a ring of the bell, a hug, and a long chat.

A good day indeed: productive, instructive, yet reassuring A parent visit day: a ring of the bell, a hug, and a long chat.

About family, about holidays, and then down to work.

They’re helping me with my thesis: I have quite a bit of tidying up to do.

Yet I felt proud, sat there on the sofa,

Talking about my work as if it was serious and important.

For it is. I have, at last, written something of substance and value.

Something to be proud of.

Sat there, Lyn nearby, I realised that I had reached somewhere good

And I held my head high.

stereophonics

Last night was fairly good too. While out on one of my rolls earlier this year, I noticed that the Steriophonics were going to play at the o2 arena this Autumn. Now, truth be told I have never really been into the stereophonics; I just knew they were a fairly big band with one or two cool hits. As I was there, I asked if there were tickets left, and there were. With that I texted Lyn to see if she was interested in seeing them, and she was, so I bought us tickets. After all, a night out is a night out wether we knew the band well or not.

That was so long ago I almost forgot about it; at one point I worried that I had misplaced the tickets somewhere, but they just hadn’t arrived here yet. However, last night came at last, and my fears of losing the tickets or forgetting to go didn’t materialise. I always get a thrill when I go up to the dome, it’s such an awesome place, although when I mentioned that to Lyn as we waited for the gig to start last night, she cooly replied that it was tiny compared to some of the places she has played.

Nevertheless, it was an awesome night. I seem to be developing a taste for live music: I’m now thirsty to see more bands, go to more gigs, especially with Lyn. However, as epic as places like the o2, brixton academy and indeed the olympic stadium are, I think we both prefer smaller, more intimate venues, so that is the type of gig I’ll be keeping an eye out for now.

f football shirts and leotards

If I may make a bit of a generalisation, one could say my trip to the football last night was rather a masculine affair. Being part of a crowd hurling obscenities at twenty-two sweaty men running about a pitch isn’t exactly a delicate, feminine tea-party. Yet why should that be so? I just came across this interesting little article in the Guardian (where else?) outlining the case for gender being cultural rather than innate. As it says, why should boys wear blue and gils pink? Why do fathers take sons to football and mothers take daughters to ballet class? Gender roles are learned. I have been saying that for over a decade: the way I look at it, if we are ever to achieve gender equality, we must deliberately reread and subvert such rules. Thats why Lyn is one of my heroes. Thus, while last night I was shouting from the terraces in my new Charlton shirt (albeit with red tights under my trousers to keep warm) tonight I might be dancing around the house in my leotard. The point is we should all be free to do both, and express ourselves however we wish irrespective of oppressive social norms.

Two-nill to Charlton

While cricket is still my main sporting interest, by no means am I immune to the allure of football. Last night, I went to the local match – Charlton at home to Doncaster. It was my aussie friend James’ idea: on our way back from seeing the cat empire, we agreed in might be awesome to go to a game. The ground is just down the hill, and could not be much easier for either of us to get to.

Apart from the fact that J was a tad late because of trouble with the trains, there isn’t much to report. After all, what can be more normal than two mates meeting after work to go see a football match? It was a great game: Charlton won two-nill with two beautiful goals. After, we just came back here and had a beer each (me trying to avoid mentioning the Ashes all the while). I was in bed by eleven, tired but happy. I wouldn’t be surprised, now we both have Charlton shirts, if going to the football With James becomes a regular event – I hope it does.

Working with atos is an unforgivable betrayal

Another day, and another report of yet another ATOS related death. When you subscribe to things like the DPAC Facebook group, you get used to seeing them regularly. But that does not make them any easier to take. This company has been charged with finding as many people fit for work as possible; the governments targets demand they push people as much as they can get away with. Thus, from what I hear, even the government and the daily mail are starting to question them and the number of people they are driving to despair.

Something must be done to stop this horror. DAN and DPAC, of course, are doing their part, but petitioning and demonstrating can only go so far. But what else could we do? Back in August I came across an article written by a man with cp justifying his decision to work with ATOS, his logic being that he could help from the inside. He also concluded his rancid little article by saying he would work with anyone, if the price was right. In other words he was justifying selling out to ATOS. It was like hearing a Jewish person justify working with the concentration camp guards. Thus with every report I see, I loathe such traitors more deeply. To follow his logic through, Even if he was trying to help by working with ATOS in an effort to control them from the inside, given that they were working to targets set by the government it’s hard to see what he could achieve. In other words, this was not an effort to protect his fellow cripple but a self-serving act of betrayal of the worst kind. Those few who say we must work with ATOS are either naive or selfish: we must demonstrate; we must show the world the horror they are causing. And I’m sorry, but I can never forgive any disabled person who sides with them – my sense of betrayal grows with every suicide.

ms marsh’s letter to mr. marr

Last night’s Doctor Who episode was indeed cool, although I must say it didn’t get me as enthused as it might have. Of course, there were one or two brilliant touches, such as the cameo by tom baker, but I can’t say it got me that excited. I might feel differently after a second or third viewing, so I’ll hold back from writing much about it today.

Instead I would rather direct you to this open letter by Sue Marsh to Andrew Marr. Marr apparently recently said that, since his stroke, he feels he has a greater understanding of disability, yet fails to press IDS on the Tory persecution of people with disabilities. In her letter, marsh points out that had marr not been in quite a privileged position he may have felt differently. It is a quite humbling, haunting yet beautiful piece of writing, asking the bbc political editor to but himself in the position of a less famous person in a similar position. You get the sense that Marsh is speaking from experience – she knows how tough thing are, and what the tories are doing through their bastard minions at atos. Above all, it is an excellent commentary I think all should read.

was doctor who snubbed last yar?

Here’s a somewhat random question: did doctor who fans feel snubbed that the doctor didn’t appear at the Olympics, a la 007? I was pondering this question this week, what with the fiftieth anniversary episode airing tonight. Thinking back to last summer, were I a dr who fan, I reckon I would have been miffed at the character’s near complete exclusion from the olympic opening ceremony. The who franchisee, as I touch upon here, is similar in scope to that of bond, so you could argue that he could have played a similar role in the ceremony. from what I have been reading, the were plans to use him, which were abandoned at the last minute. Indeed you could argue that, because it is made by the bbc, doctor who is more of a british icon and was therefore more suited to the role Bond filled. All other concerns aside – franchise rights and so on – why did they choose bond over the doctor? Had they done so, of course, I would now probably be asking why they chose who over Bond. I suppose I’m just curious about how such things function, and whether there was an resentment on the part of who fans over the choice as in a way it said the who franchise was not important. That’s why I’m looking forward to tonight’s fiftieth anniversary dr who episode: might they choose to do a comparable stunt to redress the olympic snub? No doubt if they do, I’ll be blogging about it tomorrow.

plans.

Now that I know my Master’s thesis is not the complete mess I feared it to be, and that, pending a bit more work, should get the examiner’s approval, I have began to think much more positively about continuing my studies. Only a few days ago the idea of staying in academia, after the trouble I had with my MA, seemed preposterous; yet a week and a few reassuring emails later, my curiosity and fascination for film has returned. Indeed, in his last email, Dave my tutor recommended a book which in a way articulates the very discourse I speculate about. A trundle up into town later, and the book now lies open on our sofa, and my mind is again abuzz.

It seems, then, that there is certainly room for more work, and that my master’s thesis could now function as the groundwork for something much deeper, complex and involved. The question is how to go about it.I would need access to a decent library for a start, so applying to a local university would be the obvious choice although the staff there now me, staying with MMU and continuing to do things via email seems a bit silly. Yet I have no idea whether any of the nearby campuses have suitable departments which would accept me and allow me to continue in my specific area. Time, then, to take my time: tidy up my thesis for it’s final submission; begin to play with ideas about how this hybrid discourse is manifesting itself, and start visiting university open days.

monty python reuniting on stage

I just turned on my computer and found this report. Of course, news of a Monty Python reunion has me in my usual spastic squeals of glee, but I’m also now old enough to know I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high. That is, many questions remain: how will such a reunion work? will they jus be reperforming old material or writing new stuff? If they stick with the old stuff from the seventies they will be criticised for not trying anything new, but if they write new material for the show people will ask where the classic stuff went. Is it not better to let the glories of the past remain in the past, as memories unpolluted by the smell of a money making scheme? Then again, I felt a similar twinge of caution when they announced that James bond as going to do something with the queen for the Olympics, and look how awesome that turned out to be. This, then, is a story I’ll be keeping a close eye on: I’ll certainly try to watch their press conference Thursday. I really hope I won’t be disappointed. All being well, it won’t be too long before I’ll be pestering Lyn to go see it.