Tuesday, 19 October 2010

 See ya there ?


"Kafkaesque" is an eponym used to describe concepts, situations, and ideas which are reminiscent of the literary work of the Austro-Hungarian writer Franz Kafka, particularly his novels The Trial and The Castle, and the novella The Metamorphosis.The term, which is quite fluid in definition, has also been described as "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity: Kafkaesque bureaucracies"and "marked by surreal distortion and often a sense of impending danger.  Wikipedia

I first found myself using the above term to describe the bizarre conditions and circumstances of my employment as a youth and community worker as the mountain of paper work gradually began to overwhelm and undermine the real work with people. Where, in the past, workers combined to facilitate the participation of fifty plus young people, in weekend residential work shops, to explore issues such as "Power and how it operates in your life" now typically, a senior youth worker sits tapping big brother style data into a computer with the aim of tracking the young “victim” through out their daily life. Oh sure they can justify it to themselves and even some of us but I tell you there is no heart nor love in it. For the "victim" the only option is compliance or be moved down the ladder of entitlement. I understand the professional term is "exited". I also know that there is still good work going being carried out but for how long?
Surely Kafkaesque can also be justifably applied to many of the machinations of the Condem coalition. Example – A result of defense cuts announced today, brand new Aircraft carriers that have to be built because it would cost as much to not build them and …they won’t have aircraft for 12 years.
I am beginning to think that with expert support, a caucus of young sixth formers untainted by the Westminster virus that seems to obliterate common sense, would make better and fairer choices. No wonder that the term referendum terrifies most of those who purport to represent us at Westminster.

I could go on and on about how only a few years ago Social Services offered several layers of service attempting to cater to several layers of need and now there is only one. Critical need.  They are rolling out a new system now.  So if in need call the call centre and eventually some one will assess your needs, presumably after they have dealt with the critical needs of more urgent cases. Some one will visit you and by using a points system they will put a price on your needs, give you the cash and advise that you might engage a neighbour or relative to assist you to buy the services you need. The level of qualification, expertise and experience of the new social worker will of course be governed only by cost and the work will likely be put out to tender to the lowest price. If you think Social Services is a mess now, and it is, it can only get worse under The New Reality. Oh dear! I am going on and on about it.
There will be a myriad of opportunities to participate in the struggle to try to overturn the more damaging plans of the Condem coalition to cut the national debt. This might be the last chance saloon for the people to speak and be heard, for a long time to come.
While it seems the bankers are still virtually immune from the back lash created by their greed and ineptitude and there is no sign that they will be made to make amends, some of their closest compatriots are losing their jobs. Locally this is evidenced by the scant few manning the phones at the Nearby Foxtons Estate Agency. A year ago their large office was filled to capacity with young eager beavers trying to sell local property at Kafkaesaque prices for all they were worth. Meanwhile the effect of government cuts on social housing programmes will be disastrous if recently announced plans are to be carried forward.
Ofcourse we are in debt. Ofcourse some thing must be done to address it and there will be a cost to all of us but, if the quality of life for those folk living at the lowest economic levels, the vulnerable and the dispossessed is to be further reduced I suggest it is incumbent on all of us resist this by what ever means necessary. Put another way the time has come when WE have to help those who represent us decide what should and must be done.

You may remember a post I wrote some time ago about Nurse Margaret Haywood who was found guilty of misconduct at a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). It decided to remove her from the nursing register. Margaret became a “whistleblower” by secretly filming the neglect of elderly patients at Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for a television documentary. There was a massive nation wide response from supporters and it was widely reported that Margaret was re-instated. How ever I understand that this was not a full re-instatement. I recently heard on the 1st supper grape vine that Margaret has suffered with her health since the episode and is unable to work. I understand that she does not regret her actions so bless her and all who stand up for what is true.


The New Reality
1. IF YOU WORK WITH PEOPLE…IT MIGHT SEEM THAT NO ONE WANTS YOU TO DO YOUR JOB…THE JOB YOU TRAINED FOR AND COMMITTED TO……THE JOB YOU WERE DOING ONLY 12 MONTHS AGO….WHY NOT?


Peace

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Nylon strung? Not highly strung .. almost perfectly pitched.... travelling, south and west, across the Severn wide and low at neap tide all bathed in golden sunshine…. then rain and hopes of summer Indian are seemingly dashed along with hope of clean redemption from the mess that is the Port of Talbot. Steely sprawl across the coast edge, a scar on any landscape but still, many toil there. Anonymous hotel, as per usual, all the same and…. there is some comfort in that. Then down to Arts centre villaged in the valleys, quaint and picturesque…real and lively with the lovely sound of welsh folk speaking like singing. Sound check for five minutes. All is well. The half hour up there in the lights goes by in a flash. Me clutching onto my electric,  classical axe…jamming with my happy voice. The crowd is warm and funny. I don’t say a word. Let the music speak. Hear the music ….Message Clear. Then up with George Jones and co. One of his dad’s songs. Emotional …powerful. What a great night and it went on and on. Every one pulling together to remember Micky Jones the man from MAN. Blasted with pumped up juices flowing all through. Job done. Said goodbyes. Curry in Swansea at the K2. No half and half for me though. Then boats and packing, sea and sand and ports of call and all. Playing guitar when ever, how ever I want. My arrangements changing and forming new bridges, whole songs strung together in a kind of out pouring then strangled, chopped up bit’s, songs half written…. all coming to life. I can pick up the nylon axe and free my head…run with it. I think some of it is completely new to me. Plugged in, classical fuzz, sounds great to me.

A big tide pushing along the northern coast of Cornwall, fishing in the thick of it. Almost caught a seal… I mean surfer. The seas are dying. If we continue to empty it at this rate there will not be enough sustainable stocks of fish by the year 2050.  I take a fish or two a year on hook and line. Japanese eat lot’s of fish and make beautiful gardens, fabulous electronics which I can’t afford right now and there isn’t enough mackerel for sashimi so it’s off to a zen garden to chill and chant. Do what I truly like with out let or hindrance
how I love those words!

Cooking later as per usual in my galley, my domain and in my element. Making food for people is surely one of life’s greatest pleasures….feeding the folk. Looking at an ebb tide …wondering if ‘tis time to go a wading in the evening surf for a bass or pluck some more…stringing strange chords together to see what happens. Later I re-invent For Dr Spock and marry it to Red Star. Gin and tonic …that’s the spirit. No pool to sit by just the rocking motion of the endless sea and right now, I’m not even on a boat. I write some book. I have to. It has been too long in the writing and any way I just found out what happens at the beginning….and at the end so it should be easy now. If it isn’t I shall blame you for distracting me for the last few years, you coming to gigs and then, I had to show up but ..I am glad I did.

Gazing at the Atlantic rolling in ten waves in a row. The weather has been lovely for days. Watching the surf rolling across the wide bay. Six white horses running in with the evening sun flashing through their opalascent tops. Beautiful! Let me tell you how I am feeling ...can't believe this is real.
Shopping for some thing unusual to eat at The Co-op. Cool shop compared to almost any other. Cool people run it or Tony Benn ain’t my hero. Cornwall is a strange land re-peopled by the new merchants….greedy with an unrealistic sense of entitlement. St Ives typifies the exploitative seam that runs through the place. Wake up! The artists of real merit upped sticks years ago. Half of them couldn’t have afforded a pastie in St Ives were they still around. Grumble and bloody moan. The pastie was shite. The dawn crept away like the uninvited non Cornish person who sold it to me should have .
Much later ....up a fresh water stream from estuary …pike is mine but only for a little while then back he goes to grow to be a bigger one or be eaten by his mother. Some more meditation….cogitation and a long digestion of recent events then….peace. Where is that guitar? Of course I nearly always know where but, then again, there are two now…sisters…electric sisters, with a classical mein, who wait to be caressed by these aching fingers. It will be a while. I think I am overdoing it.

Yoik on a beach. Chant in a zen garden. Gotta cut it all up and fix it together. Just found notes for a new song Can you feel me by your side – wrap your fingers around mine – I will stand between you and the darkest night.




at the Micky Jones memorial gig
with George and Son of Man
koi in pagoda pool

video
you don't yoik about some thing.
you yoik something ....







in the rock garden there is
the sound of falling water in a pool
the green home to koi
wind chimes sing in the gentle breeze
joy and sadness are together here
as the air is joined with sunlight
as I am joined with you 





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