Halloween. October 2017.

Dear Rowley,

I’ve never been a fan of Halloween. As you know, Bloomsbury is the heart of occult London. We have the most esoteric bookshops, occult emporia, the mysticism of the Seven Dials and the heritage of Aleister Crowley’s Golden Dawn sect who worshipped here. We don’t mess about with the dark arts in Bloomsbury and we do take it seriously.

My thoughts on witchcraft is that it was probably the hallucinogenics and poisons in the potions that caused victims to fall in love or fall down dead. But as any religion proves, belief is such that bad juju could frighten a soul to death. So I don’t find it remotely cool or artistic of the entertainment industry to treat every performance like Halloween.

We’ve had Madonna sacrificed surrounded by baphomet devils at the Grammys, Katy Perry consumed by a circle of fire while writhing on a broomstick and a scarlet robed Taylor Swift charming snakes to do her bidding. Search pictures of Jay Z, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Rihanna or Miley Cyrus and you will see them all making the signs of the devil’s horns, the 666 and the All-seeing eye with tongues lashing their chins.

I happen to think the music and movie industry playing with this fire is so much pantomime. The mischief being made is all too human rather than genuinely satanic. There’s definitely an unpleasant agenda to popular child stars such as Britney, Justin, Christina and Miley growing from fresh-faced Disney moppets to half naked, twerking sex toys.

The double-standards of pop star porn being sold as art sits uncomfortably with the sexual abuse scandals consuming Weinstein and Spacey. Treading terribly carefully, the conspiracy of silence around Weinstein as a sexual predator exposes a toxic hypocrisy. Why did these women not blow the whistle immediately if not for themselves then to protect other vulnerable victims?

I would imagine not a few of the ladies accusing Weinstein must feel uncomfortable that they traded silence for parts. The whole of Hollywood knew about Uncle Harvey’s activities and yet it seems an awful lot of women agreed to visit his hotel suites alone. Where were the agents, the families, the boyfriends and husbands?

There is rage about Kevin Spacey finally coming out as a smokescreen for being exposed as putting the moves on a teenage boy. Again we hear ‘everybody knew’ but nobody blew a whistle because Mr Spacey was box office gold in Netflix’ House of Cards. 

Fashion photographer Terry Richardson has been blacklisted by Vogue and Bazaar after decades of shooting grotesque pornographic images. Having seen some of the unpublished photographs of a naked Richardson having sex with his subjects I find it incredible that he was protected for so long. Sexual abuse of young models in fashion is endemic but the industry protected its own.

Now it seems we have a new spate of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Palace of Westminster on both sides of the House. We have Tory MP Mark Garnier asking his secretary to buy sex toys and calling her ‘sugar tits’ and Labour MP Jared O’Mara being caught using the foulest sexist, racist and homophobic language. Both were staunchly defended by their parties until the clamour from the public grew too loud to ignore.

The public have adopted a ‘live by the sword’ approach that I find eminently sensible. Lesbian talkshow host Ellen Degeneres was hammered for a ‘joke’ photograph at the Grammy Awards in which she is ogling Katy Perry’s breasts. Several high-profile pundits including Piers Morgan quite rightly questioned why it is funny when a lesbian objectifies a woman but a career-threatening offence if the ogler is a man?

The answer of course is context. Katy Perry appeared to share Ellen’s joke and not feel threatened by unwelcome and aggressive sexual attention. But as long as it is code red for a man who puts a hand on a lady’s knee on a talk show, I don’t think the Ellens can be so cavalier or expect everyone to get the joke.

The liberal elite in Hollywood, Parliament and the BBC can preach their agendas as much as they like but the public – God bless ‘em – will always smell mendacity. Of all the evils social media has unleashed, giving the general public a platform to voice their disapproval is I think rather a good thing.

The transgender agenda is one that is making many people uncomfortable. Apparently more than 50 little boys or girls are referred to NHS psychiatrists per week who believe they are trapped in the wrong body. I could only imagine the torture of being a girl in a boy’s body or vice versa. But surely a very large proportion of these kids might just be gay.

Somebody is pushing the gender neutral agenda arguably faster than the public at large would like. It makes the fight for gay rights seem like the tortoise compared to the transgender hare.

As a gay London man, I am perhaps surprisingly neither overtly liberal nor elite. Respect is a word that was a battle cry for gays of my generation and I think it’s a darned good one in these troubled times. Respecting others’ opinions and choices is kind and nice. Sadly those with agendas don’t tend to respect other people. They seek to beat down the opposition.

For me, Halloween is nothing to celebrate. There are indeed dark forces at work in the world and to celebrate the dark side even in jest is quite simply asking for trouble.