Tuesday 9 August 2011

Linking minds

As the radio told me the riots in many parts of London were moving closer and closer last night to where I live, I was frightened, and chastened by my overwhelming interest in my own safety. Voices other than those shouting 'no excuse - pure criminality!' will be much needed in the days to come. Not that there is any excuse, or that stoning and burning buildings and buses isn't criminality. But there is so much more to say when you feel every day the pain and rage, the cultural and material impoverishment, the chaos just beneath the surface. Reaffirming the power of hearts and words feels like one of the few things I can do at this moment, so below the photo is what I was going to post today anyway, and here are a few more subtle voices on the riots: 

Stafford Scott in The Guardian
Camila Batmanghelidjh in The Independent (about Camila's work)
Nina Power in The Guardian
James Meek in the London Review of Books blog

I like to read and absorb things before linking to them, so it's taken me unconscionably long to point out the latest  >Language >Place blog carnival, hosted by Walter Bjorkman at Qwik-bake Synthetics and revolving around the theme of 'poetry of place'. It's full of rich and multifarious and lyrical poetry, prose and images. Lovely. So nice to be part of this, and to see it coalescing into something different every time. Submissions for the next edition are open now and until 20 August.

Meanwhile, the latest BluePrintReview is also appearing, a couple of features at a time. This never disappoints. I like everything in the new issue, but my favourite is the story which a photo of mine was chosen to illustrate, Balance by Alex Bernstein - a fine, sharp treatment of a theme that hits home with me; I couldn't be more pleased (if also a little discomfited).

So good that such things sprout from international connections across the Web, and good to have a tiny part in them.


Dale said...

Thinking of you, dear Jean. There's no shame in wanting to keep a whole skin! That is what comes first.

I remember when all the cities in America were going up, one by one. It's a horrible feeling, a being a vindicated Cassandra really doesn't help it.

Jean said...

Yeah, thanks. No, it doesn't.

Leaving the office now at 4 pm to go home. There's not been rioting right where I live, but in areas I have to travel through to get home from Central London.

Dorothee said...

Thinking of you, too. I hope you have a safe passage, and more so, i hope the riots don't continue. This is scary. Thanks for sharing the Guardian links with the notes from under the surface.

And glad you find some comfort in the blueprint connections. Be safe~

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Jean, thanks for your post on this and the excellent links.
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere is the influence of the media, particularly on the young: films, television, computer games etc - all of which present violence, crime, blood, drugs, robbery, horror and mayhem in general as thrilling, fun, really cool things to do. Kids and teenagers spend large amounts of time playing at fantasy violence on their screens and some of them join gangs and get into the real thing.

While profound reasons for the riots are accurately described in the articles you linked to, I think that a pervasive and cynical mind-set has been created by the 'entertainment' industry and those responsible for it are just as guilty as any political/economic forces.

Jean said...

Couldn't agree more, Natalie.

Daydream Believer said...

Riots aside, if it is possible to forget for a moment, I really enjoyed the story and your great photo. If you're not a professional photographer, you easily could be! You love reflections, and work them so well. Hope it is a peaceful night everywhere tonight.