Wikipedia

Love To Hate You

Dedicated to the usual right-wing suspects…

From Wikipedia:

Erasure (/ɪˈrʒə/) are an English synth-pop duo, consisting of singer and songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke. They formed in London in 1985. Their debut single was “Who Needs Love Like That“. With their fourth single, “Sometimes“, the duo established themselves on the UK Singles Chart, becoming one of the most successful artists of the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

From 1986 to 2007, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 40 hits in the UK. By 2009, 34 of their 37 chart-eligible singles and EPs had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10. At the 1989 Brit Awards, Erasure won the Brit Award for Best British Group.[1] They also had three Top 20 US hits with the songs “A Little Respect“, and “Always“, the highest charting US single (on the Billboard Hot 100) being their 1988 single “Chains of Love“, which hit #12 on the chart.

The duo is most popular in their native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark, and Sweden) and also in South America (especially Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru).[citation needed] The band is also popular within the LGBT community, for whom the openly gay Bell has become an icon.[2] Erasure have penned over 200 songs and have sold over 25 million albums worldwide.[3][4]

Emergency on Planet Earth

THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

***

Monday 30th March

This video was taken from YouTube and deserves everyone’s attention.

A challenge by Dr. Rupert Read to the UK Government: take responsibility for having got us into this public health disaster, and don’t try to put the blame for lockdowns on us.

***

Apologies for the fact that I am using a link from the Metro newspaper, but the article highlights something that we should all be concerned about. At least those of us with a heart and conscience.

People with Down syndrome could be left to die of coronavirus to ‘save’ medical supplies

***

Every day I am finding more and more positive aspects to this lock-down. One of these must be introduction to the wonderful world of the Tufnell Park Film Club.

The club was set up in July 2012 by Nigel Smith and Wayne Gooderham.  Nigel’s been a movie-geek since he first went to the cinema to see Superman II. You can follow him on Twitter at @nigelcsmith. Wayne has just about got over the discovery that Robert de Niro wore a bald wig in Taxi Driver. You can follow him on Twitter at @wb_gooderham.

Under normal circumstances they show films every week in a local pub. While the boozer is closed and we’re all staying at home, they are introducing one film each week and encouraging everyone to watch it. All are welcome to join in, wherever you are. You can see what films they have already chosen here.

This week’s ‘Film Club at Home’ selection is Ingmar Bergman’s classic The Seventh Seal, which we’d originally planned to show in tribute to Max Von Sydow who died earlier in March.

If you’ve never seen The Seventh Seal before, we hope Nigel’s introduction here will encourage you to do so. As he says, it’s only 90 minutes long and has more jokes than you might think. The film is widely available online and we’ve put links on the website. Like last week, do let us know what you think of the film and we’ll publish a section of responses online. From next week on we’ll start visiting our ‘also rans’ list with Woody Allen’s classic of cinema-as-escapism, The Purple Rose of Cairo.

***

Saturday 28th March

The following message was sent to staff members at the Neuro Therapy Centre in Saltney, Chester.

Hi both

I hope this message finds you both well in these surreal times.

I am contacting you in the hope that you may be able to suggest some exercises that I can do to strengthen my upper body from home during this awful coronavirus crisis. I have just bought a pedal exerciser from eBay and expect it to arrive next Wednesday.

I am determined to do all I can to prevent the onset of this virus. I was in hospital with a chest infection at the end of January. When I asked the doctor if there was anything I could do to prevent such infections again he said that I should work on my upper body muscles to make sure they are healthy.

Any help you can provide at this worrying time would be much appreciated.

Stay safe and I hope to see you at the Neuro Therapy Centre soon.

Nathan Lee Davies

***

Change.org Petition:

Today frontline NHS staff will begin to be tested for coronavirus. Care home manager Mark says that care workers must be urgently tested too as they look after the elderly and vulnerable who are at risk. Will you help by signing his petition?
Test all frontline care workers for coronavirus
Mark Topps started this petition to Boris Johnson and it now has 11,680 signatures
Sign now with a click

I’m the manager of a residential care home and facing one of the toughest times we have faced. I have seen staff having to self-isolate and residents doing the same, and there are hundreds of other care staff across the country in the same boat.

Every day we go to the care home and deliver care to the elderly and most vulnerable with limited supplies of gloves, aprons, masks, hand sanitiser etc. We are not being tested and nor are the residents. How do we know that we are not spreading it to them, or leaving the care homes and spreading COVID-19 to our families and members of the public? The truth is we don’t know.

That’s why we’re calling on the Government to urgently ensure care workers to be tested. 

The same dilemma is being faced by everyone working in a care home, domestic staff, cooks, administrators and volunteers. The Government classed us as unskilled and yet now we’re expected to be the frontline workforce, keeping residents out of hospitals and protecting your loved ones. 

The Government have announced the virus is spreading at a faster pace than expected and currently the only tests being done are to people who require hospital admission.

The knowledge that I could be spreading this with residents I work with and my family is the worst feeling. As a dad of three beautiful children -I struggle to know what the most responsible thing to do is.

There are care workers up and down the country delivering care into peoples homes, possibly spreading the virus further into other families.

I am petitioning for all care workers to be tested! We are your front line! Please help us by signing

Care Workers deserve better! We deserve to be tested and we deserve equipment to do our jobs!

Sign now with a click
At Change.org, we believe in the voice of everyday people. Is there something that you want to change?

***

Wednesday 25th March

This is obviously a very worrying time for us all. How on earth are the British public supposed to survive on a basic rationing of their favourite soap-operas?

If the worst happens, and I start to have symptoms of coronavirus, one of the first things that I will do is record a video-diary to chart the progress of my illness. I believe this is the socially-responsible thing to do, and I am surprised that others haven’t done so already, save from one or two in the establishment. #justsaying

VIDEO: JOHNSON TOOK 11 DAYS FROM ‘GATHERINGS HAVE LITTLE EFFECT’ TO THEY MUST BE STOPPED TO BLOCK CV – HOW MANY LIVES HAS HE COST?

I am enjoying the work of Johnathan Pie throughout this coronavirus crisis. Two exceptional pieces of work from the roving reporter can be found by clicking here and here.

This is the wrong time for anyone to be sexually frustrated. Mind you, is there ever a right time?

I have contacted WCBC, to try to get some PPE for my staff. Apparently, their supplies are extremely limited. Subsequently, I asked them to ensure those with symptoms were provided with PPE as a matter of urgency. I will only need such equipment if I fall foul of this virus myself, so at the moment I am not a priority. If only the rest of society thought in such a selfless and socialist manner…

I am enjoying trying to compile a music listography at the moment. It was a birthday gift from my sister, and I have bought hundreds of music stickers to decorate the book.

From Wikipedia:

Jamiroquai (/əˈmɪrəkw/ (About this soundlisten)) are an English funk and acid jazz band from London, formed in 1992. Fronted by singer-songwriter Jay Kay, the band were a prominent component of the London-based funk/jazz movement of the 1990s. Their sound draws from black music of the 1970s, and their lyrics and visual concepts occasionally deal with social and environmental idealism. They also drew from rockelectronica and Latin music, and on stage perform with several musicians in the band playing live. Over the years, Kay has consistently remained as the leader through several line-up changes.

The band débuted with “When You Gonna Learn” under Acid Jazz records, which led to Kay signing a record deal with Sony Soho2. While under this label, the group released a string of million-selling albums containing singles that have reached various charts worldwide, including the 1998 single “Deeper Underground“, which topped in the UK, while having moderate success in the US within the Dance charts. All eight of the band’s albums have entered the UK top 10. Three of them, Emergency on Planet Earth (1993), Synkronized (1999), A Funk Odyssey (2001), along with their greatest hits compilation, charted at number 1.

Jamiroquai have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide as of 2017. Their third album Travelling Without Moving (1996), received a Guinness World Record for the best-selling funk album in history. The music video for the album’s lead single, “Virtual Insanity“, was named Video of the Year at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. The group has won an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, as well as one Grammy Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, and two Billboard Music Awards. They have also received sixteen Brit Award nominations.

Hang Your Heads

According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

A Tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. These poems were published in a collection titled Dancing on Thin Ice in November 2019.

I recently wrote another Tanka following the General Election, which stirred up a range of emotions for most people. Mine are reflected in the poem below:

Fucking idiots

Swallowed lies, rejected hope

To get Brexit done

Condemning those that suffer

To five more years of struggle

 

Suddenly

**MUSICAL INTERLUDE**

No wonder Mr Anderson is angry, so would you be if you had his dentist.

I wish I could stop watching TOTP 1988 on BBC Four. I was watching it last night and watched Angry Anderson perform his one and only hit, propelled by the popularity of an Australian soap opera.

I always had the subtitles on when watching classic Top of the Pops, so that I can enjoy the lyrics being sung. I usually end up catching on to one particular line from a song and correlating it to my own life. I don’t know why I am admitting this, but I am. Last night, I found myself  wishing that somebody would read my Open Letter and “suddenly see me, just the way I am”.

It was with this profound thought that I finally fell to sleep, but not before I found out who was keeping Anderson off the top spot. Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were at number 2 with Especially For You but I should never have stayed up to see who was on top of the charts. As soon as Caron Keating announced that week’s biggest seller I began to grab for my remote to switch the TV off. Unfortunately, my fumble fingers are too slow to react so I had to endure thirty seconds of the awful earworm that is Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard.

*** 

I know this was back in 1988, but my worry is that I have never trusted the British public whatsoever as I always seem to disagree with their opinions. This is particularly concerning ahead of the most important General Election in a generation.

It is difficult to gauge what exactly is going to happen on Thursday, as it is impossible to trust the nonsense that is being peddled by the mass media. I am preparing myself for the worse possible scenario, but at the same time I have faith and belief in Jeremy Corbyn and his Cabinet.

I am growing ever more anxious as we edge ever closer to the General Election. I am doing all I can to get the Labour message out there, but due to my disability this is largely confined to sharing stories on my blog and social media. I have also got Labour posters in my window. This would have more of an impact if I didn’t live on a cul-de-sac, but it is a bit late in the day to be moving house to a more prime location. If I could do more, I would, but circumstances dictate.

My friends and neighbours who receive Xmas cards before Thursday will be reminded on the envelope to Vote Labour while I am also giving a poetry reading at Glyndwr University on Tuesday, dressed in a Vote Labour t-shirt. Every little helps…

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019

 

The Search for Happiness

One of my guilty secrets is a passion for watching soap operas. I like to think that I actively watch them and don’t just waste a couple of hours everyday mindlessly staring at the goggle-box surrounded by empty pizza boxes and bottles of Diet Coke.

For example, the title of my first book – Every Silver Lining has a Cloud – was taken from an episode of Coronation Street. There was a scene set in Roy’s Rolls in which Roy Cropper’s mother – Sylvia (Stephanie Cole) – uttered the negative take on a positive line. This appealed to me and I stored it away in my memory bank as a potential title that sums up my particular brand of humour.

I was watching Eastenders the other night and I heard a fantastic quote from Callum “Halfway” Highway (Tony Clay) who was in an ambulance talking with Bobby Beale:

`”Listen, I’ve spent years not accepting who I am. Fighting all this stuff, but it’s my stuff.  And there ain’t no point in fighting it any more.  You’ve got to find a way of accepting yourself, all of yourself. Even the bits you’ve spent ages telling yourself you don’t like. If you’re brave enough to do that, then you’re brave enough to do anything.”

This is such a strong statement that spoke to me personally and made me consider whether or not I am brave enough to accept who I am in my entirety.  I want to reach such a point where I am happy and confident in myself, but the difficult thing about living with Ataxia is that it is a progressive disease. Therefore, I have to constantly re-evaluate the situation that I find myself in and learn to accept my place in society all over again.

I am sure my readers can understand that things aren’t straightforward, but I remain determined to find the door that leads to something known as happiness…

It seems like an impossible quest at the moment. All I know is what doesn’t make me happy. At times this seems like a never ending list of inaccessible activities, or hostile locations without suitable toilet facilities cut off by flights of stairs. Don’t get me started on the arrogant attitudes of many who should know better. It seems that the goal of inclusive community remains a distant dream.

I have some interesting telephone calls and potential plans in my diary for the coming weeks. Hopefully I will be able to reveal more soon, as I try to discover what, if anything, actually make me happy.

The following information was taken from Wikipedia:

Steven Patrick Morrissey (/ˈmɒrɪsiː/; born 22 May 1959), known mononymously as Morrissey, is an English singer, songwriter, and author. He came to prominence as the frontman of the rock band the Smiths, which was active from 1982 to 1987. Since then, he has pursued a commercially successful solo career. Morrissey’s music is characterised by his baritone voice and distinctive lyrical content featuring recurring themes of emotional isolation, sexual longing, self-deprecating and black humour, and anti-establishment stances.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

I have found a new hero.

John Callahan is someone to admire and revere. I have only just been introduced to his work, through the film ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’, which was sent to me by my friend Ted Eames.

After sharing this with my followers on Facebook, another of my good friends, Brian Hilton, alerted me to the documentary ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’. This is a magnificent slice of reality that allows me to relate to the cartoonist in so many ways. I found myself being filled with inspiration and fresh new ideas that will no doubt be highlighted on this blog in the coming months.

Who can fail to be inspired by quotes such as the following from ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’ ?

“Giving up is one of the best things you can do. Just finally give up. Trying to manage is just ridiculous really, because you just drive yourself crazy with your thoughts. I think surrendering to your real true nature, then, I think you have peace finally.”

Or cartoons like this:

28callahanimgB-jumbo

For now, I will just provide further information and details of the films I enjoyed so much over the past couple of rainy days.

***

The following information has been taken from Wikipedia.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a 2018 American comedy-drama film based upon the memoir of the same name by John Callahan.[4] Gus Van Sant wrote the screen adaptation and directed the film. The cast includes Joaquin PhoenixJonah HillRooney Mara, and Jack Black, and follows a recently paralyzed alcoholic who finds a passion for drawing off-color newspaper cartoons.

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2018, and was released on July 13, 2018, by Amazon Studios.

***

The following summary of ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’ has been taken from IMDb. 

This is a documentary about the provocative American cartoonist John Callahan. At the age of 21 Callahan got involved in a serious car-accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. Drawing cartoons has become his way to express himself although he can hardly use his hands. With a raw style, pen clutched between his hands, he draws cynical and ruthless observations of mankind. His work is praised and criticised. Callahan has provoked protest-marches and receives many angry letters. He was fired at The Miami Herald journal after drawing a cartoon in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; a little boy with a wet spot on his pyjamas saying: “Mommie I had a dream”. Callahan does not understand why people get so upset about his work but he admits at having been an angry young man for a long time, trying to point the hypocrisy of people. Callahan also writes ànd sings songs. He likes to play the ukulele, something that is very hard for him to do. Of course the songs are no lullabies, lines like “Life is like a box of hand-grenades” and “Something always keeps me from committing suicide in the fall” reflect his way of thinking.

Touch me Someplace I Can Feel’ can be rented via YouTube. 

You can read all about John Callahan on his Wikipedia page.

 

Captain Courageous Keeps Up the Fight

I was shocked and saddened to read about Fernando Ricksen and his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

The former Glasgow Rangers captain featured on an ITV News report that I found very difficult viewing due to his admirable determination in the face of tragic injustice. 

Of course, this situation causes to me to think of my own condition, and while I do not want to measure my circumstances against the unfortunate positions of others – it is not a bloody competition – I can’t help relating and empathising in some small way with Fernando.

This is not the time, nor the place, to discuss the frustrations of living with Friedreich’s Ataxia, but I wanted to send my love and support to Fernando and his family during this tough time. I do hope that the world of football can help to fund research into MND and give hope to future individuals suffering from this cruel condition.

I encourage all readers to donate to MND Connect and help Fernando make a difference during the precious time he has left. The work that the Dutchman is doing now will be of greater value to society than any of his achievements on the football field.

Keep fighting Fernando…

FernandoRicksen1006a-2.jpg

This image is used without the permission of the owner. It was found on Google images and I am taking absolutely no credit for the image above. If the photographer comes forward he/she would be fully credited for their excellent shot.