Thursday, 30 September 2010

One Minute Manifesto

At Forest Fringe this summer the lovely and quite brilliant Lucy Ellinson did a project called "One Minute Manifestos." We had a minute to read out a manifesto before a buzzer went off. We had a minute to step forward and say what we believed.

On the second night, I was asked to do one, and I'll admit I had quite a hard time asserting what I believed. Maybe I was just feeling particularly cynical that day, but it seemed for that moment that I huddled over my laptop, which was perched on the side of a table I was sharing with loud, chatty punters, overtired from a 16 hour day that was only 3/4 of the way over, I didn't believe in much of anything. And when I did start believing in things, they all came out as being much less positive than my usually sunny disposition would suggest. And yet - the longer I wrote the better I felt. Until finally, the milk of human kindness became my main subject. Sadly, when I read it out, I think the minute was up in the middle of me complaining about the conspiracy of the media.

Well, you got to point out the problems before you can solve them, and sadly, there are too many problems to sum up in a minute. So where do we go from there?

For the curious ones out there... My one minute manifesto. Read out (or at least most of it read out) before Kieran Hurley's wonderful (and refreshingly optimistic) show Hitch on the 12th of August.

I believe that the world is fundamentally corrupt. And when I say the world I don’t mean our communities. When I say the world I mean institutions – any institution – because I believe that the moment that people and lives are made into something that can easily be filed away onto a piece of paper they are not people, they are pieces of paper, and pieces of paper are easy to dispose of, to disappoint, to misfile.

I believe that the only truly beautiful things I own are gifts. I do not believe in buying gifts for myself. But I do believe in ensuring my own survival.

I believe that advertising makes it virtually impossible to be a good person or to do the right thing – I believe we are being constantly exposed to easy options, that we are trapped in a system that does not serve human beings – not good human beings, not bad human beings, in truth it serves no one. And I believe that the people who argue that this is incorrect know that they are lying to themselves. And are not truly happy with what is easy.

I believe that anything worthwhile is as difficult as it is valuable. But that this rule should not apply to the default setting of a relationship.

I believe that we live in a society that is unsustainable, and that change is coming and it won’t be easy.

And I believe that in light of this, nothing is more important than kindness. You will only meet so many people in your life, even if you are aware of these very big, very confusing things. I believe in caring about each other.

I believe we are all at bottom compassionate people who want to build together, who want to work together, who want to care together.

There is a very annoying man next to me who is challenging this belief. But I’m doing my best. I believe in doing your best. He just apologized. I believe he meant it.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

(Re) Accustomed to your ways

Oh boy. It has been a while since we've hung out, hasn't it blogo? I'm sorry. I've been trying to think of something great to say, and yet nothing feels quite right to put out there to the public. I mean, I could tell you about how I actually went to see Les Mis last week at the Barbican and had an inordinately good time, but considering I already mentioned The Counting Crows, who on principle I hate, and kept that mention up on the blog all month, I think we've been through about as much embarassment as this tiny corner of the internet will stand for. I could also tell you, I suppose, about the William Shatner Karaoke Booth I set up at Live Art Speed Dating with Fierce in Birmingham this weekend, but then I'd have to publish the video of my rendition of Blur's "Countryhouse" and that's not merely embarassing, but somewhat painful. I could tell you about how my lovely friend Buchan Bronco and I just spent two hours watching clips of Audrey Hepburn online, or how much trouble I've had giving up facebook, or how I started Anna Karenina and am now at a predictable stand still, but none of this is quite interesting enough, is it?

I wish I had something really profound, or creative, or bold to publish. And yet, we've fallen out of touch, haven't we? Out of habit, and when that happens inevitably the dialogue becomes more stilted, less easy. You need to catch up with each other before you can discuss the real stuff. The stuff that matters. You need to re-accustom yourselves to each other's language, mannerisms, interests. And then the real stuff comes out. It always does. So. So. So...

What have you been up to lately, anyway?