Heres confession from my sordid past. Fourteen,
committed to a writing career through series of
brainwashing reality tunnels to collect 'experience' @
total immersion. A relief I never made a solid wage as
a writer for those years, unbelievably shallow and
horridly indoctrinated. Drifted to Free Presbyterian
sector...not quite the definition of "free". Think Jack
Chick, anti-catholicism as mission statement (all well
and good but offered alternatives sucked too) F***
Presbyterianism is Ian Paisley's region. A kid I went
to school with, his F*** Presbyterianism preacher
father were chummy with him. So, where most kids engage
in art projects, or steal car badges, I joined the
Junior Orange Order. Not that much different really
from Boy Scouts or Girl Guides. They played
run-the-hall games and soccer and capture the flag. I
went on a march with them and one little zitball put a
stinkbomb in my sash holder. We got to the finish
point, a grass land and i smacked him in the face bad a
few times. He had it coming. Two or three balding
bespectabled blustering chubby elderlies, Ulster knows
the sort, broke us up. Well, they didnt care about
starting the fight. Snatched our sashes right off us,
it was an affront you see. A dishonour and a disgrace.
This was years before I heard of the photos of Paisley
standing at the border chatting with fellows in black
balaclavas. Anyone got a link to that one ?
After eighteen months, I was asked if I wanted to join
the Orange Order. I thought about it a bit, and
I thought why the fuck not ? The chance to get inside
the enigmatic masonic lodge of local fame. Asked to
wait for half an hour atop a darkened wooden staircase,
my only glimpse inside through a hatch allowing only a
third of a face... well the performance and the
chicanery was as rumour promised. I was being assessed
indoors, my references checked. The wee wooden hatch
would slap back, its round handle to the left every so
often to tell me, "They won't be long now"
I gained admittance with an eyemask, or was it hands
accross my studies, sixteen years ago, a fact that
slipped down the side of sofa of memory. Led by the
guardian of the hatch, i remember someone with a staff,
taking an oath to secrecy. On the bible as you suspect,
a book of good and bad moral codes, over the top DIY
ambitions, badly written genealogies and a rather
disappointing recipes section. I have no qualms about
the breaking of this oath. Thing is, I'm more attracted
to beautiful women and men, than deep double chinned
controllers covered in dust cobwebs as Eddie Campbell
depicted in "From Hell". A bunch of brandy-stinking old
boys in a outer-unmarked upper floor with bolts made to
look up like basement, any trace of gay sexuality I
have doesnt find that attractive in the minimalist.
The remainder of the meeting I was allowed access to
was much like any rotary club. Forty minutes on their
agenda was discussion of an incident..a fracas with a
promotions company. This all occurred in 1990 AD, three
hundred years from a battle featuring a dutch royal
William III, he married to a Roman Catholic and later
died falling off a horse. Were this is relevant, (where
? where ?) is that these fat controllers believe it to
be so. To mark the 300yrs since the Battle of The
Boyne, these many actually orangemen arranged
promotions companies to provide them with three hundred
orange balloons to be released from city hall. However,
this was a point of some discussion, some controversy.
Had the balloon company conned them ? Where there
really three hundred balloons ? What do three hundred
balloons look like ? Are the Orange Order as used to dealing with balloons as the balloon company ? After forty minutes deluged discussion, decided they were satisfied, let the matter go.
I left after the first meeting and never returned, casting the new discovery aside with a lack of disinterest befitting. As if a few nights in the company of a psychopath : a little danger but mostly from overwhelming boredom. A year later my family relocated. The last I heard of my local branch was the year after that when one of their representatives showed up on the doorstep. The purpose of his visit was to collect dues owing, two pounds a month. He managed to grasp the concept that I didnt have any money, the reduction to seventy-eight pounds in light of meetings missed not forthcoming, and my return neither likely, he left again. I was to see what I could do about getting the cash together and he would relate this to the Order, and talk to them about the possibility of a further reduction.
And thats it really. I've since become a human who can think, stand up straight, act clearly and work for the betterment of others in entertainment, counselling and educating. Members of The Orange Order have since gone on to create more of their trademark violence alongside ocassional charity club funding and social and political string pulling. Interwebs has since reclaimed the letters LOL for its own purposes.
Stay safe this July, all of you.