Saturday, January 31, 2009


Of all the beautiful phrases in Barack Obama's inauguration speech, these are the words that stuck in my mind: "You are on the wrong side of history."

He was talking about the tyrannical regimes of the world. But we, too, should ponder these words

In the last few days I have heard a lot of declarations from Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert. And every time, these eight words came back to haunt me: "You are on the wrong side of history!"

These words are the opening of an article by Uri Avneri – it really warmed my heart to discover such an Israeli journalist and peace activist (a former Irgun and Knesset member). 

To my shame I had never previously been aware of the life and work of this great man. His website address is: 

I stumbled across the full article on

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Editorial: Why the BBC is wrong over the Gaza appeal | Comment is free | The Observer

“That the population of Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian crisis is a matter of fact, not political hypothesis. That the crisis follows directly as a result of action by the Israeli Defence Force is also hardly a matter for speculation. What grounds then, might the BBC judge a charitable appeal on behalf of the people of Gaza to be politically partisan?”

I’m still in a state of disbelief over the BBC’s exceedingly partial decision against the citizens of Gaza!

There should never have been a need for editorials such as this.

Editorial: Why the BBC is wrong over the Gaza appeal | Comment is free | The Observer

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BBC Conspiracy


Much as I can be fascinated by conspiracy theories, I don’t always have much time for them. The BBC’s refusal to broadcast an appeal, supported by such subversive organizations as Christian Aid, Red Cross, Oxfam etc., for humanitarian aid for Gaza, on the grounds that it might demonstrate bias is almost beyond belief.


There must have been considerable pressure applied, from Zionist / Pro-Israeli pressure groups, to help the BBC reach such a ridiculous decision. Interestingly, a caller to BBC Radio 4’s “Any Answers” programme who dared to hint at such collusion was immediately and rudely disconnected by the programmes presenter.


Methinks there’s something rotten in the state of Broadcasting House.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Matters Arising



Tensions mount as the appointed hour for the great disclosure approaches. Although pretty cool about the whole thing, the nearer the disclosure the more, at an almost unconscious level, little anxieties creep in; “what ifs” abound. Perhaps some sinister shadowy condition is the source of my ailments, an organic disease that I’d rather be unaware of.  The whole episode becomes quite absurd, one has a scan to try to find out the cause of a certain condition only to (belatedly) realize that perhaps it would be better to remain in the dark about such causes.


My beloved was becoming more overtly concerned about what the scan may have disclosed; worried about organs of the body that may be diseased and, of which my severe discomfort may simply be an obscurely veiled indicator of a much more critical condition. Her obvious upset with this thought, found a counterpart in me as my (only vaguely considered) concerns were given body and substance. This was perhaps the transforming motive whereby my “Que Sera, Sera” was converted into an anxiety laden wondering what.


We visited my GP this morning; he soon put our minds at ease by saying that the report sounded much more sinister than it really was; amongst other things, the MRI had disclosed a 12mm hernia on one of the discs, it really is amazing what havoc such a tiny intrusion / protrusion, in the vicinity of the sciatic nerve, can wreak. He then presented me with the options of consulting a neurosurgeon or, “doing nothing” – quite simply continuing with a programme of pain management as and when necessary. For the time being, I’ve settled for the do nothing option as I’m all too well aware of the risks involved in any spinal surgery.


Should the extreme pain be sustained for increasing periods of time, becoming incapacitating on an even more regular basis than at present, that’s when the neurosurgical route will have to be followed.  

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sleeping - Waking - Waiting


It’s no longer sleep that’s the problem but rather waking. Great as it feels to be getting some real deep sleep, having previously experienced so many painfully restless nights, the necessity of sleep now seems to be overplaying its hand. Whilst I am really appreciative of the extra time (theoretically) I have to spend with my beloved, as she has been taking a few days leave, my extra sleep requirement has somewhat eaten into these precious moments.


Presently, my pain management routine seems to be kicking in; it’s almost a case of pain remaining at acceptable levels, permitting one the ability to think, and even concentrate, for a somewhat more sustained period. There is just so much to be grateful for!


This afternoon, I received a ‘phone call from my GP’s practice and, have duly made an appointment for Wednesday morning to discuss the results of my MRI scan. I’m not committed to anticipating either the worst or the best from these results; it’s simply a case of remaining patient until I get them. It was quite a surprise to hear so soon as, when I’d had the scan last Thursday, they informed me that it would be approximately two weeks before my doctor would have the result.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sonic Vibrations

Disrobed and prepared, time hangs slowly, waiting to enter the unknown zone.

The first bit’s nice, lie down, head on the pillow; a pillow propping up the knees to ensure optimum stability and comfort, alleviates my anxiety regarding maintaining stillness for the duration. Headphones firmly clamped in place, emergency / panic button placed at ones fingertips and it’s all systems go. Just a last check to make sure one’s arms are well tucked in, before the slide into the cylinder begins.

Curiosity takes over and, I’m desperate to know how light or dark it’ going to be in the belly of the machine. As it turns out to be light, next decision to be made is do I close my eyes or leave them open; the awareness that its light also enables one to be fully aware of just what a confined space they are within. Close the eyes and this restraint has gone; there could be all the space in the world out there so, what’s the worry? To my surprise there are no worries at all, nor is there any real awareness of time.

The soundscape is rather like an avant-garde techno-trance experiment. What’s lacking in the drum and bass field is more than compensated for by the healthy bass balance in all the proffered sounds, bass, treble or mid-range. To my ears, this random array of note clusters strikes me as quite tonal, a remarkable absence of discomforting dissonance.

It’s virtually impossible to apply any regular time signature to this precocious rhythmical melody; at times one is aware of the absence of note-clusters, a blanketed industrial washing machine being heard some distance off, before the music begins again.

Following on from this excursion, to a rather exclusive little music club, my GP will be informed of the results of my MRI scan within two weeks.

Waiting Time


An almost crystalline purity and perfection pervades the morning sky. The  brightness, that clarity of light synonymous with crisp cold days, swiftly elevates the spirit,a kind of exalted invitation to the dance.

Having managed to strugglingly manouevre myself downstairs, on finding  a relatively comfortable chair, I gaze out across the bedraggled garden. This little landscape has been victim of a far from modest elemental buffetting; the combined artillery (both light and heavy) of wind, rain and cold brigades, has beaten the earth into submission.

I'm all too well aware  of those little preparatory tasks. that remained undone, in the run up to winter but, hopefully, I will feel more up to tackling the  necessary recuperative tasks when the the season changes.

Malcolm - 7 January 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Body Talk

A crisp bright day encourages me to venture out for a stroll. My body instinctually vetoes the idea.

I know, on this occasion, that the body is correct – I’m quite used to listening to it these days – but the thought of a little stroll, accompanied by my very own breath ghosts remains appealing. Momentarily, a surge of resentment washes over me; why should I tolerate these corporeal restraints?

A searing bolt of transferred pain replies, as if to demonstrate the wisdom of the body. The spirit yields to the assured pragmatism of the flesh.