Okay, I admit it - last week I was well and truly on my soap box when I blogged about Amy. Yesterday, as I considered what to write about this week, it nearly happened again. The most obvious topic I came up with was recent documentaries I have watched about racism. Inside the Klu Klux Klan and Extreme Russia had made my blood boil, and How to Get a Council House had illustrated quite bleakly how some members of the public have fallen for the Right's scaremongering about immigrants.
Naturally, rants on Twitter ensued - and comments on Facebook followed. "Well I went to see Dirty Dancing at the theatre last night. Low brow fun wins every time" quipped my sister after my rage about white supremacy in Russia. "This is why we need Masterchef" noted a friend.
I'm not sure if they were trying to, but they both made a good point. I am guilty of getting caught up in all the woes of the world and getting a cob on when I hear yet another story of ignorance or hate. Whilst it's important, sometimes I need to make myself take a step back from it all. So, I am going to promise myself that for every hour I read or watch something depressing, I'm going to read, watch or do something uplifting. Yesterday I cancelled out all the negativity of the week's TV with a double dose of Come Dine with Me followed by a boogie at a colleague's wedding do. In fact, I boogied so much I reckon I'm in credit for the rest of the week. And I feel better for it, even if dodgy knee is protesting about it today.
That said I'm still going to indulge in a bit of Friends later. Just to be sure...
Happy Sunday all. I hope you are well?
Well, I'm sat in Mama and Papa Berry's front room, inhaling the delights of Mama Berry's beef casserole, and wondering what to blog about today. However, no matter where I try to go with this, my mind keeps returning to the political happenings of the last fortnight or so. I know I'm at risk of saying something that has been said several times already since the attacks in Paris, and I'm guessing some of you are sick of the "Freedom of Speech" debate, but after listening to the ramblings of historian David Starkey on Question Time, seeing Fox News' report on "no-go" Birmingham, and hearing yet another of Farage's rants about immigration, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say my piece.
I 100% support freedom of speech. But with it comes responsibility, something that not everyone exercises. Charlie Hebdo has every right to publish what it wants, but they need to be aware that, by doing so, they might not only alienate a lot of people, but potentially give those who attacked their offices more ammunition when it comes to radicalising young Muslims who are already disenchanted with the world. Starkey can say what he likes about Islam but, by manipulating historical "facts" to illustrate his personal viewpoint, he loses any respect I might have for him - but more worryingly might plant yet another seed of misguided doubt in the minds of viewers who may not fully understand what the religion is about. And, whilst Farage is free to point the finger at immigration as the root of all the UK's problems, by failing to show the population the full picture, he makes immigrants scapegoats to what is a much more complex situation.
There are people in this world who are privileged to be able to say their piece and have thousands - possibly millions - listen to them. This gives them a lot of power - power that can cause harm, increase fractions in our society and see people wrongly blamed - and therefore exorcised - for all our ills.
So there you have it. With rights come responsibility - something that I think some opinionated individuals seem to forget. But we too have a responsibility as the receivers of this information. We need to question arguments and listen far and wide. Because if we don't, we risk letting those who shout the loudest shape our world to fit their beliefs - and not the real needs of our economy, the population and our environment.
Okay - rant over...
Yep, I'm watching the American Football live from our very own Wembley. It's been a busy weekend, what with another installment for Operation:Pizza, upcycling (I WILL finish that bookcase, I WILL,) editing, and booking a foray to Berlin for my Birthday, so I'm enjoying watching someone else run around for a change...
I've also been doing my bit for the planet. Earlier this year I came to the conclusion that, rather than solely supporting charities that help people, it was time to help the physical world that we rely on to exist. So, on Friday, I joined the Conservation Volunteers at Lloyd Park for a few hours before heading out to a fundraiser for Greenpeace. Okay, so I know some of you might find their methods extreme, but until our Government starts putting sanctions on those corporations that seem hell-bent on putting profit before the environment, someone needs to take action - and action Greenpeace take.
Anyway, mini rant over, it was a great night, and I fully recommend their dos to anyone who wants to support their work whilst enjoying live music, comedy and cake. Besides, who says giving to charity has to be completely selfless? Weeding around sapling trees and clearing rosebeds of litter on Friday was a very calming experience and one I probably wouldn't have signed up to if I hadn't expected some personal benefit. Even after giving blood on Tuesday I got a packet of ginger nuts and several glasses of squash. It almost made the dizzy spell worth it!
So, so forth people - do something for charidee. Just make sure you enjoy it too...
Well hello there...
So I trust you all had a smashing Sunday? I spent it commencing "Project Upcycle" - yep, that's right, I've given up on the decorating and decided to start having fun with my furniture instead. Today I've been covering one of my bookshelves in pages of a novel and an A to Z atlas whilst my mate Nic made an iPod cover out of old bits of fabric I've collected over the years. I've by no means finished, but think I've made a good start - and can't wait to revamp the table I acquired off Freecycle this week. Yep, as in I got an extendable table, gratis. LOVE it!
That isn't the only project I have started this week - but, alas, I can't tell you much about the other two, especially "Project Difficult," which has the backing of politicians, writers and media moguls alike. No word of a lie. I just hope that the campaign, directed at young women in particular, gets off the ground. It could be big...
Oh yes, and on a less grand scale, me and my mate Chris have started making plans for a web-based comedic campaign. Yep, we're going to take on all those dating gurus who, in a nutshell, tell women that the only way to bag their man is to play to his needs and big up his ego - all at the expense of their own. Okay, so I'm over simplifying things, but you get the idea. Personally, I can't wait. Chris, on the other hand, has a lot of reading to do before we can start!
Well, I think I may have said too much already, so I shall stop - and maybe get back to the upcycling, email my partners in crime at "Project Difficult" and send Chris his reading list.
Bring it on...
Folks, I have made a decision.
After three days of packing, I have decided that, assuming all goes well next week, I am never going to move again. Ever - unless I am rich enough to pay someone to do my packing and cleaning for me. Not only am I bloody knackered, my flat is in complete disarray and my hands have gone from Fairy soft to those of a seasoned builder. As for my nails... one is not amused!
Ah! Which brings me nicely on to my night at the theatre on Friday night (my only real break from the mad house). I went to see Handbagged with my mate Marie and thoroughly enjoyed the rather tongue-in-cheek exploration of Maggie Thatcher's relationship with the Queen. It made me think about Madge's legacy - and how it has impacted on the lives and attitudes of people today. Nothing illustrated this better than, whilst waiting for the bus home afterwards, I witnessed a homeless guy beg another homeless man for some cardboard to sleep under. Whilst Maggie may have thought that we should all work to lift ourselves out of poverty, some people have absolutely nothing to do that with. Something that is still forgotten by the Tories today.
Anyway, minor political rant over, I'm gonna make this blog short and sweet - I think I need a nap before I venture out for my Scrabble date and want to finish Captain Corelli's Mandolin before I go out too - after seeing the movie years ago I was a bit put off, but am really enjoying it. Give it a go if you haven't already.
Oh, and wish me luck for the moving madness heading my way...
Readers... I have a plan. It isn’t particularly cunning, but it enables me to keep focused on what I want in life and where I want to be. My plan is haphazardly divided into three parts; Plan Part A is to be a published novelist (which I rambled on about last time I blogged), Plan Part B is to pursue my other creative pursuits and Part C is to sort out the rest of my life. Keeping them separate stops me getting too overwhelmed and, most of the time, they bumble along quite nicely without bothering each other. But the other week my desire to buy a flat (a la Plan C) inspired my dream to create things for a living (see Plan B) – and escape the rat race.
You see, when I last looked into it, I discovered that I could just about afford to buy a flat in Walthamstow. Having already explored it a month or two ago, I recently returned to have a look around the Lloyd Park area. I was pleasantly surprised – the surrounding streets looked nice enough, the park itself had a lovely community feel and, to top it off, it was the home of the William Morris Gallery.
I admit that, unlike my mum, Mr Morris’s designs don’t really excite me, but what I love about him and his contemporaries was their creation of the Arts and Crafts Movement – the rejection of mass production in favour of carefully crafted wares made by skilled artisans. It’s a concept I very much admire – and one that I feel is having a bit of a revival at the moment. However, these days, your average person has more free time than the working class Victorian and many of us are embracing craft into our own lives.
Whatever the reason, I will not be defeated! I have already created accounts on both the aforementioned websites and shall be getting some of my stuff on line for people to buy asap. So, if you need a little bit of something different to stuff your stockings with, watch this space... or, if you see something you like on the site, just drop me a line via my contact page and I’ll see what I can do!
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...