I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all bloggers and readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. May all your assignments be in on time and all your marks high. Merry Christmas everyone!!
A while back I put up a poem written by a young man named John Jones who died at the tender age of 22. His nephew found the poem on the blog and contacted me and then put me in touch with his mother who is John's twin sister. We've been keeping in touch and she has given me permission to put up the rest of the poems so I said I would do that over the month of December. The poems were all written back in the 1970's and this is the first of them.
A curfew on laughter
Graffitti void of frolic
Oil slicks for seafaring dodo's
Crimes for every handicap
Multiple pile-ups on easy terms
Mutual interest in select perversion
An empty ledge for every desperate man
An audience for the crocus
An encore for the rain
A meal for every stomach
An end to human pain,
A mother for each baby
A truth for every dream
Lovers for the lonely
Peaches with ice-cream
In trenches near and far
January, October 1976
So the annual glut fest begins in earnest, as if we weren’t gorging enough with Christmas, we now have the cultural imposition of another Americanism, Black Friday, where you get to see humanity reduced by the brainwashing of the media and the capitalist system into a spending frenzy, buying stuff they don’t need and if they really sat down and thought about it, would realise they probably don’t want either.
It kills me to see human beings brought down into acting like rats fighting over the scraps from the bin, and for what? A bargain buy, another piece of stuff to fill the house with, as if we didn’t have enough already. At the end of the day, are you really any happier with the latest iPhone, has the quality of your life suddenly improved because you can now download your apps a little quicker? (I don’t even know if that’s correct, I have a very basic mobile, I don’t have an app to my name) It’s heart-breaking to see how many people fall time and again for all this nonsense, it seems as if the whole world is brain-dead. When did we all become fashion victims? When did we stop thinking for ourselves? Are we all so desperate to feel ‘accepted’ that we have to follow like sheep to the next ‘big thing’. Social acceptance is like a cancer in our minds, and who are we all trying to impress?
Why does anyone give a damn what anyone thinks about them? No one else is living your life but you, so why does some stranger’s opinion matter? And really, if you need certain stuff to fit in with whoever, maybe you should re-think who your friends are and start connecting with people who accept you for who you are, preferably without the need for all the stuff!
Because that’s what this is all about, the judgement of others. There was never a time when human beings were subjected to the ‘tyranny’ of public opinion more so than they are now. We watch week in and week out, programmes like the X Factor and those crap shows Channel 4 specialises in about people on benefits. Watching the news tonight, didn’t the media just love it, watching the scraps for crap! They point the finger in condemnation, like the Tories and their self-righteous pillaring of the poor and unemployed. Let the self-righteous point the finger when they haven’t been party to encouraging the whole sorry spectacle to begin with.
Immediately after the news story on Black Friday was an item about Ebola in Sierra Leone, here is a country in crisis and people living in the most appalling poverty. We have so much here and still we’re brain-washed into wanting more, more, more!
If we are into adopting Americanisms, then let’s try this one, let’s adopt the habits of the original Americans, let’s take only what we need from the earth, let’s re-build our communities (tribes) and look out for each other, let’s take care of our people and our environment and let’s stop with the competition. Instead of working to out-do each other, let’s work together and support each other and let’s work to make sure that every human being has access to the things that really matter, like food, clean water, a decent and safe place to live, health care and education. Then maybe, at some point in the future if you really have to go shopping, you can go knowing that in your community, there isn’t a child or older person going without or feeling lonely or that out in the world, there isn’t another human being sleeping on the streets or dying from the want of some of the basics in life that we all take for granted.
Oh God of Rock, we salute you in your almighty fabulousness and musical wonderfulness!! We're not worthy, we're not worthy!........Anyway, a great night and wholly satisfying in so many ways as only Mr Robert Plant can be, always delivers his best and his voice is still amazing. We met a lovely couple who had come the whole way from Staffordshire for the concert, a big hello to Steve and Janette. Apparently Steve, who is a big Led Zep/Plant fan, surprised Janette with a weekend away to Belfast, only to find out that the reason they were there was to see Mr Plant. But she really enjoyed it so it all worked out in the end.
Of course, all the old rockers were out in force, the long hair may be grey and it may be a while since we all 'rocked and rolled' but they're still going strong even if the waistlines are a little more expansive these days!! Belfast was buzzing and I had such a good night I think I'll be going back there very soon maybe for a weekend.
There was a great selection of music, opening with a Zeppelin number and along with tracks from the new album and a few old delta blues number, it was a rocking good night. Of course, the roof nearly lifted for Whole Lotta Love, what a buzz!!! And then he came back with Rock and Roll in the encore, what more does a girl need!!
So, God of Rock, thank you for blessing us with your Divine Presence, and heavenly choir.....until next time, keep rocking it out! Aaaamennnnn to that!
I'm off to see the God of Rock tonight, what do you mean 'Bruce Springsteen', Who said that?? Wash your mouth out.....No, there is only one God of Rock and that is Robert Plant, playing tonight in Belfast, so looking forward to this.
Saw another great group last night, Leila Jane and Calamity Gin, I know Leila from our drama group but she is now an university in Northumberland and making a name for herself in music. I expect to see her on Jules Holland in the not too distant future. So, keep an eye out for her, she is destined to be big, so if you get the chance to see her, take it, you won't regret it.
A very busy weekend, I was at a friends surprise birthday party on Halloween night before we all headed to Voodoo in Letterkenny for the revelry, which is a sort of open mike night. Some of our friends were doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was brilliant, and a great night was had by all! Halloween is a big night here, it originates from the Celtic tradition, where it was believed the spirits of the dead came back on this night to revisit all their old 'haunts' although i think we have more to fear from the living when full of spirits than the spirits of those we loved and lost.
Then on Saturday i had another party to attend but this one was the EGM of the Green Party, in Bangor. I finally decided a few weeks ago to get involved in politics instead of just sounding off on the blog, so I joined the Green Party which was the only party I could join in good conscience. So, i am now officially the only Green Party member in town, for now i might add! I'll be doing my best to recruit new members and the party in enjoying a surge in membership at the moment, let's hope it continues.
A strange thing is going on with my computer and i just wonder if anyone else has had something similar. An 'unidentified network' keeps blocking my internet access and i can't get online, i can't get into this network and i have no idea who or what it is. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? The funny thing is, i am political and subscribe to various political sites but this thing appeared the same week i posted a piece on Facebook about attending a night in support of Palestine (this was a night of entertainment with a political slant, nothing too radical) Ironically, it was organised by an Israeli guy i know, and his friend who is from Palestine.. am i being paranoid ?? Anyone any suggestions??
Reading about Cam's plans for discounted prices for first time buyers under the Cons, I'm stating my objections now. I don't want my taxes funding lower prices for home buyers, i want them to pay for education, heath services and the welfare state. It's no wonder the Cons are so into home 'ownership', along with 'marriage' they are the pillars of capitalism. Keeping your nose to the grindstone to pay for you 'death pledges'. Once the ring is on, the next step is buying the house after which your life becomes centred on paying the mortgage. And what does that mean in reality, you get a large loan and over the 20 to 40 years it takes to pay it off, you will have paid for your property twice over. Then you either end up having to sell it to pay for your care or else you'll leave it to your children to fight over!! How can you own anything? Everything we have is borrowed, our lives are finite, we can't take any of this with us, we might delude ourselves that we 'own' stuff, but we don't own anything, everything is temporary and all that we have for our use in this lifetime will eventually be like ourselves, dust. I know so many people who got caught up in the property boom (trap) and are now sitting with huge mortgages and negative equity, we've been conned people!! If you want to help in the fight against capitalism and greedy bankers, don't buy houses, don't give them your money, keep as much of it to yourself as your can and use it to enjoy your life as much as possible. And if you want to be with someone, just be with them, you don't have to get married! But if you have children, DO take care of your responsibilities!! A happy childhood is the foundation to a good life, and pays better dividends than bankers!! After all, your children get to decide on your care home!
Just sitting watching the first love of my life on the telly, none other than Ziggy himself. I used to have a poster on my bedroom wall which must have been taken from this concert because he had that short kimono on, i just loved it, back in the day. Still love Bowie, always have, always will, some loves never die.
I was in Letterkenny on Wednesday night to see this show, it was as the title suggests 'fabulous'. It's a production between Liam O'Maonlai and the Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre performing to Liam's solo album Rian. They have toured venues all over Europe with this show and it is definitely worth going to see. They are in Longford tonight, Sligo tomorrow night and Carrick on Shannon on Sunday night, so if you are in the west of Ireland, do yourself a favour and check this out, you won't regret it!
I was just checking through some of my old blog posts when i noticed 'big society' in the tags, whatever happened to Cam's 'big society'??? Anyone any ideas?? When the Tories come canvassing for the next election, maybe we should ask them?
What a let down! My most sincere condolences to all in the 'Yes' camp, i really hoped you would win. It's really ironic, the 'no' vote was for the status quo but because of the vote, things are going to change anyway!!! All you 'no's' should just have voted yes......
Things will change for Scotland and the rest of us but i think the real losers here are going to be the working class in England, the possibility of Tory rule forever in England is just too depressing to contemplate, you have my sincerest sympathy! Say goodbye to the NHS if the Tories get in again!
Good luck to Alex Salmond, he did a great job, sorry he didn't get the result, but i bet there are many today who voted no and now regret it. Imagine that, you voted AGAINST your own country, that is something you have to live with!
Well, the big day arrives tomorrow and if there are any floating voters out there who are reading this and still not sure what way to vote, my suggestion is, to just go for it. Why not? The chance to run your own affairs, free from the yoke of Westminster, don't listen to the scare-mongers, be like the song 'Scotland the Brave'! I've listened to all the arguments and i have found the no camp so patronising, are the Scottish people so stupid that they would be incapable of running their own country? I don't think so!
I love Scotland, it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it never fails to amaze me how many people travel across the world to other places for their beauty but have never been to the Highlands, unreal!! If you have never been, go, you have no idea what you're missing, it is stunning.
There's another myth about Scotland, I've never understood, that the Scottish people are tight with money. I used to go over to Scotland every year for Hogmanay, and far from miserable, i found them the most generous people i ever met. You welcomed into homes and fed and watered to your hearts content, they couldn't do enough for you.
I was thinking today about the outcome and i thought about getting up on Saturday morning and hearing that the no camp won, and i had such a sinking feeling in my stomach, but when i imagined getting up and hearing that the yes vote had triumphed, then it felt great, exciting!! So, if there is anyone out there and still not sure, try that, sit down quietly, take a deep breath and imagine the result and see what your gut tells you, don't let fear decide it for you, let your inner wisdom speak and good luck to the people of Scotland, i wish you well in your future, it's in your hands, GO FOR IT!!
Now on a count of 3, 1 2... Oh flower of Scotland, I long to see your face again.......
If there is one thing I've learned about life, it's that you never really get over anything. Whatever trauma, sorrow or heartbreak you may have suffered, you won't fully get over it, the best you can do is to try and find ways to live with it. Over time you will cry less but no matter how well you may appear to be, it doesn't take much scratching at the surface to realize the pain is still there, hovering somewhere below the surface and then there are always those dates, songs or other triggers that remind us of our losses. And that is the hardest lesson to learn in life, how to cope with loss, whether it's saying goodbye to those we love or recovering from trauma, continuing through the daily grind is the toughest battle of all.
Just home from finishing my exam, (DD203) it wasn't too bad but of course, driving home i remembered 3000 things i forgot to put in. Anyway, i'm just glad it's all over after all the stresses and strains of the last 18 months. (I've had the year and half from hell and it ain't over yet) but at least i have 4 months of doing nothing but going to work, coming home and being able to read just for pleasure again.
i am going to sleep for my summer holidays this year, roll on July!
A while back i was given poems that were written by a young man callled John Jones from Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh who died in 1979, aged just 22. Tomorrow is his anniversary so I thought i would put up one of them. This is my favourite one and perfectly captures the dark misery that was 1970's N. Ireland. It was dated Oct 1978 and this month also has deep resonance for me as it was one of the darkest periods of my life.
The Town I Love So Well
They sipped from cups of steamy welcome tea
and fag ends hissed as they hit the water.
The traffic lights were amber, the cinema closed
As they plunged once more with twilight sneaking.
The peckish crowds drew lots for a better view,
Their consensus instability, despite his tender years
and that Daglish would surely hit the thirty mark.
The paper boy dripped when they brought him up.
His feet were encased in two large pumpkins
And already the pike had nibbled at his flesh.
He left no note and no one mentioned murder.
The power battle between East and West is about to be settled. The power base shifted last year over Syria when China backed Russia. If China backs Russia again just sit and watch the West hand-wring but be powerless to do anything.
The West is in decline and has been for years and the East has risen. That's why England is so anxious to keep Scotland in Britain because without it they are just one small country on an island of three. Will they still be able to keep their seat on the UN Security Council when they are no longer 'Great Britain'? Probably not.
Going back to the politics, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the problems, economic and otherwise that are afflicting the UK at the present time, and the biggest and least acknowledged obstacle to improving life for the majority, is the class system. This hierarchy of privilege is what is stifling the entire country and stopping any real progression both socially and economically. So in order to get the UK moving, real action is needed and the place to start is the House of Lords.The class system needs dismantling and it needs dismantling from the top down, so, the first thing i would do is, get rid of the House of Lords and replace it with a House of Representatives. That is, an upper chamber that is truly representative of all the groups that make up society, not just the political cronies and privileged who occupy it now.
Firstly, every county would have one representative and the 20 largest cities one representative as well. London, being the capital would have two, one from North London and one from South London. One of the criteria for representing your city or county would be that you would have to be permanently resident there. Next, I would have a representative for the top 10 religious groups, ethnic minorities, charities, unions and a couple of representatives from business, farming and the industrial sector. There should also be a representative from the NHS and the armed forces. Then, there would be past Prime Ministers and one representative from all the political parties with seats in the House of Commons. I would also give a seat to the monarch and their immediate heir because, although i completely disagree with the whole business of monarchy, I would still leave that decision to the people in a referendum. I also feel that as the Head of State, they should be entitled to a say; all voting in the Upper Chamber would of course be by secret ballot.
So that's the starting point, none of these ideas are set in stone as yet but it starts the debate. I would also get rid of all the titles handed out by the Queen, it only gives people delusions of grandeur and promotes division is society. The Queen, if she was still there, could hand out medals or something instead.
I would also introduce fair employment legislation to Britain, we have it here in N, Ireland because of all the problems in the past/present, and it was news to me that it didn't exist in the rest of the UK, so that would be one of the first steps to creating a more meritocratic society and it would help to break up the 'old boy networks' that discriminate against the working classes and deprive them of opportunities to advance.
So that's the starting point for my political alternative, comments as usual are always welcome.
Did you ever have one of those days when you think, there just has to be more to life than this. If I could live anywhere at any point in time, I would live in Dakota with the Sioux back about the 14th Century, well before the Europeans landed and wrecked the place. It's my idea of heaven! Clean air, clean water, pristine land and no daily grind. Instead here I am, living in a grey concrete box, working in a windowless office with only artificial light, working to have the money to maintain a lifestyle that I don't even want, it just isn't right, not for me anyway. My spirit yearns to be set free!!
I'll be watching Ben Fogles Wild Lives to see if there's somewhere out there I can escape to!
I haven't posted much on the blog in the last year. I had to defer my course DD203, from last year too but i'm picking up again now and can't wait to get started.
I had a bad year, the worst for quite some time, from heart-break to sickness and death, it was a tsunami of grief which hasn't quite ended yet but life goes on and so must I.
I'm looking forward to getting back into politics, the world is shifting and last year saw the balance shift from west to east when Russia and China usurped the US over Syria. I think history will see this as the turning point.
Russell Brand editing the New Statesman was interesting too, although i don't agree with his call not to vote, the usuals will still get in because their supporters will still turn out, and if we give up our right to vote, then you get minority governments (like the present incumbents) getting it all their way. If you don't like it, do something about it, start a new party maybe, (something which has been on my mind). I'm working on a restructure of the House of Lords which I'll post shortly. And our vote is the only voice we have, maybe at the next election we should all turn out and vote for the candidate who is the least likely to do any harm.
I've been decorating all week and the muscles are feeling it, I haven't done anything much for months and the shock of some activity has made me realise how I've let my fitness go. Time to get back to something!
There’s a bit of a debate at the minute around smoking on hospital grounds which, again, like all debates usually approaches a problem from how to deal with the symptoms rather than the causes of the problem, in this case smoking.
I used to smoke, I stopped 14 years ago, in February 2000. I had tried all the usual methods, hypnosis, nicotine patches (which were worse than smoking), none of which worked. I wasn’t a heavy smoker, I could cut it down to 3 a day but I just couldn’t manage to stop them completely. Then I came across the Alan Carr book on smoking ‘The Little Book of Quitting’ ( I had tried the bigger book, the Easy Way to Stop Smoking but found it too much). I used to carry this little book around with me and read it while waiting for buses, appointments or just when I got 10 minutes to myself. This went on for several months and then one magical day I stopped. I had been out the night before and as all smokers know, when you drink you smoke like a train,(this was back in the day when I used to drink too. My mouth felt disgusting, as if it was carpeted, I looked at the packet of cigarettes, there were about 5 left in it, and I thought to myself, ‘ I am never going to put one of those disgusting things back in my mouth again’. I threw the packet in the bin and that was the end of that.
The amazing thing about this is that it was during one of the most stressful periods in my life. My marriage had ended (I had left the marital home in January) so I was homeless, jobless, broke, with 3 teenagers in tow and 4 year old! I didn’t put on any excess weight either, I even managed to lose about 10lbs of extra weight that I was carrying, not to mention the 150lbs of dead weight I dropped from leaving the marriage!!
So, if anyone is thinking about stopping smoking, I would recommend this little book. Now, the only thing you have to be aware of, is that someday you may have an emotional outpouring because smoking is another of those methods that people use to ‘suck’ down their emotions so you will find that you will be a bit more emotional for a while but this will settle down. Just remember, feelings are just feelings, and no one ever died from a feeling, if you just realise this and sit with it, it will pass. Just have a good cry! It’ll do wonders for you.
Now if any government was serious about stopping smoking, here’s a suggestion which would wipe out smoking within a generation or at the very least reduce it drastically.
The legal age to buy cigarettes is 16, starting from next year, raise the age to 17, and the year after to 18 and keep raising the age every year until it reaches 25, because most people start smoking as teenagers but if they can’t buy cigarettes until they are 25, there’s a very high probability that they will never start. Simple.
As usual, all comments are welcome.
jesus comes to the city of culture - YouTube
Watching Secrets of the Workhouse last night, I was struck by how the rhetoric of the Victorians in relation to the poor is exactly the same rhetoric employed by the present Government in relation to the poor and people on benefits.
Which just goes to show how completely out of date Cameron and Co are.
Reading the New Statesman last weekend,(for week 7-13 June, I'm a bit behind at the moment) I was reading a John Pilger article about feminism and austerity and I came across the story of Stephanie Bottrill, a disabled grand-mother who committed suicide out of despair over the 'bedroom tax'. I would ask people to check it out on-line and sign the petition calling for the resignation of Ian Duncan Smith, it's on Change.org. This so-called bedroom tax isn't a tax, it's a welfare cut and the Lib Dems should be ashamed of themselves for letting this through Parliament.
These people have no idea how the rest of us live. Roll on the next election, it can't come quick enough!
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