Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

7 Billion…

So, UNESCO is rubbing its hands at the prospect of baby number 7,000,000,000 being kicked out of the other end of the production line that is now the human factory. 7 billion of us. Of course the news carriers are wracked with confusion, do we celebrate this, the wonders of human life and it’s on-going expansion, or do we despair as the foundations of the earth begin to creak and shiver at the weight brought on by its 7billionth passenger? It’s a tricky one eh, good thing, bad thing, a joyous life, too many mouths to manage…tricky.

One way to look upon this is from the perspective of those who see themselves as elderly today. Those who are reaching the natural end of their lifespan, they will go out of this world knowing that they leave it with a population that has more than doubled in their brief period of existence. They will pass on and be forgotten, only to be replaced by the hurried pressed feet of five more replicants, entering the race to desperately identify some form of meaning and self worth to their respective lives, before they themselves fall out of existence. Perhaps the struggle for meaning, for identity, will take on new precedents as time goes on. As more and more of us trip over the bodies of our ancestors, and stamp on the faces of those too slow and old to get out of our way, the pressure to justify ourselves will grow, the need to hear our name shouted out over the bubbling throng of human existence will come to consume us.

For those coming into the world, while those who knew a time of only 3billion go out, one wonders how many they will have to share their dying days with – 10billion, 13billion, 15billion? As more and more of us bump elbows before dropping to the gutter to breed, and breed and breed some more, what aspiration will be left, but too breed? As the planet crowds over, the evils of pollution and starvation will come to trouble our collective less and less. The needs of others will vanish in a soup of me, me, me. The human conditioning, becoming one of identity, recognition and attention, will lead the masses from one computer screen to the next, from one reality tv show to the next, from one iphone to the next ilife – look at me they all will scream, at their televisions, at their computers, at their phones, at the backs of the heads of the billions who stand in their way, the billions who will not look back to those they can help, but only look forward to those in the way who can be surpassed.

7billion. 7billion lives, or, if you care to dream, 7billion souls. 7billion units, 7billion drones, 7billion equations , 7billion mouths, 7billion hearts, 7billion wallets, 7billion I was here firsts…we all were here first, we all got in the line before you did, we all deserve more than the other 6billion odd bastards getting in our way. 7billions I don’t cares, 7billion fuck yous, 7billion end of the lines, 7billion rotten lives. 7billion.  

Is it something to celebrate? Are we all something to celebrate? We could be, 7billion of us, plus one more, might be something to celebrate, if we were not us. If we were something better, something that looked out for the other 7billion, that gave a crap about the other 7billion, that cared for the other 7billion; then yes, we would be something to celebrate. But what we are, and the prospect of more of us being added to the festering pond that we have nurtured into our own toxic graveyard of mortal existence…no, what we are is not something to celebrate. 7billion of us is something to fear, something to jeer, something to weep about, something for which we might shed a tear.

7billion is too many. Yet, we will add to it, every single day.

RWC2011: Save the bagpipes!

So, those malevolent Scots and their evil brain washing bagpipes have finally been given the boot from the Rugby World Cup. Such is the power of the bagpipe, with its ability to unnerve, distract, confused and intimidate the on-field opposition, that the organisers of the tournament have thrown out the windy instrument. It is also said that a Scots rugby player, upon hearing the loud whine of a bagpipe, can produce performance levels upwards of 12% higher than usual match day efforts. All of which is of course a nonsense, apart from the bagpipe ban that is, which, although being a nonsensical decision, is still actually happening.

RWC have stressed that the ban actually covers all musical instruments, and is therefore not an effort to single out the bagpipe, however, anyone watching Russia vs Italy today, will have been hard pressed to not notice the French horn blast out after every single restart. Now should a blanket ban to instruments be applied, surely the French horn should have been snaffled up by an eager steward? Sneaking it in is one thing, but seeing as it was played on no less than 10 occasions (minimum) it could easily have been found and thrown out, yet it was not. Perhaps constructing some manner of pocket sized bagpipe is the answer?

Now, I should clarify something here, I can’t stand bagpipes, never had and never will. The noise produced by those dreadful sacks of pipes is a horror on my audio centres. Yet, even with my deep seated dread at the noise of a bagpipe, I can still acknowledge, that at a match including a Scottish team at the very least, pipes should be heard. It is part and parcel of the rugby atmosphere, and should not be compromised. So horns, hooters and those ridiculous vuvuzelas should indeed be pounded out of the grounds, they are not required and do more to cripple the atmosphere of a stadium than raise it. But the bagpipe, just as with the French horn, should certainly be made welcome. Their absence, indeed, their enforced absence, strikes as an administrative aberration. If you want to help spectators, ban booing, ban people going to the toilet and from getting a beer during the eighty minutes of play, ban crap referees from crippling games with their terrible officiating, but done ban the music, don’t ban the instruments that have helped raise the spirit and atmosphere of rugby crowds for generations.

There can be only one logical resolution to this – raise the ban on bagpipes, raise it on all musical instruments that are not made out of plastic. Let the rugby crowds be rugby crowds, and don’t try and turn the act of watching rugby into some manner of passive act akin to shuffling quietly through a library.

Save the pipes, however dreadful they might sound!

The Saddest of Glyn Dwr Days: Gleision Colliery.

Yesterday should have been an opportunity for celebration in Wales. For many years campaigners have attempted to develop a national day, a bank holiday even, to commemorate the rising of Owain Glyn Dwr some 600 years ago. However it might be manifest, Owain Glyn Dwr day should at the very least afford people in Wales an opportunity to celebrate their identity and sense of national identity. However, there was no such effort to celebrate yesterday. Instead Wales came together in unity and support, for the community hit so hard by the mining disaster at Gleision Colliery.

As many commentators noted, the sadness brought about by yesterday’s news, that four miners had died underground, triggered echoes to the many tragedies that Wales has endured through its’ mining history. And it was with this sense of history, the sense that Wales had been here before, that the Welsh community came together. It was refreshing to see so many of the Welsh political elite come to the community centre where the families of the miners had taken refuge, leaving the tensions that so often divide the likes of Carwyn, Hain and Gillan. This was not a chance to score points, but a chance to support, to offer a community what politicians are there for.

Yet it goes far beyond politicians arriving on location, and the community at the heart of the disaster, this was felt across the nation. This may not have been a disaster on the scale of the recent mining disaster in New Zealand, of which so many comparisons have been drawn over the last24 hours , but the loss of any life in such circumstances is a disaster in its own right, numbers make no difference, and the impacts felt by the loss of life in the Swansea valley will be felt across the country. Wales watched as the news came through, and today the nation wakes from an evening of sad reflection.

This was not a day of celebration, but it was a day when Wales came together. Carwyn Jones spoke of Wales’ sense of community, and that was there to be seen with the support that came into the community, and the support that will continue to come to the area over the coming weeks and months. These families will not be forgotten, they will be supported, as Wales has supported the families of those to perish in mining disasters in the country so many times before.

Little more can be said really, other than this was a bitterly sad day for community and nation alike. Wales grieves with the families, and Wales will work hard to support them through this time.