Carl Chamberlain’s ‘Erica and the 18 hours’

A new father’s memories of the birth of their son.

In the workshops, the dads and father figures have been discussing where they were when their children were born. Here, cast member Carl shares his story. ZoeManders_BAC20140006.JPG

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Be A Lady They Said

Writings of a Furious Woman

Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go.

Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat…

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When Will We Know Black Lives Matter?

When will we know that Black Lives Matter?
During some idle chitter chatter and someone says “Who?!” and the colour of their skin doesn’t matter?
When will we know that Black Lives Matter?
When the police I.D. a suspect and the colour of the suspect’s skin isn’t a factor?
How will we know that Black Lives Matter?
When a human is described and the tone of their skin isn’t used to put down or to flatter?
What will happen for us to know that Black Lives Matter?
Will it be when the difference in mortality rates start getting flatter?
Why do we need to know that Black Lives Matter?
Is it because we need to watch all divides crumble and shatter?
Who needs to understand and accept that Black Lives Matter?
All of us who’ve been given an easy life on a platter.
How will we know that Black Lives Matter?
Will there be no NEW videos of police suspects being abused, shot or battered?
How will I know that Black Lives Matter?
Will it be when the police arrive and all black people don’t feel they need to scatter?
Why do I think that Black Lives Matter?
Because I don’t believe that my life matters more. I don’t accept what has gone before to be a way forward, I’ve shut that particular door of perception. I’ve made in my heart and my mind a correction because the need of each human is to defeat the greed of each human. The goal of our species is to join forces for the good of the earth. This is our natural state from birth.
How can I tell that Black Lives Matter?
Because the people that govern say it in each verse and each chapter.
“ALL MEN ARE BORN EQUAL.” They don’t say “All but not that one.”
Why do I need to know that Black Lives Matter?
Because if one life matters less than mine, it’ll only be a matter of time before my life matters less than theirs, let’s not argue, no need to split hairs, let’s not be stupid or blind to the truth. The scientists have shown us the proof. The ups have downs, everything goes and comes round, what is lost will always be found.
The reason we have to say that Black Lives Matter is the owners and leaders are repeating the opposite patter.
The rules of the game are always the same, the majority rules, the biggest gun wins, the one ready to commit the most heinous of sins, slaughter the innocent while hidden away, giving orders but never near the affray, safe in hiding with no chance of colliding with soldiers or war, no chance of connecting with the workers or poor, dividing, deciding who should die, they find it funny. I’m not being weird but FOLLOW THE MONEY that pays for the war and we’ll find whose lives matters most, they are the parasites sucking the blood from us all, we are their host.
We’re close to a break through, there’s hope, not much, just a smatter but let’s grab it together and with love to each part of the globe scatter repeating the mantra, the belief, the truth that as well as our own; BLACK LIVES MATTER!

It was us what won it.

It is rising within me; a mixture of puke, pride and a passionate shame…I’m taking the piss out of racists, bigots and ignorant fans of an irrelevant game because although they cried when their player scored they can’t be arsed to pronounce their hero’s name!
Still it rises and I’ve no one to blame for being frightened to extinguish the flame of connection, protection of being…the same.
It rises ‘like’ pride. I ‘encounter’ feeling proud but it comes without joy and I’m not that sort of boy. When I’m happy I’m loud, not modest, I don’t hide my pride under a bushel or an anonymous shroud. I float, I hover, I’m the dude in the cloud (by my family this kind of behaviour is rarely allowed).
Yet this rising is a division, a false flag, a reason to hate and some people are taking the bait, hook, line and sinker and thinking it is great.
They’re eating it up. They’re the first out of the gate.
They’ve been given reasons on a nationalistic plate to believe that ‘we’re better than you’ is a permanent state.
I want to join in and I have but do you know what? No more mate because with ‘we’ comes ‘them’ and ‘they’ becomes ‘us’ and I don’t belong.
I was born here don’t get me wrong, my roots are here and some of them strong…not mediaeval but centuries long. I’m a man of this land, born in London, in Bow…BONG!
To be violent over a game, over a loss or a win seems to me to be the ultimate sin (if there is such a thing) yet that is what they make us sing.
How does it become us?
Is it the writing on the side of a bus?
Is it because you prefer fellatio to cunnilingus?
Does it happen within the syllabus?
How does it fester, this fluid, unprovable, magical us?
Those who control what we see, control you and me.
What is ‘allowed’ by them is easy to see, it is rammed down our eyes via every T.V. & in newspapers that are given out free with an advertisement cover screaming with glee: THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT! TRUST ME!
The hypnosis happened when we were as young as…three. That’s why we rarely feel free, via lies, distractions and mental abuses, they control ‘us’ while we have our uses but if we realise the blatant misuses of power & privilege and together say “Stop!” and allow no excuses…we are dazzled, dragged along on a wave and we are told
“It is right for us to stand together in this fight. Don’t believe the others. They are dark, we are light. Forget the greed, focus your sight on them, they are causing your plight, those others aren’t doing it right…THEM…them…not us in control…”
It is when I hear ‘them’ say ‘that’ that something touches my soul, closes my heart to false pride and makes love my goal.

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. “

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Pullman Philip 2

Wise words from Philip Pullman, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005:

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. If you don’t give a child food, the damage quickly becomes visible. If you don’t let a child have fresh air and play, the damage is also visible, but not so quickly. If you don’t give a child love, the damage might not be seen for some years, but it’s permanent.

But if you don’t give a child art and stories and poems and music, the damage is not so easy to see. It’s there, though. Their bodies are healthy enough; they can run and jump and swim and eat hungrily and make lots of noise, as children have always done, but something is missing.

It’s true that some people grow up never encountering…

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Get to Know Your Neighbour

How can I express my thoughts without accepting my depression? How can I release the pressure without feeling the oppression?
I can’t be ‘woke’ and be happy, what joys are there to find in a world so crappy?
We know that we know the knowns and the unknowns because the unknowns were proven to be known.
The only reason there is war is control of resources: Religion? Human rights? Protecting the frail? These are not the sources.
Control. Control. Control. Obedience. Obedience. Let go. Let go. Let go. Subservience.
If you knew how to do it, would you? If you knew how to do it, could you?
What if all you knew was how to, that you will and you can and fuck, you were born into being this awful…man.
Your dad did it and his dad too, his father’s father was doing it too, their daddies did it and their daddies too, they’ve been doing it for years and they’re doing it to you.
A monkey and a man, consumed by thoughts, desires, realising that if they control the fires…
A man and a monkey consumed by thoughts, desires, knowing that if they control the fires…
‘Power is measured by the pound or the fist.’ Saying this doesn’t mean you’re not on the list, that you stand sided by side with the beaten and poor, just that you understand a little more.
We are the fires, we are the gods, we are the owners of our souls, we are the masses, we are the workers, we are the drones, we are the proles.
No. That’s not true, I do not do what average people do. I do not have structure, discipline, or a ‘mainstream’ life. I do not own my home or have a doting, subservient wife. I do not sit and watch the TV, I do not read the national press, I do not blindly support this country, nor believe it’s a mess.
I believe the flow of energy is good within my world, I often see charitable acts unfurl. I watch my neighbours’ kindness, my co-workers’ selfless deeds, I watch one community rid their neighbourhood of weeds, then plant hundreds of practical and metaphorical seeds.
Depression is acceptable, oppression is pressure, they are being the aggressor but our honest connections will bring the purest pleasure.
Do yourself a favour, get to know your neighbour.

Concentration has gone…

Concentration has gone, fumbling the norm.
Late nights through to early morn, not drugs, not drink, not what you think, just the time and the pain and the essence of dawn is filling the moments between the work and the life.

Keeping the straight laced expression of joy while wildness whistles through this ‘boy’.
Spurts and spouts of excessive delight then being told that my feelings aren’t…right.

Wondering what to do next, scared to stop to answer a text, worried that this might not work well but if I don’t try to change it I’m living in hell.

“Never accept the things you don’t like.”

A quote I made up to help me deal with this life.

“Make life easier for the next person.”

A quote I made up to help me deal with this life.

“There but for the luck of life go I.”

A quote I twisted to help me deal with this life.

Again the thoughts drift, cruise, flutter, land and sink deeper into the cauldron of self-destruction.

Again I breathe.  Suck…blow…suck…hold…blow…suck…hold…blow…

This isn’t what I should be doing but it is.