Archive for sociology

Cartooning…….politics, society…

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2016 by kathydasilva

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Yes..I think I could get to liking drawing in marker pens, cartoon satire, or, just illustration, or both..! There is something awfully freestyle about marker pen usage. I can totally understand some artists doing this… when I have worked up enough images I’ll put them together in a book, or fit them into Driftwood an illustrated version, as the subject gives itself to an attempt at the provocative element. Each destination of Irene and Michel, in my story,has been set there with purpose, and the significance of which gives inspiration for their drawings, and commenting on what is happening in the current political sphere of Earth. I have only barely suggested these things as, it is more about feeling uneasy, and pursued, by something as if we are all tested by our own convictions and beliefs for what is going on in society. How can society take in all of the violence of conflict and the new displacement of whole populations…

I often think, with the probable and uneasy position some world leaders take, with regard to war or no war, scenarios, that, we the citizens must try our best to influence back, and feed into the arena of talks,  the subjects of which concern us all as humans. I remember when it concerned quite a few of us, humans, the use of nuclear weaponry. In particular in England there was a reaction to the positioning of cruise misiles designed in the USA.  Although there is less damage, done with ‘reduced’ plutonium missiles in terms of area affected when the bombs hit the ground, they still do leave significant pollutant radioactive particles, and this affects human life in the future, in particular new human growth of foetuses, and young children are more prone to  cancers. The problematical issue is who is left to sweep up, the radioactive dust. The wind does blow the stuff around, significantly.  And too, I am mindful of the Fukashima disaster, which is still upon us, in the northern hemisphere in particular. I am so very worried, that a lot of our current political ‘mayhem’, is mere distraction from the reality of what might be upon us very soon, with much more of our Earth’s atmosphere, contaminated with the ‘particles’. When Cheronbyl, happened, even milk in the Welsh hills had to be thrown away because it had been contaminated, with rainfall, and too, this is often swept away into the archives of past news. But, it is still with us now. And so more to the point, we must consider all these things, when agreeing or disagreeing to war, with use of such weaponry.

I look at arenas, the political ones in particular. The Colosseum, is a place of fascination even as a ruin, but, it represents, a time when a dictator had absolute rule, and used people as pawns, in games which ended in death. It is one of those frightening moments in human history, that the wealthy and influential should choose to be thus entertained. I must say at this point, too in literature recently there seems to have been a return, although technically only in ficitional form, to the theme of such a game. I did not  take to the book The Hunger Games, and given its popularity it made me wonder if we as humans had progressed at all toward civility.

I have looked at the USA, arena recently, seeing something that to me sets an absolutely frightening, precendent. That the use of new technology, is and has been, to target it for new use as weaponry against, ‘the foe’. The problemmatical issues, have not even been discussed. The people were not informed or asked, whether certain weapons represent something that is good or essential. And how frightening for ‘all’ of ‘us’, that new weaponry, is about rule, not defense of the nation. I am not a Globalist for this reason. I believe in democracy, as the only civilized way forward. When I saw the author Barrett Brown being set up for a jail sentence, and subsequently imprisoned on a plea bargain basis, I also saw, that the whole justice system had been manipulated to deny, a certain, truth from emerging. I am glad, too, that some of the corruption is about to be dealt with, well hopefully. But, imagine, the effect of three and a half years jail, upon a young ambitious mind. His investigative journalism was effectively hilighting, the use of private contracted firms in ‘possible assassinations’. I cannot say for sure, whether ‘assassination’ were carried out, but, with certain movies suggesting the kind of ‘black ops’, that may have already taken place, yes it does bring to mind, that our leaders need more scrutiny, and I would wish for a more honest approach in politics, not a threatening ‘new arena’ not unlike the ancient Colosseum of Rome. Citadels of power need to be scrutinized. It is the job of the FBI, to take issue with irregular behaviour of politicians too.

The Americans often say in God We Trust. But, who is left to be Godly, if all have departed from the faith?

Chicken, rice and broccoli…anyone?

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by kathydasilva
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am cooking late lunch, having fiddled with computer equipment and then, the hunger hit, and I had to down tools, and eat. And it feels like a Sunday not midweek. I found my mother’s funeral service leaflet amongst all the draw of computer software, and the poem that I had tried to construct for the graveside gathering. I describe my mother as ‘a rose without a sting, or bite’, and cheesy as that might seem it is accurate for the most part. My memoire hopefully will appear in part to show the gentle side of my childhood. When I read about education and part of that reading included a little book by the Montesore education system.  It describes how we remember things, and likens the attainment of knowledge to the lungs breathing in air for the first time.  And it is this that I want to put into the memoire. In essence, there is a reason for feeling a bit empty, or unsure when we are young, as lack of attainment of knowledge, is in part, to blame.  The more I read, as I went along in life, the better my understanding of life became. Socially, we are ‘what we eat’, in terms of knowledge. And I think that shows up a lot when you get people from different backgrounds trying to work side by side, and not really understanding eachother.  It is something I have noticed over the years, and the reason sometimes I felt isolated, when others around me had not really been interested in studying at degree level, but, had taken different paths.  The film story Educating Rita, just comes to mind, that for some people gaining further or higher education, might help them to a better position in life, but the route toward that elixir, of upward mobility, whether that means class or riches, I am not sure. Socially, people become set apart, and sometimes it is not their fault. In the film Rita’s friends change, and she separates from her working class builder husband, to delight in the fruits of her reading and learning. She grew to respect herself a lot more for obtaining a final degree at university. I cannot knock taking the time out for study. And whenever life has been really bad, books take you to another place, and you can find a kind of transcendance to greater things occuring.

My only complaint, I guess is I didn’t go higher! And when I have worked in ordinary jobs, the serious lack of intellectual exchange, has left me often lonely. Not just being alone, but, because, I need now to exercise my mind with people who are at that higher level.  Reading is satisfying but, not enough.  So writing, well it does feel better too, to be doing something, with the knowledge.

I have not summed up the past five years yet. I felt as though I was sinking into a hole, of routine, while working in a library. I still liked to have a salary, but, was not wholly satisfied at all. Serving students really is not teaching, well in some part it is if you sort their problems out with I.T.! I may even have to bow to the greater judgement of others. But, I  am progressing ideas for writing, and it is a bit more entertaining. I need a  high dose of patience.  What a winter’s day.

Walking on sunshine…

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2016 by kathydasilva

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I went out today… down town.. to see the BP Portrait Awards painting exhibition… but, it takes me, an inordinate amount of time, usually to leave my house, I do the rounds of the doors and the ‘lock up’, before assuring myself that the cat will be alright even if it rains. I seem to be over doing it on that element. I often think of moving back to the countryside, because of this hyper sense of tension caused by city dwelling, and by that I mean the always present possibility of burglary and intrusion. However, being able to jump on the tube train and see some of Britain’s finest portrait painting is always a bit of a thrill, though always there is the reliance for this particular exhibition to show a lot of photo-realism. I haven’t entered anything this year and it is partly a financial reason the ever increased submission fee. Even this year’s offerings are a bit thin on the ground it may seem. There are some lovely pieces, but, this is not a review, but yes I would encourage people to go, for the few treasures that do exist.

I finally am coming round from my year of ‘change’, having spent five years in a rigorous routine of sorts in an academic library, which by all sense of deliberations, seems to be getting smaller and smaller in it’s collection size as subject areas are being abandoned due to cut backs and political decision making by Conservative think tanks. The lack of funding is propelling the planning  of resources toward the e- library concept. And I guess the future is going to be all a bit of a virtual experience for most of the students from now on.

I just wonder when the idea of chip and pin planted into a student’s head is all that will be required, yep, the government would probably find it all much more convenient to do just that and program the whole population to do its will.

It has taken a year to undo any damage, that occurred due to the rigor of that routine lifestyle. I had intended writing and finishing my memoir/novel Looking for Pearls, but this indeed may change again and possibly the title, but, who knows.  Driftwood is coming into being. I finally saw a hard copy printing of The Island, and spent Sunday morning re-reading it. I am happy writing Driftwood.

The academic colleges run by corporations, I think suffer particularly from a lack of purity of purpose. In my own life time, both through primary and secondary education, I truly felt I had a freedom and the right encouragement to read, and learn and grow in confidence with no particular agenda attached to the process. Going to art school was for me, a choice to do something I showed talent in from an early age, but, again the road and path a person follows is not always a straight forward thing. When I arrived in London, settling down in a vast city that was always  on the move, both night and day, seemed impossible. I made about three moves from one bedsit to another in the space of the first year. The landlords varied, and it proved a little hazardous with regard to my own sense of safety even then. I battled through three undergraduate years managing to live independently of college digs or halls of residence. All the time facing dangers that might have sent any nervous type of person running back to their parents. London school kids, for example, notably, in the winter always hang out in the local launderettes, and were so lively, they thought nothing of jumping in a drier, and trying to spin round and keep warm. They were clearly left to their own devices with regard to recreational interests. One kid had been thrown in one of Hampstead’s ponds, and was trying to get dry in order to avoid a telling off about the state of their clothing, on returning home, and had begged money for the drier. Once they got money from whoever had any, they turned the drier on whilst also climbing inside to spin and treat the whole thing like a fairground ride. I managed about two years of my undergraduate period without a television. I had persuaded myself to opt for studying and reading as many of the ‘classics’  (meaning books), that my schools had failed to show me, or fit into the syllabus. This was a reaction to a public school boy getting ‘my’ place at Goldsmith’s College to study fine art. It helped a bit, it helped me to realize a naked love of reading that started in any case when I was fairly small. In fact I cannot remember learning my alphabet, but only rather the act of reading the ladybird books, that lined our bedroom shelves. I was an ‘A’ grade English student at school. I had been I think a bit lazy not to do the Advanced level study of that subject. I found myself trying out all sorts of literature just because someone had mentioned it. From the Mysteries of Udolpho, to Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar. But, also this period started the collection that is now at least four packing boxes worth of books. John Paul Sartre’s Words, got bought because of a radio program focusing on existentialist literature and philosophy. And I went on to read most of the trilogy  the first being, Age of Reason. My friend Quentin, had been reading A Happy Death by Albert Camus.  It was also around this time, that I started with ancient classics too, all books, leading to a kind of bolstering of some of the other subjects that I had been fortunate to have the privilege of studying by virtue of secondary school being a Catholic church school, for example Classical Civilizations. We at school had studied Oedipus the King, and read through the play Antigone. I seemed to be drawn to Plato. It has also helped subsequently that a move in recent times to Sussex, also showed me some of the Bloomsbury group’s dwellings during the war, and in particular the home  of Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own. It contains the sort of reasoning, that, spurred me on to feel independent about study and writing and art. Life for me has always been with a sense of optimism of opportunity as a result. I remember encountering rather like a mirage, Nicole Kidman, as I walked down a lane in Lewes town, one summer. I had no idea she had been filming The Hours, which I also subsequently have read, as well as having watched the movie version inspired by the book. The whole thing was indeed filled with sentiment and feeling, about worth and expression. Also at this time, I had come across The Maggot, by John Fowles, and the first book I had read of his was The Collector, and that too was set in the town of Lewes. And yet again my sci-fi which is going to be completed soon too, no doubt in the next year or so, well there I go, Lewes and East Sussex feature, and yes because to stroll and walk is for me a stimulant for thought and creation of images, both artistically and with the realm of writing creatively. So rather wonderfully today took on nostalgic tones. As I left my house today, about lunchtime, I had just entered the Cranbrook Road and was walking toward my local shops for a ‘top up’ of my oyster card, when I saw a figure in the distance not in a dissimilar way that I had encountered Nicole Kidman. I had difficulty seeing who this person was, partly because of the brilliant sunshine,  glaring back into my eyes as I clearly was looking westerly as I walked, and at first, I kept thinking the person was someone with dreadlocks. I had not worn my glasses, as mainly I only put these on for reading, but, the strangest thing occurred. I looked and looked as if wanting to see more clearly, but, the person turned out to be a guy, with neck length dark hair, and quite a lanky figure loping forward at some deliberate speed, with a very intense look.  It dawned on me it could so easily have been Will Self, but, why I should think this I am not sure, but, I had read about Will’s walk to Yorkshire with his eleven year old son beside him that had nearly got him arrested. It was an amazing tale that somehow by virtue of his own inimitable style, he drew me the reader into his world of great intense engagement with life, seeking to inspire his son, whilst journeying to see relatives in the north, all by foot. When this tallish figure had passed me it was only then, I looked over my shoulder, and stood stock still, willing him to look back. And at one point his head did turn, but, hey, he probably would not have known me or the why he felt the need to look round. He was about half a mile down the road by then. This had a kind of Joycean feel to it at the time, a day in the life of……..  ‘Stephen Daedalus is my name ….’ Ulysses.

 

 

 

 

Follow the Light…

Posted in Autobiography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2016 by kathydasilva

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Nostalgia overcame me the other day. I was mournful and sorry that I had never fully appreciated the great and amazing ability of my feet to dance form dance moves and steps, and also my own general mobility. Having an accident, has really been quite a hard experience. I am not someone who likes to be ill in any sense, I work on my own health and eat good food most of the time but this takes quite an effort, and you have to shop well for foods that are not processed, and preferably are more in their raw state or at least with no additives. I have even bought additionally some multivitamins because, of the need for some extra iron, and calcium, after all I am having to grow new bone, so like all the foods that feed the body with what is needed for white nail tips and glossy hair, the replenishment of nutrients for healing is something of a focus. DSCF1643

Am thinking forward to loosing weight, and doing some dance class or exercise to get my limbs back to what they can be.  I have been watching the Fantastic Four film. If only limbs could grow back quickly, when breaks occur! The awful thing is my foot actually does feel alright and is itching to move around.

Amazingly when I was hit by the car, the front bumper, I actually had an internal vision of the action of the car as it stove into my ankle, and then I believe the front left hand tyre  ran over the foot, as my memory held onto the image of the tyre being well pumped up and firm.  As my hand was no where near the car it can only be the truth that the tyre ran over the foot. The thing was, that I had a pair of leather ballet pumps on that day, no socks. But, the toe and heal of the shoe were designed with a double layer of leather, and for this reason I think my toes and heel were saved and the bottom of the foot.  The sole of the shoe, also was a well designed foot comfort type. I have never been more grateful to a manufacturer for making such a sensible and protective shoe.  If I had had my winter boots on I may well have got away with a sprain  or just bad bruising, who knows?

The worst thing about the accident, was the car an unmarked police car came  up the slip road the wrong way and with no siren at that point. I never heard it coming, and he did not even use his horn. I think he did not see me, I wore a black long coat. But, I guess it will make me more aware of possible repercussions. I am hoping it was just an accident.  It was eerie that the car was silent. I never heard even its engine until it the object the car hit my leg and I was staring down at the bonnet. Fortunately I fell backward back onto the pedestrian island.

An angel beside me every day I pray, so this will never happen again!

The hospital was marvelous, and eventually I had everything repaired as best it could be by the Saturday the accident had occurred on Thursday, 28th April 2016. The leg was severely bruised by all the manipulation of the bones back into position and there were two entry wounds with stitches to cope with too, and an enormous plaster cast for the first ten days which felt like concrete on the end of my foot.  They put a lighter weight plaster cast on subsequently.  I have never rested so much in my life.  I remember the character of the wife in Don’t Say a Word, she had her leg in plaster and was bed ridden with a sling to lift the leg in the air and a maid who came and made the dinners for everyone! But, I had no such luxury as I at this time have been living with just the company of a cat. My neighbor in the end became a source of help, and he had come to the hospital and collected my spare key, and helped with feeding my cat. But, it is a hard way to survive! My respect goes to all those who suffer disability daily. Managing with crutches with me being over my ideal weight has taught me to lose it all and get more lean.   I sometimes also suffer from a lack of enthusiasm for food, in this predicament, because when I use to trot round to the shops, I could shop daily for individual things and just now of course it all takes lots more planning to avoid journeys.

Friends and neighbors are a saving grace, and hopefully I will remember this for a long time to come.