juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

On a wall at the Bishopsgate Institute today, while visiting the London Radical Bookfair, I saw a quote from Voltaire:

“Twenty-volume folios will never make a revolution. It is the little pocket pamphlets that are to be feared.”

Inside the hall, folios (albeit only single-volume) were piled high on booksellers’ tables. Weighty, academic books with lots of long words. Now, I have nothing against academic books with long words (I no longer buy them, because I don’t read them*, but I have nothing against them), but Voltaire, I think, had a point. Rare is the currently-unconvinced individual whose mind will be changed by this stuff. I suppose attendees at the London Radical Bookfair are likely to be the already-converted, so perhaps the booksellers simply know their market. But I’m their market too (aren’t I?) and I wasn’t buying.

Where, too, was the fiction? Long or short. Perhaps I am biased in my faith that stories can change the world; but if they can, no one here was doing much to try that out.

(Honourable exception: the Letterbox Library, who stock kids’ books but no adult. And I did see a bit of poetry. I even bought some, along with something which claims to be a mixture of local history, folklore, and weird fiction, partly because I liked what I read of it, and partly out of relief that it was there at all.)

Upstairs were the zines. Plenty of pamphlets here; beautiful ones, too. And yet — what happened to the words? I’m sure zines used to have a mixture: plenty of just-word stuff, some half-and-half, some comic-style graphical storytelling, some straight art. Everything I saw on Saturday was heavy on the graphics end of things. Gorgeous, but word-light. Which is fine (if not my thing), but still — where have the words gone?

Online, possibly. Maybe words are better suited to screens; maybe artists have more incentive to create physical objects with their art. It seems faintly unsatisfying to me – why shouldn’t writers** want or get to create physical things too? Do the readers of plain words just not want physical things? Or is this the reflection of the ebook era?

After all, when it comes to getting the word out there, online has the edge, no question. If Voltaire were writing now, his pamphlets would be blogs. Perhaps, then, that is the explanation. The pamphlets and words and even the fiction live online, and it is the art and the long, deeply academic works that still need a physical form. Maybe that is a good thing, or at any rate not a bad one; maybe it is neither good nor bad, but just a thing.

And yet, I do wish that I’d been able to come away with my bag full of short stories and long ones and pamphlet-sized calls to action.

* The first anarchist bookfair I went to was in San Francisco, in 1999. I bought a compendium of the zine Temp Slave, and a book of anarchist essays. Temp Slave is dog-eared at the corners, and undoubtedly affected my attitude to the world of work; the anarchist essays remain unread.
** Non-artist writers, I mean, who do not also want to draw.

juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

I’m running a free Introduction to Permaculture one-day course at Burgess Park Food Project on the 26th April (2014). Contact me, or the address on the website, to book.

There’s lots of other cool stuff going on there this summer, too. (JPG only at that link, sorry; have requested text version.)

juliet: (waveform tree)

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Yesterday I took myself off to meet up with Reclaim It! for a mystery direct action on International Women’s Day. It’s a while since I’ve written legal numbers on my arm and I was a little nervous given that I didn’t have Leon with me… but my excessive caution proved unnecessary. We arrived at the Women’s Library to find a few women already peacefully in occupation, the staff seemingly unfazed, and members of the public still visiting the fabulous Long March to Equalityexhibition on its last day.

The Women’s Library is about to be moved out of its purpose-built home to the LSE Reading Rooms, something supporters see as more of an abduction than a rescue. The current building is amazing and easily accessible to the public (it’s not clear what will happen to public access when it moves to LSE, but the library certainly won’t exist in its independent form any more) and it’s shocking that it’s just going to be moved out of there.

The occupation was protesting both the library’s closure, and opposing the cuts, which have a disproportionate effect on women. It was a great atmosphere — cakes and a samba band! — and although I had to head home yesterday afternoon, they’re still there now and you can go down to join them at 25 Old Castle St, London E1 7NT — various workshops and events, and a kids space, are running today. It’s also a fabulous final opportunity to see the exhibition (which I thoroughly enjoyed) the day after it was due to be shut down.

juliet: Shot of my bookshelves at home (books)

Having finally got the contract through, I now feel OK to mention this in actual public: I have a story forthcoming in this anthology (that's the call-for-submissions; it's not up on the site elsewhere yet), hopefully coming out in November or so. This is, obviously, a very pleasing thing. I shall tell you all when it's available for purchase (in ebook format, I think, since that's what Drollerie mostly do).

Other happy things:

  • Hanging out with [personal profile] cesy and [personal profile] watersword for a couple of hours in the pub on Friday. There was much animated discussion of many things!

  • Catching up with assorted Earthlings on Saturday. Torrential downpours made the original Angel & Greyhound Meadow plan unadvisable, but happily the A&G also exists in pub form, where there are very nice portobello-mushroom-burgers.

  • Setting the world to rights over Chinese with [personal profile] devi and [personal profile] doop.

  • DougStock 10 meetup last weekend, where there were many splendid people.

  • Doing LOTS OF WORK yesterday but it being actually productive.

  • Climate Camp Cymru being on a new site today! (after eviction from the previous one on Saturday). Awesome work.

I think there was more stuff, too, but I forget. Possibly I had a link collection, but Firefox crashed and wiped all my tabs. I choose to see this as a CLEANSING FIRE experience.

Later this week I am off up to Edinburgh for Climate Camp 2010, targetting RBS (funding climate change with *our* money). We'll be there over the weekend, so if you find yourself at a loose end, come up and visit!

juliet: Climate Camp logo: 3 tripods with banners, very colourful (climate camp)
So, if you fancy a trip to Edinburgh this summer, or indeed if you already *are* in Edinburgh this summer.... presenting

Camp for Climate Action 2010
Break the Bank!

Four days of training and direct action: 21st–24th August


The Camp for Climate Action is a grassroots movement taking direct action against the root causes of climate change. We've already had major successes in stopping Heathrow's third runway and E.ON's plans for a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth.

This year we're targeting the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the world's largest investors in oil, gas and coal.

Last year RBS were bailed out with £50 billion of public money. From tar sands extraction in Canada to coal infrastructure here in the UK, we're paying to trash our future. These projects are not just causing catastrophic climate change, but destroying the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe. Meanwhile, we're told there is no money left in the public pot and we should be braced for decades of public sectors cuts.

What are we doing about it? In August, people from across the UK will be converging to take back the power and Break the Bank! Our sustainable and collectively organised basecamp will give you the chance to learn, train up, and meet like minded individuals. Exciting action plans are also underway for those who want to get involved.

So come to Edinburgh this summer! We'll see you there.

More information at the Climate Camp website.

(also we have a kickass accessibility statement this year, hurrah.)
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)
This is another of those bits-and-pieces updates.

I went to Glastonbury! I really am going to write a proper post about this (possibly when I have sorted the photos out & put them on Flickr) so I will restrict myself here to saying: SUNNY. ALL OF THE SUNSHINE. Awesomeness.

Sidney spent the week of Glastonbury with my parents, where she had a splendid time charging round their local park (far superior to ours, being about 4 times the size and containing a river, in which Sid accidentally went swimming), trying to drink from the sprinkler, and waking up far too early. She then came back and behaved like a total brat for about a week, culminating in dragging down and eating the head of Superted, my teddybear. (I've had him since I was 2, and [personal profile] doop brought him out to Australia for me last year.) I was *seriously* livid and very upset, but I've found a toy hospital who specialise in repairing damaged elderly bears, and for now he's tacked back together and bandaged up while he's on their waiting list. Sid has been behaving much better since. [sigh]

I have had a couple of stories accepted by non-paying venues, which is very pleasing. I will update you all when they come out! Possibly also other good news on this front, but I am waiting to talk about that for now (jinx issues).

I spent this last weekend at an *awesome* workshop on consensus decision-making and facilitation of same, run by Seeds for Change. Inspiring, informative, and bloody knackering. Plus I got to meet some really cool people, and hang out with some whom I'd already met. They're doing an advanced version in Oxford in October, which I'm seriously considering going to.

The Balcony Book meanders onwards (onto month 7 now already!); other sorts of work continue to occur; financial destitution continues to be staved off. I was entertained to read this blog by someone who's given up buying new clothes -- this year I have bought precisely one new clothe (a fair-trade cotton dress, at Glastonbury) and one second-hand clothe (a v nice tunic top thingy). I suppose this probably is partly due to my wish to reduce my carbon footprint ekt ekt (i.e. I continue to endeavour not to buy stuff, in general), but mostly it's just due to financial prudence. Clothes or (e)books? The reading matter has it, every time.
juliet: Part of a Pollock artwork in the Tate (art - pollock)
First up: this poem by Taylor Mali is seriously awesome, and this video of him performing it is even better.

Secondly: Pupdate! Sidney has now mostly got the hang of housetraining (i.e. she is now prepared to go in the square, which was FAR TOO SCARY for a while, & she will ask at least once to go out) except when on her own in the house. She has also got the hang of "opening the recycling boxes, dragging all the recycling out, and shredding it into tiny pieces". The recycling is now outside in the cupboard, although I am unsure what the long-term solution is.

Other things she is very good at include: demolishing a proper bone in sub-15 min; getting things out of a Kong in similarly short order; chasing the crows in the park. Yesterday PetPlanet delivered a squeaky stuffed sheep, which received a Two Paws Up result, and to date has remained both interesting and largely intact for nearly 24 hrs. Long may this continue.

She also jumped the fence around the lake in the park last week, in pursuit of a moorhen. And then, obviously, paid 0 attention to me calling her back. Happily she's still nervous of water, so she just stood on the bank doing her Alert Dog Is Alert pose, while I climbed the fence to hoist her back over. Then she belted off into the children's playground (which is No Dogs Allowed, though there were already two other dogs there which is why she went in), and I got a bit irritable. We are now avoiding that half of the park.

On the more positive side: she's getting v good at sit, down, "leave it", and we're working on stay. And right now she is having a nice snooze under the radiator next to me. Watching her hurtle round the park at speed is fabulous (and the walks are doubtless doing me good too).

In non-dog news: I spent the weekend mostly at the London Free School, which was awesome. I watched several films (was facilitating the movie space on Saturday), including Made In Secret (an anarcha-feminist porn collective! sort of) which I strongly recommend (watch the making-of in the DVD extras to get a different view of it). Sunday I went to one workshop on the experience & politics of the menstrual cycle (fascinating) and another one on feminist self-defence (massively empowering; the facilitator is probably going to do a series of sessions sometime soon, so let me know if you might be interested. Self-identified-women-only.).

Also chatted to many interesting people, helped carry a sofa+occupants through the house to resolve a debate about where the debrief session should take place, played Tag (it was really very cold in that building!), and facilitated the final debrief. It was the talking-to-interesting-people thing that was the best part; the weekend as a whole left me knackered but inspired. Hopefully there will be another one in a few months!
juliet: Climate Camp logo: 3 tripods with banners, very colourful (climate camp)
The head of the IPCC has walked out of the Bella Centre to join the protestors. Bloody hell. (the Bella Centre is where the current main talks are happening).

Various NGOs including Friends of the Earth have been banned from the talks (FoE held a sit-in in the reception). Tear gas and police batons being used on the protestors outside.

More information as-it-happens here: http://www.scribblelive.com/Event/Reclaim_Power_Cop15

Meanwhile, back in the UK, tar sands protest yesterday outside the Canadian Embassy went very well. Photos here, and Canadian press coverage here.

There's a demo tomorrow (Thu) outside the Danish embassy about the treatment of protestors in Copenhagen. Address: 55 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9SR; time: 16:00; dress code: black; mood: pissed off.
juliet: Climate Camp logo: 3 tripods with banners, very colourful (climate camp)
Off to Nottingham for the weekend for the Great Climate Swoop! I shall hopefully be twittering throughout (or look for the #swoop tag). I'm doing Legal Observer Stuffs this time due in large part to my increasingly dodgy leg.

This is really very early to be on a train. I think Finlay-the-dog was a bit confused as I left the house before dawn this morning. (for once he didn't attempt to follow me & the bike out the door, but stood on the doorstep with his "but it's cold!" expression on.)
juliet: (recycle or die)
The Climate Camp in London is kicking off on Wednesday! Come join the swoop on the site, or watch this space for a location & come along later in the week.

Workshops programme out now - good things: many many interesting workshops! bad things: will not be able to go to all of the ones I want to due to clashes, bah. Lots of DIY skillshare stuff.

Last year was an absolutely fantastic experience & incredibly inspiring - I really encourage anyone who's free to come along. It's running over the weekend this time, so if you can't take time off work, come along for the day or for the weekend and check out what's happening.

I'll be twittering over the week (on twitter as julietk) - text/email me if you're coming along, or come along to the London Neighbourhood marquee when you're onsite. Happy to answer questions if anyone has them now or onsite :)
juliet: (grrrr)
Climate Camp legal team report on the policing of the 24 hr G20 camp. There's a decent summary in the first couple of pages if you don't want to read all of it.

Warning: the witness accounts in Appendix 3 are distressing in places: police violently attacking and threatening peaceful protesters.

(The legal-notebook-based timeline that they have in there is interesting.)

ETA: Government department passed on information about activity and whereabouts of protestors to E.On before last summer's climate camp. Because sharing information about your citizens with a private company is *entirely* acceptable behaviour, oh yes.
juliet: (grrrr)
What happened when the police broke (illegally) into the RamPART Centre in E London (features tasers & the police stealing people's phones, among other things).

The phone thing goes: "Is this your phone?" "Yes." "Prove it or we'll nick you for stealing it." It's a tactic to get people's names & addresses, basically (because you are not obliged to provide a name & address when stopped-and-searched). I've witnessed (at Climate Camp last summer) other similar tactics to get names, including taking cards out of a wallet and reading them (also illegal under stop-&-search legislation), reading notebooks (ditto), and some truly outrageous racial discrimination while I was doing my legal-observer thing, where an Italian guy was threatened with arrest under the Immigration Act unless he provided name, address, and *his landlord's phone number*, whereupon they *phoned the landlord*. So, yeah, I'm furious and saddened, but not surprised.

(RampART link)

September 2017



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