Mass at Old Sarum

Before Salisbury Cathedral was built, the center of religious life in the region was a much older cathedral built within the grounds of the town of Sarum.

Tonight I was playing around listening to multiple youtube videos and realized that when I played the “thunderstorm in a cathedral” soundscape along with a recording of Gregorian chants, it re-created a soundscape that really, really took me back!  When I added howling wind, the soundscape was pretty much perfect.  Old Sarum was a very rainy, stormy place and violent thunderstorms were quite common.

So here you go.  Play all three of these videos simultaneously and you’ll get an idea of what hearing mass at Old Sarum was like.  “Thunderstorm in a Cathedral” should be at full volume, the chants at about half, and the wind at about 3/4.

That Makes Sense…

Last night, I had some memories that suggest that I may not have been a fox in Japan after all.

The memories were in Japan, but they challenge the idea of having been a wild animal.  Most notably, I remembered things in color (I have memories from another time that were in blues and yellows that were more convincing).  

Second, there was a care-worn old woman (my grandmother perhaps?) bathing me, rubbing something in my hair and saying “Yosh, yosh, yosh,” (in this case, roughly “there there”).  I had brief flickers of toys or children’s books or something brightly colored.

But there was also the memory of the back door of the temple, where I remember being among foxes.  Was I a foundling?  Was I a child, then a fox or vice versa?  Or was I a pet fox, kept by an eccentric old woman and treated like a child (the way so many ennobled pets become convinced that they’re people)?

Whatever the case, if I was a human child I must have died at a very young age some time in the 1920s, which is sad to think about.  It’s curious to think how different the story plays out if I wasn’t a fox; a generous lifetime for a small, wild animal is a tragically short life for a human being.

But which was I?  I’m really at a loss.

It’s Still There

I’ve had almost no flashbacks of my life as John for some time now, and most of the time I’m left thinking “What the hell happened?” while feeling as if I have more immediate things to angst over.

Last night, though, I had another dream to remind me that John’s ordeal is still just under the surface.

It started off as the sort of dream I have regularly in this life; a dream about driving (or riding) down long, narrow, two-lane highways with no particular destination in mind.  But at some point, it turned into a trip to Ypres in the present day.

In fact, it was a dream of the trip I plan to take with my father next year.  We were standing near one of the many large cemeteries and I noticed a massive mound of dirt, probably about 40 feet high by 50 feet wide by 200 feet across.  The mound, it was understood, was a mass grave of some sort with tens of thousands of bodies in it.  And then and there, the scale of the war really hit me in a way that facts and figures couldn’t.  

As the dream progressed, walking through the reconstructed town of Ypres with its replica medieval buildings that I had last seen as ruins a hundred years before, I felt numb.  I felt like I should have an emotional reaction, but I couldn’t.  The denial was immense, and the rebuilt town made it feel as if the whole war had been just a bad dream even though I knew better, because I had just seen the mass graves outside the city.

I guess I’ll have to live with this just under the surface for the rest of my life.  It’s the same impulse that dragged me across England not just looking for where I came from, but when I came from.  It’s always with me, and it always has been; the difference is, now I know why and I can never go back.

Holy Crap!

Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?

Interestingly enough, there is also a similar project going on involving British regimental diaries from the Great War.

Now if only I could find a similar project for the Angevin dynasty, I’d be set.

EDIT:  If I find the answers I am looking for, I cannot disclose that fact here, since the Zebrapedia page owners have a fairly ironclad non-disclosure agreement in force.  I can only say after having read over the material that I am “reasonably certain” that my memories are either genuine or false and for my own sake, I doubt I can disclose which ones.   That isn’t to say I don’t intend to contribute to the discussion or interpretation of the work.  I may sign up for this service after the current term is over in part because I will be changing my name and gender marker soon and I don’t want to use my birth name in too many places.

Memory Fragment

At least one of the pages of Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis has a coffee ring on it.  It was an accident that rarely happened but long hours of writing sometimes required large amounts of coffee.  I would have to go somewhere that has a copy and thumb through it again to see if they printed that page.

The mug that was involved was not the Wright Flyer mug seen here (which if memory serves was a gift from Robert Heinlein as was the typewriter), but a blue stoneware mug not unlike this one but with straight sides.

I think it may have been a mug Kathy made, one of several items she’d given me (including the pot known as “Oh Ho”).

I’m tempted to try to contact the person I spoke to previously on this one because she might remember that blue stoneware mug.  I’m not sure though.  She went quiet after I pointed out to her the fact that one of the memories she confirmed was hinted to in Ubik (I figured it would be dishonest of me not to share that detail), then another one of my memories was something she didn’t think had happened, and then I changed the subject from talking about Phil’s life and tried to talk writing with her to initiate a conversation.  I figure after that she either thought I was putting her on or was irritated by my usual awkwardness, so I decided to shut up and leave her alone and we haven’t spoken since last August.

Once again, if anyone knows or might know someone who knows, get in touch.


Update: is now loading smoothly, but it gave me a bit of a scare.

The truth is, I’ve been expecting uncensored media sites like that one to be some of the first sites to go when the powers that be decide to start pulling the plug on free speech. They will be the canaries in the coal mine.

I suggest you keep an eye on sites like for the future; such sites lack the restrictive and arbitrary TOS of sites like Google Docs and YouTube and if they start becoming inaccessible, there’s a good chance the ISPs, Internet giants, and their friends in the government don’t want you to say certain things about them.