Showing posts from August, 2013

What is the Imaginal Realm

Yesterday I watched an amazing movie called The House of Cards – not the BBC’s political box set trilogy, reengineered by Kevin Spacey for an American audience. This is an old (1993) movie starring Kathleen Turner and Tommy Lee Jones.  It brought me back to the theme of mental health and the differently abled.  It underlined how we tend to be in the world, afraid of what we do not understand.

In the movie the father of a young child dies and she is told that he has gone to the moon. This sends the child into trauma, which forces her into the imaginal realm where her consciousness expands and she can do extraordinary things. It also means that she is not in an ‘attachment’ relationship with the physical world. But that makes her differently abled or autistic as she is labelled by a psychiatrist who then tries to extricate her from the family home, in order to 'normalize' her. 

Why is it so difficult to co~exist with those who are differently abled and who, in many cases, are more…

Stopped on "Sus"

Technicians with a Polish theatre group putting on a show at a local London venue were working late into the evening one day last week, getting the performance space prepared when someone inadvertently set off the burglar alarm.

This of course triggered an alert at the local police station and a cop duly turned up to see what was going on. The Curator for the performance noted that the response of one of the Poles was quite telling; the appearance of a policeman seemed to invoke distress and a little fear. That probably says something about his memory of Polish history. 
I have no doubt that there are at least one or two in the Police ‘Service’ (not ‘Force’) in this country who would probably enjoy being feared. But if the police are really there to ‘protect and serve’, and need ‘intelligence’ to do this effectively, then being ‘feared’ does not really work.
Even as a woman, albeit a black one, I have so many horror stories of growing up with the Police ‘Force’ in South London during th…

What is Community?

Having led a very solitary life – by necessity, design and preference – over the last nearly 6~years, I found myself venturing into full on and in my face “community” over the last three weeks.

First I had a holiday~in~the~community in rural Devon, Southern England, where the central attraction of daily life was the pub, especially on quiz night and accessed after dark by torch light. The Tesco, or is it Sainsbury’s, van will bring your shopping to the end of the lane and you can just back~up the car boot. Fresh farm produce is up the road. Everybody knows everyone else’s business intimately, and can give you chapter and verse. The annual highlight is the village fete.

Living in the hamlets of Devon I was ‘in’ the community ~ which seemed welcoming and is probably 'tolerant' ~ but was not ‘part’ of it. The moors provided respite from both 'community' and the usual touristy attractions.
By contrast, over the last six days I have been observing and participating ‘in commun…

Freedom to 'Be'

The Polish Cultural Institute's  write~up about the "Ball at Hawking's" by Teatr Arka at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival... (now in Barking ~ see below) said that the play is merely a pretext for a broader discussion about the cultural and social status of people with disabilities (and that includes mental health issues in its broadest sense).
Talking yesterday to Teatr Arka’s Director, Renata JasiƄska, it is clear that the inspiration for the theatre’s work runs through the veins of this amazing woman, who is passionate and committed to the cause.
Wish I could speak even a little Polish, beyond saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, so we could have a no holds barred conversation about a topic that is close to my heart. The needs of my own physical health have forced me to formally stop working in the mental health sector; but perhaps the various events that have unfolded in my life over the last year are indicating I am being brought back into it all, but from another angle. Th…

Gloriously Bonkers Day

So here I am totally laid back and rested after 10 days tramping on the high fells, splashing in private coves, hobnobbing with horse whisperers and winning pub quizzes in a gloriously untrammelled part of Southern England – oh and there were the ground hog days at ASDA’s in Newton Abbot – had to be a fly in the ointment.
Back in London I find myself ensconced in the gloriously creative madcap house that is jasminestreetlab I have volunteered to be head cook and bottle washer on the occasion of a 4~day visit by the artistic community Teatr Arka from WroclawPoland to Barking and Dagenham, following their very successful appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
ARKA Teatr from Poland. The Ball at Stephen Hawking's - Contact‎ It’s late afternoon and the energy is high as we set off to take food to the Polish visitors who are at the residence in Dagenham, waiting for their evening meal and to get into their rooms aft…