There’s just No Time To Die

I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but after seeing this performance of Billie Eilish’s theme for No Time To Die, I now think it’s surely up there with the great Bond Themes. It is replete with the atmosphere, that sense of brooding power, that has come to define the themes for Bond films. And in the background we hear that four note pattern as synonymous with 007 as his vodka martinis. I love it.

Cultural Intrusion

Say that you’re a member of a minority. You’ve been part of that minority all your life, or at least since childhood. It’s one of the most marginalised groups in society, frequently oppressed by the mainstream. You’ve had to fight for your rights all your life, and even to be included in mainstream society.

Then, gradually over time, you find that more and more people are saying they are members of your group: how do you feel? It isn’t altogether clear whether they do or don’t, but they have never done so in the past. They call themselves activists and become the most vociferous members of the community, despite seeming to only have fairly tenuous links to it. What has always been an innate part of you, to them has been a choice; that is, they seem to choose to call theirselves members of your minority for political reasons, for instance by suddenly emphasising aspects of their personas previously left ignored. They belong to some of the most privileged groups in society but like the politics of fighting oppression without ever really having experienced it. Ashamed, perhaps, of their status as white, straight and able bodied, and attracted by the glamour of being a persecuted rebel fighting for social justice, they adopt the pretence of being a member of a minority, often going so far as to apparently fool even theirselves.

So what do you do? Do you just accept them, giving them the benefit of the doubt? Or do you see it as a form of cultural usurpation or intrusion? While you have, for the most part, escaped the worst of the persecution, there are people you know in your minority who have suffered horrifically. These newcomers know nothing of such experiences, yet still seemingly presume to speak as if they had, adopting the language of activism as though they pioneered it. Would you not feel indignant at this usurping of your life experience? And to add insult to injury, when you try to question them, they dismiss you as a bigot, as though you were one of those people you have resisted all your life. Would you not feel frustrated and angry at such apparent audacity? Or do you just accept it as an aspect of the very principle of inclusion for which you and others have struggled all your life?

A truly magnificent shot

If you didn’t see it last night, might I just suggest you check out David Attenborough’s program. It has a shot which made my jaw drop in awe: the great Sir David narrating from a boat, keeping up with a flock of birds as it flies low across a lake. It was a truly magnificent bit of photography. You could even see the glint in the eyes of the birds as the boat kept pace with them perfectly. It was a shot worthy of any Oscar winning director. Once again my hat goes off to David Attenborough and the BBC NHU.

what do you do?

As I wrote here, I think it’s right that I get priority with regard to the bus wheelchair space. But what do you do when, getting on to a bus after a long, greying day, you force two mums with prams off the bus to wait for the next one? Should I have stuck to the rules and got on, or got back off? While the former might have been the legally correct thing to do, the latter feels far kinder and more noble. I may have had a right to get on the bus, but I felt like a total bastard all the way home.

A productive and rewarding day

Yesterday was quite a long day, but a productive, rewarding one. I was up at 7.30 (early for me) to go to help at a communication class at Charlton. They asked me to help in a 9.30 session. I was there to encourage the kids, who had very low ability, use their communication aids, so I thought it was worth the early start. Then, in the evening, we had the first film festival organisation meeting of the year. It was again in charlton, but fortunately Serkan gave me a lift to and from Charlton House. It was a great meeting with lots of good ideas about which films we could show this year. I chipped in a few suggestions too. In all, then, a great day; one upon which I really felt I was participating in the community.

A side  affect  of the inclusion debate?

I just came across this story on the bbc news website. An eight-year-old girl in Wales has had to be home schooled for twenty months because of a lack of accessible toilet facilities. ”Imogen Ashwell-Lewis has cerebral palsy and has not been able to find a school with suitable facilities since leaving Rogiet Primary in June 2018. Monmouthshire council said it was following Welsh Government guidance.” Now, while a lack of government funding is obviously a big part of the issue, it occurs to me that this might also be a side  affect  of the inclusion debate. Inclusive education is a great idea, but it should only be implemented  if schools are ready to   support all kids, whatever their needs. I fear certain people have been too eager to push the inclusion agenda, putting politics before practicality, resulting in cases like this. After all, not all children will be able to cope in a comp.  In the hurry to close down special schools, we risk leaving certain children with nowhere to go. That aside, I hope Imogen finds a place; I’m not saying that I think she ought to go to a special school by any  means, as long  as she finds a school which meets her needs and where  she can flourish.