The days are different. Each day is different than any other day that has gone before – significantly different. Certain things are the same on many days but even those things are different when you zoom in on them. What does this mean? OK – elaborate. You can go into your (or any other) garden, or a park or a field, or I suppose, go and look at a roadside hedge. Choose a leaf. Study it. Go back the next day, at the same time if you like, and it will be different. It will have grown, or decomposed, or become wetter, or drier, or droopier, or perkier – and that’s just one leaf – even a rock – even a diamond will be different from one moment to the next. Some things will require a higher zoom, some things will be obvious, some things will cease to exist between one day and the next, and some things will come into existence. What does that mean? Time is the path through the tangled mess that is the universe – inner and outer (what a fucking cliché – sorry). Life is awareness, life is best when it is simply lived. Age comes to us, we move towards it – we are actually time travellers – we think we can only go in one direction – forward – but how do we know that? Answer – because we remember what has happened before and we can’t see what will happen in the future. But maybe that’s only because of the direction we’re looking in.
This article first appeared on Adopt an Indie
Shakespeare never needed the big six
When I started to write this I came up with what I thought was rather a clever little pun. “In his time ‘Shakespeare was no great shakes’. Hang on, I thought, let me google that just in case it’s been used before, and yes of course it has. The point is that nowadays we have at our fingertips – literally, access to the accumulated writings of just about every poor sap who has ever put quill to vellum or speech-to-text or any other way of recording words. There are loads of writers out there – millions upon millions of them and a small proportion are successful enough to be familiar to most literate people. Shakespeare is the Zeus in this pantheon of literary gods, yet in his day he was regarded by the then intellectual establishment as a “Johannes Factotum”, “a Jack of all trades”, nothing but “a second-rate tinkerer with the work of others” (Wikipedia).
Despite being an outsider, good old Will just got on with it and using his own wit and talent he produced The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. You can’t get more successful than that.
A contribution of mine for the people’s panel on The Guardian’s comment is free section:
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A strong smell in the car park heralded an in-store promotion. I hate being manipulated as much as I hate the smell of fish, so was immediately irked. It was the first time we had been to a supermarket for months, a visit prompted by curiosity and boredom rather than a desire to pick up a bargain.
We have never liked supermarkets, and like them less now since the lovely local wholefood shop we owned went bust recently, due, in part, to their behaviour. They take on brands tried and tested in small shops like ours and plant them at cheaper prices in strategic positions in their aisles. Then, when they’ve enticed our customers into their emporiums they quietly drop the products or replace them with watered-down own-brand versions.
In the past I’ve worked for companies that supply the big four, and can say from personal experience that they are ruthless when it comes to dealing with their suppliers too. They squeeze until the margins are so tight that the companies supplying them go out of business or are sold off for a pittance to larger brands. Despite our cynical and defensive attitude, we still succumbed to the Tesco trance and racked up a bill three times as high as it would have been if we had gone shopping in the local Co-op.
Don’t be fooled by the price cuts and the friendly visage, the supermarkets exist only to make the maximum profit for their owners; the customers are simply part of the equation, and that equation involves the customer spending at least the same amount of money on each visit. Tesco’s move to cut prices will have little effect on us, the damage has already been done. Who’s next? You have been warned.
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Direct link to the full piece with comments
Christmas is snow and feasting and fire and preserves. Christmas is calm and peaceful. Christmas is generous and spiritual. Christmas is short cold days and long colder nights – it is the darkest time of the year when life retreats to its lair and prays for its own renewal. The festival of Christmas sits like a light at the centre of each year’s tunnel drawing us towards it, injecting us with hope and ejecting us into a brighter future. In the Northern half of the world, Christmas is as essential to our psychological well-being as water is to our physical.
Sadly, Christmas has been hijacked and harnessed by the dolts that profit from our human innocence and gullibility. They present us with beads of paste and glue – fake glitter that dilutes the true light and costs us our breath. We are herded through lanes edged with bulging shelves laden with colourful consumables designed to imitate the love and light our psyches crave in the darkness of midwinter. Cleverly, the Christian establishment has also hitched itself to the festivities and imposed its fable, to complete the duality that keeps us enthralled.
Christmas is neither the celebration of the birth of a man in some past land, nor the gluttonous gorging from the toxic mound of phony food. The true meaning of Christmas is in its light. It is the annual counterpoint to midsummer, when the sun’s light is at its most abundant, for Christmas is full of light too – the light that we carry inside. We bring it with us into the darkest time of the year and we express it in our fire and frolics. We don’t need churches or shopping malls, we just need ourselves – the bringers of light.
The mainstream media’s coverage of the student protests over tuition fee increases is completely silly. Their collaboration with the police and with the government, unconscious or not, is damaging their reputation as credible sources of news and information.
I’ve got to admit that my participation in the demonstrations has been limited to tweeting a few messages of support to the students. I’m just an ordinary bloke trying to scratch a living in the dark depths of the recession and am generally content with the way things are, being a bit apolitical. I’ve witnessed a number of such occasions on the television over the years, and swallowed the line I’ve been fed. Of course you expect nonsense from Sky News and we all know that ITV News chases the sensational tabloid headlines, so any accidental exposure to them is tempered with a large handful of rock salt, but the BBC? I’ve always trusted the BBC – shame on me.
There was a very large fire in Parliament Square – no there wasn’t, it was just a large bin. The protesters attacked mounted police – no they didn’t, the mounted police attacked the protesters. I know because I was there, well I was there virtually at least. I saw the pictures on the television and the other pictures all over the internet. I heard the reports on the radio and browsed the news media’s websites. I followed the trends on twitter and clicked the links to innumerable articles, opinions, photographs and videos. I made my own mind up.
Set against the current desperate financial background and the corruption, incompetence and sheer greed displayed by the bankers and the politicians, it’s a wonder the Houses of Parliament are still standing never mind a few smashed windows. Of course the biggest story of the day is that our beloved Charles – the Prince of Wales no less, had his armoured car attacked.
Like I said, I’m an ordinary bloke, just another middle-aged man; a small human creature feeling his way through this crazy universe, but come on the BBC, I’m not an idiot, you could be so much more than a mouthpiece for the establishment.
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p.s. After writing this I was sent a link to a video about the Poll Tax riots of over twenty years ago. Scarily similar.