Wednesday, September 28, 2005

He got his father jailed for sexual abuse,7843,1579353,00.html

In The Guardian, 28 September 2005, Duncan F. explains that he got his father jailed for sexual abuse.

In 2004, D. F. told police in the UK, about the 13 years of rape and sexual abuse he endured at the hands of his father.

C. F. has now been jailed for 11 years after he was found guilty of 14 counts of rape and sexual assault of two young boys - D. and another victim, from 1976 to 1989.

D. F. 35, explains:

"The abuse started when I was four, when he made me masturbate him in the bathroom. It went on to rape and only stopped at 14 after I took an industrial overdose of paracetamol and had to go to hospital."

D. F. says the police made him feel like a nuisance.

"I told them [father] photographed and videoed me being raped and that, when I was about eight, brought me to meet other paedophiles," he says. "I remember one who asked, 'Can I have him?' and [father] said, 'No he's mine.'

"I asked for a second interview and the police said: 'We can't investigate everything.' It was like I was wasting their time. I know that one man named in court as a paedophile hasn't even been interviewed."

D. F. says the police have not fully investigated his accusations that his father was part of a bigger paedophile ring...

Full story at:,7843,1579353,00.html


Turkey: 'half the children at the country's biggest child psychiatric hospital die every year'.,12700,1579874,00.html

The Guardian, September 28, 2005, quotes a report on Turkey by Mental Disability Rights International:

The report estimates that half the children at the country's biggest child psychiatric hospital, near Ankara, die every year.

"Staff reported children dying from starvation and dehydration."

"Infants were locked alone in small rooms. Others were tied by their hands and legs to their cots."


Thousands of people are detained arbitrarily and illegally, often for life.

"Inhuman and degrading conditions of confinement are widespread throughout the Turkish mental health system.

"People with psychiatric disorders and people with intellectual disabilities are subject to treatment practices that are tantamount to torture.

"The prison-like incarceration of Turkey's most vulnerable citizens is dangerous and life-threatening.

"What's unique about Turkey is the abusive use of shock therapy and the conditions for children which result in high mortality rates."

The authors single out the abuse of ECT as especially alarming. The treatment is used routinely without anaesthetic, a practice that the authors describe as torture inducing feelings of terror.


Turkey's military, 'the power behind the throne', is closely allied to the USA and Israel.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bob Dylan


"The times, as that great Minnesota queen Bob Dylan once said, they are a-changin'."


Interview with Todd Haynes, filmmaker:

THR: What are you working on right now?
Haynes: The big gay story of Bob Dylan.


Extract from 3am-magazine:

"In Howard Sounes’s ‘Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan’ (Transworld Publishers 2001) we find an intriguing episode where there is a suggestion that Dylan once hustled for a time as a gay prostitute in Times square.

"Sounes quotes a Dylan interview from 1966 where Dylan says - ‘We would make one hundred fifty or two hundred fifty a night between us, and hang around in bars. Cats would pick us up and chicks would pick us up.’ (Sounes page 81)

"Sounes also writes of Dylan’s friendship with Fred Neil, the guy who wrote ‘Everybody’s Talking’ which would later be used as the theme tune for the film ‘Midnight Cowboy.’

"Dylan and another friend, Mark Spoelstra were paid by Neil '… to back him on stage'.

"Spoelstra claims Neil also goosed the boys on the backside whenever they met him; while Spoelstra said to knock it off, Bob would just laugh…

"Throughout his life he [Dylan] would have several good friends who happened to be homosexual - the most notable being Allen Ginsberg - …’"


"Ginsberg ... was greatly disturbed... by Bob Dylan's rampant cocaine snorting during their tour together.

"Ginsberg immortalized the thought by penning:

"Nobody saves Amercia by sniffing cocaine
Jiggling yr knees blankeyed in the rain
When it snows in yr nose you catch cold in yr brain."


Monday, September 26, 2005

Pakistan and sex

Miranda Kennedy, at The Boston Globe, 11 July 2004, wrote about sex in Pakistan. She claims that sex between men and boys 'is embedded in the society'.

Kennedy claims that 'across all classes and social groups', males have sex with males.

She writes that in villages throughout Pakistan, 'young boys are often forcibly "taken" by older men'.

In the Northwest Frontier Province, the Pashtun men take young boys as lovers.

The American sociologist Stephen O. Murray writes in 'Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison,' 1997:

"Islamic tradition frowns on but acknowledges male-male sex, and this plays a role in permitting clandestine sex so long as it is not allowed to interfere with family life, which is of paramount importance."

According to Murray, the most common form of male homosexuality in Pakistan is pederasty.

Faisal Alam, founder of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, a Washington-based organization for gay and lesbian Muslims, argues that (in the Koran) Lot's people were killed not because they had homosexual sex, but because they were forcing sex on each other.

Veteran human rights lawyer Hina Jilani says there are innumerable cases of young boys - some sex workers, some not - charged under Pakistan's sodomy law, even if they have been enticed into sex.

Jilani has defended children arested by the police. Jilani explains that children often spend many years in jail awaiting trial.

A boy called Khurram, at the age of 8, was sent out to support his family. He says his employer sexually assaulted him.

Now he lives beside the bus stand in Rawalpindi and sells sex. "I don't like what I do," he says sorrowfully. "I am doing it so my sister can go to school."

The Northwest Frontier Province, the province 'that helped give rise to the Taliban', is the part of Pakistan 'where homosexuality is most tolerated'. According to Kennedy:

"Among the Pashtun majority, having a young, attractive boyfriend is a symbol of prestige and wealth for affluent middle-aged men. Indeed, Pashtun men often keep a young boy in their hujra, the male room of the house that the wife rarely enters. The practice is so common that there are various slang terms for the boyfriends in different regional languages: larke (boy), warkai, alec....

"In theory, the boys could marry when they're grown, but they are generally considered damaged, and end up wandering the streets as outcasts."

Sayed Mudassir Shah, a human rights activist based in Peshawar, states:

"It is so common to take boy lovers, that it is part of our Pashtun folklore.

"One story tells of a wife crying to her husband that he has made her jealous, because he is spending so much time in the hujra with his boyfriend. This is folklore, but it is similar in life."

According to Kennedy:

Sex between males is commonplace in Pakistan's madrassas, or religious schools.

Sajat, aged 25, told Kennedy he first had sex with a man at a religious school in a central Pakistani village.

"Sajat's first sexual encounter with a man was by choice."

Sajat mentions 'his regular trawls for boys through Islamabad's parks'.

Sajat is engaged to be married, to a woman.

(Miranda Kennedy is a journalist based in New Delhi. She reports frequently for National Public Radio from across South Asia.)


Monday, September 19, 2005


In the Independent, 20 September 2005, Cahal Milmo has an article entitled: 'Witchcraft and nail clippings: the weird world of Cherie Blair?'

The article concerns 'Tony And Cherie, A Special Relationship' a new book by journalist Paul Scott.

Scott uses alleged conversations with members of the Blair entourage.

Among the techniques said to be employed by Mrs Blair was to take jars containing hair and nail clippings belonging to herself and her husband to Jack Temple, a retired market gardener turned health guru.

Temple, who died in 2004, is claimed to have "dowsed" the jars by waving a pendulum over them to detect "poisons and blockages" that could affect the Blairs.

Quoting a number of unnamed "Blair court insiders", the book claims: "Temple told Cherie that his pendulum could tell her when it was a good time or bad time to make major decisions."

The Blair's relationship with Carole Caplin, the Jewish former glamour model turned lifestyle adviser, is mentioned in the book.

Scott claims that Caplin personally bathed Mrs Blair as part of her service.


"The Sunday Express claims Mr Foster was ready to sell secrets of his dealings with Mrs Blair to the Israeli secret service, Mossad.

"Intelligence sources have told the paper that Mossad was also interested in Mr Foster's girlfriend, Carole Caplin, because - as Mrs Blair's so-called life-style guru - she has close links to the family."



Jan McGirk, in The Independent, 19 September 2005, wrote about three and a half year old slum boy Budhia Singh.

Budhia wandered on to a sports ground and got into trouble.

The local coach punished him by ordering him to run laps around the track.

Five hours later 'the boy was still running'.

"I was stunned to find him still running," said Biranchi Das.

On 18 September 'Budhia ran for 36 miles, starting at the Jagannath temple in Puri, dodging buses and cattle carts on the highway to reach the state capital at Bhubaneshwar in just over seven hours'.

Budhia is the only son of a widowed dishwasher.

Budhia was sold last year for 800 rupees (£10).

According to The Independent:

'None of his three sisters could fetch anywhere near this sum, and high-spirited Budhia was set to become an indentured servant. Such desperate survival measures are common in the poor towns of eastern India.'

"I could not provide him with bread and butter and so I sold him .

According to the BBC, Mr Das, also the president of the residents' association of the run-down area where Budhia used to live, summoned the man who had bought Budhia and paid him his 800 rupees back.

The Independent reported:

After that, Sir [Biranchi Das] brought my son back," Budhia's mother, Sukanti Singh, told reporters after her son's run. "Now, I want him to become a big man. I could not do anything for him due to my poverty. So, I want his success," she said with pride.

Mr Das said: "He has the rare potential to become a marathon runner and compete in a future Olympics if properly guided."

"I wake up early in the morning, finish my daily chores and start running. I don't feel the pain when I run. I enjoy it," Bushia said yesterday. "I will run when I grow up," he added.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lord Londonderry


Lord Londonderry was one of those members of the British elite who admired both Hitler and Stalin.

Lord and Lady Londonderry were owners of coal mines, lots and lots of land and houses and a Park Lane mansion with 44 servants.

They were the sort of people who could understand Hitler's alliance with the rich elite; and Stalin's alliance with the nomenklatura, the rich elite.

Londonderry was a cousin of Churchill and the government minister responsible for the RAF 'at a crucial point in its existence'.

On 24 August 2004, Alan Judd, in the Telegraph reviewed 'Making Friends with Hitler' by Ian Kershaw.

Kershaw found a statuette of an SS stormtrooper on the mantelpiece of the Londonderry family home in Northern Ireland.

It was a present from Ribbentrop who had been a weekend guest of Lord Londonderry in 1936.

In 1931 Londonderry was made secretary of state for air.

He visited Hitler, went shooting with Goering and entertained von Ribbentrop.

Lady Londonderry wrote in a British paper that Hitler was a "man of arresting personality - a man with wonderful far-seeing eyes". She felt in the "presence of one truly great", a "simple man of action, beloved of modern Germany".

In 1938, Londonderry published his book Ourselves and Germany.

In Hitler's copy he inscribed: "To the Fuhrer with my best wishes and my earnest hopes for a better and lasting understanding between our two countries."

Londonderry : "Whatever the regime, if it creates efficient organisation, I feel a certain amount of admiration for it, and that is why I respect Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin."


Friday, September 16, 2005

Thirty Nine Steps

From Chapter One of The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan:

Away behind all the Governments and the armies there was a big subterranean movement going on, engineered by very dangerous people....

There were financiers who were playing for money. A clever man can make big profits on a falling market, and it suited the book of both classes to set Europe by the ears.

He told me some queer things that explained a lot that had puzzled me - things that happened in the Balkan War, how one state suddenly came out on top, why alliances were made and broken, why certain men disappeared, and where the sinews of war came from. The aim of the whole conspiracy was to get ***** and ****** at loggerheads...

Everything would be in the melting- pot, and they looked to see a new world emerge.

The capitalists would rake in the shekels, and make fortunes by buying up wreckage. Capital, he said, had no conscience and no fatherland.

Besides, the Jew was behind it...

The Jew is everywhere, but you have to go far down the backstairs to find him.

Take any big Teutonic business concern. If you have dealings with it the first man you meet is Prince von und Zu Something, an elegant young man who talks Eton-and-Harrow English. But he cuts no ice.

If your business is big, you get behind him and find a prognathous Westphalian with a retreating brow and the manners of a hog. He is the German business man that gives your English papers the shakes.

But if you're on the biggest kind of job and are bound to get to the real boss, ten to one you are brought up against a little white-faced Jew in a bath-chair with an eye like a rattlesnake. Yes, Sir, he is the man who is ruling the world just now, and he has his knife in the Empire...


Jews and Freemasons?

'Jews and Freemasons controlled war on Iraq.'

Toby Helm, in the UK Telegraph, 12/09/2005, relates the views of British barrister Martin Thomson:

'Tony Blair decided to wage war on Iraq after coming under the influence of a "sinister" group of Jews and Freemasons....'

Mr Thomson wrote a book in 1994 in which he said Freemasons and Jews controlled the governments of Europe and America.

Thomson also writes that the Jews have no right to live in "the Holy Land" because they are not a pure race and therefore not the true biblical Israelites and that Saddam was used as an excuse for US troops - "including thousands of Jews" - to occupy Saudi Arabia.


Excerpted from The Next World Order by Ahmad Thomson, Copyright © 1994.

'During the first half of the present century, Communism (formulated by Karl Marx, an Ashkenazi Jew) dominated Russian politics, and Zionism (championed by Chaim Weizmann, an Ashkenazi Jew) dominated American politics. In the words of Douglas Reed, "Communism was designed to subvert the masses" while "Zionism set out to subvert rulers at the top" - and events throughout the twentieth century clearly indicate that these twin aims have been largely achieved'



Excerpted from The Next World Order by Ahmad (Martin) Thomson

Douglas Reed in The Controversy of Zion concludes:

... this only became clear when the [Russian/Bolshevik] revolution of 1917 produced an almost all-Jewish government in Russia; and by that time power [of Ashkenazim] over governments in the West was so great that the nature of this new regime was little discussed, a virtual law of heresy having come into force there.

... This was Mr. Robert Wilton, correspondent of the London Times, who experienced the Bolshevik revolution. The French edition of his book included the official Bolshevik lists of the membership of the ruling revolutionary bodies (they were omitted from the English edition).

These records show that the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party, which wielded the supreme power, contained 3 Russians (including Lenin) and 9 Jews. The next body in importance, the Central Committee of the Executive Commission (or secret police) comprised 42 Jews and 19 Russians, Letts, Georgians and others. The Council of People's Commissars consisted of 17 Jews and five others.

The Moscow Che-ka (secret police) was formed of 23 Jews and 13 others. Among the names of 556 high officials of the Bolshevik state officially published in 1918 - 1919 were 458 Jews and 108 others. Among the central committees of small, supposedly "Socialist" or other non-Communist parties (during that early period the semblance of "opposition" was permitted, to beguile the masses, accustomed under the Czar to opposition parties) were 55 Jews and 6 others. All the names are given in the original documents reproduced by Mr. Wilton.

It is also clear that this majority continued to be sustained long after the 'Jewish' revolution had toppled Russia's former 'Christian' rulers:

In 1933 the American Jewish journal 'Opinion' stated that Jews occupied almost all important ambassadorial posts and that in White Russia 61 percent of all officials were Jews; it also stated that the Jewish percentage of the population (then given as 158,400,000) was "less than 2 percent". If this was true it meant that Russia at that time contained less than 3,000,000 Jews. In 1933 the 'Jewish Chronicle' stated that one-third of the Jews in Russia had become officials. If this was the case, they plainly formed the new governing class.

Mr. Wilton indicated: "Taken according to numbers of population, the Jews represented one in ten; among the commissars that rule Bolshevist Russia they are nine in ten; if anything the proportion of Jews is still greater." This was plain reporting, and if the report had related to "Ukranians", for instance, instead of "Jews", none would have objected; the mere act of reporting a fact became the ground for secret denunciation because the fact related to Jews.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Danny Pintauro, who played Judith Light's son, Jonathan Bower on Who's the Boss (1984-92), has outed himself in the National Enquirer.

He said: "[I] am proud to say I'm gay."

'He says both his real parents and his TV parental figures - Light and Tony Danza - are solidly in his corner. Says Pintauro: "I would encourage anybody struggling with their sexuality to go with their heart."'


An article entitled ‘Hollywood Corruption, Child Abuse, & Gay Genocide’ 10 June 2005, refers to the large number of a suicides involving child stars and former child stars.

The article suggests that some of the dead stars were bisexual and that sexuality may have played a part in some of the deaths.

The writer praises Rupert Everett, Chad Allen, and Ellen DeGeneres for allowing the public to know that they are homosexual.

Evidently a lot of child stars are bisexual and they have to go to great lengths to pretend otherwise.

A "Beard" is the female companion that a bisexual male star uses to disguise his sexuality.

"Suicide notes have been found where some gay teens have even claimed they went as far as forcing themselves to have sex with their ‘beards’, in order to prove to others that they are not what they are. Some examples of famous beards have been Jack Benny's Mary Livingstone, Rock Hudson's wife Phyllis Gates, Leo DiCaprio's Giselle Bundchen, and Ben Affleck's J.Lo.

"The use of beards has long been a favorite strategy of Hollywood agents and publicists, often recommended to, or imposed upon, a male celebrity, and sometimes the beard is even paid a lump sum or a salary to play the desired role. In the past, the 'beard' strategy has often been combined with leaked stories/pictures to selected reporters regarding liaisons between gay celebrities and females (beards or otherwise), which often then showed up in various rags, and in the modern-day these strategies are sometimes combined with paying Internet surfers for their opinions to combat fans who say their favorite celebrity is gay/bisexual.

"And taking it even further, upon the recommendation of agents and publicists, some gay or gay-leaning bisexual celebrities even pick up hookers and/or hire call girls, and pay them primarily to spread stories about their (heterosexual) prowess throughout the community. However, there are always people in a celebrity's life who know the truth, and that truth often bubbles to the surface, either from the celebrity's own community, or the community of friends which the celebrity frequents...

"When Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian, and joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC ), it was eventually discovered that the rate of gay/bisexual teen suicides declined for a period, and HRC claimed that this was because Ellen came out and gay/bisexual teens were buttressed by the psychological support her courage showed them, and the public support which her coming out produced, even though there was some obvious public resistance to her coming out...

"Thousands and thousands of gay/bisexual teens die, and commit suicide, one every 6 hours in America alone."

In Memoriam - Christopher Pettiet

Targeting Trevor's Teenyboppers


In 1964 Alan Ladd, star of Shane, died of " . . . an overdoes of sedatives mixed with alcohol, possibly intentional. Fourteen months earlier he was nearly killed by an 'accidental' self-inflicted gunshot wound."

In 1968 the death of child actor Scotty Beckett, who appeared in The Jolson Story was listed as " . . . a probable suicide . . . " from " . . . sleeping pills . . . "

Hollywood child star Bobby Driscoll, who appeared in So Goes My Love, " . . . became a drug addict and was arrested several times for various offenses. In 1965 he moved to New York City, where three years later (in 1968) his body was found in the rubble of an abandoned tenement, the victim of a heart attack. He was buried in a pauper's grave." Anger reports he overdosed " . . . on Methedrine . . . "

Also, in 1968, actor Ramon Novarro was " . . . beaten to death by young hustlers."

In 1969, actress Judy Garland took her own life " . . . in a locked London bathroom."

In 1977, film and rock star Elvis Presley, who had appeared in about 32 Hollywood movies, died of an apparent overdose of drugs.

Child actor Trent Lehman, who appeared in The Christine Jorgenson Story, had become " . . . a cocaine addict . . . " He returned to his old elementary school in North Hollywood in 1982, where he " . . . climbed to the top of the chain link fence, tied (a) . . . belt to the top of the fence, pushed himself off . . . and died . . . " with a suicide note in his pocket.

In 1993, actor River Phoenix " . . . collapsed and died under mysterious circumstances outside the Viper Room, Los Angeles club owed by actor Johnny Depp." Phoenix was considered " . . . one of the most versatile and prominent of contemporary, young (Hollywood) actors . . . He was 23. He had appeared in Stand By Me, The Mosquito Coast, My Own Private Idaho, Sneakers, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".


McDowall, Roddy (1928-1998)

"For many -perhaps most -child stars, life after adolescence means a decline in fame, financial and personal disaster, and, in all too many cases, substance abuse and premature death. Roddy McDowall was one of the great exceptions to the rule.

"Although McDowall never officially "came out," the fact that he was gay was one of Hollywood's best known secrets. It is a tribute to his characteristic discretion and the respect with which "Hollywood's Best Friend" was regarded by his peers that his homosexuality was never really an issue or used against him in his six decades in the entertainment business."


Sunday, September 11, 2005

D H Lawrence

D H Lawrence, author of 'Lady Chatterly's Lover', liked boys.

Richard Kaye, Assistant Professor of English at Hunter College, has written about D H Lawrence and Homosexual Desire.

Kaye points out that in the homosexual novel 'Women in Love', Lawrence is Rupert Birkin and the tale is based partly on Lawrence's 'clamorous relationship' with the literary critic John Middleton-Murray (Gudrun of the novel).

According to Kaye, during the writing of Women in Love, Lawrence had a sexual relationship with a Cornish farmer named William Henry Hocking in the town of Tregerthen.

"I would like to know why nearly every man that approaches greatness tends to homosexuality, whether he admits it or not," Lawrence wrote to a friend in 1913.

Lawrence told another acquaintance, "I believe the nearest I've come to perfect love was with a coal-miner when I was about sixteen."

Kaye writes: 'Like Forster and Gide, Lawrence was fascinated by the mystique of sexual relations with working-class men.'

"The Prussian Officer" (1914) describes the yearning of an officer for the youthful soldier under his command.

According to Kaye, 'Lawrence's experiences with homosexual men were acrimonious; he once claimed that Bloomsbury homosexuals such as the painter Duncan Grant and the economist John Maynard Keynes made him "mad with misery and hostility and rage."

'...Lawrence is close in spirit to the English and American writers Edward Carpenter and Walt Whitman.

'A great admirer of the American poet, Lawrence claimed to find in Whitman's Calamus poems "one of the clues to a real solution--a new adjustment. I believe in what he calls 'manly love', the real implicit reliance of one man on another ... only it must be deeper, more ultimate than emotion and personality, cool separateness and yet the ultimate reliance."

'Women in Love, a masterpiece of modernist fiction, is the novelist's most daring exploration of homosexuality through its hero Birkin's search for a bisexual ethic as a way of transcending what Lawrence considered a crisis in English culture...

'The novel itself makes implicit and the Prologue rendered emphatic: Heterosexual marriage must acknowledge man's need to have the love of another man or else all will suffer a spiritual death.

'Excised from the final text by Lawrence himself, the Prologue reveals in great detail Rupert Birkin's struggle against overwhelming homosexual longings...'


Wednesday, September 07, 2005


It was a cold end of December night; I was hungry, and the sun had set by the time the train brought me to Venice.

As usual I had no accomodation reserved and all the hotels between the station and the Rialto seemed to be 'completo' full up. The streets were crowded with noisy tourists dressed in gold and fur and all no doubt safely booked into warm hotels. I struggled on from hotel to hotel and began to wonder if the churches would stay open at night.

Then, just past the Rialto, I found a room still vacant. Having unpacked my toothbrush, I hurried off to guzzle down a pizza thick with steaming mozarrela, tomatoes and anchovies.

There was a lady in Rio who thought that in a previous life she had lived in England. That evening I felt some special friendship with Venice. The moon was full as I sauntered across the piazza; lovers were warming themselves under dusky arcades; in a tiny piazzetta, grinning choirboys were juggling with balls; Riva degli Sciavoni had the flashing lights and the music of the carnival. Campo Ruga was silent. I had fond memories of Campo Ruga, but that night no one seemed to be about.

In the light of a sunny winter morning, Campo Ruga revealed itself as a place of quiet activity. Sparrows, pigeons and muzzled dogs moved about among the swirling paper. A rubbish cart was pushed by hand through the throng. Green doors opened to reveal bambini in warm coats and hats. And from a balcony a pretty woman hung out her families pretty washing. Over three years before I had been here, standing on the bridge.

As I approached the tobacconist's shop a cute looking fair-haired girl smiled at me in recognition. My heart took a little leap.This girl was one of Andrina's friends.

She led me down a narrow lane to the house of Andrina. It was a simple working class house with discarded toys and a broken window in the dark narrow hall.

Andrina greeted me warmly. She had Slav good looks; mouth wateringly lovely.

I was given a tour of Venice, and this included St Mark's Square where I was introduced to Andrina's uncle Franco who sells books and postcards at a stall. I was introduced to Andrino's uncle Renato who works as a furniture restorer. Then there was the friend who worked at the carnival and a whole host of others, in various ways inter-related.

Of all the meals I had at Andrina's, the best was on the 31st December. Andrina's father, Carlo, was perhaps a little embarrased about the small size of the house, but he was proud of the family. Andrina acted as my translator, and her translations often began with the words, 'Excuse me sir, I am asking you....' In the kitchen we feasted on chicken soup, pasta with mushrooms, tender roast beef, the best Ruffino wine from Florence, cheese, coffee with brandy, and finally, more brandy. Carlo and Marisa his wife began to sing in accompaniment to a record of gondolier music, and Marisa confided that she came from a gondolier family. We looked at family photographs taken during holidays in Rome and in the Dolomites, and we chatted about Venice and Iran. The family all believed that Venice was the most beautiful of all cities. Marisa, a devout Roman Catholic, liked Iran and Khomeini. Older son, Massimo, pointed out that the Iranian regime executed people for having 'lax' sexual morals. Marisa thought this was good. At midnight we opened a bottle of Spumante wine and ate some cake. Marisa threw her arms around Carlo, and Massimo, and Andrina, and all the others. The evening finished with dancing to the music of Glen Miller.

Andrina? Her mother was not a typical Venetian. Or was she?


I revisited the islands of Burano, Murano, Torcello, the ever colourful Pellestrina, and Chioggia, but it was to the area around Castello and Campo Ruga that I most liked to return.

Right next to Venice you will find Torcello, an island of nostalgia, green fields , muddy canals, a decayed piazza, small farmhouses, skinny dogs, and a cathedral half Byzantine half Gothic. You can lunch at the expensive, but good,trattoria. Burano - WOW! Don't miss this fabulous island. Gorgeous blazing blue and white and pink and yellow and red and orange fishermen's houses. Orange as blue as the sky. Flaking paint. Subtle effects; with light blues wearing away to show darker blues; in turn wearing away to reveal bottle greens... have some more wine and tell me if you think the campanile is about to fall over. Talk about a leaning tower! It's like a well-lit operetta. Gardens of bougainvillea, women sewing lace, children in boats... Kids used to bathe in the canals here. But now the water is almost solid with muck.

Murano - great, if you like factories.

Pellestrina - a narrow strip of land, fishermen's houses faded by the sun, bathing shacks, and a haunting atmosphere. Stop for some fish and wine.

Chioggia - rougher, uglier, and simpler than Venice, but worth a visit. This is the biggest fishing port in Italy and is full of raucous activity and fish. Here children still swim in the canals, even though the waters are black.