Video

The Crutch

I grew up watching America on my TV screen. I watched Hollywood movies and Independents. I saw Pacino hold up a restaurant in Dog Day Afternoon. I grimaced as HIV was perpetuated through repeated promiscuities on Kids. I learnt to recite every Butcher line from Gangs of New York and yet as familiar as I was with the city, nothing could have prepared me for the city itself.

If I hadn’t known otherwise, I would have suggested that New York was a city in decline. The maudlin cries of the subway buskers complimented wonderfully the destitute and fantastically foul subway system. Above our heads, pipes rusted and sagged and the trains screamed past in great sighs of distress. The rats were as resident as the New Yorkers themselves. We spent our nights in the surprisingly divided Upper West Side and mixed with the white middle classes and their doormen. Across Central Park and up towards the East Side we strayed into Harlem and were shocked at the literal geographical divide between white and black. The trains ran slower in The Bronx. The sped up in Manhattan. There was a clear division of priorities and interests.

Manhattan itself paraded itself with a crass availability, the sight of a street worker at the rises of dawn. All the lights in the world but no sparkle. Time Square was great if you enjoy a barrage of relentless of advertising; meaningless words with no ultimate purpose but in the exchange of goods. The crowds were present but in steady streams, working everywhere but nowhere. Lost and the crowd.

I loved it though. It took me back to my beloved London. I realised I could live here, perhaps not indefinitely but certainly to pass a period of time. I could run the 10km around Central Park daily, taking in the scenery that raised me. I could plan my trips across the great American plains or I could sit in the coffee shops with a faint sense of self-resentment and pretentiousness. I don’t know. I love America and New York but it is everything I have ever known and nothing I have ever experienced. I’ll head back soon but I’ll probably buy a return ticket.

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Diversion of Planes over European Airspace

Diversion of Planes over European Airspace

Portugal, Spain; you are cowards. You should be ashamed. Hollande you are a hypocrite. Obama is a dictator in every sense of the word. Civil liberties are dying before our eyes. Quite possibly the bravest man in the history of the modern world as we know it is being hunted down like a dog in front of our eyes.

Sacha Llorenti told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday that France, Portugal, Spain and Italy “violated international law” when they blocked President Evo Morales’s plane that was returning from a trip to Moscow, based on suspicions NSA leaker Edward Snowden might be aboard.

“We interpret this as an aggression,” and will ask the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to intervene, he said on Wednesday.

Llorenti says “the orders came from the United States” but other nations violated the immunity of the president and his plane, putting his life at risk.

Video

Guerrilla Gardening and why I might be gardening your Garden. I’m genuinely not even trying to place a pun here.

A few years ago I grew a sunflower. It stood proudly outside my flat gazing out onto the Atlantic, not aware of the simple happiness it allowed me. I felt like a parent, gently co-ercing it into existence, feeding it, watering it, telling it about all the bad weeds in the neighbourhood and how it wasn’t to get caught up with the ongoing turf wars…. Come on people, that was funny. Whatever dude, screw you.

I moved flat in that very summer relocating several hundred miles in the process and devastatingly had no choice but to abandon it, watchfully waiting. I never knew what became of it. I like to think it went on to bigger things (*chortles) but there’s every chance it withered away, lonely and out of existence.

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Plants do that. Nature does that. Occasionally the green arms of the unfettered fly persistently in the face of adversity but ceaseless winds crush the spirit; form is temporary and the winters bring an inevitable climax to the perennial season. Compounded by our relentless drive to pollute our environment, plant life is denied the basic right to survive and cultivate itself.

If you, like me were raised in an urban jungle, your life has been spent seeking wide open spaces, parks and fields. Certainly the urban sprawl carries its own charisma and allure but this is matched entirely by the quiet subtle charm of a vegetable patch. The meek simplicity of a flower pot (with or without the endorsement of flowers in my opinion).

It was with great relish then that I saw this short film, certainly a remarkable venture by an inspiring group of individuals. Guerilla Gardening is old hat in many places and certainly in the UK can be traced back as far as the swinging 70’s. Armed with a spade and a hoe (I really have no idea what I’m talking about) these folk dedicate hours of their time tending to their local plant life, clearing out rubbish and waste, planting trees and other perishables and as a result enduringly improving the landscape of their communities.

Provoke change through direct action.

At a time when, there is so much negativity emitted from and bestowed upon our US cousins, this video however is a commendable act of positivity. It makes me want to tend to the gardens around me with a smile on my face whilst singing along to Owl City (Ok not that happy); to dote upon my environment and preserve it for the generations yet to come. No doubt I have been swept up in a beautifully constructed short film, but inspiration is inspiration whatever the source. If you need me, I’ll be in the garden with a balaclava. Don’t call the Police.