Shaun the Sheep

You may recall me mentioning that I’m involved with the local film festival this autumn. As part of that, school have asked me to introduce the film they intend to screen. The film they’ve chosen is Shaun the Sheep, so yesterday, in order to take my mind off other things, I popped to Woolwich to pick up a copy of the DVD. I just gave the film a viewing. I’d expected it to be just an average kids film, but what I found myself watching just now was quite an intricate filmic text ripe for analysis. As you’d expect from Aardman, you can read the film on many levels: for one, there is no (spoken) dialogue whatsoever, so the film can be seen to play with and comment on the conventions of storytelling. It’s also about a group of sheep going to look for their farmer/master lost in the big city, so there’s a lot of our old friend Walter Benjamn in there too: pastoral vs urban, tradition vs modernity etc. I can also see why it is such a good text for a special school to screen: devoid of dialogue, it draws one’s attention to the very mimesis of film, the structures of storytelling and communication.

Introducing it, then, will be most interesting. Before I decide what to say, though, I’ll need to rewatch it a couple more times. I better go get some guidelines from school too: I can see myself getting carried away and doing a full lecture involving Lacan, Benjamin and who knows what else on it. Frankly I’m relishing this opportunity to get back into film analysis again.

The world has not ended

For the last few days I have been feeling very, very unhappy indeed at current affairs, but perhaps I better start looking on the bright side of life again. The world has not ended: I still lead a wonderful life; for now at least I’m safe and secure. I still have many happy memories to think about, and lots to look forward to. I’m told our coming out of the EU probably won’t effect our day to day lives that much anyway. Thus, as worried as I am about this country’s future, as angry as I am at my countrymen for allowing theirselves to be fooled by the lies of xenophobes and the horrifying rise in the abuse of immigrants, I still have lots to hold on to and be happy about. What else can one do? Either I smile, or I let fear, bitterness and anger destroy me. After all, who knows what the future holds? Things may even turn out for the best. Thus there’s nothing else to do but to send you here.

Farage could at least be civil now

I just watched that abomination of a human Farage speak at the emergency session of the european parliament. I was hoping that he would be magnanimous and civilised for once, but I was wrong. I am now shaking with rage at how that utter waste of a human life just stood there insulting the whole parliament. He’s got what he always wanted; he has lied and mislead the nation into utterly screwing itself, yet he still acts like a total prick. He belongs in jail for what he has done and the damage he’s caused, yet he rubs everyone noses in it. I know no words that express my loathing for this man; I begrudge him every breath he draws.

Where will they build the concentration camps?

I wonder where they are going to build the concentration camps. Before you tell me to stop being silly, I’m being deadly serious. The UK changed not only politically on Thursday, but socially as well: it took a huge step away from inclusivity and tolerance and towards hatred and xenophobia, We’re already seeing attacks on immigrants up; people are now being abused in the streets by thugs who think the referendum result gives them free reign to express their moronic views. It’s just a matter of time now before such xenophobia becomes the status quo. Pretty soon, any minority will become eyed with suspicion. Disabled people will now begin to be spoken of in terms of being ”burdens to society”; we’ll then start to be ”encouraged” to move into institutions, where we can be ”looked after properly”. This will become even worse after the economy falls through the floor. Isolated and alone, it’s people suffering due to their own stupidity, the country will start destroying itself. And, as ever, the first to go will be those who cannot defend theirselves. Independent living will be a thing of the past, as will be the support I got to go to university. It is only a matter of time before I get wheeled into a gas chamber.

A much needed crazy weekend

I’m writing this on a train back to London from Manchester after a crazy but much needed weekend. A few weeks ago my old friend Charlotte involved me up for a party, and never having been able to say no to C, I went. Dom put me on a train on Friday, and from then the weekend has flown by, I must say, charlottes timing couldn’t have been better: I needed a big bash to take my mind off things – I think we all did. It was a hell of a party last night, but before then we had spent a great day in a local market, where I had chance to buy some souvenirs. Then it was time to get dressed up and get the party started.

What more can I say? Nobody throws a party like Charlie, and it was awesome meet a few of her Manchester friends. The music was awesome, the food delicious, and you should have even some of the outfits people were wearing. I went to bed at half midnight, and was surprised to find it still going, more or less, when I got up eight hours later. i honestly think it was one of the best parties I will ever go to, a sentiment echoed by most people there, and as my train winds its way back to London, I really hope it’s not too long before I make this journey again.

How can I love this country now?

I used to love this country. I loved it’s green fields and winding lanes; its culture, music and comedy; its quirky little pubs. I loved its quaint towns and mighty capital, which I once thought the greatest city on earth. But how can I love it now? Now its people have turned their back on the world, in an act of mindless stupidity. I cannot. The fields as I pass them now seem tainted; its people, once so aimiable, now seem suspect. Who could love a literature written in the toungue of liars and con men? I once loved this land, but no more!

How could the people of this country be so stupid?

Words cannot express how angry I am right now. Unable to sleep for most of the night, I got up early to check the news. How the fuck could the people of this country be so stupid? I am literally shuddering with rage, and hold each and every moron who voted Out in contempt. My faith in this country is lost: to me, the UK is now no more than an irrelevant backwater, full of xenophobic halfwits.

from great Britain to little England?

If anyone was wondering what the americans are making of the referendum, I would like to direct you to this excellent New York Times article. Like just about anyone else capable of thought, the writer says we would be insane to leave. It would greatly diminish our status in the world, turning us from great Britain to little England; and the consequences of leaving will be dire, both economically and socially.

With just about everyone bar the outist xenophobes saying such things, it beggars belief that the polls are so close. I am very worried indeed that we will do something stupid tomorrow, to the extent that I’m now losing sleep over it. Could we really be that foolish? Could we really be so inward looking that we’d cut ourselves off from our neighbours, removing ourselves from our biggest market. Could we really throw away something so progressive and hopeful? I’m now really worried about it; the fear of what might happen tomorrow is agonizing.

A political yet productive afternoon

A few days ago, I got an email from my colleagues at GAD about a seminar on effective political campaigning for disabled people. I initially discounted going: as interesting as it sounded, this week would be mad enough as it stood. But then I thought it might be a useful distraction from fretting about the referendum, it wouldn’t be that hard to get to and I might learn something. So I went.

I’m just on my way back from what proved to be a fascinating afternoon. Five other people, all much more experienced activists than me, attended. It was hosted by a very knowledgable former civil servant, and was basically a presentation cum discussion on the best ways of lobbying members of parliament. Most of the time I just sat and listened, trying to remember as much as I could. I did AS level politics, but this was stuff from an insider who knew the ins and outs of Westminster. Most interesting for me was the idea that social media is becoming increasingly important: when that came up, mentioned my blog, and the others seemed pretty interested in it.

What’s more, I made some pretty valuable contacts up there this afternoon, including the speaker herself. I’m very glad I went. I learned a lot and made friends. I sometimes feel pretty impotent politically; this afternoon helped assuage that feeling a bit. And while it didn’t stop me fretting about thursday completely, it calmed me down and made me feel a little less like the world might end come Friday morning.