‘A ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures.
A situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. It was written in the McCarthy era.
McCarthyism was the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s. It was characterized by heightened political repression and a campaign spreading fear of communist influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents. After the mid-1950s, McCarthyism began to decline, mainly due to the gradual loss of public popularity and opposition from the U.S. Supreme court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Warren Court made a series of rulings that helped bring an end to McCarthyism.’
During this time of ‘lockdown’ I have kept myself sane through, as always my painting practice. A few of my paintings below. ‘Crucible’ is a work in progress. I want to create something beautiful out of this trial we are going through. I am reading ‘A More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible’ By Charles Eisenstein, who has become my kind of ‘guru’ in this great unknowing. I feel that The Crucible is such a great metaphor for this time for all the reasons I have quoted above. Female doctors coming up with explanations and questions of conventional narratives are being discredited rampantly. Youtube is taking down videos of people questioning the narrative. Even holistic doctors are being taken down from Facebook and Youtube. It is a witch hunt. When someone questions anything they are called conspiraloons, which in my opinion is a form of gaslighting; making the questioner believe they must be crazy.
At the beginning of lockdown, I jokingly said that by the time the pubs, cafes and bars re-open everyone will have fallen out with their friends on social media. I don’t think I was far off the mark.
Everyone is even more polarised than before. I have noticed that even those who have read Chomsky or Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ are not prepared to question what is really going on. It seems people are only prepared to question a sequence of events after the fact, from a historical perspective. Or if it is from a safe distance. For example when Bush and Blair et al invaded Iraq, citing weapons of mass destruction, nobody believed them and there were marches and demonstrations in London. It turned out to be fallacious rubbish, and the entire middle east, and subsequently Europe has been de-stabilised ever since. I don’t question that there is a virus, but I question all the stats, ramifications, effects and sinister laws as a result. Are we only prepared to question a narrative that is miles away from us, or that is happening to people of a different race or religion? Are we too afraid to question what is happening to us at the time it is happening? There is no doubt that there is a virus, but if asking questions about how it got there, or if the stats are highly unreliable at best, or why people who die from heart attacks are having Covid on their death certificate, are ‘unreasonable’ questions, then I must have entered a parallel universe. I have seen drone footage by Sussex police hovering over families having picnics in sand dunes yesterday in the glorious sunshine. It feels vital for me to write at this time. Just to have somewhere to put my thoughts, as I don’t want to forget.
As for future travel, I don’t want to go back to my old ways. I am so glad I went back to L.A. when I did. I don’t think I will fly again. When the borders open I am hoping to drive through France and Spain and take my time, looking at places I have lived in and loved. I want to revisit my old beloved Corbieres mountains and then drive to Andalucia. In the mean time, I am being soothed by the sea, the cliff path, the bluebells in spring, the bird song, the rhododendrons, walking, music and painting. Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays especially have been my soundtrack.