Queer – Don’t you just love that word?

Sun 3 – Sat 9 July 2016

The exodus of Brexiteers continues

Farage LeadsomOh God the post-Brexit situation just gets worse and worse. Great to see Farage has resigned. Though I suspect this is so it is easier to make him a peer and get him into a new Leadsom-led cabinet. Or enable him to become part of the British negotiating team with the EU. Interesting to note he is staying as an MEP and cotinuing to claim his mega salary and expenses. And he has one of the very worst attendance records of any MEP.

Leadsom = Farage

Meanwhile the Tory election leadership continues. Boris endorses Leadsom – how can anyone take him seriously now? Gove goes and so it’s May vs Leadsom. Liar Leadsom with her dogy CV, hey but she’s a mother so it’s OK. It’s up to the party faithful and how they vote often bears no resemblance to mainstream opinion. Remember the Tory membership elected IDS as their leader of their own free will. Leadsom is seriously worrying. A hard right-winger backed by Boris, Farage, UKIP, Arron Banks, and Britain First. Plus with very limited experience, certainly not enough to be Prime Minister. Scary and anxious times.

Corbyn = Leadsom

Meanwhile the challenge to Corbyn is on – thank God. Time for Labour members to decide whether they want to be just a personality cult or a party that wants government to change people’s lives. I note that Leadsom and Corbyn actually have a lot in common:

There are other options

If you are feeling exasperated by the two main parties remember that there are other options: the Lib Dems, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists, and the Greens. 

Queer Cinema

QueerOne of the things I do love is ‘queer cinema’. Queer as in films (and sometimes documentaries and TV programmes) with a specifically LGBT slant. Though being queer sometimes they link more into the fluidity of human sexuality and gender identity as opposed to just being about gay stuff. Often they have male nudity and sex which is nice. I really wish I could devote more time to watching queer cinema either online, DVD or at the cinema.

Der Kreis

Managed to watch a couple of DVDs last week. First up was Der Kreis (The Circle). This was a drama-documentary about The Circle, a group of pioneering gay men who were linked by a posted newsletter and some social events. It is a true story. The group existed in Zurich in the early fifties. An early beacon of light in a time of prejudice. But then murders gave the excuse to the Swiss police to clamp down on the group’s members. This is a well trodden path through history for LGBT people.

Close to Leo

Then Close to Leo the following day (Tuesday) during a day’s leave from work. French cinema is always wonderfully emotional and melodramatic. And this film was made in the early noughties. It is about a nice family in Brittany with four sons where one announces he is HIV+. The big concentration of the film is then to protect the youngest (12 years old) from this news. Wonderfully over the top and the HIV+ son is a bit of a shit. Classic death-related queer AIDS misery of its time. Thank God things got better for HIV people though I am sure some film-makers would prefer terminal rather than chronic disease.

Desde Alla

Saturday afternoon I was at the ICA and, fortuitously, found an interesting film showing. Desde Alla (From Afar) is a film set in modern day Caracas – pretty grim. It is an interesting story that lingers with a strong nod to Pygmalion. Middle age man (who himself is quite scary) pals up with a young guy who has sex for money. Some intriguing sub-plots (such as father-son relationships) and many good silences. But ultimately a twisted ‘tart with a heart’ film. Though it’s all far more darker and unsettling than Pretty Woman.

Que es ser Queer?

Health and efficiency

Gym on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. All good sessions. Did think about going on Friday. But my hayfever started to kick in on Thursday afternoon. Only thing is, I don’t think it was hayfever but instead a cold. Rubbish night’s sleep on Thursday / Friday with a really sore throat, streaming nose and weird thoughts going through my head. So skipped the gym on Friday morning and used the time for learning and development instead.

A good jog-run

Friday night I didn’t feel great either – sweaty and sneazy. Though the sore throat had gone off. Bed by 9 and tried to read but too tired even for that. So I crashed but woke up during the night to get water and paracetemol for the headache I had developed.

I was still querying whether to do my jog-run on Saturday morning. Went for coffee as usual and decided to take a chance. I am very glad I did. Turned out to be my best jog-run ever (of modern times, not of when I was young and fit). Time and pace were slow but distance at 5.5km was longest I have done. Felt generally OK and calm throughout though very sweaty and left achilles was sore. Right knee and calf basically OK.


The Tech4Good Awards

Tech4Good Awards

One of the big highlights of last week came on Wednesday when I attended the Tech4Good Awards with Nissa. We had both been on the judging panel deciding the final winners. So we knew most of who had won but were sworn to secrecy. There had been some very tough discussions amongst a very large panel of nearly 20 people bringing different outlooks, experiences, knowledge and skills. A great bunch of winners all detailed here. Pleased to see some projects we knew did well such as the brilliant Wayfindr and SafetyNets. But other known ones missed out (such as Shift.ms) and sad to see no success for The Great British Toilet Map which I think is a brilliant resource in its own right. Hardest to decide on were the two award categories where it was about individuals rather than organisations.

Innovative voting methods and a child genius?

There was some voting at the event. We all had glow sticks to shake and the more vigorous the shaking then the higher the vote. This was used to decide who should be the winner of winners. It went down to the two individual award winners. One an older volunteer and the other a young whiz kid (aged 9). The latter had already won the People’s Award in a popular vote. And it was young Arnav Sharma that was declared Winner of Winners. Also the Tech4Good Special Award went to the tech enthusiast and excellent presenter that is Robin Christopherson. He is blind but uses technology brilliantly to the point that you forget his disability. He is also AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion. A great role-model.

Nominet Trust 100

Nominations for this Tech for Good award scheme opened last week as well. Every year Nominet Trust identifies 100 great examples of Tech for Good / Social Tech that can be happening anywhere in the world and be done by any organisation (not for profit, private or statutory) or individual. All the past winners can be viewed here. If you want to nominate then follow the instructions in the tweet:

Other digital stuff last week

  • An exercise with a group of teenagers on how their lives interact with digital both for good and bad
  • Training around new data rules for fundraising by charities and on everyone via GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation
  • Meeting with a video-maker about making a vid on my Abstinence-Based Recovery projects
  • Progress meeting with a project we are funding to develop an e-mentoring service for young people

Learning and development

I have been trying to better get to grips with Javascript. I’ve been stuck on my default coding learning tool that is Code Academy. So I turned to that brilliant resource YouTube to watch free tutorial videos. Meanwhile I continue to use DuoLingo to work on my French, Spanish and German. And I am getting into a pattern of sorts on regular daily usage around this.

Books and reading

The Exchange

Monday afternoon off to the new look Notting HIll Book Exchange.to swap some read books for vouchers. These were then swapped for new books and comics (much to Dave’s annoyance).

Velvet Page

PhysicalThursday evening was the monthly meeting of the Velvet Page book club at Waterstones on Piccadilly in London. Seven of us and no wine but a free cup of tea. This time we were reading poetry, Physical by Andrew McMillan. I struggle with poetry and this was not the book to set me free from that. Very gay poetry but good. However, I found it all quite short and insubstantial. Not unpleasant and I would definitely suggest it was worth reading. But I prefer meaty fiction. Interesting that this short book of poetry has won many awards and been shortlised for others.

Reflections on getting and staying clean

My main reading book last week was unusually an autobiograhpy – Tania Glyde’s Cleaning Up. How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived. It made me think about some key features of addiction and recovery which I posted as a separate mini-blog. This can be read here.

Dr Who audio-books

Three listened to. House of Cards is a very recently made one featuring the brilliant second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) in a galactic casino. There is a danger that Big Finish churns out adventures to feed the insatiable demand which hits the quality standard. A perfectly OK short story but nothing amazing.

The Game features the fifth Doctor (Peter Davidson) and companion Nyssa. The story is not that great but the theme that underpins it is fascinating. Basically the premise is of a society that is in permanent internal civil war due to merging fighting with their national sport. Not totally stupid when you think about the violence and territorialism around football in particular.

Catch – 1782 is another weak story; bit of a week for dodgy Dr Who audio-books. The sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and the immensely annoying companion Mel (Bonnie Langford) find themselves in a parochial time travel story for a reason I could not work out.

One year ago

My damaged wrist My blog from a year ago can be found here. Main thing was me being diagnosed with torn ligaments in my hand and wrist leading to the attachment of my very attractive arm support. In the blog I was trying to see the positives, a hangover from having been on retreat. Also my enforced non-ability to go to the gym or do a jog-run was making me do more long and useful walks. Interestingly my hayfever had kicked in like my ‘cold’ last week just gone, hmmm. Tube strike was happening and causing disruption though this also linked into my increased walking. Interesting that I was still wondering why I was making only limited progress around languages and coding. However I am pleased to say that my blog is better structured now than it was then.


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