Thursday, February 26, 2015

And the next please!


My gleeful euphoria (is that tautology?) at the final completion of the latest essay for my Open University course was linked to the fact that the remaining part of the course was to be devoted to the mini thesis that I have planned for the end of module assessment, linking the paintings of Alvaro Guevara and David Hockney.
As the essay winged its electronic way to the North of England and my tutor I was able, with an easy conscience and a light heart, to suggest to Toni that we try another restaurant so that he could add another of our favourites to his blog on and we could have a celebratory meal.
We did and we had a selection of tapas of the highest quality in a pica-pica menu; all of which have been photographed and which will, in the next couple of days be posted.  We sat outside for this meal because the inside tables were all taken.  It was not too bad, but I didn’t take my outside jacket off and when the sun moved away from our table it was time for us to move away too!
On our return, after a little light mocking of Toni as he settled down to try and understand what he has to do with his next assignment on the computer technology course that he is taking, I went upstairs to get on with all those little tasks that simply cannot get done when you are retired - because of lack of time.
Now, now, don’t get nasty!  What you have heard is true – every retired person I know regularly, especially when non-retired people are present, sighs and says a variant of, “I have absolutely no idea how I ever managed to fit a job into my life!”  This is usually said with a wry smile and an upward movement of the head and a raising of the eyebrows.  And it always works!  People’s expressions are priceless and worth every minute of the decades that you were actually in work.  That last sentence might not be absolutely true.  At all.
Anyway, I settled down to get my tasks completed and thought, as part of my general life housekeeping that I would check up on the pro-forma that we have to use to submit an outline proposal for the end of course module.  It was while I was worrying my way through the administration that is necessary to get this done that I noticed that there was one more essay serial number than there should have been.
The horrible realization dawned on me that I had not factored-in an essay related to the content of the last volume of the course that we are taking.  There is another essay to be done.  And this one is on Body Art.  And if you think that just means tattooing then you don’t know much about modern art as it is understood by the Open University!
So, from a feeling of tranquillity I now realise that the workload is actually heavier than I ever dreamed possible.  That is an overstatement of course, but one has to get over the feeling of being cheated by one’s own inability to study the assessment procedures with the clarity that I have always accused other OU students of lacking!  Touché!
However, I am not going to let this essay creep up on me in the same way as the last one (and the one before that) I will be prepared and get it done in good time.  Even though this essay is on a single title and not divided into two parts like the others, I think that it is more straightforward.  Those may be foolish words that I will look back on with an ironic laugh, but I am relying on them to be true because we have the end of module assessment to think about as well.
I think that there will be useful approaches in this last volume which may well feed into the EMA, especially in relation to sexual politics and sexual identity as Alvaro Guevara was bi-sexual and Hockney, well, Hockney is Hockney!  I only hope that I can trawl through our mighty bible-length book of artistic theory and find some pretentious piece of near gibberish twaddle that links my two artists.
I have discovered, yet again, that philosophy is not my strong suit.  I do enjoy reading about it, just as I enjoy some art theory, but it is hard to retain.  
I have recently read two books by Nigel Warburton.  The first is ‘Philosophy – the basics’ a short and approachable introduction to philosophy which is simple without being insulting. 
The second is a brilliant book, ‘A Little History of Philosophy’.  It is the sort of book which an intelligent and interested young person could read, and is exactly the sort of book that an adult thanks god exists because he can understand it as well.  I recommend this book without reservation.  Warburton makes a narrative out of the history of Philosophy by linking his chosen series of philosophers in a sort of Hegelian dialectic (which he also explains) and probably doesn’t fit what I have just said, but who, after all is going to contradict me! 
These are book worth buying and they form a growing part of my library as a sort of first aid in philosophical understanding.  These books really do speak to the reader is an unthreatening way, in just the way that the ironically titled ‘Wittgenstein made easy’ in the notorious ‘made easy’ series by Fontana did not!  Perhaps, after reading the two Warburton books, I should go back to the ‘easy’ explanation of Wittgenstein and see if anything Warburton wrote has lubricated the rusty philosophical synapses in my brain.

I wonder what justification the president of the Spanish congress is thinking up to explain away the fact that she was playing Candy Crush while her party leader and president was delivering a State of the Nation speech to introduce a crucial debate.  Admittedly Bromo (my ‘pet’ name for the walking joke that calls itself president) is contemptible, a liar and terminally corrupt, but he is her contemptible, lying, corrupt joke.  The least she could have done is preserve at least a paper thin veneer of regard (especially with television cameras around) for the pathetic farce that is the leader of this discredited government of bribe taking blatant criminals, as he was giving a key note speech and attempting to defend that which is impossible to defend if you have any regard for the fundamentals of morality and logic.
            Perhaps we should rejoice that the has demonstrated in the most public of ways the contempt that she feels for her party and her leader.  There is, after all, more joy in heaven over one right-wing scumbag PP member who recognizes the worthlessness of her party than over ninety and nine who unthinkingly toe the party line and don’t play with their IPads.
            It turns out that she wasn’t actually playing Candy Crush but some sort of ice game called Cold Fall or something like that.  Careful viewing of the blurred television pictures clearly show the opening sequence of the game.
            She should of course resign.  Of course she won’t.  This is Spain and PP has an absolute majority and they can do and do do exactly what they like.  The iPad, game-playing president of the congress did have the good grace to ignore all questions about her playing and she carefully took a different way out of the chamber to avoid the press, almost as if she was concerned at the gross lack of respect that she had displayed.  That was a nice gesture, but she doesn’t really need to worry, all she has to do is follow the behaviour of the man she doesn’t listen to and ignore the press: they can’t sack her and she is hardly likely to be sacked by a group which has more ignored denunciations against it than a certain dictator-led Spanish government of some fifty years ago.
            I think that we are near to a breakdown in civil society, with a government which is becoming more and more authoritarian by the day. 
There is a very real chance that this bunch of chancers will be thrown out in the next general election and I am convinced that we have seen nothing yet of what they are prepared to do to retain power.  I truly believe that this government has no moral depth whatsoever and they are capable of anything.  God help us all!
            With concerns like this a daily terror in Spain, it is little wonder that I turn to the more grotesque extremes of cutting edge modern art to take my mind of the even more grotesque artistic disaster that the government of Spain is becoming.

Another form of escape is actually a sort of double negative because my concentration on my poems is really a intensification of thought which is at its best an exclusion of anything else.  At least for a moment! 

My recent poems can be seen at

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