Home Made PhD Project​ 8 Arena, Remember The Good Stuff, Don’t Go Near The Bad Stuff, Fall in Love With One’s​ Own Singing

The Easter break is over, the trip to Italy is over, the wedding is over, the Beryl Burton play is over and now its back to work for this home-made part-time student. The new video came from a dream, doesn’t everything start with a dream of sorts.

Anyway, the dream was of the view into the inner sanctum of an inner city block of flats; the thrown brassiere came along later, as did the realisation that it was an Arena introduction which I was creating.

So the good stuff is the link to Arena, to its wonderful theme tune, to its mastery of the art of investigative, revealing portrait journalism; over 500 films produced since the mid-1970s, the theme tune is Another Green World by Brian Eno.

The bad stuff is the inner city flats. How did we get it wrong, how do we still get it wrong; why in an age of such talent can we not build a living environment of which everyone could be proud, one which would invigorate everyone’s life.

To be told, at an early age, that one is tone deaf is pretty soul destroying. The very fact that it is stone-cold true makes it an even bitterer pill to swallow. But then in one’s sixty-seventh year to be able to smile at one’s own singing is almost a miracle.

This then is Project 8 Arena, my singing arrives as the credits roll so to hear that you will have to watch the flying brassiere and the downbeat re-creation of an inner city life which, as it happens, I never did live.

Oh, and by the way, just to keep in touch with the art we did visit the Uffizi, we did see Anthony Gormley’s home-made statues peering down all over Firenze, and we did see Tony Cragg in the gardens of a palace which once was the Medici’s family home. Sì.


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Ponds, Poems, Pints, Patios, and​ Presumably Summer; Shelters, Sounds, ​Slipstreams For The Forgetful Memories.

The pond project grows bigger by the day. The decking, the fences, and the walls have all had the Karcher treatment. Andrew treated himself to a haircut after his sterling work on Thursday. The next step is to trim the liner and tidy up the sides.

Then finally we will be onto the waterfall, which has had several incarnations already but none which quite suited, although the last variant had lots of drops falling into the water creating much need aeration bubbles.

This will be a shelter, albeit an uncovered shelter, already the sublime reflections from the ponds surface onto the fence gives me a certainty that it will be a meditative, contemplative space; a place for the soul to take refuge.

The rogue photograph is of Peter and Jane’s pond, who also have a willow woven shelter in their garden which Pete reminded me I sat in once, in an overhung state; numb but peaceful is how I remember it.

I am on Easter break from Home-Made PhD, but I have a recorded the first guided meditation, which will be part of a trio of meditations, to celebrate the end of the Plum Village online course: Be Calm, Be Happy.

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Out Of Step, Being Aware Of Being Aware, Peaceful, Be Calm Be Happy, Aircraft Overhead, Soon We Will Be Elsewhere​, Branch Lines To The Silence.

We were asked the question, by our meditation teacher: Had we had any special moments whilst she had been away? As usual, I was not quick enough off the mark to remember the time of writing my poem, which became Project 11 Being Aware.

Needing to correct my oversight I determined to post the video on youtube, even though, strictly speaking, it was not in the right order for my Home-Made PhD.

This is perhaps the plainest of my projects to date, which perhaps says something about my being aware. I wrote the poem in one short sitting, sat in our lounge with the sun streaming in through the windows. I then recorded myself reading from the handwritten notes into the camcorder, again first take was all it took.

Does it work, is it appropriate for a meditation group, should I work more on working with the simple. Either way, I feel able to congratulate myself in having reached this stage on an adventure, which began less than 3 months ago in the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts.

It doesn’t seem right to end the week without thanking Jane for her birthday party at the Mansion House, nor to not thank Steve Bruce for the upturn of fortunes at SWFC.


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Home-Made PhD Project 7: Weekend, Playing With Memory From A Distance, Turtledoveland Takes Off The Edges And Provides The Vague With Fade

It was three and a half years ago that my son Joseph and his girlfriend Marija’s visit to see us for the weekend led to a video being made using Turtledoveland. Now, for project 7, I adapt a poem from the time to work with the video, this then becomes Project 7 Weekend.

Of course, from a distance of such time, the memory becomes less clear; I may have put more emphasis on certain events, whilst completely missing out others, though I am certain the roadkill iSpy did occur, also I do vaguely recollect seeing the gypsies in transit at dusk, on Sunday when returning home to Louth after dropping them off at Grantham station.

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Moggs Eye Meditation, Project 6 More Than A Shell Type 3 Video-Poetry, Plus A Short Break At Honey House, Bidlake Mill, In Devon

The Plum Village UK Online Meditation Course Be Calm Be Happy provided the inspiration for my first attempt at Type 3 video-poetry, where the imagery comes first.

I had seen the photographs from Moggs Eye whilst searching for something quite different, as a collection, I thought there was a calmness, a serenity to them.

I pulled them into the video editor and arranged them to tell some sort of a story, although to be truthful they were almost chronologically sequential.

After the visual element was completed I added a voice-over; there had to be a little rearrangement, which you might spot if you watch the video Project 6 More Than A Shell.

Devon gave me the opportunity to try out our new camcorder. We were in a neat cottage with ample gardens; a birdfeeder by the French Windows provided my first prolonged piece of filming, but more of that later. For now, here is a photo of my oldest son at The Church of St. Michael de Rupe, Brentor which I am told is the highest church in England.



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Flickr Flickers, And Thus Helps Me Create Project 5 Parallel Histories, Every Cloud, So They Say, Does Have A Silver Lining – I Am Becoming To Be A Believer.

My old Flickr account is not accessible to post new photographs to, it does though let me see photographs from between 5 and 12 years ago, which thanks to the Monday Morning Writer’s Cafe became the theme for Project 5 – Parallel Histories.

The first 4 projects had the poem absolutely coming first. That is the poem was written and then the images were found to match the poem. I will call this Type 1 Video-Poetry

For Project 5 the poem was written with the images in mind, indeed the images, some of which you can see by searching ‘coastmoor Flickr‘ on google, aided the creation of the poem, and those self-same images were used in the video. I will call this type 2 Video-Poetry

There may be more of type 1 and type 2 projects before I attempt what I think will be called Type 3 Video-Poetry. That is where the video is created first, then a poem is written to suit the imagery.

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John O’Donohues call for Wild Soul Prayer, Home-Made PhD Project 4 Wild Soul, Peaceful.

A good while ago I wrote a few poems which I thought were prayers, not that back then, or now, was I a religious person. Those prayers I thought to encourage my contemplation, to be quieter more settling words. But to chase after a wild soul seemed to require a different kind of prayer.

I was reminded of a vacation that Kate and I had in Majorca, where we stayed in hotels that had once been monasteries. Our first hotel was atop a mountain with a very long, steep, and narrow road which we drove up in the dead of night, in the scariness of darkness.

This was Sant Salvador, A monastic hotel with its own church. Our bedroom was downstairs, along a plain-walled corridor. The rooms were cell-like in their sparseness, I guess they had once been monks quarters, places to be silent.

Yet both the rooms and the land around the hotel had magnificent far-reaching views, no wonder this place had been chosen for prayer and meditation. No wonder that today I would use the images to inspire my Wild Soul, Peaceful video-poetry prayer.

One day, after we had been touring around we came back up the mountain to be greeted by a host of quad-bike explorers, this place it seems was firmly on the must-see bucket list, though I am not sure how peaceful I would have felt going down the narrow mountain roads with no barriers to prevent you from going over the edges!

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