Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in a name

God this blog is becoming Nostalgia central.

No, it's just that I'm sorting my papers. After two years of mayhem. I want to claim some tax back, and I need the receipts. So I go through my stuff. And I found exam candidates name cards.

When I supervise exames, I am bored, so I look for funny names, as I tick the students' attendance list. Sometimes the name really suit the person. For example, Mr. A. Admiral, who had a square jaw, was short and squat, and his look was always turned forward, towards the horizon. Or the rather fearful mr. Meek, who kept looking at the clock with anxiety. Ms. Downwards, who didn't even bother showring up to the exam.

But then some people just don't look like their names: the Afro-Caribean Mr. Snow; the rather dull looking Mr. Sultan Khan.

I like to collect the name cards, to recycle them as scrap paper, and to remember the names. The ones I found tonight in my mishmash folder were not bad: Ms Urban G (a hipster no doubt); Mr. A. Cassanova (no, I don't remember how he looked like). And believe or not, Ali G, the man himself (Psychology: Inroduction to Research Methods).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I just found my notes from the Gleneagles, the G8 summit three years ago. In the same folder with my NHS cards and emmigration stuff, for some reason.

Tuesday, walking on the highway, not sure where. The hotel should be nearby. Nick is talking about the midges, Scotland's menace, little flies that never leave you alone. We are overheard by two robocops. One of them trying to be friendly, says, sure, when they get in my suit these midges, I'm fucked.
His mask is lifted, we can see his face. But his mate is keeping his mask on.

Friendly robocop says, look at them walking barefoot, I would step on a stone in two seconds and wouldn't be able to carry on.

The Spanish girl asks the masked robocop, why are you covering your face?
Eager robocop: you can talk with me, I don't have a mask.
She continues: when I cover my face you call it "anti social behaviour"
Masked roboco: no, Muslim women can cover their faces and that's fine.
Spanish girl: I'm Muslim, by the way. And I'm not talking with you cops.


sometimes, within the green, eplises of black mud, and white bright rocks, or mushrooms. And underneath everything, water, streams and rivers. The ground is drenched. The ground is water.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gaza as entertainment

In watching UK responses to the Gaza war, I find myself in a by-now familiar predicament. I am resolutely against this pointless carnage. And I do think there is room for action here in the UK: Britain and Europe is supportive of Israel in a range of ways, which make them in my view involved, partisans. Yet at the same time I dislike much of what I hear on British and European anti-war rhetoric. It's not even the arguments, it's what I see as exploitation of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as some kind of a banner. The utlimate cause for anyone with the right views on the world.

Take this quote from the Guardian, a story about working-class Britons making it to Cambridge and Oxford:

When I came here I was adamant at first that it wasn't going to change me. Looking back, I've changed so much, but it's all positive. Before I would have thought getting into debates about Israel and Palestine over a drink in someone's room wasn't for me at all, because I'd never had that opportunity.

Discussing Israel/Palestine over a glass of wine - the ultimate passtime. The way you make it into the intellectual elite.

Hey! This is my country you are talking about! Not some film.

More from the Guardian, the tasteless comment of 2009:

Forget Gaza. The real story of the week was that of an actor [Kate Winslet] sobbing after taking receipt of her second Golden Globe.