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February 28, 2011

HATSHEPSUT RIDES AGAIN

Hatshepsut's temple, Deir-el-Bahri

The latest issue of the >Language>Place Blog Carnival Edition 4 is hosted by Jean Morris at tasting rhubarb and sizzles with scintillating contributions. It includes part of the Luxor travel journal I wrote during my one and only journey to Egypt, way back in 2005.

I'm glad I went there before the upheaval that is rocking the country at present but I hope this upheaval when it settles down will bring the positive changes that the courageous, creative, humorous Egyptian people want and deserve, now that they have succeeded in dismissing their nemesis Mubarak. You can always tell dictators by the size and ubiquitousness of their portraits: I remember seeing huge posters and banners of the Mubarak mug all over Luxor - is it something to do with hypnosis, I wonder? Something like psychic surveillance cameras? Keep the people subjugated by making sure they see your eyes, larger than life, at all times. Come to think of it, those ancient Egyptian monarchs must have known a thing or two about mass hypnosis - look at the size and power of their sculpted portraits!

Next Vie en Rosé episode coming up shortly.

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February 17, 2011

Better to post short chunks more often, right?

February 15, 2011

PLATONIC SCHMATONIC

Platonic Love podcast aired on Via Negativa yesterday. I didn't take the theme as seriously as it should be taken and was taken, by some of the other contributors maybe because the tune of Hello Young Lovers kept playing in my head. So I went along with the tune and thought about a familiar situation, when one of the two in a platonic relationship is anything but platonic with other people and the platonic friend feels betrayed but can't admit it because jealousy isn't supposed to be part of the equation.  Love is possessive, innit? Whether it's lover-love, friend-love, parental love, platonic love, schmatonic love - some exceptional beings manage to escape the perils and pains of possessiveness, but not many.

PLATONIC VALENTINE
(to the tune of Hello Young Lovers from The King And I )

HELLO PLATONIC LOVER WHEREVER YOU ARE
I HOPE YOUR PARTNER IS TRUE
IF NOT ALL MY SYMPATHY'S WITH YOU TONIGHT
I'VE BEEN IN THAT SITUATION TOO.
BE BRAVE PLATONIC LOVER AND GET IN YOUR CAR
DRIVE OFF QUICKLY INTO THE BLUE
THE ONE YOU LOVE IS PLATO WITH YOU
BUT CASANOVA WITH BOB AND CAROL AND SUE.
OH I KNOW HOW IT FEELS
WHEN THE TRUTH IS REVEALED
AND IT JANGLES AROUND IN YOUR HEAD
THE PACT THAT YOU MADE
ABOUT NOT GETTING LAID
NOW YOU'RE COLD.....
AND ALONE IN YOUR BED.
DON'T CRY PLATONIC LOVER WHATEVER YOU DO
DON'T CRY BECAUSE YOU'RE ALONE
ALL YOUR SORROWS ARE OVER TONIGHT
I'M LOOKING FOR PLATONIC LOVE TOO.
BE BRAVE LOVER AND CLICK THE WORD SEND
REPLY TO MY AD RIGHT AWAY
LET'S NOT WASTE TIME
LET'S MAKE THE SUN SHINE
BE MY FAITHFUL PLATONIC VALENTINE.

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February 14, 2011

POOR VALENTINUS

Poor Valentinus

Saint Valentinus was one of several martyrs by that name in ancient Rome. Although being a martyr for love is a common human experience, I don't think that's what the purveyors and consumers of chocolates and champagne have in mind on Valentine's Day. Why, on every fourteenth of February, the tragic Valentinus has to endure posthumously carrying the weight of all this sugar and bubbling sentimentality is a mystery nobody want to solve. Of course any day is a good day for celebrating love and all its derivatives, sacred or profane, so I'm not going to object if anybody wants to shower me with sweetness in any form whatsoever today. Or any other day.

One who is not toeing the standard Valentine line is Dave Bonta at his humming beehive of internetted creativity: be sure to tune in to his Platonic Love podcast today and listen to the contributions which his request for submissions brought in, including one from me. Dave has many talents, not the least of which is a knack for creating a welcoming village atmosphere at Via Negativa, eliciting and encouraging others' inventiveness whilst continually exploring and developing his own.

By the way, I've added an illustration to Part 12 of La Vie en Rosé. Next episode c0ming soon.

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February 9, 2011

La Vie en Rosé ....IT'S BACK!

I haven't drawn an illustration for it yet but I will. I've done some editing of the earlier text and, I hope, improved it. I'm very grateful to those of you who are still interested in this story and have been so patient with me. I will try and post the next installments much more frequently, aiming to reach a conclusion soon. Can't believe I started the story in June 2009!

What has held me back wasn't only procrastination - though that too, in buckets - but the extreme difficulty I have in writing fiction. Finding the right words and stringing sentences together when I'm inventing a story is an excruciatingly slow process whereas 'straight' writing doesn't usually cost me such tremendous effort. Comparing it to physical activity, writing fiction is to me like climbing a steep and craggy mountain in icy weather wearing a heavy back-pack. No wonder I've never hankered to be a novelist. I suppose it all depends on how much discomfort you're willing to endure for your art. I tend to prefer enjoyment rather than pain in any process of creation.

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February 2, 2011

ANYONE FOR SINGING?

Sometimes habits and routines have to be challenged by doing something completely different. So I decided to sign up for an evening class in singing - nothing too serious, just popular music, to open lungs and throat and take a break from everything else.

It's a ten-week, once a week beginners' course and the first class was last Friday. Twelve people of varying ages, nationalities and backgrounds, all keen to sing for fun, taught by a sympathetic, and professional tutor. We did warm-up and breathing exercises and ended with the group singing the old Otis Redding number, Dock of the Bay. By the end of the course, each of us will have chosen one song we want to perform alone (I've already decided on mine) and we'll also be doing some group harmonising etc. It's not necessary to be able to read music, thankfully, since I've forgotten all I ever learned. Lyrics and links to internet sound clips will be provided by Max, the tutor.

I love to sing but somehow never do it nowadays, not even in the shower or for blogging entertainment - you may remember some of my past efforts along those lines. Here's a repeat of one of them, just to fill this space. Cucurucucu Paloma in Spanish with accompaniment improvised in Garage Band.

This does NOT mean I'm again avoiding the continuation of La Vie .... Coming up, soon.

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