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Towards Honours

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I had taken my degree in 2015 without honours.  I had a chance to get involved in a writing project for stage which is presently touring the north west and thought I had finished with studying.  But, now things have settled, the pull back to the books has risen again and I've decided to go back and hopefully finish off with honours.

I wasn't sure what to do and was initially drawn back towards literature and A335.  So, I had a longish talk today with a student adviser and after much consideration I'm going to go for a level 3 politics course.  It seems strange now that I ever considered literature before politics, when you look at the content of the blog.   So, it seems to make more sense especially since my level 2 politics course was one of my highest marks.

So, I'm going to make the most of the summer before getting back to the books....can't wait to get started! The only thing now is which level 3???  I think it has to be Living Political Ideas.  DD306, it's really where my natural interest lies.  I just remembered, Tony Benn left parliament because he wanted to get more involved with political ideas.  Well, I think that confirms it.

So, onwards to hopefully upwards.....

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The Numbers Game

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This was my second piece in the show, I'll not say what it's about and see if you can guess before you get to the end.

A person onstage marking white strokes on a black board.  Another person comes on.

Person A       What are you doing?

Person B       Counting

Person A       What are you counting?

Person B       Deaths

Person A       Really? 

Watches for a while, then speaks.

Person A       There seem to be quite a lot, what did they die from?

Person B       Can’t you guess? 

Person A       Oh, I don’t know. Terrorist attacks?

Person B Stops and turns around to speak.

Person B       That’s a lot of terrorist attacks in the space of a month.

Person A       Oh, it’s just in a month.

Person B       Hmmm, ok, I think I’ve got it, famine in Africa.

Person A       It’s not Africa, it’s here in Ireland.  I don’t think there would be too many dying from famine in Ireland, at least not this century

Person A       Oh, it’s Ireland. Wow, I thought it was in the world.  (Thinks for a minute)  Ok, I think I’ve got it. Car accidents, yeah, it has to be car accidents. (Feeling pleased with himself) I know road deaths are high because you have all those ads on the telly.

Person B       It’s not road accidents

Person A       Oh it’s not. Are you sure?

Person B       I’m sure.

Person A       Ok, (thinks for a minute) Cancer.  Yes definitely cancer.  That’s why you don’t really hear about it.  Yes, it’s cancer, I mean everybody dies with cancer these days don’t they?  (Feeling pleased with himself again)

Person B       It’s not cancer

Person A       It’s not?  Really, God I can’t think what else it could be.  Ok, give me a clue?

Person B       Alright, here’s another statistic - It’s a factor in more than half of all suicides.

Person A       Ah it’s depression, it has to be depression.   I mean that’s usually why people kill themselves, isn’t it?  I mean, I know quite a few people who’ve killed themselves and a lot of them were depressed.

Person B       It’s not depression.

Person A       It’s not.  God, this is a hard one isn’t it.  (Studies the board for a moment) Ok, give me another clue?

Person B       They reckon it costs the health service 1.2 billion euros every year.

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot of money, I could do with some of that, eh?  Ok, violence, maybe, yes violence because you always hear about violence and how much it costs the country

Person B       It isn’t violence, although it’s a significant factor in many violent assaults

Person A       God, I dunno, knives, guns something like that, yeah that could be it, cos people use guns and knives to kill themselves and hurt others.  You know like all those druggies you hear about in Dublin.

Person B       It’s not knives or guns either.

Person A              Jesus, it’s not that either, awh, you’ve got me, I can’t think what it could be.

Person B       You really can’t guess?

Person A       No

Person B       It’s drink...alcohol

Person A       Really, that many?  God, I wouldn’t have thought.......so how many exactly?

Person B       88

Person A       Every month?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Here...in Ireland?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot.

Person B       It is, isn’t it?

Both walk off

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This is the first of my sketches that appeared in the show on Wednesday. It's about treating physical health as mental health.  It went down really well and got a lot of positive feedback from the audience.

Reception of an A&E.  Two people come in, one of them has a broken leg. There is a receptionist at a desk.

Person A              Please, can you help?  I think my friend has broken his leg.

Person B              (groaning in pain)

Receptionist       Ok, (exasperated) let’s see if I can get you an appointment.

Person A              An appointment, what are you talking about?  Didn’t you hear me, I think he’s broken his leg and needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       Right, I can get you in on the 29th.

Person A              The 29th? But that’s 2 weeks away.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the earliest appointment I have. 

Person A              An appointment?  He needs a doctor now.

Receptionist       Well, I’m afraid you can’t.  All health problems require you to make an appointment so that you can be referred for treatment.

Person A              What do you mean, referred?  You mean the doctor isn’t going to fix his leg?

Receptionist       No, he’s not qualified, he will have to refer him to a specialist.

Person A              Are you kidding me?  His leg is broken.  Look!  He can’t walk on it.  He needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that isn’t possible, it’s the new rules. 

Person A              What new rules?

Receptionist       Health care has been equalised.

Person A              What do you mean equalised?

Receptionist       From now on all physical and mental health problems are to be treated equally.  There’s to be no difference between them.

Person A              What?  This doesn’t make sense. I mean, this is A & E.  He had an accident and this is an emergency.  Why does he have to wait two weeks now?

Receptionist       Well, you still can be seen in an emergency.  I mean if he had broken both legs and arms, then you would be deemed to be completely incapacitated.  So he might get seen then. 

Person A              What?  This is insane!  What the hell is he supposed to do until then. 

Receptionist       Well, make sure he doesn’t miss his appointment.  They don’t like it when that happens.

Person A              I mean, about his leg?

Receptionist       Well, he should probably sit down more and try not to put any weight on it.

Person A              Is this a joke?

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.

Person A              I don’t fecking believe this, are you serious?  I mean, a broken leg! Can you understand what that means?  He won’t be able to work or anything

Receptionist       Oh, work?  Oh, I can assess him for that. I went through the training program last Wednesday afternoon.  (gets up and walks over to person B)  Can you raise your hands up over your head?

Person B raises his hands.

Receptionist       Can you stand up?

Person B stands up (leaning on one leg)  Can you move a bit? (hops along for a couple of steps)  Ok, you can sit down now.  (to person A) See, he can still work.

Person A              How can he work with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, what does he do?

Person A              He’s a painter.

Receptionist       Well, there you go, he can still paint, he’d be able to do it sitting and he can stand for a bit too.

Person A              Jesus, I don’t believe this.  And how do you assess someone who’s ill with something like depression?

Receptionist       Well, the same way.  If you can move you can work, that’s the policy.  So now, does he want the appointment or not?

Person A              Good God, what a set up....do you want the appointment?  (to person B)

Person B              Yes!  YES!  For God’s sake, YES! (groaning in pain)

Another person comes in holding his chest.

Person C              Help, I’m having terrible chest pains! 

Receptionist       Look, I told you last week, your appointment’s on Friday.

Person C              Man lets out a loud groan and collapses in to the seat next to Person B,. 

Person A              I don’t believe that just happened? (incredulous)

Receptionist       (Lifts the phone)  We have another one, can you come and well, you know........

In the background person B is poking and looking at the collapsed man. Two people come in and drag him off

Receptionist       Well, that was a bit of luck.

Person A              Sorry?

Receptionist       For your friend....an appointment has just opened up for Friday.

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Well, do you want it or not?....The appointment?

Standing looking bewildered and shaking his head.

Person B              Take the appointment!  Take the appointment! (shouting)

 Receptionist      Ok, we’ll see you on Friday morning at 10.30, don’t be late.

Person A              So, how long will it be after he’s seen the doctor?

Receptionist       Well, once he gets his referral, his name will go on the list.

Person A              What?  A list?

 Receptionist      Yes, everybody goes on the list now.

Person A              Sorry, just bear with me for one minute.  He can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks (trying to stay calm)

Receptionist       Now, now that’s not true, don’t forget, he got an appointment for Friday.

Person A              Ok... he did......but then he has to go on a waiting list. (taking deep breaths) Ok, now how long is the waiting list?

Receptionist       Well, the waiting list at the moment is 10 months.

Person A              10 months!  You cannot be serious!!?  10 months!  To see someone to fix a broken leg.  This is a joke, this has to be a joke!  (exploding with anger)  How the hell is he supposed to manage for 10 months with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, as I said before it would probably be best to sit down more.  You know, I saw this in a film one time. A man was injured out in the jungle, it was his leg too, and they tied a piece of wood to it and taped it up.  You could try that.  It would keep him going,... you know.....until you get to see the specialist.  And, you never know....you might get lucky again.

Person A              What do you mean, lucky?   Again?

Receptionist       Well, someone might...you know...(lowering her voice) pass on...

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Pass on... you know...like before...(nodding over in the direction of the man who collapsed) that’s been happening a lot recently.  We’re saving an absolute fortune.  The government thinks it’s great.  It’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it before.

Person A              What the hell is going on here? (almost hysterical)

Receptionist       Well, I don’t know what you mean?

Person A              I brought my friend in here, he can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks and then he’s going to have to go on a list and wait another 10 months.

Receptionist       But he’s seeing the doctor on Friday.  You were lucky, other people have to wait too, you know.

Person A              And this is supposed to be a health SERVICE?

Receptionist       Well, it’s not my responsibility,  I don’t even vote so don’t blame me for what the government does...(getting angry, she stands up)  and anyway that’s how it’s been for mental health for years and I didn’t hear you complaining then.

Person A              What are you talking about, you....you....?

Receptionist       Look, that’s the way it is and there’s nothing you can do about it.  You were lucky he got an appointment for Friday.  My friend’s son had depression and killed himself before he even got to see the doctor.   You should think yourself lucky he only has a broken leg!

Person A              Standing, looking at her with his mouth open

Receptionist       Well, it’s time for my break....(leaves)

Person A moves over to person B

Person A              I don’t believe this...(stunned) I’m sorry.  (helps him up, he groans and they move towards the exit).....here I tell you what...my brother in law has a pair of crutches....from when he broke his ankle, remember......playing footie.  I’m sure he would lend them to you.....(they hobble off stage)

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Happy Birthday

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 9 Sept 2022, 16:31

A friend recently pointed out that my blog was a year old, which surprised me as I didn’t think I had started it until around April. So, happy birthday to my blog and thank you to everyone who read, or commented on it.  

When I began last year, I wasn’t exactly sure where it was going to lead, it actually hasn’t led anywhere ('Yet!’ she cried hopefully) but it all came about when I began taking acting lessons in January and the confidence I gained from them, is what led me to start the blog, and since I had a free one with the OU, I thought this was as good a place as any to start. I always had ambitions to write and an interest in politics, although growing up in Ireland through the 60’s, and 70’s (in truth, I’m still growing up) it would have been impossible not to. So, this seemed like a good way of getting the politics out without having to be a politician or joining any party. I have joined several political parties over the years but never stayed too long with any of them. The ‘politics’ of party politics is something I really can’t be bothered with and I have found that, in life, as with everything else, ego is the biggest obstacle to getting anything done whether it’s your own or someone else’s.  

When trying to decide on a title, I wasn’t sure if I should put my name on it, a lot of bloggers write under pseudo-names but I don’t like anonymous and always thought that if I wasn’t prepared to stand by what I said, then maybe I shouldn’t say it at all. So, that’s why my name is there. I like poetry, to read and to write, and while I’ll never be Wordsworth or Yeats, I like to indulge a little and since I had several poems from the creative writing course from the previous year, I thought it would be a fairly safe way of starting off. 

So, I had the poetry and the politics, and with the inclusion of opinion in the title, I liked how it sounded, so that was where the title came from. Looking back now at some of the pieces, I can see themes that have developed over the year. God, humanity, inequality, in amongst all the politics, poetry and opinions. 

The ‘God’ thing coming through surprised me because it was only when I started writing about it did I realize what a potent force it is in my life. Over the years, we have had a long and sometimes very fraught relationship. I fell out with Him/Her/It as a teenager and spurned all offers of reconciliation for many years. But He (I’m going with He, if only to cut down on the typing) was relentless in His pursuit and so thirteen years ago, I gave in, (He had me cornered and we both knew it). I haven’t always got it right and didn’t always do what I was supposed to, one time in particular stands out in memory which I got hammered for, so that is why now, it’s God’s way, or it’s no way. That’s not to say I take it all lying down, I argue the toss back and forth and I know this probably all sounds crazy, but it is what it is, and when I do what He says, I don’t go far wrong. It’s not an easy option, just the opposite in fact, but I’m committed now so I have to go along with whatever comes up.

I am still no clearer as to what God is, my experience tells me that it’s this invisible force that moves us and that is as much as I can tell you. I can see parallels with the God of the Bible but mostly I see misinterpretation of how it works, and the closest explanation I have found to my experience is in the teachings of Taoism.

With the writing, I find myself drawn more and more to writing from a religious or spiritual  point of view, not just about politics and the morality of the systems of government we live under but, also, on what I see as the hypocrisy of the Churches who really don’t speak out enough about poverty and inequality. The huge disparity in wealth between those at the top and those at the bottom appals me, and I can’t understand how anyone can sit in comfort with millions and ignore the hardship that others are living under, and it especially appals me to watch the perverse glee of the Conservatives about the cuts they’re inflicting on those struggling at the bottom, and their demonization of the working class while giving the wealthy all the breaks, and still calling themselves ‘Christian’??

 Anyway, plans for the future include getting stuck into my course work and continuing with the writing. My Alternative Feminist has been quiet for a while but hopefully we’ll be hearing from her soon. I would like to write more on everything but every hour at the moment seems to be accounted for. I am hoping to begin a novel in the weeks ahead, and the drama starts up again in March so there won’t be much of a let up for a while yet.

There’s still plenty more to write about and as long as the Conservatives and the Churches remain as they are, there will be no shortage of things to comment on. So I shall wish you all well on ‘our’ anniversary, I shall be going to the opera tonight to celebrate and hope that you all continue to keep reading. 

Thank you for your time and your interest.





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