The Bacony

…Imagine…

Very early evening. With the lovely toasty end-of-the-afternoon sun. A balcony 20-30 ft’ from the ground. There is a giant bean bag, rum cocktails, shisha, books. All the books.

There are water bombs and paint-bombs for entertainments sake. Maple tree leaves about level with Iron railings that are just wide enough to squeeze through onto the outside of the balconies overhang, where ropes hang down for ninjascapes. Let’s add some Ikea or Moroccan cushions and poufs to the balcony too.

Remove the ‘L’ from ‘balconies’ and you get a ‘Baconie’.

A Bacon Balcony. Or a Bacony. Would the bacony cook under the sun if it were to be scorchingly hot enough? (lets say just the railings are bacon, for now) Could you cook your balcony; relax, read, chat, ninja, discuss, sleep and exist on a baconie?

Would wasps and food poisoning realllly be a problem? 😀

Outside would be better

Midsummer naturally concludes a marker in time, a point when everything suddenly becomes clearer than mountain spring water and for a brief few minutes, your place in life suddenly seems to make sense.

For a few precious moments everything in life untangles, simplifies and becomes so sharply clear.

Don’t ask me where this clarity comes from. I have no idea. I don’t fully believe it truly is present, yet every year on this long summer day it reappears. There is no logical sense in believing that one day in the year conjures up this sense. Its kinetic and reflective, its something that’s present, sitting in a bit of floating brain-grisle.

Is this just an imagined belief? Am I just a hippy? Did dabbling in Paganistic ideas influence thoughts? Or is there actually something really in existence that we are aware of regardless of prior experience and knowledge.

The summer solstice is the day in the Northern hemisphere when the sun and the moon’s axis tilts towards the sun more so than any other day each year. It is the longest, lightest day of the year. This is an undisputible fact.

In our industrious artificial lives does this still effect us, are we even aware of this fraction more daylight received? Citydwellers – most of us are –  are so removed from nature it’s hard to think such subtle changes still have the capability of effecting our feelings and knowledge. Perhaps it is purely an empirical understanding than cannot be shaken no matter how urbanised we are. Yet it is a day so deeply entwinned in natural light maybe it is unescapable to even those who live artificial lives.

 

 

Solstice

One year ago today I was half asleep in a tiny car. 

After dawn we climbed trees and drank a bottleof Morgan’s Spiced rum, while Mike the viking tried to poke us out of a tree with a giant stick. More of a tree trunk than a stick, really. Wondering up the hill afterwards, we ate tomato pasta salad with our fingers and fell asleep in the dawn sun. Sometime after we wondered back to the car and fell asleep. This was all in the name of midsummer, the Solstice.

When it got too hot we sleepily stumbled out the car into the early morning sun, finding shade and Waynes van. Everything is somewhat blurry about this point. Several of us squeezed into the front seats, falling asleep squished into gangly shapes. The seats were not big enough to sleep on, let alone for two or three not-so-small people. Sometime later Joy’s shoes were thrown on the roof of the van. There was some tired drama and eventual shoe retrieval.

After this everything is a blur. Then suddenly we were home. I don’t remember anything other than falling asleep squashed between people in the back of the car and drinking red bull when my eyes cracked open.

Today

I am sat at a desk staring at a monitor wondering why I am feeling sad. Later on I will stand in an off-license pulling disgusted faces when people reeking of layers of dried sweat and stale alcohol stumble over the doorstep of the shop. And then Midsummers day will be over.

I would have liked to be outside, in the world today.

‘Big Society?’

Orwellian prediction turning true or brilliant reformative idea? David Cameron attempted to launch The Big Society for the fourth time on Monday 23rd May, describing it as his ‘mission in politics’. Having heard little to nothing about this initiative, instantly this does not sit right with me. Maybe I am not open to change, new ideas or maybe i’m just jumping on some vaguely left-wing slightly anarchistic anti-government bandwagon.

Briefly, the main points of The Big Society are: 

  • Community empowerment
  • Opening up public services
  • Social Action
Followed by
  • The Big Society Bank, National Citizen Service pilots, Community organisers and Community first

On the surface The Big Society appears relatively appealing; communities are brought together and empowered with greater local say and opinion. Unemployment and state welfare abuse will be cut and National Citizen Service will target Year 11 school leavers to – in Mr Cameron’s words –  ‘inspire you to realise what you can achieve‘. Hang on. ‘Inspire you to realise what you can achieve’? So Cameron is going to allow and presumably provide school leavers with this opportunity for realisation? God complex much. He proposes to do this by sending 11,000 young people off on three-week placement’s (two of which are away from home) to be followed by an additional 30 hours of voluntary work. This is due to increase to 30,000 in 2012. Cameron states:

“I want National Citizen Service to inspire you to realise what you can achieve. This summer you will be able to spend two months mixing with other young people, learning new skills, and putting something back into your community.”

So why does the idea of all this just not sit right with me? Call me paranoid but the whole concept of this seems suspiciously like the first steps in bringing back an extremely regulated social system and the potentially the first steps in bringing back compulsory national service. The groundworks for later developments towards a very strict way of living, indoctrinating people from the moment they leave school into Cameron’s ideals.

As cliché as it is to bring Orwell references into this, why are there so many 1984 connotations and ideas flicking into my head on reading about The Big Society? Everything I have read about the scheme screams dumbing down, the assumption of low intellect for its audience and lack of peoples ability to understand much. There is an underlying ideology of a supreme, better and organised society. It’s not the 1950’s, we do not have close-knit communities where everyone looks out for each other.

There is no greatly detailed information or mission ideas without searching at more than a casual level, the language used to put The Big Society across is simplistic, Facebook is the first means of advertising National Citizens Service. Maybe I biased and social networking sites are the way forwards for government campaigns. This just doesn’t seem very professional for a GOVERNMENT initiative. Anyone can set up a Facebook page and publish whatever they wish. Everything today is about social networking, blogging, online media. Still, I thought an official government site would be the first means of getting information, before Facebook.

‘Empowering people to improve their lives’ and ‘putting power in peoples hands’ seems to be a catchphrase. Community focus and community empowerment with local idea’s is all part of this too. In some aspects this is great. Yet I can’t help being aware of the growing pockets of extreme right-wing areas that actively support organisations such as the BNP, EDL and UKIP. Is handing empowerment to very ‘local’ and sometimes naive area’s really a good idea? Creating local ‘leaders’ is slightly worrying.

This does not really draw much of a conclusion towards my own viewpoint, apart from unease. There are many more points I haven’t even started to cover or come towards any opinion. What do you think?

Summerwine

Summertime means summer wine, musky sticky goose-bump evenings, barbecues and sunburn. Dawn keeps breaking just before I wake up after passing in  and out of too-hot half sleep. I keep hoping things’ll become fun; life focused and ready to pounce on every little bit of it I can. Thats  not so when there is no-where to go, no reason or want to fight on.

I keep trying to find a life direction, plan an adventure that is not just a few months floating about, return to Uni or find an internship. Do something with a little meaning and use to myself and the/my world.

There is not enough concentration in me to complete and organise any of the above. This really bothers me. Failure is currently the situation.

For someone that always tells other people to stop talking about there ideas, and start doing them, I am a massive raging hypocrite… Writing this just adds to this some more.

There were so many ideas, ambitions in me. I was on track to getting some of them off the ground and floating into reality. Moving to Southampton was never intended as a permanent thing. It was a transition into the future. I had forgotten this.

Then last year happened. I’m still a tad stuck.


Searching for the unreachable, unobtainable, something. What the unreachable is, I don’t know.  I know it is there, it’s always there – right behind my eyes, itching the back of my brain, scrabbling to escape. It’s in the sky, in the stars, in my feet and shin muscles, fingertips, on the stairs over the railway, it’s around the corner you saw a fraction too late.

It’s down the alley with the broken windows and peeling paint you walked past everyday for months and only just saw. Behind a door that’s not yet been opened. It’s in everything – utterly everything – the bitter taste of life, the swirl of conversation over Polish beer, the pain of dry broken and stamped on chances, the gulp of coffee that burnt the roof of your mouth and then your stomach, the dreary moments that drag at work, the glance out the window, the mental kicking you give yourself for not taking a chance, bumping into someone you rarely see as you walked the long way back.

If there was a conclusion, a direction, sense of ease; this would not be here.

To step out of the body would be nice, fresh. Leaving behind a skin as reptiles do, regenerating into a new, better, stronger, quicker, more efficient self. To step out of the mind would be, unfathomably good. A sterile slate of emptiness.