Some people don’t need an excuse to dress up and make a noise but I do, and whilst Occupy was booming I had mine.
What contentment, what deep happiness attends stumbling down the street, clothes torn and eye hanging out, smearing blood on bank windows! What earthly joy approaches that of standing on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, robed and ranting amongst one’s fellow clergymen, preaching the gospel in one’s own inspired idiom? Where would we be without politics?
Occupy London swelled quickly, gestated painfully and then burst messily, firing its multi-coloured spores into the noosphere. A one-legged, thousand bickering-headed beast remained after the goo had been cleaned up by the City of London Constabulary, but by then the cheeky vigour had already found other moist patches.
One such moist patch is the the South Bank, where the Shell Out Sounds choir made its uninvited debut earlier this month, as you can see in the video above. This choral intervention was staged (literally, on an occupied stage) to draw attention to Shell’s sponsorship of the South Bank, a high profile PR greenwash of a horrific environmental menace. One shouldn’t blow one’s own windpipe, but I do have a ripe and resonant range, and what right-thinking reverend can resist the velvet tones of a well-intentioned choirboy?
One fine morning in the 90s, I awoke to the noise of a chainsaw outside, felling the trio of plum trees which stood taller than the council flats around them. The toilets needed replacing, explained a man in overalls. The masonry needed storing, there, in the only suitable space in the borough, so they needed to clear it. Their work was the final link in a chain of necessity that began, apparently, in my toilet (which did its job to my satisfaction, but I make modest demands on my plumbing).
The trees were weeks away from ripening, but he wouldn’t personally miss the fruit raining down every autumn. His dreadlocks wrong-footed me; surely a reggae-fiend couldn’t be responsible, but then who was? Does a councilor consider how common wealth binds a community together? Does a town planner reflect on the value of a jar of homemade jam, given by a widow to her neighbour?
“It is a sin to cut down fruit-bearing trees,” I explained.” Even in times of war.”
A talk about how the British media and justice system system has reacted to ayahuasca and Santo Daime in the UK.
Note, as of December 2012, the charges have since been dropped.
Click here for a more detailed and up-to-date talk on the same topic.
Why would King James, famous for his anti-democratic machinations, his shameless financial extravagance and his costly military misadventure, want the following in the Bible?:
“The meek shall inherit the earth”
This is spin that would make Peter Mandelson blush. “Inherit” implies a delay, even a patient wait for something to pass naturally. Strong’s definitive biblical dictionary, however, also translates yarash as “occupy”, and the primary three meanings listed are seize, dispossess, and take possession of. “Meek” is equally misleading. The Hebrew anav is used to describe Moses (not mouses), but Moses was badass, the ruthless and relentless commander of the original desert storm. Anav usually means “poor” or “needy”, humble before the Lord, perhaps, but mighty amongst men. Given that eretz, “the earth”, was a more local concept in the ancient world, and is translated as “land” twice as often as “earth”, the line can be turned upside down:
“And the poor shall occupy the land”
This talk, given at the Anarchist Studies Network Conference at Loughborough Uni, considers how The Bible was censored, through dishonest translation, to make believers into pushovers.
“The meek shall inherit the earth”
“Ye resist not evil”
“Turn the other cheek”
The effect of the KJV on the Western mindset is impossible to overstate.
My thanks to all the delegates and organisers, Marxists, Post-structuralists and ghouls who made the event so fantastic, and contributed to lively debates both in the sessions, and in the pub afterwards, seeking liquid solidarity.
Jesus Saves! (Buddha Recycles)
From Martin Luther to Martin Luther King, Archbishop Tutu and the liberation theologists, the Holy Spirit flows fast in activist veins.
The protest of the Protestants began as a leafleting campaign attacking the Vatican think-tank at the centre of a transnational extortion racket, dictating how rulers and ruled should conduct their affairs. Today we have the IMF and the Fiscal Gospel, and a new Inquisition to guard our souls from economic heresy, but the missionary may not rest. My mission lead me to Buddhafield Festival, with faith in my wellies to keep out the mud, and in the Holy Name of Yaweh to keep me from heresy. Thus I came unto the Buddhists, and the mud was deep indeed.