Tuesday, 28 December 2010

TIES - the novel. Free Intro chapter

Its funny how someone can learn so much about themselves from telling someone else. You start to talk and you start creating a person who you want to exist. You begin by making things up. Then the way you tell the story means that it really does become true. The person you are talking about becomes the one you want to be. Love has a funny effect on everything

He picked up the tie and ran its softness through his fingers. Silky, smooth and such a contrast to the haze of colours that seemed almost deliberate in their sensual assault. He would never have worn this tie in any other situation but the one he was about to become a willing part of. For so many years now he had worn the easy forgotten but nonetheless declaration ties. Crisp and unaccentuated. Eyes were drawn to them but did not linger. Nothing there to draw conclusions from except the quality, the very essence of a wearer who didn’t need to try. The few times he had stepped away from this notion of the inscrutable he had been acutely, irrevocably embarrassed. Not just for himself but also for all the eyes that had rested on the affirmation round his neck and moved on rapidly in case they were forced to learn much more than they wanted to know. But now the tie was finally resurrected because it was time to meet its maker.

He had never even once considered throwing this tie away. Many other experiments, gifts and novelties had been discarded or disposed of when they became splattered with the residues of a great night out. Some had been used to tie the tops of rubbish sacks closed that had been filled with worn out shirts and trousers. Some had never even shared the wrinkled privileges of his neck. Yet this one tie had survived all the style rebellions, even if its place had slowly been re-ordered like layers on a computer graphics program or the objects in a PowerPoint presentation. The thought made him think that metaphor was good. Some computer presentations looked lean and right, others were cluttered with detail that distracted and diminished. Too much business, too much of everything. A lot of ties seemed to have the same effect. But this only made him worry was he talking metaphors or similes? Never sure but always worried. Worry seemed to hang from him, dripped down his carefully ironed shirt front, left him bathed in the sweat of regret.

Still this tie was so many things to him. Yes, it reminded him of some bitter memories from a time in his life when he felt uncertain about certainties, uncommitted to his commitments. Had there been another time like that? When had he ever felt so powerless and yet so totally involved? She had let him believe the impossible; she had encouraged dreams that wouldn’t last half a minute in the cold light of a New Cross sunset or the warm haze of a Nyanga daybreak. Yet she never lied. She talked to him of Chris, she told the fluid stories that made up the cold river of her life. She told him what Chris was and who he was and what he could do in anger or in sorrow. Or in both.

She had sought out his new; uncluttered and genuine warmth but never made him warm. She had brokered sympathy and affection, shown it but never let it move on. He could accuse her of nothing. She had always told the truth however much it hurt him. She needed somewhere to hide, someone to hide her. She asked for his help and he had given her everything, always knowing it would never be enough. He was compensation and he compensated for what she missed but he never once replaced or completed. She loved him honestly. She treated him to honesty but it was never enough for him. He showed what he felt but always held that final passion in check. Her need was not the same as his. He could satisfy hers, while she would never do the same for him.

She told him how much she loved Chris while living in his bed. She let him touch her, caress her and care for her but never let it slide down the wet and oily slope to more. She never allowed him into the silky forest of her desires. He was grateful for her bounty and her beauty. He knew if they were ever found together in this innocence they would not be understood. He knew that Chris would take him to blame, would turn his fierce cruelty on him first and her continuously and forever. The fragile structure of his care would be ripped beyond repair. Because although she had to now, for the present she could never really get away. Neither did she want to. His softness and kindness was just an interlude, a brief escape from what she really needed. However hard he tried to show that warmth and love was a better way to live, she still yearned for Chris’ hardness, his jagged steel, his rough demanding ego. His strength, his lack of care that seemed to make her feel she was all he needed.

But she had made him this tie. He hadn’t known of its existence until it was completely formed. He hadn’t seen the gradual steps to completion while she lived and ate and slept with him. He found it only after her departure, with a note that said simply thank you. She left his enveloping arms, his too enthusiastic caring and went back to someone who never showed he cared but seemed to have everything she wanted if never what she needed.

The note admitted nothing. The tie had said it all. Somehow she had quickly come to realise that he was not the free unfettered spirit he wanted to be. She knew his life would take a different turn. Would grow the heavy layers that would hide his secret desires and ambitions. She had been right. As always.

So here he was, finding the tie that she had known he would still possess. Finding a shirt that didn’t scream for separation from the delicate shades of this so soft thing. This was the first time he had heard from her directly in what? Twenty years? He had seen her briefly in strange and awkward situations. He had touched her once as they passed each other in a room full of people he was supposed to know better than her. People who he shared ideas and theories and visions with. But none had touched him in the way she had. They had exchanged startled looks, had stopped but had found the present movement of their lives had been just too strong to hang the moment on. The cold river moved on, shivering gently all the corpses buried too deep to rescue. The current was still so strong, entering that torrent again was what he wanted but he no longer had the strength to brave it. He could never carry them both again. Too many rivers had carried him; too many waters had kept him afloat. He longed to jump in but caution was finally too strong even for someone who felt he had passed again the one who had completed his soul. And torn it apart.

He was changed; he no longer hankered after someone from another life. But he had made some promises and he would keep them. Perhaps that man was here again. 50 years of birthdays had brought him 50 little people to share his life with. Every one of them demanded his attention. Every one of them was there. Every one had fought the long battle to work out who he was but every one was different.

His life had changed. He was now a man who earnt his living by making money for others. All the great ideals of 20 years ago were buried and forgotten. All the aching need for music and art had slipped away, just like she did. In the night. Across the river. Breaking ties.

And now it was nighttime again. And he was back at the river. She wanted him to sort it out for her like he had that time before. This time it wasn’t just one man coming back to get her. This time it would be all of them. All the vicious, the unkind, the cold, the grabbers and the takers. The people who never took their turn in the queue for loving kindness. The people who saw other people as unnecessary accessories, as extras, as cold meat. No man is an island but plenty become a fortress and love to watch the shattered bodies on the rocks below. Why did they seem alluring? Why did these men who never showed the beat of human kindness offer strange attraction? Chris was one of them, but she was his.

This time he would be fighting for real. He had never struck out in violence before. Words had always been the answer but these people weren’t reasoners, weren’t the rational, weren’t family men. But they were the Family. This time he had to do it for real. No game. No songs, no poetry.

Life itself had come back to haunt him. The little man he was all those years ago was still there, still inside him. But he would do it. For her. Ties? For real.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

#govedefinitions - Defining the ridiculous

Gove needs some good advice on Education. He also needs some good advisers. I would readily offer to do the job but as I have worked in education all my life, I am probably someone he won't even talk to. After all to Mr Gove, Education professional is really an oxymoron.

What he wants is non-professionals setting up "free" schools, without qualified teachers, no restraints on the curriculum and essentially a return to the conditions in schools when he was just a lad. Latin, Dryden and blazers. His recipe for a successful school.

Yesterday we started a hashtag #govedefinitions that got lots of the twitterati coming forward with some excellent new versions of what we understood as education seen through the eyes of Mr Gove. Enjoy!

#govedefinitions British Education. A new game for millionaires to play with the future of ordinary people.
#govedefinitions Qualified Teacher. ex-soldier about 20 hours ago via web
#govedefinitions Intelligent Debate. Daily Mail comment
#govedefinitions Success. What I did at school
#govedefinitions Geography. All the red bits on the map
#govedefinitions History. Kings and Queens of England
#govedefinitions Wider opportunities. Pardon?
#govedefinitions Trained School Support Staff. Who?
#govedefinitions School Blazer. The means by which a teacher maintains discipline and enthusiasm in their class
#govedefinitions Teacher. Anybody
#govedefinitions Technology. Chalk and blackboard.
#govedefinitions Latin. A dead language essential for the modern curriculum
#govedefinitions Education Professional. The enemy

r@ssat Holiday education fun from @alanmills405 - follow #govedefinitions and RT

@BorisWatch #govedefinitions 'Freeing schools from dogma' = 'Forcing schools to accept my dogma'
#govedefinitions 'Putting the teacher in charge of schools' = 'Putting Toby Young in charge of teachers'

@MattSL Matt Lent
#govedefinitions life skills: Speaking Latin, royal chronology & knowing how to pass a 2 hr exam to prove 2 yrs worth of learning
#govedefinitions streaming: different schools for the rich and for the poor

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions Government and Governor: both begin with Gove, the end doesn't matter.
#govedefinitions Religious Education = something the Minister for Schools does... oh, maybe not it's that Gibb chappy.
Teachers: Units of spending RT @homayon: #govedefinitions Students: Units of funding
#govedefinitions MFL is speaking English very loudly and very slowly for those who cannot converse adequately in Latin

@homayon Homayon Zeary
#govedefinitions Students: Units of funding
#govedefinitions 21st century skills: repetition, repetition, repetition oh and Latin!

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions STEM: well in my book it means to stop, as in "stem the flow" but I suppose it could be part of a flower, didn't do botany

@tonyparkin Tony Parkin
A big thanks owed to @alanmills405 for the best meme fun this month! #govedefinitions was sheer creative genius :)

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions Combining DT and ICT: making hollerith machines using empty cereal packets and knitting needles, or watching Blue Peter...

@tonyparkin Tony Parkin
#govedefinitions Teachers Pet: that Jeremy rhyming slang, ever since him and those sporty types ganged up on me, just like at school
#govedefinitions BETT Show: It's odds-on that I won't show and will send little Gibb Minor...

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions Physical Education = using a big stick and beating them till they get it right.
#govedefinitions BSF = not quite mad cow disease but near enough to ban it anyway

@tonyparkin Tony Parkin
RT @gvibe: @tonyparkin liking your #govedefinitions (why, thank you kindly Ma'am. @alanmills405 came up with a cracker there
#govedefinitions Mobile learning : putting up more portakabins in schools instead of that wasteful BSF #ukedchat
#govedefinitions Parental Engagement: is not good enough... we expect them all to be married and churchgoing. #ukedchat
#govedefinitions Principals: what we in Coalition respect and value. Principles: what we in Coalition don't have and don't need #UKEdchat
#govedefinitions Class teaching: dividing up students naturally into their respective social and economic groups for educational purposes
#govedefinitions Transforming learning : wiring up the students' metal chairs to ensure the correct responses in SATs tests #UKEdchat
#govedefinitions Bullying: the creative force that made me the snide vituperative weasel that I am today #UKEdchat
#govedefinitions Student Voice - how a pupil responds when spoken to by a teacher, and not before! #UKEdchat
#govedefinitions 'Becta: the Future' - the new DfE film where we travel back in time to an education without new-fangled digital technology

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions "Finding new money" = damn, there goes the moat and the duck house...

@tonyparkin Tony Parkin
#govedefinitions I'm in favour of diversity - it's just like university, but you have two of them?

@ColinTGraham Colin Graham
#govedefinitions Grammar: omnes quaestiones et communicationem agi tantum latine
#govedefinitions modernization: allowing the use of slide-rules in maths exams, on a trial basis for A-level only...

@thewritertype paul bassett davies
#govedefinitions "Pupils." Juvenile nuisances. A necessary evil in order to obtain funding in the education business.

@ocm102 Olly May
Very much enjoying #govedefinitions

tafkam1979 Tafkam TES
Very much enjoying #govedefinitions

@camaxwell Colin Maxwell
Continuing Professional Development: Drill in the playground with Sergeant Major #govedefinitions

@jamperfect Jamie Perfect
#govedefinitions an ideology based on turning every state school into an independent school because it worked for him.

@superdooperal Alison Livesey
#govedefinitions School Governor (archaic).
#govedefinitions Holidays- the bit in between tests

@bootleian John Connor
@markpurves Have a look at #govedefinitions - it's not just us!

@BorisWatch Boris Watch
#govedefinitions 'The proper course of British history' = 'Only the bits where foreigners = targets for Our Boys'
#govedefinitions 'Putting the teacher in charge of schools' = 'Putting Toby Young in charge of teachers'
#govedefinitions 'Freeing schools from dogma' = 'Forcing schools to accept my dogma'

@AsherJac Asher Jacobsberg
@MattSL I think you've got that the wrong way round, according to #govedefinitions it's quill pens to replace computers, isn't it?

@MattSL Matt Lent
#govedefinitions modernisation: fountain pens to replace quills
#govedefinitions decentralised education system: schools do what I say, but I don't get the blame when it goes wrong

@camaxwell Colin Maxwell
Citizenship: 'how to vote tory' #govedefinitions

@sharland Brian Sharland
#govedefinitions EMA: this definition has no funding
#govedefinitions pupil premium: one of nick cleggs pipedreams

@drugforum Andrew Brown
#govedefinitions guidance: unnecessary bureaucracy

@richardsw16 Richard Semmens
#govedefinitions EMA - Extra Money (for new)Academies

@CreativeEdu Pooky Hesmondhalgh
Not sure how to channel your creative juices now school's out?Think up some #govedefinitions #UKEdChat

@MattSL Matt Lent
@alanmills405 loving #govedefinitions

@dorristheloris Kelly Rennie
#govedefinitions QTS: Quasso, Territo, Sepelio (break,frighten, destroy)

@MattSL Matt Lent
#govedefinitions citizenship: being 'British'

@MultiMartin Martin Waller
RT @MattSL #govedefinitions student participation: putting your hands up to speak

@MattSL Matt Lent
#govedefinitions student participation: putting your hands up to speak

@sharland Brian Sharland
#govedefinitions ICT: an excellent subject on the study of how the telegraph helped forge the British empire
#govedefinitions computing: an excellent subject on the study of the Babbage machine
#govedefinitions going to correct my first definition
#govedefinitions PE: physical education and sport is a ... (this definition is only half funded)

@superdooperal Alison Livesey
#govedefinitions School days what teachers find themselves in after reading the Education White Paper

@sueellendixon sue dixon
#govedefinitions ICT: an excellent and relevant subject on the study of the wonderful Babbage
#govedefinitions parents - source of top up funding for schools whose budgets have been cut

@dorristheloris Kelly Rennie
#govedefinitions Teacher. Anybody who can afford to put up a few bobfor their own (FREE) school before Gove repays em OUR cash

@jowinchester Jo
#govedefinitions MFL - Latin/Hebrew in 60 hours for 4 yrs then wonder why rest of world seems to be better than us at language

@ronggordon Ron Gordon
#govedefinitions MP: nice little earner alongside £200 k columnist job allowing 3yrs max expenses & flipped home

@ssat SSAT
Holiday education fun from @alanmills405 - follow #govedefinitions and RT #ukedchat

@sueellendixon sue dixon
#govedefinitions An anathema - Thinking, critically adept children who question their educators and politicians
#govedefinitions History curriculum - the truth as we will now be told it
#govedefinitions phonics phonics phonics - the cure to all ills? Deny any good practice phonics them to death
#govedefinitions Local Authorities - a place to lay all the blame and deny any interference
#govedefinitions loving the creative suggestions. ' Free schools' - where the poor children will press their noses on the glass looking in

@philallman1 Phil Allman
#govedefinitions real terms increase in sch budget. about a 5% cut
#govedefinitions school sport. Rugger, football, cricket...in fact all those teams I was too weedy to get into...sob, sob
#govedefinitions Prefects. Those bullies that tormented me when I was at school...until I became one

@CreativeEdu Pooky Hesmondhalgh
Not sure how to channel your creative juices now school's out?Think up some #govedefinitions as started by @alanmills405

@ronggordon Ron Gordon
#govedefinitions Headteacher: anybody who was once in army

@dorristheloris Kelly Rennie
#govedefinitions Teacher. Anybody [who can speak Latin and quote from Heart of Darkness]

@Didy64 Diane
@alanmills405 Loving your #govedefinitions - would be funnier if they weren't so close to truth

@bobharrisonset Bob Harrison
RT @alanmills405: #govedefinitions Technology. Chalk and blackboard. and Gibb in charge of ICT?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

a very small blog

The coalition continues to destroy so much of the good work of the Labour years and lie as they do it.

Keep passing on this Captain SKA - Liar Liar video

SingUp and local Music services

The list continues to grow.

All over the country colleagues are being prepared for redundancies in Local Authorities and education linked services.

All of this is being directed by a cabinet composed of millionaire tax avoiders. Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander really should be ashamed. They are loving the limos and the feeling of power but they are being ruthlessly manipulated by Cameron, Osborne and Gove.

In the meantime all the good things that Brown's party espoused are being whittled away. Music for all is disappearing as LA Music Services lose government funding and Council support. New Tech projects disappear and BSF puts school development back 20 years.

Yet I still wish we could argue from principle and not with spite. We know we are right so lets make the point with humour but without personal invective.

Insult Clegg and his lack of principle but avoid the simple insult. Point out Alexander's lack of integrity and inability to explain himself but lets do it by attacking his arguments, not just his intelligence. I want to be part of the discussion not the playground fights. Let's hope the "bloody noses" we inflict are metaphorical.

me (sort of...)

me (sort of...)