When two worlds collide

Conflict. Need I say any more. I don’t think so. Lately it’s been more apparent that conflict is an issue in every day, almost every hour of my life. Possibly most other people’s too. Getting on with each other has never been more important as it is now. There’s an anti-human stirring in the air. We have become concerned more and more with who our neighbours are, suspicious of anyone who doesn’t share our views on life or have our tastes, dismissive of anyone who speaks a different language.

I’ll be honest, I don’t like what’s going on at the moment  – people not accepting their muslim brothers and sisters, the Roma, people with mental health issues and learning difficulties -yes the list goes on. I accept that prejudice has always existed, but right now there’s a bad feeling brewing, and acts taken by nations against minority  groups. This way trouble lies. Instead of embracing and accepting where our cultures come from and all that is wonderful about diversity, we have turned and decided to pave a road to damnation. Our world sucks, and we have decided it’s everyone else’s fault not ours.

Yes, it’s a collective ‘we’, bahumbug-itis is prevalent. We have run out of money, we are miserable and it’s everyone else’s fault. Yet there are many people who survive each day on hardly anything, and can still celebrate life.

I am despondent with Britain, I expect better. And it’s our own fault it’s in such a bloody mess. Instead of focussing on education and training, we have been more concerned with making sure we have two toilets in our houses. We have become obsessed with the four walls we live in -beautifying our interiors, cladding our gardens, and holding dinner parties to impress. How truly ephemeral. So where are we at now? We have purty houses and so what!

In sharp contrast, what do the Roma have? What did they give us? And what are we doing with it?

At the moment my conflict lies with trying to see eye-to-eye with some people about the interpretation of culture. The ‘arts world’I work in has people who fluff up their own pomposity about  their knowledge of what they think is their art. My response is to bring them down to earth. Whose art is it – not theirs, it’s ours. And by ours I mean the peasant’s, the Roma’s and of the working class and of any artist who tells the truth about their influences in what they make.

I am bored with this lack of acknowledgement of where art, life, culture comes from. It’ s time to accept influences openly and be proud of our true backgrounds -forget nationalism -that one’s for the desperate. I get fed-up with people who assume to know better -their knowledge is a book-based one, not a life one. I get really pee-d off with people to try to patronise me re their ‘knowledge’ on music for instance, when actually, if they knew anything at all, they would know to keep quiet.

So tell me what you really are, I’d like to know. Don’t tell me what it says on your passport, or what you have a degree in, or how purty your house is. Where did you really come from?

Listening and watching….which way round

Watching humans is fascinating, or so it seems initially. Seeing how they dress, walk and talk through towns when shopping or at events. Often they are oblivious to the animals around them, especially birds and what they are doing. The birds are organising their lives, learning to live off our waste, and of course watching us. Years ago I used to bird-watch with my book of European birds and pencil and paper. Listening to them also became part of the ‘observation’, and then comparing them to humans I knew or met – and I wondered if some people were birds in disguise.

My friend Eryth sent me a lovely card last week, of a young woman sitting on a branch on a starry night cuddled up to a giant snowy owl. They both look contented, each comforting the other whilst silently admiring the night sky. There can be no doubt that they are our friends and are looking out for us, we already know they listen in on our conversations.

I like this, it’s Edwyn Collin’s contribution to birdsongs.