Bringing home the silverware…

team photo, Innellan Cricket Club, Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh CC

We had a great night last night at Inellan Cricket Club’s annual dinner. Previously these things have been all male affairs, a bit like stag nights, but this year we made an effort to make it a family affair.

I am not really what you might describe as ‘clubbable’. I am not always at ease in social groups and tend to find my place at the edge of things when I can, looking in. In the scheme of things, a cricket club seems a slight thing- we are hardly saving the world. We are hardly contributing to the great cultural life of the nation. However, I would like to suggest to you that in these times when our culture has splintered and broken down into indvidualised consumer components, there is a deep value in clubs like ours. They are part of the glue that is helping us cling together.

The club is going through one of those transitional phases, when a lot of the long standing players, who carry the memories and the traditions of the club, are one by one slowing down, nursing broken bodies and choosing to hang up their bowling boots. Some of them are turning to that most dreadful of sports, the graveyard of leisure pursuits; golf….

Last night, as he has done for decades, the MC and heart of the evening was Gordon McKissock, president and sartorial example to us all as he took centre stage. But this was for the last time, as Gordon is stepping down as president and player. He will be very much missed, and I am secretly hoping he might yet change his mind.

Quite simply though, the club needs new players more than ever. In the new year I think it is time for an advertising campaign…

But last night was all about celebrating the history and traditions of the club, which was formed some time back in 1985. It has been a place full of characters, and the stories told of their exploits are rich and long. Some of this history has been gathered into the prizes awarded each year- the Duck Cup, supposedly for the player with the most ducks in the year, but often awarded fairly randomly. The Wayne Pursely trophy for the best fielding- in memory of a young former player who died. Then there is the Tim Weal trophy, in memory of a true bearded original, known for umpiring on a chair with a beer hat in place. This trophy is awarded to someone who has done something really stupid, on or off the field of play. There are usually many candidates.

This morning our mantelpiece has a few more objects. Matt was rightly awarded the fielding trophy for some outstanding catches and run outs.

Will got the best batting average this year- which amazed us all, but was reflective of consistency with the bat all year. He has now done the double as he won the bowling trophy last year.

The only trophy I have ever won previously was the ‘most improved player’ (won this year by young James.) My name is on this trophy underneath my son Wills, who had won it the year previously. It seems I am forever destined to be out shone by him as this year I won the bowling trophy, and my name is underneath Will’s again. Next year the batting trophy for me I assume!

However,  I did beat him to one other trophy- this year, perhaps by some fluke, and perhaps reflective of the rather low standards we set this year, I was awarded the player of the year cup, for a combination of batting, fielding and bowling. It is all downhill from here folks… for me anyway. Will and Matt, that is another thing all together.

Here is Will when he won his first ever trophy;

William, cricket cup

A kind of joy…

When I was young and first met my wife, part of the soundtrack of our lives was a couple of albums by Everything But the Girl.

Tracey Thorn (the Girl in question) started making music again a couple of years ago, although I had not heard any of it until yesterday, when I heard a song called ‘Joy’. It made me cry. There is something in it that opens me up.

I ordered the album- a Christmas album of all things. I suspect it will be spinning a lot over the next weeks.

Here it is;

 

We Who Still Wait- advent poetry/art/meditation project…

We who still wait

Our advent collaboration, inspired and curated by Si Smith, and involving Photographer Steve Broadway, Ian Adam’s meditations and poems by me is now available!

You can get hold of it here in dowload for now, but hopefully you can order it in actual paper soon too. (It would make a lovely Christmas present I reckon, in fact some of you might be getting just that!)

Any help with the social media spreading the word thing would be appreciated as ever…

Here is the blurb from the Proost website;

This beautiful Advent product evokes the sense of waiting and watching at this season. Its available here as a download for £3.50.

Expect beautiful poems, challenging punchy prayers and thoughts and some beautiful photography in this devotion resource aimed at taking you through the 25 days of December up to Christmas Day.

From the book, this is from Elizabeth:

They say every flapping scrapping life is 
A brand new miracle
- I see them all in the street
Displayed there by their miracle makers
For the rest of us to worship.

 

Four great artists have come together to make this book happen.  Chris Goan, Ian Adams, Steve Broadway and Si Smith have brought their collective creative wisdom together to shape a wonderful book and it’s one we’re very excited about here at Proost.

In addition to this version there is also a Bonus Edition available which includes all of Steve’s original photographs for personal use.  That edition is £5.

A hard copy of the book is currently being created and will be made available shortly.

Growthism; like trying to cure an alcoholic with vodka…

economic_growth_3

I know that this blog has been full of discussions about politics and economics recently- sorry to those of you are are not interested, but here is another one…

I have been looking for new ideas, alternatives to the monocultural madness that seems intent on cycling us through boom and bust, and subjugating all morality to the single imperative of economic growth, or Growthism. 

Cameron has been at it again- warning us all that another economic crisis is on its way. Naomi Klein and her Shock Doctrine comes immediately to mind. Whip up the fear then continue to push through all those exploitative policies while we are sll too emotionally and physically distracted to mount an effective resistance.

And what is the disaster that Cameron is prophesying? Simply this- the bursting of another bubble of business confidence and the terrible spectre of the lack of economic growth. 

Real people can and do suffer during such times (although not Cameron and his ilk it seems) so this should be a matter of concern, but quite frankly we have been here before, and we will be here again. The alcoholic analogy works I think- we are addicted to the consumption of our planet, even though it makes us sick and may ultimately kill us all.

Monbiot, writing today in The Guardian, say as much and says it well;

If it goes down soon, as Cameron fears, in a world of empty coffers and hobbled public services it will precipitate an ideological crisis graver than the blow to Keynesianism in the 1970s. The problem that then arises – and which explains the longevity of the discredited ideology that caused the last crash – is that there is no alternative policy, accepted by mainstream political parties, with which to replace it. They will keep making the same mistakes, while expecting a different outcome.

To try to stabilise this system, governments behave like soldiers billeted in an ancient manor, burning the furniture, the paintings and the stairs to keep themselves warm for a night. They are breaking up the postwar settlement, our public health services and social safety nets, above all the living world, to produce ephemeral spurts of growth. Magnificent habitats, the benign and fragile climate in which we have prospered, species that have lived on earth for millions of years – all are being stacked on to the fire, their protection characterised as an impediment to growth.

 

Is it not also time for a government commission on post-growth economics? Drawing on the work of thinkers such as Herman Daly, Tim Jackson, Peter Victor, Kate Raworth, Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill, it would look at the possibility of moving towards a steady state economy: one that seeks distribution rather than blind expansion; that does not demand infinite growth on a finite planet.

It would ask the question that never gets asked: why? Why are we wrecking the natural world and public services to generate growth, when that growth is not delivering contentment, security or even, for most of us, greater prosperity? Why have we enthroned growth, regardless of its utility, above all other outcomes? Why, despite failures so great and so frequent, have we not changed the model? When the next crash comes, these questions will be inescapable.

Well said George.

Opening tomorrow; The Collective…

The collective pop up shop dunoon

We are entering another chapter- not really sure where it will take us, but then I have never been great at that planning thing. Whilst I am back doing the salaried wage slaving for a while, Michaela has been hard at work inspiring and curating a new project in Dunoon involving a pop up shop selling art and crafts.

Along with about a dozen other makers and creators, they have more or less started a craft co-operative around this new space- the idea is that everyone clubs together the cost of the rent, insurance etc and takes turns on a rota to actually staff the shop.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? The reality has been lots of hard work. They set up a core team of people who would plan things, negotiated with the shop owner and the property agent, then spent days painting and preparing the shop and sorting out the systems required to make it run.

I have to say it looks really lovely.

So if you are local and want to find some gifts that have been locally lovingly crafted, check out The Collective!

You can give them a like on FB too- search for ‘The Collective pop up shop’.

Finally, we are starting the process of converting our ReCreate website into an on-line shop. There is quite a lot of Michaela’s pottery there already, and more will be added as time unfolds…

Here are a few photos I took in the shop yesterday…

We who still wait; new advent resource…

 

We who still wait

I have been part of the creation of a new advent resource/book thing that will be out soon.

Si Smith had the idea and curated it, bringing together photography from Steve Broadway, meditations from Ian Adams and poems from yours truly. There is a set of each to take you all the way through advent, available first as a digital download, but soon available as a book also. It has been a real pleasure to be in such creative company…

It will be available on Proost soon- I will let you know when it is out, but it will be part of several lovely things intended to be used during advent- check out the latest Proost newsletter (I will forgive the fact that they missed me out of the blurb for the new book!) that gives a bit of a broad spread of what is there. Si’s wonderful artwork features in several of the pieces…

for now here is one of the poems;

Elizabeth

 

They say every flapping scrap of life is

A brand new miracle

- I see them all in the street

Displayed there by their miracle makers

For the rest of us to worship

 

But I am earth

Not sky

I am dry desert soil

Blown around in the ordinary wind

I am empty

And can never be full

What use have I with all this holiness

If I am never whole?

 

Meanwhile in the temple

An angel

Whispered