Sunday, 24 March 2019

Taking back control

I thought this seemed appropriate for a #SocialistSunday.

If you really want to take back control there's only one way to do it, and that's to 'get involved’. If you believe in democracy then you need to play your part as best you can. And as best you can isn't just turning up to vote at general elections.

If you really want to take back control you really need to do it through the democratic process. As without the democratic process any control you have will be tenuous and limited.

If Brexit was a protest vote against politicians then it was a spectacularly immature and stupid protest vote. We get the politicians we deserve and if we are ambivalent, ignorant and/or disinterested in politics then we end up with the corrupt, the idiots, the gangsters, the bullies and the inbreds in charge.

Never underestimate the stupidity of the English electorate. They consistently vote in governments that do them harm. Large parts of the electorate would sign their own death warrant if handed to them wrapped in a sugar coated lie.

Sadly we don't yet live in a democracy. There are several things that need to change before we can truly call ourselves a democracy. The obvious thing that needs to change is our way of voting. First past the post is undemocratic and needs to go. Secondly we need to educate people. People need to be capable of critical thinking. They need to understand that “nothing is ever black and white”. If you have a blinkered view of the world how can you make informed choices.

People can't help being stupid. They've been condition to be stupid. The whole system is set up to suppress thinking. They are feed lies in the form of easy to digest bigoted soundbites by the capitalists. They fall for it all.

I was brought up on a council estate. I'm working class. I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in politics even though I didn't always understand what was going on. I became a socialist at the age of seventeen and have never wavered since. I know that we will never achieve a fair, just and equitable socialist society until the working class have been educated so that they are equipped to make informed choices. The state aren't going to do it so as a movement we should. We will never have a socialist society until that happens.

I rarely apologise for my arrogance in calling stupid people stupid. Sometimes one has to tell it like it is. The trouble with stupid people is they don't realise that they are stupid because, yes you guessed it, they are stupid. The working class will only ever free themselves when they learn how to do so.



Friday, 22 March 2019

The Cornish Bakery Cheese and Sugar Scones

What kind of weirdo adds sugar when making cheese scones? Sugar?

Well The Cornish Bakery think it’s acceptable.

A little while ago we had a couple of cheese scones from The Cornish Bakery in Southwold. We didn’t eat them in Southwold but ‘ate’ them later at home in Norwich. I say ate but in reality very little was consumed. On first biting into them you could tell that they had an awful lot of sugar in them. They would have been very sweet even for sweet scones. But high sugar content with cheese just tasted vile. Utterly vile. My partner took one bite and said ‘they’ve got sugar in them’ and being a diabetic didn’t eat any more. I got a bit further. I don’t like to waste food so ate several bites but in the end I just had to give up. It was hardly practical to take them back to the shop so I complained via Twitter. Apart from gleaning that they do actually have sugar in their recipe, a brief apology and them asking for my email address I have heard no more. No offer to refund our money. Very poor customer service.

I’ve consulted several recipes to make sure it is not me that’s out of step, but none of them suggest putting sugar in them. No wonder we have a problem with obesity, type two diabetes and other sugar related problems when companies do this sort of thing.


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Art competitions

I know I bang on about competition a lot but I really do feel it is the essence of what is wrong with society.

If you're an artist then entering an art competition is the equivalent of sleeping with the enemy or selling your soul to the devil.

You can't judge art. There is no such thing as good or bad art.It's not a measurable thing, but by entering a competition you are helping to perpetuate the myth that you can. You are just adding fuel to the art as a commodity industry. Those that buy and sell art for large sums have no appreciation of aesthetics. For all they care a piece of art could just be a gold plated dog turd. They are only interested in its perceived value and money making potential.

Those in power remain so by dividing a society. The art 'elite’ do exactly the same by creating judgements and notions about what constitutes good, not quite as good and bad art. They have absolutely no authority to so.

Art and the desire to create are very healthy human traits. Competition is the opposite. Competition stifles creativity. Competition is about ‘getting one over on someone else’. All competition divides people.

Like is not a value judgement. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Art is subjective.Trying to judge art is as morally wrong as the holding of beauty contests or boxing matches, etc. etc. Collaborating with those that organise them is a betrayal!



Monday, 4 March 2019

Shameless self-promotion

The trouble is it rarely is shameless. As a self-effacing introvert, promoting my art and the artist is never an easy task. It always seems wrong somehow. It's very difficult to shout, “look at me, look at my stuff”. It makes me feel sordid or unclean. But I force myself to do it. I suppose because if I don't who the hell will?

Something that took me almost sixty years to acquire is a self belief in my art. Still don't have a self belief in me, but my belief in my art is now unshakeable. Which is why I persist with trying to tell people about my work.

I would also like to thank all those that share my work on social media in the way of reposts etc. I am eternally grateful for all the kind people who take the trouble to pass my art on. I probably don’t thank those people enough, to my everlasting shame.



Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Competition

All of humankind's problems can be directly attributable to one cause, competition. I'm sure many would question this and some would say 'what about avarice?’ It is true that greed appears to drive so much of the ills we experience but I would argue that even greed is driven by what is intrinsically the essence of competition. The desire to triumph over the next person. Competition is about categorising people as winners or losers. Victors and also rans. It divides people. It creates a lot of waste.

The various forms of competition (including war, capitalism, nationalism, sport, awards, honours etc etc) all create division. Think of all the energy that goes into competing/fighting with each other, and for what?

You don't need competition to create or innovate. You just need capacity of thought. Imagination.

Competition forces people to have a very narrow field of vision, focusing on narrow, narrow-minded goals rather seeing the bigger picture.

The long term survival of the human race will require understanding, harmony, solidarity, compromise and most importantly cooperation.



Saturday, 23 February 2019

That metaphor

I'm sure that this type of picture must have been done hundreds of times before but I just couldn't resist this:


Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Saving the planet, my arse!

I really wish people would stop talking about saving the planet when they do a bit of recycling or start to cut down on waste. You may even be an eco-warrior but you won’t be saving the planet. Don't get me wrong as I'm no climate change denier. I do try very hard to keep my footprint as low as I feel able (these things are never enough). I'm firmly of the opinion that we as a species are heading for our own personalised environmental disaster. But if you want to do your bit to slow down our certain demise, please don't do it under the slogan of 'saving the planet’. You're not saving the planet and you are not even saving the environment. Let's be honest about this, what is really meant when talking about saving the planet is perpetuating the survival of the human race, for as long as possible.

The human race will die out eventually, but the planet will still be here long after we are gone. The planet doesn't need saving and there will still be an environment. An environment that will probably sustain some forms of life. Just not human life, or that of many of the animals that we are hell bent on taking down with us. Let's face it we've fucked things up big time. We've created an environmental avalanche and we're trying to stop it with a seaside bucket and spade.

We've effectively shat on our own collective doorstep and we're continuing to shit everywhere else too. Big time. So please don't talk nonsense about saving the planet, it's self preservation we're talking about here. Let's talk about it for what it is. The human race is self destructing. We can't stop it's eventual demise but we can try and make it as comfortable as possible for us and those that follow on if we're sensible about things. If we're careful with the resources that sustain human life and we start to cooperate rather than compete then our future will be prolonged. But if we carry on down the path of capitalism and tribalism then collectively we are well and truly fucked!



Saturday, 2 February 2019

Potentially we are all refugees

Imagine if we let the thick of neck, knuckle dragging, beer bellied, spotty, low IQ, shouty white blokes take over. Think about that. Think it couldn’t happen? Think again. The Brexit vote happened because filthy rich white blokes exploited the intellectually challenged members of society. Those simple souls who can only think in black and white. The filthy rich could take back even more control! Think!

If that were ever to happen what would you do?

Under fascism no one is safe. Not even the fascists. Fascism rules through fear. Fear breeds distrust. Distrust creates purges. People, yes real human beings, are vapourised. A knock on the door in the dead of night, a scuffle, and you are spirited away. Your name erased from history. Think!

Imagine this happening, then imagine having to get out of your house as quickly as possible and fleeing in fear of your life. What would you take with you? What of your most prized possessions would you love into your single solitary suitcase? This is the dilemma that hundreds of thousands have to face each year. Your life in a suitcase.Think!

What would I take? I really couldn't say. A change or two of clothes I guess. But what else? Important financial records/papers perhaps, a small momento or two, relevant medication, travel kettle, iPod and perhaps a travel radio might fit in two. I guess it would also be useful to take small things of high monetary value like jewellery. Things that could be sold to raise some cash. Have I forgotten anything? Probably. Think!

What would you pack in a solitary suitcase? Could you cope with that? You'd have to. It would be cope or die. Think about that!

Being a refugee as far as I can see is no fun. You don't upsticks just because you fancy a change of scenery. Refugees are people. People fleeing persecution. Put yourself in their shoes; you've escaped persecution or death, wouldn't you hope to be welcomed when you reach a safe haven? What if there were no safe havens? Where would you go if you needed to?

We all have a responsibility to help refugees.

Think!


Friday, 1 February 2019

Poetry

Poetry is for everyone


As long as I can remember I've liked poetry. In a way it's hardly surprising as being born into the rock and roll age I was weaned on what is essentially poetry set to music. The earliest poetry I remember was stuff by Edward Lear, Walter de la Mare, Lewis Carroll and Spike Milligan. As a kid I loved rhyme, and if humour was involved then a double bonus. The works of Lewis Carroll have always stayed with me but later I learned to love the war poets, especially Siegfried Sassoon, and then at school I was introduced to Dylan Thomas. Well! That was it. It opened up my world and my understanding of poetry. His poetry was like molasses, black treacle, rich, sweet and fruity. And then when he read it in that lugubrious voice it took on an even more magical quality. I felt and still do feel truly enriched by his work.

Next I discovered William McGonagall. The poor chap is often cited as the worst poet ever but I think that's rather unfair. His work has something. Yes it's challenging at times, and not to most people's liking but that's the nature of art; there is no good or bad, just personal preference. McGonagall was ahead of his time. The original punk poet.

John Betjeman was always there during my childhood. In the background. Later the poet laureate. The poet of the establishment. Abuser of Slough. But he released what was the rap of the day in his blockbuster Betjeman's Banana Blush. Poetry set to music. But in such a way that it was both comfortable and radical at the same time.

Punk, which changed my life totally, brought forth a whole heap of fantastic poets. Across all the arts the rule book was torn up. Linton Kwesi Johnson was the first poet of that era that I really got into. I'd never heard anything like it before. Naturally that lead to John Cooper Clarke and then Benjamin Zephaniah. Poetry had become exciting!

Poetry is exciting!

Of course in my youth I wrote shed loads of dire poetry. It was my way of dealing with the deep depressions that I went through. It helped. It stopped me from topping myself. So it wasn't all bad. Very little of it has seen the light of day even though I still have loads of note and exercise books full of the stuff. I'm not sure the public would ever be ready for it.

Since the days of punk my interest in poetry has blossomed and grown. I appreciate such a diverse spread of work and am constantly coming across new stuff that fires my imagination.

In my art I've always been inspired by pop/rock music but recently I've turned my attention to poetry as a source of inspiration for my pictures and videos. First in that series is a very short poem by W.B. Yeats, The Great Day. You will find it here. A video is to follow.

Friday, 11 January 2019

There is no such thing as the middle-class

There is no such thing as the middle-class. It is artifice. Something manufactured by the elite (the filthy rich) as a kind of buffer between them and the poorer members of society. It drives a wedge in to society, engendering delusions of grandeur amongst the better off working-class.

Now here’s the shocker for those that think they are middle-class; you are not! Unless you own ‘the means of production’ then you are working-class. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, where you live or what car you drive you are still working-class if you don’t own the means of production, i.e. someone else pays your wages, you are working-class. You could be the managing director of a company but without a shareholding you’re working-class.

Obviously there are the self-employed and the petit bourgeoisie, small business owners etc. etc. but on the whole it’s us against the 1%. The Bourgeoisie, the rich fuckers who exploit the rest of us to increase their wealth. Then use their money, patronage and political power to maintain their dominance. The one thing they fear is an educated working-class.Key to that education is grasping that, no matter what you think you are, you are probably working-class. And, the good news is that there is no shame in that. Being working-class is something to be celebrated. Accepting it is a freeing experience. From that point you will truly begin to learn.With knowledge comes power. If you want to ‘take back control’ you will need that knowledge.