Thursday, December 24, 2009

What a nice Welcome Home present :) Just another one of the myriad of things that make me want to jump ship.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Free Women"

Sometimes, the irony (inconvenience?) that hits me most of all when reading some feminist texts, is that biology has not equipped my sex to fight and fuck with indifference

Friday, December 11, 2009

NY times article: What´s wrong with Cinderella?

I would write more about this but I´m currently wading through an oline presentation and need to actually go home and eat and sleep soon, so for now I will have to keep my thoughts succinct.

Suffice to say, I thought this was a really interesting article, in particular this bit:

The princess as superhero is not irrelevant. Some scholars I spoke with say that given its post-9/11 timing, princess mania is a response to a newly dangerous world. “Historically, princess worship has emerged during periods of uncertainty and profound social change,” observes Miriam Forman-Brunell, a historian at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Francis Hodgson Burnett’s original“Little Princess” was published at a time of rapid urbanization, immigration and poverty; Shirley Temple’s film version was a hit during the Great Depression. “The original folk tales themselves,” Forman-Brunell says, “spring from medieval and early modern European culture that faced all kinds of economic and demographic and social upheaval — famine, war, disease, terror of wolves. Girls play savior during times of economic crisis and instability.” That’s a heavy burden for little shoulders. Perhaps that’s why the magic wand has become an essential part of the princess get-up. In the original stories — even the Disney versions of them — it’s not the girl herself who’s magic; it’s the fairy godmother. Now if Forman-Brunell is right, we adults have become the cursed creatures whom girls have the thaumaturgic power to transform.

The first few lines of this paragraph caught my attention because they reminded me of part of Susan Faludi´s thesis in her book "The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America", which I was flicking through a few weeks ago. The part of her thesis that interested me most was the aspect which dealt with

Basically, in this book she asserts that post 9\11 America is a nation in a state of crisis and in order to assuage the fear is harkening back to it´s frontier roots. America was founded on expansionist mentalities; this involved strong, powerful, burly men; feminine, gentle, cherishable women; a wholesome and worthy homestead to protect and finally a looming and everpresent threat of "Us" and "Them." I could go into more detail here about the take of modern(ish) Sociologists on this but I think it might just confuse the matter, however basically this mentality was integral to America´s emergence as a nation state. Faludi makes a convincing argument for the reappearance of these aspects of the American myth - "us and them" is fairly obvious; Faludi provides an interesting analysis of the 2004 election campaign in with both Bush and (surprisingly?) Kerry arranged numerous high profile media appearances shooting, manning around and generally attempting to align themselves with the frontiersman archtype; and finally there were a number of examples of the recent trend towards increasingly constricted feminine values (mostly in the direction of the infantilised, beautiful but simpering princess variety.)

So it is in light of this assertion, poorly paraphrased by myself above, that I viewed the paragraph quoted above. Personally I tend towards the school of thought that cultural phenomena should not be viewed in a vacuum (by their very nature this would be misguided!) and i found it interesting to see another example of the materialisation of one fragment of a larger, more all-encompassing myth - one with significant ramifications for the direction taken by the worlds largest economic super power whose cultural values spill over into our own a little bit more every day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's always nice being pleasantly surprised by something differing from ones expectations. I have to confess to having a slight tendency towards preconceived opinions, particularly with regards to art or literature which is associated with a particular cultural movement or scene. I know this isn't the best approach and it is something I try to challenge myself about when I catch myself doing so - but of course we aren't always aware of our own flaws except through the benefit of hindsight, and so, on more than one occasion I have found myself marvelling that I almost deprived myself of the pleasure of a work of art, a story or a poem because I had blindly, in my ignorance, decided that I wouldn't like it without truly knowing what it was.

One such recent example of this is the work of Charles Olson. There is something in the work of the Beat poets that is a lot more raw and unprocessed, but also philosophical and.. hmm, how can I put this? There is an untangible energy about the work that I didn't expect - no, not that. Perhaps the only way to explain it is that I have found myself able to relate to the ideologies of beat poets far more than I had expected myself to. I feel like I have more common ground with them than I had ever considered... they are cut from the same cloth as other counter culture movements, which I foolishly hadn't really expected. There is still a familiar yearning buried in somewhere, that I know all to well and have seen in various other movements in various different disguises - it crops up regularly, in different eras and entirely different contexts, although sometimes it is dulled by money or drugs or institutionalised cultural ennui, but it endures. It's reassuring to see this familiar face reflected back at me from times passed - pages span time and I have the deep reassurance that we are not alone, but part of a long infinite succession of others that stretches on eternally.

I will post some Olson work at some point, some of it is really cool :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ladies, Gentlemen and the rest...

.. I present the following for your consideration:

Exhibit A-
- short but important (just like me)

Exhibit B-

William Shakespeare - Sonnet #146

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
My sinful earth these rebel powers array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this the body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:

So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
And death once dead, there's no more dying then.

Please consider all the evidence before drawing a conclusion.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Since I moved to Germany back in August, I have been following what could be described as a pescatarian diet - and (except for some chicken with a roast dinner superbly cooked by some friends, and an unfortunate zwiebelkuchen incident)it's going great! I have had a few stabs at going veggie in the past, including an entire year when I was 13 or so, but this time I decided that it would be sensible to reassess my diet entirely rather than merely eliminating meat. Moving to a new place where I would be eating lots of new foods anyway seemed like the perfect time to try, although in retrospect I should probably have considered the fact that Germans eat meat with EVERYTHING.

However, I actually haven't found it too difficult at all! I was never the biggest meat eater in the world, and although I have very occasional cravings for a burger they are nowhere near troublesome. I have been eating a lot of vegetables and taking care to vary my diet a lot, and also have been trying to eat more raw veg and salad, which is giving me loads more energy. I'm also having to get a bit more inventive when I cook, but this is really as a result of having two hobs to cook on and that's pretty much it - so I've been making soups a lot, and the odd curry. I made the transition to soya milk with my last carton, primarily because I was getting a little concerned about the amount of crap that ends up in dairy milk due to modern farming practises. It's fine in tea but it's taking a little getting used to on my cereal!

It amuses me a little that quite a few people have asked me if I feel less healthy/more tired since cutting meat out of my diet. I suppose the assumption is that, without the goodness meat provides, ones body will suffer - perhaps this would be the case if we were all eating only the finest choicest cuts of organically reared meat, but so much of the stuff people eat today is such crap! Minging sausages with 20% pork, McDonalds' burgers (1% of which on average is/has been in contact with fecal matter) and recompressed scrapings from factory floors? No, I don't feel less healthy having replaced those with wintergreen soups, avocado salads and vegetable curries!

I know it would be appropriate at this juncture to say something about my reasons for going (sort of) veggie, but to be honest I really can't be bothered right now, so that can wait for another day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bildungs Streik!

So I have just regretfully torn myself away from a protest march that was clamouring, chanting and dancing it`s way down Hauptstraße (the main shopping street\main street of die aldstadt in HD).

Basically, one of the main University buildings in Heidelberg has been occupied for a couple of weeks now. This occupation was done in solidarity with a number of other Universities throughout Europe as part of a wider movement - so at the same time in a number of different cities, other students and protesters were raising their voices to make their views heard. What they are saying is ostensibly challenging the 500 Euro per semester tuition fees that German students have to pay, but also essentially is tackling the wider issue of the commercialisation of education - and indeed, the destructive invasive capitalist direction our societies are taking.

What really struck me about this protest was just how many people were there, and passionately involved. Heidelberg is not a big city. For those of you looking for a British equivalent, it is rather like York, only smaller - or Chester. Furthermore, it is in an area of Germany known for its affluence and conservative politics. Yet hundreds of people turned up, despite the grim weather, and took part in the march that is just one part of a long day of planned events - including workshops. Further more, this was obviously a cross platform effort - with the usual socialist and protest groups that you would expect taking part, but also lots and lots of students that didnt seem to be what we might term "overly politicised." The march consisted, as I have said, of several hundred people snaking their way down the main street - there were so many of us that stood to watch and people applauded, took photos and even joined in. People watched and cheered from first story windows, including a young mother and a little boy, who we smiled and waved at.

Just to give a little context here, this is the equivalent of a student march right down the pedestrianised high street in Leeds, a protest so long and broad that all around it slowed to a stop, and that took ten minutes for itś participants to weave past, with bright banners and home made t shirts and songs and drums. Difficult to visualise? Thats probably because it would never ever happen in Leeds as it is now; it is an eternal source of mystery to me why we all just lie down and accept the horrific millstone of debt incurred by our 3 grand a year tuition fees - an amount far more obscene and crippling than the 500 euros a semester charge which has gotten German students so irate.

Even some English students I have met who are fairly progressive and political dont seem to see any particular problem with paying extortionate fees. The only conclusion I can draw from this (and believe me, I have given it a lot of thought, and research) is that the British higher education system has successfully transformed itś image and "Brand" to such an extent that most students now see their degree as a "product." Go to and, at the top of the page, splashed across the image that confronts you immediately when the page has loaded, is the tagline "Life on campus - Our single campus is a ten minute walk away from Leeds city centre." Increasingly, English students are being sold University as a "life experience" rather than an educational one - a finishing school for the middle classes. So why would they object to what might to some seem to be a reasonable cost for a product, rather than a choice? They fail to grasp the deeper ethical implications of applying a price tag to the pursuit of knowledge.

Finally, when you consider that over the next 5 or so years it is looking increasingly more certain that the Government intend to raise the cap on tuition fees, allowing unis like Leeds and other redbricks to charge what is conservatively estimated at around ten grand a year, it says a lot about the student population in England that collectively we dont seem to feel there is much point in protesting it. Were aligning ourselves more and more with the American model - where you get what you pay for, and if you cant then you dont - we are so quick to judge them on their healthcare system; do you really want our education system to go the exact same way?

(I hope I dont need to point out the necessary ramifications too much - save to say that I couldnt have afforded to go to Leeds if these were the fees, and I am not the only person I know who would be in the same position, and we have every single bit as much right to be there as any other student from a more affluent background. We already have a two tier primary and secondary education system in England - in this day and age it makes me very sad that we are even considering allowing this archaic mentality to spread to University level education, where people really should know better.)

But, while the apathy of UK students feeds my cynicism and gives me the feeling that the battle - maybe even the war - has already been won, the vibrance and the energy and the willingness to engage of our German cousins fills me with hope. Maybe there is still a chance for British society to stand up and let its voices fill our city streets with songs of dissent; but please, do hurry up before they put a price tag on that too.

More info:

PS please excuse poor grammar, Iḿ on a German keyboard in the library, will fix later

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So I am getting on the train last night at twenty two minutes past ten in Berlin, to return to Heidelberg. Sitting down and preparing myself for a long journey (rocking in to HD at 5am, to be precise) when of course, naturally, who should sit down next to me but Talkative Weirdo. I don't know if you're familiar with this particular train passenger, but he is more or less the worst possible person to have sat beside you at the beginning of a long night train - even worse than, say, Hungry Weirdo (now with rustling plastic sweet wrappers included!) or Weirdo with Sticky Outy Albows, or even Weirdo with Slight Facial Tic (this guy is actually pretty okay and even sometimes adds a note of irreverant humour to proceedings.)Talkative Weirdo or his equivalent have also sat next to me on pretty much every journey over 5 hours long I have ever been on.
I sigh and stare longingly at one of the numerous empty seats surrounding us, tantalisingly close but kept far out of reach by the large and wittering man beside me, who has left me hemmed up against the side of the train carriage. Using my coat as a make shift pillow, I squash my head up against the window and prepare for a long night.

While I am sitting wedged up against the glass with a man jabbering away incomprehensively to my left, I cast my mind back over the events of the previous few days. Too disparate to cover in this blog (although I am sure I will write something about the mauerfall at some point) but nevertheless, worth commenting on. For some reason, I am reminded of a scene I witnessed in Kreuzberg, Berlin's hippy-yuppie district (think bong shops and expensive daycare centres) which I spent an enjoyable few hours exploring earlier. A trendy hippy-yuppie father and son combo and a lady who was clearly no relation to the child were stuck in a pavement deadlock scenario, with tears and tantrums clearly only seconds away. As I endeavoured to get past and out of the blastzone postehaste without exacerbating the situation, I heard this little snippet of interaction:

"Don't you want to go to the record store with Donna?" The father bleated in a baleful American accent, to his miniscule son complete with adorable miniscule brown leather jacket. I at first assumed he was just asking his child this in that way that parents do to disguise what is actually a statement as a question in order to make the child feel more autonomous in their actions, but as he began to repeat it with the same note of desperate cajole in his voice I realised that, no, this man was actually asking his tiny son whether he wanted to go check out the record store over the road with Donna (who wasn't the mother and remained passively uninvolved, looking desperately uninterested) and, furthermore, actually expecting a response.

I think at this juncture I need to highlight just how small this little boy was. He can't have been more than 3 - he was walking on his own, just about, so probably talking a bit, but despite his rather natty little leather jacket and tiny converse I sincerely doubt he was able to fathom that particular concept of vinyl as an aspirational accessory for the hipster elite. Furthermore, even if he DID have the desire to go over to try and track down a limited edition pressing of Robert Hood's Minimal Nation, it would probably be only for the purposes of chewing on it. Now, I don't have kids and so therefore that technically renders any opinions I might have on the matter legally irrelevant, but surely it's not healthy to be giving a 3 year old the burden of responsibility for making decisions about things he neither understands or cares about? And come on, a vinyl shop has got to be pretty fucking boring for someone under 6, at least if it's one of the brightly lit, sterile, surgical school of which this one was. F*cking yuppies

Returning to Heidelberg at 5 am, I am heartened, despite my sleep deprived and travel-sick zombification, to find there is a maverick homeless man outside the station playing slightly manic 80s cheese (which incidence of, sadly escapes me) on a portable stereo.

Moral of story: we can find our own spaces everywhere. Not always where we would think, and sometimes they are full of assholes

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

an interesting facebook debate...

Gareth McFakesurname Protest against the BNP being on question time outside the BBC centre on Oxford road. Party starts at 5.
8 hours ago via Facebook for iPhone · Comment · Like / Unlike · View Feedback (16)Hide Feedback (16)
2 people like this.

Zak Fakenamery

i wish i could join u laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
8 hours ago

Philippa Dee (me)

dont get me wrong, I hate the BNP as much as any other self respecting person with a brain, but surely the appropriate place to focus that anger is towards the BNP themselves? Isnt it one of the benefits of living in a free society that people are able to express their views, however abhorrant they are? and furthermore, personally I think it is far... Read More better strategically to have those views discussed in an open forum so that they can be defeated in argument and the BNP can be exposed as the racist bunch of twats they are, rather than simply brushing them under the carpet and pretending they arent there. if anything that would just make them feel vindicated at having a victim/underdog mentality, and with the state of British politics at the moment, that would be a verz dangerous thing to do. We have a massively disenfranchised voting public - some of whom might sadly be persuaded to vote BNP, and giving that party any illusion of credibility and adding credence to their claims of being persecuted is likely to do far more in their favor than simply defeating them in argument on a bbc news show
8 hours ago · Delete

Fakey mcFakename
why should they not have their say they are a legit political party who receive hundreds of thousands if not a million votes. they represent this country in europe, furthermore i am going to enjoy tonights program or try to nick is a very articulate man but i fear he will not get a word in edge ways as he will be booed and jeered like a pantomime ... Read Morevillan.
also i have never or willi vote bnp but if he can get mps to get things done about immigration and things that affect ordinary council estate folk then im all for him appearing on the show.
7 hours ago

Gareth McFakesurname

Everyone knows what the BNP are like that they are a rascist organisation with a "if your White your all right policy". So why give them the platform to spout off about how Muslims should be forced out the country with there "incentivised repatriation", even if your British.

So, if the public fury aimed at the likes of jade goody et al, and their rascism and homophobic rants / coments, why the hell would you want Hitlers youth on the telly trying to tell the common man why the UK should be White only? Is it because they want to be seen as a legitimate political party? No, I doubt that veryuch. It should be something when even the Tories and there right-wing polish alies refuse to be seated next to them.

The BBC question time is really labour v BNP and let's be honest jack straw isn't exactly going "stick it to 'em" is he? Christ putting anyone against labour at present will make the other look good. ... Read More

If the newspaper reports are to be believed (which I doubt as there all full of stories created in a reporters head and based very loosely on fact) questions and audience members are going to be screened and vetted... Gotta love democracy ain't ya?

All that's happening is we are allowing them an hour long party political broadcast to more people than they would otherwise be able to get at. We know what there like, we know what they stand for, so why legitimise what is tecnically inciting racial hatred? I thought we had a law against that? Only in a democracy, the myth that we are all free...
6 hours ago

Francis NotRealName
good luck to you pal, if i was in the country id be there too
6 hours ago

Fakey mcFakename
i hope you showed this much enthusiasm when our returning troops were being goaded and barracked by muslim fanatics mate i hope you were calling for all of them calling our lads the butchers of baghdad to be arrested for incitement after all if i were a soldier id of opened fire there and then.
6 hours ago

Gareth McFakesurname
People are nieve to think that nick griffen and the BNP will make an ass of themselves tonight. This is the moment they have been waiting for, this will be slick and well rehearsed... But we know what they stand for. Let's watch the car crash then...
6 hours ago

Gareth McFakesurname

Plus frank above has had the delight of meeting the BNPs political team. Shake with one hand destroy a pub with the other...
6 hours ago

Paul Notarealsurname
What's wrong with BNP?? I get my petrol there all the time, they even do a points card now... Awesome!
3 hours ago

Philippa Dee

I agree that the BNP are a bunch of racist cunts but it doesn't change the fact that just because you don't like what some people say, it doesn't take away their right to say it. Besides, surely it is better for the British viewing public to see the debate so that they can better understand the situation and (hopefully) reach the conclusion that it's better not to give any support to a bunch of racist cunts? denying them a platform just gives them the opportunity to paint themselves as martyrs.
about an hour ago · Delete

Sameera Fakelastname

Freedom of speech has to be limited when it incites people to behave violent towards non- white people! Giving them a platform is almost like accepting their policies and making them equal to any other party.
about an hour ago

Philippa Dee

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree there Sameera - I don't think giving them a platform is at all like accepting their policies and making them equal to any other party. It's a tough one, because obviously I don't approve of their message, but I think apart from anything else people need to stop underestimating the British viewing public, ... Read Moremost of whom are not so stupid as to watch a BNP debate and then decide, uninformed, to vote for them. If anything, the controversy and media coverage that this debacle has created should serve to inform people about just how racist and unacceptable some BNP policies are.

to illustrate: I know that a few months ago, a racist group (it escapes me who exactly) organised a protest in Leeds. Unite Against Fascism organised a counter protest - a huge number of people turned up to show support AGAINST the fascists, and it was a really successful way of showing that the majority of people don't hold such abhorrant, racist views. That's democracy and that's living in a free society. When we don't like what someone says, we use our freedom to TELL them and SHOW them that we don't like it. We don't stop them from saying it at all. That, ironically enough, would be fascist.
about an hour ago · Delete

Gareth mcFakesurname

The BNP already paint themselves as martyrs anyway. The thing i object to is the hypocritical nature that racism is banned on TV, it is socially unacceptable yet you give Nick Griffin his hour of fame. He has links with and photo's with the KKK and others of that ilk. Surely that breaches the BBC's own rules?

People think he's going to look stupid, but he wont. This will be the BNP's finest hour, there not going to be grilled enough and now they will claim legitimacy, a bit like Jean Marie Le-Penn...

A democracy gives people the choices to do what they wish (democracy is a myth but that's for another day), i choose to rally against them and not give them anything, i'd rather they painted themselves as martyrs than capitalise on the current distrust of politicians....

Martin: Why would i celebrate the abuse that british and american soldiers get? They are there at the bidding of our corrupt government and deserve public backing even if you think the war was based on a large pile of non-existant evidence. I support our troops, but i don't believe that a fascist and racist group holds the key to peace and security in the UK or the world. If anything i'd say that voting BNP will cause more problems for everyone. Plus selecting a small sample of a population and then saying 'they are all the same" is extremely narrow minded. The BNP wish they could get millions of votes, they probably will after tonight though.
about an hour ago


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Im doing an art piece at the moment which involves tearing things out of newspapers. I found it interesting to see that, in one issue of the Guardian weekend inserts there was an abundance of headlines with titles such as

"After the fall"
"When the world was about to end"
"hard, but unfair"
"Crude Injustice"
and the so-sarcastic-you-can-almost-taste-it - "How did life get so good?"

each the headers of distinct and separate articles. I hold the view that newspapers perform, apart from the obvious current events coverage, the function of reflecting the wider anxieties and collective emotions of the society they are produced within. (perhaps also fairly obvious to most - certainly not a new idea; see "The Daily Mirror", ) I thought it was worth commenting on the fact that I'm obviously not the only one who is currently taking an intellectual interest in the fate of mankind. (that sounds a bit melodramatic, but unfortunately I am finding language a bit limiting in this instance - perhaps it would be more accurate to say, "where mankind is headed?" or "the direction mankind is taking?")

However, there is another trend also evident - examples:

"A new force for good"
"Built into the fabric of life"
"Hope springs"
"problem solved"
"Mother Courage"

I think, with the current state of the economy/etc it's natural that society will be living in a heightened state of anxiety and natural for our papers and literature to reflect that. But also, it's quite heartening to see a pre-occupation with prospects of hope and the future. I know it probably seems like I'm reading too much into something fairly irrelevant and I must hasten to reassure that I'm not ascribing any kind of significance or meaning to what is at the end of the day more or less fairly innocuous co-incidence; I merely found it mildly interesting and a good starting point for discussion.

Basically I think what I'm driving at is that, distinct from our own individualistic emotional states, we also exist as part of our species - I am me and that means I am one, but I could not be one was there not others, and so I have a sort of dual identity, as a person and as part of my species. And like all beings I serve my own interests but, on a big enough scale, on the grandest scheme of things, we all serve the same interest of survival. And when that is threatened, everything else stops.

I am finding it difficult to properly express my ideas on this particular subject - hopefully completing the art piece will have enabled me to properly structure my thoughts a bit better!

I'm going to go back to listening to Vietnam-era American rock music and sticking things on my wall :-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Whenever the topics "gender," "women," or even "health" come up in development aid council discussions in Brussels, the session inevitably turns into a fight about abortion."

The above quote actually isn't very representative of what is covered in the rest of the article, which is interesting but mostly concerned with the need for the EU to stop quibbling buck it's ideas up with regards to providing healthcare and education on such matters. Not that I disagree with the need for this AT ALL, but I can't help feeling that there is some merit in considering the quote in another light - why, when it comes to topics as broad as gender, women and health, should all roads lead back to abortion? It's an issue that's incredibly divisive and, yes, incredibly important, but I can't help but feel that an incredible number of other equally important issues equally worthy of discussion are pushed off the gender in favour of this one on which, we can comfortably assume, there isn't going to be any consensus reached any time soon. What about wage gaps, female subordination, female circumcision, rape laws, suffocating beauty standards, the burkha, any other number of gender related issues that haven't immediately sprung to mind in 30 seconds?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wersya Sensa Yuma

You will probably find this amusing, particularly if you're from an area with a strong regional dialect. I was with some old friends the other night who all grew up in the same area as me and one of them commented that they thought my accent had changed, not dramatically but definitely noticeably, since I started attending University in Leeds. I have become aware of this myself - it's not something I do intentionally on a conscious level, but I have found that my scouse twinge becomes more or less pronounced depending on who I am around. Or how drunk I am.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm researching bands on the net to write some bits and pieces for the Matthew Street Festival website, and whilst glancing at the of a band called Sound of Guns (I haven't listened to them yet but “Eclectic, raw and equiped for something more, their musicallity(sic) is paramount” The Fly, - apparently) I came across this little gem of a comment:

Bowen72 wrote:
last week

"We had their guitarist in our tent at Latitide screaming about giant lizards that were trying to eat his eyes. He got up to leave but I told him there were WArlords with lasers cos he was too much fun to lose. Unforgettable."


Sunday, July 12, 2009

sometimes i like to shout "no" at the tv in response to adverts that tell me i need to buy things. I can highly recommend it, it gives an illusion of empowerment

Friday, July 03, 2009

At first, coming back to the real world post-festival always makes me feel a little disoriented, in a way I can't quite put my finger on. This time, I came to the realisation that living in towns and cities, amongst big concrete and glass structures - and the other kind, the invisible but far bigger structures that govern what we say and think and do and the role we slot into - doesn't make me feel like part of a bigger picture, some rich tapestry of human life in which I am but a thread. Rather it makes me feel smaller - I feel less of a person than when I am camped under the sky, rolling around on the grass and surrounded by an organic and ephemeral world. Perhaps city life, suburban life, mainstream existance is so solid and unforgiving in it's forms and values that it leaves little space for the individual within it. I feel more of a person away from it all.

It's interesting because, looking back at a few of the quotes I've posted in this blog over the last couple of months, I suppose this is probably a theme that has been occupying my mind in one way or another for a while now. Trying to negotiate a personal space to inhabit within our society is an interesting challenge filled with inherent contradictions and something tells me that it could be one of those funny but awkward little games which doesn't ever end and requires constant redefinition.

Glasto was fun anyway, it's such a big place that you have to dig pretty deep to find the soul of it but it is in there somewhere, the pulse of the festival beats a vibrant tattoo at the heart of it all, a jungle drum calling the faithful to arms. Met a pride of lions with a princely young man cat who, at our encouragement, leapt onto a post and took refuge amongst the rafters; as security came over, Mummy and Daddy lion came and stood at the foot of the tree, coaxing him down. "He's a climber," they told me, "He was right up all the scaffolding in Shangri La before." Later, he slunk back over and began preparing to jump up again, until a lioness scooped him up in her mouth and took him back to his tent. We danced until dawn, faithful patrons of Slippery Dick's Love Shack, and at 6am met a friend I hadn't seen for a whole year, since we walked together to rescue a friend from prison in Serbia. (there are some kinds of friends who only ever appear at 6am, when you're watching the morning rise backwards.) We spent the following hours nestling in a big womb space that one entered by pushing through a big cushiony pink vagina, until my friend became worried that the various sperm painted on the walls were beginning to threaten him and we vacated to daylight.

Anyhow, I really should be unpacking at the moment - I am surrounded by boxes of glorious property and stacks of blank canvas. My bedroom at my mum and dads house (my base camp for the gypsy summer I have planned) is very small and has a big window that takes up one of the four walls, which has the not unpleasant effect of making me feel like I'm living in a fish tank. It's weird, I was worried about coming back because it's the first time I will have spent a long period of time here in more than 2 years, but I think it's going to be really nice! I forgot how many other people are back, due to finishing degrees and whatnot; and it's nice being five minutes from the woods, and in driving distance of the beach, and being able to spend time playing piano and painting and writing without the various distractions of Hyde Park. Hyde Park is a vortex - it sucks you in and some people get trapped in a strange time loop there; unless you are tethered and grounded I think it's pretty easy to get lost. Leaving was hard; it's the first place in a long time(maybe ever) that I've felt at home - but sometimes it's important to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This is a lesson I've learned on a couple of occasions but every time it's as though I'm realising it again for the first time - it surprises me and makes me realise that those achey, raw feelings of fear and sadness and loss that come from change are just a part of the gateway to something new and different.

Wow, this has ended up being longer than I expected. I should stop procrastinating and actually do some tidying up..

Friday, May 01, 2009

"One of the many reasons for the bewildering and tragic character of human existence is the fact that social organization is at once necessary and fatal. Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters." - Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

watching the news tonight, i am sorry to say that my country seems to be run mostly by idiots.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I went to a gabba night on friday. I have now re-calibrated my mind. I no longer believe in space and time as linear concepts.*

Tomorrow I am off to Glasgow in search of art nouveau, flowers and symmetricality. This time, I will remember to take photos.

I am looking at photos of women at war. She warriors and mothers, their eyes are brick walls, rifles slung across their shoulders, mouths curved as proudly as the steel barrel of a gun. They give life and they take it away - the paradox of the female soldier.

I will post photos from Glasgow - if I don't forget to take any, which happens more often than you would think.

*(I am exagerating a little for effect;)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

we knock back glass after glass; we run out of glasses annd start drinking from jars. My friend plays me his one song - Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. I play him mine, Rock n Roll Suicide by Bowie - his voice calls out to me from 1972, "You're not alone", and I believe him

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm still not quite sure why at first, I was so unenthusiastic about the Buddhism module I am studying. Perhaps it was due to a reluctance to accept something that did not superficially match the expectations I had of it - alls I know is that after the first weeks session I felt a violent opposition to continuing studies in this area. Thankfully I got over that rapidly, and it's now something I find incredibly interesting. The lecturer really knows his stuff as well which is always helpful, and I like his teaching style - lots of talking but in an animated, everyone-get-involved-in-discussion sort of way, and not too many pointless group activities which generally just give me cause for distraction.

I'm glad I made the spur of the moment decision to change from Philosophy of Language to Philosophy of Religion - I find the latter far more interesting, and of course it complements my Buddhism module quite nicely. These are areas I have always had an incomplete and vague interest in, and now my immaterial thoughts are being structured, drawn together and made coherent. I feel like I'm finally (after only a year and a half!) knuckling down and getting stuck into my uni work. I really sincerely hope I can keep this up - I feel like I'm on the verge of a personal breakthrough, both academically in terms of my approach to my work, physically in terms of building up my fitness levels and getting into shape, and finally emotionally, by sorting through and hopefully putting to rest thoughts and memories that have followed me round for years now. (The only thing that worries me is that I know I have felt this way in the past)

In my creative writing, I'm focusing a lot on fairy tales, and the idea of myth and stories embedded in the collective psyche - for me this is entwined with ideas of femininity, or perhaps more specifically my own femininity, something I have grappled with over the last few years. Being a girl - woman? - is one of the most essential and important characteristics I have; it is absolutely integral and important to how I perceive the world. But it is also something I take issue with in that I struggle, sometimes, to define what exactly femininity is. It seems wrong to me that it should be well applied make up, long and flowing or short and perky hair - doe eyed glances, beautiful clothes, even bouncy breasts. These things are all feminine, but they are hardly sufficient in themselves to constitute femininity. But what route do we go down otherwise? Simply experiencing the world as a woman, from the feminine? It is too simple to say that we are merely passive victims of a patriarchal society - we are not always passive in our own subjugation. These are complicated questions and ones which bother me, and are important to my own understanding of my gender and therefore myself.

Been looking into housing co ops as well - I find the idea of a deviation from the traditional nuclear family household intriguing, especially in a world where "marriage breakdowns" and "unconventional relationships" are rapidly becoming far more normal. Coupled with a way of living that challenges the existing, exploitative capitalist system of mortgage slavery and lonely, seperate existences and I become more and more inclined to think that perhaps there are viable alternatives to the majority status quo. I have come to the conclusion over the last few years that it is so very nearly impossible to change the direction of society as a whole that ones energy is better directed elsewhere - short of living in some kind of Hobbesian state of nature (which is logistically pretty much impossible anyway) it's not possible to escape the system. Living on the bottom rung does not constitute escaping. However, the only ethical way I can see to live in this society is to exist within it without supporting it or propogating it's values any more than is necessary, and using the resources gained from this to create a space within it in which one can live in harmony with ones values. How feasible this is, remains to be seen

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

there is a boy at uni who I think is rotating on the same axis as me. I find myself walking along a corridor towards him or past him in the park pretty much every day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

today I am a firefly

*Ted Andrews/Animal-Wise
Keynote: Spiritual inspirations and hope.

Fireflies, often called lightning bugs, are magical symbols of inspiration and hope. They are the promise of accomplishment through hope and efforts. They remind us that we have laid the appropriate groundwork and from it will spring great reward. In the traditional tarot, they would be associated with the Star card.

Fireflies are small beetles that give off light, usually from the hind end. They may light up while flying or wile resting in vegetation. The blinking or flashing of the lights is performed for short periods, and each species has a distinct rhythm. For the most part, the flashing rhythm is performed to attract a mate, who responds with a corresponding rhythm. It is part of the mating ritual that will extend the life of the species. The males perform aerobatics, making light patterns that are answered by the females, each species producing its own characteristic recognition patterns. These patterns are remarkably precise. A male emits a pulse of light that, after an exact interval, is answered by a female of the same species. Only if the timing and response are correct will a male fly over to visit a female.

The larvae of the firefly are flattened, luminous, and segmented. They are usually called glow-worms. They are often a reminder of the inner star we are developing or the promise of the star that is on the horizon for us.

For those to whome the firefly appears, it is time to trust in your own rhythms--physical and spiritual. Our hopes will begin to manifest, and our ability o inspire will grow. Fireflies remind us that there are others who will respond to us and who are like us. They flash with similar creative rhythms. They will make their presence known soon, and they will make our life more creative and healthier.

Fireflies generate light without heat, a process of chemistry and physics that is still baffling to science. Whereas most electric bulbs waste 97% of their energy in heat, a firefly concentrates 90% of it's effort into light. The glow emerging from so tiny an animal is sufficient to read a printed page, reflecting wonderful opportunities to make the seemingly impossible a reality, inspiring wonders that will be flickering and manifesting around us.

When the firefly appears is a wonderful time to jot down all of those creative ideas that are flickering in our mind through this time. We needn't worry about what to do with them now, for just by taking them out of the mental realm, their creative force is released into our life and they will provide inspiration that will affect us for a long time in the future.

The firefly looks ordinary during the day, but by night they sparkle, flickering like a star. They hold the promise of accomplishing our goals. Spiritual gifts are awakening. We are on the right path, and there are strong spiritual forces around us. When fireflies appear, people begin to reassess their former opinions and perspectives. We begin to shine and sparkle. Opportunities to fulfill dreams, to inspire wonder, and to awaken greater hope will begin to flicker strongly within our life.

The firefly can indicate a variety of misjudgements or warn of their possibility, especially in dealing with those of the opposite sex. The female of one large predatory species has learned to mimic the female signals of a smaller species. When the eager males arrive, they are quickly eaten. It is important to be sure that those around us are not mimicking what is true rather than what we hope to hear. Or, we may be focusing upon the wrong path or perhaps we are working with the wrong people or socializing with a crowd that is not healthy for us. We may be letting others (through their negative opinions) prevent the success of our creative endeavors.

The firefly should also get us to take a look at our health habits, particularly at what we are eating. Adult fireflies eat very little. They have learned to generate and draw energy from around them for their purposes. It would be wise to examine what we are eating and how much because this affects our health and our spiritual creativity.

Remember that fireflies remind us that positive hope is a critical component to fulfillment and accomplishment.

Are we being pessimistic?
Are we holding on to a sense of hopelessness, that all is lost?
Are we trying to force movement along the wrong path?
Are we not acting upon our creative ideas or even acknowledging them?
Are we not taking advantage of the spiritual gifts available to us?
Are others misleading us, giving us false hopes and false inspirations?