I no longer wear a poppy on my lapel, any more than I wear my heart on my sleeve. It does not mean I don’t care, nor that I don’t care to remember, but I am angry that this opiate poppy of the masses has become a platitude. When the politicians can stand at the Cenotaph with their sad faces and scarlet poppies, who just weeks ago shook hands all round at an international arms fair, how can ‘wearing a poppy’ mean anything? I remember that people lose lives and minds and limbs in wars their politicians tell them to fight, that families are torn apart, that my son’s best friend lives with the fear that daddy might not come home again. And I look at the poppy on the PM’s lapel, and I do see blood, but it isn’t his. The poppy was supposed to make us remember, but I think it’s helping us to forget. And if seeing me daring not to wear one makes someone sputter in outrage, then good. Remember what it stands for now?
Uncivilisation. A weekend of exploring “cultural engagement which is rooted in place, time and nature”. A weekend of people, music, story, song, fire and playfulness. A weekend where I learned so damn much about the world around me, and about myself. And apart from the bit about “I can’t use Google-maps on my phone to navigate my way out of a paper bag” (sorry Jon – it was an adventure!), I liked what I learned!
I was there primarily to share my experiences of The Telling, and encourage others to make a new home for Uncivilisation in the places and communities where they are. And also to build a tree for a midnight Dark Mountain ritual – where a woven willow tree, decorated with dreams and thoughts from whoever wanted to contribute, would be ceremonially burned, to symbolise, I dunno… something. Something unsettling (would you set fire to a tree?), to shake people from their comfort, and release the wild, and the dreams.In honesty though, I can’t really tell you much about what Uncivilisation 2013 was like, because I missed most of it, but I can tell you that “missing most of it” didn’t really matter. Continue reading
Dear reader, would you like to help change the world (for the better, she adds, hastily)?
There are lots of ways to affect change, there are lots of things you can do, and here’s just one for starters: This summer the Craftivist Collective is teaming up with War On Want to add their crafty shoulders to the “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” campaign. I’m joining in too, and together we’re asking people to take up craftivism – stitching in support of the stitchers, as it were. How? By stitching mini protest banners, and hanging them where people will see them. Mini whuh? How? Well OK, I’ll let Sarah (founder of Craftivist Collective) explain how: Continue reading
I think I’ve been bitten by the showing-off-bug, and it feels just a little bit fabulous. Having spent the winter, and it felt like a very long winter, keeping quiet, and trying not to get involved with things that might tip my fragile self into darkness and despair (overly dramatic much?), I got out a book I’d bought and then never read (because my 11yr old got to it first and then left it at Grandma and Grandad’s house – damn these kids who read things) – Small Acts of Resistance. Which is about, er, well, small acts of resistance.
If you haven’t read it, do. It’s brilliant, and inspiring, and it shows you what can be achieved by ordinary people doing seemingly tiny things. Anyway, it inspired me. And then I re-read one of my favourite books (Evangelisation Mode: ENGAGED), Half The Sky by NY Times journalist Nick Kristof and his wife Sheryl Wu Dunn, which takes what you think “inspiring” means, and blows it right out of the water. If you’re reading this and you haven’t read Half The Sky, I will find out, and I will come for you, and I will make you read it. Do it now.
And anyway, shortly after that, there was an attempt by a fascist group to march through my home city, and I got all fired up and despite having spent most of my life believing I ‘wasn’t really a protest march kind of person’ (I’ll unpack that later, if I remember), what I had read made me think differently, and I took me to the streets to protest. And it felt good. And then a few weeks later, Pride came along
My 8yr old’s been watching a lot of internet videos lately, nearly all about Lego building. I’ve allowed this because he displays the most awesome ingenuity with his Lego building (and also because I’m a bit lazy, I’ll fess up to that). He used his saved pocket money to buy a Superman Lego set last week, and within two days had built it (twice) and then used the bits to create several new spaceships, a hover house, a dragon, and a mining truck with a drill on the front (driven by Lois Lane). Yeah, really.
Anyway, Continue reading
You’ve probably heard the news, but if you haven’t, it goes a bit like this: British soldier gets horrifically murdered in Woolwich, by people claiming to be acting “for Islam”. White British fascists fall over themselves to demonstrate how this shows why all Muslims should be kicked out of Britain (or worse). Ordinary people react by telling fascists to **** off.
Well that’s how it went here, anyway. The EDL (English Defence League, not to be confused with, but hopefully soon to be eclipsed by, English Disco Lovers) decided that for some reason known only to themselves, it would be appropriate to march en masse through the centre of a city approximately 180 miles from Woolwich to lay a wreath for the murdered soldier, who was in no way affiliated with the EDL, at the war memorial. And they honestly expected people would see this as a mark of respect, not as a political gauntlet-throwing. Bless. I’m beyond proud to say that people of my city thronged out and stood in their way, and said no, not here.