A new book has appeared on the site. A novella, ‘Love in Trieste’ which is downloadable electronically for one single pound, hardly much more than ‘un eurito.’ And so my international busking career continues. I’d like to thank everyone who has thrown money in my hat for helping me to remain here in the Mediterranean for the health reasons that forced me to finally leave West Bromwich behind five years ago. I can now only watch the train wreck that is contemporary Britain from the distant safety of somewhere with an outdoor ambient temperature of twenty-three centigrade. Those donations are important and they do make a difference. However I am able to vote in this 2017 General Election. So I will be able to say I tried by best even if I can never vote again once May’s ‘strong and stable’ regime suspends Democracy on June 9th.
I may or may not start writing a sit-com in Catalan with my friend, Marti ‘Brian’ Blesa, comic, cultural critic and photographer. Guess who’ll be doing the Catalan, though in three conversations today I knew most of the time what was being said to me, except as usual for when their were crucial words that were absolutely essential.
The situation comedy will be set in an airport in Catalonia. Girona is possible but more likely somewhere like Reus (Tarragona). Things are always going wrong at airports within an environment that insists everything has to go right, so lots of comic potential.
The ‘difficult’ second novel, (notice how I have put difficult within inverted commas, but somehow, unlike Donald Trump’s assertion, the meaning has remained the same.) will hopefully go up on my site some time later this year. The plan also includes the second half of A Game of Two Halves – La Segona Part going up in Catalan Corner – Raco Catala now it has been translated into Catalan. With the two halves translated the idea is to put on a whole evening of Catalan entertainment, or not as the case maybe, in Girona and then Barcelona.
Catalans have started to move about on their roof line terraces here in Girona. Potted plants and plastic furniture are being dusted down ready for the long summer season through to mid-October. I naturally prefer my own world to this harsh reality, and have decided to try, and no doubt fail, to put together a Catalan comedy writing and performing group that might use a few of my spare 203 comedy sketches. I’m not sure whether in this small world whether the art of playing something as if it isn’t funny to make it funnier will take, but I think it’s a niche I can amply fill, and it will make a change for Catalans to find what I do unfunny, rather than just British people. After all this is now my home. Anyway, which is sigui com sigui in Catalan, the times we are stuck in seem determined on staying dismal, and so another of my expansive positive projects is a crowdfunding idea for Barnsley, to reflect the fact it was one of the places that voted most to leave the European Union in the referendum. The idea is to give two Barnsley teenagers the chance to travel around Europe for two months before going to university, though I will have to act quickly before the UK regime bans state school students from the North of England from going to University entirely, rather than leaving it to extortionate fees to put them in their place. Tinkerty-tonk!
I like starting again, which is just as well because I always am. The second novel, a work of the ‘noughties’ modestly titled ‘The Harmony Of The World,’ Der Harmonie Der Welt in German should go up on site this year. The site itself is targeted to make me some money in 2017 with an overhaul. Some money coming through Pay Pal or another system would be nice. I also want to make the growing ‘oeuvre’ more widely available by putting it up on Amazon as well as other mouthpieces. Also a way for people to comment within reason, overwhelming praise is always acceptable. At the moment a Catalan is going through ‘Euphoria,’ the first novel looking for invisible commas, of which there are many. At present Euphoria is an interactive novel that you add your own punctuation to, though it reads fluently enough. On a more secular note I hope to set up a European Citizens Club, for people who support the European Union (not uncritically) as a basis for civilized communal behaviour with some disgruntled chums who live in Girona. I imagine a bit of a Wikipedia system where people donate what they think. Some politics, not too much, cultural coverage, European things etc. will be the rough arena it prances around in if it happens.
Praise has been received for ‘Love In Trieste.’ Naturally I will not let this alter my lifestyle of lolling about in the Mediterranean. However, praise is something to face up to and accept, rather than run away and cower from. And I believe I am quite capable of receiving more praise without it having a negative effect on my character. But to clarify, ‘Love In Trieste’ is loosely based on Debussy, though the fictional composer in the story is not Debussy. After all this is fiction, not a documentary. Also, I have never been to Trieste, though I used to know someone called Jon King, who did his National Service with BETFOR, (British Empire Trieste Force) in 1949-50 defending Trieste from the Communist hordes. He told me that if Tito’s armies had ever launched an attack, his small force would, in technical terms, have ‘run.’ Anyway Jon said it was a good depiction of Trieste and so I’ve always left it as that. I hope these bits of information won’t spoil your enjoyment of the for now ‘free’ story, but as Spike Milligan’s dad said to Spike Milligan after waking him up at 3 a.m. to say, ‘I’ve never shot a tiger.’ To which Spike asked, ‘But why do you have to tell me? then said ‘I’ve got to tell someone.’
Calling all followers. Calling any followers. This is the start of what I hope will be a monthly blog. It’s an age where no one writes letters anymore. Considered commentary seems to be missing in a world of facebook and tweeting, those arenas so easily occupied by both the willfully ignorant and the nasty piece of work. So I have decided to talk as if I am addressing a Public Meeting.
We all know where our collective attitudes have got us over the last twelve months – staring down both barrels. The idea therefore is to simply express my own thoughtful opinion on things I think worth pointing out.
Things have now gone so wrong in civil society it is possible to imagine the crisis of the Roman Republic 2100 years ago, when it had stopped coming up with the answers and the pressure was on to adopt a dictatorship model. And today Representative Democracy seems to have reached a similar position. Low quality professional politicians often with their hands in the till and skewwhiff attitudes watch as their bored and disappointed base of support contracts. This is how it must have been in early 30’s Germany. The environment Hitler exploited. You can imagine how bad the so called Social Democrat position was back then because the same calibre of people are around today, sheltering in the traditional ‘identical’ parties of both left, right and centre. And on that cheery note I hope to be back with you in December.
I have begun to help crowd fund things I’m interested in. Reflecting my income I have set aside 200 Euros a year to fund in a small way things that come to my attention. It’s no more systematic than that, but boy does it give me a sense of making a difference. What catches my attention is saving significant buildings from terrible property developers, supporting arts events in an England, where being a philistine is all the rage in a country where such a sentiment has never gone out of fashion, and Wikipedia, or anything that distributes things which give people better opportunities outside of a commercial environment. I was particularly impressed with the crowd funding of projects Cat ads. where all adverts in a London Underground station were replaced by pictures of cats. In this way I can see how I’m operating differently and getting meaningfully involved in things people I don’t like are silent about.
On a more personal note given my technical limitations,(I was one of the last people not to have computers at school.) I continue to miss the publishing middleman out through my own organisation, or me and my organisation as I like to call it. It’s all part of my small attempt to help bring down the baleful influence of the mainstream and its increasingly negative effects both on information and creativity. I am glad to say it seems to be a mainstream which is getting smaller and smaller.
It’s a new era all-right, where things are different. Now if we could only sideline the increasing amount of people who are deliberately ignorant, and proud of the fact everything would be fine.
I am concentrating on getting more people to read my work, yet I am increasingly involved in the wider world as well. Such as making things like owning guns designed solely to kill people within civil society, making the creation of new forms of slavery through indentured labour, and inciting hatred illegal. Coincidentally these are all policies supported by world-wide right-wing Conservative parties.
I’ve become energized just as the forces for evil are gathering in force. I hope you are energized too.
Goodbye then Wagland, (the union of England and Wales) The EU cannot say it’s been nice knowing you. These are interesting post Referendum times, but I am glad I am not living on the inside of the experiment, having made my decision to live in Catalonia, Spain in 2010. The Referendum campaign was certainly unpleasant , never mind the result. Let’s hope the racist fringe remains only a fringe. At least the boys and girls in blue look like they are clobbering its abusive outbursts. What do I think now might eventually happen? Something like this perhaps? Scotland and Northern Ireland will remain in the EU, England and Wales will leave and the United Kingdom will be loosely kept together. There is an example of this that can be already pointed to. Denmark is both inside and outside the European Union. Denmark is inside and the autonomous Region of Greenland, (still a constituent part of Denmark) is outside. Plus neither of them use the Euro. It’s a solution I think might be worth putting an outside bet on.
Swallows return March 23 – Yeah. I have started in a country diary style so I will continue. Lush Places – ‘Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole,’ that kind of thing. But when you are on the terrace in sunglasses, Fenland is left far behind. Instead to the east the wooded ‘Gavarres,’ the height of Ilkley Moor and Beamsley Beacon, stretch down to the Mediterranean 25 Kilometres away. To the west, there is a larger Lake District without the lakes, except for the ‘Estany de Banyoles’ where the rowing events for the Barcelona Olympics were held. And to the north,50 Kilometres away, are 3000 metre mountains under new snow. This is not to forget the need for social justice and equality of opportunity. To defend it where it is under threat, which is most places, and to resuscitate it where it has been made gravely ill, by too much free market, more money to the already rich, multi national medicine, such as say the place where another referendum on the wrong subject is to be held. But today the swallows have returned.
Many people are moving away from the larger television news channels – they now piece together their news from various sources, things they are interested in. If people make a list of where they go to for information it has a spread impossible twenty years ago. Personally I like pure news reporting from agencies such as Reuters which report events rather than has a dulling ‘take’ on them. An interest in Middle east events means I visit Al Jazeera etc. But even these sources are not so important compared to the information coming from friends and acquaintances through media such as Facebook. What are multinationals up to that is against the public interest? apart from virtually everything of course. Is there a petition to sign on an issue that should be debated in parliament? all this comes through such media. Now it seems we are all the media and an intermediary is no longer necessary. An ‘impartial’ intermediary is seen as not so impartial anymore, especially when they seem increasingly lazy mouthpieces where a set process has blunted any investigative elan, cover up being easier than investigation. Naturally this is no reason to hand over such organisations to the usual suspects, then they really wouldn’t be impartial. So let’s all of us keep on being the media in our own small way and a new balance will be achieved made up of healthy developments and no doubt some not so healthy ones.