Tuesday, January 31, 2006

7/7 Memorial Service

On behalf of "Spark"....

777 Memorial Service

This Tuesday 7th February will be 7 months to the day since the 7/7 London Bombings. To commemorate this and to demand an open-ended public enquiry [into the meta-reasons behind the bombings, and the police handling] a non-denominational Memorial Service will be held outside Downing Street on the morning of the 7th February, a ringing of bells and reading of the names of all those who died that day.

Meet at 8.45 am outside Downing Street.

For more info, please call 0785 439 0408 and check for updates on www.peopleincommon.org

Best Wishes
Mark Barrett

Angry Young Man

Last night I went out with one of my more politically aware mates, and had a caffeine induced rant about politics. It was largely Rachel North's post titled "Angry Young Men" that had got me thinking. Also I've recently experienced as a sudden "waking up" to world affairs, I need to understand what is going on around me, most of my peers don't. That is not healthy.

I got home at about 11pm, still angry and high on caffeine, and I started writing. I wrote a post called "Angry Young Men 2", I wrote about how I am quite angry myself and would consider myself an angry young man. I wrote about how anger is relative and that there are many people further down the scale that are angrier and don't have the ability to vent that anger healthily. I tried to understand why a man only a few years younger than me (Germane Lindsay was 19, I was 22) would be driven to what he did. I wrote about my lack of understanding of the Middle East and today I woke up to the 100th British military death in the war. I went on to criticise my government and the war. But I didn't actually post it, you wont see it on my blog.

I wrote about how of my group of 5 or 6 closest friends, only one of them and myself, haven't been attacked or robbed. In the past 2-3 years one of my friends has been randomly headbutted, punched and robbed twice. Another has been robbed at knife point on a bus. Another has seen one of his housemates dowsed in petrol in the street and attempted to be set alight. Another has been beaten up in a toilet of a bar. I often get verbal abuse, or threats when I'm out. All completely unprovoked, we're just normal decent young blokes and we feel constantly let down. Let down by people our own age that tar our image, the generations above us who accept the image that we're all drug taking thugs, the police that often cannot do anything about these crimes and a government that seems to dismiss what we think.

I'm terrified that if I post something which criticises the war in Iraq (which I feel is wrong) and links this to what happened to me on July 7th that it will be perceived that I am justifying what they did. I am not, I'm trying to understand. I'm terrified that if I publicly criticise the government on here that I will be considered a threat to them. Im terrified that if I compare my (relatively tame) anger to what I guess they were feeling that I will be considered vulnerable to extremists and therefore a threat. I feel I cannot criticise, as to criticise could be interpreted as incitement and justification of these actions. Therefore, I am now angrier than I was before!

Does anyone have any advice? Can I actually publicly criticise my government?

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Designers '06

I finally have some work through as my boss is back from USA on business so I don't have time to write a load of pap on here anymore. Also, I now have applications going through for small grants from the arts council so I can prototype some of my own products. I'm excited to finally start pushing some of my own designs through, whether it is succesful or not. I guess I'm only just getting the drive I used to have back now.

I've also been approached to submit work for New Designers '06 as an update of students one year on in the industry, it would give me real closure if I could get something there and have a successful exhibition. Deadline is end of February so I'd better get back to it, keep you posted!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Keep on Rocking in the Free World!

Had a great night last night!

I went to a pub in town called the Bell and Barrel and saw a local band playing classic rock anthems. Something I haven't done for ages because the last year of uni was so hectic, as work has recently. There's something about rock music that gives me a buzz, just the dirty energy of it. As I looked around we were the youngest people in the whole pub, everyone else was 30+ which was actually quite refreshing. I've spent too much time being dragged around on nights out to places I don't want to go and are usually frequented by 18yr olds. Hope I don't sound like an old fart! Maybe I am... wheres my pipe and slippers?

Anyway, watching them play really brought back the days when I used to spend every weekend going to watch bands big or small, metal or punk in dirty local pubs and 15,000 capacity venues. I haven't seen a decent live band since Reading festival last year, which to be honest I only went to to take my mind off other things. Me and my mates spent most of the night debating whether the singer looked like an overweight Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) or underweight Meatloaf. We never decided.

Last night for a few hours someone would have had to remind me of what happened in London, I was too busy tapping my foot and nodding away. However, they played Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd, which reminded me of Live8, an event that obviously reminds me of July 7th. I wanted to post something without the words "July" and "7th" in I honestly did, but they had to play it didn't they.

I'll be going back next week, who's on? Maybe a midget Bon Jovi, Axl Rose in drag or Alice Cooper one man band? I have no idea, all I know is I shall be there.

Grow up? No way! I'm happy hanging out with all the ageing rockers!

Friday, January 20, 2006

My first blog....

What am I going to write? Initially I’m starting this blog as a record of what I’m doing, and what I plan to do. Plus anything relevant, funny or just plain odd. A bit like me. I am after all just an ordinary twenty-something from a former mining town up north. That town is St Helens, a town just far enough out of Liverpool that I don’t have a scouse accent, but not close enough to anywhere else to give the town an identity to latch onto. St Helens is in limbo, neither one thing or another. I feel the same myself. I’m no longer a student, and am trying to forge a successful career as a designer. My passions are 1950’s designer furniture, design history, photography and music.

Nothing strange there, in fact probably quite boring to you. But before you leave I have something more to tell you…

In July last year I was in London with my University colleagues to promote our work. Little did I know that my world, one of designer furniture and generally what 22 year olds do, would clash with that of a suicide bomber. I suffered head injuries in the Piccadilly line bomb. I could be anyone, even you, but I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not planning writing about that day, it was nearly 7 months ago and it’s all been said before. Besides, the whole point of this blog is to talk about the present and the future, not the past.

Why am I starting to write now? Because although I’ve had a life changing experience, only now is it changing my life. Better late than never!

So what do I make of all this? I’m not sure, and am hoping blogging on here might help me discover that myself. There are a few people writing about what happened that day, how they’re moving on from it and how their experiences have changed their lives so why shouldn’t I? I’m not a writer, a journalist or have any real inclination to start spouting about politics, I’m just an ordinary person, who has experienced something extraordinary. Everyone has their own take on things, their own angle. This blog is my angle.

I believe these blog sites are a kind of virtual soap-box, but at the moment I don’t have a lot to shout about. Soon I might do, hopefully about something utterly ordinary like a great design exhibition I’ve been to or a successful presentation to a client. Watch this space.