Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The mind boggles :Esther McVey revealed as Samaritan's advisor.

Controversial Government Minister Esther McVey,  a pampered posh girl  who bummed around in her dads company before launching a less than sucessful television career, an individual disliked by many across Mersyside and the country because of  her controversial stint as Minister for Disabled people, and for being a key advocate in launching the hated ' Bedroom Tax', which resulted in many vulnerable people losing their homes, has been revealed to be an advisor to the charity The Samaritans. Between 2012 and 2013, as minister for disabled people and later employment minister McVey was famed for defending the indefensible saying it was "right " that people were having to use food banks and claiming that benefit sanctions "teach " jobseekers to take looking for work seriously, going  as far as comparing unemployed people to naughty schoolchildren being punished by a teacher, despite the death and destitition that sanctions have since caused.
This is more than mere soundbites. From giving misleading information about bedroom tax's impact on disabled people to her decision to close the Independent Living Fund, McVey appeared to relish removing disability support, with campaigners accusing her of distorting the facts  in order to help make that a reality.
Even worse, she was central in helping the rightwing press stoke up suspicion towards disabled people on benefits, most platantly as David Cameron's government began to abolish disability living allowance (DLA) and replace it with personal independence payments (PIP). long has McVey made it her mission to punish the most vulnerable in our society. That PIP is now wrongly withdrawing benefits from severely ill and disabled people, with 65% of decisions overturned on appeal
makes this all the more sickening.
The people of Wirral West though wisely rejected her in 2015, when whe was Minister for Work after her government failed to act on zero hours contracts, and after making life imeasurably harder for people with disabilities, and overseeing cuts to family income that will see see child poverty grow over 400,000 over the next few years.
In fact McVey has made so many decisions which have had appalling impacts on the most vulnerable in our society there's no room to list them all here, but a good summary can be found here from the Disability News Service ; All this has made her one of the most despised of Tory MPs. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has described her as a "Stain on humanity".Petitions have been set up calling for her to be sacked.
So it is truly shocking to hear that when asked on twitter the official Samaritan's twitter account revealed McVey to be a member of its advisory board.
The charity's website also shows her to be one of 12 members of the board
The Samaritans does some amazing work in very difficult circumstances, which have been made far worse by the decisions of the Tory government. So it  truly is not surprising, that news of McVey's role for the charity has been greeted with shock and anger by many, considering her past record in dealing with vulnerable people and bringing misery to millions of benefit claimants. One twitter user commented " So vulnerable people may telephone Samaritans helpline talking about ending their life due to DWP sanctions and you have the minister/Sec of State responsible for the sanctions on your board?! It would be the ultimate irony that peoples sucidal thoughts were driven by one of the Samaritan's own advisors.
It's time the Samaritans have a rethink, because allowing McVey to act as an advisor in this way is a terrible tnsult to every sick and disabled person across the land,  because her department and the government she represents are guilty of causing distress and emotional pain, because of the impact of welfare reforms that has impacted on thousands of disabled people and those of us in mental distress, If the Samaritans have any decency,  and want to maintain their repuation, they should dissassociate themselves from McVey immediately.

Monday, 29 January 2018

International Day of action for Ahed Tamimi to mark the occasion of her 17th birthday

16 year old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi born under occupation  who has been called the Rosa Parks of Palestine, on December 19, 2017  was taken in the dead of night by Israeli soldiers. She was arrested after a video that her mother, Narimam, took went viral, showing an alteration with soldiers trying to eter their house. The incident took place on the same day that Ahed's cousin, 15 year old Mohammad Taimi, was hit in the head at close range by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier, His family told Amnesty International  that he required surgery that involved the removal of part of his left skull.
Ahed is a high school student preparing for college. As a young girl , Ahed rose to headlines for her bravery to confront the Israeli soldiers who enter her village on a regular basis.The Tamimis are well known in their village of Nabih Salleh,( which is 20 kilometres from Ramallah) for their weekly nonviolent protests against Israeli occupation and apartheid. This village is also famous for women's leadership in resistance to their occupation.Since 2009, the residents, from children to the aged, have marched every Friday from the entrance of their village to a military barrier.They are protesting against attacks from settlers. from the nearby village of Halamish against the settlments continuing expansion on privately owned Palestinian  land, and against the settler's take-over of the village spring. The Israeli army has countered these marches, which are often accompanied by protestors throwing stones against the highly armed fores of occupation, who carry ter gas, rubber coated steel bullets, and also live ammunition.
Now Ahed is currently facing up to 14 years in prison. Israel refuses to release Ahed pending trial."The court said that because she is so dangerous there is no possibility of bail," said her lawyer,
Gaby Lasky. Dangerous because she refused to accept the suffering and repression by the Israeli State. Court proceedings  against her will begin on Janury 31, the day of her 17th birthday. Rather than celebrating  with family and friends, eating cake. She will sleep that night in a  cold prison cell  of 1x2 metres, with no windows, comfort or proper bedding. She has been placed with Israeli adults rather than fellow Palestinians and children, specifically so that she will be all the more abused, harassed and frightened by those around her, who wish her great harm. Lets show some love for this brave girl. We cannot let the spotlight fade.
The continued visbility of her case puts pressure on the Israeli authorities to ensure a fair trial, without such visibility the chances of a fair trial are virtually nil.The military court she will be facing though is not a court of justice in the regular sense, but an organ of the occupation, in which both the judge and the prosecution will be wearing the same uniform , and are part of the same system, whereby the defense is not.
 Ahed's case also sheds light on the hundreds of other Palestinian children held in Israeli detention centres in direct violation of international law.She is one of 350 children currently imprisoned by Israel. Israel remains the only country that prosecutes children in military courts. Ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainess is widespread, systematic and institionalzed throughout the Israel military detention system. Three out of four Palestinian children experience some form of physical violence following arrest. Children like Ahed do not receive fair trial guarantees, such as having an attorney present during interrogation, and are prosecuted in Israeli military courts that have a 99 percent conviction rate.
Keep up the pressure and offer some solidarity, write her  a letter- Ahed Tamimi,  Ha Sharon Prison, Ben Yehuda, PO Box 740 330 Israel. Join the global call to action and events taking place around the world to mark Ahed's 17th birthday on 31January while she is held behind Israeli bars. Around the world, actions and demonstrations have highlighted Ahed's courage and commitment and that of of thousands of fellow Palestinian strugglers. 26-30 January was announced as global days of action for Ahed'd freedom and people of the world to highlight Ahed's birthday in order to demand her release. Also if you have not joined over one million people asking for her freedom, please add your name to the following petitions, lend your voice against this injustice. Share and tell your friends.

" We demand the release of Ahed and all Palestinian children wrongly held in military prisons.

The international community must put an end to the detention  and ill-treatment of children in these prisons. Enough is enough.

To Ahed and all the children in Israeli military jails. We stand by your side, and are holding ou in our hearts. We will not give up until you are free. You are not alone."

Schedule of International Events: Take action to free Ahed Tamimi ann all Palestinian prisoners.

" We should extend our struggles to one another in order to end all the world's injustices. "
- Ahed Tamimi

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Dwr / Water

Habanero splash
Originally uploaded by Tambako the Jaguar

Yn fy nychymyg
dwi'n eistedd ar draeth Popit
brynhawn dydd Sul yn edrych ar y mor.
Mae pob bywyd yn dibynnu arno fe
ond dyn syn ei hawlio fe iddo fe ei hunan.
Pwy syn meddu ar y glaw?
Neu'r ddaer ble mae'n cwympo?
H2 0
Ynddon ni i gyd
Os bydd y dwr yn diffannu
beth fydd yn digwydd i'r byd ?
beth fydd yn digwydd i bethau sy'n dibynnu arno fe?
Ac dwi'n rhyfeddu ar sawl o ddwr diferyn o ddwr 
Sy mewn cawod o law. 
wrth grwydro fy nghartref.
Pwy sy'n meddu ar y glaw?

loose translation

In my imagination
I'm sitting on Poppit beach
Sunday afternoon
looking at the sea.
all life depends on it
but man claims it for themselves.
Who possesses the rain?
Or the earth  where it lands?
belongs to all
If water  dissapears
what will happen to the world?
what will happen to those who depend on it?
I wonder about every drop of water
every shower of rain
while walking home.
Who claims the rain?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Mark E Smith - Poet and satirist of legendary post punk band the Fall R.i.P (5/3/57 - 24/1/17)

Mark E Smith the inimitable poet and frontman of  seminal cult post punk band the Fall , has died aged 60 after an extended period of ill health. Out of all the bands that emerged from mid-70's punk rock the Fall I have always continued to follow.
He formed the Fall after seeing the Sex Pistols at their famous concert at the lesser Free Trade Hall, in June 1976, He assembled the Fall in his home town of Prestwich, citing not only raw energy of the Pistols as influences but also krautrock, art rock ,the Velvet Underground , Captain Beefheart , Smith also had a fondness  for rockabilly and garage rock.
Smith would be the constant mainstay of the band for more than 40 years, that would see constant lineup changes, as his fellow band members fell by the wayside, often not voluntarily. Throughout the groups tenure, Smith  performed with a total of 66 band members.He was known as someone difficult to work with, because of his notoriously confrontational attitude,cantakerous, tyrannical  personality,  acidic tone and deadpan black humour, which was often fueled by copious amounts of alcohol.Not one who cared a fig about commercial success, the Fall still managed to release a total of 31 studio albums and 32 live albums, each one for me has a uniqueness and charm about them.His work simply defied categorisation, combining  elements of satire, social commentary and sheer cunning wordplay that continue to dazzle.
To me he truly was a legend. Smith was born in the north of Manchester, Broughton, Salford, England in 1957 to a working class family, his dad was a plumber. He passed his 11-plus and went to Stand Grammar school, but quit at 16 and took a job as a shipping clerk on Salford docks. At night , he took on a A-level class in literature and numbered Kurt Vonnegut, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, HP Lovecraft, Phillip K Dick, JG Ballard, Arthur Machen , George Orwell among his favourite authors. Indeed his band was named after Albert Camus novel ' La Chute.' He took an interest in politics, and after a spell as a Labour supporter, went even further left and joined the SWP (The Socialist Workers Party) This did not seem to stop him from sprouting from time rather conservative and illiberal views.
 An outsider, and even though not commercially succesful, his band still band still managed to score high in the independent charts with such  songs as  'Totally Wired' 'How I managed to write Elastic Man ' 'kicker conspiracy' and a wonderful cover of 60's classic ' There's a ghost in  my house.''
The extensive range of albums released under the fall moniker , to numerous to mention, started in 1979 with ' Live at the Witch Trials'  and ' Dragnet.'  leading to 1982's ' Hex induction hour.' 1983's ' Perverted by language.'  1984's ' Bend Sinister' ,1988's ' I am kurious oranj'  94's ' Middle class revolt,' 99's ' The Marshall Suite.'  2006's ' Fall Heads Roll' 2008's ' Imperial Wax Solvent,' to last years ' New facts emerge.'
A central  legendary figure in the Manchester music scene, he was a crucial lyricist who delivered each line with a last-call bluster punctuated with an oratorial certainty, surreal word play  and the use of blistering social commentary, delivered in a deadpan style of talk-rap singing which was instantly identifiable. but much imitated , an influence on many. his bands tense, often abrasive sound would be a key inspiration to bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, LCD Soundsystem,  to my own country,  Wales's  very own Datblygu.
 Pushing against those that described his work as ' stream of consciousness.' Smith once said "' I put a lot  of hard sweat into them. I think about them. They have an inner logic to me, so I don'r really care who understands them or not." Aross lyrics he directed his ire at everything that rattled him from Nazis, British politicians, magazine editors, music critics  to name a few.Like British poets across the ages , he seemed to understand from an early age that his lifes mission was to create a body of work that would outlive him.
"When I'm dead and gone." he uttered in an early song called "Psychic Dance Hall." my vibrations will live on, in vibes  on vinyl through the years people will dance to my waves."
His career and that of his band would be forever associated with the DJ, the late John Peel , the Fall recorded an aming 24 radio sessions between 1978 and 2004.His first solo album ' The Post Nearly Man," appeared in 1998, and his second in 2002 ' Pander! Pander!Panzer! he also managed throughout his extensive career to find time to collaborate with many  other musicians beyond the remits of the Fall.
Married three times, he  first tied the knot in 1983, to Brix Sith who instantly became a band member. After their divorce he was then briefly married to Safron Prior , who had run the Fall's fan club, befoe meting Elena Poulou in 2000, who sunseguently became the Fall's keyboardist in 2002.
In 2005, BBC4 aired the documentary The Fall ; The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith. Three years later, he published an autobiagraphy called ' Renegade; The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith, written in collaboation with Austin Collins. Around this time I had the personal pleasure to meet him in Hay on Wye, and despite his reputation, he came across to me as a warm hearted kind, generous soul. In later years he would often perform in a wheelchair because of his ill health.
A true inspiration to me, such an iconic force,  his music has been the soundtrack to my life since I first became aware of the Fall, when 13, in 1980, and though rather cliched to say this, there will never be another Mark E Smith , so sharp, clever, uncompromising . unique, a guiding light of stubborn fierce independence, and untouchably cool. Losing also Ursula Le Guin  also this week , its been a hard week for me as I've lost two of my cultural heroes. R. I. P. Mark E Smith.  Currently playing loudly in my home, long live the mighty Fall.

The frightening and wonderful world of the Fall

The Fall  - Lost in music

The Fall - Jerusalem

The Fall - How I wrote ' Elastic man!

The Fall - Totally wired

The Fall - Blindness

The Fall - Eat Y'r self fitter

The Fall - Before the Moon falls

The Fall - The Hip Priest

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin ( 21/10/29 - 22/1/18) -" We will need writers who rememember freedom"

Sad to hear of the death of one of my favourite writers , American literary legend Ursula K. Le Guin who wrote science fiction, fantasy, essays and poetry,who died peacefully on Monday in her Portland, Oregan home at the age of 88 years young.A quote of hers is pemanently embedded on this blog. Here is a link to an earlier post I wrote about her
Pehaps best known for her book ' The Left Hand of Darkness' a science fiction novel published in 1969 set in the Hainish universe, Le Guin often used science fiction to transgress normalised conceptions of gender and sexuality.Not content to limit her incisive examinations of society to fiction and allegory, Le Guin spoke and wrote frequently about contemporary politics. She often described fantasy and fiction as a tool for social change, a way of imagining the world not as it  but as it should be. Her criticisms in both fiction and beyond it , often focused on social inequality and the unsustainability of capitalism .
Her novel  ' The Dispossessed' was a thought experiment on how an anarchist society would work. The novel  begins with the journey of the physicist Shevek from the planet Anarres, which was settled by anarchists a century and a half previously, to the planet Urras, a carcature of our own world in the 1970's.

In alternating chapters, it tells the story of Shevek's life on Anarres and its discontents, leading up to his decision to leave, and his adventures on Urras and how grotesque a society based on  power and profit seems in his eyes.
A truly mesmerising read, given us an idea of how a possible anarchist society could function and, more importantly, the moral foundations of such  a society. Anarres is flawd and falls short of its ideas of individual freedom, mutual aid and voluntary coperation, but is still infinitely preferable to the money- hungry, power-hungry nation of Urreas. 
In short my sort of Utopia. It is a society without government, laws, police, courts, corporations, money, salaries, profit, organised religion or private property. Its  people speak an artificial language, a kind of benign Orwellian Newspeak, which lacks words for concepts such as 'debt or 'winner,'
Le Guin would write more than 20 novels, 100 short stories, seven essay collections and more than a dozen books of poetry. Despite many of her protaganists  being men, she always considered herself a feminist, but was always confident in questioning societal conditioning and how it impacted the human perspective on gender and sexuality. 
In 2010 at the age of 81 she arrived in the digital age and started a blog

and in December published a collection of essays based on her posts called ' No time to spare.' 

It included everything from moving reflections on her cat to wry observations about coming to tems with her advancing age, " If I'm ninety and believe I'm forty five, I'm headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub."
On November 19, 2014, Le Guin was awarded the National Book Foundation's Medal  for Distinguished Contribution to American letters

This is one of literature's most prestigious honors, recognizing individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the United States' literary heritage. Most in science fiction would extend that to include an exceptional effect on the entire genre. 

" We lIve in capitalism, its power seems inescapable - but then, so did the divine right of kings," she said. "any human power can be resisted and changed  by human beings, resistance and change often begin  in art. Very often in our art, the art of words."

Ursula k.Le Guin Rest in Power you will be deeply missed, may you be reborn on Anarres. .

Here is the transcript of her talk:

Thank you Neil (Gaiman, who introduced her) , and to the givers of this beautiful award, my thanks from the heart. My family, my agent, editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as mine, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice at accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction - writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful awards go to the so-called realists.
I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.
Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship. [ad-lib response to audience: ] Thank you, brave applauders.
Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an ebook six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience and writers threatened by corporate fatwa, and I see a lot of us - the producers who write the books, and make the books - accepting this. Letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish and what to write. [ad-lib response to audience: ] Well, I love you too, darling.
Books, you know, they're not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art - the art of words.
I have had a long career and a good one. In good company. Now here, at the end of it, I really don't want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want - and should demand - our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit.
Its name is freedom. Thank you.

" Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light
only in dying life
bright the hawks flight
on the empty sky."

- The Creation of Ea, Ursula K. Le Guin

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dreams Money Can Buy - Hans Richter

Hans Richter, painter, graphic artist was one  of the  original members of the Dada movement,  he made  this film in 1947, and it won the best original contribution to the progress of cinematography at the Biennale in Venice.
Richter's goal was to bring the avant -garde out of the museum and into the movie house and the end result in my opinion is utterly fantastic.It's more Surrealist than Dada and deals with the world of dreams. Joe, a young man down on his luck, as he wonders how to pay his rent,  discovers he has the power to create dreams,("if you can look inside yourself, you can look inside anyone!") and sets up a business selling them to others.
The film is broken down into episodes, with  collaborations from a varied cast including  Man Ray, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Darius Mihaud, Alexander Calder, blues singer Josh White and notorious bisexual torch singer (and black widow suspect) Libby Holman.
The film itself turns playful, hypnotic, satirical, charming and nightmarish, but the musical backing, is simply amazing.
The film was produced by Kenneth MacPherson and Peggy Guggenheim.

Dada as the Antidote to war and Capitalism :-

More on Richter and his films here :-

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Anger is an energy

( after Carillion)

They try to control us
the old enemy deep outside,
their words are dust
time to brush them away.
The first five years
are always the hardest a headline cries
rubbing salt into milky eyes.
Time to shake, the sleep away
and catch the fire by its throat,
as they feed us lies day after day
hiding our pain behind their laughter.
Sky is angry, wind comes down
launches its bullets, this should be enough,
we are not surrounded yet
we will not be trampled down,
we are still here unrestrained
this is our season too, our time of discontent.
Capitalism is not working
look at the crimes across the globe,
ideological theft for the few, not the many
yet they still make us pay for their greed,
with systematic theft and robbery out of control
don't go to them crawling back on your knees,
remember anger is our energy too
live with fierce passion, take back what's yours.

Friday, 19 January 2018


In the distance, high above
her silvery light is shed,
through the shadows of trees
gaps of branches all outspread,
golden moon keeps shining
releasing brilliant light,
far away from our artificial borders
stops the earth from spinning faster,
caressing the land with her powers
beyond the darkness of this land, never cowers,
like an old lover listens to our thoughts
faithful to the end, consumes our desires
lets honour and adore her guiding energy
a shimmering beauty touching our souls.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Know your Parasites

Never ever trust the Conservatives, they would eat us alive if they could. They are cowardly,  and absolutely devoid of compassion. Used to think they were bad under Margaret Thatcher, but the latest lot seem even more ruthless and cruel.
When Theresa May first entered No 10, she promised to represent the vulnerable, and in her own words to " think not for the powerful, but you."But this has proved to be a lie as she and her fellow parasites  continue to  strip our country of its  valuable assets, tearing peoples lives apart, this festering  party  delivering conscious cruelty to the downtrodden and underprivileged, delivering nastiness and unfairness to all in their paths. We cannot afford to remain apathetic to their actions or remain silent. I don't believe there is a cure to them, they simply have no moral compass, far worse than bloodsucking leeches. They are simply parasites of the worst  order feeding  merrily on their victims. A landmark study has linked Tory austerity to  120,000 deaths. responsible for callous eonomic murder
They simply lack the capacity to care about the health of the nation, as they destroy our N H.S,  they will continue to infect, suck on all the essential services and resources we depend on, . The only way we to deal with theses these parasites is to destroy them, because they will never stop until there is nothing left to feast on. We have to get rid of them, the Tories must be  eradicated, as soon as possible, for the many not the few.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Gruff Rhys - A Design for life

Libraries gave us power
Then work came and made us free
What price now for a shallow piece of dignity
We don't talk about love we only want to get drunk
And we are not allowed to spend
As we are told that this is the end
A design for life
A design for life
A design for life
A design for life
I wish I had a bottle
Right here in my pretty face to wear the scars
To show from where I came
We don't talk about love we only want to get drunk
And we are not allowed to spend
As we are told that this is the end
A design for life
A design for life
A design for life
A design for life

Originally created by the Manic Street Preachers, but personally such a beautiful version.

The threat to public libraries is very real, keep defending, this blog would not have existed without them

Songwriters ;James Bradfield/ Sean Moore/ Nicholas Jones 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Happy Birthday Simone de Beauvoir ( 9/1/08 - 14/4/86) - Feminist icon

Today I mark the occasion Simone de Beauvoirs birth. She was many things, an athiest, feminist, existentialist, philosopher, intellectual and political activist, born to Francois and George Bertrand de Beauvoir, her father encouraged her to be an avid reader from a young age. At 14, she had a crisis of faith and decided definitely that there was no God. On all accounts she was a precoucious, but intellectually gifted curious child, who would later come into conflict with her parents over their difference of beliefs.
Educated  at a convent school, she went on to study philosopy at the Sorbonne, seeking a life as a writer and teacher. In 1929. she took the aggregation exam in philosophy at the Ecole Normale de Sueriuiere, even though she was not a student there, and was placed second before Jean- Paul Sartre becoming  the youngest philosopher teacher in France at the age of 21.She would begin a lifetime relationship  with  Jean Paul Sartre,  though refusing to marry or set up house with him, instead oth took and even shared lovers over time, becoming famous Parisian intellectuals and part of the city's cafe culture. regularly meeting other great minds of the time.Together, she and Sartre would develop existentialism, a philosophy that takes freedom to be the highest value in a universe where God is dead and where human beings create their own values through their choices and actions, In the post war period, existentialism was the most challenging expression of radical, secular, philosophical humanism.
She would teach philosophy and literature throughout the 1930's, but was dismissed during  Word War 11 from her post by the Vichy government after the German army occupied Paris in 1940. Both she and Sartre would work for the French Resistance during the remainder of the war, but unable to teach, she soon launched her literary career.
She went on to write many groundbreaking books that can be found today on many bookshelves across the world. She wrote  her best known  book The Second Sex, on the treatment of women throughout history,  in 18 months at the age of 38 in 1949.It  helped raise feminist consciousness but also stressed that women's liberation was liberation for men too, it was subsequently  placed  by the Vatican on their list of prohibited books. if that does not wet your appetite , am not sure what will.
Her first philosophical essay called "Pyrrus and Cineas" 1944, asked such quetions as :" What are the criteria of ethical action? How can I distinguish ethical from unethical political projects? What are the principles of ethical relationships? Can violence ever be justified?"
She would go onto write four volumes of autobiography. After the Second World War she travelled to the U.S, where she would meet and have an affair with the writer Nelson Algren, who is  best known  for his book ' The Man with the Golden Arm" 
The novel ' The Mandarins' . 1954, is based on her relationships  with Algren and Sartre, and is a chronicle of the movement of post World War intellectualls from their  'mandarin' ( educated elite)  status towards political engagement.
It was in the 1970's that she would become an active member of the women's liberation movement in France. Her name was one of the 243 listed in a 1971 manifesto in a bid  to legalise abortion in France, that featured famous women who claimed to have  had a termination, before it came legal in 1974.An intellectual vigilante she used her pen as a weapon, breaking down gender stereotypes and challenged laws that prohibited women fom having control  over their own bodies.Today more than ever it is vital to recognise that freedom can't be assumed. Some of the freedoms that de Beauvoir fought so hard for, have since come under threat.
In 1986 her health,  having sadly declined due to her heavy use of amphetimines and alcohol,, she died aged 78, and was buried next to Sartre in the Cimetiere du Montparnasse, next to Sartre. A life of many contradictions, but nevertheless a fascinating and inspiring woman whose life and work still has huge influence on many over the years. Her  work stll provides us with a fascinating unique point of view, on what it it is to be human and how that still pertains to the struggle for political and spiritual unity. Ideas that still resonate with us today.Happy birthday Simone.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Heart and Soul : Dedicated to Jane Elizabeth Husband (9/5/60 - 8/1/17)

The concept of twin souls ( more popularly known as soulmates) is as old as civilisation itself, I was fortunate to find mine, my muse , at the time of starting this blog, back in 2009,  Jane  Elizabeth Husband,  my dear beloved' the mighty furbster, who I am thinking of today, one year after her passing. She made my life and world so beautiful,and understood the true depths of love and kinship, that  fortunately  we shared together, who  still shines brightly within my heart. The following poem  is dedicated to her memory. She taught me a lot. 

Heart and Soul

Sweet cords of memory
cancel out lines of disbelief,
move moments of regret
in the distance waves goodbye,
this gift of time, who released so much love
a voice so elegant and pure,
who filled up all the empty spaces
continues to be so dear and true,
carries  on dancing in the night sky
a light that cannot darken,
no one will quite replace her
gleaming  now in eternity,
flowing through every day given
giving no cause for regret,
running free deep within
never fades with slipping sun,
everytime I hear an accordian
in heart and soul, we are one.

Last years post :-

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Genocidal Blockade of Gaza

The  ten year Israeli-led blockade of Gaza , the narrow enclave that is home to nearly half of all Palestnians living under Israeli occupation, which has decimated the Gazan economy and Gaza's once strong furniture, garment and agricultural sectos have been all but destroyed after more than a decade of restrictions on exports, imports and movement. Gaza has been declared unlivable by the UN, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and 80 percent of people relying on humanitarian aid to survive.
This is a place where life has long been cruel, where refugees forced out of Israel by the Nabka and families who have lved in Gaza for generations have suffered under dire conditions  for nearly 70 years. But in the last decade, it has become a site of stunning misery. Ten years ago this past June, Israel imposed a stringent land sea and ar blockade on Gaza which has restricted most movement to and from  the strip and pushed the tiny territory to the brink of collapse. Conditions hae become so extreme that the United Nations has stated that by 2020 the Gaa Strip could become uninabitable
The crisis in Gaza is not just a humanitarian tragedy, it should be a moral outrage. This ongoing suffering must end.
The above visual was produced in collaboration with Oxfam, and builds on Visualising Palestine's extensive work to highlight the daily realities faced by Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.
View and download here ;-

Friday, 5 January 2018

2017; Theresa's year of mayhem

A  quick reminder of 2017's year of mayhem. Theresa May though remains a shambolic figure, her authority in shreds. and her lack of leadership and cohesion, and sheer incompetance  is going I fear   be a disaster for this country. as millions face poverty, criminally inflated rents, humiliating benefit cuts and welfare sanctions amounting to state sponsored starvation, 2018 is going to be just  as painful as last year. She is the personifiation of this disunited kingdom. We need to see the back of the heartless Tories as soon as possible.

Monday, 1 January 2018

For a Brand New Tomorrow (Happy New Year)

Words arrive from seas of dream
no one is illegal, no one is forgotten
with revision division abandoned
creating new traditions to handle,
we have ruined, but we can build again
taking leap forwards in faithful belief,
waiting and watching, keeping alert
creating justice and retribution,
burning free, coalescing with others
restoring paradise that no longer smothers,
beyond wars created by governments
with patience seek roads of contentment,
in  long nights of distance and containment
as the shadows play, history books  rewritten,
together we remain strong, don't give up the fight
steady and slow, darkness turned into light,
our eyes in  summer, spring, autumn, winter
will glisten with rainbows and laughter,
hope returning with no ending
visions created by our human senses,
on elysian fields, no borders necessary
new gardens of eden created,
all our messages ring with love
as a brand new dawn reawakens.

blwyddyn newydd dda/ happy new year.. heddwch/peace. 

Cheers Ian Curtis