mohican national decline, or else striving hard to gain a Mohican colouring.

The term is also used to describe the condition of those who’ve been soundly beaten about the upper shoulders with a Bible Belt.”

Litigation was only prevented when solicitors acting for the publishers claimed that the book was actually the work of the devil, and thus retribution – or “striking down” as the lawyers cannily put it – was best left in the thunderbolt-wielding hands of Jehovah. The Bible-Belters relented, saying it was the first piece of common sense they’d heard in a long while.

A few other excerpts from GlastonSpeak run thus:

  • “Half a mix” (colloquially, “Arf a mix”). This is a shouted public request / invitation, which translates as: “someone please give enough hashish for this next communal joint / pipe / chillum.” Though the origins are somewhat obscure, it is believed to refer to a half-and-half smoking mixture of cannabis sativa and tobacco.
  • “Blag”: beg, borrow or (if these fail) steal.
  • “Blim”: a little bit of hashish, or else a large bit, or else almost all the hashish that someone may have.
  • “Blag a blim”: obtain enough for the next joint / pipe / chillum. “Blim” in this context is a contraction of “Blimey”, which in turn is a contraction of “Blim me”. Originally, as in “well Blim me!”, it was an expression of astonishment that someone had actually given enough hashish for the next joint / pipe / chillum. Some scholars, however, argue that this declaration of amazement usually came after smoking the next joint / pipe / chillum.
  • “Blim a blag” means nothing at all. It’s a nonsensical expression used to confuse outsiders.

Unitarians – EA Vol. XIV


The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia XIV …

Unitarians, as their name suggests, believe in one thing and one thing only – Unity.

They thus believe that it doesn’t really matter what they believe as long as they all believe the same thing.

Unhappily this rather vague doctrine has proved somewhat too shallow a basis for cementing congregational loyalty … so their flock has gradually fallen by the wayside[1], leaving just one member. The Unitarian Church – now called the Church of the Unitarian – has thus perfected its doctrinal expression and is finally assured of a stable future.

[1] Many have become Trinitarians – i.e. ex-Unitarians who are in three minds about it.

Mormons – EA Vol. XII

Mormon1 Mormon3

The Tribes of Christianity – Encyclopaedia Avalonia Vol. XII …

Mormons are polygamous, but in practice this is difficult since very few women wish to live by a salt-encrusted lake in Utah.

Mormons believe that baptism by total immersion is necessary for salvation. This is unfortunate because the salt in question is highly corrosive. Luckily however, converts can now be baptised by proxy, for a fee, at the Mormon HQ in Salt Lake City. The life-volunteer who is used for this must face a daily average of around 500 salty dunkings. At first he didn’t mind too much, but has since become somewhat bitter.

Mormon followers include Donny Osmond and his brother disciple Jimmy.

Officially speaking the chief object of Mormon veneration is a hippy-like figure from Nazareth who loved people. But unofficially they prefer Jimmy’s hymn about a long-haired lover from Liverpool.

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