The Mutineers of Pitcairn: A history of betrayal

“Pride, Envy, Avarice; these are the sparks that have set on fire the hearts of all men.” – Dante Alighieri

In 1787 the HMAV Bounty set sail to Tahiti to collect breadfruit saplings to provide cheap food for slaves in the West Indies. Under the command of William Bligh, the crew spent many months traveling to, and living in Tahiti.

The voyage of the Bounty, which would be its last, would go down in the annals of history as a turbulent story of betrayal, brutality, murder, mutiny and vengeance; the effects of which can still be seen today.

Far removed from the drizzle, cold and prudishness of England, Tahiti was a tropical paradise of delicious fruits, crystal lagoons, and sexual freedom. After five months of living with such freedom, and subjected to the prospect of sailing under the strict disciplinarian William Bligh, a portion of the crew –led by the young Christian Fletcher- mutinied, setting Bligh and several others adrift on the ship’s launch.

Whilst Bligh set out on one of the most famous and arduous open-boat voyages in the age of sail, the mutineers settled variously on Tahiti, and the small improperly-charted island of Pitcairn.

Of the men who mutinied, some offered their services as mercenaries to tribal chiefs, others tried to escape the island and surrender themselves to the authorities, some tried to integrate with the Tahitians.

Of those who sailed with Bligh, some died of disease and exposure, others made it back to England, and some sought revenge on those who had forced them adrift.

These are the stories of the men on that voyage; those that lived, those that died, those that mutinied, those that were kidnapped, and those that spent the rest of their lives in isolation, hiding from the vengeful hammer of the British Navy. Continue reading

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Perfect Concussion | Part 1

Perfect Concussion

“We can take control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation.”
– Memorandum from CIA Mind control project, January 1952

The furious rattling of tin bells pulled him from his slumber; the little hammer struck against them in quick succession; so quick that each piercing crescendo of sound seemed to blend into one shrill, droning wail.

His hand flicked out reflexively before he had opened his eyes, shutting out the sound.

He had nothing to wake up for, and yet every night he wound the clock, and every morning it rang at eleven. But he never rose at that time. He was a creature of habit and routine; that was –he reasoned- the only tether of logic that bound him to the realms of sensibility.

Each morning, as that shrill wail rang out -echoing off the chip paper walls of his shoebox bedroom- he felt for a split second that he might be late for work. Relief would wash over him in waves when he remembered that he had not worked in years. His brief stint as a clerk at a post office had ended many years ago due to his illness, just as he had lost his place at Stanford University years before that. Continue reading

François McCandle

If a nation’s culture dies, so too does the nation.

These were the words that passed through my mind as I eagerly awaited the train. The London underground was a strange place at this time; a place where the underclass crawled from their hidden tenements and stalked the night.

Nobody knew my habit; by day I was a pretty normal teenager. I generally kept myself to myself, and didn’t ruffle any feathers. By night, I was François McCandle; graffiti artist and vandal.

A wise man once said that graffiti breaks the hegemonic hold of corporate and governmental style over the urban environment, and the situations of daily life. As a form of aesthetic sabotage, it interrupts the pleasant, efficient uniformity of planned urban space and predictable urban living. For us, graffiti disrupts the lived experience of mass culture, the passivity of mediated consumption. Continue reading

Divitiae

Amos Mallory was –I’d been told- an eccentric; a creature of particular habit and routine, whose needs were simple, and simply met.

I’d been working at the Silverlink Retirement Community Complex for less than a year before I was transferred to the E-Wing; that was where the luxury suites were. Silverlink was no ordinary nursing home; no musty hovel where the sick and elderly were left to die in a dirty room smelling of hot piss. No, Silverlink was a state-of-the-art retirement facility; a complex panoptic building of silver tubes, glimmering metal and dynamic sun-activated solar-smart glass windows. Continue reading

The Deadeye Murders | Part 2

Read Part 1

Fruits of the dark harvest

Oh Darren, I wish you could join me in the revelry of these meandering musings of my incorruptible mind. Tonight is a special night for both of us. It’s a night I’ve anticipated for such a long time. Tonight, we will have our most intimate moment. Tonight, you will feel closer to me than you have to anybody in your entire life. There’s one thing you’ll experience tonight Darren, it’s something only the slayers and the slain have ever experienced. You see, when I drive my knife into your flesh, and the life blood pours from your veins, when your futile attempts to fight or flee are all but extinguished, and you crumble to the floor, you will look upon me, and you will not see the face of a demon or a vengeful killer, you will see yourself, and as I hold you in my arms, you will embrace me, cling to me like an infant clings to their mother. You will look up at me, and in your dying whimpers, now void of intelligible language, you will beg for your life. In this most intimate moment, you will feel an unyielding love for me that you will have never felt since you were a helpless infant in the arms of your mother. And I will savour that moment, and indulge that illusion of destitute love -for a few precious seconds- right before I cut your throat open. Continue reading

The Deadeye Murders | Part 1

The Harbinger

“As the violet mist ascends out of the twilight valley, the pale man’s knowing eyes gaze omniscient through narrowed slits. Eyes that have borne witness to the bloodshed of the ages and the inner peace of godliness. From his covert vantage point he sees all; how the doctrines of true faith and compulsion have been scribed in blood. He speaks with the phantoms that bestride the centuries; the ghastly imps of the perverted and the corrupt, spreading their sickness through the ages, the pitiless killer, who awaits his moment to step out of the nameless crowds of obscurity and rise into incorruptible, irrefutable history…”

A chill runs through me as the night reaches it’s blackest point. That means it’s 4am. The coldest, darkest time of the night. I inhale a lungful of cold air, and exhale softly, watching the vapour dissipate into the air, tinted by the light of the sulphur street lamps. Continue reading

I perfume the air with my blossoms

Florigera rosis halo

“I perfume the air with my blossoms.”

The smell of citrus on the breeze was the only thing I liked about Attard Psychiatric Hospital. In the summer, the redolence of the flower gardens swept like a river through the cracks in the old Victorian building, flooding the yard with the bittersweet smell of lemon, and the rich flora from the gardens of San Anton Palace. Continue reading