On the occasion of a local sporting result

I’m told that a group of men who swear affiliation to Southampton (despite most of them having no apparent connection to the town), have successfully kicked an air-filled pigs’ bladder into a giant net (for reasons unclear to me) more often than some other group of men similarly mysteriously affiliated to some other town, and have apparently thereby all been promoted directly into saints… which seems a shame as that implies they all died, doesn’t it? I may have misrepresented some of the finer detail, as the complexities of this sport are far beyond the capabilities of my mind to comprehend. Regardless, well done gentlemen, and may you all rest in peace.

Opening a Door to reminiscence of times past

Durdle Door at sunset

One of my favourite places in the whole world: Durdle Door, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

Well actually, the Door itself I can take or leave, although I quite liked being able to catch sunset through it thanks to the fact that I was there on a very spring-like day in January. You can’t get this angle later in the year.

But I love what surrounds the Door, and the walk to it and past it from Lulworth Cove (I never head towards the Cove…)

I even enjoy the drive to get there, at least the last 20 minutes of it when I come off the main roads and snake up a single-track road to the viewpoint overlooking Tyneham and Kimmeridge, where I stop for 5 minutes to enjoy the view and watch the clouds doing a dance that I have never seen them do anywhere else, as the sea breeze rising over the Purbecks pushes them away. All the way down here the sky could have been grey and overcast and drizzly and unpromising, but here is where the clouds are turned back, they shall not pass, and the sun shines on the Lulworth ranges. Then I continue along the range road to Lulworth, and realise that once again I don’t have enough change for the car park…

Climbing the hill above the main car park, heading away from the Cove, provides a measure of whether I’m less fit or more fit than on my previous visit (this time, less fit. Oops.). Detour to visit the hidden hill, with its portal to another dimension, to stand atop it and face the full fetch of the Atlantic wind. The perfect diffraction patterns of the bay to the east of the Door, flashing with a million reflected suns. The sound of the sea just to the west of here, in one particular spot where it sends waves of almost orgasmic energy through my body. The cliffs and rock formations along the beach, so striking it’s enough to spark an interest in geology in someone whose idea of hell, once upon a time, was to be dragged around a museum looking at dusty display cases full of rocks. “They’re just rocks”, I thought, but of course now they hold the secrets of the Earth’s past, and the history of life itself. Rocks are beginning to come to life for me, and this place is the catalyst.

Butter Rock
Butter Rock marks the farthest west you can walk along the beach. From certain angles it reminds me of an Easter Island statue, except that it faces the beach rather than out to sea as they do. It seems to be the quiet guardian of this, the quieter end of the beach. Tourists at the Door end can be raucous and rowdy, but the guardian keeps this space for those of a more meditative persuasion. Few come here, and those that do talk in hushed tones or keep a contemplative silence. Even dogs are calmer here.

This is the only place to which I return regularly, and know I will continue to do so. Normally I like to explore new places, rather than revisiting old ones. But this place is special. It’s where I plug in to the grid, recharge with energy from all the four elements: earth beneath my feet and in magnificent display, water as the sound of the sea, air as the breeze that almost knocks me over as I stand atop the hidden hill, soaking up its power, refining my balance, and fire from the sun that has shone on me on every visit so far.

This is my power place.

How about you? Where do you keep returning to, not due to lack of ideas for alternatives, but because you love it so much, because it works for you?

The greatest threat to our way of life

Police are calling for flag burning to be made illegal. Why? Allegedly because “Britain [has] come to be seen at home and abroad as soft on extremist demonstrators.” (my emphasis).

Oh really? That’s why we’ve just had a successful prosecution of a demonstrator for inciting racial hatred. If demonstrators really are extremist, they can be prosecuted under existing laws.

This government has introduced 3000 new criminal offences in 9 years. Despite early release of prisoners, the prisons are full already (it doesn’t take a genius to work out that’s going to happen, but seems to have taken the govt completely by surprise!), and yet the police continue to ask for more and crazier laws. Why? Really, why? Could it be that in order to create a successful totalitarian/police state, anyone who refuses to be cowed by the climate of fear created by the State, anyone who does not buy into the whole War on Terror story, must be kept in line by other means?

This should come as no great surprise; we already lost the rights of assembly and peaceful protest some years ago on the back of the Mayday anti-capitalist shenanigans. Which kinda proves the point that if you fight fire with fire, a lot of people are going to get burned. All those “anarchists” smashing up McDonalds managed to achieve was to hand over a load more power to the State. Nice work.

The greatest threat to our freedom and way of life in this country is for stupid laws to be passed which take it away. The idiots calling for and creating these laws insist that they are trying to safeguard our freedom, but it is they, not terrorists, who are systematically destroying it. We need to work against such stupidity, but it should be done carefully, with cunning rather than blind rage. They are big, we are small; we cannot fight them head on, but we can (quite clearly) outsmart them.

New Forest

Bike on train to Soton, cycle to hosp for my eye checkup (all fine), then headed into the forest for a bit. “A bit” turned into “a while” as the faeries switched all the paths around behind my back; despite assiduously memorising my inbound route, I couldn’t find it again to get out. New Forest faeries are a tricky bunch, they do this sort of thing all the time. The best policy is to do what the ponies do, swish quietly and stay serene. Got help from a passing fawn (or was it a faun?), and made it out before it got too dark to see, which is always a bonus.

I never used to like the forest, but that was because I usually let S choose which bits of it we went to, and she always chose the same bits, which even if they’d been really spectactularly nice (which is not how I’d describe Deerleap), would’ve bored me eventually. I’m an explorer, I always prefer going somewhere I’ve never been before (or went to so long ago that I’ve forgotten it!). So not ready to settle down somewhere… but if the kids go to school, I may have no choice but to go back to Soton. That might not be so bad, I just dislike the fact that I never seem to have a choice, or only Hobson’s choice.

House Party

The car shuddered and juddered and wheezed its way along the final half mile to Sarah’s. I flipped the bonnet and gave the throttle cable a gentle pull to see if it was doing the same “little puff of white smoke from the engine block” thing it had done on the return from Nottingham. Ah yes, there it is. And hakk hakk karf, oh, there’s a HUGE cloud of acrid white smoke just come out of the exhaust. Never had that before. I don’t know much about engine mechanics, but I reckon that might not be a good sign.

I had been planning on going to Earthdance this weekend, but started going off the idea when I found out it was at the Scala, and for other random reasons. But had no alternative option. Then news emerged of a house party in Soton. Much better, I love house parties.

Of course it was nothing like my expectations. Ali was supposed to be coming, but didn’t. Tom didn’t originally sound keen on the idea but came along and seemed to enjoy it. Manitou (a free party crew) had done a full-on UV decor and soundsystem job in the lounge, to the extent that it really felt more like a club than a house party, especially with beer on tap and a nitrous dispensary. Outside that room, other rooms were at capacity and giving off cliquey vibes by the time we arrived. Didn’t feel comfortable trying to infiltrate there… maybe I just wasn’t in a conversational mood (wasn’t wearing a crystal). So it was fine, I spent most of the night in the club room dancing, drinking, and chatting a bit, with occasional rests in the hammock on the “beach” (it was a beach party — they’d shipped in a load of sand and a paddling pool) but mostly dancing.

There was one other person who was on the same kind of dancing vibe as me, really feeling it, and for much of the evening we danced together, moved around each other, made lots of friendly eye contact… didn’t touch and didn’t talk, because there was no need. The smiles and movement and aura of mutual respect said it all. Trying to talk to her would’ve just felt so wrong. That may be the first time I’ve honoured that feeling, instead of letting some inner voice which isn’t even me tell me that I “should” talk to someone in that situation, and then beat myself up for not doing it.

Overall had an excellent time. Left about 5am, got to sleep about 6, up at 11 with the barest of hangovers, considering. Had wine, mostly. Not ideal from a plastic pint glass (it’s all they had), but that may actually have got me drinking more slowly, carefully… However, Montana Sauvignon is waaay too sweet/fruity, and Jacob’s Creek Sem/Ch, which used to be my staple, I find quite unpleasant these days. Changing taste in wine seems strangely fundamental, like it tracks more deep-level changes. White’s not doing it for me, yet cheap Chilean red is going down nicely… and not only did I find myself able to drink Donna’s rosé without retching, I voluntarily had a second glass. Don’t worry, it’s a long way from there to being a committed pinkdrinker (that could be a nice euphemism… or not…).

Warning: You are now entering a totalitarian state

You probably haven’t heard of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. Sounds boring doesn’t it? Far from it.

This bill, if passed, gives almost unlimited powers to Ministers to change the law without the involvement of parliament. And since the bill doesn’t exclude itself from this amazing power, whatever restrictions it contains could be removed by ministerial order. In other words, it would enable the government of the day to do anything, without any of that tedious business of democracy getting in the way.

When you consider it alongside the Mass Surveillance System* currently being set up, the curtailment of the right to protest, and the possibility of indefinite detention without trial on the basis of security service “intelligence” (despite the very obvious failure of such “intelligence” in Iraq), can you see what is happening here? Most people can’t. If you can, please help to spread the word before it’s too late.

This is not just about this government. It’s about whether you want every future government, elected or not, to have such far-reaching powers, which take automatic precedence over your freedom. Do they really need to create all the tools of a totalitarian state just to fight terrorism? It wasn’t necessary to do so in the days of the IRA bombing campaign. Why now?

* The Mass Surveillance System comprises, amongst other things, ID Cards and especially the National Identity Register; Childrens Act Register; CCTV on every street (but violent crime continues to rise); numberplate recognition systems that will track your vehicle everywhere in the name of “congestion charging”; unprecedented powers for the security services to spy on British citizens, including MPs. It is the repealment of human rights and justice safeguards that we have had for centuries, like the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead there is now a presumption that all citizens might be up to no good and must be kept under surveillance at all times.

Further Reading about the Bill:

Thanks to No2ID for alerting me to this.