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Russell Brand and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Russell Brand, the man of the moment, whether he’s loved or loathed, hero-worshiped or hated, is causing quite a stir with his revolutionary hullabaloo. Everyone is having their say, from celebrities to social commentators, right-wing politicians to left-wing footballers, he’s being shot down or smothered with love from every angle. Good. Even his biggest critics can see at worst he’s encouraging debate and activity. For a long while (the Big Brother years) I couldn’t turn off the TV quick enough when he appeared with his cock-sure, overtly sexual gesticulations, which were as off-putting as the piece of shit programme he was presenting. But people change. Or some become better entertainers. Continue reading

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Laughing at the fantastic Tesco fiasco

So, Tesco shares have closed the day 6.5% down after they announced profits have been overstated by £263m. Easily done I suppose. Apparently underlying profits have slumped to (a miserly) £783m, down almost 47% on the previous year and sales continued to fall. Good. Fuck ‘em. Some chief exec fella is on his way out too, no doubt with his pockets bulging under the weight of a sizeable cheque and a lifetime of clubcard points. Continue reading

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World Mental Health Day – are we learning?

Today is World Mental Health Day. A day to raise awareness and understanding, to encourage discussion and learning, and boy is it needed. Yes, we are getting there slowly. Very slowly, through intelligent discussion and the work of many fantastic charities and organisations, but as long as our understanding of mental health conditions falls way behind our knowledge of physical problems, our ability to help and support those in need will continue to drop woefully short. Continue reading

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Photos – Summer 2014

Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.

And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.

from In Summer – Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872-1906 Continue reading

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International Day Of Peace – spread the love…

Where are the headlines? Where are the cards, filling the shelves and feeding the capitalist dream? Where is the shared love, the hash tags and social media frenzy, the public obsession or worldwide attention? Who knows today is the International Day Of Peace? This is nothing new. Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, every year the 21st September is marked as a day to honour non-violence and cease-fire, a day to educate and raise public awareness on all peace-related issues, and a day to spread a message of love and compassion, essential for the full attainment of our human rights. What could be more worthwhile? Continue reading

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One world – independence is a state of mind

So this morning I woke up to the news that we are still the same United Kingdom. It looked for a few days recently like that was all about to change as the No Thanks campaign was on a mission to self-destruct, that was until Gordon ‘The Lionheart’ Brown stepped up to the plate. Brown’s passion, intensity and bravado clearly showed up Darling’s consistently feeble efforts, almost willing Scotland to part. Continue reading

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Jeff Lynne’s ELO party like it’s 1979

After working nearly 24 hours over the weekend in Speyside, the prospect of a four-hour drive home to Edinburgh late on Sunday was not an enticing one. It was dark, I was knackered, I had little money, food or energy. The packet of crisps, bar of chocolate and can of glucose beside me was of little comfort. But then I switched on the radio, and quite unexpectedly and magnificently my mood lifted completely. Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra made it happen, such is the wonder of his music. Continue reading

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Israel, Palestine and the emotional geography of domestic abuse: a perceptive and courageous mind at work

Today I am so unbelievably proud of my beautiful wife. Her intelligence, wit and wisdom I have long since been in admiration of, her kindness and compassion too. But her bravery, now more than ever, radiates and shines like a glorious beacon of love, pride and determination. Her own story is horribly familiar to far too many. I’ll go no further into it, instead encouraging you to read her blog, titled Israel, Palestine and the emotional geography of domestic abuse. Continue reading

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Photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson

It’s when you look at the photography of someone like Henri Cartier-Bresson that you realise your own efforts are those of a complete amateur. Cartier-Bresson was the master of street photography, his work had nothing to do with quality of equipment or editing techniques, it was all about capturing the ‘decisive moment’. Whilst that moment was sometimes spontaneous, it was often acquired through persistence and patience, waiting for the right person to enter the frame to complete the image. Continue reading