Two Weeks in Castro’s Cuba

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by Tom Charles

Prologue

In 2005, I was haggling over payment for a job. I wanted £1500, he offered £1000, we settled on £1000 plus his air miles to go anywhere that Virgin Atlantic fly to. The choice was Lagos or Havana, so on Thursday 18th August I set sail from Gatwick airport to Cuba.

I kept a diary, but never read it back for fear that it might be cringeworthy…until now, as I type, with small modifications to protect the innocent… Continue reading

Whose Judge are You Anyway?

by Tim Timing for Urban Dandy

Judge

The previous Urban Dandy article asks whether Mothers have “totally lost their power to men with hammers in witches’ outfits”, decisions on the welfare of children being made in a “cold, clinical, lifeless, male milieu.”

To continue quoting: “this seems quite absent of the very female spark that initiated the offspring and all offspring for that matter”.

A good summary of the secret trials that seal the fate of so many children, and our dislocation from our true nurturing nature as a society.

In the much-publicised case of Rebecca Minnock, the latest news is that the boy is safely back with his father and Judge Wildblood* has stated that the mother had “positively invented allegations against the father on two occasions”.

The hype has died down and the media shuffled off elsewhere. We didn’t know much about the case anyway. But what do we know about the family court system?

We know that over 70% of judges are privately educated,

Were they loved at boarding school? Did they see more of their nannies than their fathers? Did their fathers express their love for them or were they just too painfully British for that?

We know that these are the people secretly deciding the future educational attainment, mental health, drug usage and ability to form healthy relationships of increasing numbers of children across our country.

We know that Solicitors, Barristers and the family law industry get fat off this,

“Family law firm of the year”,

“Legal aid law firm of the year”,

Better call Saul,

These awards were given by Johnny, aged five and Keira, aged two – she can’t remember her dad and has never been happier. He has behavioural issues but it’s OK, when he gets to primary school/secondary school/gets a job/gets off drugs/comes back from Syria (delete as you go along) he’ll be fine.

The class system feeds itself,

“We’re here for one thing only, the welfare of this young child,” they say with the straightest of faces, as the lawyers relax, their cover in place. £££.

“Yes your honour”

“No your honour”

“Why don’t you take that f*$##** wig off and have a conversation with me?”

Poor woman stays in her place – burdened with a cover of empowerment,

Poor man stays in his place – Condemned with a cover of liberation.

Britain needs to open up and sort out this system…

Or does it? Today you can guarantee behind every monster there is a genius that knows the nature and limitations of his beast. Like a crazed animal, only when it bites him is it a problem worth solving, otherwise it’s business as usual. Did anybody actually see the last Iron Man?

Editor’s note: This leads on to our upcoming post, another beautiful poem by Mark Bolton. Watch this space…

Better call Saul

* great, great name (ed.)

What happens when you say ‘Good Morning’ to 150 people?

Good Morning, Good Morning

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You can be skipping in Hyde Park, inspired by, and feeling like, Floyd Mayweather. But within a few short minutes, the mind can switch in a wonderful way.

Doing just this, the handle of my rope broke. I asked the lady at the nearby food stand if she had a screwdriver and she handed me a substitute knife with an apology. As I looked at the screw head and the wannabe screwdriver an older lady asked me how many I had done. I felt her warmth and willingness to engage. I answered her humbly with a number lower than I really had. Okay, I lied and I have no idea why. She then said something witty, I smiled and carried on. I fixed the rope and continued but that short experience had me thinking about the beautiful nature of people, especially early in the morning.

In my book, Read This On The Train, I encourage the reader to stay open to whoever might be sitting opposite them on public transport, to stay engaged with each other as human beings, not as separate units, competing against each other like boxers.

This lady, after the excess of the winter festivities, brought that principle back to me. I was inspired by her to nurture my true self, as I had been inspired by Mayweather to nurture my physical self.

I finished skipping and walked home via Queensway but I decided to see what would happen if I simply acknowledged my fellow human beings, each and every one, by saying ‘good morning’ all the way home, 1.1 miles.

Good Morning

At first I could see that because people didn’t expect it, they decided it had never happened and continued like I wasn’t there, although I could see their heads slightly turning with curiosity as I became history to them.

To turn around would probably present too much risk and possibility for them to deal with, in their otherwise autopilot morning rush hour routine. After about 20 people, I realised that it didn’t matter whether they were present enough to face the Good Morning Dandy and the possibility of it becoming a hostage / gunpoint situation with helicopters, swat teams and me ‘downed’. No, it wasn’t relevant at all. What mattered was that they heard me and came to grips with their own fears; l was just the messenger of a recognition of human dignity, from one soul to another.

After that realisation, I relaxed and my voice became more audible, confident yet not intrusive, for I am a man of sensitivity, and never aggressive. After 150 ‘Good Morning’s, and yes this is accurate, not like the white lie told to the kind lady in Hyde Park, I learned about the ego, stuff like: people feel more comfortable when they are not alone, so I received grateful replies from couples and, as I relaxed further, also from lone commuters, and I saw that this curious behaviour of saying ‘Good Morning’ to fellow earthlings has become alien to most people in the city. 

Those 150 people whose day might have been changed by my foreign language can thank the warm hearted lady in Hyde Park on that chilly morning, and they can thank this Floyd for bringing some May weather to the English January. 

Angel Lewis with Tom Charles

 

 

Breaking down our self-imposed barriers is the subject of my book Read This On The Train, buy it here, now. It’s not as cheap as a ‘Good Morning’, but it’s still a bargain.

‘Paris Shooting at least twelve dead’ It said.


The heading of this article is basically the same message on most of the national newspapers. But rather than reacting as a prop in another man’s property of the mind, lets just think a bit.
What happened to irony? Here we are ready to say who was wrong, who was right and judge what the world is becoming without first thinking about the interrelationship between two things. I see extremes, but I also see that we are so desperate to fit in that we are willing to compromise our own honest thoughts just to parrot the masses.
What would your headline read? Today the ego weighs in slightly heavier than the mind. Subconsciously one would, by the media’s, moral metre, think that this tragedy is part of the sick muslim mind that is responsible for our poor world but with some old school impervious thought a different scene is drawn from the conscious mind. Yes, to take the life of a thing be it animal, plant or other is never just unless used for sustenance.
I’m remembering the law of necessity where, in some cases, a man can be excused for even devouring another man if he is stranded, facing starvation and the man is poorly. But to kill out of vengeance, greed, personal gain or to make a headline is…well I wont be ignorant enough to call it wrong but…inappropriate, destructive and mostly karmic.
In todays world there are two types of people: the numb extremist and the sensitive pacifist, a french word. The numb extremist has an idea about a thing and is so sure that that has the same meaning and benefit for everybody that they must, by any means, force the world to recognise and agree. The sensitive pacifist may have a belief but they feel its personal, all they know is it works for them and they will not force the issue because in the forefront of their mind is convenience for all.
With that said let us now examine the result and cause. Apparently you may agree that there are a majority of religious people who took upon themselves a belief that the champion of their faith and prophet should not be depicted in images They freely chose to abide by this and are happy with the reasons that they have been given.  Right, wrong? Doesn’t matter at this point.  However, amongst these are a minority who believe that if any such beliefs that they have are mocked or contradicted they should resort to violence to protect it. 
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You also have a majority of religious and non religious people who, contrarily, do believe that people of high esteem should be honoured and displayed and they have chosen, in their personal capacity, to depict who and whatever they wish in whatever way.  Not a problem with that.  Amongst these are a minority of people who believe that freedom of speech is essential to the direction they see the world going and feel, regardless of what anybody else feels and who may be offended they will not only display their channel of consecration but also add a comedic element to it. Extremism happens when people go to extended lengths to force what they know to be right without a care or thought of the consequences. It’s absolutely selfish but it is not the spawn of religion alone. It’s when the power of influence can be unleashed by an organised body with an agenda that it becomes problematic.
With power that monster comes to the surface. We may know not why people go to such extremes to get a message out whether by guns or words and we may worry about the mind of the creator of such chaos but one thing we do know is that extremes can hide in the most unsuspecting places, even more so when you have the power to tell the story.  I believe that democracy as a word from the lips long ago departed from the purity of the mind and has now joined the ranks of other world issues and extremisms. One day when people have less fear and more love of self to say what is just, regardless, they will kindly ask democracy to remove his hat and not be at all surprised to see yet another religion.
So before you read the next headline as they become more extreme and targeted, know that there are people who will stop at nothing to get their point across and change our course and nature and then there’s us, those who say ‘do as you wish just leave us out of it.’  
By Angel Lewis
RIP ALL casualties of this pointless unnecessary war of beliefs.

Now available as an ebook

Read This on the Train

Angel Lewis

Buy it here

ReadThisontheTrain

‘How often do you see one dog pass another dog without any acknowledgement? A bark, a sniff, a lick, often things humans are not prepared to do in the street but nevertheless, the most intelligent of animals you call yourselves. Really? You would benefit from adopting the attitude of the canine…’

An alien viewpoint that demands our attention.

Maintaining the Primacy of Violence in International Relations

Letter to Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP about Syria

 

Dear Sir Malcolm,

I wrote to you last year during Israel’s bombing of the occupied Gaza Strip.


I am now extremely concerned that Britain will soon be bombing yet another Muslim country, after Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.


You stated today that “There is every certainty that if we don’t make that effort to punish and deter then these actions will indeed continue”.


This statement raises a number of questions:


– How do we know that the Assad government committed this awful crime?

– Why would a previously rational government do the one thing that could tip the balance of the conflict against them?

– What would the nature of the punishment be? Presumably Assad and other key government figures would be safe from harm, so it would be the population that would suffer


If Cameron and Clegg want a swift intervention from the air, what happens when Syria inevitably responds in the only ways they can – on the ground (as happened in Kosovo) and regionally? Realistically, Britain cannot then withdraw from its attack on Syria and will be involved in a regional conflict causing appalling suffering and may become involved in a proxy war with Russia.


What would any of this achieve?


Diplomacy is the only sensible route and ceasefire is the best that can be hoped for.


The fact that Britain has been funding al Qaeda terrorists to overthrow the Assad regime for the last two years is a well known fact and I saw nothing from the government today that would change the perception of the vast majority of people that Britain has no concern for the innocent victims of the Syrian conflict and has no ability to speak with any moral authority, nationally or internationally.


With best wishes