Showing posts from 2014

An Indicator of Madness

Warnings were issued in the UK over the last two days about the high level of pollution in the air. Those with heart and lung problems were cautioned to 'take extra care; don’t stay outside in it too long and don’t over-exert yourself. Those suffering with asthma might need to make more use of their inhaler' etc. London’s air pollution is already above the World Health Organisation safety levels, and what is permitted by the European Union. This was compounded apparently by fine Saharan desert sand dust blown in our direction, along with what the prevailing wind picked up from other European cities. In short, we were dumped on. Seriously, have you ever really thought about what global warming/climate change may mean for you at a personal level? It’s time to ask the question: what does the decimation and deterioration of the environment mean for me personally, here now, not 50 or 100 years Hence. And if you have thought about it, what can you personally do about it? Thats a quest…

Living on the Edge

Climate change sceptics are going to have a field day on Monday 3lst March when a UN report will say some pretty stark things about global warming/climate change. Watch out for arch sceptic Nigel (father of the Domestic Goddess) Lawson on your radio and TV screens the whole day long. It’s all so predictable and just a tad boring.
The potential for climate change to take humanity to unknown and scary places as Mother Nature seeks to generate what British scientist James Lovelock referred to as the ‘preferred homeostasis for life on planet earth’[1] has already been experienced by many communities around the world; and the global landscape is shifting annually.
This winter an exceptional run of severe storms and high winds not only overwhelmed communities in the South West of England but also transfigured coastal landscapes, as ancient landmarks were simply demolished by a raging sea.
In 2009 the President of the Maldives and his ministers convened an underwater cabinet meeting, a stunt to…

Mysterious and Unsettling

Mysterious Few stories have the power to captivate us more than those that remain unresolved. This month much of the world as well as my ‘local community forum for political discourse’ (Mem’s corner shop just off the square) has been mesmerized by the riddle of Flight MH370, which simply vanished into thin air sometime after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March on its way to Beijing.
For weeks Mem has been asking: What do you think happened to that plane? He continues without waiting for an answer. How can a plane vanish without a trace? This is followed by a buzz of conversation:

Was the aircraft high-jacked by terrorists? Did it crash as a result of pilot error or mechanical malfunction?Or did the aircraft fly into some atmospheric black hole equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle? The latter is the favourite theory. The media has generated a certain amount of frenzied speculation.
After nearly 3 weeks a British satellite firm claims to have pinpointed broadly where MH370 might be found…

A Life on Purpose

This morning I was listening to the BBC Radio 4 interview with that young woman who had acid thrown in her face by a friend. It was quite difficult to hear her distress and to also feel her isolation. That was such a barbaric thing to do to another human being, but barbaric things happen, like the hacking to death of that soldier on a South East London street.
Yesterday I sat observing Neville Lawrence, father of Stephen who was also murdered on a South East London street over 20 years ago[1]. Neville was offering words of comfort to a mother who had recently also lost a son; my friend Dean who died in January.
I was a little startled to note that the grief and sadness is still visibly etched on Neville’s face; it is like a cloak that surrounds him, and apparently impossible to put down. I am not surprised in a way because of the controversy that followed Stephen’s death and which resonates and reverberates up to this very day.[2]
In the late 1990s I was briefly involved in the establish…

No Need to Talk

I leapt out of bed at 0600 this morning feeling happy, and ready to spring (or is that sprint) down the road to Sainsburys, when I remembered that the store does not open until 0700. The Tesco Express up the road will be but they have limited stock and definitely not the FREE FROM section that has become vital to my daily existence.
Why do I feel happy? Well, last week after 7 long years of very early mornings and very late nights, creative blocks, despair, frustration, and disappointment, I am ready to 'submit' my manuscript to literary agents. In time, one may just decide that my book is worth pitching to one of the BIG FIVE. No? Well how about the smallest ten? Every debut author believe that their book is worthy of publication and will surely be a bestseller. Although self-publishing might yet beckon when one remembers that J.K Rowling trawled Harry Potter around 400 (have I made that up?) agents before she found the one person in the kingdom who recognised that his ship ha…

Moving it to Another Level

Dean and the Underworld: The Final Curtain
This morning I wake early to review and amend the sample material I need to send to a literary agent, seeking representation for my book and I find myself dedicating it to Dean’s memory.
Earlier this week I was present with Dean’s family at the inquest into his death. I suppose one has to say the event gave a reasonable answer to the question asked by the family – why did Dean die?
After the Coroner’s verdict on the causes of Dean’s death, we were all left with a sense of disquiet, frustration, and yes, anger. The disquiet comes from the knowledge that the inquest is concerned with little more than a 24-hour snapshot of 14-years of being ‘captured’ in the underworld of psychiatry and the abuses that can go on there. I got a sense of that from the very short time – less than six months – that I found myself alongside Dean in a place that quite frankly felt menacing at times.
With terrible prescience Dean had once said that the only way he would e…

Who Cries when a Crow Dies

So, that archetypal ‘hero of the working class’, and bete noire of the right wing press, Bob Crow – boss of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union – died this week at the tender of 52.
What a shame.
He was the last of the true firebrands and a thorn in the side of those who don’t take care whether the needs of rampant capitalism and the relentless march of technology  crushed ordinary working people underfoot as if they are machine fodder.
In 1957 British Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan declared that “most of our people had never had it so good”. Full employment combined with an unprecedented rise in consumerism meant millions of Britons saw their standard of living rise. Compared to the austerity of the war years, his assessment rang true for many people across the land.
Of course this boom was followed by bust, and boom again, then bust, then boom…..until we arrive at where we are today: an almighty bust and an Age of Austerity that began in 2008, and in spite of what Ma…

Spectrum of Difference

Last week the issue of Asperger's syndrome loomed large on my horizon. It began with BBC Radio 4’s programme, Out of the Ordinary, a documentary series uncovering stories from out of left field. Last week’s broadcast focused on why so many women think their men have Asperger’s. One woman even has a daily blog about it.
Said to affect how the brain processes information, people with Asperger’s can find it difficult to form intimate relationships/friendships; feel awkward with social interactions e.g. understanding social rules and body language, and can experience communication difficulties (such as a tendency to take things literally).
It is estimated that one in every 100 people (and I suspect that it is 3 or 4 times higher) in the UK is on the Autism Spectrum which now includes Asperger’s. Instead of the term ‘disorder’ some speak of ‘neurodiverse’, as opposed to ‘neurotypical’. This diversity includes those individuals ascribed as ‘gifted and talented’ and ‘geeks’.
Journalists, …

Life as Self-Image

There is something about Africa, my ancestral homeland, that I find both exciting and repelling. That vital continent breaks my heart, especially the vulnerability of its children, but also because of its exquisite beauty and an undimmed primordial memory.
Like all the continents (and their peoples) Africa is made up of light and shadow, is full of contrasts and contradictions, attractions and repulsions. The Oscar Pistorius debacle lit the threads of memory of a period in my life in Africa that I describe as a Significant Emotional Experience – otherwise known as a ‘SEE’ – or ‘SEEN’ as the Ras Tafari would say.
Pistorius reminds me of an angry young Afrikaner I encountered in a Johannesburg car park in the late 1990s, followed by a different and quite opposite response from a courteous and gentle African male, each representing the two sides of my own masculine aspect of self - light and shadow, repulsing and attracting.
One morning on my way to work, I stopped off at a shopping mall t…

Farewell in Poetry

After about 4 months in a blog limbo, I awake today to poetry in my soul triggered by thoughts of death and transformation which took me on a voyage through different pieces of prose on the subject matter. Morbid? Nah. But I suppose it depends on how one views and feels about death.  I especially like William Wordsworth’s 'splendour in the grass/glory in the flower' or to give it its rightful name - Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

In one of those very weird and wonderful weekend seminars of my student days, on the transpersonal tradition in psychology, the facilitator, a Sufi Master, took the group on a creative imagination journey. We were invited to leap on Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek Mythology and fly to where the soul goes when one goes to sleep. Of course, I don’t need any encour…