........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Full House!

a more compact way to stack wood would be difficult to imagine.

Vocation, Voluntary Work And Long Term Unemployment

For the first time in my life I think I understand what the word 'vocation' means. When I was growing up life seemed fine on the surface, but underneath-at every level of  decision making about how to be an adult-life ended up being accidentally catastrophic in ways I will save you from here, except to say that it has taken 35 years overall, including a long long term relationship and 15 years of coming to ECC events, to recover some memories and find some sense of a depth of kindness in my true self. Recovery is still a work in progress. Life when I was young seemed to be about adults taking children and bashing them into shape, with the children being square pegs being hammered into round holes. The process did badly by the children and consistently disappointed the adult. Being bashed into shape was mandatory, there was a sub-militaristic logic behind everything. Where I grew up was surrounded by RAF bases.

   After several bouts of counselling and some well tested friendships I have recovered a lot of memory and with that an instinct for who to trust, and sort-of-why, in the present day. I am one of the long term unemployed, and if I put the truth about my experience of employers down in an application form I am immediately asking to be rejected. If I put a lie I feel the lie, deeply, and feel disinclined towards telling it. With recovery I don't want to join the people who lied about me. If I were accepted on the basis of a lie then how could I respect such a credulous employer? I am living a paradox that should not exist. It is as if M.C. Escher were asked to illustrate what a job and adulthood looked like. I can't get my head around it and am not the only one. For those on benefits who are quite thoughtful and self disciplined in their personal life they are being set seriously illogical demands in the cause of 'fuller employment' which frequently come to justify the anti-depressants industry as props. I know that pressure. In school there was a joke Q;What do you want to do when you leave school? A;Go on benefits! But there proved to be much more than that to it later, these forms are now the texts to the M. C. Escher drawing to illustrate and explain the employment market.

  I have shared my contorted past with those whom I thought were wise and accepting people, and they have openly asked 'Are you comfortable sharing this?' to disguise their discomfort. Those who say nothing and accept what I say about that life are truly wise, and the conversation changes easily. I had a dog called Oscar for several years, 1998-2004. He was a lurcher who did not bark and was hugely affectionate. I used to joke that he was my Rogerian Therapist because of his obvious empathy.

 Well away from the competitive hurly burly of paid work I have wondered where to place myself, or allow myself to be placed, on the scale where altruism for short term limited gain is at one end and outright competitive living such as we cut each other dead with is at the other. My line to myself has been that the only job I could securely hold down would be one in where there is no application process, but acceptance is by a gradual process of osmosis. There would no competition because the job is unattractive for being uncompetitive. But to find work like that would be unique, how would I know I have the work if nobody say so? As far as I know the nearest employment practices get osmosis, and the smooth transfer of increased status, is nepotism. Even in this new apparently open and multi-cultural society we aspire to society has it's lines that are not for crossing, where people have to smuggle their identities past others by disguising them in plain sight, through code.

  I choose to do voluntary work, in my community/village and give my time for free because it is the only way of giving my time value. With that I can stand firm in the tug of war between time and money. I now have something that-literally-nobody else wants to do. It fits me comfortably and finally, but who knows for how long? I seem to be in the right place at the right time. It seems very odd but in my heart of hearts it is what I have and do is what I always wished for. Did I wish carefully enough?

  I still make enemies, and I am still partially misunderstood but I draw the conclusion that that is what neighbours are for, and my front door is where I leave all that behind. I care about where I live and enjoy the seemingly mild esteem of me that my vastly more wealthy neighbours offer me. For the first time in my life I think I understand what the word vocation means.

The Barley Cup Kid.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Too Much Information

When polite folk share
about masturbation
they prefer to talk of it as D.I.Y.
However well euphemised
the details of the subject
it soon becomes T.M.I.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Original 'Knit your Own Jerry Garcia' Kit

(glasses and guitar not shown).

A Tortologist

is someone who repeats themselves
and gets away with each repetition,
because their inattentive audience
find each repetition original.

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Truest Charity Comes From A Felled Tree

As a voluntary worker I find that I exist
to support the part time civil servants
in my local council ,whose job-amongst others-
is to hand out forms devised far away
by civil servants employed full time
and who have well cushioned pensions
founded on the number of trees felled
for paper pulp to devise forms for grants
for the voluntary sector to apply for.
It is as if the grants were a reverse
Noblese Oblige for the unpaid, a role
that those cushion themselves now
and  in old age could never take up
for themselves. The civil service required
to create the forms for them to complete
and perform to would cost way too much....

Sunday, 26 January 2014

To Want Is To Live,

even animals with subsistence tastes kill to survive,
and form hierarchies which then creates the need for territories
in which the most powerful among them strive
to out-live weaker examples of the species.
Do animals dream of what they have to kill, to survive?
In their dreams do they give an afterlife
to what they have recently eaten for their meal?
Humans dream, for the life they hoped for
but leave un-lived and think nothing of what has died for them
to so supinely in comfort.
Our knowledge takes us so far away
from understanding subsistence
that it makes our learning a measure of our ignorance.
If we knew the unit of measure of waiting to live,
and set that against the worth of regret would we,
in subsistence, live more and dream less?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Say It Loud

As the living know only too well. The better they live
 the more thoroughly they kill others, and don't want to know about it.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Vorsprung Durch Techniq

and the oldest technology that proves adaptable is usually the best.

Irreversable De-selection.

Competitive sports never appealed to me
-neither as participant nor as a spectacle to be applauded.
In school 'games' meant sport which meant teachers
who knew that bullying was inevitable organized sport
so as to disguise the school sponsored aggression
and make it seem like an unarguable form
of  'natural selection' in (and through) action.
It would hit the children who's parents would be the last
to see how their offspring were being marked down,
and they would be the least able to fight the school
de-selecting their children from education for opportunities.

A similar sense of hierarchy-de-selection
from apparently equal choice was repeated,
well beyond the comprehension of those
made to lose, but who would still be bound
by the system-was repeated. This time it was
'the jobs market', de-selection was the foundation
for the U.K.'s long term mass unemployment
of the last thirty five years. De-selection is
the base on which I have had to build my life.

A rebellious commensality eventually weaned me
off the depressions I learnt from being (r)ejected from 'the team',
but kept as a reserve, waiting. Merely to prove the system is successful.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Forgiveness vs Forgetting

'The stupid nether forgive nor forget;
the naive forgive and forget;
the wise forgive but never forget'
-Thomas Szazs, 'The Second Sin'.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Skin Tight

'We're all of us sentenced to solitary confinement
inside our skins for life'-Tennessee Williams,
from 'Orpheus Descending'.

And we may well be right to expect discomfort
 when we get outside of our skins too. 

Washing Day

with thanks to http://erikjohanssonphoto.com/

Monday, 20 January 2014

Homophobia In Space

I fear for any aliens out there-for what might happen
if ever they met a live human being.
With human kind and many animal species
up to one in ten of them choose not to breed,
and attempt a more reliable companionship
with one of their own gender.
If this were true for beings from outer space
then how soon after the shock of being found
by space men and women, and apparently accepted,
would they then be condemned for being happy
in apparently working same sex partnerships?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Mr Crisp-

Quentin of that ilk- in all his formality knew the value
of  Noblesse-Oblige. He made his point in public
by giving everyone their formal title. Having fixed them
in that title he made them his host, and himself their guest.
It was as if he knew the value of public roles.
It is recorded that he was publicly caught short in this technique
only once, when at his first New York press conference he was asked
a question and spoke of Mr Christ, not realising that publicly
pronouncing as a guest on religion of his host country was better left undone.
He got away with it because he referred to 'Mr Christ',
which seemed memorably absurd, intentionally funny in it's formality
and distancing effect. So I say to anyone who wants to make
their demands seem well reasoned and modest then be formal with others
- however weird it seems - whether you get the result you want or not,
it will leave both you and your putative host very much calmer.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Short Blog

about monopilisation.

Occasional Proportionality

What does sex have in common with food?
Both are best taken slowly, and they improve
when spiced up by herbs and alcohol-added
proportionately to enhance the occasion,
and when done right they leave us (briefly) replete.

Friday, 17 January 2014

From Obscurity To Invisibility

When Thomas Hitslzperger, retired professional footballer,
recently came out as gay I privately applauded him for his choice,
whilst regretting that he had not done it whilst still a player.
At the same time I wonder at how within my lifetime football
had changed as a game. Football players were modestly paid
and it was a game you had to see live or play-it had no sponsors.
Though there were live commentaries on games on BBC radio.
And homosexuality was invisible. Now being gay is a life-style,
a choice where often projecting a self image becomes a bigger deal
than actually being gay, and we are still only 5% of  the population.
Now footballers are very highly paid and much is written about them.
The Red Top Press sell newspapers by the ton on the backs
of how they manipulate footballers reputations. Between the game's
sponsorship and how they they are written about football players
are very much spoken for rather than able to speak for themselves.
It is as if that were the true price of fame, much more than the pressure
to win games which comes with their salaries. The corporate sponsors
of  'the beautiful game' who rely on the press have yet to find the beauty
in the players in themselves, rather than in their performance, which permits
them to be themselves in public, including having their partner of choice.

The Driest Death

of all is to choke
on seeing the unshed tears
in the whites of the eyes
of your enemies.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Winter Picture

'Ice' by Gerhard Richter.

Getting The Point

Is it me or is there in the language of committees
something more aggressive than we are prepared to think,
when leaders turn their thoughts into bullet points
which they then expect
their weaker committee members
to follow and, submit to?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Human Homelessness

When Shakespeare wrote in 'Romeo and Juliet'
'A plague on both your houses' was he echoing
the voice of God as He cursed the flesh
of Adam and Eve, as they knowingly left The Garden?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Crown Bar.

is the most famous pub in Belfast. Recently it closed
due to inept administration, but only temporarily.
It is one of very few old fashioned bars left
and it was only when the closure got in the news
that I learnt that it's fittings were intact
because it was property of The National Trust.

With it's snugs and relative quiet and absence of television
friends drank there to enjoy each other's company,
rather than for the numbing effects of alcohol.
Modernised public houses usually afford no similar sense
of privacy and company. The purpose of their existence
is maximum profit with minimum maintenance; treat
your customers like cattle to the limits of their tolerance.

The floor space is enlarged to take as many as will stand
whilst drinking in reduced comfort. The bonus being
that being  made to stand will make them drink more.
Add loud pre-recorded music, controlled by the chain
rather than the landlord, and/or television and this makes
sure that the idea of discussing anything is absurd,
except in sign language, and anyone not drinking
and looking in from without will sense the unstable,
building, aggression, and they know why they place
needs bouncers and why leaving at 11 pm is such a melee .

Turbo capitalism strikes where it will, at random.
In our passivity we accept it's agenda as 'the market'.
But the market for being civilised has yet to be started.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Drugs, Drudgery, And Being Pointlessly Fit

Only the pills have changed in sixty-odd years,
 now a third of UK citizens are on anti-depressants.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Equal Gifts

Being patronising is to patriarchy
what (s)mothering is to matriarchy
-the slow death of authentic respect
sustained by deference and dependence.

Saturday, 11 January 2014


has to be wealthy
to be self absorbed,
but it does make the retreat
from the everyday issues
that everyone has to face easier.  

A Humourist Writes To His Bank

I hope he charged the bank manager for his creative writing skills.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Enjoy Coca Cola

and for more of the work of Iranian duo
 Icy and Sot's work click here

Beyond Mind

The truest love lives in reciprocal companionship,
where in and through all the misery
the heart is a beating tombstone
scarred with the epitaph 'beyond mind',
which describes shared understanding
-'In the midst of life we are in death'.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

From Fin To Finish

'Fin' is a word that takes me back the old french films
I watched as a youth on the BBC 2, it indicated
that a transporting entertainment had ended.
Today fin still means 'the end', but of something
far more powerful and alive than the minor diversions
that were the nearest I used to get to 'abroad'.
Now it spells the end of the life of a shark,
the fish at the top of the oceans' food chains
now being rendered extinct for the least of it's parts
to make soup as proof (if it were needed) that the human urge
to luxury is the most destructive force in the planet's history.
Fin is an bitter end of something I wish had never been started.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


What one generation publicly labels 'self abuse',
permitting it in private for an elite hell bent on escapism,
the next calls 'discreet self help'. Many early photographers
secretly promoted pornography amongst each other, cameras
were naturally the property of rich men and many of them
shaped their privacy into secretive adulteries.
Now, as ever, even the poorest of men marry,
and in their hearts-and in provable fact-are adulterous.
With technology as cheap and ubiquitous as it is now
they forget where the adultery lodges itself-in the mind.
Jealousy and the fantasy are the flip side of absolute ownership.
The more third world the background culture, the poorer
the patriarchal imagination, the more tightly dependent the man's
human chattels are meant to be upon him, and the more tribal
the supporting religious faith. The more the chattels passively
see the adulterer's second marriage or fantasy life as inferior,
and a rival for their affections that they see no means of stopping.

With drugs, cannabis, heroin and opium etc, laws were passed
in many developed countries nearly a century ago and earlier
to ban the natural chemical balms of the poor who's work
built that world from scratch. See now how those laws
have become untenable. The trade in drugs is presently
a vital support to relieve the stress of  turbo-consumerism
and an integrated part of the darker side of  global finance.  

Since 'addiction' is innate to man, the people I will admire
most are those with the skill to grow their own herbs,
who look after themselves with their own green fingers
and seek nothing more or less than, a controlled calm,
and relief from tired and aching joints in old age.

Without the kind permission of Ray Lowry.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Abort Who?

A person I sort of thought of as a friend admitted
he'd split with his girl, well sort of-she was pregnant
and they argued by mobile phone at the meals
we shared with him when he called round to see us.
As he raised his voice I wondered whether technology
was more for defending arguments than furthering relationships.
The lady knew not who was the father, and was refusing
to see either man. My friend's companionship with us
wore thin, he wanted 'his girl', she is forty, to abort
the child, and for his infantalising normality to return.
No matter that he had already disowned three children.
Thinking about them both, I saw that it would be less jealous
and more intelligent if she fore-swore the company
of men for good-aborting them instead of the child.
If nothing else it would be a more accurate means
of  birth control. She alone should keep the child
as a shield against having to recieve forced company
and bad advice. Through maturity and quietude
she might retrieve a virtue for single parenthood.   

Sunday, 5 January 2014

So That is The Difference Between Us...

...differentiation comes down to what skin tone, muscle and hormones add,
 nothing more.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Weather Report

The milk of human kindness
seems to have frozen over,
so it's going to snow today.
Silence is the best escape.


is a system of reward
in which the bigger the promises
to the greater number of people
and the later it delivers on them
-if it delivers at all-the more the system
devalues it's once apparent intent. 


is what keeps the un
at the beginning
of companionship.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Why I Dislike Gambling

There were only two 'shops' near the works canteen
where my father worked, a black cathedral of industry
with thin saintless windows and a sooty brick exterior,
called Marshalls. The first shop was directly opposite
the site. A shed on derelict ground, it was where porn
was sold, 'rag mags' as they were charmingly called
by whoever who bought them. The place was so grubby,
and it's exterior was such a disincentive to purchase smut therein
that it would have gladened the heart of any hardened puritan.
I passed it often, en route to town. I can picture it still,
I'd swear I never saw anyone enter to make a purchase.
The second 'shop' was at the lighter end of the same street
a bit further from the shadow of the factory.
It was a betting shop. I saw customers enter and leave there.
It was a place for men with money to lose,
for workers unconcerned for their families. I never went in.
I was neither a worker nor family man,
I was merely concerned-for which read 'depressed'.
Many women knew their husbands lost unknown sums of money there
and cheerlessly said nothing. My mother was one of them.
Nowadays I read and hear about syndicates who fix
cricket and football matches, and I understand why I dislike it.
When the money spent on betting on a sport outstrips
by many times what the sport spends on nurturing the young players,
it's future stock, then corruption, cruelty and voyeurism are inevitable,
and anything that can be secretly bought will be. Except Virtue.       

Thursday, 2 January 2014

English Radicalism

is a tug-of-war with the apron strings
of royal power/state priviledge
-as expressed through known history-
and the common man and woman
which continues to pull either way,
right up to the present day until either

1) the radical finds they are propelled
into the realms of power and are forced
into doing what they disliked their foes
doing and they choose to not talk about it. 

Or 2) the strings snap back and disconnect,
creating further misaccounting of the use of power
by older forces and olygarchies.
This creates a bigger disconnect from below
towards the power of the state, which means
more knee jerk laws passed, and more lawlesness,
and anarchy from above which goes unaccounted for.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Fourth Estate At Play

Without the kind permission of Ray Lowry.

If Doubt

is the warp then faith is the weft,
and the world is the cloth we weave.
Be careful to not stretch it to a breaking point
from which we find there can no repair, later.