Category Archives: Uncategorized

Support a new documentary about an untold story of the Syrian refugee crisis

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My friend (and experienced journalist) Richard Nield is in the process of making a documentary about the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan. It’s a story that might not seem relevant in the West but is critical for the region – and it remains untold. This doc has over 50 backers already but needs more help to get completed – please take a look and support it and/or spread the word…

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1142339130/the-second-crisis-the-impact-of-syrian-refugees-in

Thanks.

Little Pig’s Book of Why

This is a kind of companion piece to Responsibility that a I wrote a few months ago. It’s still a work-in-progress but I thought I’d share.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why the sun makes us hot,
And the cold makes it snow.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why we start off small,
But then grow.

Little Pig,
Was full of questions,
About the world around her.

Little Pig,
Staring in to space,
And that’s how her brother found her.

“Little Pig,”
He oinked at her,
“Why do you spend so much time alone.”

Little Pig,
Barely noticed,
She was wondering why they called this place home.

Her brother,
Was infuriated,
To him it was clear to see,

That things,
Were just the way they were,
And that’s how they’re meant to be.

Her brother,
Knew that the snow came,
When the pig angel blew his nose.

Her brother,
Knew that piglet babies were found,
In knapsacks brought by the crows.

Little Pig,
Couldn’t take any more,
There had to be a way out.

Little Pig,
Wanted to roar,
Instead of squealing from her snout.

Little Pig,
Watched the angry farmer,
And his sweet and cuddly wife.

Little Pig,
Began to question,
How this could help to improve her life.

The more,
She nuzzled up to the wife,
The more she was stroked and held.

The more,
Her brother rolled around in the mud,
The more the wife was repelled.

One day,
A truck came to the farm,
To take the piggies away.

But the farmer’s wife,
Was having none of that,
She wanted Little Pig to stay.

One day,
Is all it takes,
To find your new beginning,

To be as happy,
As a pig in shit,
Or served with apple sauce and all the trimmings.

Stuff that inspires me: # 5 Gil Scott-Heron

The revolution will be no re-run brothers,
The revolution will be live.”

Words, heart, politics, anger, clarity. Teacher. Leader of a revolution. And most importantly, soul.

He began as a poet. Then he put beats to his beats.

He sung about things that mattered… politics, race, addiction, war… but he spoke to inspire not to incite hatred. He often spoke with sadness, but also with optimism. He inspired a generation, or two, and he also inspired me.

With a voice so rich and smooth, so wise and full of wit, I’ve always found it easy to be in awe of Gil Scott-Heron. And his final note was a perfect one. ‘I’m New Here’ (2010) was recorded just a year before his death. It floats and it rolls, it looks back and draws strength from hardship, and is as relevant and beautiful as ever. At only 28 minutes, it doesn’t need to be a minute longer.

“Home is where I live / inside my white powder dreams,
Home was once an empty vacuum / that’s filled now with my silent screams,
Home is where the needle marks / try to heal my broken heart,
And it might not be such a bad idea if I never / if I never went home again.”

– From ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’, Gil Scott-Heron

Book review: The Looking Glass Club by Gruff Davies

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And so I find myself reviewing another book as soon as I’ve finished it – seems like a good thing to do: turn the final page and give an instant reaction. Here we go again. This time it’s a mind-bending trip…

The year is 2010 and Zeke is a brilliant physics student at a top London university. He’s fallen in with a group who are taking a drug that seems to allow them to experience shared hallucinations. Well, they’re shared hallucinations or a door on to a parallel universe. Probably.

The year is 2035 and Steel is living with his talking dog in a high security New York apartment. He’s opened his door to a pregnant girl with no memory, who carries a note that takes him back to the darkest of dark times. From that moment he’s on the run; his life at risk.

But Zeke and Steel are the same person and, in this story, the boundaries between reality and illusion are sometimes impossible to distinguish.

The Looking Glass Club is an excellent novel. It’s fast-paced, gripping and it paints the most amazing pictures: at times it’s like being on a drug fuelled trip of your own. Both modern day London and a New York of the future are believable and brilliantly crafted worlds. It’s also a smart book – in truth, there are a couple of times when it’s a little too clever – but the story is completely unique, expertly told and, despite the technology and the pace of the narrative, it works because at its heart it’s an absorbing tale about friendship and trust.

This is a self-published book that asks you to make no compromise beyond the challenge of an enjoyably complex plot. It deserves a place amongst the best science fiction.

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Readers’ Recommendations; “Primer”

Fogs kindly asked me to write about a movie he should see… so I did…

Fogs' Movie Reviews

primerHey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!

The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ fogsmoviereviews@gmail.com or let me know in the comments that you’d like to participate!

MNelkinThis time up, our recommendation comes from Mark Nelkin of Beautiful Orange. Mark has recommended Shane Carruth’s “Primer”, a film that has gotten no small amount of buzz in the blogosphere, and one I’ve been waiting to check out for a while!

Click through to see what we had to say!

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You know when a song gets stuck in your head…?

19th May     Losing My Religion

21st May     Hello

22nd May     Son of a Preacher man

23rd May     They Built This City on Rock ‘n Roll

25th May     A Little Less Conversation

27th May     Hit The Road Jack

28th May     A Hard Day’s Night

30th May     Cats in the Cradle

31st May     Just Can’t Get Enough

4th June     I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Hillsborough: anniversary of a tragedy and the power of words

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Unimportant though it may seem on the anniversary of a tragedy of this scale, I want to pay homage to the power of words.

For those who don’t know, 24 years ago today, on 15th April, 1989, a football match was taking place between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. Soon after the game began, a surge of fans at one end of the stadium caused a massive crush in which 96 people lost their lives. 79 of them were 30 years old or under. Originally, the Liverpool fans’ behaviour was deemed the reason for the disaster. However, following a 23 year campaign for justice by relatives of the victims, an independent investigation concluded that no fans were responsible for the deaths and that the authorities had in fact attempted to conceal the truth about the negligent behaviour of the police, other emergency services and local politicians.

Peter Jones, a BBC sports radio broadcaster, came to work that day to commentate on a game of football. Five hours later, looking out over the desolate aftermath of the tragedy, he signed-off with the words that still make me shiver and my eyes fill, no matter how many times I read or hear them:

“The biggest irony is that the sun is shining now, and Hillsborough’s quiet, and over there to the left are the green Yorkshire hills, and who would’ve known that people would die here in the stadium this afternoon. I don’t necessarily want to reflect on Heysel – but I was there that night, broadcasting with Emlyn Hughes – and he was sitting behind me this afternoon, and after half an hour of watching stretchers going out and oxygen cylinders being brought in and ambulance  sirens screaming, he touched me on the shoulder and said ‘I can’t take anymore’, and Emlyn Hughes left.

The gymnasium here, at Hillsborough, is being used as a mortuary for the dead – and at this moment, stewards have got little paper bags, and they’re gathering up the personal belongings of the spectators. And there are red and white scarves of Liverpool, and red and white bobble hats of Liverpool, and red and white rosettes of Liverpool, and nothing else. And the sun shines now.”

You can listen to it here.

(For reference, ‘Heysel’ is the name of a Belgian stadium where 39 fans had died, also during a match involving Liverpool, four years earlier).

Photo compilation from BBC.

Everybody: You should add a link to your blog on your Gravatar profile

Stevehi mentioned this the other day… I have a feeling that a lot of people don’t know that they need to manually create a link to their blog on their Gravatar profile. If you ‘like’ a post but you haven’t created a link on your Gravatar, then there’s no way for that blogger (or anyone else) to find your blog.

So, this is how you do it: it’s possible that I’m complicating the process – but this works:

Go to your Reader page and hover over your little Gravatar image in the top right of the screen and click on ‘Settings‘. On the next page, click ‘Public Profile‘ on the right hand side and then click ‘Your Profile‘. From there you go to ‘My Account‘ in the top right and select ‘Edit My Profile‘. Phew. It’s from here that you can add a link to your blog under either/both of Verified Services or My Links.

Maybe I’ve got it wrong and bloggers are intentionally not linking to their blogs?

Anyway, just thought I’d throw that out there. Normal service will be resumed either later today or tomorrow… whenever I get round to writing something… it’s in my head, I just need to form the idea in to sentences… reasonably coherent sentences…