Photo Poem: “What Zedong Said…”


Posted by admin | Posted in Arab Dawn, Arab Spring, Artists, Austerity, Credit Crunch, Crisis, Current Affairs, Economic Downturn, Language, People, Photo, Photo Poem, Poem, Poema, Poetry, Protest, Revolt | Posted on 18-07-2011

After watching poem readings by the great modern poets Billy Collins and Carol Ann Duffy
last year, I was inspired to write a relatively long poem based around the Credit Crunch and its effect on the on the days youth.

I was interested whether this period of recession – with fewer career opportunities for fresh minds – would spark a wave of artists after what felt like a long spell of numbness in a political regard.

Photo Poem: “What Zedong Said…”.

Less than 12 months after writing it I can already see tangible reactions, looking back after the exhilarating Arab Spring (Arab Dawn?) where entire nations have stood up against their various regimes and with more ‘settled’ nations seeing huge protests from their youth against Austerity.

Of course I didn’t predict any of this – I had more questions than answers.  Still, I think it is a time rich in the emotive drivers that fuel new art and I look forward to the artists’ emergence, in whatever form they are taking.

I used the Working Title “What Zedong Said…” whilst writing the poem…in fact, I wrote it during one day mostly whilst riding my bike along my normal countryside route to work…as several long text messages on my mobile phone!

Back to the title, it was simply in reference to a quote by Zedong Mao (Chairman Mao):

“There is in fact no such thing as art for art’s sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause.”

I find this statement very powerful and it sparked my mind at the perfect time when I read it.  I am proud of this poem, although I understand technically it may well be useless…either way, you can find it via this link:

Photo Poem: “What Zedong Said…”.

Being a working title I had intended to go back and change it afterward but ended up quite liking it – although it being so unlinked to the poem’s topics it may have an alienating effect on the reader…


Quote of the Day (QotD)


Posted by admin | Posted in Language | Posted on 19-04-2011

I’ve added the little Quote of the Day widget to the top right of this blog – I type up a growing set of chosen quotes, ones that ring true to me, which are then picked out at random when the blog is loaded.  Here are the newest ones:

  1. “True friendship withstands time, distance and silence…” by a character (Ivan Radovic) from the novel ‘Portrait in Sepia’ by Isabel Allende.
  2. “Learning another language means getting an additional soul” by Madame de Stael.
  3. “There is in fact no such thing as art for art’s sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause.” by Mao Zedong.
  4. “Study nature, not books.” by Louis Agassiz.
  5. “To expect the world to receive a new truth, or even an old truth, without challenging it, is to look for one of those miracles which do not occur.” by Alfred Russel Wallac.

Geek note:  this site uses the nice widget called XmasB Quotes.



Posted by admin | Posted in Africa, Current Affairs, Language, South Africa, Spanish | Posted on 25-03-2011

Nunce había ni oido hablar de esta “violación correctiva” antes de recibir el correo-e de Avaaz.

A leirlo me asustó tanto el tema que no lo creí completemente y tuve que buscar más info en la red.   No costó mucho encontrar suficiente para no dudar más.   Firmé la petición y Usted puedo hacer lo mismo aquí.

Se encontrará más en artículos por todo el internet como este del periódico inglés The Telegraph.

Me parece que tiene bastante importancia y si solo una persona encuentra la petición por mi blog, pues bastará.

El fin del viaje maravilloso


Posted by admin | Posted in Language, South America, Spanish, Travel | Posted on 13-03-2007

So, I’m back home now but I’ll throw in one more travel entry as I don’t expect life’s going to be quite so interesting for a while now…

I went on a great 6 day trek up Roraima, a large table-top mountain renowned for its many endemic plants – including loads of carnivorous plants – and animals such as a hummingbird and frog.

Here are the clouds rolling over the edge from up top:

The 2 days we spent on top were fantastic, getting to know the unusual landscape, the quartz crystal ‘rivers’, freezing cold but stunning natural pools, the little animals including a scorpion and a rare big oilbird, almost blind, that relies on echo-location like a bat and lives in Venezuelan caves.

This is the group I was with and Roraima is the mountain on the right dominating the horizon.

Next up was Rio de Janeiro after a 3 flights in 1 job from near the Venezuelan border, across the amazon jungle, change in Sao Paulo and we’re there. Two manic weeks that flew by during the carnival: masses in the streets, beer everywhere, samba drums, plenty of energy and a great atmosphere.

Clare’s polishing off tangy home-made caipirinha in the flat before heading out…

Twas cool to have one place to stay put for 2 weeks. The flat was in a proper residencial block where the locals chuck rubbish bags out of the window into a mass rubbish bin courtyard below…nice. By normal terms it was a scummy kind of place, well more the block than the flat itself, but it was really quality compared to the standards of the majority of people that I’d been seeing since leaving Argentina and heading through Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

So, along with a nocturnal lifestyle that had gone from:

Roraima Trek


BED: 4AM – 8AM

we also managed to check out some of the absolutely shockingly well preserved national parks right in or around the city. In them we even saw monkeys, hummingbirds, loads of butterflies, iguanas, a squirrel and other lizards. Really surprised me being on the edge of such a city.

I also had to swallow my pride on the last night. Clare and I had spyed a cool looking little seafood restaurant and planned to pop in to celebrate 7 whole years together; however, that day Clare found out this little restaurant appeared in the ‘ever so Lonely Planet’ which quoted it as being “the best seafood restaurant in Rio de Janeiro”. My pride was swallowed along with a couple of cans of beer and we still went there and, I hate to say it, but the book may have been right. It was at least the best meal out we had had in the past year.

So, lots of indulgence in Rio meant lots of cash spent which, in turn, meant the question “Can we still afford to do our final little excursion and ride 23 hours across Brazil (and another 23 hours back) to Iguazu Falls???”. The true answer is really “no, we can’t afford it” but we went anyway…

…and it was worth the effort.

There’s the beauty of the sets of falls; the amazing force of them; lush forest around and even treats of seeing some cool animals I hadn’t expected to see such as more monkeys, coatis, agoutis, toucans, (wild) guinea pigs, a river turtle and even a caiman (see left below)!

As for Brazil, I only spent a short time in 3 of its many many corners (Pantanal, Iguazu and Boa Vista up near Venezuela) plus enough time in Rio. There’s obviously loads to see in South America’s biggest country (and the 5th biggest in the world) – its own trip perhaps?

“Vamos a ver.”