I am very pleased to report I have had a massively productive week. I have really thrown myself into getting my book written, and I have already got five and a half chapters done. Sorry my blog entries have been so short recently, but I’ve been spending about five hours a day bashing out this book. While I have been using a lot of old blog entries, I’ve had to heavily rewrite them, and over seventy-five percent of it is new stuff. I haven’t written so much so fast in a long, long time.
Anyway, I was just trying to compose a description of Alsager. It has been over eight years since I was there so it has been slow going. To refresh my memory, I thought I’d visit it on Google streetview. Somehow, in my mind, this view has now merged with this one. Alsager’s high street morphs weirdly into Charlton’s: Two villages have become one, confusing my sense of place. Mind you, if only Charlton had a decent pizzaria.
I really need to flag up The Silent Child, which just aired on bbc1. It’s just twenty minutes long, but it’s brevity beguiles it’s power. I better not say much about it; it’s about a deaf little girl and her new tutor. What makes the film such a groundbreaker is that the young actress who plays the girl is deaf herself, and that the film is subtitled throughout. It is thus a statement about inclusion, and a sign that the mainstream media may now be trying to include people with disabilities a bit more. Surely a step in the right direction. I can see why it won an oscar.
You’re probably expecting to read something about Brexit on here tonight, and the fact that it’s a year to go until the xenophobes get their way. It has been all over the news. The truth is, however, I don’t want to. The entire subject just makes me too angry. As far as I am concerned, brexit is an act of utter stupidity: the people of this country were deliberately mislead by criminals into voting for something manifestly counter to their best interests. We are being forced by bigoted, barely literate morons to turn our back on the world. (Don’t believe their bullshit about britain going global.) I am still very angry about it indeed, and will continue to fight something which boils down to fascism.
One of the guys I play powerchair football with is Dan Holt. I’m not sure I mentioned it on here, but we went to school together – he was a year or two younger than me – so to bump into him again down here in the metropolis was cool. He is training to be a barrister, and I just came across this short video about him on the BBC website. Very cool stuff indeed. You know, quite a few former Hebden pupils have done very well for theirselves, leading me to suspect that I was wrong to once be so dismissive of the place.
Just as an update on this entry of three weeks ago, I still have an EU flag proudly attached to my powerchair, and nobody has said anything. I don’t know why I was so worried; it’s as if nobody has noticed it’s there. I thought I might get abuse for showing my political opinion so clearly, but nobody has batted an eyelid. It might just be because London is a Remain city, but so much for trying to be provocative.
Just a bit of a progress report this evening. I’m pleased to say that I have started work proper on the book idea I mentioned a couple of days ago. I’m over a thousand words into the first chapter. I’ve decided, though, just to confine the narrative to my undergrad years; the drawn-out story of how I wrote my masters can wait. This way, I can focus on that lovely fascinating three year period from 2004 to 2007.
I plan to take writing this book seriously: too many times recently, I’ve had these ideas, started work on them, only to promptly get bored and forget about the whole thing. It’s a very irritating trait I have. This time, then, I plan to keep it up. My plan is to write at least one three to four thousand word chapter a week, and hopefully by the end of ten weeks I’ll have something of reasonable length. I’m sure I can keep that up – it just takes the same kind of writerly discipline I use to keep my blog updated. The thing is, unlike writing blog entries, I need to work out how to present the history of that period of my life, and how do depict certain people without making anyone angry. While I want to stay reasonably faithful to what actually happened, I may have to use a degree of writer’s licence, just to make sure I end up with a coherent, reasonable story.
Expect more progress reports like this to follow. (In fact, please hold me to it.)
The shit is really starting to hit the fan when it comes to Brexit. According to this Channel Four report, the Leave campaign broke electoral commission spending rules, throwing the referendum result into doubt. If you ask me, of course, such a revelation wasn’t to be unexpected: what do you expect from a campaign which, for all their claims of being liberal and internationalist, boils down to a bunch of xenophobic little Englanders? Mind you, as the report says, this news is unlikely to change anything. Even though it is now painfully clear that the outists cheated and the referendum was won based on lies, the UK is still speeding towards the cliff edge, and they are still bent on stripping us of our rights. I just hope that, as report after report like this comes out, people realise what is going on and rise up to stop this folly in it’s tracks.
After quite a long afternoon out and about, I just returned home to find this very cool news. Apple are going to create emojis for people with disabilities. ”A guide dog, a wheelchair user and prosthetic limbs are just some of the symbols it’s suggested. It said very few of the current emoji options ‘speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities’.” I think this is to be warmly welcomed, although I’m still waiting to see the emoji of a person using a communication aid.
Today I started to bash out a rough plan for the book idea I mentioned here. Truth be told, I had quite forgotten about it, probably due to the fact we went on holiday shortly after I had had it. Yesterday, however, I came across it again, and decided it was worth a shot. I think the story of my years at university is one worth telling; there is a lot I could say about that episode of my life. I also think that I need something more hefty to work on. Blogging is great and I certainly intend to keep updating my site, but there’s only so much you can do with this form of short prose. I want to begin something far longer, which I can return to over weeks or months, which I could then print and even publish. I could go into much greater detail with it, taking my time to explore issues which just get skirted over in blog entries. That, then, is what I began today, but don’t expect any results soon: it, like my Master’s thesis, will probably be slow going, but, like my Master’s, I fully intend to see it through.
I remember joining facebook, over ten years ago. I was in two minds about it: on the one hand, as a blogger, I liked to think I was a little more independent than other internet users, so I was reluctant to sign up to the website everyone else was signing up to. On the other hand, it would be a great way to stay in touch with all my uni mates after we graduated. The latter argument won the day of course, and these days facebook is one of the websites I always keep open in a tab.
I’m sure that goes for most other people these days; you have to wonder how this one website became so powerful, so central to modern culture. Even massive companies and organisations like the beeb now include their Facebook page in their advertising. In a way it’s quite scary, so to see Facebook in so much trouble, and being linked to some highly dodgy goings on, is enough to raise a very concerned eyebrow. I suppose the site just got too big and tempting for certain people not to exploit.
I’m not ready to delete my facebook account just yet. It’s still the best way to keep in touch with people, and these days it’s great to see all the baby photos my old university friends put on there. But you can’t escape this warning: the bigger a website gets, the more central it becomes to culture, the more likely it is to be bent to the will of the powerful.