|  Uncategorized   |  Normalising the absurd….

Normalising the absurd….

Almost completed my first week of not being a Vespa owner…. still bereft and still awaiting an insurance settlement to see how much the financial impact will be. I’m lucky – still have a car, good health so can walk and a really decent bus service. But I’m missing the fun – the carefree nature of travel and being ‘in’ the journey. If you’ve ever read ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ you’ll know what I mean. That’s not really a book recommendation though – I read it 40 years ago – nice concept delivered really slowly and in impenetrable detail. A deliberate Zen-like journey in itself.

Of course most people’s reaction to my ‘loss’ restores faith in general.

But anyway back to the subject matter hinted at in the title….. have been thinking about absurdity and how we’ve drifted into what feels like at times passive acceptance.

Went to see Mad Professor play last Friday night in a local pub – dub reggae producer and DJ if you don’t know. It’s a small pub, it was a crowd of people mostly my age yet we were all required to empty our pockets and be rubbed down by security. As an old friend commented (repeatedly it must be said) “this is not normal”. Was also entirely pointless – but as the landlord said ‘we’ve got to look like we are doing something to stop drugs or we won’t keep our licence’.

I then went out for dinner with some old friends – one a mental health nurse – “I have been told that I am allowed to give my patients vouchers for food banks – like this is a good thing – in 2024”. The Trussell Trust report that over 3 million people were provided emergency aid at a food bank last year. This is not normal. Its absurd and obscene.

Spurs fans (of whom I am one) wanting the team to lose so that Woolwich have less chance of winning the league. Not normal.

Right-wing obnoxious MP defects from government to Labour – absurd.

My friend with second stage & inoperable breast cancer commented in her blog “we’re told that we can’t access a clinically approved drug that will extend our lives because of cost – whilst also being denied the right to control how and when we can die”. Absurd and financially nonsensical. It is claimed that the decision to withold treatment for people with secondary breast cancer ‘followed public consultation’. But they won’t publish the consultation or the results. As callous as it is absurd.

Work is quite slow at the moment – finished a few things off in Q1 and a awaiting news on a couple of opportunities. So with one clients we’ve been able to make quicker progress: completing a new service mapping exercise, helping to establish a LERO and getting a new pathway for people with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse ‘conditions’ to the point of final sign off.

This evening I also have one of my more enjoyable professional engagements – chairing the board of the wonderful Trust for Developing Communities. It is always the case that whatever is going on at any given time spending time in and around this organisation always makes you feel better. Like listening to Gil Scott-Heron.

Musically – this week (Thursday to Saturday) is The Great Escape – three days, multi-venues across Brighton focused mostly on ‘up and coming’ bands. Also sparks a range of alternatives ‘fake escape’, ‘no escape’ and a Fringe – bringing even more live music to even more people and places. It’s always one of my favourite weekends. Blighted somewhat this year by unrest surrounding the role that Barclay’s have as a sponsor and some financial interests in companies supplying arms to the Israeli government. Interesting moral conundrums – lots of people who were never going anyway telling everyone really loudly that they’re boycotting it in solidarity, a number of bands have publicly withdrawn on principle and many are still playing / attending whilst feeling conflicted having purchased the tickets over a year ago.

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