Thursday, 24 January 2013

snow and communities


I'm trying to settle down and get on with painting pictures, which should be the important thing in my life at the moment, instead of getting embroiled in trans stuff. Which is difficult, as the last fortnight has shown. It's wearisome going through the same old arguments against the same old people saying the same old things from a position of wilful or pretended ignorance. It's like being stuck in a room with a bunch of those troglodytes from Narnia, all chanting "Many come down, but few return to the sunlit lands".

On the bright side, it's been the cause of some jolly good thinking and writing. One component of the us-and-them-ness has been a battle between old media (Batty, Bindel, Burchill, Moore) v social media (a hugely empowering tool for minorities), and there has been misunderstanding or mis-stating of the nature of community, and indeed of where the power lies; in some ways the petulant gruntings of the Old Guard bring to mind  some elderly dinosaurs complaining about those rascally mammals coming over here and taking their jobs. I came up with my useful 'how the internet works' diagram, but Cathy Butler has written a very good article about it, which I strongly recommend. 

 Anyway, I've been away to Crickhowell, which was very nice, as the snow arrived just after I did and made further travel impossible for a couple of days. 



I like the way that people get very cheerful and friendly when it snows. I was also impressed with Powys County Council's snow clearing team; they prioritised the roads, but then they actually had a baby snowplough and a gritter that did the pavements too.

Back in Bristol, I cleared the snow from the path at the front of the house, and  the neighbours walked past and said "Good work! Well done!" and smiled hugely.... but did not do their own path. I mentioned this to a Rather Middle Class type I sometimes encounter (he had employed an enterprising youth to clear his own frontage) and he said "You could offer to do it; make a few pounds!" -which totally missed the point. What the hell is wrong with these people? Twice I've been told that I shouldn't clear the path in case I get sued, it's Health and Safety gone mad. Wrong! No-one is going to get sued for clearing the footpath.

The late Chris Hutt and Jon Rogers did some useful gritting in one of Bristol's hazardous public spaces two years ago; but despite Bristol's new mayor, George Ferguson, making encouraging noises on Twitter, the message just isn't getting out there that we should be more responsible and actively do things to make our community a better place.