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

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Music Is A Gift We Pass On

'My father, refusing alcohol, was content enough to sit and play this sorry instrument just for the pleasure it gave everyone. As I sat underneath the keyboard watching both of his hands going in different directions at the same time while playing the standard songs of the day, I looked up at him in admiration. He caught my gaze while playing.


‘I’ll never be able to play like that’, I said enviously.


Without a pause in his striding left hand and still playing with the other, he looked directly at me and said, ‘No, you won’t…you’ll play even better!’ That was the best Christmas ever!'. 

From page 19 of 'Pictures of an Exhibitionist', the 2004 memoir/autobiography by Keith Emerson.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Armchair Politics

If our liberalism is detached,
and our cause is more our right
to be heard and obeyed
than to listen and act
then we not liberal at all
-we are Conservatives
and what we have is detachment
disguised as passive social concern. 

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Philosophy Vs Life

Rene Descartes' 'Cogito Ergo Sum'
was not the wisest phrase ever uttered.

Nor is it the rigorous proof of person-hood
that modern philosophers accept
-the history of their discipline
is dogged by too many doubts
about life and language for that.

But as anyone caring for somebody
with Alzheimer's or dementia will know,
what ever the doubts about the future
thought is life and the greater the clarity
the fuller life for all it presents in the present day.

     

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Absurdity Heights

It is not always the case
that having nothing to say
means you have found
the height of absurdity.

But when everything
said by everyone else
makes no sense,
then silence is best.

If we joined in the babble
then our stuff and nonsense
we would prove us to be
the fools that we would not
want to be known for being.

Having written that much,
silence may be all that is left
for this blog to keep,
until a collective rationality
gives me words that others
are likely to respond to.


  

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Unhappiness Inc

Here at Happiness Management
we know that too much optimism
is not merely bad for the world,
it is also a terrible loss for the people in it.

Too much happiness
makes humanity unsustainable
for the planet.

Therefore it feels right to us to offer
to those seeking solutions to life's complexities
a much higher quality of unhappiness
than any they have previously known,
a bigger, thicker, and longer lasting cloud
around everyone's half remembered silver linings.

We feel sure that helping others
spare themselves as much optimism
as they dare to discard
with a sales pitch laden with misery
is surely be the most sustainable future
that any of us will ever know. Join Us!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Dystopias Come In Many Shapes And Sizes

With the trees netted no bird can nest,
 though insects might feed
but developers will feed even more
by breaking the the spirit of nature
but keeping to the letter of U.K. law.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Great Turn-Offs Of Our Time (19)

When ever we hear the word 'fair'
in politics it seems to be used to defend
an aggressively regressive tax structure,
in proposals where in the future
the poorest have to pay the most.

This situation is almost always imposed
by openly populist right-wing regimes.

It is not merely that such governments
actually like the poor living less well
than everyone else, particularly when
they are made to work harder,
but this new 'fairness' is meant to hide
a Social Darwinism where what was once
falsely described as the survival of the fittest
becomes the wealthy defending their wealth
as if that was the means of their fitness to rule.

Without it their ambition would be naked
and they would be made to be ashamed.

   

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Canine Democracy

Countries are like dogs, the bigger they are
the more fearful human beings are of them.

The bigger they are the more closely they are watched
for how they behave, as if for being poorly trained
they could do anything to each other,
and they would do everything they could
to the humans who make up the rest of the world.

Small dogs are like small countries,
they are seen as friendly, manageable, biddable.
Their civilisation makes them relatively easy
to negotiate with, both internally and from without.
Though put a lot of them together in a pack,
or even a pact, and they will form a firm order,
a hierarchy that is harder for their enemies to beat.  

Friday, 22 March 2019

Bad Masters Make Terrible Servants

I was raised in an authoritarian society
that declared itself to be Liberal.

All the open mindedness was applied
to forgiving how married men misbehaved
due to the long term effects of alcohol,
rather more than how anyone else lived.

Men were top dogs in homes
that only they could own,
and they made sure
that where they went in public
felt like home as well.

They made everyone
who was unlike them
their undeclared servants.

It had been this way 'since before the war'.
Which war?
History taught us to not care, just serve.

But obedient as we were
to the man who was obedient
to the effects of alcohol,
we served the most immediate master
we could in the hope that later masters
would not like the first we had
-between thought word and deed
he was self centred, illogical, and absurd
often with a mirthless sense of humour,
and blind to the nth degree about it.

As an adult I learned all too late
that 'A man cannot serve two masters'
-as if all along my choice
was between God and Mammon.

But from long experience I knew;
as long as bad masters are obeyed
they will accept weak service
and won't care how inconsistently
or with what anger' they are seen;
as long as there is no end of their rule.


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

No Need To Argue?

If for you
'God is dead'
then why argue
with somebody
you don't believe in?  

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

An Old Armageddon Revisited

'But perhaps Armageddon lay not so far away as Ireland.

  The beds of the young men of England were empty, they had comer out to the war. And the goosedown covers, the plain starched sheets, the feather pillows of a thousand Ulster farm-houses had no new young men now to dream in them. The cities and towns of the Irish North had no new young men sent their vivid sons. The old lousy warrens of Dublin. Of course, the two sets of sons liked to trade insults with each other as they passed by chance along the road, or fetched up in billets near each other. The Ulstermen thought the southern boys were all suspect, Home Rulers and worse and suggested as much in forceful phrases. At any rate, great armies were massing everywhere, great divisions, so that the single man was only one flickering light in wide sky of millions. There must be movement at the front, all were agreed. The French boys were drowning in the caverns of Verdun, drowning in their own blood. Millions must push back millions. The Kaiser sent his myriad boys, the King of England his. great troops of women followed, to bandage bolster, and bury. And all of England, and all the old empires, British, Austro-Hungarian, Prussian, the empires of halfpenny lives and the hungry, sad kings and commoners, all party to the same haze, strained for news, and the mountains stood away, and a thousand widows wore their black ribbons in Ireland on their arms, and were treated kindly in the main, with whispered sympathy and whatever was left of wise words. Because the box of wise words was emptying.'

An excerpt from 'A Long Long Way', a 2005 novel about Ireland and WW1 by distinguished author and playwright Sebastian Barry.     

Monday, 18 March 2019

The Imperfect Life

Practice never makes perfect,
but it makes our imperfection
much more forgivable
than we would otherwise be. 

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Is Your Inactivity Really Necessary?

If you are going to be inactive
then there are several matters
that you have to make clear
before you can settle with it.

Is your inactivity being ordered
by people with whom you  disagree?

How might your disagreement
with them leave you not truly at rest?

How moral or immoral is your inactivity?

The answers to these questions
may force you into mental activity
that you can't avoid for being pushed
into being contrary to others,
and your older selves.

The best inactivity is truly neutral....   

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Putting The 'Fun' Into 'Funeral'

If you want to make a good investment
for your future buy your funeral plot early.
Put in the plot all your favourite plants
that will grow there, and visit them often.

Tend them carefully as they grow
and you  will appreciate all the more
how you want to continue to tend them,
as if they were part of yourself,
rather than see them disturbed
by your arrival, never to leave, in a box.
Even though their being disturbed
is ultimately what the space is for.  

Friday, 15 March 2019

Inequality Is Us

Talk of 'meritocracy' is highly popular
among politicians with something to gain
-they like tests that prove who is the best
which reward those with more
even more of what they had before,
as if their grades were superior proof
of superiority. But it ain't necessarily so folks.

In fact admittance of inequality
helps people accept difference
with humour and equanimity.
   

Thursday, 14 March 2019

The Difference In Rates Of Work

Is shown less by notices of who is at work,
more by work that gets done unnoticed.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Art Of Seeing

Everyone looks at the world their own way.

Those who believe in, and practice, art
embed how they see into their vote,
but their creativity is much wider
than any view they might have of Political Parties.

Cynicism, depression and nihilism
will all narrow how we see and what we make
and they will further reduce what we see,
making it much less than it could be.

Even with our vision narrowed
we get our X's worth with our vote,
albeit in inverse proportion to our optimism
whilst leave us with little to say to explain our choice.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Anti-social Mobility

I have never liked mobile phones
Oh, they are fine for telling a friend
that you are coming to see them
whilst you are on public transport,
so that can prepare to meet you.

But with so many bells and whistles
they turn their users into teenagers
who live as if their whole world
has become their gaming arcade.

In the distant past penny arcades
were distinct physical spaces
which were often said to be
'Immoral and a waste of money'
by possessive and hard pressed parents,
unappreciative of how the children
improved their reflexes that way.

The digital arcade that is the Iphone
comes with parental approval,
night and day it lets parents know
where their offspring are
if not what they are doing.

Do the parents also approve
of the diminished attention span?
The displacement activity of having
to look at it and touch the phone so often?
Do they approve of the text speak
which does for written speech
what teenagers do when they mumble?
Where does the not wearing a watch
or knowing how to read a map leave people?

And none of the above even begins to explain
the one sided communications that is sexting....

Monday, 11 March 2019

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Targets

are what governments take arms against
via radio and television when the citizens
they supposedly serve 'demand action'
-that is they press The Press to renew
the good news about how the statistics
for everyday life are constantly improving.

Little do many citizens realise
that as the subject of these statistics
what the numbers say is about them
and they are the actual government target.

The government don't want more jobs
or for ordinary people to actually live better.
All they want is for the statistics that by law
they have to release to be more effectively divorced
from the reality they are meant to represent. 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Who Enjoys Being Bored?

I half admire the froth that the moralisers
work themselves into as they condemn porn.
But my other half  is always disappointed
when  these moralisers don't condemn
their own ubiquity and overselling
to make themselves more consistent.

The consumption of porn is not,
as many high moralists propose,
always worth condemning in itself.
though the creation of it might be.

Those that view sexual images
are damned by their viewing
of images which do not renew
themselves with repetition,
but make the hope of renewal
a strong  part of their draw.

The surest way to stop viewing porn
is to see the viewing of it as live proof
of high levels of boredom
and damn the lack of engagement with other,
more nuanced and mutual, interests
-sufficient to make their creativity self evident.

   

Friday, 8 March 2019

The Matter Of The Heart

When ever I have heard the word 'heart'
used in a news bulletin I have known
before I have heard the reports
that they will miss the point
of what was meant to be reported.   

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Universal Discredit

Men have always deceived themselves
about sex, sexuality, and sensuality
-both their own and everyone else's.

If the confusion were just their own
it would matter less than it does,
but as it is, the history of patriarchy
makes the confusion a problem for everyone.

What the older man never tells the younger,
who they are meant to instruct
about their own (shared) sexual nature
and about what women half-expect
keeps on not getting passed on.

There is a life beyond failing wisdom,
and religious faiths that remove curiosity
and put ignorance and dogma in it's place.
But finding it requires.....



  

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Are You Bored With Boredom?

Depending on whose boredom it is
this may, or may not be, a good thing.

If it is other people being boring
then you will be frustrated
at their disengagement and alienation.

If it is your own boredom
that knowingly disengages you,
then you might have reached
that tipping point with it
-where what is about to happen
next is that new interests
are about to brought to light.   

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Moonwatch

I too have taken delight
in my photographs of the moon,
as it appeared to interact
around man-made structures,
until I realised all too soon;
I had taken too many pictures.

It took a while longer to reason
why too much was too much.
But eventually it became clear to me.

We know much less about the stars
because we see them much less clearly
than previously; the lights of the city
pollute our viewing of the night sky.

With our ignorance of the stars
the moon seems brighter in the night sky,
and we settle for that instead of cursing
the excess of street light that destroy our view.

When the light that pollutes our view
reflects off the moon, we blindly accept
not seeing the stars, and don't miss them.
   

Monday, 4 March 2019

Newstalgia

is what happens when what passes for news
is not new at all, but reports of human behaviour
that is so deeply ingrained that the human beings
who do it, and those that listen to the reports,
have lost their recollection of hearing before.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Humour Is The Best Medicine

I listen to news bulletins quite a lot.
When the news is bad, repetitive,
and about events I cannot change or stop
I listen with lowered concentration.
Given how hard the content is to process
the bulletins are depressing all ways round.

But I marvel at the comedy shows
that use the scalpel of sharp humour
to dissect the news for me, they reveal so much
that the formal repetitions in the bulletins obscure,
with an elegance and grace that makes listen afresh.
  

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Off The Ground

When life is politically incorrect
then P.C. speech does not merely misrepresent
how people live, in the interests of false optimism,
it is an aspiration so rigidly Utopian that it's users
have left the ground that was once under their feet.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Picture Set Of The Month-Textiles

Lena Meyer-Bergner (1906-81) was a textiles designer
She was considered a key member of the Bauhaus movement  
She worked in the Soviet Union and Mexico
after ten years of working in Germany.
In Mexico her work was not just in fabric and design,
she also engaged in anti-fascist politics here is a profile of her.