Thursday, 30 July 2009

Experience and buildings

As I moved through Manchester on a train, I noticed the startling juxtaposition of affluence and poverty. I enjoy Manchester. I like to see the mix of the contemporary and the traditional. I appreciate the enormity of the buildings. Cities evolve over time, so architecture is never likely to conform to a pattern. Old and new will be mixed together. I believe that it’s a part of a city’s beauty.

However, as the train slowly transported me across and over the streets of Manchester, my mind connected with something that Friedrich Engels wrote in 1844. Engels, a communist and friend of Karl Marx, was interested in the working class condition. He spent time in Manchester and wrote about the working classes whilst there. He commented that the dwellings of the poor were often a stones throw away from the dwellings of the rich. Yet the two areas were entirely separate, particularly in terms of the life experience for the people that lived in these spaces. Though many changes have occurred in Manchester and elsewhere since the time of Engels, some things remain. Poverty still exists. The working class condition may be seen as improved but the patterning of some building in Manchester remains similar to that of Engels time. We see grey high-rise blocks of flats only streets away from expensive houses with gated car park areas. The stark contrast of these buildings, so close in space yet so far apart in tenure, condition and symbolism, reminds me of poverty. It reminds me that poverty does not just describe the lives of people from far flung places, a plight that is simultaneously hidden and shown by the silver screen. It reminds me that poverty exists here in the UK.

Isn’t it time that poverty ended…..

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Playlist of the last few days

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Soulwax - Much against everyone's advice
Oceanic - Insanity (Dream tripper mix)
Orbital - Dr who
Tim Hardin - Reason to believe
Ennio Morricone & Joan Baez - Here's to you
Ennio Morricone - Chi mai
Manic street preachers - Slash 'n' burn
Two lone swordsmen - Tiny reminders
Dave Angel - Tales of the unexpected
Rod stewart - Handbags and gladrags
Rod stewart - Reason to believe
Cher - Reason to believe
Benga & coki - Night

I could go on. There have been many tunes over the last few days. With thanks to Mark's expansive musical taste, my knowledge grows every day. Each day is a musical education and takes me further along wonderful musical journeys.

Staring through rain

Staring through the rain
Wrapped in you
Stillness enfolds us
Lost for you

Is this the moment
Holding onto you
On life’s precipice
Love to you

Aimless and fearful
Crazed for you
Perpetual hope
I’m for you

Life is not knowing
Shined through you
A sea of emotion
Dive into you

Staring through the rain
Images are you
You are the rain
The rain is you

xxx

I once travelled to reality

I once travelled to reality. You know, that place that many people inhabit, often referred to as the ‘real world’. My life is firmly rooted in the world of fantasy. Sure enough I was born in a town, go to work, study and live on planet earth but the very fibre of being lives elsewhere. My soul resides in Neverland, a fairy kingdom, planet strange – take your pick really.

Back to reality – I travelled there once. I wanted to fit in so I travelled there in disguise, although I’m unsure why, no one would have recognised me. My passport was stamped, I stepped off the crazy plane and briefly embraced my new environment. I returned to pastures well-trodden and joyously odd relatively unscathed through my brief dance with reality.

Always be true to yourself. Don’t conform. Embrace your inner oddness. Have a kind heart. Uphold justice. Have love. Change the world so that all can live free and happy lives. Do all this whilst remaining firmly rooted in your own interpretation of a fairy kingdom. Avoid reality, it is but a silly place (a quote from Python’s Holy Grail tagged onto the end of my own).

Love to all,

Hazel

xxx

Beautiful oddness

My lovely mum just sang a nursery rhyme at me whilst waving the legs of a cuddly toy about. I should point out that I’m a tad old for nursery rhymes. I should also point out that she is a grandmother so nursery rhymes and cuddly toys are common occurrences at the house of my childhood. Beautiful oddness it seems is entirely hereditary. See the rest of my blog, if you desire confirmation of my oddness.

xxx

Friday, 24 July 2009

Cold

Despite losing it on Finkle Street

Despite Losing it on Finkle Street - get yourself involved, buy this book. The author is Samantha Priestley. Fab reviews. Get reading!

I'm off to buy my copy tommorrow.

http://www.bebo.com/Finklestreet
http://www.myspace.com/sampriestley

xxx

Sleeping dogs

You never asked
Never stopped to try
You walked on
Just glanced my way

You once said let sleeping dogs lie
Do you ever wonder, now the dogs are dead?

You spoke of moments stolen
Disjointed time for you
Patterns laid on me
I look back, now it’s gone

You once said let sleeping dogs lie
Do you ever wonder, now the dogs are dead?

At times I lived through you
Did you ever question?
Was it thrill-seeking ego?
Memory removed from emotion

You once said let sleeping dogs lie
Do you ever wonder, now the dogs are dead?

Who were you to me?
Who was I to you?
I was invisible
A picture, no person

Stolen moments returned
You once said let sleeping dogs lie
Do you ever wonder, now the dogs are dead?
It’s too late, now the dogs are dead

Lost

I’m with you and I can’t breathe
You block my vision
Release my soul
My mind fills up
Then spills over

Where do I go when you leave?
Where do I go when you leave?

It came so soon
And unexpected
Open season on my emotion
I turned to face you
And never meant to

Where do I go when you leave?
Where do I go when you leave?

Sinking into you
Other loves fade through
Journeys start and end
I arrive and never wanted to
Platforms, gateways allow me to

Where do I go when you leave?
Where do I go when you leave?

Lost when you are silent
No map, no direction, no way
My mind is bent
It wraps around
Converging on you

Where do I go when you leave?
I already know that you’ll leave

Inigo Montoya

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die".

I love this line from the Princess Bride, unsure why exactly. It may have something to do with the excellant delivery by the actor and perhaps because he wants his father's killer to remember, to know the crime he committed, to know why he will die.

xxx

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Oooooh

I am now a fully fledged member of healthy land and my Swine Flu induced house arrest has been lifted! Yay! Not only that but I move into a brief holiday period essay-wise. The long-avoided deadline for 2 essays was 12pm today. I cracked the essays off with a minute to spare - actually one minute off the deadline! The OU are very inflexible when it comes to end of course essay deadlines and a minute over would have proved educationally fatal. I'm still hoping that they will approve an extension so I can revisit the essays and improve them. Nasty flu really ate into my study time. I have emerged from the study pit relatively unscathed. Sleep over the last few days has been somewhat limited and in true student style, I went to bed at 2am this morning and reluctantly dragged myself out of bed at 6am. I'm a women that likes to sleep so this was a challenging undertaking to say the least. It paid off though. I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I celebrated with a sandwich of gigantic proportions and am soon to immerse myself in chocolate ice cream. Mmmmm. I still have two more essays to produce but luckily the deadlines are not imminent.

I made a promise somewhere in the mists of time, to paint the town a myriad of colours the moment a study gap presented itself. HELLO STUDY GAP! In the words of Pink "I'm comin' up so you better get this party started". ;-)

xxx

Play with language

I like to play with language – this conjures up a Pythonesque image of a random blonde (aka me) skipping and running around with gigantic cartoon words! In reality I refer to bending the rules of the English language. This comes from my sociology studies I think. I have noticed that Social Scientists stretch words beyond their usual capacity. They also make words up in the name of theory - wonderful stuff. I've taken on this method of writing. I enjoy it. I'm unsure how useful it will prove if I move on to study creative writing, as it my current intention but I'll cross into more fixed language territory if and when I need to.

xxx

Veteran moonwalk

Me - What you doing?

Mark - Just sliding. (As he slides his feet backwards over the carpet, which soon culminates into a freestyle and never before attempted moonwalk, of course he pulls the moonwalk off like a veteran. If I attempted similar, I’d end up with carpets burns and land in an undignified heap on the floor).

xx

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Song from the photograph

Listen on to hear 'Song from the photograph' by Shotokan Disco. Inspired by a photograph of me! Much music by Shotokan Disco is electronica so this song is something of an exception. Songs that are more electronic in nature and that I really like by the artist include 'Strung up' and 'Shotokan shuffle'. He is a talented man and I say this entirely without bias.

:-)




http://www.myspace.com/shotokandisco

Bon Iver - Skinny Love



xxxx

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Dirty dancing please

After weeks of swapping musical references - everything from A house and The Levellers to The KLF and The Shamen. We have discussed many obscure bands that you think no one else has heard of. Referenced lyrics from songs that no else ever gets. Then new lovely man puts the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing on. A tape he has copied off someone back in the day when tapes were cutting edge. At the point that you realise that Dirty Dancing is not a dirty word in front of your boyfriend. At that point, you think, bloody hell, it doesn't get any better than this.

Thank you Mark aka Shotokan Disco.

xxx

Friday, 17 July 2009

Pre flu playlist

Prior to the enslaught of horrid nasty flu, I'd been listening to the following:

Kate Bush
Shotokan Disco
Biffy Clyro
Sucioperro
A house

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Real me

I've been unfortunate enough to contract Swine flu, yes really. No jest. Two doses of special antibiotics later, I'm improving just enough to blog. I'm in quarantine until Sunday. Timing for catching Swine flu is far from ideal - I was with my new boyfriend, a man I've been seeing for just under 3 weeks. I'm also in the middle of writing two essays, both of which are due on Tuesday next week. Oh gulp. So my lovely new man has seen me at my very worst - deathly pale, even less tanned than usual, no make-up, bad hair and to put the cherry on the hideous Hazel cake - I was sick four times, right in front of him. The kind of sick that really ill people produce. If I could have picked a time to be sick in front of him, the first three weeks of the relationship would not have been it! Top marks to him though, he really has taken care of me. As I sit - wearing his old top, no make-up, bad hair, typing my blog - he still wants to be with me. The hideous Hazel has not put him off. Miraculous!

I've received more compliments in the last three weeks than I have in a long time. I feel honoured to be so appreciated. His approach to beauty reminds me that make-up, short skirts, big hair, preening and polishing are all just layers. They are merely enhancements. I'm liked just as much slobbing out in his old top as I am when I've spent hours getting ready to go out.

The glamourous Hazel is still me but underneath I'm just a woman without make-up, slobbing out in his old top. I like the real me. I even like the almost post-Swine flu sicky me. He likes me too. Thank you lovely man.

xxxx

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Reality?

Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
Taken from a dialogue in the film The Matrix

The picture was taken late one night at my parents house. I feel it links with the above quote from The Matrix in that all in life is merley perspective. What we see, what we understand to see, is what we know. We are responsible for our own interaction with every aspect of life. The Matrix was about realising the truth, about releasing from the shackles of a false reality. Yet all is reality, it is reality to the perspective of the person. Perspective can change or in other words you can bend yourself but you cannot bend the spoon.

Pathway through chaos


A painting that I created about 6 months ago. It hangs on my lounge wall. It represents pathway through chaos - aka life.


Renegade glitter fairy cartoon


The kite runner

I just caught a few horrifying minutes of the film The Kite Runner. A women is stoned to death because she is guilty of adultery. This actually happens in parts of the world. Humanity is suspended in the name of a God. God is used as a tool to justify horrific, barbaric treatment of women. We should strive against this, we should not close our minds to it because our ignorance protects us - Amesty International is one way to take a stand against this type of human hatred. I believe that human kindness should transcend all other belief systems, particular when those beliefs justify the ill-treatment of others. I know that many people agree with me.

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/

Spaced

Brian: I'm working Tim, working. Do you understand?
Tim: No, sorry. Got me there.
Brian: Trying... to...avoid...clich├ęs by not actually placing my brush on the canvas.
Tim: Wow. Right.
Brian: I'm using my penis.
Tim: Finally.

What a classic piece of dialague. Pegg and Stevenson - damn fine collaboration.

With thanks to Shotokan Disco.

xxx

Friday, 10 July 2009

Silverfish

As I lay in bed at my parents house, my mind wandered and settled on the silverfish. Odd creatures. They glide around as if swimming. They move as though limbless. They are one of a very small number of insects that don't cause me to run around in a mad state of panic. I find that I watch them with mild interest. They are oddly therapeutic.

My parents house has communities of silverfish. They appear at night. I catch them mid forage, then they glide away quickly to the safety of bathroom corners, when they sense my approach. They no doubt reconvene their food search when I leave.

Stop me oh oh oh stop me (little bit of Smiths there) if I'm mad but it strikes me that they'd make very low maintenance pets. Granted they are not great for stroking, they'd glide off before you got a hand in but they are interesting to watch. Plus the obvious advantages like they live in houses anyway, they eat stuff that is already there. This could catch on. Forget exotic pets that should remain in exotic locations. Make your pet a silverfish.

I have a few pet woodlice and the occassional pet spider stops by from time to time - I'd rather they didn't but they pop in regardless. I have no silverfish. My house is too new I think.

Should it be that you have an uncontrollable desire to read more about the graceful silverfish, check out the wonderful Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverfish

FYI: this blog is 60 - 40 serious - jest.

xxx

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Falling for the fray

Been listening to The Fray today. 'How to save a life' is a rather wonderful album. They caught me surprise with their orchestral melodies. Fabulous.

xx

More on Jacknife Lee

Further to my blog on Jacknife Lee, more information can be gleaned on the man at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacknife_Lee

xxx

Jacknife coincidence

A striking coincidence has occured. As I sat at the comfort of my office desk, moments before I turned off my MP3 player, I spotted that Fuzz Townshend's song Bus is a Jacknife Lee mix. (Also interesting because I'd just caught a bus to my place of work). Not striking in itself you may say but low and behold the Marmaduke duke remix of Silhouettes is also Jacknife Lee! Two artists in my collection have been Jacknife Lee'd. I feel excited by this but then I get excited by passing butterflies. Regardless of my easy excitement, I do feel that a Jacknife Lee Google is needed. Watch this space for more on Jacknife Lee, Marmaduke duke, Fuzz Townshend and quite possibly the wonderment of passing butterflies.

Always be true to yourself, even if that means walking a thin line between sane and insane. Oh and be excellant to each other.

Love to all,

xxx

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Trains, pains and essays

Caught the train from Bolton to Manchester than Manchester to Stoke today. First leg of journey = seamless success. Second leg of journey = total nightmare. Delays, lack of information, loud fellow passengers, increasing essay deadline pressure and no Internet connection to upload my essay through. Lack of time = laptop usage on overcrowded train, not easy to write a meaningful essay conclusion and introduction when fellow passengers are shouting to each other rather than talking.

After my arrival at Stoke, the plan was to catch a bus to Hanley then another bus to get me home but alas that was not to be. Delays = essay deadline of 12 midnight fast approaching. The bus stage of the journey turned into a taxi journey. I arrived home far later than I wanted, 20 quid lighter, carrying a headache of gigantic proportions.

By some unexpected twist of fate, I reached my essay deadline with about 30 minutes to spare. Tremendous. Another essay down and two more to crack off before 21st July otherwise I stare a big fat fail in the face. Failure is not option so erm neither is sleep, fun or indeed a life between this moment and the outrageous cut off time of 12 noon on 21st July.

If you see a half-crazed blonde woman running around the streets of Staffordshire, laptop clutched under her arm, dont be alarmed, it's temporary insanity. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Love to all,

xxx

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Insane genius

Renegade Glitter Fairy - "You're mad"
Shotokan Disco - "You seem to value sanity, I don't".

Shotokan Disco - "Can you book us a taxi to the station?"
Hotel Receptionist - "What time is your train?"
Shotokan Disco - "Don't know, we're freestylin"

Pure genius or insane - you decide.

xxx

Shotokan Disco

*Kick back, relax and get funky* with the wonderful Shotokan Disco at http://www.myspace.com/shotokandisco

*Lyric reproduced by kind permission of the writer

xxx

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Billy Jean

Billy Jean - Michael Jackson. Top tune. Funky vibes.

xxx

I love security checks

A recent Facebook security check is displayed below. 'Ceylon doped' sounds like a designer drug. It sounds like an 'out there' state of mind. I love security checks. The words received on security checks interject unexpected humour into life.


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