Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Sense and Nonsense, clarity and coherence

Sometimes I post incoherent halfthoughts to this blog- I just looked at what I wrote about head/ heart : it’s a complicated thing i want to say and what I wrote seems glib, vague. Maybe writing on phone is slow and I find it difficult to think clearly and maintain a big picture. I want to articulate my thoughts clearly and  and sometimes let my desire to put them out there outweigh the clarity of the content- if I don’t think it’s good then why post it? If it’s not clear why bother saying it? Often incoherence needs blurting out! If what is accepted sense but actually nonsense, needs saying. It is why nonsense comedy - Milligan Lear Python Carroll are so important- pointing out the  nonsense of accepted ways. But even though its in the right direction,  and I makes me laugh at the ridiculousness of things, its unsatisfying,i ts only half the battle. Later it’s complexity can be picked apart, made coherent.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

miniature imaginings

If my desire is to become a powerless performer whose judgement and intelligence is not taken seriously I have already part written the script. Maybe I have been a successful scriptwriter, maybe I’ve failed and been th architect of my own fall from grace. So what?
Echoes of that film I saw about a film director building a city that was the contents of his imagination and falling apart as others wouldn't buy his vision-  and a Belgian theatre piece I saw many years ago, about an imaginary model world in miniature created by a man who could have been a Dickhead Dictator Director, but chose not to build a hierarchy  and bark orders, so he made a miniature version of what he obsessively saw in his head that delighted many and upset no-one. All I wanted was to build a playpen, to set up situations for play and invention to happen but people objected to my rules for play and saw that as oppressive. I found the the power play boring and dismissed it as irrelevant. I shouldn’t have. It has disempowered me and I have retreated from the world, and the politics of power, particularly gender politics is the zeitgeist, the issue of the age.If my desire is to become a powerless performer whose judgement and intelligence is not taken seriously I have already part written the script. Maybe I have been a successful scriptwriter, maybe I’ve failed and been th architect of my own fall from grace. So what?
Echoes of that film I saw about a film director building a city that was the contents of his imagination and falling apart as others wouldn't buy his vision-  and a Belgian theatre piece I saw many years ago, about an imaginary model world in miniature created by a man who could have been a Dickhead Dictator Director, but chose not to build a hierarchy  and bark orders, so he made a miniature version of what he obsessively saw in his head that delighted many and upset no-one. All I wanted was to build a playpen, to set up situations for play and invention to happen but people objected to my rules for play and saw that as oppressive. I found the the power play boring and dismissed it as irrelevant. I shouldn’t have. It has disempowered me and I have retreated from the world, and the politics of power, particularly gender politics is the zeitgeist, the issue of the age.

Friday, 14 December 2018

quiet heart and calm head

However I am feeling, wherever it moves me, it doesn’t change the logic of a potential action. If it’s a good idea rationally, it’s a good idea  whether I’m depressed or high. But
 the fact remains that up til now, I have let feelings dominate my motivation- if I am not feeling it, even if its a sound idea, I won't do it. Is that a bad thing? Dunno. It’s easy to dismiss it superficially as head against heart, and head loses (despite it’s constant  activity and the way that chattering thought dominates my moment to moment consciousness). Despite head’s egotistical denial that heart is its ruler. But maybe I mistake heart (deep, long term) for feeling( passing superficial), and passing thoughts (chattering constant restless) for rational considered strategic  planning. But heart tends to guide head and however much head tries to deny it. ( is this why so many somatic and spiritual paths are so anti-head, deeming it the seat of ego and intellectual chatter). Head is a tool wielded by heart. Look at how protective people are of their home or family.
When quiet heart and calm head act together the action they make is powerful, immovable

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Wilful forgetting becomes habitual forgetting.

Everyday I work things out afresh, riding roughshod over what I’ve ‘decided’ the previous day, which I convert into an onerous todo list. And then, when I look at list to see what I should do, I lose the reason to do the action on the list. But the obligation remains, weighing heavy on me as a meaningless chore that must be done, so I leap on the freedom and freshness of the thing I’ve just worked out and forget the list and wander further away from coherence. I do this everyday! Bluddyhell!
It’s always ‘feel good today  and defer obligations for tomorrow when I can forget them or avoid them when new optimistic things come along
So wilful forgetting becomes habitual forgetting.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Stillness, Shouldness and Creayshun

 It’s easy to mistake stillness for negativity. Some feel emptiness is boring and needs to be filled with action but very often what, at first seems to be empty is, if paid attention to, listened to, full of tiny movement, little sounds; be still and let the action emerge ...

‘that’s all very well, but it ain’t gonna pay the rent or feed my family, is it?’ 

but but...I...I...I have no answer to that position but.. er... I am assuming you to be in a situation where you have the luxury of being able to function beyond covering the basics. I know I know, I find that difficult, I should be different. But I kind of agree .. For me, when I am looking at emptiness I am looking at a depressing void, and what will stop me being sucked into that void is action.  Whether it’s an idea, a distraction, a child or dog, a real life drama- a problem to solve, someone to help- something outside the void. I wouldn’t make a very good monk. I should like solitude but it makes me feel alone. I can't stand the stillness without hearing the shouldness. 
But maybe that shouldness is a wonderful thing, the place from where imagination emerges, the birth, the mirth of all creashun. Bluddy hell, fill that silence what you cookin, for dinner?

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Difference between Doubt and Undermining

I just had a minor setback. kept me awake. I should be able to shrug it off and move to next step. 
Early morning mind whirs ...There has to be a difference between DOUBT and UNDERMINING-let's draw the line: Doubt questions but strengthens, UNDERMINING judges and weakens. DOUBT asks 'Am I doing something wrong? How could I do better?, UNDERMINING says' You ARE doing something wrong! stop it! Stop kidding yourself! give up! do something else!
DOUBTING is present. Its a whole process that concludes with a 'so if that's so, what now ...', UNDERMINING is past. It says 'you've made a mistake. Admit it! Give up!'
The past is dangerous territory. The present is always fertile.
UNDERMINING is negative. its stagnant. It stops you doing anything
DOUBTING can be positive, it can happen while you are moving
Right .. get up get out. must get going, its my 60th birthday soon! Lovel

Friday, 30 November 2018

Questions asked by Ataxia UK for an article in their magazine. Their questions (in bold), my answers

You’ve done a wonderful job in capturing mind-set as treatment; I wonder if you could write a bit more for us about how having a creative process/hobby might help people with ataxia reach that mindset? Unfortunately not everyone with ataxia can control their worry or fears that come with the condition, so it would be lovely to have something to share that’s worked for you.
In terms of physical symptoms I am lucky compared to some with Ataxia - I limp, I use a stick sometimes but I am not in a wheelchair, I fall sometimes but am not in constant pain. I used to be very fit and run a lot, but I often can walk unaided, I would hate to suggest that anyone can deal with it if they set their mind to it, but whatever you condition, mindset, focus is important. 
Each case of  ataxia is unique and each person's tale about how they deal with this horrible condition is a different and individual story that deserves complete respect. All I can do is say what works for me. It is very easy to become despairing or turn to alcohol or medication or get frustrated at doctors, or expect a miracle cure or rage at the moon to distract you attention from your Ataxia but making this show- unpicking my thoughts, playing music has for me provided a welcome distraction from dwelling on my Ataxia. 
Making this show, practising a musical instrument  working on balance and co-ordination and clear speech works on strengthening the things that  Ataxia acts to disintegrate. But any hobby, any activity which takes your whole attention has got to be good thing. If you think of Ataxia as a bloodthirsty destructive animal that sees you as prey and  wants to pull you into its grip and make you feel like a helpless victim A hobby or activity counteracts this and helps you escape, focuss
You can't deny  Ataxia but if you accept it  as part of you and  then focus on what you can do, physically and mentally you are much better equipped to deal with its debilitating aspects.

·         What musical instrument do you play? I sing and play string and keyboard instruments

·         How long have you played it for? I played classical guitar when young, bass guitar in rock group when a teenager and then after studying theatre and dance and being a performer and deviser of performance for many years, I got into singing and making music with other dancers and performers in New York and London

·         Do you write your own music? I make music! -don't really 'write'music, firstly because for me its always about  the physical activity of making sound and listening, and secondly cos I am largely self taught musically. I like working with people hearing their voice hearing what they can do and building things around them.  I have composed ('made up? ' music for the bands I have been in and made scores for theatre and dance . Now I make my own songs -  I have about 30 of them,  I try to remember them all in my head and fingers but when I practice one I'll forget another - that when I really wish I could 'write' music! 

·         Has ataxia affected your ability to play?  Fortunately (touch wood) the ataxia has not affected the touch, movement and sensitivity of my fingers and clarity of my voice although I do need to concentrate harder, but when I was diagnosed, they did not know if it will develop soon or over the next few years. It made me very nervous and scared at first and want to play as much as possible before my motor activity really degenerates

·         When were you diagnosed with ataxia, and what type? Did you have any symptoms beforehand?  My diagnosis is SCA17, and I was diagnosed after genetic testing in  March 2017. I had  physical examinations, X rays, electrical nerve tests. PET scans, MRI scans before they finally diagnosed me. I limp, don't like stairs crowds or noisy places and fall over sometimes. I have always been a bit clumsy, easily distracted and had a short attention span, I used to run and be very physically fit and active but then I am not young anymore, so maybe its partly just getting older.

·         Tell us about your show: what did you get up to, and how did it make you feel? what topics will this show cover? 
It tells the story of my diagnosis and use of  a walking stick, riding abike succeeding then falling, gaining confidence, losing it.. its about using the time and energy I have and includes many of my own songs using words, whistles, humming, vocal sound and invented languages. I wonder if I am dramatising just by talking about it, but given the dilemma of either denying it or on one hand or allowing it to depress me, I believe the only path is to be conscious of it and then carry on regardless. I am waiting to hear about funding now. I believe everyone  involved in live performanceshould be paid for their work, that includes performers, tech staff, lighting and set designers, costume, and management. we are all professionals, giving expertise and time to making the show happen in front of a paying audience!

·         Do you think creating something like you have has helped your mind set and helped you cope with your ataxia diagnosis? Yes it has helped me come to terms with my diagnosis, examine my fears and stopped me plunging into the pit of despair,. Hopefully it has also raised lot of laughs and moved a few hearts. A diagnosis of Ataxia is a frightening thing and can easily draw you into despair. Making this show fights and lightens this, and raises awareness of the condition  While I have my faculties ( sounds dramatic!) I want to make something people can remember.

Falling off my bike/ 'Risk Assessment'

I fell off my bike a couple of days ago and cut and bruised myself. What has has me falling off my bike got to do with risk assessment?
I was full of physical confidence  to get over my Ataxia so I wore  tracksuit trousers and sweatshirt and thought 'cycle to park and get strong' None of this physical and mental safetyfirst timidity and so I got on bike. I was stationary at a junction with busy road, waiting for aspace in the traffic near Balcombe Street and fell sideways inexplicably and lay in road for a few seconds, I tried to get up, thinking I haven't hurt myself really and I tried to stand up from road but couldn't get up, my brain sent message to my arms and legs to get up, but they didn't respond a nearby pedestrian ran over to me as a number82 bus avoided me, and helped me to my feet, I felt a little silly and thanked but assured him I was ok, but as I walked on I thought I had better get checked over. I locked my bike up- I wasn't going to cycle again and went to an nearby co-op supermarket and asked to use their first aid kit.  I rolled up my trouser leg to reveal a very bloody knee -the fall had knocked  off a scab from my previous fall. I was cleaned and bandaged up by the bloke in the supermarket. I felt well lookedafter and limped out of the shop, confidence severely dented.
I haven't dared to get on the bike since. That was 3 days ago and have been thinking about how to get confidence  back but without physical risk.
Many achievements come from just going for it and ignoring worry and caution. I have found that when I  list dangers the sensible option seems to be don't try anything. How do you draw the line between a debilitating worry and a genuine risk?
Maybe I can get fit and strong without the 'risk' of cycling. But  a voice in the back of my head cries 'wuss' at me,  but it is always possible to be out of you comfort zone, extend your possiblities without risking fragile flesh on tarmac. Brute reality: flesh is softer than tarmac. I am mostly fine but unpredictably lose all coordination and balance.
so much as though I love hurtling along carefree on a bike, cycling for me is off the menu, but I hope I don't become too timid.
Hmm maybe I should go into risk assessment - "Assessing risk for a big company is easy. Its like falling off your bike ....'

Thursday, 8 November 2018


 So... I get to the Festival Hall to queue for Michelle Obama tx at 8 am.Tickets were going on sale at 10. Plenty of time I thought. My daughter really wanted to see Michelle in person, but  unbeknownst to moi, so did 30,000 other people, online on phone and in person. It was chilly as I joined the queue at the bottom of Hungerford Bridge. They hadn't opened the doors yet and the crowd snaked round the building. Commuters hurried, staring past the queue, uncomprehending, making their way from Waterloo across the bridge to work in West End. Here  was a graphic representation of class and race in Britain (if ya wanna go that way) most people in the queue were black, most of the commuters were white. I must have stuck out like a sore thumb in the queue. At 9.05 a cheer erupted from the front of the queue, round the corner and about 40 yards and 120 people away. The cheer was for opening the doors: we could carry on queuing in the warm now. We moved inside, the queue snaked around the foyer, the box office terminals were still off. I, nursing wounds from trying to get on a bike yesterday and falling off,  gratefully found a chair and sat for fifteen minutes before the queue  moved forward a few  feet
At just gone 11am I didn't know what to do, we were nearing the front of the queue but  the ushers told us there were no more tickets. People were beginning to get annoyed and looking anxiously into their phones connecting to the South Bank website 'Welcome to the queue' it said. Back to the real world. I stopped peering into my neighbours phone and look at the scene in front of me -  still no tickets. The ushers, while trying to deal with the queue, were doing their best dealing with an uncertain situation and swiftly changing information in their earpieces,. I checked my phone, it was dead, out of juice, so I borrowed a phone and called Jasmeet to warn her. I had to open the shop at 12  and there was a customer waiting, she said.  I might be late opening the shop I said.
'Sold out' they announced at 11.20. I left the queue and hurried to make my way to the shop by 12. I got to shop at 1202 and called again to let the shop know that I  had arrived. ‘Oh that customer is not coming ‘ I needn’t have rushed. I was obviously flustered I don't know if I heard clearly but I think she said "you will rise nicely" quelling my seething, perturbed spirit. Yes life goes on, we rise above these little traumas. Yes but I would like my daughter to have seen Michelle. But then later when I text her to let her know of queuing in the early morning  cold for non existent tickets she texts me ‘it’s chil dw’[‘don’t worry’], oblivious to my efforts. Hmm, I decided not to educate my unhearing daughter on the finer points of the difference between needless anxiety and heartfelt concern. On we go ... 3 hours in the cold though ... on we go

Tuesday, 23 October 2018


Have never really thought about strategy. 
last year with all its blows, was about next step and short term survival.
 But now I have to plot the next stage of my life carefully.
What do I want? What can I do? What am I able to do? Who can I carry?
Strategy is more to do with dream and bringing into being an imagined world. 
But in order to realise it, like a chess player you have to win and outwit the opposition.
Many think that’s why strategy is often seen as cold  logical and calculated  and excludes desire
But again, as always, the rational, the logical, the strategic, is a tool at the service of what the heart wants to make happen  

Friday, 12 October 2018

tat prat

I’m glad I don’t have tats 
Cos once you got them that’s that
Gross, its downhill from then on

and another thing…

What a pretentious and slimy thing.
particularly those vaping things that look like miniature spirits bottles 
looks like the person  is glugging then huge clouds of smoke appear
a picture of craven addiction
 its pretending in 2 big ways:
Pretending to smoke
and pretending you want to give up
don’t believe you either way
If you wanna give up just do it but don’t pretend you do but can’t

as for vapers with tats ..

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Usually those people who urbanely  bleat about ‘in the real world’ are the narrow unreal ones. 

Don’t they realise that those they accuse of ‘ not living in the real world’ or ‘ never had a real job' or  whatever, are part of the world they live in? 

The real world is a big  mishmash of many people and many views. Maybe they need to open their eyes to the variety of the real world  rather than exclude anyone who doesn’t share their blinkered view of the world.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Get a Dog

I recently rediscovered this that I wrote a couple of years ago while in Scotland at parental home wondering what I was doing there. A friend had just advised if you are on your own get a dog. This mixes thoughts but seemed right about change, transformation and this time:

‘Get a dog'
Keep the dog happy and then your happy,
 no time to worry 
A dog's life is short-
several dogs lives fit into a human life
 so you get to accept the ageing of the loved dog, waning energies and dying 
And how the new pup has some the old dog's traits
 but with younger eager vigour

Dad always wanted a dog  
but Mum was always anti dog;
people are so much more interesting’ she said
She raised  5 children
and wanted to capture life in the things she collected,
But now the family is grown and gone just the shells remain;
The books are still on the shelves,
but the age of the book has passed as all things must
The energy has gone out of this household 

It's ok ma,
We carry our poetry within us
It's not been captured and translated into visible things;
Money or books on shelves,
But  though we thank you ma for birthing nurturing and nudging the bud 
be warned you don't know
you may be surprised 

by the way in which we grow

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

On Sunday morning I went for walk and coffee and as I was walking through marylebone station there was a film shoot in progress- big crew, lots of big lights podiums and cameras probably about 20crew several actors and extras, trying to film a busy station scene- in a busy station. Why were there extras dressed up as ordinary people?
 why didn't someone just wander round the station with an unobtrusive hi definition camera and record what was happening?
 I sat at an empty table by the AMT coffee stall and watched. They did one take then the table I was sitting at filled up with extras, shepherded there by one of the crew. I imagined a line down the middle of the table with fact on one side and fiction on the other,  the extras on one side and me on the other ( maybe that’s disingenuous- by being aware of the narrow line between fact and fiction makes me fictional?) and was in this fiction that was trying to recreate fact. The line was moving I was no longer watching this scene , I was in shot. One of the extras tried to check out whether I was an 'official'  extra. I said no. he said 
"you should get paid for this- I'll point out the man you have to talk to . You're within your rights"

 I wondered whether to try but didn't want the argument and paper work to get afew pounds, even if it was an ad for SKY who have gazillions. I sloped off. Maybe I should have been more aggressive but bloody hell this was 8am on my Sunday morning.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

when does a blemish become a story?

From a refurbished computer apologetically sold at reduced price with some light scratches to a tatty antiquarian book that has passed through many hands: at what point does wear and tear  and it’s marks become an interesting story and increase the interest in a used thing?

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Don and Mel

Yesterday I posted this:
‘So here I am this morning next to Regent’s Park wow!how balanced and calm I am despite Don boy and Mel being so close- less than1/2 a mile away, staying in US ambassadors residence at Winfield House.. no, just cos he’s US pres and very nearby , I’m not going to let that deluded pipsqueak disturb my early morning ritual. 
Oh bloody hell,  a HUGE motorcade of big black vehicles with a police escort just went by. Couldn’t see inside the big limo it had darkened windows.’
But an hour later when leaving the park I saw an identical motorcade heading down to central london. The first one must have was a decoy - false news to confuse.

NO don
GO don
NO don
GO don
GO don

NO don
GO don

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Bigg planz

Dohn’t giv mi yaw bigg planz
I'moanli intrestid in your nek stepp.
luk at wot’s aroundu,

luk at wot’s possibul

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

there is a way of concentrating

There is a way of concentrating- trying but relaxed, not caring but committed ; going for it, not letting depressive fatalistic thoughts stop you whilst going,but letting go as soon as you mess up and trying again.  It’s difficult to find the right words for this. It’s a bit illogical but the body knows

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Narcissism or Determination?

How to succeed as a smug psychologist: Make a diagnosis, say,  of a narcissist: ’grandiose vain and egotistical’ then make a seemingly profound scientific statement based on the same criteria: ‘research has shown that most narcissists are grandiose, vain and egotistical’
‘Ooh they are nasty and you are clevva! that explains things then …’

OR …

a narcissist shows dogged determination to jump back on the horse and try again even though the rational thought is ‘your really not very good, accept reality give up and join the rest of us (well, we the sensible ones who know whats what)’


’thats not narcissism that just determination, and a realistic, sober self-assessment of what one can do’


what is a successful psychologist? a narcissist

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Apparently ...

Apparently if you smile you run faster.

That's fine, only I can't really run any more 
so why should I smile?

'yes but maybe if you smiled...'

Monday, 4 June 2018

Blogpost for Ataxia UK


After genetic testing, I was diagnosed with SCA17 after genetic testing, in March last year. I have been coming to terms with my diagnosis since then and going through fear (I am 59- a fact sheet informed me that SCA17 people rarely live beyond 60) to acceptance to action.’Its best to deny you diagnosis’ a friend erroneously advised.There were various Ataxia FB groups I joined - its good to be in touch with other who are going through some of the same  things. As it is degenerative and currently there is no cure, then Ataxia in all its forms is  understandably depressing.
For me coming to terms with my diagnosis has been about maintaining mental balance even on bad days and staying buoyant in my spirits and physiology. 
There are many stories of humour and bravery by Ataxians but understandably, a depressive energy sometimes surfaces on those forums.There is sometimes an expectation that doctors will deliver a miracle cure and meanwhile, Ataxians are told to exercise and diet. That is treatment as much as any drug or expert advice. The only way I can come to terms with this dreadful diagnosis is to accept it and self manage in collaboration with the doctors. Even if the doctors know more facts, the Ataxian has to deal day to day with its effects. You  and the doctors both are experts, so is your family or anyone who knows you and helps. Its a collaboration but you,  the Ataxian has to deal with it. Live with it but don’t let it stop you living your life. If you are prescribed exercise and diet as the best thing for you -yes thats treatment! go for it! Its likely to be better physically and psychologically than waiting helplessly for a miracle drug to come along. That may or may not be going to happen— if it does its wonderful - but it doesn’t seem wise to rely on something that isn’t there yet. Learning to stay buoyant and optimistic on bad days is treatment. Anything that makes your situation more bearable is treatment.

Making a new show has been part of my way of coping with my situation. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. My diagnosis with Ataxia meant I’d better make it soon while I still can.This is just my story; everyone with Ataxia will have their own story to tell; of how their Ataxia develops, how they coped, how their family and loved ones coped, how they adapted, denied or whatever. Although their are similarities of symptoms across the range of Ataxians, no -one’s stories are the same, and everyone needs to be heard. I am lucky, in that my case is milder than some and I am able to articulate my experience and put it into a show, but remember that every Ataxian, however ill they are, those unable to speak, those whose condition has made it harder to communicate, have as rich particular, funny, varied and personal story to tell. 
Wot drama!  


if you have insight
you can use it cynically
and reject most things
decide why not and be separate

but maybe your insight 
enables you to take a view 
where you can see the next step

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Pelotons become Flocks

 This sunny blue morning i got out my house to exercise, get calm, clear my fuzzy head and had to cross a road to get to park but could not because of a huge peloton of sweaty men, 30 of them bombing round on bike fast. The paunchy sweaty pelotons are getting bigger and bigger and beginning to resemble flocks of birds.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

I left house at 6.30am and as I walked down the street I overhead some passers by- trendy girls on their way to school, talking in English hip hop language but posh-like’get down with the Streetz ‘we iz’ mixed with ‘ok yaah’. But our voices say where we’re really from... or maybe it’s aspirational? Dunno but posh English hip hop it most definitely was.(language change and development is unpredictable, always surprises and cannot be legislated or controlled, but...

Saturday, 21 April 2018

MOST people admit their lives are too complicated,
they have to be different things to different people,
They exist simultaneously in parallel universes as if its easy
but will not talk from within one universe about that universe... 
no-one wants to admit who they are. Everyone's a spy
Maybe old versions of what were thought of as realities of who one is, no longer exist.
It’s difficult to find self language.
Everyone lives in several bubbles including the bubble of their own making

Friday, 13 April 2018

Be More Decisive than your gadgets

Part of the way humans allow computers to get the upper hand is by being floaty and indecisive; 
Mindless surfing means you get led by algorithms that will get increasingly accurate. 
They will develop far quicker than a floaty habit blind human.
You are an algorithm with heart and smell

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Cash Cow?


In bed 6.15am. Remembering a ‘friend’ of a friend turning to me years ago and asking casually ‘what’s your cash cow then?’ And I didn’t know what she was talking about. I had never heard of this ‘cash cow’ thing that everybody is meant to have. She assumed I like everyone around her, had some private income. I must have given that impression. Why? why? why? I hate how class ridden and money concerned this country is. Maybe I had drifted into that world without realising it; I could pass and play the twat. It flattered me but how naive. I don’t like myself sometimes.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Listening to cassette, wondering about timing

Sometimes it seems quite arbitrary what I choose to carry with me when going through and saving some things from my parents household, but for some reasonI have saved the cassette of ‘Jazz on a Summers Day 15 Jazz classics’ which has, track 2 side 1, Sarah Vaughan singing 'Summertime.' 
Listening to it on an old beatbox while I potter about the kitchen and thinking of how most music is quantised and regularised and then I think of the precision and freedom combined of jazz musicians, and Sarah Vaughan and the bands ragged and precise timing and how weird it is. You could get all analytical and decode what is happening in there, but it’s all felt and I bet all players involved would laugh if you asked them to analyse exactly what is happening. 
‘That is the way she sang and we went with it’ I  can imagine them saying, downplaying their probably unconscious sensitive musicianship
Pre digital playing  is so different- there is always compromise and sensitivity there. Hard to keep that sensitivity in a digital world. 
(I say this knowing how bad my timing can be, but knowing the importance of being in tune and time whether digitally achieved or achieved sensitively).
Maybe that in the digital binary world there is less room for mistakes or happy accidents to be assimliated.
 In the digital binary world something is either 'wrong' or 'right'. The real world is a bit looser- good or bad?

Thursday, 1 March 2018


When I were a mere yoot of 45
I still felt 25
but now I am 55
(I lie about my age, I'm actually 59)
I am, under no illusions
and dreams are in the past and I imagine
Being 65, 75, 85

Friday, 9 February 2018

Isn’t it a bit spooky that the Round Reading Room at the centre of the British Museum. one of the most spectacular places in London, lies empty locked and unused?
Apparently many young people now are not interested in the past. They see it as irrelevant.
I spoke to a man sitting at a desk, a museum employee at  the membership desk yards from the  Reading Room and talked to him. He said it had been closed for years. He didn't know what was happening to it. He talked as if it wasn’t there. There were thousands of people, mainly tourists in the museum, yards from the Reading Room, walking round its outside walls.
Its huge, the centre of the Great Court, its circular form the inspiration for the design of the roof, the centre of the museum, you cannot miss it, yet it is as if it is not there. Empty, locked and unused

Very very very strange.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Kinds of Knowing, Kinds of Doing

1. Does the amount the amount of data around, which enables experts and policy makers to see the big pictures hinder on-the -spot decision making? 
After reading reports on news websites of global views on food distribution child slavery and seed production, and then working on my own  rules for performance w'shops based on intuitive body knowledge, I am wondering how much constantly seeing a big picture means reliance on data, distance and an imagined ‘objectivity’ .Maybe things that happen on a smaller, more immediate level are missed.
Specifically body work, which  essentially is sensory small experiential and intuitive vs data, which essentially is big and head/brain/thought orientated. Out of date  debate, between head and body needs to be moved beyond so thought and direct bodily response are brought closer together. But, of Kahneman’s two kinds of thinking: system 1( intuitive, fast) & 2( rational, slow) thinking -  Which is prevalent now? Most seem to favour system 2 thinking.

2. I try to get the big picture of the multiple projects I have (stories film songs poems, etc) and in the end find myself getting daunted by the totality and can’t concentrate on any of them, yet if I get immersed in thinking about any one project I get excited at the possibilities and have ideas within it but lose the big picture.
There is loss of power to do with losing the over view- manager’s worry! maybe its just anxiety - getting absorbed in one project may take attention away from trying to maintain and control the overview but nothin gets completed unless you do. but maybe instead of thinking of anxiety as needles worry why not take its onset as the need for a decision - maybe if you are getting absorbed in one project and losing the overall picture, the appropriate action night be delegate responsibility to the one projectwhich frees you to  zoom out and take the overview

Monday, 15 January 2018


Old printers in Venice in the early days of printing had a motto- FESTINA LENTE (translated: HURRY SLOWLY.)
At first glance a contradictory and nonsensical motto but when was doing purely rational? 
A recognition of the painstaking and precise work needed to prepare a book for printing and recognition of deadlines and need to get things finished. 
It seems a sound attitood to most things.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Hanging in there

As I get older I am less inclined to judge other  directors/creators aesthetically- I used to be very harsh on others work but now I recognise and applaud the way they have stayed working. The longer one stays in the making performance/theatre game the more it displays  a passion for the work as an only option- you do it for love of your craft. The'we' becomes more important than the competitive 'I'  and respect for having chosen to hang in there, in spite of everything. It's a stance to the world of ‘that’s what I am’ and  craft and experiences merge with to lessen aesthetic differences

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Ataxia, reality and humour

Since my diagnosis with Ataxia I have been connected with the Ataxia community  through online digests etc. I like and want to be with the bravery the humour, the can do spirit of the Ataxic community- that’s exciting and energising, but unfortunately because of gloomy medical prognosis there is a lot of the atmosphere of depression and dependence about it - but rough with the smooth - there is a lot of superficial feel good and also superficial feel bad.
 Almost .. but the brave funny spirits win!?
We are all gonna die someday. 
How to be positive while admitting dark truths. 
That’s where the jokes are...

Friday, 12 January 2018

Why does putting crucial things to do in a list make them less crucial? I have lots of VERY IMPORTANT things to do otherwise my life becomes dysfunctional. I write them down.
I look at my to do list and all becomes  a blur. The act of putting them in a list is NOT getting them done. It’s an illusion- it’s just a bit of organisation and the organisation removes the anxiety and urgency. Putting things in a list starts to remove any sense of needing to get the thing done before moving on to the crucial things ... Maybe this is just playing with putting felt things into words - unnecessarily nit picky and complex this articulating of feelings, putting feelings into words- maybe that is the myth of our culture up to now- that if a feeling is articulated, put into words that it’s ok, it’s rationalised. Maybe to a future generation, whose language has evolved visually through emojis pictures gifs memes etc, ( and other ways we have not imagined yet) our  reliance on the word will seem hopelessly naive, and deluded. Or language will be a combination of visual and verbal- words are pretty good and the ancient Egyptians found heiroglyphics limiting. I ramble...

Monday, 8 January 2018


I used to believe in high art,
honing your craft,
but theatah even if its beautiful is all narcisism, competition bravado trickery laughs and bums on seats,
Performing is low art.

Sunday, 7 January 2018


(to fellow sufferers and those less fortunate than me)

Sometimes it  dominates me and I am a clumsy weak oaf
Sometimes it is nothing and I feel graceful and 'whats the fuss about?'
Some people don’t see it, for others it’s ‘poor Jon he can’t run or jump or jar his limbs.’
If I manage it well and live within its limitations, it almost disappears 
but if I am in crowded noisy hilly places I lose balance. 
If i try and do stuff in a strange place or in a strange way 
i might get frustrated with myself and not be able to function. 
So what’s different from me and the average 59 year old? 
Yes I’m dysfunctional and falling apart like all my peers (whatever their gender). 
A piece of paper from a respected medical authority after genetic testing? 
Maybe that’s the difference. I am authenticated. 
Maybe I am more fortunate than many Ataxia sufferers who have it much worse than me- 
I have heard horror stories 
but I do know that if you find a way to limit dependence on medication and the medical system and self manage your Ataxia, 
and be surrounded with supportive loved ones, 
life is richer, better and warmer