Category: Good causes


felice“Vietato non toccare” is on a notice publicising a small exhibition of the work of sculptor, Felice Tagliaferri at the Malatestiana Library in Cesena, Italy.

‘It is forbidden NOT to touch’ is an unusual sign to attach to art works. Normally security personnel are close at hand to prevent any curious hands from exploring objects. Tagliaferri’s pieces are different because even he has never seen them.

He has been blind since the age of 14 and so for all his work, mainly in marble, he depends entirely on his hands to know what they look like.

He is present to enthusiastically explain his work to visitors. “Do you want to see the work the way I see it?” he asks. Yes, I reply. Should I close my eyes?, I wonder, but he says this isn’t necessary. It’s enough that you get the tactile experience. Continue reading

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein (Allen Lane, 2013)

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding” – Upton Sinclair.

Alternative titles to this brave and important book could have been ‘Everything Must Change’, ‘Everything is Fucked’ or even more despairingly, The End Is Nigh.

Whatever way you look at the situation that Naomi Klein presents, it is clear that humanity is well and truly up shit creek climate-wise.

It would nice to report that this book also provides us with some metaphorical paddles but, sadly, this is not the case.

Klein presents the scale of the problem but in terms of solutions ultimately offers only a faith in the essential resilience of the human spirit. Continue reading

PRIDE directed by Matthew Warchus (UK, 2014)

pride-poster Although I was living in London in the 1980s, the time this movie was set, I confess to ignorance about the unlikely coalition between a small mining community in Wales and the left-leaning activists of the Lesbians And Gays Support The Miners (LGSM) operating from the Gay’s The Word bookshop in Bloomsbury.

I take comfort in the fact that Bill Nighy, one of the excellent ensemble cast of this movie, admits he didn’t know about this either until he was sent the script.

Perhaps this is not so strange given that the tabloids were only interested in shock-horror put-downs of “homos and “perverts” while the broadsheets seemed to have all but ignored the story. Continue reading

axmastree

This being the festive season, this tree looked from a distance as if someone had decked it out with seasonal lights – close to it turned out to be a trick of a lamp-light.

arI have committed myself to the Advent Running Challenge which is to run for at least 30 minutes every day from 1st to 25th December.

Actually, I doubt that I’ll actually be running much; you are more likely to see me striding out briskly.

A couple of years ago I pulled a calf muscle badly which meant I was laid up for 2 months. I am more or less healed now but after this injury I decided that I should take up fast walking rather than slow jogging. I soon discovered that the benefits to mind and body were on a par.

I swim and go to the gym regularly but there’s something special about exercising outdoors. This December challenge appealed because it’s a month whent it’s all too easy to hibernate and avoid going out when the weather is cold and wet.

‘Tis the season to be lazy but I reckon wrapping up and facing the elements is preferable to nodding off in front of some crappy TV show.

Normally, I would go out first thing – at about 7am –  but today I had a dental appointment at 9am and had to work afterwards. The best time was therefore directly after my lesson at 4pm. I parked my car by a riverside path and stripped Clark Kent style from teaching wear to  walking gear. It had rained on and off all day so there was the need for some puddle dodging but the gravel paths were not too muddy.

To clear my head like this straight after work was invigorating and I now look forward to another three and a bit weeks in the run up (literally!) to and including Christmas day.

Maggie Thatcher and Hilary MantelThe best kind of  killer is one who can hide in plain sight  and  is able to pass unnoticed in a crowd.

Hilary Mantel does not look like an assassin. On the contrary, she seems so prim and proper.  I’m sure she often gets mistaken for a Tory.  She is always well turned out, wears pastel shades and her hairstyle is not so dissimilar to Thatcher’s.

This is what makes her short story The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983,( published in The Guardian) seem so out of character.

It has caused a minor storm in a tea-cup among those who still misguided enough to argue that Thatcher saved, rather than ruined,  the nation. To those who merrily sang Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead las year, Mantel is an unlikely heroine. Continue reading

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