Archive for the ‘Cultural’ Category

ERL Section 1.jpg

Grandad (front, 3 from right) and his section

1917 – the year they didn’t get the biggest Oscars. 1917 – The year Jerry didn’t get my grandfather.  1944, the year Jerry didn’t get my father-in-law.  2019 – the year the Final Call-up got my father-in-law, the last of that generation in our family.  Those two-war generations were moulded the traumas of their youth.  They were what the Americans like to call “The Greatest Generation”.  Certainly, in our family alone, our members lived through two world war, two civil wars (on different continents), survived several imprisonments, refugee status and homelessness, two death sentences, multiple exiles, mixing with real terrorists, real spies, enforced labour, racial discrimination, hunger, on top of real combat. (more…)

how r u.jpgHow are you?  On sunny days this is bland and a vanilla greeting or conversation starter.  It is a toughie when life is stressing and circumstances hard.  As I am currently finding out.  At the moment, the question is “How is A[i]?” “A” is a close family member who has just had a significant operation, and suffered from non-fatal but unpleasant post-op complications.

I see the friend sidle up. The frown emerge (early indicator of a “serious question” is about to emerge) and I get a scent of a “How is A?” question coming.  Then I find myself seeking to get away.

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Noah funeral 4b.jpgTwo funerals this year so far; one shocking, one elegiac. Both with foreign condolences; one military, the other medical.  Both with plenty of food after; one pushed down with tea, the other with vodka.  Both with memories of lives lived; of 11 weeks, and of 96 years.  Both funerals are worth a thought.  But I’ll tell you of baby Noah’s now.

How can a funeral capture both the sense of loss, the genuine loss; and the sense of hope, confidence?   And also a mysterious third dimension- that it is better to have genuinely loved and lost, is better than never having loved at all, so never suffered the loss?

Lament
This funeral did work us for the tears: ♫Benedictus, Karl Jenkins; ♫Jealous of the Angels, Katherine Jenkins; ♫ Brahms’ Lullaby, Celine Dion. (more…)

Phone daze.jpgAfter the honeyoon, comes the fall back to earth.  My new companion always wants to chat in the middle of the night.  Wants to know what I’m up to and will never switch off.  And there’s jealousy in the family too.  My wife tells me I prefer the new phone to her (“exchanging for the latest model” takes on a new meaning).  Notifications: were a major the enemy.  Chirps and squeaks at all hours.  WhatsApps from Haiti, when their 10pm rumination caused my phone lighting up and tinkling at 4am.

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2_Stacey-Dooley.jpgStacey Dooley – “White Saviour” in Uganda. ?
Bill Lovett – “White Saviour” in Uganda. Really?
The charity I work for -“White Saviours” in Uganda/South Sudan. Really? Really?

The fuss has gone, but the issue remains.  Was Stacey Dooley, and so many other white folk flying in to “do good” actually do bad.  Reinforce racial stereotypes.  Emote.  Post “look-at-me doing good” pics on FB and Instagram.  Then fly off, leaving those village Ugandan’s no better off whatsoever.

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