Monday, 23 February 2004

Bad night. Full of bad dreams, full of betrayers and betrayal, its my big fear these days, after the way certain friendships and relationships have veered in the last couple of years, I find this on my mind more and more..Anyway to counter this shit. I got up and did my yoga shatkarma practices, cleansing that is, Kunjal, neti, & tongue cleaning. This balances the hemispheres of there brain and brings depth and calmness to the body

up at 7 which is quite late for me, dropped the car off for its service and back to the news that Rialto want to publish my book, I'm stood in the middle of town weeping with relief. They need to get the money together to do it but want to proceed as if it is all okay. i hope we can get it out by the time the Ilkley Festival comes around, then i can tour and launch it then.... Hang on there John, they need to get the money in..

an amazing report from Think tank Civitas about the lack of emotional reality in the UK at the moment i have to say i agree, here is an over view of it:

'Mourning sickness is a religion'

The report said Diana's death was the epitome of 'recreational grief'
Britons are feeding their own egos by indulging in "recreational grief" for murdered children and dead celebrities they have never met, claims a report.
Think-tank Civitas said wearing charity ribbons, holding silences and joining protest marches all indicated the country was in emotional crisis.

The author said "mourning sickness" was a substitute for religion.

Rather than "piling up damp teddies and rotting flowers" people should go out and do some real good, he urged.

In his report, Conspicuous Compassion, author Patrick West said people were trying to feel better about themselves by taking part in "manufactured emotion".


Describing extravagant public displays of grief for strangers as 'grief-lite' Mr West said these activities were, "undertaken as an enjoyable event, much like going to a football match or the last night of the proms".

"Mourning sickness is a religion for the lonely crowd that no longer subscribes to orthodox churches. Its flowers and teddies are its rites, its collective minutes' silences its liturgy and mass.

Was pop band Hear'Say jumping on the bandwagon or lending support?

"But these new bonds are phoney, ephemeral and cynical," he said.

"We saw this at its most ghoulish after the demise of Diana. In truth, mourners were not crying for her, but for themselves," he wrote.

Years later, he claimed, "Diana had served her purpose. The public had moved on. These recreational grievers were now emoting about Jill Dando, Linda McCartney or the Soham girls."

His 80-page pamphlet said that while the Soham murders were "unquestionably tragic", it was "almost as distressing to see sections of the public jumping on the grief bandwagon".

He said the traditional minute's silence has suffered "compassion inflation" and become meaningless.

"They are getting longer and we are having more of them, because we want to be seen to care."

"When a group called Hedgeline calls for a two-minute silence to remember all the 'victims' whose neighbours have grown towering hedges, we truly have reached the stage where this gesture has been emptied of meaning," he added.

Marchers should have questioned their motives, said the author

Moving on to the wearing of charity ribbons, the report said the act served to "celebrate the culture of victimhood" and was an egotistical gesture to announce "I care".

The trend had not been accompanied by a tangible increase in charity donations, it added, and there was now an "unspoken competition" to see who could wear their Remembrance Day poppy earliest, "particularly among politicians".

And on going on demonstrations, the report said it was "too often an exercise in attention-seeking".

"Next time you profess that you "care" about something, consider your motives and the consequences of your words and actions. Sometimes, the only person you really care about is you," said the report.

Civitas, also known as the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, was launched in 2000 as an independent registered charity.

Saturday, 21 February 2004

Aching back, just woke up, fell asleep on the couch watching old episodes of Sapphire & Steel.

did my Friday am session for Bradford Youth Offending Team, ran in to Paula Truman the reading promotions officer at Bradford libraries, had a good chat about the forthcoming book festival, and about the journaling practices which I use in my groups.

cleaned the house this afternoon, then gave a creative writing lesson, focusing on sound.

did a gig in Birmingham last night, a music gig rather than a poetry gig, it was very underground, big ups to P & M of Diabolique for having me, I rather scared the locals with a set of orchestral looping guitar, sine waves and resonating choirs, at a very loud volume.

driving home was a killer, and only coffee kept me up and working today.

a quiet day tomorrow, will work on the new book a bit, will sleep a lot, feed Hannah's cats, and wait for her and the kids to get back off holiday.

anyway time for bed my dears

click ! !

Wednesday, 18 February 2004

Raise a glass, light some incense, make some love, have some nasty sex, reflect a prayer or be quiet in the noise for a minute

February is the time of so many passings, my sister is 2 years gone on Friday, and Derek Jarman, one of the most inspiring people I have ever come across is 10 years gone tomorrow.

winter is ending, and out of these losses I pray that I will remember my own mortality, and from this live a life that has brightness in it

Jacqueline Siddique
19/9/76 - 20/2/02
keeper of secrets, changer of names, she was beautiful and dishonest, wanted and unwanted, she never got the reconciliation she wanted with our mother, and so she waits..... She has left us waiting....

31st January 1942 - 19th February 1994

St. Derek was a film maker, poet, writer, activist, painter and gardener, whose life expressed a fierce desire for a world where human lives weren't deformed by homophobia, poverty (including artistic poverty), 'respectability', and the policing of gender identity. He was canonised by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence shortly before his death by AIDS-related complications in 1994.

Leaving this garden of earthly delight he left behind himself an immense void and a legacy of films, paintings and writings in which the spirit of The Controversialist survives brightly. Every time you go to a place that for you is sacred, say a prayer to his memory:

Our name will be forgotten
In time
No one will remember our work
Our life will pass like the traces of a cloud
And be scattered like
Mist that is chased by the
Rays of the sun
For our time is the passing of a shadow
And our lives will run like
Sparks through the stubble

I place a delphinium, Blue, upon your grave

Tuesday, 17 February 2004

Spent the morning in Bradford Library, waiting for someone to turn up to do the planned session for Bradford Youth Offending team, one lad turned up an hour late.... Still a good session based on the senses.

home to find a cheque from the building society, I've taken out a loan to get my bathroom done up, at the moment it is the most horrible shade of green and has no bath, that's how it was when I bought the house. Now it is time to move on. I'm also trying to upgrade to broadband, as I can't take the internet's slowness anymore, the time has come, hopefully it will happen okay, I live in a funny place so the lines may not be right.

have to dash to London tomorrow night for an audition on Thursday morning, bloody thing is going to cost me a fortune to get to.

the builders noise from down the street was so excessive today that I had to have words with them. This street has become a hell realm, how am I supposed to write....

anyway peace and goodnight my lovelies

Monday, 16 February 2004

A day of running around, Leeds first, reading network meeting, basically if yr after literature development work in Yorkshire these are the folk, lots of talk about what we're gonna do.

then home, news that I've got my grant from Arts council, to have some time off just to write, now I need to make the time, diary hell, as possiblilites emerge, I may have to cancel some commitments and this makes me feel very bad.

then to rochdale for my poetry group at belfield. Then back to Halifax for a late doctors appointment, just a checking in, nothing wrong.

Friday, 13 February 2004

Funny phone day, do I want to go for a casting to be in an advert, says my agent. Am I interested in professorships in the USA says another contact,,,,, funny phone day, very weird. Just waiting to see what comes next

some bastard has nicked the top stones off our community garden wall in the night, they are irreplaceable 200 year old Yorkshire stone flags. People can be so disgustingly uncaring, it ruins the whole street, but they'll look lovely in their garden.

Thursday, 12 February 2004

Long day, long day

working in a special school this morning doing poetry collages, then at ART 04 all day, networking, Being at a big noise art debate, ended up saying something very controversial on TV, that the artists is now the world's social worker, and that the funders won't let artists just get on with being artists, there always has to be an educational or special agenda, imagine James Joyce doing rhymes with a reception class, or Picasso doing felt making at a primary school.

in the evening it was all red carpet and darling, darling at the ART 04 awards at Manchester city art gallery, which has some great work by Cindy Sherman showing presently, I was in serious hob-nobbing mode, I like this kind of thing sometimes, then like Cinderella, its back over the hill in my old blue Peugeot

Tuesday, 10 February 2004

I know......

well its a pissy cold west yorkshire day, the builders down the road are making too much noise, I've got a weeks work of phone calls to make and I want to go back to bed. Spent the morning running a session for Bradford Young Offenders Team. Half my head is in Paris, but what would I do there, except sleep. But that would be nice

how to manage the afternoon...

cup of tea
wash up while kettle boils

yann tiersen CD

check diary

run off info for my agent

pick up the phone


or it should be

cup of tea/ginger biscuits/old black and white film or martial arts movie

by the fire

in absolute silence