A state of bewilderment.

I have to admit I spend a lot of my time in a state of bewilderment. Of wondering what it is all about. I have always thought that there is a kind of organised chaos about this place we call home. I’ve always felt a oddness about the world. Yes, odd is a good word. So, confusion is not new territory for me.

But these days I have to admit, are some of the weirdest I think I have ever experienced. Uncomfortable. Weird. Odd.

I’m talking here of our lives in general. The everyday humdrum existence that most of us live. The routine.

And by routine, I’m not suggesting that life is somehow boring but more excepting that to live the way we do, i.e. following a day-to-day life of routine and expectations, is ok and in most cases bearable.

What I am suggesting is that this routine, these expectations seem to have changed, almost overnight. Like someone, something outside of us, is interfering.

I don’t know about you, but we appear to be living under some sort of siege. And I’m not referring to the Covid restrictions we have just come out of but that ‘coming out’ of those restrictions has introduced us to a world that we are unfamiliar with.  A world we don’t necessarily recognise. It doesn’t appear to be the same place we left BC (Before Covid).

We find ourselves in a new place.

A strange, new world that OK we ahave to admit, we have gone someway to creating for ourselves. So much is different. From the empty supermarket shelves to the strange votes for self-destruction (Brexit and Climate Change) that we appear to have made while asleep.

Like the appearance of new disease.

From the unusual people we have chosen to lead us and the amazing and breath-taking drop in intellect and honour (discuss) in those leaders…etc…etc. Something is afoot. Something is wrong.

Something is in the air.

And yes it’s a lot to do with self-affliction. As previously mentioned from Brexit to Climate Change. No-one else to blame. But all the same, weird and unexpected decisions have been made and fall upon us all like a new kind of plague, taking us by surprise and inflicting upon us obvious consequences.

It maybe just me but I mean it when I say, ‘there’s something in the air’. Literally. It’s like we are under attack? And I can’t help but wonder if our recent woes are the consequence of a new kind of warfare? Has something been released into our  atmosphere that severely harming us? Are we the first  casualties of a new way to fight a war?

Everything seems slower. There’s no energy. No electricity in the atmosphere. And perhaps the scariest thing of all, nobody appears willing to put up any kind of a fight.  Like zombies we stumble almost willingly towards our demise as though we have already lost.

There’s change afoot and I don’t like it.

It feels as though the whole human race is about to experience…something? Excuse me for a moment while I appear to go over the top and suggest, ‘the end of the world – at least as we know it’.

But it really does feel odd. I can’t explain it better than that.

The Stratfordian

ODD is a good word.

Stating the bloody obvious.

The StratfordianI know it’s stating the bloody obvious but what with everything that’s going on in the world, not just at the moment but for the past few thousand years, it’s pretty obvious we are not a very nice bunch of atoms are we?

I mean, the way we go for the jugular when we want something so bad is pretty disgusting isn’t it. There’s no need to answer that because I know you agree with me.

And there’s the other strange thing. We know what we do. We’re perfectly aware of our awfulness to each other yet still we do it. It’s no secret that if we get hungry enough we will eat each other.

Look at the evidence.

It can be something as blatant as destroying the planet (more to come) as we go along. Or murdering people because we reckon they’re living where they shouldn’t be. Or don’t look like us. Or don’t worship the same gods. Or even…worship the same gods but not in the ‘right way’. Or on an individual and trite basis, we want that person’s watch because it’s not fair that we haven’t got one like it. Crazy eh? Madness. Let’s face it we are a pretty fucking awful lot.

I sometimes wonder if it’s a disease (dis -ease) that we have carried since birth for which there is no cure or it’s something that we will grow out of as in, evolving.

Whatever it is, it’s terrifying and something that has plagued us since we first appeared on the planet. The need to have more. The need to take from our neighbours what we don’t have. Jealousy. Envy. Whatever…

I suppose it’s the ‘evil’ that people have talked and written about for eons if we have to give it a name. And I think we do because it is something we all are aware of, and on the whole disapprove of,  but still take part in. Something as confusing and destructive as that, definitely needs an identifying mark.

What is total madness is the fact that it, ‘the evil’ is blatantly obvious. Although its capability to operate in darkness is well known, it can operate also in plain view for all to see.  We are aware of its tremendous destructive power yet at the same time know full well that if defeated, if conquered our lives would change drastically, dramatically for the better. We inherently know this to be a fact. It is in our hearts.

Throughout our history certain people have told us so. Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Buddha etc, etc they have all told us so. They have all stated the obvious.

They all said in their own ways…’pack it in’, ‘behave yourselves’, ‘stop it’, ‘love one another’ etc and we always knew in our heart of hearts they were right. And did we take any notice…did we fuck.

So it remains a mystery.

Why do we treat each other like shit? Why are we so bloody greedy that we would kill for what we want? Why can’t we just stop being shits to one another?

Some believe we are being manipulated. Some suggest we are part of some macabre game. An experiment in a jam jar or petri dish on the laboratory table of some god-like creature with a sick sense of humour. I suppose it’s a possibility, I mean look at the sentient creatures we experiment on, we can’t be the only ones in this mysterious universe who are this cruel.

The only thing is. We aren’t helpless. We could fuck the experiment up by being nice to one another. We have a choice. But why can’t we make it.

Then there is the view that suggests the only thing that would change our vicious mood and behaviour is an invasion from outer space. You know…that we would have no choice but to join forces and become friends and allies to defeat the enemy.

But this has actually happened/happening. Our planet is under attack. OK, so admittedly, once again we can look to the human race rather than to aliens for the route source of the ‘attack’ i.e. lack of care for the environment but you get my point. It still does require us to get together to defeat the enemy. There is common cause which is…our…er…our survival….

But I’m afraid the common cause theory falls at the first fence.

We can’t do it. We can’t even get together to save the lump of spinning earth that we all live on. Common cause….my arse.

And because of our collective stupidity, soon we will be gone.

On being mixed-race.

Just to make things clear and in case there are any objections, in this article ‘On being mixed-race,  ‘mixed-race’ is the term I choose to use, to own, to describe myself.

If you don’t like the term I’m sorry but it’s the one I’ve become used to and feel comfortable with. If ‘mixed heritage is your thing then that’s ok with me but as far as I’m concerned it’s too difficult to say if you’re drunk, which in my experience is when ‘Where are you from?’ type discussions tend to take place.

Anyway, the point is throughout my life as a mixed-race man ‘we’ have been ignored.

NOT, and this is important, ignored as far as insults are concerned. We have always had them and grown used to them. The Great British Public (for it is they) have never made any distinction about shading of skin colour or indeed where you are actually from. No, as far as they are concerned if you are off white you are a **** or even worse a ******. But that is not what I am here to talk about.

I just wanted to make the point that no-one (or at least rarely in my case) has ever asked aloud, what is it like to be mixed-race? Oh sure there has been the odd book about it (I have bought most of them) but nobody seems remotely interested in the experience. So, I thought might express one or two thoughts if you don’t mind.

First of all it ain’t been easy. (Upon saying this, THIS IS NOT A MOAN).

There is, as you might think (don’t forget, this is about me. I am not talking for other mixed-race people) a lot of confusion involving  identity.

Who am I? Where exactly do I belong?

The where do I belong? question I think was my first mistake. It is a question (in my case) based entirely on looks and colouring. The sort of mistake primitive man might make. Visual. Purely visual. Where is the rest of my tribe who should look like me? Mum doesn’t look like me. Dad doesn’t look like me. Thankfully you (ME) soon grow out of this BUT are constantly reminded of your difference by the ignorant.

The answer to the problem of identity is soon countered by making your own space.

Which is actually what everybody should be doing (not just the mixed-race) Leaving tribalism behind and saying this is me, this is my space because I am unique, there is no-one else like me etc, etc. This approach if we all took it would solve a lot of problems. Owning who you are. Important.

There was a moment in my life concerning identity I shall never forget which initially bought me to tears but after much thought I decided it wasn’t as wonderful as I thought.  It happened during the time I was training to be a Priest (CofE).

I happened to have been invited to a Rasta’s Reckoning (meeting) where to cut a long story short, I was embraced as though a long-lost brother and told…’Welcome home’. Perhaps naturally, I was touched and emotionally overcome. It was only after much thought I decided it wasn’t as helpful as I first thought and my ‘positive’ reaction actually a denial of who I was.

Being mixed-race can make you the subject of attention.

People are naturally curious and need their questions answered. ‘I don’t wish to be rude but…Where are you from? Really? I thought you were Spanish/Italian/Chinese? (it’s happened).

When I was a young man I was quite successful in the romance dept purely because of curiosity. This may sound awful, but I know for a fact that some women were only interested in me because of my colour, and they wanted to satisfy er…. Certain theories, (say no more).

Growing up as a mixed-race man has had a major downside. Rejection. Rejection by both sides of the argument which is worse. To be rejected by both black and white is initially devastating.

When that first hits you…that’s when you really feel alone. BUT. It will pass. As you get older and wiser your uniqueness kicks in and you realise you wonderful, beautiful and much-missed mum, was right.

‘You can hold your head up high. You can walk tall. You are different. Unique. Special. Always remember two different races of people came together to make you.’

Thanks mum. x

The (destructive) power of Prayer.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.

Refugee crisis

70 years on the throne

Being Nadhim Zahawi

How many different types of US there are…

One of the most interesting things about being alive is the constant discovery of how many different types of US there are.

We’re past the shock (some of us) of discovering that some of us actually like our own sex. OK historically, I suppose quite a recent discovery. Don’t forget modern history shows us that it wasn’t that long ago it was against the law to fancy our own sex. And now look at us…we’re on to Trans people.  Equally exciting, fascinating and here we are again consumed with the rights of being people ‘not like us’.

Working on the assumption that trans people/homosexuals etc were/are always there it all seems so unfair. One can only imagine how awful life is for those who have to keep themselves to themselves.  Part of this modern world and yet ostracised and forsaken. Where nothing applies to your real self. Horrible. (See people of colour).

I always work on the sensible basis that ‘people of difference ‘ have always existed so my imagination makes me wonder how it must have been for  say, in the Middle Ages. It’s not so good for them now but in the times when people ate mud for breakfast the mind can only boggle.

Of course just because we have begun to recognise that different folk exist doesn’t mean their struggle is somehow over. They will still have to navigate through the minefield of present laws that were created and constructed for us ‘normal folk’.

In a society created for everybody but them they still have to make their way through the hate and ignorance of the knuckle-draggers who unfortunately still run the world. But there is hope. The cracks in the world of ordinariness are forming and soon perhaps in the not too distant future they will open fully and those who have had to remain hidden will be revealed.

I’m pretty sure that what I describe is nothing to do with evolution unless you talk of the evolution of thinking but that is nothing to do with genes rearranging themselves, more to do with people having had enough and speaking out. More politics than physical change.

STOP READING HERE IF YOU ARE EASILY UPSET. I AM ABOUT TO GO ROGUE.

One thing that has always garnered my interest is how far will we go to accepting everything and anything. Do not forget, time was when the issues I have described above were beyond the pale. Never discussed and seen to be forever designated to the darkest room in our minds. Indeed, once even considered figments of a sick imagination and not existing at all.

Now look at us.

Homosexuality has found its place and without doubt the debate about Trans people will soon find its rightful place in society no matter how long it takes. Pornography has come out of its shell and is free for all to see. We talk about everyday ‘perversions’ on a daily basis and find them ‘joke-worthy which I guess is a little better than abhorrent and totally disgusting.

Society has changed or is changing. Debates are admittedly raging, and prejudice still abounds but you would have to be fairly dim not to accept that change is happened or at the very least, is afoot.

So…what next?

What other areas will step forward in the future to demand change and acceptance.

Bestiality? Paedophilia?

The sheer mention of those words and the suggested possibility that one day they might be acceptable sends a shiver down my spine. A  similar shiver I suspect the majority of society felt at the mention of the existence and acceptance of homosexuality etc.

But who knows what is to come. 

No matter what happens and how… know one thing for sure…

TIMES CHANGE.

Musical thoughts; An old fart speaks.

So that’s the excitement over for another year. Glastonbury, come and gone in the blinking of an eye. Performers become superheroes and saviours of the world all on the basis of their constructing a simple melody that strikes somewhere deep in our consciousness, enlightening us and for a short magical moment taking us on a trip fuelled not by drugs but by the very vibration of the air around us.

Music would appear to be important in our lives.

Indeed there are some that are convinced that we cannot live without its vibrations. And so we have things like Glastonbury and other festivals and concerts etc that take us away for an hour or two to another place. A place of rest and escape.

Music can and does change the world.

Its vibration, the way it moves the air, its echo can infiltrate even the hardest heart and has the ability to make people stop and think. It excites memories and in between making certain people famous and a lot of money, it can give the listener, hope.

But hey, let’s not get carried away here.

Music is also fashion item and therefore a momentary thing. Once out of fashion its power is gone (until next time around maybe). One only has to look at the various musical campaigns to ‘Feed the World’ to note the short shelf life. People dance and react with fervour and passion until the beats don’t strike home anymore and the dance that they are performing looks suddenly clumsy, old-fashioned and embarrassing. So much for the poor and starving.

For all music’s and musicians’ macabre efforts to combining entertainment and deadly disaster, music cannot be denied its most useful purpose which is the passing on of information.

Music still plays the part that it has always done.

That of the travelling minstrel. The word will get around.

Music, although it does not have the ability in itself to drastically change the world it will always be able to inform and inspire. The other amazing thing about music is it gets to the parts other systems cannot reach and that is because of its ability to float in the air. To penetrate barriers, political systems and of course its magical ability to send coded and secret messages. It can also operate in disguise. Pretending to be one thing when in fact it is another. An iron fist in a velvet glove.

There is something weird/strange/mystical about music’s vibrations that will always make people stop and think…and thereafter…who knows?

Refugee crisis

The arrival today of the giant refugee puppet Amil in Stratford upon Avon today (I forgot) got me wondering about the world’s present day refugee crisis (who’s having the crisis by the way – the refugees or the ‘receiving country’) and the ferocity of feelings against those who for various reasons want to escape, run away call it what you will, from their present location.

I want to say that I don’t understand the anger against these people but of course that’s not true. There’s only one reason certain refugees are not welcome in this country and that’s based around the colour of their skin. All the other stuff about ‘economic refugees’ or ‘there’s not enough room’ etc, etc is all bollocks and designed to cloak and put some sense of respectability around racism.

There’s not even an argument to be had.

The proof of the pudding….as they say is proven by the fact that if you are Ukrainian and want to get your family away from death and destruction (a sensible choice) AND you are white, you are welcome.

If however, you are from a war situation and want to leave for similar reasons BUT are brown or black er…‘hang on a minute my friend while we check that there are no other reasons that you might want to locate in the UK’. Simple as that.

Personally speaking, I believe that ‘wanting to improve One’s life’ is a valid reason for anyone to go anywhere that looks more inviting and could quite possibly stop you from starving or dying.

*Although, I do admit I am baffled as to why anyone of a different hue would want to come to this predominantly racist country and suffer some more at the hands of the ignorant and stupid who seem to be overpopulating this country at this present time.

Mind you, at the moment we are only locking illegal migrants up or sending them to Rwanda. We aren’t using torture er…yet? (OK…locking up and sending people to Rwanda is a kind of torture isn’t it…but it’s a very British torture isn’t it. Subtle torture-polite torture.

I’ve often wondered who’s feeding our black and brown brethren the guff about the welcome to be found in the UK. Why doesn’t the truth ever get through? Unless of course the situation in their own country is so dire that the abuse they’ll receive over here is minor and at the moment won’t blow you or your kids heads off.

* (Probably something to do with our stringent gun laws).

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)

CONFESSION TIME.

I have to admit that I get some perverse enjoyment from telling people that I am an ex-priest who has, from day one of holiness, been losing his faith.

One:  I like to see the confused look on their faces when they realise they are confronted with someone who has so easily dismissed something they have been searching for or at least been trying to understand for most of their adult life.

And two: It’s not true.

To cut to the chase.

I have most certainly lost my faith but most certainly not in (for want of a better word), *God.

My faith (if I ever really and truthfully, had any) is totally gone in the C of E.

I have stopped believing in the Church of England.

And if the truth were really to be known, the only reason that they (CofE) became part of my life in the first place is because, they were there.

Like some huge blockade, I had to go through them to get to where I thought I wanted to be. They were/are the self-appointed gatekeepers. Custom Control.

They’re the Ones who led me astray and attempted to clone me. They are the Ones who put their grubby hands upon me, dressed me up in outlandish costume, gave me a script to read and let me go blundering dangerously, like a bad actor into the community.

So I blame them.

I blame them from disallowing true exploration into what was calling me.

I blame them for leading me away from who I truly was/am.

I blame them for supplying me with a false narrative and indoctrinating me day in (especially on Sundays) and day out.

I now realise that organised faith systems are always based on abuse.

And I am ashamed to realise at this at such a late hour.

I am ashamed that I was part of a system that basically told innocent people that they were not good enough and their only chance at something called ‘redemption’ would be to change.

I am ashamed because I could and should been concentrating more on the uniqueness of what each person in their own right had to offer. I should have been building confidence in realities not wishy-washy, pie in the sky when you die remedies.

I should have been pushing ‘WORTH’ not ‘worthlessness’.

I am truly sorry…it won’t happen again.

THEOLOGY FOR ALL

 

*God. This will be in part II (maybe).

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

 

 

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Since I’ve returned to painting (a long story for another time), I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’. This has always amazed me for a number of reasons.

First of all, because it sounds just like I used to be.

Painting (and writing) were the things I wanted to do more than anything in the world but for various and ever-increasing ridiculous reasons and reasoning these activities seemed miles away and ‘not for the likes of me’. A standpoint that I want to make clear came entirely from me. No-one else was to blame. Not mum not dad, not some errant careers’ master, nope just me and an outlook on the world that somehow had me lower down the food chain than was healthy.

At the beginning of my webpage I describe my art as ‘Naïve’. As far as I’m concerned all I am doing here is explaining by use of the word ‘Naïve’ is to say that I have not been trained. No fancy art school for me.

The opportunities to receive that kind of training were a mystery to me. And once again, no-one’s fault just me not paying attention. That’s how it was. That, if I’m honest is how my life has been. A life unplanned. Chaotic some might say. But that’s OK. There’s no going back to change things. And perhaps more importantly, no regrets.

How the desire to create whether writing or painting came to me, I have no idea. Like everything else, it just happened. The odd thing was, it came with a proviso.

If I was to do anything related to those things then, there was no way I could or would take any aspect of writing or painting as a ‘hobby’. No way would it become just a pastime. No way would I use it as just ‘filling in time’. It had in my case to be taken seriously or not at all.

Very commendable you might say but unfortunately that kind of attitude has its hardships, its ups and downs. The worst one to try and get over is the fact that no matter how serious you take yourself, it’s a pain in the arse if no-one else does. Which takes me back to those that say, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’.

These days we are obsessed with the official stamp of approval.

And I get that. Letters behind our name tell others that we have spent a period of time ‘training’. Exam qualifications tell people that we have passed some kind of test winning the approval of er…someone else. What those qualifications don’t do is tell anyone if we are any good (whatever that means). And therein lies my point…

We can all create. And what we make is unique BECAUSE there is no-one else like us. We paint, we write…LIKE NO-ONE ELSE.

That’s not to say we aren’t influenced by other artists, writers. Of course we are and that’s no bad thing. That’s how we learn of techniques, styles, methods all of which we can try ourselves. But here’s the thing…

Imagine knowing nothing.

Imagine doing it all for yourselves. Imagine exploring all the above with no guidance. How exciting is that.

Imagine coming up with something of your own pure creation. Imagine no-one ‘queering your pitch’ and telling you ‘that’s wrong’ or ‘that’s right’. Fantastic.

So to all those who say to me ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’ my answer is always the same. ‘YOU CAN’.

There’s no-one that dare stop you because the only weapons they have are ‘rules’.

Rules that have no strength, no power of their own. And who was it who said ‘rules are meant to be broken’.

An act of creation is art.

And your own personal act of creation overrules any challenge. It stands on its own. Released into the world and never to be repeated.

No matter how it was done. On a whim. Over days, weeks even years. No matter. You did it therefore it is unique. A one off.

And YOU, painter or writer are responsible.

MAGIC.

IFH.

Other stuff to read.

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

70 years on the throne

Here we all are celebrating a rich woman’s 70 years on the throne, and I read this (below).

*Ambulance boss warns of collapse…

‘Mr Docherty told the ambulance service’s board of directors at a meeting on Wednesday (25th May) that patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and blood clots were ‘dying every day’ due to ambulances being stuck outside hospitals for several hours.

I’m sorry, I don’t want to ruin your enjoyment of people marching up and down, balcony appearances and fly pasts…

BUT PLEASE, CAN WE STOP, HAVE A GOOD LOOK AT OURSELVES & RE-START BY GETTING EVERYTHING INTO PERSPECTIVE?

* The Stratford upon avon Herald. June 2nd 2022.

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Facing up to it.

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

Is there a price to comedy?

First of all let me set out my wares . I like Ricky Gervais.

He makes me laugh.

And yet amongst all that side-splitting he also makes me feel uncomfortable.

Above all he intrigues me and makes me want to ask…

Is there a price to comedy?

I find myself wondering how far he will go and how long he will last.

My actual view is he’s tested the water and is in the throes of having a last fling because he knows full well that it won’t be long before he faces the ‘Will Smith Syndrome’. and it could be worse than a slap. In fact it could be…cancellation.

I think that he has made enough money to retire into the background and just come up with ideas rather than expose himself on what I believe is becoming a dangerous, arena.

The right wing are crawling slowly out from beneath their stones ready able and very willing to ban books, bawdyness and anything else that begins with a ‘B’.

For me the question here is …

’Should comedy have boundaries’.

Once again I say, I like Ricky Gervais because he makes me laugh so it follows that  because laughter feeds him and encourages more of the same it also makes me complicit in the misery some say he inflicts upon the innocent (?) So, I have to stop and think and ask myself who are the casualties?

Every joke he makes about gender disparity, every humorous mime he performs depicting a sick child. Every time he pretends to put himself in the shoes of the different, the outsider he, some say, hurts someone.

And still I laugh.

The truth is that I know…

I know every giggle; every guffaw is based on a truth. Whether its people slipping on a banana skin or falling off a ladder, most of us see the funny side and conveniently forget that there are consequences to these seemingly humorous incidents. Which in turn begs the question…

Does everything have a funny side?

In my world and remembering what I have laughed at over the years I would have to plead guilty.

Comedy is an unusual and dangerous beast. An animal that has its uses. There is no doubt that laughing at ourselves and the way we live our lives can save us from living in eternal guilt and misery, releasing as it does self-healing endorphins to take us ‘out of ourselves’.

But there’s the other side. There’s a price we pay.

Actually. When we laugh, the truth is most of the time we are laughing at the misfortune of others. It is actually not ‘ourselves’ that we are laughing at. Although we say that we can recognise ourselves in the humour, that, i believe is just an excuse.

What we are really saying when we look at the targets of our ‘humour’ is ‘Thank God it’s not us’.

Our laughter is actually one huge sigh of relief.

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

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