Cornish Claire

Cornish Claire

Monday, 02 October 2017 19:54

Thirty Seconds of Video

A poem I wrote formed from free-writing, pulling the lines I liked, and shaping them into a poem...

Thirty Seconds of Video

I press record
Pretend the reason I'm recording you
Is not because you're dying.
But you're no fool
You just always put yourself second
And now I have a keepsake
I shall never watch.

But I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
Cyberman lookalike with your headphones on
In your blue jeans and white t-shirt
Baring what few teeth you have left
In a half-grimace smile.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
Saying "Hello, my darling!"
In that slightly creepy way
That was so adorable.
Goon Show fan to the end
In your head, you were Moriarty.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
Like a dog on a leash
Tied to a stump
Panting through a tube.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
How your love healed me
And how I couldn't return the favour.
How being starved of your love
Made me ache
For what was once on my plate.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
Dying alone when you'd always been there for me
Your head flung back
Your eyes startled.
What you saw in your last moments
I can never know.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
Alive in my dream
When nightmare and reality became intertwined
Interchanged
And preferring to sleep.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
The morning after you died
Drawing back the curtains
To let the light in.
Subsuming the agony in sunshine
Never allowing the darkness it's freedom.

I don't need thirty seconds of video to remember you
To feel love
And, if not love,
Then something
Anything but keep my heart in a glass case
Like a pinned butterfly
You see in one of those dusty old museums
Never moving.

But I don't want thirty seconds of video to remember you
My heart going giddy with excitement
Only for it to be mutilated
All over again.
Even four years later
I am not ready for that.
Not yet.

So why did I ever press record?
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 17:21

Album Review

Following on from Laura's instruction to write a 500 word review, I've written this review for Phil Collins' No Jacket Required...

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
Love him or hate him, today it’s hard to contemplate that anybody in the western world has not heard of Phil Collins. Of course, that’s not always been the case. In 1984, despite Against All Odds being nominated for an Oscar, the show's producers snubbed “Phil Cooper”(sic!) and had someone else sing his song. A year later, Mr ‘Cooper’ released No Jacket Required and everything changed.
With its title and front cover artwork of Collins bathed in a red-hot light, sweat pouring down his face, this album was marketed as his ‘club record’.
The reality, of course, is that Phil Collins is no Michael Jackson (even if he did parody him in Genesis’s I Can’t Dance video some six years later).
Take, for instance, the lead track (and number one smash), Sussudio. With its pulsating bassline, drum machines, synths, and horns it may seem an obvious dance track... until you actually try to dance to it. That is when you may realise that the skittish bass is in conflict with the gentle-paced drumbeat, rendering the pulse of the song pretty hard to dance to. At the other extreme is track three, Long Long Way To Go - a cold, minimal, song (featuring Sting on backing vocals) built around a funereal drum machine beat. It’s a song more suitable for modern ballet than a nightclub.
The subject matter of the songs don’t help either. Despite Collins being in a happy marriage (at that time at least), nearly all the songs tell of love affairs failing in one way or the other. Take for instance, Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore: a song berating the break-up of a relationship, or Inside Out: a song about inner-conflict. Do these strike you as happy upbeat themes that might get you dancing?
No, this is no dance album. Instead, what it resembles far more closely is a Genesis album.
Perhaps it’s too much to expect a lead singer’s solo material to sound noticeably different to that of his band... except it didn’t seem much of a difficulty for the aforementioned Sting.... nor even Collins’ forerunner, Peter Gabriel (who also features on this album). Yet, Only You Know And I Know is only one of a handful of songs that sounds like it could’ve featured on any of Genesis’s albums from the 1980s.
So why did this album with it’s miserablist lyrics, strange time-signatures, and Genesis cast-offs performed by Britain’s least likely sex symbol send Phil Collins’ career stratospheric? Why were four songs from this album – even those as peculiar as One More Night and Take Me Home – hits in the US Top Ten?
Maybe the answer is simply, “The Eightees”.
Or maybe the answer is even more simple: Melody. For one thing that can’t be disputed upon hearing No Jacket Required is that Phil Collins knows how to write a song that even your deaf grandma could sing along to. After all, what is music without a tune you can hum? 
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 15:38

In The Middle

I enjoyed the poetry session this morning. Using the technique Mandy showed us, I wrote this poem on the bus home. I'm not sure it needs the last verse though...

In The Middle

Maybe him across the road is called Dave 
or maybe it's George?
I don't much care.
He's just a round little man
with a round little car
he parks in front of me.
But why does her next door have to play her music so Goddamned loud
every Sunday afternoon?

Them the other side
beheaded my roses.
I don't much care.
They were growing over the fence,
so they saved me a job
and my garden's full of crap anyway.
But they could have asked me first.

Every Sunday afternoon
on comes Rod Stewart
at full blast.
I don't much care.
It's just she will insist on clapping
and singing along.
But, worse than that,
it's his crappy disco shite!

Maybe him across the road is called Dave 
or maybe it's George?
I don't much care.
He's just a round little man
with a round little car
he parks in front of me.
Sunday, 17 September 2017 20:40

New Blog

So, following on from last week's class, I've started a new blog. I did a quick survey on Facebook and it was decided I would write about life events. What i didn't tell them was the style I was gonna write it in! <evil grin> So, anyway, my new blog is called Ewe Nose Zit and here is the link to it: https://ewenosezit.wordpress.com
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 14:59

Blogs Work

Just thought I'd share this bit of info about my blog...
I have a veggie food review blog called Veggie View. One of my recent reviews was about Caribou Poutine on Slater Street, in which I said it was a shame they didn't have cheese in their vegan version of poutine. After reading my review, I was contacted by Caribou Poutine asking me to recommend a vegan cheese. I replied, saying Violife was the UK's most popular vegan cheese. Yesterday, I was contacted again by Caribou Poutine saying they now had Violife cheese available on their menu.
So if anyone's wondering what's the point of blogs, take it from me that they can exert influence. :)
Sunday, 10 September 2017 14:29

Blog Entry 2

So we had to rewrite our blog entries for a different audience. The person I got was: Jo, 58 years old, female, full-time council worker, 2 kids (1 at uni, 1 graduated and now in work, both married to partners with degrees), married, husband works away, watches boxsets. So here's my rewritten blog:

With it being 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality, it seems a prudent time to start this blog.
However, because all my experiences as a member of the LGBT+ community are post-millenial (so I have no idea what it's like to be illegal to be gay), that is the time period I will concentrate on. 
I came out as a gay man in December 1999. It felt like I was taking my life in my hands - gay people were routinely outed in the press and it never ended well for them - but I feared being blackmailed. So, to circumvent that possibility, I felt the best thing was to come out. Not that I told my employers - it was still entirely legal for employers to sack their staff for being gay - but everyone else knew.
My parents took it better than expected, as did my brother, but my uncle felt the need to write to tell me I was a pervert. Some friends didn't take it as well as I hoped either. They'd find excuses not to meet up with me. A friend being worried that people would think I was his boyfriend was possibly the most honest anyone ever got about that. As much as I told myself I was better off without them, it hurt to be so coldly rejected. As did being sacked from my job because, seemingly, it was easier to make up a false accusation against me than deal with a homophobic employee who'd been with the company for 25 years. 
It wasn't all doom and gloom of course. I will probably remember to my dying day my first Pride. It was London and Holly Johnson singing The Power of Love is one of the rare moments in my life where I felt like I was ascending to heaven. Other such moments usually revolve around falling in love with my husband to be - including the time, 6 years later, we were allowed to have a civil partnership. Sadly, he didn't live long enough for us to turn that into a proper wedding (even if we'd wanted to). Sadly, his death showed me how cruel UK law could be against gay men and how much awareness training even those who wanted to help me, such as the registrar of his death, needed.
As well as experiencing life as a gay man, I've also experienced life as a Trans person. Even in the gay community, we aren't always welcome. As my husband put it once, the fight for Trans equality seems to be 20 years behind that of gay equality. 
I believe a large part of the blame for that lies with the media - but certainly not entirely with the right wing media; the left wing media can be just as bad. For example, in 2013 the coroner accused the media of contributing to the suicide of primary school teacher, Lucy Meadows, who had come out as Trans. The news group who broke that story was Trinity Mirror (parent group of The Daily Mirror). So you might find it ironic, as I do, that I was once employed by Trinity Mirror. After all, if they wanted a story about someone transitioning, they didn't exactly have far to look for one. I was in the office next door.   
Even though things can seem slow sometimes, I think it's without question that a lot has changed in the last 17 years. For some, the way things have changed may be bewildering - which may explain why there is resentment which now seems to be turning into a backlash. For example, homophobic hate crime rose by 147% in the wake of Brexit. So what real protection does the law offer even now after so much change? It certainly doesn't seem to be stemming the flow of casual prejudice, homelessness, or murder that is the daily reality of many in the LGBT+ community.
Nothing in the past 17 years has suggested to me that people don't care, though. So I don't believe the issue is indifference but ignorance... which is why I'm starting this blog. 
I hope you'll find it informative but, most importantly, interesting as I look at how the changes in UK law this millennium have helped drive this country towards LGBT+ equality.
My next blog post will be about Section 28, the law that forbade the teaching of 'the acceptability of homosexuality', and it's 2003 repeal. So do come back to find out why I have always refused to travel with Stagecoach, and once found bananas confusing. 
   
Key to Some of the Terminology Used in this Post:
Hate Crime Crime against person(s) for no perceived reason other than hatred
LGBT+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans plus all other non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people
Cisgender Those whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth
Trans Those whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth plus persons, such as crossdressers and transvestites, who may wish to be associated with them
Crossdresser Person who wears clothes not conventionally associated with their own gender identity but may not necessarily wish to appear as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own
Transvestite Person who dresses so as to appear - but not necessarily identifies - as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own for any period of time but not typically 24/7

Further Reading:
https://robinwinslow.uk/2013/03/23/hes-not-only-in-the-wrong-body-repost/
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/may/28/lucy-meadows-coroner-press-shame
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13264#.Waa7d63Mwko
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-hate-crime-hatred-homophobia-lgbt-147-per-cent-rise-double-attacks-on-gays-lesbians-a7352411.html
http://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/key-dates-lesbian-gay-bi-and-trans-equality
Friday, 08 September 2017 12:43

Breaking Into Heaven

This is my attempt at writing a bit of dialogue for a radio play. I have no idea of the correct format or whatever yet. So please bear with me...

Snippet of Breaking Into Heaven by The Stone Roses.
Sound of intercom buzzing as button is pressed.

Peter: Hello?
Fred: Oh, hi. I’m here to see the boss. Can you let me in please?
Peter: Oh, my darling. I’m afraid that won’t be possible. We don’t want your sort here.
Fred: My sort? What do you mean my sort?
Peter: Well, you, my darling. You’re so hateful.
Fred: Hateful? I’ve only ever loved.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. Do you really call picketing funerals ‘love’?
Fred: Yes, I do call it love. Trying to save America from the pits of Hell is definitely an act of love.
Peter: And who are you to judge that, darling?
Fred: I am an instrument of God.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. Whilst I must concede that you are a tool, I do not see how you are an instrument of God.
Fred: I do God’s work, as commanded in The Bible.
Peter: Oh, darling. Where does it say in The Bible to picket funerals?
Fred: Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”.
Peter: Oh, that old chestnut. Where does it say in that, darling, to picket funerals?
Fred: I am simply trying to save America from the wrath of God.
Peter: Oh, my darling man. God is love. How can you have read The Bible and not have understood that?
Fred: Not so. Corinthians 6:9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.
Peter: And who are you to judge that, darling? It says quite literally in The Bible, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”.
Fred: Yes but I am an instrument of God.
Peter: As I said before, darling, you may be a tool but you are no instrument. You have forsaken God.
Fred: Never. I do God’s work.
Peter: Oh, my darling. You are deluded. God does her own work. And, yet again, it says exactly that in The Bible. You, my darling, were called upon to “live peaceably with all”; Romans 12:18.
Fred: But I do God’s work.
Peter: You’re really getting tiresome now, darling. Écoute moi. God does her own work.
Fred: And I’m just helping out.
Peter: God does her own work.
Fred: And...
Peter: God does her own work.
Fred: Oh, never mind you. Let me speak to the boss man.
Peter: God is no man. God is love, darling, and you have forsaken love. So you have forsaken God. So you are not coming in.
Fred: Let me in, God damn you!
Peter: God does not damn me, darling. God is love, darling, and if you are not prepared to understand that simple concept then I have nothing more to say to you. Good day.
Fred: Let me in, God damn you!

Sound of fists pounding on the door  
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 15:56

Blog Intro

I've been working all day on the introduction to my blog. I intend to call it Inclusivity: The Post-Millennial Drive Towards LGBT+ Equality In The UK. However, we were given a max of 500 words for it and my intro is over that. So if you can suggest edits or have other feedback for me, please email me at : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thanks

“Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships”, (Jan Moir, The Daily Mail, 16th November 2009). An opinion piece that used the sudden death of Boyzone’s Stephen Gately to attack civil partnerships, and attracted 25,000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission
 
“he's not only trapped in the wrong body, he's in the wrong job”, (Richard Littlejohn, The Daily Mail, 20th December 2012). An opinion piece about the transition of primary school teacher, Lucy Meadows, that the coroner claimed contributed to her suicide.
 
Given this kind of media opinion, one might assume that LGBT+ phobia was the preserve of The Daily Mail. Regrettably, it’s not even the preserve of the right wing press. On 13th January 2013, Julie Burchill wrote a piece for The Observer entitled “Transsexuals should cut it out”, that was so abhorrent the police recorded it as a hate incident. Neither should it be forgotten that the media group who originally broke the Lucy Meadows story was Trinity Mirror (parent company of The Daily Mirror).

How do I know all this? Because I reported the Julie Burchill piece to the police and was also an employee of Trinity Mirror.

After they made me redundant, I was an Equality & Diversity trainer for a while. One day, circa 2014, a lady in a class I was assisting on stated, “I don’t know why we’re doing this. Everything’s OK now.” I wasn’t particularly surprised by this statement. Given the rapid post-millennial change in UK legislation in favour of LGBT+ people, I suppose to most people, equality would indeed appear to be a solved problem. After all, even human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, concedes all major fights for LGBT+ equality have been won.

However, my reply then was to state that things may seem OK but they can soon change back again and I cited Berlin between the first and second World Wars as an example of when this had happened. These days, to my utter dismay, I could cite the UK as a far more recent example.

Whilst not yet following Donald Trump’s example in turning back hard won legislation, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the current UK government have seen fit to make a deal with the notoriously LGBT+ phobic DUP to remain in power. Nor should it be glossed over that, in the wake of the Brexit result, homophobic hate crimes rose by 147%. I also think it safe to assume that Trans people weren’t excluded from this surge in hate crimes, even if they were excluded from the news reports. After all, in last year’s international Trans Day of Remembrance, 295 trans and gender-diverse people were recorded as killed in 2016 alone. As not every country records the gender identity of the person killed, we believe the true figures to be higher.

So, with the intent of providing a ‘current state of play’, in this blog I shall be recalling the legislation that helped drive the UK towards LGBT+ equality this millennium, and relating it to media reportage and my life as someone who came out as a gay man in December 1999 and then as Trans in the summer of 2009. 
 
Some terminology used in this post:
Hate Crime Crime against person(s) for no perceived reason other than hatred
LGBT+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans plus all other non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people
Cisgender Those whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth
Trans Those whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth plus persons, such as crossdressers and transvestites, who may wish to be associated with them
Crossdresser Person who wears clothes not conventionally associated with their own gender identity but may not necessarily wish to appear as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own
Transvestite Person who dresses so as to appear - but not necessarily identifies - as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own for any period of time but not typically 24/7

References:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1220756/A-strange-lonely-troubling-death--.html
https://robinwinslow.uk/2013/03/23/hes-not-only-in-the-wrong-body-repost/
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/may/28/lucy-meadows-coroner-press-shame
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/13264#.Waa7d63Mwko
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-hate-crime-hatred-homophobia-lgbt-147-per-cent-rise-double-attacks-on-gays-lesbians-a7352411.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05bv964
http://tgeu.org/tdor-2016-press-release
Sunday, 27 August 2017 12:26

Mind-Mapping

The 2 pieces I've written this week were done from the mind-mapping technique. I'm finding this really useful and it's making the actual writing simpler and more focussed. I shall definitely continue to use this technique. :)
Sunday, 27 August 2017 11:51

My Gran's Jam Sandwiches

We were given the instruction to write a piece for The Guardian's 'We Like To Eat' feature. So I have done this piece about my gran's jam sandwiches. Feedback appreciated. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We Like To Eat: My Gran's Jam Sandwiches

2 slices of white bread (per person)
Butter
Strawberry jam (Preferably homemade)

Butter one side of each slice of white bread. Spread one buttered side with strawberry jam. Place other buttered side face-down onto jam to create sandwich. Cut into squares and serve with either tea or orange squash.

When I think of my gran's house, my overwhelming feeling is one of happiness. She lived with my grandad (who we called Granf) in an end-of-terrace council house in Bower Hinton, Somerset. It was a place where even my dad seemed to relax - spinning me around as we danced to old Rock n Roll 45s on my gran's multi-stack record player.

Granf, though, was a serious man who took no messing. He liked nothing better than to smoke his pipe, watch the horses on the telly, and fuss over his fat Jack Russell terrier, Sindy, who he would often feed his cups of tea to from his saucer.

By contrast, my gran was a jolly woman, quite mischievous, with white curly hair and "plump" (I once made the mistake of asking her why she was so fat, to which she immediately replied, "I'm not fat. I'm plump". Lesson learned). On many levels, she was the embodiment of Terry Pratchett's Nanny Ogg - except my gran's cooking was far less 'experimental', sticking to the traditional meat and two veg variety.
The exception was Sunday teatime which, unlike every other meal which we had to sit at the table to eat, we could eat on our laps. Sunday tea at my gran's house consisted of sandwiches made with the leftover meat from the Sunday roast (and, sometimes, also tinned ham), jam sandwiches, homemade buns, and either a homemade jam sponge or boiled fruitcake. This was all served with cups of tea for the grown-ups and tupperware beakers of orange squash for us kids. 

When I became a grown-up myself, I often tried to recreate my gran's strawberry jam sandwiches but could never get it quite right. As she had died of Cancer, she was no longer around to ask. So this lead to some experimenting in the kitchen. Thinking it was the jam, I piled it higher and higher trying to recapture the jamminess of them. It never worked. Then, one day, I had a brainwave - instead of buttering just the one slice, I buttered both slices. Eureka! I had managed to recreate my gran's jam sandwiches. It wasn't the jam, after all. It was the butter!

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