Losing our way with satnavs, Grand Remonstrance and bath parties,

Another weekend, although without a work routine it doesn’t feel like it used to to me. Might be interesting developing new routines, may well allow me greater appreciation of the world and life, who knows? I’m continuing to gradually lose weight, which is a good thing as I’m still overweight. My appetite has lessened and I’m drinking far less alcohol, trying to appreciate it more rather than the old me who would drink too much too quickly.

I had been keeping another secret from Kate which was where we are going for a short trip next month. It slipped out the other night when I said “when we get back from Budapest”, it came as a relief as now we can both get excited together. I chose Budapest mainly because it is a major spa centre and as readers you may have picked up our liking of spas. Budapest has a number of Ottoman and Art Nouveau thermal spas and we aim to spend time in all the public ones, including one that has evenings with ravey light shows. Our hotel has it’s own spa too. Budapest apparently also looks great, is good for foodies and wine lovers, traditional coffee houses, music of all types and ruin bars. So, for us, seems like it provides lots of what we like. Anyone got any hot tips for the place?

Lucky me I am also off to a gig tonight, is that a word that’s still used? Mike is kindly taking me to listen to The War on Drugs and he’s using a satnav to get there. I have only used such a device a few times driving a minibus to London with one of my students for family visits. After doing the journey a few times I dispensed with it thinking I’d know the way as I normally do. I soon learned that I didn’t know the way fully. On reflection I realised that using a satnav stopped me from properly observing stuff on the route, including signs, landmarks and anything else that took my eye. It confirmed for me that I didn’t want one, I think it reduces our mental functioning as we come to rely on that little screen and whatever voice you choose to tell you where to go. I’m sure you also miss much of your surroundings and we become ever more divorced from the world around us. Little screens are looked at more than the real world around us, more simulacra and as Umberto Eco coined it: travels in hyperreality.

A real old hero of the left in today’s Grauniad, Tariq Ali. He “despairs at the ‘extreme centre’ that exists today”. By this he means that which much of modern politics has been defined, especially ‘new labour’ and mr bliar that reinforced neoliberalism. He advocates something called the ” Grand Remonstrance”, what a brilliant term eh? He describes it as a list of demands created by people (such as renationalising the railways and other utilities), getting say a million signatures then marching on parliament and presenting the demands to the Speaker. It last happened in 1641 with 204 grievances presented to charles 1, it was followed by civil war and charle’s beheading. Now we probably don’t want beheadings but pitchforks? I jest, don’t I? But wouldn’t it be an ennervating thing for all sorts of people to get involved in?

Sorry, might have to take back that which i wrote about chelski yesterday as a letter from a Spurs supporter (note capital Mike) reminded me of virulent and vitriolic chelsea fans have been over the years. The letter writer reminds us of how much they are still using absolutely shocking abuse of others, even worse than West Ham or Millwall ‘supporters’ and in total contrast to their near neighbours Fulham and QPR. And the club do nothing about this, it is a deeply unpleasant and nasty club and moanrinho (notwithstanding his latest protestations of shame) is their perfect manager, as is terry their perfect captain (notice he’s said nothing this week).

And I went to Chelsea College. It was a little sad a few years ago when I took Kate on a little personal nostalgic tour of the area and my old college haunts as we approached the main college building in Manresa Road and discovering it no longer exists but is now a fancy hotel. In fact Chelsea College hasn’t existed for a while having been subsumed into King’s College many years ago. I know things change, move on but it did sadden me, it felt as if a part of my memory had been ripped out. Maybe best not revisiting places, bit like revisiting people you haven’t seen for a while sometimes as well.

Ooh er, I’ve gone from the excitement of going to Budapest to the wistfulness of revisiting memories, must be getting old.

At least I don’t suffer from ‘reaction formation’: “when you fear your own desires, on defence mechanism is to insist, in over the top way, that the reverse is actually true” (Oliver Burkeman), for example the overtly homophobic American pastor who can’t deal with his own homosexuality. But maybe I do, as in more subtle ways than the pastor example why did I choose teaching and within that special needs and especially the psychological/emotional aspects? It’s because we want to find things out, it’s the stuff we struggle with.

Budapest night time bath party.

Manifesto 86:

  • let’s organise a Remonstrance.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


One thought on “Losing our way with satnavs, Grand Remonstrance and bath parties,

  1. First of all Duncan, I am, of course, right with you with your comments about Manresa Road and Chelsea College as I did a similar trip down memory lane in recent times. I was once with Margaret and Julie and we even managed to get to the bottom of the lifts at Lightfoot Hall but were unable to get to the beloved sixth floor which held so many memories. Anyone who saw us must have thought we were bonkers middle aged women – and proud of it!
    Anyway it is also some years since we did a family trip to Budapest but we did find the Statue Park quirky but interesting.We went a convoluted route by tram and bus from central Budapest but I think there is a direct bus these days. Here’s the link http://www.mementopark.hu/
    Have a fantastic time xxxx


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