Monday, 30 July 2018

Word of the day :- Gammon

A  little dose of irony. In short the word 'gammon' has recently become a popular term on social media to describe middle-aged, right leaning men who won't stop railing against a system they feel is working against them, even though they are ultimately among its greatest beneficaries, They voted for Brexit and tend to support the Conservatives and UKIP. They also seem to be rather nationalistic and into the idea of St George's Day, more than most people, and loathe Islam, habitual rantings about immigration and the scourge of political correctness have caused them to and this really is the key point here to turn so red as to resemble a greasy pan fried  slab of ham shimmering stupidly under a fluorescent  light.
Some would argue  that the use of the word gammon  politically is a rather mild one considering how those insulted by it view the world .It seems safe to say that someone who is referred to as gammon, would not be best pleased, and may find it  very difficult to calm down due to an  increase in their  blood pressure.It should also be noted though that 'gammon'  is not a racial slur, actually gammons  come in all races and sexes, take Katie Hopkins for instance.
It is the latest in a long and (in)glorious line of political insults leading back to Aristphanes, to Nye Bevan that have sparked a thousand angry responses ever since. Annosh Chakelian of The News Stateman traced the first use of "gammon" back  to Times columnist Caitlin Moran, who described former prime minister David Cameron as a "C-3PO made of ham" and a slightly camp gammon robot" Alas , this would not be the last time Mr Cameron would find his name unfavourably connected with a dead pig. One can also traced the coinage even further, noting that Charles Dickens employed it in the pages of Nicholas Nikleby (1839)
All this name calling I guess can get  rather childish though, think i'd best stick to being a snowflake, win my arguments in a more subtle way, otherwise I might find myself beating a hasty retreat from an impeding wall of gammon.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Protect the Green-Haired Punk Turtle That Can Breathe Through Its Genitals!

The Mary River Turtle, an Australian reptile also known as the green-haired punk turtle , owing to the fact that many specimens are covered  with growing strands of algae, that makes them look like they have a green mohawk, and also  have two finger-like spikes to add to their overall 'punk rock' look.
This extraordinary creature  is also able to stay underwater for up to three days thanks to its ability to breathe through gill-like organs in its genitals.Sadly it has recently been added to a list of the world's most vulnerable species by the Zoological  Society of London. The turtle which can only be found in the Mary River in Queensland, was listed as the 30th most endangered reptiles by the ZSL's Edge of Existence programme, which uses a complex formula to award a threat score to unusual species at risk of exctinction.Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages whose branches  of the Tree of Life stretch back to the age of dinosaurs. If we lose these species, there will be nothing like them left on Earth.
The Mary River Turtle is really one of the most fascinating reptile species on the planet and its dissapearance would be a huge loss.Though the turtle's total population is not known, its numbers began plummeting in the 1960's, when nest sites were pillaged and they were sold as pets, Advocates hope the new listing will help in the push for protection of its habitat. Punk may not be dead  but this little fella is endangered, these special turtles now need our help to survive in their natural habitat. Please sign the following petition urging the Australian government to protect the Mary River Turtle now!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

William Styron ( 11/6/25 - 1/11/06) - Darkness Visible (an extract)

A post from 11/12/11 updated.

' When I was first aware  that I had been laid low by the disease, I felt a need, among other things, to register a strong protest against the word 'depression'. Depression, most people know, used to be termed 'melancholia', a word which appears in English as early as the year 1303 and crops up more than once in Chaucer, who in his usage seemed to be aware of its pathological nuances. ' Melancholia' would still appear to be a far more apt and evocative word for the blacker forms of the disorder, but it was usurped by a noun with a bland tonality and lacking any magisterial prescence, used indifferently to describe an economic decline   or  a rut in the ground, a true wimp of a word for such a major illness. It may be that the scientist generally held resposible for its currency in modern times, a Johns Hopkins Medical School faculty member justly venerated - the Swiss born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer - had a tin ear for the finer rhythyms of the English and therefore was unaware of the semantic damage he had inflicted by offering 'depression'' as a descriptive noun for such a terrible and raging disease. Nonetheless, for over seventy-five years the word has slithered innocuously through the language like a slug, leaving little trace of its intrinsic malevolence and preventing, by its very insipidity, a general awareness of the horrible intensity of the disease when out of control.
As one who has suffered from the malady in extremis yet returned to tell the tale, I would lobby for a truly arresting designation. 'Brainstorm', for instance, has unfortunately been preempted to describe, somewhat jocularly, intellectual inspiration. But something along these lines is needed. Told that someone's mood disorder has evolved into a storm - a veritable howling tempest in the brain, which is indeed what a clinical depression resembles like nothing else - even the uninformed layman might display sympathy rather than the standard reaction that ' depression' evokes, something akin to 'So what?' or 'You'll pull out of it' or 'We all have bad days.' The phrase 'nervous breakdown' seems to be on its way out, certainly deservedly so, owing to its insinuation of a vaque spinelessness, but we still seem destined to be saddled with 'depression' until a better, sturdier name is created.
The depression that engulfed me was not of the manic type- the one accompanied by euphoric highs - which would have most probably presented itself earlier in my life. I was sixty when the illness struck for the first time, in the 'unpilor' form, which leads straight down. I shall never learn what caused my depression, as no one will ever learn about their own. To be able to do so will likely for ever prove to be an impossibility,so able complex are the intingled factors of abnormal chemistry, behaviour and genetics. Plainly, multiple components are involved - perhaps three or four, most probably more, in fathomless permutations. That is why the greatest fallacy about suicide lies in the belief that there is a single immediate answer - or perhaps combined answers - as to why the deed was done.
The inevitable question 'Why did he (or she) do it? usually leads to odd speculations, for the most part fallacies themselves. Reasons were quickly advanced for Abbie Hoffman's death: his reaction to an auto accident he had suffered, the failure of his most recent book, his mother's serious illness. With Randall Jarrell it was a declining career cruelly epitomised by a vicious book review and his consequent anguish. Primo Levi, it was rumoured, had been burdened by caring for his paralytic mother, which was more onerous to his spirit than even his experience at Auschwitz. Any one of these factors may have lodged like a thorn in the sides of the three men, and been a torment. Such aggravations may be crucial and cannot be ignored. But most people quietly endure the equivelent of injuries, declining careers, nasty book reviews, family illnesses. A vast majority of the survivors of Auschwitz have borne up fairly well. Bloody and bowed by the outrages of life, most human beings still stagger on down the road, unscathed by real depression. To discover why some people plunge into the downward spiral of depression, one must search beyond the manifest crisis - and then still fail to come up with anything beyond wise conjecture.
The storm which swept me into a hospital in December began as a cloud no bigger than a wine goblet the previous June. And the cloud - the manifest crisis - involved alcohol, a substance I had been abusing for forty years. Like a great many American writers, whose sometime lethal addiction  to alcohol has become so legendary as to  provide in itself a stream of studies and books, I use alcohol as the magical conduit to fantasy and euphoria, and the the enhancement of the imagination. There is no need either to rue or apologise for my use of this soothing, often sublime agent, which had contributed greatly to my writing;although I never sat down a line while under its influence, I did use it - often in conjuntion with music - as a means to let my mind concieve visions that the unaltered, sober brain has no assess to. Alcohol was an invaluable senior partner of my intellect, besides being a friend whose manifestations I sought daily - sought also, I now see, as a means to calm the anxiety and incipient dread that I had hidden away for so long somewhere in the dungeons of my spirit.
The trouble was at  the beginning of this paticular summer, that I was betrayed. It struck me quite suddenly, almost overnight; I could no longer drink. It was as if my body had risen up in protest, along with my mind, and had conspired to reject this daily mood bath which it had so long welcomed, and, who knows? perhaps even come to need. Many drinkers have experiencd this intolerance as they have grown older. I suspect that the crisis was atleast partly metabolic - the liver rebelling, as if to say, 'No more, no more' - but at any rate I discovered that alcohol in miniscule amounts, even a mothful of wine, caused me nausea, a desperate and unpleasant wooziness, a sinking sensation, and ultimately a distinct revulsion. The comforting friend had abandoned me not gradually and reluctantly as a true friend might do, but like a shot - and I was left high and certainly dry, and unhelmed.
Neither by will nor by choice had I become an absteiner; the situation was puzzling to me, but it was also traumatic, and I date the onset of my depressive mood from the begining of this deprivation. Logically, one would be overjoyed that the body had so summarily dismissed a substance that was undermining its health; it was as if my system had generated a form of Antabuse, which should have allowed me to happily go my way, satisfied that a trick of nature had shut me off from a harmful dependence. But, instead, I began to experience a vaquely troubling malaise, a sense of something having gone cockeyed in the domestic universe I'd done so long, so comfortably. While depression is by no means unknown when people stop drinking, it is usually on a scale that is not menacing. But it should be kept in mind how idiosyncratic the faces of depression can be.
It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more sombre, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zetful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me, just for a few minutes, accompanied by a visceral queasiness - such a seizure was at least alarming, after all. As I set down these recollections, I realise that it should have been plain to me that I ws already in the grip of the beginning of a mood disorder, but I was ignorant of such a condition at the time.
When I reflected on the curious alteration of my consciousness - and I was baffled enough from time to time to do so - I assumed that it all had to do somehow with my enforced withdrawal from alcohol. And, of course, to a certain extent this was true. But it is my conviction now that alcohol played a perverse trick on me when we said farewell to each other: although, as everyone should know, it is a major depressent, it had never truly depressed me during my drinking career, acting instead as a shield against anxiety. Suddenly vanished, the great ally which for so long had kept my demons at bay was no longer there to prevent those demons from beginning to swarm through the subconscious, and I was emotionally naked, vulnerable as I had never been before. Doubtless depression  had hovered near me for years, waiting to swoop down. Now I was in the first stage- premonitory, like a flicker of sheet lightning barely percieved depression's black tempest.
I was on Martha's Vineyard, where I've spent a good part of each year since the sixties, during that exceptionally beautiful summer. But I had begun to respond indifferenty to the islands pleasures. I felt a kind of numbness, a reservation, but more particularly odd fragility - as if my body  had actually become frail, hypersensitive and somehow disjointed and clumsy, lacking normal coordination. And soon I was in the throes of a pervasive hypochondria. Nothing felt quite right with my corpereal self; there were twitches and pains, sometimes intermittent, often seemingly constant that seemed to presage all sorts of dire infirmities. (Given these signs, one can understand how, as far back as the seventeenth century - in the notes of contemporary physicians, and in the perceptions of John Dryden and others - a connection is made between melancholia and hypochondria; the worlds are often interchangeable, and were so used until the nineteenth century by writers as various as Walter Scott and the Brontes, who also linked melancholy to a preoccupation with bodily ills.) It is easy to see how this condition is part of the psyche's apparatus of defence: inwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects - not the precious and irreplaceable mind - that is going haywire.

In my case , the overall effect was immensely disturbing, augmenting the anxiety that was by now never quite absent from my waking hours and fuelling still another strange behaviour pattern - a fidgety restlessness that kept me on the move, somewhat to the perplexity of my family and friends. Once, in late summer, on an airplane trip to New York, I made the reckless mistake of downing a scotch and soda - my first alchol in months - which promptly sent me into a tailspin, causing me such a horrified sense of disease and interior doom that the very next day I rushed to a Manhattan intern, who inaugurated a long series of tests. Normally I would have been satisfied, indeed elated, when after  three weeks of high-tech and extremely expensive evaluation, the doctor pronounced me totally fit; and I was happy, for a day or two, until there once gain began the rythmic daily erosion of my mood - anxiety, agitation, unfocused dread.
By now I had moved back to my house in Connecticut. It was October, and one of the unforgettable features of tihis stage of my disorder was the way in which my own farmhouse, my beloved home for thirty years, took on for me at that point when my spirits regularly sank to their nadir an almost palpable quality of ominousness. The fading evening light - akin to that famous 'slant of light' of Emily Dickinson's, which spoke to her of death, of chill extinction - had none of its familiar autumnal loveliness, but ensnared me in a suffocating gloom. I wondered how this friendly place teeming with such memories of (again in her words ) 'Lads and Girls', of laughter and ability and Sighing,/ And Frocks and Curls', could almost perceptively seem so hostile and forbidding. Physically, I ws not alone. As always Rose was present and listened with unflagging patience to my complaints. But I felt an immense and aching solitude. I could no longer concentrate during those afternoon hours, which for years had been my working time, and the act of writing itself, becomming more and more difficult and exhausting, stalled, then finally ceased.

William Styron's house in Connecticut.

There were also dreadful, pouncing seizures of anxiety. One bright day on a walk through the woods with my dog I heard a flock of Canada geese honking high above trees ablaze with foliage, ordinarily a sight and sound that would have exhilarated me, the flight of birds caused me to stop, riveted with fear, and I stood stranded there, helpless, shivering, aware  for the first time that I had been stricken by no mere pangs of withdrawal but by a serious illness whose name and actuallity I was able to finally to acknowledge. Going home I couldn't rid my mind of the line of Baudelaire's, dredged up from the distant past, that for several days had been skittering around at the edge of my consciousness: 'I have felt the the wind of the wing of madness.'
Our perhaps understandable modern need to dull the sooth-tooth edges of so many of the afflicions we are heir to has led us to banish the harsh old fashioned words: madhouse, asylum, insanity, melancholia, lunatic, madness. But never let it be doubted that depression, in its extreme form, is madness. The  madness results from an abherrrant biochemical process. It has been established with reasonable certainty ( after strong resistance from many psychiatrists, and not all that long ago) that such madness is chemically induced amid the neurotransmitters of the brain, probably as the result of systemic stress, which for unknown reasons cause a depletion of the chemicals norepinephrine and srontonin, and the increase of a hormone, cortsol. With all its upheaval in the brain tissues, the alternate drenching and deprivation, it is no wonder that the mind begins to feel aggrieved, stricke, and the muddied thought processes register the distress of an organ in convulsion. Sometimes, though not very often, such a disturbed mind will turn to violent thoughts regarding others. But with their minds turned agonizingly inward, people with depression are usually dangerous only to themselves. The madness of depression is, generally speaking, the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed. but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.
That fall as the disorder gradually took full possession of my system, I began to concieve that my mind itself was like one of those outmoded small- town  telephone exchanges, being gradually inudated by floodwaters: one by one, the normal circuits began to drown, causing some of the functions of the body and nearly all those pf instinct and intellect slowly to disconnect.
There is a well-known checklist of some of these functions and their failures. Mine conked out fairly close to schedule, many of them following the pattern of depressive seizures. I particularly remember the lamentable near dissapearance of my voice. It underwent a strange transformation, becomming at times quite faint, wheezy and spasmodic - a friend observed later that it was the voice of a ninety-year old. The libido also made an early exit, as it does in most major illnesses - it is the superfluous need of a body in beleagured emergency. Many people lose all appetite; mine was relatively normal, but I found myself eating only for substistence: food, like everything else within the scope of sensation, was utterly without saviour. Most distressing of all the instinctual disruptions was that of sleep, along with a complete absence of dreams.
Exhaustion combined with sleepnessness is a rare torture. The two or three hours of sleep I was able to get at night were always at the behest of the Haleion - a matter which deserves particular notice. For some time now many experts in psycho-pharnology have warned that the benzodiazpine family of tranquilliszers, of which Halcion is one (Valium and Ativan are others), is capable of depressing mood and even precipitating a major depression. Over two years before my siege, an insouciant doctor had prescribed Ativan as a bedtime aid, telling me airily that I could take it casually as apirin. The Physicians' Desk Reference, the pharmeacological  bible, reveals that the medicine I had been ingesting was (a) three times the normally prescribed strength, (b) not advisable as a medication for more than a month or so, and (c) to beused with special caution by people of my age. At the time of which I am speaking I was no longer taking Ativian but had become addicted to Halcion and was consuming large doses. It seems reasonable to think that this was still another contributary factor to the trouble that had come upon me. Certainly , it should be a caution to others.

At any rate, my few hours of sleep were usually terminated at three or four in the morning, when I stared up into yawning darkness, wondering and waking at the devastation taking place in my mind, and awaiting the dawn, which usually permitted me a feverish, dreamless nap.I'm fairly certain that it was during one of these insomniac trances that there came over me the knowledge - a wierd and shocking revelation, like that of some long-beshrouded metaphysical truth - that this condition would cost me my life if it continued on such a course. This must have been just before my trip to Paris. Death, as I have said, was now a daily prescence, blowing over me in cold gusts. I had not concieve precisely how my end would come. In short, I had not concieved precisely how my end would come. In short, I ws still keeping the idea of suicide at bay. But plainly  the possibility was around the corner, and I would  soon meet  it face to face.
What I had begun to discover is that, mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the grey drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. But it is not an immedately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb. It may be more accurate to say that despair, owing to some evil trick played upon the sick brain by the inhabiting psyche, comes  to resembe the diabolical discomfort of being imprisoned in a fiercely overheated room. And because no breeze stirs this cauldron, because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.'

Reprinted from :-

Darkness Visible - William Styron ( Cape 1991).

.William Styron, who first descended into clinical depression at the age of sixty, described himself as "one who had suffered from the malady in extremis, yet inspiringly returned to tell the tale about mans ability to endure in extreme circumstances, I personally am very grateful that he did. Styron was one of the lucky ones , thousands of us are still  unfortunate to live with this condition from day to day, some of us sadly do not have the means to survive, and tell our stories.
Remember a lot of people with mental health problems never actually seek professional help. Sometimes when sought the help is not what is needed. Even though William Styron's book  helped demystify the subject,with his vivid account of his descent into clinical depression, there is still serious stigma attached.This book has helped me though, when I too have been  suffering and would strongly recommend it. The complex wrestling of the human soul  is often  difficult to avoid, life for some of us can be overwhelming. Personally speaking when my melancholy calls ,it  often  arrives uninvited.
Attracts some like a magnet. But as seasons flow, new tactics emerge , sometimes they work, every small step is because you are living. Every day one of survival. It forces us to look, join the dots, life as one big balancing act. Find the means to veer away from the darkness within. Even though episodes can return, the waves  can be broken, peaked and  moved over.
Remember there is nothing to be ashamed off . Courage lies within all of us, beyond the confines of despair, as  Styron reminds me, our greatest hope lies in the passage of time and " the passing of the storm.... Mysterious in its coming, mysterious in its going, the affliction runs its course, and one finds peace."  After a bout recently, I  am one of the lucky ones, have at least a few caring listening ears, I will continue  to avoid the dodgems though, try and  keep on surviving !

More on William Styron here.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Laboratories of existence

I follow earth's vibrations
Well remembered tones
Ancient paths and heartbeats
Memories of old friends
That continue to guide
Fill my vision with kindness,
As I float into the future
In laboratories of existence,
Following deep principles
Of love and devotion
Carrying hope and pride
Growing and evolving
In this little world of mine
The air smelling of freedom
Fanning dreams, creating sparks
Though  heart often weighs heavily
Happiness never seems to die
Find lights to wade through the dark.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

As Gaza is bombed again, time to end the blockade

Israeli warplanes launched a large-scale attack across the Gaza Strip on Friday, partly over the flyng of kites, in  one of the fiercest in years, unleashing the heaviest bombing assault on Gaza since the 2014 war, that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.
The airstrikes began to slam Gaza just hours after Israeli soldiers gunned down at least three Palestinians during anti-occupation demonstrations. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says one of its soldiers was killed by retaliatory gunfire from the Palestinians.Successive explosions rocked Gaza City at nightfall and the streets emptied as warplanes struck dozens of sites. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to “carry out an operation that is of a much wider scope and much more painful than Operation Protective Edge” and this bombing is following through on those threats.
Israel’s Education Minister was reported insisting warplanes should drop bombs over the heads of Palestinian children flying the kites, even when the head of the army pushed back! This current military assault coming after months of successful organizing and actions by Gaza protesters and international support for the Great Return March. Palestinians have now been protesting at the border for 17 weeks,threatening to “return” to the lands their forefathers lost when Israel was created in 1948. Gaza health officials say more than 130 Palestinians have been killed and 15,000 injured by Israeli forces, during that time. Palestinians in Gaza see the flying off kites and balloons over the illegal border as legitimate resistance against Israel’s more than decade-long blockade.
At least four Palestinians were killed subsequently in Gaza on Friday, following the deaths of  two teenagers, Amir and Luay, who were killed by Israeli arplanes earlier in the week while they were playing on a roof.
In response  activists  began circulating the #Stop theWar hashtag in an effort to pressure the international community to step in and stop Israel's efforts to launch yet another catastrophic assault on the occupied, blockaded, unlivable and exhausted open air prison that is the Gaza Strip  which has seen ts people choking under 11 years of seige. Measuring 365 square kilometres and home to 2m people, (half of whom are children), one of the most crowded and miserable places on Earth. It is short of medicine, power and other essentials. The tap water is undrinkable; untreated sewage is pumped into the sea. Gaza already has one of the world’s highest jobless rates, at 44%, it's people being denied the necessities for means to live
In short, Palestinians, will justifiably continue to resist, feel much anger, and the international community has a duty  to call Israel  to account as it continues to unleash collective punihment on its people, as it carries out aggression with impunity, we must continue the call  for the end of the illegal Gaza blockade as Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories carries on relentlessly because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Four boats from the 'Right to a Just Future for Palestine' Freedom Flotilla Coalition are scheduled to leave Palermo, Sicily,, to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza,  carrying medications, surgical gauze and sutures, and to assert the Palestinian  people's right to freedom of movement and their right to a just future. As we mark the 100 years of the birth of Nelson Mandela, we recall his words on his release from prison in 1990. "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
Click on the following  link for the latest news about ther progress. Click "Participants" to see who is on board.Please be ready to inform your MP if the boats are  captured and the participants are  attacked or arrested. Dr Swee Ang, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, author From Beirut to Jerusalem, is the sole British national on board.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Cowardly Theresa May is running scared of democracy

Theresa May, weak and unstable is currently running scared of British democracy, after she has tabled a motion  proposing to shut down Parliament five days early. They are voting later  on whether to allow MPs to leave five days ahead of schedule, at a time of immense crisis and one of the most critical and busiest periods in recent parliamentary history, it is shameful that she has actually considered this, but shows clearly her own lack of confidence in her own Brexit plans and her sheer desperation, because she is aware her government will simply collapse if she doesn't.
May cowardly and incompetent, having faced 10 resignations from her ranks, in as many days, is afraid  of a  leadership challenge, that will, in all probability oust her, so to avoid this she has already caved into  hardline Brexiteer Tories, is now trying to avoid any further threat,  so has hatched this  plan to send all away on holiday early for the summer to try to avoid the chaos she is currently surrounded by.
The Commons was due to rise for its long summer recess next Tuesday, but Theresa May wants them all to on holiday five days earlier, which will make this Thursday their last day. Its up to the backbone of opposition MP's to vote against the plans and motion for an extra holiday in a bid to make life a little harder for Prime Minister Theresa May
In the meantime I'd urge you to contact your own MPs, we should not allow her to get away with how she pleases, I sincerely hope she faces a humiliating Commons defeat. Here's something I sent to mine earlier.

Dear insert name of your MP
I am writing to ask you to vote against the motion that has been tabled in Parliament to start the holidays early so MPs would break up on Thursday 19 July instead of Tuesday 19 July this year. At a time when Theresa May's Government is in so much crisis, and there is so much that needs to be sorted out currently for the benefit of the whole country.
Yours Sincerely

Further information :-

Monday, 16 July 2018

Frank Wain : Inspirational Native American Hip-Hop Artist

Frank Wain is a Sicanhu Lakota, Hip -Hop Artist from He Dog on the Rosebud Reservation in rural South Dakota. An award winning artist and outspoken activist. Frank uses his music and performance to address colonialism, state violence, the legacy of broken treaties, Native American genocide, racism, appropriation and environmental exploitation among other issues affecting Indigenous people today.
Wain uses his music as a way to call out historical wrongs and  uplift American indigenous youth, many of whom struggle from the impacts of poverty violence, suicide and other inter-generational traumas. He has been featured in many publications, and on MTV'S Rebel Music Native America episode.

Rebel Music: Native America : Official trailer

Influenced and inspired by Emiinem, Nas,  John Trudell, Native activist and poet and the Sundance songs and ceremonies of his culture. His sound is unique, while hip-hop based, he also mixes in the sounds of his native roots, and integrates lyrics that are politically outspoken.He takes a beat, weaves in the drums and sounds of the Sicangu Lakota  and powerfully retells American history through the eyes of a group that has been forgotten, capturing a spirit of resistance..
He is very conscious of how his depictions of Native American culture are so often twisted into "poverty porn ""There will be no porn in music video," he tweeted about rhe following video "Aboriginal " in October 2013. "No models. No bling. Just some Lakota people, smiling, riding horses and being a community." The video shows children on the reservation playing basketball, hanging with family, living ordinary lives - lives that are frequently misunderstood and overlooked.

.Frank Wain -  Aboriginal

Frank was raised only by his mother and aunts on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. His father was absent in his life, but he says his mother made him who he is today and without her he would not be doing what he does. Although he is representative of his culture, his music also deals with trauma that can be felt by those that  are not Native. He has also spoken cadidly about his own personal battles with depression.
The following song speaks of his love for his mother and the struggles they have endured together, this love can resonate with many of us. Though Frank is proud of his identity and writes content geared towards issues relevant to his community, his music also stresses how these situations can also be viewed through a broader lens. These struggles are not exotic nor alien.

Rebel Music ;Frank Wain Performs "My Stone

From a very young age he found it was his responsibility to keep his culture alive  and shed light on the reality of what indigenous people have been experiencing and living for hundreds of years. He attended Colombia University in Chicago, Illinois as a recipient of the Gates Millenium Scholarship. He has said that it was this scholarship that enabled his to began making music. He began producing music in college using his laptop. Since then he has gone on to win several awards for his outspoken and powerful sounds, who has managed to build a large and devoted audience of fans drawn to his heartfelt music.
Currently living in Chicago, aside from creating music highlighting the struggles of  his people in today's society, he is also a youth mentor and social activist and speaks about self- empowerment travelling the world spreading messages of hope through performance and workshops.In 2017 he went on a trip with who he works with to Palestine where he bore witness to their own struggles under settler colonialism.Re-connecting to his own culture  has allowed him to release his revolutionary voice, providing an inspiration to many, using his powerful voice as a political and environmental activist for American Indian rights. while using music as a much needed  force for love, struggle, healing and social change.In an interview he refers to his people as "A people with a past, not a people of the past."
Long may he keep up his good work.

Frank Wain - What makes the Red Man Red

Frank Wain - Oil 4 Blood

Let Them In - Soul Inscribed; featuring Frank Wain
all proceeds going to


"I stand for the power of art to bring about healing and change for the communities we call home." 

-Frank Wain

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Trump rally. What an amazing day

Yesterday, I was at one of the most diverse, vibrant demonstraitons, I have been to for years, proudly joining over 250,000 people as we stood together against the divisive, bigoted, climate-denying,  policies of Donald Trump. It was the biggest protest against Trump outside the US to date, despite the vitriol of our slogans and chants, the mood was a festive one of jubilation and defiance rather than aggressive, as we basked in glorious sunshine, in a carnival of resistance. A very special day as our humanity was shared.
People  young  and old from many  different walks of life, gathered at Portland Square from around 2 pm, marching to Trfalgar Square for a mass rally, that featured  politicians including  Jeremy Corbyn. Labour leader, and David Lammy Labour MP, and columnist Own Jones..
In a video posted on Twitter, Corbyn described the Trump administration policie "as putting the lives and wellbeng of millions of people at risk."
He also criticised Theresa May for her "red carpet welcome" despite Trump "tepeatedly trampling on the most basic fundamental rights that all of us hold dear." Adding 2our democracy comes from popular action, our right to demonstrate in this Square was hard fought for and hard won, the rights of women to vote was hard fought for and hard won. We're asserting our rights to demonstrate and live in a world that's not divided by misogony, racism and hate." To huge cheers he said "We come together becuse I wish to live in a world of peace, not war. I wish to live in a world where refugees are not blamed for th wars that they are victims of, When we divide ourselves by xenophobia we all lose, when we unite around common objectives we can all win."
Together we managed to show our solidarity, with those marginalised groups that have born the brunt of Trumps  regressive points of view managing to make international headlines. At the same time we managed to send a clear message to our own government  that we wont accept or tolerate the dangerous actions of the US president., or allow them to become the norm and acceptable, at the same time  making it loud and clear that he was not welcomed.Accusing him of creating a culture of racism, intolerance and misogony via his vile policies of targetting minority groups.
As the rally came to a close, people cooled  down from a long hot day of protest by splashing in the fountain in the middle of Trafalgar Square, and despite the bus that took us to London and breaking down, and getting gridlocked, meaning that we did not get back till about this morning, I believe a positive day was had by us all, a truly momentous occasion of political significance..
When we fight back together, in solidarity, we are more powerful, our love will always trump hate.
The huge turnout was a huge victory to everyone fighting racism, sexism and austerity. My thoughts are with those marching again today against supporters of fascist Tommy Robinson who are gathering in central London.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Arty Party Together Against Trump

Short post, off to catch bus to London. As Theresa May courts and hold hands with Trump, for  those who can't get to London, you can still raise your voices. Give Trump no welcome,  remember, no one is illegal, no borders are necessary. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Resist, resist with all your might. For those in West Wales, please attend following :-

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Love Trumps Hate/Mae Cariad yn Trechu Casineb

July 13th is coming
Catch a bus and protest
Greet orange man
With  freedoms voice
Cast out intolerance
That is accountable to no one
Flaming and flaunting fear
Daily releasing sad delapitdation
Let's weave together in unity
Be a speck that proudly stands
Sing together with one voice
Our bubbles shifting together
Hands together, raised high
Cries refusing to be silent
Collectively not frightened
Speaking in different tongues
Against racism and bigotry
Offering no welcome
To a narcissistic clown
Our love will triumph hate
We will loudly drown

Monday, 9 July 2018

Strong and stable Tories?

As Theresa May clings on in power weak and unstable, we are increasingly seeing signs of the Conservative governments fragility, as Brexit Secretary David Davis has done what he's been predicted to have been considering to do, and resigned. Departing just days after Theresa May secured the cabinets backing despite claims from her critics that it was "soft".
With Boris Johnson following suit after  2 years of embarrassing Britain as foreign secretary, we should be  asking ourselves,when have the Tories ever done anything good  for the country. Everything that they ever do is for their own benefit and self interest, and never for the rest of us, with their cruel and callous policies.Davis has now being replaced by Dominic Raab, whose own track record is simply astonishing, even for a Tory ttps://
We are now seeing Tory hardline Brexiters rallying as many MP's as possible to demand by letter Theresa May's resignation, because staying in the EU single market is a complete anathema to them, clear signs of a party in complete division. As May and  her government faces a race against time to  find a solutions to the Irish border question, it clearly shows the Tory's to be in the grip of total chaos, which will hopefully trigger the collapse of their grip of power too.Theresa May's Tories are in a whole heap of trouble, as we witness how weak the ruddy lot of them are, the most fissile and disloyal bunch we have seen in living memory.This not a government of strength but one of utter weakness, what future do they have whilst they seem so unfit to govern at all.
At such a crucial time of the Brexit process, in which EU leaders have warned us that time is running out to get a deal sorted. The UK is supposed to be due to leave on 29 March next year. As their actions continue to be marked by incompetence and farce, and  as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pointed out "threatens our economy, businesses, jobs and communities."It is time for all the Tories to go as soon as possible for the greater good of all, Theresa May and co simply have no authority left, as they continue to cause so much irreplaceable harm to our country, as they show themselves to be in utter disarray and utter shambles.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The forcible transfer of Palestinians is a war crime

The state of Israel  is currently attempting to raze to the ground the  villages of Khan al-Ahmar  and Avu Numar which is home just around 2,000 Bedouins  but the impact of their removal would be long lasting.People who live in these villages threaten no one. Their crime is to have homes on land that Israel wants, in order to expand the illegal settlements of Kfar Adumim and Ma'ale Adumim.. In what many see as state sponsored theft, a theft that will cut the West Bank in two making a contingous Palestinian state no longer possible,  and the prospects of a  two-state solution still more remote., and  is yet  another testament to Israel's culture of impunity that allows it to continue endangering the very existence of the Palestinian people on their land  and to commit further grave violations of international law.
On Wednesday bulldozers demolished nine homes and three farm buildings in Abu Nuwar and clashed with Bedouin residents in Khan al-Ahmer. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society Israeli police injured 35, of whom 4 were hospitalised. Amit Gilutz of human rights organisation B'Tselem said ;No military order or court ruling can make the transfer of these residents lawful or moral. Forcible transfer of Palestinian communities is a war crime, and all who are involved in approving or implementing it bear personal liability."
Amnesty International have said  that Israels continuing policies of settling Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian territories, wantonly destroying property, and forcibly transferring Palestinians living under occupation violates the Fourth Geneva Convention are war crimes listed in the statute of the International Criminal Court. Since 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire communities and demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures.
Meanwhile the top Palestinian political bodies have accused the United States of giving the green light to Israel. Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the EU's acquiescence pushed the Israeli government to advance its annexation plans which affect  vast occupied areas of vital importance for Palestine."
Furthermore, building permits are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians in Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank and despite Israel pledging to resettle the residents, one of the alternative locations is near a garbage dump in the nearby Palestinian town of Abu Dis which Bedouin villagers say the location is  unsuitable for their way of life. Israels's actions are not isolated, but part of a systematic plan to take the whole of Palestine from the rivers to the sea.
At the same time companies with headquarters in the UK are directly supporting the destruction of Palestinian homes, companies like CAT and JCB  who continue to profit from illegal activity and directly contribute to ongoing war crimes, whilst aiding and abetting the criminal activities of the Israeli government.
It's time for the UK government to step up and hold complicit companies to account over their involvement and to end its complicity in Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian rights.At the same time Israel must be held accountable for its grave violations of the International Humanitarian Law, UN resolutions and the human rights of the Palestinian people I would urge you after reading this to ask your MP to suspend arms exports to Israel

Thursday, 5 July 2018

DONNY TAKES A TRIP by Fake News Corp

Fake News Corp is an alliance of disparate souls who wanted to manifest their opposition to the ‘alt-President of the USA’ in a rousing song. We can’t stop him coming to England but we do not welcome him. We disapprove of his racist, abusive, divisive activities and we object to his fascistic, bully-boy gang members.

Whilst he travels freely to England he attempts to restrict the movements of others, whether from Mexico, South America or the Middle East. Alt-POTUS is a self-confessed abuser, a charity fraudster and a graceless lying bully. He has no manners and is dangerously happy in the company of the despots and dictators he admires so much.

This song and this video are available free to anybody who wants them for non-commercial use. It would be great if you would consider donating to one of the charities linked below or to one of your choice. We have created this work in order to add our voice to the millions of voices speaking out against greed, corruption, violence and cruelty, and speaking up for peace, cooperation, equality and truth. Download the MP3 here: https://allthemadmenrecords.bandcamp....
This song and this video are available free to anybody who wants them for non-commercial use. It would be great if you would consider donating to one of the charities linked below or to one of your choice.

We have created this work in order to add our voice to the millions of voices speaking out against greed, corruption, violence and cruelty, and speaking up for peace, cooperation, equality and truth.
Download the MP3 HERE


Join the carnival of resistance HERE

Black Lives Matter HERE

Politifact – US fact-checking website HERE

Full Fact – UK’s independent fact checking charity HERE

SARI – Stand Against Racism and Inequality HERE

Full list of image and video copyright accreditation to follow asap.


No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA
Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists

Verse 1
We can learn from history
Hitler lost and Mussolini
Franco left no legacy
And there is no Confederacy
Someone’s got their eye on you
From Pennsylvania Avenue
There’s Nazis in the White House too
It’s Donny and his fascist crew

Chorus 1
Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists

Verse 2
The man to represent the dumb
The racists and intolerant ones
Every white man with a gun
Out many comes the one
Bend the knee reveal the shame
It’s a zero sum racist game
Bullies on the street again
Donny gives the poor the blame

Chorus 2
Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists

Verse 3
Racist, liar, tax cheat, deadbeat,
Draft-dodger, Russian agent, sex offender
Fake news, fake press, fake university,
Fake hair fake tan fake fucking charity

Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists

Break chant
You are not welcome here

Break spoken section
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free.”
And lo it shall come to pass,
As we receive them unto us
We will incarcerate and humiliate them,
We will demonize, degrade and demoralize them
We will heap blame upon their shoulders
Burdens on their backs
And a price on their heads
A price they can never afford

Even though we will employ them on pitiful wages
House them in low rent slums
And anaesthetise them with bad TV and bad drugs

Send us your Mexican cleaners,
Send us your Filipino houseboys
Your East European sex workers
And lo, will we use them, abuse them,
Hold them in contempt and confuse them
They will be held in suspicion at all times
And held in custody at others
And when we can no longer exploit them
We will arrest and deport them

America, home of the slave
And the land of the wealthy
God bless America


Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists

No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA

Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists

No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA

Resist, resist
Resist fascists

Resist, resist
Resist the white supremacists
Resist, resist
Resist fascists


The arrival of the world's no 1 racist on our shores is a serious threat, and many are rightly asking why there is no money for nurses when Theresa May can find the magic money tree to foot the bill for a £5m golfing trip for Trump in Scotland. It really shows her priorities and sense of values.Together on July 13th we will be putting on a massive united show of opposition to him, against his politics of racism, war, sexism and hate.
If we come together, and get hundreds of thousands of people on the streets, we will be the reception the world sees. Our message of global solidarity against bigotry, racist borders and corporate greed wills  drown out the mainstream, pompous welcome. If you can't make it to London , find your nearest local protest here

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Cardigan and North Pembrokeshire Amnesty Group : AmnesTea / Freedom to Express Yourself.

Reminder about our ANNUAL AMNESTY ANNUAL AMNESTEA this year at Clynfyw Care Farm, Abercych, SA37 OHF Sunday, July 8th 2.00 - 5.00pm with tea and cake, plant sale, bookstall, Jewllry Sale, Farm tours, live music and poetry reading. Indoors if wet, outdoors if dry, please spread the word, come with your friends1 Cakes needed and plants please. Travel directions to Clynfyw, From Newcastle Emyn go to Cenarth take turning on left just before the bridge to Cenarth follow to the end off the road. Turn right up hill towards Boncath. Clynfyw is a little way on that road, clearly marked on your left. From Cardigan, over bridge in Cenarth, first turning on your right. From other directions see facebook page.
Come for a relaxing day and fun afternoon, bring your friends, and help raise money for Amnesty International human rights work around the world.Every year hundreds of supporters do exactly this, and last year raised over £17,000 for vital research and campaigning work. It's amazing how much a humble cup of tea can achieve. Just as Amnesty is about people coming together to defend human rights, AMNSTEA is a chance for friends to share good food and support human rights, whilst having some fun at same time. Hope to see you there. 

Also please go and see our beautiful exhibition at Small World Theatre where we are hosting Freedom to Express Yourself. This exhibition is free of charge to view during office opening times: Tuesday-Friday, 10.00am-4.30pm.May 23d to July 27th.
This is the blurb.
"Amnesty International has partnered with top artists and designers to create a beautifully illustrated notebook that celebrates our right to freedom of expression. Previous Children’s Laureates Sir Quentin Blake and Chris Riddell, Turner Prize-winner David Shrigley, Lord of the Rings artist Alan Lee, and best-selling journal author Meera Lee Patel, are just a few of the artists that have produced new artwork for the notebook, basing their creations on pivotal quotes from some of the most important human rights thinkers and activists of the past two centuries, including Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Marley and Harper Lee. Full of inspiring ideas, the notebook has plenty of empty space for readers to express themselves with their own creative drawings, musings, to-do lists and doodles."