Whose child are you anyway?

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Ethan Minnock

Take a look in this child’s face. Look deeper. What Mother would want to give him up? Not Rebecca Minnock anyway.

After the court ruled custody in favour of Ethan Minnock’s father, Rebecca Minnock did what any sane Mother with a supernal relationship with her child would do; Run.

What? Well rather than question my odd angle on this, the question should really be– what would it take to find the courage, or to some the stupidity, to take ‘your’ own child into ‘your’ own hands? That defining  moment could only have been a moment of connection, as it is hard for me to believe that somebody who didn’t feel capable of raising their child would risk everything by running away for just a short chance to be with them. Maybe the consequences weren’t weighed up, even more to the credit of a Mother’s Hyperarousal.

One thing is for sure, several decades ago this would have been a most natural response. Has society really become so caught up in modern legislation, in the guise of law, that they can no longer appreciate what it is to be a human attached to their seed? For me, the balancing outlook comes from simply observing nature. I have seen animals, less bothered with politics and court cases, murder or even throw themselves in harms way when much more preponderant animals come within a few dozen metres of their progeny. So what’s the big deal? It’s natural.

I would like to think every Woman would at least consider this just so I know that they haven’t totally lost their power to those men with hammers in witches outfits. You could maybe see Rebecca Minnock like a Rosa Parks or a Harriet Tubman. There’s something powerful about when women become restive, it feels veracious and begins just where a male’s manhood ends.

Maybe the whole event asks a question that nobody wants to ask. I say this because at the core of it there is something innate within the soul that knows its own property, whether it’s the actual body or the body it created, even though most are afraid to act on it.

But then again as always there is another side. Less than six months ago a woman on my own street murdered her husband and child in a vicious knife attack. With such a large number of people with failing mental health within domestic environments, largely spurred through undiagnosed post-natal depression that can last more than just a few years, what can you do to protect the child and who’s business is it?

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks

In 1666, just after the great fire of London, The Ceste Que Vie Act was signed and went into action immediately. The gist of it states that, by Maritime law standards, any individual born after the said date would be considered lost at sea unless within a seven year period after berth they would come forth and state otherwise. Strange as it seems it appears to me that what is being stated here is that all men born are considered by the courts ‘dead’ unless they prove that they are not.

Well what rights can a dead man have? I’m sure all things that would be considered property would be held in trust by the state, No? If I sound crazy by translating my own thoughts on the act, which by the way, didn’t take too much thought on my part, then see what you make of it. After all it is not a belief but something enacted into your legislation.

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All that aside, there are many, many, opinions on whether or not the law is the law of the land or the law of the sea based on the Union Jack being a flag of the high seas and ra ta ta….However, whatever your position, the fact remains that decisions that only Mothers can make in sound mental health regarding their sentient child, are being made in a cold, clinical, lifeless, male milieu.

This seems quite absent of the very female spark that initiated the offspring and all offspring for that matter. One shouldn’t have to take the form of a woman to know her role and connection to decisions of nurture unless, in a Shakespearean prophetic manner, one is born of a glass tube. In this case the microchimeric cell attachment they share may well be severed but anything short of this proves that the creator and the creation remain together for eternity according to recent neuroscience discoveries.

A 'Lancashire lassie' being escorted through the palace yard, Westminster Palace, London, 20th March 1907. A young woman is reluctantly escorted by two policeman who are holding her by the arms. The woman is still protesting as she is led away. The last line of the verse at the bottom says 'For Women's Rights anything we will dare; Palace Yard, take me there!' (Photo by Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Rebecca Minnock said ‘No’, whether it was a sane ‘No’ or a psychotic ‘No’ is the question here; but the larger question to all Mothers should be where does the state get the right and is it really a right or an antiquated legislation created, not for the health of the community but the capture of booty? This would then make it no less than a raping of the soul.

But I will leave the burden of deciding with you dear Mothers and whatever you decide I will only agree because I am just a mere man, the creation of a woman.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pMNzFow40I

For Emily Davidson & Mum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVPTXmesMpo

Angel Lewis

1 x Tab Breakfast – No Mushrooms, Poached Egg, 1 x Sides – Sausage: New Stories From The Tabernacle.

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It’s pretty interesting to me how, as an Artist I’m always looking for new ways to transform one dimension into another in a multi-dimensional fashion. I find it quite cheeky because really, if God wanted sound to be visual I guess she’d have made it just that yet the interconnectedness of all things fascinates me and compels me to want to share. One such example, whether by human consciousness or universal intelligence, occurred on the  25th of May at a gallery in The Tabernacle in west London.

Artists Emma Mudgway and Alexia Villard created an exhibition of their thoughts and experiences working within the legendary building in a way that can only be described as ‘Personal’.

I met Emma Mudgway (one half of the expression) in Queensway, west London, on a fine, sunny, Thursday afternoon. I asked Emma…

UDL • Is this your first exhibition in London?

Emma • Yes

UDL • Where else have you displayed your work?

Emma • I’m from New Zealand and have exhibited there.  If you are interested in my exhibition history it can be found on my website.

We did precisely that. Emma has exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Toi Poneke Arts Centre, Wellington, NZ and Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre in Upper Hutt, NZ.

UDL • Has Alexia had any in London?

Emma • Yes she has…

Alexia has previously worked on projects such as Cinema du reel Festival, Paris Cinema Festival, Cannes festival, Feast Festival and National Portrait Gallery.

Emma Mudgway

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UDL • Is this the first time you’ve done a joint exhibition?

Emma • With Alexia, yes it is. We met in Canada on an artist residency. I was on my way to London, and Alexia was already based here. We kept in touch, ended up working together at the Tabernacle, and often found ourselves sitting around Alexia’s Kitchen Table discussing our work. That’s how the Kitchen Table Collective was formed, and how we ended up exhibiting together.

UDL • What are your feelings about working together with somebody else?

Emma • It pushes you to think differently. You make decisions about your own work that you may not have otherwise made which to me is interesting.

UDL • I know that Alexia is not here but do you think her experience of it is similar?

Emma takes off her shades, it seems this question requires some concentration.

Emma •  I don’t know we haven’t really spoke about it yet, so I don’t really feel that’s something I can comment on.

After trying to answer, a sensitive Emma apologetically replied in the best way she could with a very caring consciousness to not misrepresent the absent artist’s viewpoint.

Alexia Villard
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UDL • I understand. So what is the exhibition about in your own words?

Emma • Our idea for the exhibition was always to do something that related to the space. There are many stories that could be told about the building, its history, and the unique place it holds within the community. We began by looking back at archives from the building, and in the meantime we were collecting little bits and pieces from the restaurant. Alexia collected food tickets and handwritten notes, and I worked from the architectural plans of the building. We were paying attention to the conversations we were having with staff and customers. It grew to be an archive of sorts, of our interactions as servers.

UDL • Were your expectations met from the exhibition, if you had any at all?

Emma • I don’t think I really had any, because I was so busy right up to the exhibition with the work, and with some other important things that needed to be sorted out in my life. I didn’t have time to form any expectations. It felt like it wasn’t even going to go on the wall. If I had a hope for it, it would be that it would engage the people who the work was about, the people who are regulars in the building, and that it would get them into the gallery. People seemed to really like it, and appreciate it, they connected with the work, the people who came to the space regularly.

UDL • Your piece in particular was to me an emotional expression on an emotional expression. By this I mean in the piece you express in words as well as you express in design. How did it feel baring this all with the extra dimension?

Emma • I was a little bit worried about how emotionally honest the work was. I thought people might find the work too earnest, d’you know what I mean? But I don’t….Emma pauses to find the words… Sentimental. I think whatever I’ve made has always been tied to where I am emotionally but I don’t think it’s ever been so obvious. But what was really nice was I might have been speaking about my experiences and interactions and how I reacted to them within that space but people related to it which was nice. People came up to me and told me it made them consider their own experiences, like the last time they cried. A friend said she thought the work was very Human, for me, it was the best compliment I could have received.

Emma Mudgway
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UDL • You painted the walls of the gallery. Is this something you have done before?

Emma • No, that was Alexia’s clever idea. Because most of the work was very white, it made a huge visual impact when it was hung on a black wall. I think whenever you have a show you need to think about how it works as an installation, as a whole. The whole space needs to be considered.

UDL • As a creator myself my initial conscious expression emerged out of the culture of music in the 90s which was my introduction to the combining of genres that created something  appropriately named Hip Hop. Because of this mind state I enjoy listening to and creating various types of music equally. Sometimes I would attempt to translate in musical expression the feelings of an inanimate object such as a bike represented in phonics. I mean how would a bike talk if it wasn’t seen?  This understanding of merging platforms as an expression of dimension is similar in your work.

Emma •  Artists have the choice to work in any medium that they want and many are multidisciplinary.  It’s really about finding the best way to say what you want to say. What I’m saying is that …Emma giggles… I feel that I have to watch every word that I say..more giggles… No, you find a way that best expresses the idea.

UDL • Yes I love the idea of transferring one dimension into another dimension this is why I was so deeply affected by the work.

Emma • I don’t make work thinking about what I want to say to someone, it’s a way of processing my own thinking. If there is one thing I would like people to take from the work, it’s that it is about interaction and connection, and how that is fostered within a space. No matter how small and insignificant the transaction may seem, even if it’s just making someone a coffee.

Alexia Villard
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UDL • Have you met any other artists in London or anywhere else in the world that you like?

Emma • I have met so many interesting people in London, sometimes in the most unlikely of places; artists, creatives, people from all the around the world. I value their perspectives and have learnt a lot in the short time that I have been here. The access to art and culture here is something I don’t take for granted. Alexia and I met in Canada- I like her work because I feel like she quietly demonstrates that there is beauty and value to be found in places that others overlook. I also work with young adults with learning disabilities in an art class one morning a week, I love the quirky art they make and I find they can be as sophisticated and uncompromising in their vision as anyone else, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

UDL • Now that the pieces are taken down and packed away, what happens now?

Emma • The installation of the work in the space is finished, but there is still work relating to the exhibition to be done. For example, websites need to be updated, and there are some last little admin tasks to wrap up. Most importantly, its time to build on what we have started and the opportunities that arise from the show. On a personal level, that means reflecting on the work I made, and not losing momentum in my own making practice. Its also important to me that the Kitchen Table Collective continues to grow as a platform for our ideas, however they are manifested.

Emma Mudgway
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I feel honoured to be included or at least a thought in both Artists expression on paper. An exhibition that was every bit emotionally, touching and personal, not only to the staff and patrons of the Tabernacle but, also to those who render services (all of us) and  hold such expressions locked up deep within. I have to bow to the execution of the  many forms that these feelings have been transmitted through their Art.

Please explore more of Emma Mudgway and Alexia Villard below. 

Angel Lewis

All Photographs compliments of Alexia Villard

•  Emmamudgway.com   •   Alexiavillard.com  •

Portobello’s Magic Mushrooms

“There’s something weird about mushrooms, there’s something weird about Portobello…I fit in”

Mushrooms

Just a stone’s throw from Portobello’s Tesco is a stall at the other end of the food spectrum: honest, healthy, community-minded and with a genuine passion for nourishment, flavour and creative cooking, Tom James Dean’s mushroom stall.

Tom, sometimes known as Mushroom Man, welcomes the hordes of Portobello tourists with their cameras (for fb, tw and inst) each week in what is definitely a labour of love. He probably gets a fair number of people like me stopping by too, who know that mushrooms are good for you, and, well, that’s about the extent of our understanding…

Tesco (and the rest, but we’ll pick on them) sell low quality mushrooms, covered in plastic. This maintains the consistent appearance and size of the mushrooms, but not their health benefits or taste. Mushrooms should shrink; Tesco mushrooms might look good (as mushrooms go), “but in reality they’re rotting away” says Tom.

Tom uses breathable plastic and brown paper bags, so the mushrooms don’t go mouldy and don’t dry out. He’s also cheaper than Tesco, offers “more flavour” and “more benefit”. His mushrooms are also of a far wider and wilder variety…

So, what are the benefits of buying from an expert seller like Tom?

Integrity

“First of all I buy from South Korea, which is known to treat their mushroom workers much better. They also grow their mushrooms in sterile conditions, in labs”.

While Tom says he occasionally comes across “mushroom hobbyists” selling at Farmers’ Markets, none of the organic farms in the UK grow their own mushrooms, and instead they get them from buyers, the same buyers as Waitrose and the other chains. This is contributing to the emergence of monopolies of sellers and supermarkets and causing smaller farmers to go bust. Tom James Dean works with experts from “all over the world,” in whom he has gained trust, including Indigo Herbs in Glastonbury, knowing that his partners have a genuine interest in what they eat, and are conscious of environmental issues.

Environmental

Most obviously of all, “mushrooms are an ideal substitute for meat, so we can create a sustainable planet…a lot of sensible vegetarians simply change from meat to mushrooms.” Meat is murder and recent revelations have shown that not even religious slaughter is exempt from the horrors of the industry, no matter how piously packaged.

Oyster mushrooms, with their bland taste may not be a favourite of the veggie community, but check this out: “they clear up landfills and oil spills…a tough mushroom”.

Mushrooms absorb heavy metals, so Tom advises not to pick them in or around London. And, expert advice should always be sought when picking your own shrooms. Even in remoter areas of Wales and Scotland, picking wild mushrooms can be a health hazard, as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident hit those countries more than it did Romania, and mushrooms absorb radiation.

For all us amateurs out there, it’s best to look at mushrooms the same way we look at berries. “You have blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries that we are familiar with, then there are other berries that look good but would kill you in the most horrible, painful way. Mushrooms are the same.”

Health

Says Tom: “the Asians are the best with Mushroom study, they believe they can create longevity. They have had evidence that proves that certain mushrooms can stop your DNA from unwinding, particularly mushrooms such as Cordyceps, Reishi and Shiitaki. With Cordyceps they have had breakthroughs in cancer research and have successfully reduced cancerous cells. Psilocybin can ease depression and relieve headaches for six months. Chaga mushrooms are used in Russia for stomach disorders”.

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“Another Russian favourite is Chanterelle, it’s a wild mushroom that we also call Foxes mushroom, they eat it raw although I would never eat mushrooms raw. I just cook them with a bit of butter. That one is probably my favourite, and it’s also known for its anti-cancer properties.”

Here’s a brief outline of a few benefits of a few of Tom’s favourite mushrooms:

Shiitake

  • Balances cholesterol
  • Sun drying with the gills up allows the mushroom to absorb six times the level of Vitamin D, which boosts the immune system, mood and much more
  • “If somebody had suffered extreme exposure to radiation I would have them lay in a field of shiitake mushrooms to see if it draws it out. Hey you never know”

Chaga

  • A fungus that grows on the bark of trees, in Russia this mushroom is prescribed for digestive disorders
  • Very expensive and tightly guarded, with one Russian tree having two armed guards of its own
  • Combats cancer

Reishi

  • Good for anxiety
  • Alleviates insomnia

 

Cordyceps

    • Cancer, immune system and fertility benefits
cordyceps-militaris
An alleged fertility-boosting mushroom

 

  • “If I found out I had cancer I would eat loads of Reishi and loads of Cordyceps. I’ve seen some significant improvement in my immune system from eating them every morning. I boil them in water in the morning. They say it boosts fertility. The first time I took Cordyceps my girlfriend was pregnant within a week.”

 

 Psychoactive Mushrooms

  • Aka Magic Mushrooms
  • Legal trade in the UK shut down in 2005, but in 2015 the benefits of psychoactives are being studied again
  • Can open up the floodgates of memories, both good and bad, so can help people to move on
  • Being used in trials for easing post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Can treat severe headaches, including cluster headaches

 

While the trade has been passed down from his father, Tom says his dad was a business man, first and foremost, having started importing mushrooms in 1967. Tom, though, is partly led by sound business practice, and partly by spiritual and ethical concerns, which he inherited from his mother, somebody who fed him on home grown food, “straight from the ground.” How refreshing to see this mix at work, right outside Tesco. Did we mention them already?

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And as he tells UDL about his parents, we can see that he’s an exact cross between both. Like his father, he has no time for quackery, he wants proof. But when he has the proof, he’s not shy about talking about it. Good news and good health are to be shared.

In the middle of the Little Babylon that is Portobello Road, Tom’s stall is well worth a visit. It has a mysterious feel; Eastern, Western and from the places where we daren’t explore, these strange looking foods, grisly and grimy, contain a wealth of life-enhancing benefits.

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They’re weird. He says he’s weird. I don’t believe him, he’s really an enthusiast and a fountain of information. Courted by corporations, thinking about writing his first book, and keeping Portobello fresh, Tom James Dean, on the corner of Portobello and Westbourne Park Roads, is ready to share his passion with you, to educate you and to bring some well-being in to your life.

In our times and in our North Kensington, this mushroom expert is an urban sage for our age.

 

By Tom Charles

TREE-ASSURING UNITY

It’s strange how simply witnessing the events of a day can effectively teach you so much about gratitude.

At about 3pm on the 8th of June, the residents of Notting Hill’s Colville Square and the surrounding streets heard a puzzling crash that forced the curious side of their nature to react.

Running out into the street I thought – blood, broken bones, tears and panic but as a believer in the shaping of one’s own reality I stopped for a brief moment and thought, everybody is fine, zero injuries and no grief.  Opening my front door my belief turned into a knowing. I would love to say it was solely my sense of human concern, and it was but only an uneven proportion, because at the rim dunking, top shelf reaching, height of 6 ft 3, I become a morsel of a man at the site of blood. Yes, I believe blood belongs inside the body not out and although I haven’t fainted at the sight of it yet I often weigh the possibility.

Everybody just stood there not quite knowing if the miracle they had just witnessed had truly happened. No blood, no screaming, no urgency to help pull anybody from beneath the fallen tree. No chainsaw on site or visible human act that may have caused this to happen. The considerate tree seemed to first check that nobody was in its path before it made its great departure from the surrounding family of trees that housed the feathered early morning choir of Colville Square.

 

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After calling 999 and asking for the fire brigade, which seemed to be the logical choice of the three, I was told that it was not their business and I should call the council. I got off the phone confused and even more anxious. I guess there was a part of me that wanted to be the one to call for help, as it was my tree.  I mean only two hours ago I was discussing this very tree as being a worthy exchange for sacrificing the beautiful park view that we so loved outside of the old flat. I guess its sudden split made me the only injured person and recognising the tree had other plans (besides me) I took it personally. Since there was nobody else injured my second 999 choice was the police and they said ‘No Problem’ and got there within five minutes, along with the fire brigade.

Almost stranger than the tree falling out of the blue,on a warm summers day, was the fact that the tree had as many choices as to which direction to surrender to gravity as myself or any other earthly object, yet it seemed to be considerate of the sweet 3-year-olds out  playing in the nursery playground just six feet away, the families playing in the park fifteen feet away and even the building across the street. It conveniently fell almost along the street with even the illusion of time being a consideration avoiding my young unsuspecting nephew’s visit by 5 minutes exactly.  Three cars were injured and one

Three cars were injured and one totalled along with a lamppost.  Observing the neighbours gathering and the employment of too many phone cameras two thoughts came to mind; what a beautiful act of mercy on the part of the Tree and its position and timing, I mean if this were a movie like the Exorcist or the Omen there would have been a priest sacrificed beneath it and the other thought was, is this what it takes to get to know your neighbors?  This brought me back to the London riots,  that was the last time I really talked to my neighbours without prompting any unwarranted suspicion. The street was filled with talk of insurance and blame and jokes were allowed to fly around the scene due to the lack of human injury while community support officers and police helped to control the environment with tape. In each person’s mind was a warm relief and a satisfaction as the sense of adventure needed in a normally armchair type voyage spilled out from the telly into the streets, it kind of pacified the needs of the community without the need for blood as props.

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The woman who owned the car that received the major blow stood outside smoking a cigarette thinking about her insurance claim. When I asked her what car she would consider next she replied “A tank”.

The fact that she and I had the last laugh and yet probably the worst blow from this day made our evening and my weekend a very joyful one, maybe because we were all human again and whenever the universe displays a serendipitous knowledge we can do nothing but humbly seek out the message in all this. For me, it was gratitude for life knowing how ugly things could have turned out and how little we have done to interact with the beautiful lives on our street.

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Here’s all that remains of a tree named Unity

Tree chip

Rest in Peace

Angel Lewis

Urban Dandy London’s Style Secrets Revealed…

It is a well-known fact locally that Urban Dandy London are the most urban and dandy of Londoners, impressing all they meet with their fashion sense; from the country squire to the high street looter, UDL has it all covered and refined to a tee.

It is commonly believed that such stylish swagger could only come naturally, bestowed on UDL through good fortune, positive energy and all-round worthiness.

But that ain’t the whole truth. It also helps that slap bang in the middle of UDL’s three London HQs is the Fara clothing shop, where designer threads male and female, and much more besides are available at recession-friendly prices,

Notting Hill’s very own spot where everybody knows your name gives plenty of space for creativity with its legendary window displays and the staff encouraging customers to graffiti the walls,

The jovial folk of Notting Hill have so far come up with this selection:

Can’t argue

  

We love you too
A tortoise
hear hear

 

Can you do better? (you can) Go and visit, decorate the walls, dandify yourself this summer at Fara

 

10 Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, just off Portobello Road

QR’s hit the UK

Well QR codes have arrived, fresh from the Japanese economy, diverted across to the US and finally to the UK. You may ask: what is a QR? This question doesn’t mean you’re out of the loop, just not in the forefront of the technology industry or perhaps you have a department who deals with that, but one thing is for sure you will know pretty soon.

QR codes are Quick response codes that no doubt you’ve seen on posters and publications distributed around London. The little black and white mosaics contain little square blocks of information.  A basic code can contain a few letters and the more complex code can hold up to 1,264 characters of information.

Question: Why hold this information whether small or large, and who cares? Well a QR code feeds into a smart phone with a QR scanner installed, once it has been scanned, it immediately sends the smart phone user to the website for more information on what they have just viewed.

This breakthrough is of the most value to businesses today seeking awareness of their online presence. With this, QR codes are generating more and more diverse possibilities for businesses to reach their core markets. This has opened a new stream of business opportunities and thus revenue around coding.  As QR codes grow in the UK, it is becoming clear that basic black and white codes, to the eye, all appear identical and devoid of identity . This is no doubt why major companies such as MTV, Nike and Ralph Lauren have personalised their QR codes to reflect their brands. These are called Maze QRs or Mazes and are created by a QR coder, similar to a graphic designer but also skilled in code manipulation.

Although there are few customized QR coders in the UK, one of the best UDL has seen, competing with the US in a major way is a company called MazeQR who’s slogan mysteriously states “Be found”. By intention,  MazeQR are nearly impossible to find. They exist in the Matrix and are found strictly by Qr code. MazeQR have been in existence for less than a year yet have supplied tailored QR codes for major establishments such as Comic relief and Jade Jagger. Their tangeable presence in Notting Hill made it possible for us to find a spokeswoman. Joy Daly, whom we managed to catch up with. A concept scout for MazeQR, says “Personalised coding can cost from just hundreds to thousands of pounds depending on the uniqueness and the intricacy of the work”.

QR code readers are available free for download directly to your smart phone here or for blackberry here  and for iphone users here. As for MazeQR, I guess they find you.

Angel Lewis.