Friday, 30 December 2011

Academy Issues

I was going to put that those in my current location might expect Academy Issues to relate to academic discussions of neo-Kantian, post-Lockian nominalist theories of post-modernism but then common sense prevailed. Anyone who has actually conversed with me would know that I'd be more likely to declare a complete amnesty on all things chocolate than discuss such things outside of a seminar, or even within one. So what then of the 'Academy'? This refers to a school in a beautiful part of the Mediterranean that I was fortunate enough to teach in for a number of years and to some of the gems that the students came out with. The most common ones were Abraham sacrificing a 'lamp' and Jesus 'hilling' people -easy mistakes to make as the sounds are so similar.  Sadly I didn't note them all down but in fond memory of a great bunch of students below are a few sentences from tests/essays - many of which reduced me to tears (of laughter). 

1. My legs were in hospital.  
2. And the monkeys would see salvation.
3. Jesus' massage had authority.  
4. (Variations on 'the cock crows')
    The crow cocks.
    The coke crows.
    The corck cocks.
    The crew cocks.
    Until the crow croaks.

5. Mary also told the angel that she will have a baby. The angel told her, 'that's right, you will give birth in the stable and the name of your son is going to be ...' (I don't remember the baby's name).                                                                        (Fred?)

6. The commandments:
            Do not mercy
            Do not purpose on other's rights
7. Jesus showed he was the Messiah by pouring oil on his head.
8. The people came to ask John what to do because their fruit trees were dying.
9. Q: How was the Holy Spirit present at the baptism of Jesus?
    A: The duck.  
10. The Pharisees were the tax collectors at that time, sometimes if people were very poor and couldn't pay the taxes they were getting other things instead of money eg. cars.   
11. Zechariah was burning insects in the Temple.   
12. Abraham was flocking his shepherds in the desert when a burning bush appeared to him.                           

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

On death and tea-towels

I have been pondering recently on death (auspicious start to a blog post), more particularly on what of value, if anything, I would leave behind were I to suddenly pop it. Materially, for sure, there would not be much. I have an eclectic collection of cups and mugs, some great tea-towels and some official-looking bits of paper with my name on which I obtained in a round about way by letting go of a beautiful apartment in the Med. The thing is - this may be idealistic and 'romantic' -  I want my life to count, to leave a mark, however small and I don't think the tea-towels* are going to cut it in the final analysis. But what will?

One person who comes to mind is Susannah Wesley. She had a ridiculous number of children and hence little time to herself yet in the midst of the ordered chaos she would throw her apron over her head and pray. This made a great impression on her children. One (John) went on to lead the biggest revival the UK ever experienced and another (Charles) wrote hymns and carols which are still sung today: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, for example. So perhaps I could put the tea-towels to a different use and affect the world that way. Just a thought.

*photo of tea-towels

(These are some of my Christmas ones - nice, aren't they!)

p.s. I pity anyone that would have to go through my stuff were I to unexpectedly leave this mortal coil. There is a mixture of extreme order and utter chaos. The problem is I completely understand the Edward Monkton quote: 'EVERYTHING must be straight or the world will EXPLODE.  Those who do not believe in the law of straightness will not BE SAVED'* Making everything straight takes time though, lots and lots of it and since when I tidy I want all to be in nice straight lines and neat files with colour-coordinated clips the very thought of it makes me tired. When I have an important deadline though, suddenly pulling all the contents out of my wardrobe in order to sort and tidy becomes an OVERWHELMINGLY IMPORTANT task that can NOT be ignored. Procrastination leads to straightness (and stress).


p.p.s Just came across this today, it's great, talk about the law of straightness: Ursus Wehli Tidying up Art.

For a presentation by him of his Tidied Up art works see this:

Monday, 26 December 2011

Music matters

I came across Passenger - aka Mike Rosenberg two years ago when he was busking in Cambridge. It is the first time I have ever been stopped in my tracks by hearing someone sing on the streets, I was completely transfixed. A gig of his a few weeks ago sealed my enthusiasm, one man with an expertly played guitar managed to hold an audience in the palm of his hand while he moved and amused us. Despite his obvious talent there was no hint of arrogance in his voice when he spoke - a rare thing. His music is intense, raw, thought-provoking and funny, never bland. Here's a taster:
                                          (the actual track starts at 0.23)

And so it begins, well, kind of...

This blog was set up well over a year ago and then procrastination set in - this will be a recurring theme I suspect. So why bother with a blog at all since probably it will only get written occasionally? Well, I spend my life *having* to write, by choice admittedly - sort of - usually under duress, always in mind-boggling referenced precise detail and never paid. So, writing this will hopefully be cathartic, perhaps fun, maybe even funny - who knows. I suspect it will take on different forms depending on the day: random, silly, poetic and, every now and again, I hope, thought-provoking.

So, where to begin? Perhaps by stretching back to a time full of intense emotions, emotions which were expressed in flippancy and quiet thought - default positions in my world. 

Starting with the flippant, we have: le chat, Mme Hazel...

and a piece I wrote about her in 2007...

After EIGHT years of love, affection and vet's bills, my wonderfully fluffy, wild-eyed puddy cat has decided that the next-door neighbours are a more convenient option for her royal highness. How fickle is that!

Such was her regality, for a time I spoke to her in French (I kid you not, bad French admittedly) as English just didn't do her justice, thus she was treated with the highest honour. She was seemingly inseparable from me and even deigned to move house with me three times but, alas, such was the allure of the constantly open door of the neighbours in contrast to having to wait in the cold (? this is Cyprus for goodness sake and she is wearing a fur coat) for me to get home from work, that all memories of kindnesses shown to her were as a vain thing. Oh well, c'est la vie, mange tout, sur le pont d'avignion and all that.   Who would have thought that even cat-human relationships could get complex and full of intrigue and betrayal...will she/won't she come back...will she at least come to visit for old times sake; not blooming likely mate, it's too comfy on next door's sofa.

After hearing murmurings from the neighbours that they were planning to take Hazel with them when they move house, I decided to do the only 'noble' thing and 'give' her to them (did I ever own her, or did she own me?). At least that way I wouldn't be left with feelings of injustice or theft against them. To be fair though, I had in mind that I would be leaving Cyprus in the near future so was at least glad that she is in a cat-loving home, which is not easy to find in Cyprus. Indeed, Andreas actually cried when i told him that his Christmas present has two ears and a tail (he is 30).

So, I wish my lovely, fickle, fluffy one well; she was a great cuddle companion during some difficult years. May she have good food in abundance, plenty of strokes (she has a particular penchant for having her bottom stroked which caused my perturbed nan to pronouce that she is 'too sensual') and of course, the most comfortable seat in the house.
Salut Hazel mou! 

The update to this is that I saw her in December 2009 and she was living the life of a cat princess but showered me with love and affection and did not want to get off my knee when I visited her - aww, all is forgiven.
Update - part the second. I have just discovered she is a Maine Coon cat, no wonder she is/was so darn beautiful and intelligent.

And to finish, a quiet thought written around the same time and still holding true today in the redemptive sense: 

You live,
you breathe.
You live,
You bleed.

Not a drop is wasted.
Such is the economy of the Creator.