Friday, January 17, 2020

Hit Pause.

I should be doing other things.

I could have been escaping into watercolor, charcoal, graphite... ether.



I had been away so long from writing here that I was hit by the mass invasion of spam comments, overwhelmed by the fake audience stats.

I looked at the puny world map, and noted an extraordinary number of Russian page visits...

Russian bots, I muttered to myself.


There had been a time when I would blog daily, the words would flow easily, the eagerness to hit "publish" gave me an absurd rush of adrenaline...for what?

This was Touches of Sense...

So, I had no regrets.

I have few regrets.

They have my numbers, they have my profile, they have trawled my soul.

I remember notes on a student's oral presentation "excellent with limited means".

Then, I had nothing more to add.


I had hit PAUSE.


So here I find myself, relatively privileged, with two passports, a steady, relatively satisfying job, with connections to people around the world with whom I have found my voice, learnt, learnt my value, studied, grown, written poetry and found cheer.

What was that Bahktin quote that Maha and Shyam shared?

“I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another… I cannot manage without another, I cannot become myself without another” 


Illusions of freedom.

The other day, I found myself saying to a student of Congolese origins:

"this classroom is a battlefield, we are fighting for our freedom, we are living in a war-zone."

That warzone for some of us is the size of a puny World map on a screen, on a wall, in our puny minds, with areas colored to indicate borders, territories countries and empires.

For others it is the dismembered bodies of their children become collateral damage of a drone attack.
For others it is their  burnt out worker-spouse hanging from a beam.

There are those who know nothing of and care nothing for our lives.

Disillusions of freedom.

There we were talking about our experiences, smartphones at hand.

"Is your phone tainted by the misery of 35,000 children in Congo's mines?"

The other day, I found myself remembering out loud to students a childhood memory of a comic story from the late nineteen sixties.  It was a story of an alien society where the young generation were addicted to little boxes which took them away from the reality of their world and once inside their little boxes they were lost for all.

I have so many real connections to disembodied, screen-captured people, that it is only now occuring to me that there is a fine line between enabling access and maintaining distance.

It's the hygiaphone separating the prisoner from the prisoner's visitor.

The prisoner has metal chains, the prisoner's visitor has emotional bonds...as long as they last.

I find myself at a loss for words, sinking into the masonry of a wall or drawing a pile of skulls.





I have written in the past of how we have been occupied, of how I had and have been occupied, (collected here in A Military Education  or Empire  or Obstacles) of how I was brought up to wave flags for the monarch's jubilee, cheer for the three lions, the red rose, and feel proud to sing as one man "Land of hope and glory."


Last Night of the BBC Proms 2012. Elgar's famous 'tune that comes once in a lifetime' offers the opportunity for choirs and audience to take part in his Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D major with A C Benson's words, 'Land of Hope and Glory'. BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus


Land of Hope and Glory

Mother of the Free

How shall we extol thee

Who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;


God, who made thee mighty

Make thee mightier yet!



Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned

God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned
Once more thy crown is set
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained
Thine Empire shall be strong




Thy fame is ancient as the days

As Ocean large and wide:
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise
A stern and silent pride
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son


Do they still sing those old hymns in churches and school chapels around the land or have they been quietly put aside?

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England's mountain green?

And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.


Onward and onward, christian soldiers.


Now things are not so white and black, nor grey, they are become red in tooth and claw.

As they always really were.

The survivors of past World Wars knew the horrific trurth.

Now distance, context and monolithic histories are collapsing, stories of heroism become stories of hedonism and holocaust perpetuated on those we were fighting to save, or for Christ's sake, to anihilate.

No wonder they are putting up the firewalls to keep the people sweet.


And so on and on it goes, the (their) war for freedom....





 And those who hide behind masks....



And those who hide behind the boots of the brutes....


And those who watch the parades of the waving masses.



And I say that we are at war and  my family and friends are at war.  

We are caught up in their bloody eternal world war.

And they don't want you to know too much.

Telegraph's Middle East correspondent says Russia tried to 'discredit' her reports on Syria

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite like it in terms of the two different narratives that have been going on in Syria.“I get called a regime change journalist all the time. I don’t support either side but you get accused of supporting the rebels because you report on the [Syrian] government’s atrocities.”
And it is becoming clearer and clearer.
Nobody in my family was ever really fighting for a Land of Hope of Glory. 
It was a land of Satanic Mills and bellowing chimneys, bellowing chimneys.
And grimy mill owners...hungry for another bloody war.

Brexit will have soon cost the UK more than all its payments to the EU over the past 47 years put together

Satanic Mill-owners are dancing, Nero-like while our world burns.




They were always at war with the nature of others and now the others is us all.

For if truth be known, the war was in their puny heads all along.