Monday, January 30, 2006

Just a quickie...

...because I don't have time these days! If you're in Milan, vote for Dario Fo. Wherever you are, watch Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo. Artistes' Repertory Theatre brought the show to NLS and in the Q&A that followed, one otherwise incredibly intelligent friend of mine who-shall-not-be-named asked 'but if she had two children, how come she'd never had an orgasm?'

Monday, January 23, 2006

i'm hitting 'save' in my head
over and over again...
not in case of loss, but after the fact.
replay, save, rewind, replay...

in any case, how was i supposed to do a backup
while you were alive?
what insurance policy was i supposed to take out?
i just savoured. that was all i could do.

every email, every conversation,
that laugh, that smile, those tears,
that thing you told me about this person
your hopes, my dreams, your fears.

come fucking back. come and see my void.
it's like living in a darkroom with all the negatives on the floor,
but the positives have been destroyed.
the equipment doesn't work anymore.

saved, savoured.
one would have stopped you.
the other let you live.
plus it has an 'our' in the middle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Writing into the ether
seems to be the best way to reach you.
(Is it? Can you hear me?)
Is this what you wanted?
Are things better now?

I still can’t understand.
You tried to help me see your abyss.
I tried to stand on the brink and peer into it with you.
But there was always the bell jar between us.
Always? What about that time when…?

I even read Sylvia Plath, so that maybe,
just maybe,
I could lift that bell jar off your head,
Or join you under it.
Anything. Anything, just to understand
Instead of offering well-meaning platitudes
From afar.

So near, yet so far.
Did I ever know you?

You’re still here,
Saying every so often, ‘Hello my dear’.
You’ve just fed your wardrobe to the night wind.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Severe case of geekomania. Goosebumps induced by citation:

'Isaiah Berlin, ‘Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power’, in Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (London: The Hogarth Press, 1980).'

Why? The essay is in a personal copy of Against the Current, bought in a Jericho second hand book store for 7.50 quid. Unknown to me at the time of buying, was the fact that the book is autographed on the fly-leaf by Berlin - 'With my very best wishes and gratitude - Isaiah Berlin, Oxford, 1980'. The press, of course, was Virginia and Leonard Woolf's very own.


Whatever else you are reading about Ariel Sharon, please make sure to look at this view of the man from an Israeli and a Palestinian perspective. The Palestinian view is written by Karma Nabulsi, a colleague here at Oxford. Sharon is already on the way to being eulogised (not just in Bush's 'man of peace' doublespeak), but also in more sober analyses as a brutal general-turned statesman who knew how to take difficult and unpopular decisions. Karma's piece makes for chilling reading, as can only be expected from someone who has lived under the boot of this murderer. Our humanity demands that we wish Sharon well and hope that he does not suffer very much more, but we would be kidding ourselves if we did not see him for what he was: one of the most blood-spattered heads of a(n incompletely) democratic state. And before you start praising him for the Gaza disengagement, please remember that there were all kinds of motivations for disengagement including these.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Middle East today

The post-Sharon scenarios are already being written. Donald Macintyre, writing in The Independent, thinks that Israel 'may paradoxically face a clearer choice than it has almost ever done before; between an energetic Labour leader committed to reversing inequalities within Israeli society and to a just peace with the Palestinians, and to a Likud one whose opposition to Gaza disengagement suggests he has never given up on the dream of a greater Israel...It may well not happen, of course; but it is just possible that the Sharon legacy will be to give the most interesting Labour leader since Yitzhak Rabin a chance to lead his country. ' Steven Erlanger, writing in the New York Times, thinks that Bibi Netanyahu and the rump Likud party will gain in a post-Sharon election. Israelis who followed Sharon out of Likud into his new centrist party Kadima because they believed he represented Israel's best guarantee for security are now likely to fall back on what they see as the next likeliest guarantee - Netanyahu. The jury has not even been picked on this one, but both agree that Kadima is probably not going to impress in a forthcoming election.

Meanwhile, read this 007-like story of how Iran might have got the bomb from the CIA. Intelligence is thy middle name, huh?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A man after my own thesis

Dileep Padgaonkar in conversation with Orhan Pamuk, sums up the latter's political predicament: 'He is sceptical of the secular, westernised elite for, in his view, its relentless hostility to religion has steadily deprived it of a spiritual core, a vacuum Islamists have sought to fill with increasing success. But he has no patience for the latter either since they seek to cast a spell on ordinary people with their anti-modern, indeed reactionary, religious rigidity.'

Oh, and he liked Crawford Market, partly because he'd read a description of it in The Moor's Last Sigh and partly because it reminded him of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Britannia badalgaya?

Gordon Brown is contemplating a written constitution for Britain, believing that people's lack of trust in politics has been caused partly by the ability of any government to ignore the many elements of Britain's unwritten constitution. Hear, hear. Unwritten constitutions work only if you have people of...erm...integrity? implementing them.

Madeleine Bunting is cautiously optimistic that 2005 was the year global poverty registered on the British public consciousness (no she's not singing Geldof's praises, so this is worth reading).

...the politics of global inequality has come of age. It has become part of the mainstream in this country, in a way that was unthinkable a decade ago. In the past, third-world poverty did occasionally grab attention, but only when framed as an appeal to respond to a humanitarian crisis. This year marked a step change in the popular understanding that global poverty is about more than dipping your hand in your pocket for the odd pound coin. The involvement of celebrities ensured slots on primetime TV and the attention of newspapers like the Sun, and reached an entirely new constituency. Issues such as trade justice, once regarded as the obscure obsessions of the hairy, the sandalled and the tattooed, are percolating through to your average supermarket shopper.

Churchill would have let him starve to death, but Cameron invokes him in his speeches. What on earth are the Tories up to?

Meanwhile, ominous news from Der Spiegel via The Hindu: the US is contemplating a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. [Remember, you read this first on here]

And where there is satire, there is freedom...and therefore, always, hope for change!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sunday pickings

Hello, I'm back! Happy New Year!

The Observer tells us what to read in 2006. I will be looking out for Londonstani, A Night at the Majestic, and The Great Wall.

Indian cricket is the number-one sports brand in the world? Maybe: 'Sponsorship of the India shirt brings in $27.12million a year - outstripping even the Brazil football deal with Nike ($16million a year) and top clubs Juventus ($22.2m), Chelsea ($17.5m) and Manchester United ($16.8m). The BCCI have completed several major deals in recent weeks, with bidders clambering to be associated with their brand. The biggest is with Air Sahara for $70m over four years. It is estimated Indian cricket generates £90m a year overall.'

My sister and I think he looks like Beethoven. And she got to interview him! Here's the story she filed.

I've been here! Natula in Sikkim, on the Indo-Chinese border. Things I remember: being extremely short of breath, being regaled with stories and mithai by some Sardar army officer, and waving excitedly across no-man's land to a Chinese soldier in a watchtower who grinned at us and waved back with a girlie magazine. Oh, and if you go to Sikkim, stay in Hotel Tashi Delek.

Delhi is in love with its metro. Bengalooreans can only turn green with envy.

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