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THE SAFE WAY TO EVADE THE PAPARAZZI
The remarkable carvings found in many old churches in Britain and Ireland of mainly female figures making apotropaic gestures were given the generic name Sheela-na-gig by antiquarians during the nineteenth century. The term was drawn from vernacular Irish meaning "old hag of the paps", but it has become the source of much controversy because breasts are not a feature on the carvings. They tend to show a naked figure with a cheeky look on her face, in a crouched or squatting position, holding open her labia.

this image is often isolated and used by feminist new agers as evidence for a secret goddess cult surviving into the medieval period. however, if it is seen in context with the other erotic carvings at the church it takes on other meanings

Sheela seems to be drawn from the word sile, meaning a hag or fairy woman, or suil, a term for the evil eye. Unfamiliar, perhaps, with the brand of ribald humour of rural craftspeople, Anne Ross (in The Divine Hag of the Pagan Celts) suggests the Sheelas have a Celtic origin

"In their earliest iconographic form they portray the territorial or war goddess in her hag-like aspect, with all the strongly sexual characteristics which accompany this guise in the tales".

Whatever their original intention may have been, in the folk tradition of many rural areas, Sheelas are still used for promoting fertility, healing the sick and turning away the evil eye.

Recently, it has been claimed that camera equipment refuses to function when attempts are made to take photos of the Sheelas. Sidney Jackson, an antiquarian and field-worker based at a West Yorkshire museum, recorded a number of strange experiences involving Sheela figurines he had examined during the 1960s. In particular, he describes a visit to an image built into the entrance wall of the parish church at Croft-on-Tees, on the North Sea Coast near Newcastle.

The carving is described by the church guide as Romano-British in origin, and represents a local deity of the sea. Before it came to the church, it was formerly built into the masonry of a bridge, probably in a guardian position. Jackson wrote after a visit to the church,

"I wanted to photograph it, but from the start things went wrong. First, the flash wouldn't work, then the shutter amazingly wouldn't work, until , having wasted eight exposures, with the last on my film, I came away without a picture."

Some time later Jackson learned that a fieldworker from Denmark, Jorgen Anderson, had had the same experience when he tried to obtain a picture of the Sheela at Croft. Similar problems were encountered by another colleague of Jackson, Jean O'Meila, who also failed to obtain pictures of Sheelas at Bridlington Priory and in a ruined church in Ireland. David Clarke and Andy Roberts mention colour slides they were sent of the Croft Sheela disappearing without trace in the post.

CLARKE, D. & ROBERTS, A. "Twilight of The Celtic Gods" Blandford London, 1996.


CONSPIRACY CORNER
Here's the NEtwork NEws Top Ten Theories concerning Diana's death:

1) The deaths were orchestrated by the Royal Family, outraged by the likelihood that she'd (a) leave the country and set up in the States (b) marry a moslem (c) prevent Charles becoming king/marrying Camilla (d) become a feminist icon; or (e) Dodi had cheated the Queen in a cocaine deal or (f) all of the above.

2) Landmine manufacturers did it.

3) Diana was hounded to death by greedy paparazzi in the pay of media moguls. Just because they were 200 metres behind the car when it crashed doesn't mean they weren't hounding her.

4) Diana did it herself - she faked the crash so that she and Dodi could live in private. The Mercedes brake system does not leave skid marks and yet there were skidmarks: why? Or did she do it for real because she was mad? Or did her implant make her do it? Or the passengers and driver of the Mercedes were all off their heads on booze and drugs and their youthful exuberance got the better of them.

5) It was The Bank of England, in league with Ghostly Shock Troops of the Situationist International. Paris is the traditional Masonic home of regicide, this also explains why early reports said the bodyguard's tongue had been severed in the crash.

6) It was a psychic attack from Chumbawamba; that's why Elton John recorded Candle in the Wind to push them out of the charts.

7) The deaths were a spiritual retribution for the theft of the head of Yagan, 19th century Aboriginal warrior.

8) The satellite navigation system on the Mercedes was interfered with by (a) computer hackers (b) the crew of the space station Mir.

9) Agents from Interflora tampered with the brakes when the car was stolen earlier in the summer.

10) It was all a dream.


PAINT IT BLACK
According to Conrad King, consultant psychologist for the RAC 'Drivers may think they are cocooned when they are behind the wheel of their car but in reality their choice of car colour sends a clear signal to other motorists. Colour preferences can indicate a definite psycho-social pecking order on the roads, with the owners of black and red cars struggling for the dominant position.' A black car is the first choice for the success-driven and ambitious.

The Guardian September 17th 1997


KILL YOUR SPEED
The launch of 'Kill your Speed', a 3.5 million government television campaign designed to persuade motorists to slow down and help reduce the large number of speed-related accidents, was delayed for two weeks. Baroness Hayman, the roads minister, said 'People want to blame other people about speed while continuing to assert that they are safe drivers.' The Government considered cancelling the project following the death of Diana and consulted Buckingham Palace and the Spencer family before going ahead with the campaign. No objection was raised and Baroness Hayman said the Government had the responsibility to go ahead. The Guardian newspaper editorial said, without any hint of irony, 'The Government is absolutely right to push ahead with its blunt anti-speeding campaign. Far from causing distress in the wake of Princess Diana's death, it is just the sort of campaign of which she would have thoroughly approved.'

The Guardian September 17th 1997


LEGERDEMAIN
It should be obvious that bickerings between members of the ruling class and 'the media' are to do with consolidating their own personal power within the structures of contemporary capitalism. These squabbles have little to do with any 'objective truth', or any undermining of an international class system where accident of birth decides one's personal potency within it. It is the trick of the black magician to conceal the obvious, to maintain the Illusion of Power. So a chattering circle in created where, instead of any real humanitarian progress, the ruling class simply takes the credit for the benefits created by the efforts of the common people. Symbols are simply shifted - to maintain the distraction that is Consensus Reality.


CAR GO CULT
The Diana funeral was a sad psychedelic remix of the operating strategies of the Reclaim the Streets activists. Major roadways of London were temporarily pedestrianised and festooned with flowers while pop music was pumped out from Westminster Abbey. The M1 motorway was brought to a standstill from London to Northhampton for the funeral cortege. While car culture was criticised by Reclaim the Streets, it was celebrated in the iconography of the Diana death crash. The gas-guzzling Mercedes was for Diana was the means of escape, the fatal separation-from and union-with the evil eye of the paparazzi.

Fair play to Diana, though. She did some very good work for some worthwhile causes, especially the publicity she gave to the anti- personnel mines issue. Her good looks and the fact that her public image was riddled with contradictions made her seem a lot more 'human' than the rest of the Windsor gang. Unfortunately, she never gave up her designated role in perpetuating the class system, and sadly we`ll never know if my love for her was requited.

Thanks to AUX, Andy Norfolk and anyone else I've forgotten to credit in this piece. Drive safely!

First published in Network News Diabolical Earth Current Issue, 1997

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