Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pranking for Change: Astoria Scum Bridge

Cute little video about a project by Jason Eppink and Posterchild whose urban prank embarrased the local government to fixing a street problem. How great is that?!

All you need to know about Manchester City Council

…Well, everything you need to know in under five minutes.

Marc Hudson of Manchester Climate fortnightly and a million other ambitious project has put together a five-minute vid on Manchester City Council and the Environment which every activist in Manchester should watch. Despite people running around proclaiming the rise of globalisation and a global village, in reality the local level politic is where the average person can have an impact.  So knowing your stuff on a stuff locally makes a lot of sense.

I am sure Marc won’t mind me saying that it’s a pretty rough-n-ready video but it delivers what it promises and more would be appreciated.


[Artwork information: Emmesse, Townhall. Emmesse is a local artist who is best known for his surreal cityscapes and whose work is displayed in Mooch Art Gallery in the Triangle, City Centre.] ~ I thought this was a really cool portrayal of the M’cr Townhall …I like it~

Last Chance Saloon: Climate Change Leaders

Five days ago, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moo named Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres as the organization’s top official on climate change to replace Yvo de Boer of the Netherlands who had quit during the disastrous Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, December 2009.

Mark Edwards/ Still Pictures

Just over 165 days ago, leaders of the world met to set real targets to tackle global climate change through mitigation (reduction of CO2) and adaption (resilience and dealing with climate change) and came up with pretty much nothing solid.

Nada.

Zilch.

It was pretty horrendous- some would say as was expected- and it brought to my mind something that Mark Edwards an environmental photographer I met during his Hard Rain exhibition in Manchester said:

I  think this (Copenhagen) is the last opportunity for governments to govern on this issue, and if they don’t come up with a clear plan that takes us to the point where our scientists are saying is necessary… Then it becomes a citizens imperative and we will have to act if we are at all concerned as a species.

With David Cameron now proclaiming that he wants the coalition government to be the ‘greenest ever’, it is really enough to make you wonder. Especially as Cameron failed to make any commitments to cut the UK’s emissions, to cut airport expansion, coal or to discuss any post-Copenhagen agreements.

As Deborah Doane, director of the World Development Movement says  “History will judge this government on its green credentials by its policies to cut the UK’s emissions dramatically and getting a fair international climate deal, not by turning off its lights at night.”

Well put.

Nakba Day and ‘Seven Jewish Children’

Yesterday, May 15th, marked the anniversary of the Nakba ( or catastrophe) back in 1948 when Palestine became an occupied nation and its people were scattered across the world. It’s an important time to see the Israel-Palestine situation with a focus on the Palestinian story and the start of their struggle which has culminated (so far) in apartheid walls, checkpoints, a siege, a war and the increased harassment of Palestinian human rights activists not only in the West Bank but also in Israel.

Whilst it’s easy to focus on Palestinians myself included who have now grown up in a country that is not their own and are stuck in a strange limbo or those who are trying to continue living in whatever dignity they are afforded in the Occupied Territories, I guess the Nakba really isn’t the start of the story. That goes back a lot further to the holocaust, the pogroms and even further back.

Now, the fate of Palestinians and Israelis are intractably intertwined and I think Caryl Churchill’s play ‘Seven Jewish Children’ perfectly illustrates this and also the eerie brutualisation that both Jews and Palestinians have now experienced one at the hand of the Nazis, the other at the hands of Israel.

Carol Ann Duffy and Democracy

It feels really strange to think that I am now officially living under a Conservative government- it’s a strange mix of horror and morbid curiosity. I have a theory that curiosity is the main reason we don’t learn from history. We just wanna see that mess with our own eyes, I guess.

Anyway, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy wrote an eloquent poem about the whole fiasco of an election which refers to poor old Gordon Brown and also the scandal of people getting turned away at polling stations.


Democracy

Here’s a boat that cannot float.
Here’s a queue that cannot vote.
Here’s a line you cannot quote.
Here’s a deal you cannot note …
and here’s a sacrificial goat,
here’s a cut, here’s a throat,
here’s a drawbridge, here’s a moat …
What’s your hurry? Here’s your coat.


Daria: The Kick-Ass Cartoon Feminist of a Generation

Daria.

That probably means nothing to alot of people but Daria was the most amazing cartoon on TV when I was growing up back in the late 1990’s.

It followed this moot-smart-ass geek girl who just didn’t give a crap and was so funny- not in a depreciating way but in a genuinely you-are-all-the-real-freaks-and-will-one-day-realize-it kinda way.. It was just sooo good and subversive that I kinda look back now and wonder how the hell it ever made to the TV screen!!

Well, the news is that it’s now on DVD and all I can think is what the hell took it so long and what ( if it exists) is today’s equivalent of Daria??

With all the musicals and hannah montanna chipmunk faces around, I kind wonder if what the world really needs it a bit of Daria-esque inspired realism..

Can we afford Equal Pay? Women, Work and the Media

It’s not often that I read something in the papers that really annoys me. That has something to do with the fact that I don’t read a paper regularly (we have the internet to blame for that!) and that I refuse to pay for the tat the Sun/Mirror/Daily Mail print but I was so miffed reading the front page article of the Metro the other day that I actually kept it as proof that I wasn’t just being over-senstive  (well, it was before 8am so anything is possible!).

The article was basically about a new ruling which found that female cleaners, cooks and care assistants in Birmingham City Council had been denied equal pay for years and were now finally granted compensation. Only thing is, the story wasn’t painted as Erin-Brockovich-style-justice but more of greedy women out to grab more money at the expense of others. For example, the sub-header read the equal pay ‘defeat’ rather than ‘victory’… but who exactly is losing out here…??

Despite highlighting the fact that female workers were excluded from bonuses paid to men that were worth upto 160% of their salaries and that whilst a grade 4 female care assistant was paid £12,291 and the highest paid male refuse worker was paid £50,000,  the main concern was that the council was facing a huge bill of compensation (which I am sure will be blamed at some point for various deteriotations in local services).

So rather than celebrating the move towards equal pay for women, you are left wondering whether we can really afford the (apparent) luxury of equal pay…

None of the women who were fighting for equal rights were featured or mentioned (not sure if that has anything to do with legal issues) and I really don’t see how we are going to relate/sympathize/support these women when all we can focus on is the  CLEANED OUT! header and the £500m bill.