"The problem is, without community, no one feels responsible to anyone else."

this. this film. this film is important. it is also flawed - the people in it are flawed and the story starts off with a beautiful thing destroyed by a horrendous capitalist greed and selfishness that makes my blood boil. but it is an important story that needs to be told, and needs to be a lesson to us all in helping, respecting and encouraging each other to do good things and to work together to reap the rewards.

a separation



The Moths 

 The doctor puts the scalpel to my chest and presses it in. Wait, I’m not asleep yet I say. The doctor doesn’t hear me. He tears the scalpel down to my navel and plunges his hands inside. I have to save this patient he yells as he begins pulling things out. First my stomach, then my intestines, then a few sniffing and uncertain mice. A wrench, a handful of hair, my liver. After the fish slides out, flopping and gasping, it’s your turn. You leap out, do a pirouette and a curtsey. You’ve always made magnificent entrances. Then, some moths.

Timothy Wojcik via Scud


Compagnie Un loup pour l’homme

This evening I came home from my first trapeze lesson for a long time with a goofy grin and aching limbs. buzzing. my muscles loose and warm across my back and arms. thoughts of pointed toes and risks and rolls. I did't realise how good I would feel. I didn't realise how much I missed it. and then I see a video of this company from my friend tin. and now I can't stop watching them. why would I? they're so beautifully delicately strong.


I see teacups in your smiles

come closer.
come into this. come closer.

you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that
now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with
your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into
this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come
closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make
something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil form the spaces
inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this.
come closer.

know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of
Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you
are almost home.

come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your
breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers
of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.

my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has
thinned me  to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of
swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow
spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may
find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I
turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the
turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing
called life. come into it!

come you wooden museums
you gentle tigers
negro farces in two broken scenes.
come rusting giants!

I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my
heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like
you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the
strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this
with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move
our arms take every breath we swallow is worship.

bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on

-Anis Mojgani




In solidarity and with love.



"The tractor was built during the Muslim month of Ramadan when the heat, hunger, and thirst make it impossible to do anything. Most Palestinians think Caterpillar tractors are death machines. I asked myself why they blamed this machine, when after all it is the person who renders the machine good or bad. I drew sketches of this tractor on large rocks and on paper. I may have seen one once or twice in my life, but really I remember seeing it on the internet. I thought carefully about how to build it correctly. I like these tractors, how they move, their size… This tractor is made from sawed iron pieces. I requested the iron scrap from somebody in my village, who told me I was crazy and could take the scraps. It was difficult to cut the iron as my tools were not good enough. I felt this tractor in my body and my soul."

Originally found on Bristol Palestine Film Festival



This time last year I was in Oslo with an Oregonian, a Mexican American and a fellow Bristolian watching these guys be fucking incredible. "I want to live inside their songs." Yes please. 

Dear Coal

This letter is taken from this site originally written by this person. Gold. 



"I built it with my hands. Straightened old nails to put the sheathing on. Rafters are wired to the stringers with baling wire. It's mine. I built it. You bump it down - I'll be in the window with a rifle. You even come too close and I'll pot you like a rabbit."
"It's not me. There's nothing I can do. I'll lose my job if I don't do it. And look - suppose you kill me? They'll hang you, but long before you're hung there'll be a guy on the tractor, and he'll bump the house down. You're not killing the right guy."
 "That's so," The tenant said, "Who gave you orders? I'll go after him, He's the one to kill."
"You're wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told him, 'Clear those people or it's your job.'"
"Well, there's the president of the bank. There's a board of directors. I'll fill up the magazine of the rifle and go into the bank."
 The driver said, "Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders were, 'Make the land show profit or we'll close you up.'"
"But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don't aim to starve to death before I kill the man that's starving me."
"I don't know. Maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't men at all. Maybe, like you said, the property's doing it. Anyway I told you my orders."

"I got to figure," the tenant said. "We all got to figure. There's some way to stop this. It's not like lightening or earth quakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change."

John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath, Chapter five, 1939


So lately I've been reading some books.

 Post-MA I'm finally reading all those highly recommended oh-my-days-you-would-adore-this-book type of books.

I started with Owen Jones' Chavs. This was good. In fact, it was so good I stole it from Oxford library (sorry - I was leaving Oxford and hadn't finished) gave it to a friend (who lives in Oxford so will inevitably return it, don't worry). It's one of those books that makes you continually nod and make affirmative noises out loud. Finally someone wrote a book saying all those things you've been thinking. About the working class, what it means to be middle class, what Thatcher the milk snatcher did all those years ago when we were wee. Each chapter could have been a whole book in and of itself - and it got reeeally interesting in the final chapters when the discussion around immigration and class was stirred up. Would love to see that issue covered in more depth. 

Second up was Paul Mason's Why it's Kicking Off Everywhere. Which at first hit my big cynical attitude with a resounding thud. But as the pages turned and I found myself never without it, the cynicism that began with my thinking Paul Mason was niave (in a profound niavity of my own) melted away, and I realised that actually he's right. Shit is kicking off everywhere - and like it or not, Shirky is right too. That big old internet and those lovely social media platforms are playing a huge role in changing society, protest and organisation. Big things are yet to come and the youth know how to use the technology to make it happen. An inspiring read. 

Third up Doris Lessings' The Good Terrorist. Now, this one got me so excruciatingly confused at what she was trying to say using harsh sterotypes and personality traits of a group of squatters in 80s London. I profoundly disliked this book - but I literally couldn't put it down. I read it in two days (granted I was bed bound at the time) and was hooked constantly and consistently. I don't know whether it was due to the sporadic nature of the main character Alice, or because I was itching to become furious at the next presumption that Lessing would make. Don't get me wrong- some aspects were really interesting; the gender roles, the relationships between the characters. But the context and the attitudes was infuriating. All squatters and squats are dysfunctional. Alternative forms of resistance such as direct action are conducted carelessly by people who don't know what they're doing. That ideologically this group of self-proclaimed communists were lost, because they just wanted to 'resist' society and fight the po-po... But I'm probably reflecting through red-tinted glasses, having felt consistently rubbed up the wrong way. 

However, all in all a good starting line-up of the shape of books to come. What will it be next?



the black power mixtape

This documentary has passed through my periphery on various occasions. The incredible Angela Davis has lilted in and out of my conversations, mainly in an iconic and idolised way. Then my friend GT sends me the full film and suddenly I can't understand why it's taken me this long to finally sit down and watch it.

The content is potent. I want to say the content is potent 'even today', but this documentary was filmed in the 60's and 70's: my parents generation. In so many ways, it is today. The Black Power Movement is exceptional in terms of the history of black people of America, of the experience of being held down by so many violently forceful means, from physically, to state apparatus, to culture and education perpetuating a normalisation of racism, to ignorance - the struggle is incredibly situational and specific.

 Yet, the struggle for emancipation spear headed by the Black rights movement can draw consistent parallels with other forms of resistance in society today. The notion of power. Of ideology. Of subjugation and inequality. These are concepts that are still physically manifest on the streets of America, and on the streets of the UK. Especially when I think about the August riots of last year. And the stop and search policies of the police force. And the ghettoisation of those living in poverty. Many of the concepts discussed in this film could be applied to the world as we know it, in 2012. 

It's filmed and produced in such a beautifully simple manner, with Swedish voice overs and pastel 60's colour tones combined with iconic images of the Black Power Movement and the streets of 60's/70's America: it is a pure visual pleasure. 

If you want to get angry, learn something new and feel empowered... Watch it. Now. 



Bill 78 is a Canadian piece of legislation created to curb public protests. So every night in at 8pm adults, children, men, women (and all inbetween) take to the streets with pots and pans to show that the right to protest cannot be taken away. They do this to demand the bill be stopped. And for many, to show support of the 100 day student strikes in Quebec that have been taking place over raised education fees. Strikes that have seen harsh policing, arrests and violence, and have resulted in the urgent passing of Bill 78 - described as a threat to freedom of expression.

The video above is beautiful. It's a beautiful thing to see people coming together, walking the streets of their city and raising their voice to be heard.

Yet, this issue is massive and could have huge implications for protest as we know it. It's a slow step-by-step process of chipping away at the autonomy of the citizens. Of repealing laws quietly, creating new laws in secrecy and shrouding each bill and piece of legislation in the cloak of 'protection' and 'public order' or 'national security'. We've seen this in the UK. When Boris decided that noone is allowed to protest in parliament square (apart from the legendary Brian Hawes). We see it in the treatment of students during protests with kettling tactics and violent treatment. We see it with the Fortnum and Mason 145, with the crime of a fabricated 'intended intimidation' and pre emptive arrests preceding the Royal wedding. 

I stand in solidarity with those in Quebec and around the world who stand up against this legitimised violence and authoritarianism. Through and through. 

For more info:
And for an anarchist perspective on the issue:

history is a weapon

Today is the Queens big Jubilee party day.

And I don't want to talk about it.

I don't want to see another Union Jack rammed into my direct or periphery vision. I don't want to play any more. The whole unadulterated spectacle of manipulating subjects into believing they are civilians, masking harsh austerity measures with another royal escapade, dressing the event up in nationalism and patriotism and passing it off as what the people want/ need /can't live without. A big pretense to unite Benedict Andersons 'imagined community'; bringing together the sovereign with the modern nation state. Binding the state, the queen and the subject-come citizen in some kind of politically motivated forced capitalist marriage.

However, I will talk about what Jubilee really means. See point 4. 

ju·bi·lee n.
a. A specially celebrated anniversary, especially a 50th anniversary.
b. The celebration of such an anniversary.
2. A season or an occasion of joyful celebration.
3. Jubilation; rejoicing.
4. often Jubilee Bible In the Hebrew Scriptures, a year of rest to be observed by the Israelites every 50th year, during which slaves were to be set free, alienated property restored to the former owners, and the lands left untilled.
5. often Jubilee Roman Catholic Church A year during which plenary indulgence may be obtained by the performance of certain pious acts.

So to celebrate I have been reading Howard Zinn's 'A Peoples History of the United States'. Sat here, with my eyes and ears firmly shut to the ringing imperialism of the royal family, I am reading horrific stories of massacre, of slavery, of racism. I am reading of the brutal and unrelenting acts of the 'pioneers' of the new world. Who, for Queen and country, transported Black African slaves from continent to continent, trading, abusing, branding, starving, suffocating and killing thousands upon thousands of human beings. 

"By 1800, 10 to 15 million blacks had been transported as slaves to the Americas, representing perhaps one-third of those originally seized in Africa. It is roughly estimated that Africa lost 50 million human beings to death and slavery in those centuries we call the beginnings of modern Western civilization, at the hands of slave traders and plantation owners in Western Europe and America, the countries deemed the most advanced in the world."

There is a lot to be said about slavery. There is a lot left unsaid concerning slavery. Coming from a city in the UK that reaped a substantial percentage of it's wealth from the slave trade makes me question the big gap we have in our historical education. The main trade of sugar cane, tobacco, rum and cocoa were all products of the slave trade. But slavery and empire are sidelined at school for a tempered history of the United States of America, the development of medicine and punishment and World War 2. Colonisation had barely entered my vocabulary until I started university aged 21. History is a weapon that can be used for many a purpose. And often, that purpose is to shield truth from the many, hegemonically blurring the line between subject and citizen until the current situation is accepted as truth. Common sense. What else could it possibly be?

History is a Weapon. Read more about it.


MA dissertation

in a wordle. 2 days to go. and counting. 


ooo aar


Right in the midst of writing my thesis I am bogged down in discourse analysis and scrabbling for the golden thread of exactly why I chose this topic.

Why am I writing about ACTA and Freedom of Expression?
Oh yeah. Because of what he says. 
Because those kids aren't pirates.

They're just doing what they know best; making cool shit out of old stuff.




Not a massive fan of Plan B's music. But I think some things he says here are good. 

A Crude Inquiry

Recently I took part in the Oxford Human Rights Film Festival by watching the award winning documentary Crude. It got me thinking about many things: indigenous peoples rights, the Northern Americanisation of issues, the strength of conviction and most prominently, the power of inquiry.

In Crude we see a group of Indigenous and colonial Ecuadorian people persecuting Texaco for pollution and destruction of the environment; explicitly the area in which the people live. It is a circus of passing on responsibility, vivid corruption and media games all to try and seek some kind of renumeration or compensation, and all at the cost of many years and many more dollar bills.

Now, I am aware of the importance of law. Studying Human Rights through an interdisciplinary lens has underlined the significant requirement of an international legal system with functioning international law, ratified treaties, an overarching monitoring body, jurisprudence and, most significantly, the gravity of protection and restitution. Having mechanisms through which to challenge states, individuals and corporations is essential to human rights. Towards both living life safely and in creating a culture that can help stop future violations.

During this film I had a moment of clarity. I considered what Foucault would say about these good people struggling against the evil corporations. There is a cycle in indigenous communities under threat: of needing to play the big international game, of proving indigeneity, topped by the imposed demand to utilize the dominant powers' tools in the fight. 

I imagine Foucault would look at this use of state apparatus and suggest that the method of Inquiry as a tool of the dominant power was still gripping as strongly and obnoxiously as ever. In Truth and Juridicial Forms Foucault analyses the development of inquiry from Greek society to the Western legal system as we now know it. Foucault explains how inquiry has become a way of exercising power, authenticating truth and perpetuating this way of seeing things.

The adoption of inquiry in society is seen by Foucault as a 'political transformation' - and a rather distinctly Western one at that. Rather than being an outcome of the development of rational thought, inquiry became a tool for the dominant power to reorganise judicial practices to be more than between two individuals, and to involve a third party: the state. Now, when a wrong is committed, it not only is a wrong against an individual, but also against the state. The state has managed to appropriate the entire judicial system.

This method of inquiry is still used today. Those with the greatest power and knowledge are those that conduct inquiry, thus, perpetuating a discourse that is in favour of the dominant ideology and the state.  Here, the state is making the indigenous community play it's game. It is providing the only legitimate method of inquiry or way of gaining the 'Truth' of a situation. As Foucault argues that “we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth”.

The dominant power (the Western world) is flexing it's methods of 'truth discovery' as the only legitimate way of providing answers, forcing the indigenous peoples to become part of the system that oppresses them.

 The fog of neo-colonialism lingered long in the background of this documentary, and as an afterthought I had to quietly reassure myself that 'indigenous' is a Western term; it was the colonisers who were so keen to differentiate between 'them' and 'us'. And as I left the cinema I wondered if we will ever see a world in which indigenous peoples can present their own truth, and not be overshadowed by the protocol of the system. 


covert trowels

A couple of weeks ago my good pal gt and I took part in some guerilla gardening.

And what can I say.
It was a lavender scented gem. 

It took place on a mild March evening full of smiles and manure and mead and butterless cookies with strangers, exchanging stories and trowels whilst dragging dead shrubs about the cycle paths. It was one of the best evenings I have had in a long time. Helping out in a covert operation with people living in the community to plant little seedlings that had a whole future ahead of them, whilst keeping a look out for the po-po and sneaking sips of cloudy wiltshire cider is just the way I want to spend my Friday nights. 

If you want to hear more about our evening, visit the guerilla gardening site here (notice the shout out to the welsh mead bearing lovely couple - didn't want to correct on facts after such a nice endorsement...)

And if you want to start your own... here are some helpful tips. 

The only advice I can offer is that you bring a change of gloves and shoes (and possibly trousers) if you don't want to end up smelling like horse shit for the rest of the evening in the pub.

(Learnt from first hand experience.)


Surplus for change

Clay Shirky; Cognitive Surplus

I picked up this book on the premise that the subheading “Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age” would help me be more resourceful and productive. It resulted in a fascinating read that I found myself bringing up in conversation time and time again. I am not sure if I feel more productive now I have finished, but I feel as thought I understand a little bit better exactly why things they are a-changing.

Shirky writes in an incredibly concise way, throwing in clear and enlightened insights consistently, not only explaining how and why, but leaving your thoughts reeling in the wake of what he has just said.

The story of Cognitive Surplus covers just what we do with our free time since the occurance of the big old world wide web. Previously us citizens were seen simply as passive consumers of television, singularly and separately in our spare time. With the revolutionary nature of the internet we saw a change in this consumption. People began reaching for the mouse, interacting, as pointed out by Shirky, through varied avenues such as Lolcatz or couchsurfing to the communities of open source technology programming. Shirky discusses how we use our free time and how it has changed due to the burst of social media over the past few years, now allowing interconnectivity on new levels.

For me, I felt my eyes sparkle. What if it's true, and all of this free time can result in a better, more communal society? At the moment, in the UK and across Europe, and even the world, we are seeing financial crisis' left right and centre. Younger and older people alike are finding themselves jobless. Under 25 employment is at a record high in the UK. And all of these young people have grown up in the age of the internet, watching the technological revolution unfold. We have already seen the importance of social media in various uprisings across the world; from the revolution in Egypt to the formation of Occupy globally. The internet, and more specifically social media is becoming integral in organising human beings into value laden action.

Perhaps now we will see a further politicisation of the younger generations; those sat at home, jobless, full of fury and promise, constantly reaching for the mouse to see what can be done.  


International Women's Day

Today I have posted a barrage of amazing and wonderful posts and tweets and messages about some brilliant people and ideas that have helped emancipate women, inspire all and encourage change. In no specific order.

Andrew Gibson; swingset. Via my friend Nick.

Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama: Mountains that take wing. Via my friend Gav.

Feminists. Everywhere. Past and present. Via UK Feminista and London Feminist Network

Robin Hood Tax's wonderful posts on women in the financial sector.
"Happy International Women's Day. Marion is leading celebrations here in Sherwood. And a fact for the day: In the final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission of the US Treasury the words "she", "woman" or "her" do not appear once in its 662 pages. It is a book, like most historical tragedies, written about the follies and hubris of men."
Girls on bikes; How the Bicycle empowered WomenBy Maria Popover @brainpicker
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” ~ Susan B. Anthony, 1896
Nina Simone: I've Got Life
There is something i've got, nobody can take it away...
Ani Difranco: Fuel
Beneath the good and the kind and the stupid and the cruelThere's a fire that's just waiting for fuel 


Utopian pathways

Paths Through Utopias from Ed Murphy on Vimeo.

 I encountered upon this documentary when I was looking through the listings of my favourite independent cinema in the world, in my hometown of Bristol; the cube.  

 It seemed like the embodiment of some conversations that gt and I have been having of late, concerning the relationship between activism and living life the way in which you believe; how you hold your values. 

Turns out it is much more than that. It is beautiful, sentimental, critical and inspiring. 
But I won't say any more, because you might not want what I want. But then again- you might. 

Highly recommended. 


mind the gap

Hans Rosling. Here is his TED lecture. and here is his website. Go listen and play.