June 12th, 2019

Dunstable Priory

In 1975 (or thereabouts) I did a week's course in Industrial Chaplaincy. I remember going round the Vauxhall works in Luton and our guide telling us to engage with a production line worker and how I singled out the prettiest girl within range and found myself asking her foolish, patronising questions, all the while thinking, "I know I'm coming across as a complete dick but please like me anyway." Was it the single most embarrassing experience of my life? I can't think of a worse. I also remember turning up for some sort of meeting or function in Dunstable and being mightily impressed by the west front of the Priory Church.

Dunstable Priory took a terrible hammering. Only the church remains. Its towers collapsed through natural causes, the chancel and most of the fancy work fell to the reformers and iconoclasts, a mid-nineteenth century "restoration" was needlessly destructive - but the west front- though terribly mutilated- is still magnificent.

I looked hard for something the protestants might have overlooked and found this capital tucked away in a corner. It show some poor sinner being hanhandled by a couple of demons. The one on the left has a boar's head and the one on the right has the head of a fish. We think of Hieronymus Bosch as being pretty weird and far-out, but actually he was mainstream.

A Propos Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, whose biography I've nearly finished, started off as a revolutionary and ended as an autocrat- only that's a very superficial view of the case because he was the same man all the way through. He had a vision and pursued it and went through life going "My way, not your way"- and the only difference between young Jobs and old(er) Jobs was that one lacked power and the other possessed it.

The revolutionary and the autocrat are the same person in different phases of his/her existence. Every autocrat (except for those born to it) was a revolutionary once. The revolutionary attacks the established order because it's not his order and the autocrat enforces it because it is.

Incidentally, I've never owned an Apple product. iPhones, iPads- I've only the vaguest notion what they're for and what they do.