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

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Self Realisation In A Supermarket

When I last went to a supermarket
my list was in my head and it was clear;
whatever the infinite choice on offer
I was there for what I needed, no more.

There was no point in buying
what I could not carry home
and what I could not store there.

As I saw the 'sell by' dates
I realised I had one of my own.
I had better do something useful
before I reached that time,
or at least learn how to quietly
live within my income.    

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Countdown To Recovery ?

Across the world
the human sperm count
is 'going down'.

According to new research
all the plastics and chemicals
that we poison the planet with
also poison us; our micro plastics
are making male humans infertile.

The sperm count is expected
to drop to zero by 2045.
This gives our planet 
who knows how many millennia
to return to a more balanced life, after.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Interest And Guilt

are similar to each other.

Both are harder to compute
when they are compound
than when they are when simple,
as people have often found out
when they are riven
between duty and joy.

They betray themselves
and the authority they serve
when without joy they obey orders
and the order was for them to enjoy
the work they were given to do,
until disobedience became the point
from which there was no escape,
it became all there was more, more more, of.

 

Sunday, 28 March 2021

This Is What I Watched Forty Years Ago Today


And after I listened to all three hours of the gig at the time I compulsively listened to a copy of the tape of the gig on my walkman until the walkman wore out, then the tapes sounded worn, by which time it was on the internet. There were two other albums that I listened to on rotation on the walkman one was 'Tubular Bells' and the other was 'Dark Side of The Moon'. My ears never tired of all three of these items and many more besides. I even memorised the sound of the audience between songs and the incoherent messages that chanted with the Grateful Dead tape.

According to the BBC schedules for that day, The Who performed first and left the stage for The Grateful Dead who were performing from 11.50 pm. The first set was broadcast on BBC 2 and BBC Radio 1 FM as part of 'Tommy Vance presents 'The Who and The Grateful Dead live'.  BBC 2 ended broadcasting at around 1.30 am Sunday morning, at the end of the first Grateful Dead set (view above). BBC Radio 1 FM broadcast the band's second set, the drums solo set that was the intermission and the encores, until near 3 am. My closest friend Graham in his patience taped all of the broadcast on BBC radio 1 FM. We would have been up until nearer 4 am, monitoring the tape recording. He cut out the drums/intermission in his recording to leave room for the encores we expected. 

I was still living under my parents, though I was not very settled there. I had no idea what they thought of me consistently coming and going at strange hours and being obsessed with types of music which they had no interest in and no desire to comprehend. They had zero interest in music. From those days to now, I have no idea what they thought about me being restless and passionate about something that they heard as noise. We lived in different worlds whilst sharing the same house, and there was a strong 'Don't ask, don't tell' ethos to give the appearance of unity and shared goals. Like The Grateful Dead themselves, my family had their enigmatic silences where there should have been conversations. But where the band had the music to communicate with each other through, the silences my family kept had no compensatory mechanisms, like unity and empathy of playing music together, to make up for what could not be declared between us.

Thank you Graham for the tape that you made for me of the BBC Radio 1 FM broadcast, and thank you too for the party we surely had at your house that night. If ever there anything you had that I wanted my own copy of it was the Hi-Fi and recording set up you had, which when played complex music loud made listening an immersive experience. We surely both felt the buzz as the BBC pulled out all the stops they could for bringing this landmark gig to life in British viewers and listeners homes at the unearthly hour at which it was performed. Finally thank you for how that gig, the tape of it, fuelled a positivity in my life until other, better, fuel arrived. There were times when it was easier to believe in music than people, and the audio tape of the above gig gave me comfort for so long afterwards, when apparently real people (not you) let me down and I let you and them down through my inconsistency.

Nine years later I did see the band live. The dream-come-true-event was only slightly marred by the death of their third keyboard player some weeks before they arrived in London to play at the Empire Pool, Wembley. Brent Mydland was missed, but the band played around his absence, as they had to, to please themselves and their followers. In the programme the comment on his death was 'He will be sharply missed' and if he was then there was still plenty of euphoria.

As The Grateful Dead sang the night of the television broadcast in their first encore, after the second set and the intermission/drums, 

'Love is real, Not fade away....  '. 

True love does not fade away though it will weave and waver down the years....

Saturday, 27 March 2021

How Far Beyond Fear Can We Get?

Because of the ways
that governments use Covid,
where if they genuinely 'obey The Science'
they have little choice in how they respond, 
then we are all living as if we are in
a reluctantly totalitarian regime;
everyone is a danger to us,
we are a potential danger to others. 

What is more we can't be sure
how reluctant the totalitarianism is,
as governments give themselves power
and reduce to nearly nothing
the scrutiny of their polices.

Populist governance is like that;
politicians talk in shiny quotes
which they think have a ring to them
but sound hollow on second listening. 

With so many days by ourselves,
at home not making many journeys,
we have to decide what sort of luck
it seems to be, with our living on our own.
 

Friday, 26 March 2021

We are All Just The Dust

That make up the bricks in the wall
where we consistently separate from each other...

Thursday, 25 March 2021

File Under Absurd Suggestions

Recently I heard it suggested
that schools should teach pupils
about how to engage with politics
the same way that pupils get taught
about the many and varied religions.

The idea being that politics
needs an injection of new blood,
new young people to take it up
-people who will imbue the country
with a fresher energy and idealism. 

So far, so fine, so idealistic.
But I can't stop seeing
how civics and politics 
will get kicked around the syllabus
and used as a make weight subject
by an exam system that denies it is failing.

And just as teaching children about religion
when they are least able to focus clearly
on what it might have been supposed to mean
which often results in faith and culture
becoming a no go area for far too long,
so, far from refreshing politics,
teaching what politics and civics are
could put children off voting for life.
  

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Viral Diplomacy?

When Trump called Covid 'The China virus'
he was playing a very old political trope,
a trope far older than could be admitted
in the land of the ahistorical and the free
where some people's idea of democracy
is restricting the rights for others to vote
to maintain the hegemony of the wealthy.

An older disease that for many centuries
remained both unnamed and unidentified
was the disease now called Syphilis.

Then it was identified, and it did not have a name
but everywhere it was found it stigmatised
every individual and the country it was found in,
more deeply than the usual links between shame
and disease, because it's transmission was sexual.

The Muslim Turks called it 'The Christian disease',
Italy, Germany and Britain called it 'The French Disease',
The French called it 'The Neapolitan Disease',
The Russians called it 'The Polish Disease'
The Poles called it 'The German Disease',
The Danish, North Africans and Portuguese
called it 'The Spanish/Castilian Disease'.
In India the Muslims blamed the Hindus
for the disease and vice blamed versa
until vice and versa combined to blame
their colonisers, whilst still wanting
to have empires and colonies of their own.

Meanwhile before Syphilis was understood
some of it's more obvious symptoms resembled
those of leprosy, for more about that read here.

But the bigger disease was of the imagination.
It was the nation state, which begat empires
as multiplying vectors of diseases,
which has been a curse indigenous peoples
everywhere they have struggled to live,
more sustainably, than their overlords, ever since. 

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

How Long Does It Take To Decompose?

The one item I see that is not on the list
which I already know 'should be burnt'
is the disposable Covid protection mask.

 

Monday, 22 March 2021

I Have Never Bought A Big Mac

but if I did I would respect the staff
who served me. Whoever works there
does so out of a lack of freedom of choice
and smiling that much cannot be easy. 

The food they have to serve
is what I would look down on,
all that sugar and fat that hides
in different combinations,
with mayonaise to match,
and a feeble flavourless salad.

I am with Robert Robinson on this.
He toured America with a BBC camera
and looked at the restaurant food en route,
he concluded; 'The flavour went into to menu'.    

Sunday, 21 March 2021

If It Were Not For The Trees

that grow so high
around where I live,
my isolation, due to Covid,
would be complete
beyond my ability
to cope with it.

How do I show my thanks and appreciation
to them in a way in which they will know it?

By taking a leaf
out of their living book;
the life beyond language
which 
they represent.

And treasuring the silence. 


Saturday, 20 March 2021

The Don't/Do Conundrum

Is a human contrariness that proves
more consist the more it is tested,
and recently it has been tested a lot.

How it works is simple enough
A minister will prohibit something
and ban all talk of it in the media.

Then the minister will be asked 
by a journalist who will raise the point
and the negativity of the minister
will be all the encouragement
the public to want do the opposite.

Friday, 19 March 2021

Cueless

Nowadays I don't watch television
because I dislike what is broadcast
being practically infinite and on tap.  

What mainstream media that I enjoy
I enjoy as part of my daily digital diet.

It is up to me to be careful about what cues that I follow. 

The emails, the radio and podcasts
that I listen to, the messages, the music
and the photos that I take, well processed.

But I remember the life I had
when dad got his first television,
and for two decades after.
I recall how his favourite channels
were the channels also favoured
in the bars that he frequented
when he was with his mates
and not with his family. 

It was as if his taste
required the addition of alcohol
to make it entertaining
and as the head of the house
he made sure he was the only one
allowed to drink that much.

He made sure only he among us
could pay to be that far off his rocker
and still be deferred to
by those, who for having to be sober,
were not entitled to the choice
of an opinion on the effects of alcohol.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Healing Through Sleep?

For some who endure isolation,
the times on their own
that will seem most complete
will be when they are asleep.

In their dreams they can meet
whoever they wish to.
With no social restrictions
or bar on any seat
where they can meet.

As long as they are asleep
when they and their friends meet 
 

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

The Present Is A Country That Will Pass

How to misread the past;
apply today's clich
és
to pasts where there was
no such idea or language,
where the people that lived there
had different ways of working out
their present tense lives.

Even if back then
they did what we do now,
they would have wanted
the future to be different.
 

 

Great Turn Offs Of Our Time (26)

One phrase that makes me disinclined
to believe a given writer or speaker
is 'I have always....  '. Beyond breathing
I disbelieve that anyone could be so consistent,
in their habits from the past to the present day
and for them to still be accepted by others as alive,
particularly when changes so much around them.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Evolutionary Reasoning

Fear does not need reason to thrive;
it is happy enough to multiply
through humans synapses.

Would that faith had the same inventiveness. 

Friday, 12 March 2021

The Free Gift

That is neither free nor a gift
is the phone that is advertised
as a prize in many an advert
enticing punters into a competition
where most will get nothing.

Even if I won the phone
I would still be the loser
I don't want just a phone
I want a friend to talk to me
and who will listen as well.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Financial Folly A Deux

If ever anyone with poor health
sought private mental health insurance
because they saw that their state's
mental health care was uncaring
I for one would not blame them. 

But given the premiums
they will be asked to pay
I would say 
they had more money than sense
when they made the application.

 

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Of Viruses And Humans

One of the phrases that is on repeat
in these fear-of-Covid laden times
is the phrase 'getting the R rate down
where R stands for reproduction'.

If we had applied this to ourselves,
consistently and a long time ago, 
then the virus might not have had
to do the task it has been given
itself to do, now. Quietly remind us
of our role in the over-consumption
of our planet and it's resources. 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

The 'R' Rate

Is presently short for 'the reproduction rate'.
It is a term applied to the Covid virus,
though other viruses might like their own census.

But I would like 'The R rate' to refer
to how racist different countries are,
with defined units of measurement
based on what one country's citizens
 would do to another, hinted at,
but never asked directly,
in the name of schadenfraude
on behalf of their own country.

Surprise surprise, the research has been done
with the unit measurement provided by
proposals tabled or passed by the United Nations,
and forty page report (that's short!) produced about it.
Here it is for you to mark, read, and inwardly digest,
indigestible as any proper account of racism should be. 
  

Nationalise Stupidity

The act of nationalising a product
or an industry is the process
where a government buys up
all the available stocks/supplies
of this or that asset on behalf
of what they perceive
will be a grateful nation.

In their confidence, governments
like to create deference towards them
a sort 'yes man' subservient voter
who will approve of the self interest
of those in power, over his own interests.

Furthermore, governments like to conflate
'yes man' deference with reasoned gratitude
to the point where the public can't distinguish
between being thankful with good reason
and being broken down, mental decrepitude.

That is why I want my government
to nationalise one of most abundant
human resources we have left,
in their own deep self interest
I want them to nationalise stupidity.

Think of the infinite unity
supported by us collectively
making bad decisions-
not realising how bad they are.....
 

Monday, 8 March 2021

Word Soup

In a world where being inarticulate
means you know that what you said
was not at all what you meant,
which you would never say, anyway,
it is wisest to never apologise
for all the slips of tongue and brain
that so caused offence,
assume your forgiveness instead.

And if you knew
who to apologise to
you have forgotten
what you were meant
to apologise for. 

The solution that is for best,
Is the one that takes the matter
out of your hands
-it is the have friends 
who forgive you, unasked,
and don't ever mention it.


Sunday, 7 March 2021

A Colour Blind Politics

is only as possible as a colour blind history,
which is to say it is not just impossible,
it is also absurd.  

Any history where sight
is it's witness and informant
will always be a history of colour
whilst being a register of social class.

In the USA citizens vote for flawed Utopias,
in elections where they accept 
that the flaws will never be fixed
but may be made 'manageable',
if the right president achieves office.

No president has ever taken on the history
where non-citizenship for the many
was part of the constitution, then it wasn't.
When the government broadened citizenship
it divided the country in a war
in which the losing side denied defeat
and saw no need for reconciliation,
no president has taken on all of this and won.

Now it seems to be too late
to expect such a person.

  

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Why I Won't Do Zoom

or Skype, or any of that tripe;
they present to me a non-corporeal life,
where the mind thinks, the eye sees,
the ear hears and the voice will speak,
using words that suit the occasion.
But they will do it at such a remove
from what is in front of me
that I get no sense of intimacy.

It might as well be my afterlife.
I have no intent of going there early.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Don't Drop

Stop shopping,
when you don't need what's sold.

Help yourself to a quieter life
and a larder and appetite
that is quietly under control.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Stupidity Is A Philosophy

If you don't believe me,
look around you, at where
self interest meets duplicity
and tell me that those people
who are double dealing
for whatever intent
multiply the effect 
-by denying to themselves
that they are doing it.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

When Classification Is The Problem

Recently I relearned the story
of the downfall of Oscar Wilde,
about how he was the fall guy
for what Victorian society
refused to accept that it did
as vehemently as it refused
to do anything about it.

Oscar endured what we now call
'a mid-life crisis' when he met
the youth known as Bosie,
who was an unwilling member 
a dysfunctional aristocratic family.

Before Oscar and Bosie met
Bosie knew more that Oscar did
about what we now call 'being gay'
and the life of boys 'On the game',
the youths whose attractiveness
got them barred from better occupations.

Men who were corrupted by their wealth
always knew how to misuse a boy was poor,
better than the boy himself could acknowledge. 

This was one side of  'The double life',
or how one life could be seen two ways
which was the great Victorian fascination.
 

Victorian society wanted to be viewed
as 'moral' whilst benefiting the few
and blaming the poor majority
for 'the immorality their poverty'. 

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Danger; Normality At Work

 We all seem normal 
to folks who don't know us.

If we remain that way
after becoming friends 
and saying we know each other
then our being known 
should be reason for worry.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Picture Set Of The Month - March - Safer Sanitation For Women

Agnes said 'I am very happy because I don't have to
collect grass every morning to put on the roof'. 
Athanasia's toilet constructed under a eucalyptus tree
was built for her by her community.
It has a view of Gitwa.
  

Marie Pierrette's toilet is the chance for her
to be creative 'It is quite small' she said
'I wash and clean it every day. I try to do my best'.

Marie Lydia's toilet was built when nearly everybody
else in the village had theirs. Marie said
'We paid for our first toilet by ploughing 
other people's land'. 
All photos taken by Elena Heatherwick for Wateraid.