& after all that…

the comfy chair

I’ve been taking it easy the past week, what with having a bad cold & no internet. Hopefully, everything will be working again by the start of next week & hopefully a few of the other projects I’m working on will have come together well enough to announce. There will be a fanfare. Meanwhile, I’ve finished uploading all my good Paris photos, which you can find on Flickr. They’re not in any conceivable order.

See you next week!

Amelia

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Rights of Man

libres comme l'art

The “rights of man & of the citizen” are the rights of those who make them a reality.”

-Ranciere, Hatred of Democracy

Don`t just wait around for someone to offer you `rights`. Take them. Remember that chick who wouldn`t get off that bus? Some people said she didn`t have the right to be sat there. A hundred years ago and some, I wouldn`t have had the right to vote. A few decades ago, homsexuals didn`t have the right to get married. What changed? Those groups, and people who believed in statements like the one above, said “HEY, hang on a minute. We want these rights. We HAVE these rights already. It`s just time for you to recognise that.” If you want freedom, act as though you are free.

The paragraph leading up to this statement is pretty long & political but I`m going to type it up anyhow.

We do not live in democracies. Neither, as certain authors assert – because they think we are all subjected to a biopolitical government law of exception – do we live in camps. We live in States of oligarchic law, in other words, in States where the power of the oligarchy is limited by dual recognition of popular sovereignty & individual liberties. We know the advantages of these sorts of States as well as their limitations. They hold free elections. These elections essentially ensure the same dominant personnel is reproduced, albeit under interchangeable labels, but the ballot boxes are generally not riged & one can verify it without risking one`s life. The administration is not corrupt, except in maters of public contracts where administration is confounded with the interests of the dominant parties. Individual liberties are respected, although there are notable exceptions here to do with whatever relates to the protection of borders & territorial security. There is freedom of the press: whoever wants to start up a newspaper or television station without the assistance of the financial powers will experience serious difficulties, but he or she will not be thrown into prison. The rights of association, assembly & demonstration permit the organisation of democratic life, that is, a life which is independant of the State sphere. `Permit` is obviously an ambiguous word. These freedoms were not the gifts of oligarchs. They were won through democratic action & are only ever guaranteed through such action. The `rights of man & of the citizen` are the rights of those who make them a reality.

Opinion & validation; what to do with personal criticism

daisy kisses

Recently, a friend of mine went through a break-up where, as in many break-ups, criticisms were levelled and accusing statements were bandied about; accusations which he very much took to heart, stating that they were ‘probably true’ because this girl ‘knew him best’. To this I said ‘Bollocks’. I also said some more constructive words but to take anything anybody says about you ever as the actual truth is bollocks (particularly if you’re breaking up with that person!)

The More Constructive Part

Our actions affect other people; according to Sartre we are only ourselves due to other people’s presence because it’s jolly difficult to be generous with no-one to give to. Other people see you as arrogant/pompous/generous/caring/kind/selfish because they are traits which have to involve other people. Outside people feel the repercussions of your actions (that little temper tantrum caused more pain than you thought) & they can tell you how you appear. APPEAR being an important word here.

So someone has watched you, interacted with you, chatted with you and has levelled a criticism at you…what happens now? Maybe they do know you better than you think you know yourself…maybe they are right…maybe you should take yourself off somewhere you can’t hurt people anymore…OR

You can take the criticism and lay it out to review. (If you can, get examples & pinpoint events which caused the problem). This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do; looking at yourself ‘flaws’ & all and analysing them, but it’s better than deciding someone else is just right about what you’re like and living according to that.

So.

Why did you act that way at that time? What were your intentions? What did you expect the outcome to be? Did you realise you were acting like a douche/asshole/child/saint? Did you realise that you’d hurt somebody? Do YOU think the criticism is fair?

Get a second opinion, if you like, then analyse that too.

The Conclusions

1) The Criticism is off the mark. – You might want to have a sit down chat with your friend there. Let them know your intentions & opinions and ask them why they perceived the situation so differently. Often, people’s judgement’s have more to do with them than you.

2) Yeah, they’re pretty much right. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE. This doesn’t mean you have to sew ‘selfish bitch’ in where your name tag would be. This means decision time. Does it bother you to be thought of that way? Do you want to be less arrogant/altruistic/sanctimonious/cranky? Or do you want to stop hanging out with such judgemental people? If you want to not be seen that way any more it’s time to sit down and look at the triggers and reasons for your actions and figure out a way to change that.

And the rest…

IF the criticisms are negative and YOU do decide they’re true, then KNOW that nothing which is true of you has to be true forever. I have been a depressed person and I have been a self-pitying person and I have been an angry person. And for a long time, these were ways I defined myself, to me, and how other people knew me. (Getting called self-pitying was just the start of a mad wake up call.)

Nobody’s opinion is the complete truth of you. (They would have to live in your brain to know exactly why you acted like a pompous ass. I like to think of Oh, Mr. Darcy. Acted like an ass, but really, best man in the world.)

Most people have their own agenda for judging others, or viewing behaviour in a certain way; often fear/jealousy/anger. If you think they’re wrong, don’t fret it. If you think they’re right, sort it out.

Ultimately…

Living via how you think somebody else thinks of you…it’s crippling, emotionally and mentally. It’s your life to live, your body to love, and you can do and act how you like, even if that person is perceived as an arrogant bastard. Are you happy? Fulfilled? Rock it. There’s no reason in the world to think badly of yourself, since once you think it, you can change it. IF YOU WANT.

Amelia

Trashion: Cordoba Style

there's nothing to it

I got to wear sunglasses! This, the 24th, was the first, and only, day of proper nice sun last week.

grinz

& this is Lia, who I am staying with, ranting with, eating with, partying with & who reads this blog. See how she’s pretty? (Also, she took the photos of me.)

strike a pose

Yeah, just casually chillin’ out beneath an orange tree in Spain, y’know how it is.

Sunglasses – free from my friend the barman, from the lost property box, but technically Accessorize.
Pashmina – found it in the street. INDISPENSABLE for travelling. Can be used as a scarf, beach towel, shawl (particularly when going into churches), hood, skirt &c&c
Dress – Lollipop…got it at a stall in Bristol, love the pockets and giant buttons.
T-shirt – topshop. Button sleeves!
Jacket – random hippie shop in Brighton

feets

Leg parts…Socks are from h&m, I think, maybe…Shoes from Rocket Dog. They’re like trainers but flats – very good sole on these. Rocket Dog shoes are generally pretty durable and good for walking in.

eh?

Lia face. I have no idea where her clothes come from, except for her dress which I gave her, which I bought at a market stall in Broadstairs, Kent, during Folk Week.

Other outfits, other days;

stolen layeringstolen clothes

Skirts – stolen from Lia. Click through for provenance of other clothes, but you’ll be disappointed. I have no idea where half my clothes are from. They’re either gifts, market buys or brandless, or I find them.

Where do you buy/source your clothes from?

That’s the last of the outfit photos for a while. I may well write a How To Pack post soon, but I’m not sure. Meanwhile, this week I’ll be in Barcelona and the next couple of posts are going to be very text heavy and hopefully discussion inducing. Don’t be shy to give me your opinion on anything here. At the end of March I should hopefully have a surprise for y’all as well…

Amelia

Reading Round-Up

the art of the bookstore

This month I have been mostly travelling on trains and sitting in parks and hanging out in hostels and reading. I’ve read way more than I thought I would, including a couple before I left which I can’t remember the names of, so they’ll be added to March’s round-up. And so!

The Affinity Bridge – George Mann

This is touted as a steampunk mystery…which it is. It’s also not very good. The plot is all sorts of interesting; Victorian England is developing steam and clockwork power, there are road trains and automatons are the NEXT BIG THING, serving drinks at parties and being accused of murder. There is also a plague, brought from India, which turns people into cannibal zombies. Okay, okay, so it sounds kinda cool. I had been recommended this book by someone who’s opinion of literature I respected, so I was a little disappointed when it turned out to be a fairly mediocre romp with poor characterisation and laughable romantic tension. With the right expectations though, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Scoop!– Evelyn Waugh

I hadn’t read any Evelyn Waugh before, and we’d been talking about Brideshead Revisited, so I bought Scoop! from The Shakespeare Bookshop for three measly pounds. Scopp! is pretty hilarious; a satirical account of journalists rushing off to a ‘thinly veiled Abyssinia’ and making up news about the ‘war’. According to Wikipedia all the characters are based on real people at the time. The protagonist is a chap called Boot, the countryside correspondent for The Daily Beast, who accidentally gets sent off to be war correspondent. He takes a canoe, has an affair with a German woman, writes a scoop(!), and goes home. It’s very, very funny. Anyone read Brideshead? I imagine it’s a lot different.

Devil May Care– Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming

Bond! Cars! Girls! Planes! Spy Cameras! Sebastian Faulks is one accomplished writer and he gives good Bond. So, our dear James has been given some time off from Queen & country to recuperate but gets roped back into action by Scarlett; action which sees him rush from Paris to Afghanistan then stumble through Russia via trains, planes and ekranoplans. Girls are used as bait and emotional blackmail, Bond faces tests of endurance and crazed torturers, double-00’s and double agents abound. Fun fun fun.

Bad Thoughts – Jamie Whyte

A funny & philosophical essay about woolly thinking and people who argue badly. This is very interesting when it comes to analysing political debate, or in fact, any discussion. From people who tell you to shut up! because you’re fat to inaccurate statistics, Whyte covers the basics of comebacks which either don’t have a lot to do with the actual facts and points raised or are just plain distractions. I liked this, mostly because I argue with people quite often and now I have new weapons in my arsenal, namely the ability to point out if they are arguing wrong. Mwahahaha.

Nightwatch – Sergei Lukyanenko

Russian Others wandering the streets of Moscow, the Nightwatch and the Daywatch engaged in a never-ending quest for domination, or…are they? The novel is split into three stories, all centered on Anton, a Light other and member of the Nightwatch, entrusted with various missions – finding Dark vampires, averting curses, arresting Dark Others & generally doing good. Or does he…? Despite the Dark/Light, Night/Day labels, it’s made very clear throughout the novel that the lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aren’t so easy to draw. There is a place beyond…between…beneath…the world, called the Twilight, which Dark & Light others may enter, a place which both drains them and energises them; another of the many not-quite-contradictions of the novel. I’ve heard that the translation isn’t that good, which means that reading it in it’s original Russian would be AMAZING since the novel is very, very wonderful. If you’ve seen the film then the first story is a little bit similar to the plot – a Dark girl vampire learns the Call and draws a young boy to her, while at the same time the Nightwatch work to discover who cursed Svetlana and how to remove it. Throughout the stories Anton is told over and over how unimportant he is, and irrelevant to the grander scheme of things, while he is the pivot upon which the plots turn. The second couple of stories are more like the film DayWatch, with the Chalk of Destiny and Anton and Olga’s bodyswap. The novels comes in a trilogy too; DayWatch focuses on Alice the Dark Witch and her love for a Light Other, and Twilight Watch returns to Anton and his relationship with Svetlana. This is newly one of my very favourite novels.

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Wow & wow again. I love Booker Prize winning books, they’re always so full of themes and clever language tricks, intense characters and lush settings. For the last few pages I was so tense, I couldn’t put the book down at all, my eyes were hungrily roaming the sentences as everything everything came together. The feeling at the end of a Booker Prize winner is just that, a rising feeling inside, tensions swelling as the characters act out their parts and the plot unwinds in ways alluded to throughout the novel, so you’re always vaguely aware of what might happen but never sure until it unfolds fully. I needed a sit-down after this one.
It followed the childhood of Estha and Rahel in Ayemenem, parts of Rahel’s adulthood in New York and their family’s secrets, desires, jealousies and fears. Estha and Rahel are twins from different eggs who share memories, their town is being swamped with Communists, their family is tight-knit but tense with the shadows of lost love and too much love, the smell of the river is another character covering the town. Smell is important in the novel; the river, the Paravans. Caste and Communism, workers and Workers, The Sound of Music & Shakespeare all play a part. It’s very, very good.

It’s possible I’ll finished another book before Sunday; I’ve started Hatred of Democracy by Ranciere which isn’t very long but pretty dense and political philosophical. We shall see.

Amelia

Trashion; Madrid Edition

d-r-a-g-o-n mm, classy

ribbons & boots

In Madrid, I actually changed outfits! It was wet and cold, annoyingly, so I tried to layer as much as possible again. I took with me three dresses, one skirt, outer and under jacket, two t-shirts, one long sleeved t-shirt and a jumper, as well as innumerable tights, pants, socks and the trusted leg-warmers and boots.

1st outfit: Zombies Recycle (Brains) longsleeved tee – Emily Strange
Dragon tee – given to me by Emma from somewhere in New York
Skirt – Saltwater

2nd Outfit: Dress: a market stall in Bristol
(Photo taken in the toilets of the Botanical Gardens, of which I will upload the photos when I get home.)

Amelia

Mid-Week Mash Up


Ruth Ishbel Munro is the wife of my friend Lia’s cousin, and an awesome illustrator. She also has a a blog.

Hanging out at Lia’s is pretty bad for me in terms of learning Spanish since tonight we have been mostly watching Buffy, talking about making relationships last & eating stew. Then she goes to bed and I compulsively browse the internet for writing competitions, happily stumbling over awesome and cute things such as…

# Thank you letters to inanimate objects. Sweet!

# Moving Things. It’s…moving.

# Fiona Robyn’s blog. Tempted to maybe read her books now…

# The Ever Changing Kitchen is Lia’s flatmate’s chronicles of their kitchen and the food created thereof. Check her out!

# and if you aren’t reading Danielle LaPorte’s website then just how do you spend your internet time?

The theme tune for Radical Self Love?. If you aren’t a part of that project, I suggest very strongly that you hit it up & get to grips with yourself. And you know how I mean that.

Today I’m going to write and take photos. Wait…that’s every day. Yeah, it’s a hard life. Hasta luego…!

Amelia