Monthly Archives: April 2014

Written for Dungeon Prompts: the message we’re selling

If I’m honest, I don’t know what I’m selling. Probably nothing. I’ve never liked the notion that I’ve got to sell lies to people, to stick my neck out and sell myself with flashy presentation and catchy soundbites. It feels dishonest – and it feels wrong, too. I like telling the truth, without ornamentation or omission. I’m also very shy and reclusive; I let my work speak for me because I find speaking for myself exhausting. If my work is loud – good. Job done. I can take pride in a good day’s effort and the fact that other people actually paid attention to it.

So I don’t like selling. I like sharing.

And what do I share?

Not much, if I’m honest. At the moment I’m going through a very selfish and isolated phase in my life, where I hide away from everyone. This isn’t necessarily because anything’s wrong (though my brain doesn’t work normally and I’m worried about my friends right now for personal reasons); it’s because I have several exams coming up and I need to revise. Well, I guess that does count as something being wrong because I hate exams (they test your ability to parrot and give you an arbitrary score), but most people consider them a necessary, if stressful, part of life and can’t be bothered to change this.

But when I do share, I share things that are important to me. The state of the world. The importance of eradicating suffering. And – most relevant to this blog – I share emotions and ideas that people put down in different languages, so that the barriers of language might be broken down a little.

I would like to change the world, but I’m not nearly brash and harsh and power-hungry enough to do it on my own. And I’m not prepared to scream and shout myself hoarse selling soundbites. So I share instead, and I hope that sharing touches someone.



vgartaud “For a long time, pure linear painting drove me mad until I met Van Gogh, who painted neither lines nor shapes, but inert things in nature as if they were having convulsions,” Artaud wrote. This would be expected in a place of hedonistic abandon such as The Dance Hall in Arles (1888), much less in the placid wallpapered surrounds of his Augustine Roulin portrait, but it is there still. Even painting landscapes, especially painting landscapes, these “convulsions” are evident. As attempts at tranquillity, they are failures just as much as they are monumental triumphs of art. The whirling, churning effect of the wind on the clouds, trees and wheat fields (best shown in Country Road in Provence By Night, 1890) is wonderful until we consider that those days may have been entirely free from any breeze. After all, Van Gogh’s Church at Auvers (1890) is similarly sublimely warped. What hope…

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the void

bhf-workfare With less than one week to go until the launch date of the DWP’s woefully misnamed ‘Help To Work’ and details of the programme are still shrouded in secrecy.

‘Help To Work’ is the mass workfare scheme announced by George Osborne at last year’s Tory Party conference.  Those leaving the Work Programme without a job – which is almost everyone – will either have to sign on every day or be forced to work for no pay for a ‘community’ organisation for six months.  The whole package is expected to cost almost a third of a billion, with most of that money lining the pockets of private sector profiteers running the scheme.

The problem is no-one knows who those providers are yet, including the DWP themselves.  A response to a Freedom of Information request dated  April 10th said that the tender for ‘Help To Work’ was still ongoing.  The DWP…

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Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the Tories)

Tory-controlled Westminster council has decided to demolish a sports centre and hand the site over to a private developer so it can build luxury homes there:

Anger as councillors approve demolition of Jubilee Sports Centre

The Jubilee Sports Centre is widely used by both local schools and residents.

So much for Cameron’s so-called ‘Olympics legacy‘.


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Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today)

It’s official.

Government cuts to ambulance and A&E services are causing deaths.

Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly ruled the death of William Gouldburn, 73, was a “sad consequence” of a lack of ambulance resources.

In his ruling the coroner also said about Mr Gouldburn’s death: “Had there been more ambulances available the outcome might have been different.

Here’s the full story from the Hartlepool Mail:

Hartlepool man died after waiting two hours for ambulance


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