Thursday, 27 November 2008


The true spirit of Christmas?
This year it’s been taken literally by 25 year old Matthew Meyritz (Matt) who is organising a Christmas meal for the homeless in Canterbury, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.

On 1st December homeless and drifters will be welcome at St Peters Hall for warm drinks, food, and to enjoy the evening which will include a quire’s music.

Market crisis for who?
The market crisis is leaving the majority of the people filing the streets sorry for themselves, because they won’t be buying as many Christmas gifts as usual. But as Matt reminds, does anyone step back and realise there are some who don’t have the luxury of being affected by it at all because they are already at rock bottom?

“I hope to achieve a level of awareness for the people who have very little to nothing at all at Christmas and through out the year. I would like to make people try to pass on this idea around the country if not the world”, he says.

Pub Chef inspired by Jamie Oliver
Working as a chef in a local pub, The New Inn in Canterbury, his free time has recently been entirely dedicated to the organisational process of the Christmas meal he intends to give to as many homeless as possible. He can be found running round town between meetings with council, charity and company representatives, and handing out leaflets to beggars, determined to make -what seems the first of many- projects work.

Matt says he was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s venture to encouraging healthier and affordable food habits with his Ministry of Food and Pass It On projects and came up with this ‘spin off’ idea to gather homeless and drifters for a meal together, in collaboration with the Scrine Foundation supporting people in need.

Relying on his own limited economic resources and contagious positivity, he is quickly attracting the attention of people keen to become a part of this special Christmas initiative.

Taking the first step
“One’s just got to do it, and he really is!” Says a friend from the pub. This small whirlwind of events and people has truly inspired a breeze of inspiration in Canterbury reminding how easy it really can be to make a difference and give life to the meaning of what the Christmas spirit should be all about.

When speaking of the many things on his checklist yet to be done before the Christmas meal, his wide open eyes look so serene and happy, it is unbelievable to see with what ease and pragmatism Matt will pull off such a special day for so many.

Matt is surprised at the reaction he has had from friends and others. “Since I started making moves for my idea it’s amazing how many people want to be a part of it. Everyone wants to help”, he says.

It just took someone like Matt to take the first step for others to see how easy it is to do one’s small part for the larger picture, which for Matt, never seems to be too ambitious to be worth attempting. A Facebook group has been set up for anyone who wants to be a part, help out or to donate some money.

What better place than the birth town of British Christianism
The usual Christmas motto of generosity and good intentions this year will not merely resound of shuffling presents and shopping. It looks as though in the cathedral city of Canterbury, this Christmas is truly going to be about giving. With a sparkle in his gaze Matt says:
“I hope this could become a tradition to be repeated every year”.

Directed to the homeless, anyone will be welcome to come along and celebrate the season together. The meals will be free and donations appreciated by those able.

For more info & to donate visit Matt's website

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

House of cards

Picking at the flop that was the ‘flapjack experiment’ which I attempted last night, we joked about the forwarded email being circling this morning, of a modified one dollar bill picturing George Washington clasping his forehead with his hands in despair; simultaneously, our morning flick through Bloomberg started with red, block-capitals howling : “ MARKET CRISIS”, leading on to the president of the European Central Back, Trichet's solemn warning that the $700 billion plan must be pushed through “for the sake of the U.S. and for the sack of global finance”.

The global empire of the houses of cards is collapsing into thin air, starting from the very top peaks, leaving an empty space in the heights, which until lately, were occupied by the balancing compound of propped game cards.

It can be quite easy for the fat cats up there to become so caught up in their game, to then find owning up to inevitable defeat rather difficult. Like a game of monopoly really, the game will end, and the biggest winner n the game will be the biggest looser at the end of it, once all the cash is racked up and thrown in with the insignificant ‘economic bricks’ of monopoly’s realm.

The laws of gravity
After all, what is thrown up must come down and certainly the vertiginous heights to which market values have been racing on knitted expectations and virtual future expectations perhaps inevitably were destined to flop as no mega webs can withstand the pressure without solid bases.

A lesson? Perhaps.

We should be grateful
We could be lucky that a relatively small bunch of the main globe movers are crumbling quite 'steadily', one after the other, giving us that moment of lapse to slow down, take a step back and reshuffle our action plan of priorities -though as history teaches us, in the past governments have never quite grasped the earnest reality of critical warnings, each time choosing to postpone and ignore the crude realities until the gambling experiments would blow up, not their, but everyone’s face.

Looking back at many market crises in the past, one can easily dig out some documentary programme exposing today how some prominent decision maker or advisor 'knew all along' of the ratio of choices and realities begin gambled with, but, somehow -for pride or 'moral coherence'- leaders and shakers have chosen the honourable ‘suicide finale’, stubbornly choosing to sink [dragging all along with them], other than reversing on decisions and directions previously chosen.

Keeping it real
Will the glamorously exiting, eventful, quasi-Hollywoodian US Presidential show down concede the limelight in view of the realities facing the super power and the rest of the world, which is hanging from the US government’s lips?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

What goes around comes around - A token to all those who try every day and sometimes wonder why they bother.

This has been a tough year under every imaginable aspect for many around the world, for some tougher, for others it has become normality

Perhaps it is just the way we perceive time and events; we tend to look back at yesterday with a shade of nostalgia that sweetness and blurs all those rough edges and see today's sharp details with such vicinity because we I’ve them now.

Many will feel a similar disappointment I often have felt in people around me in the past. A feeling of stupidity, anger and humiliation, of always falling for the same net we fling ourselves into, relying too much on the sensitivity of people, give them everything, straight away, without holding back thoughts or feelings or effort.

Along the way it is easy to start believing an old saying that kindness and politeness will only lead you to be seen as stupid and easily used.

But it is just recently that after a series of events were driving my motivation down hill, that a person, a doctor decided not to charge me for treatment, apparently because she liked me, only after a ten-minute short discussion.

The same with my suitcase that was mistakenly taken by another passenger on my flight last week; I had to pay the courier when he refused to, however the courier offered to run it to me at night after his shift ended, the same day as I told him i urgently needed some items in it.

From today onwards I will not feel stupid nor curse my self when I am too friendly, open or excusing with people. Because it is true: what goes around comes around.

It is too easy to let only the bad aspects in life turn us sour, corroding our ideals and hopes into mere vindictive competitiveness throughout life.

Always recognise even the smallest gestures that people do around you, and ignore those that might be hurtful or disappointing, whether done with spite of for pure clumsiness.

You might be surprised how beautiful life can be if you choose to focus on al those amazing things that happen around you every day of your life, that you take for granted.

Monday, 16 June 2008

9.7 million barrels of oil a day.

That’s how much oil will be oozing out from Saudi Arabia by next month after King Abdullah pledged to increase the oil production by half a million barrels to counter protests outbreaks and barely unmanageable food prices all over the world.
Come out of

Well done this blogger says!

While some minds rattle themselves searching for solutions to save this word, whose death appears catalyzed by us, I say: use it all up that oil; forget biofuels completely and go head on for nuclear energy.

Too much time and money is wasted away trying to defeat the black gold we do need, and cannot replace by biofuel unless we intend going for starvation.

Imagine the advancement of progress in the bid for harnessing nuclear and solar and wind if these were to get sole attention.

Catalyzing our End
Tail–chasing humanity should have learnt the lesson by now- on the brink of a global famine’s shadow – use oil until we have it, and forget biofuels which have only driven food prices up and anyhow, probably emit more CO2 than that saved when its final product is burned as fuel replacing oil.

In the mean time prepare for the end of oil supplies by investing in renewable such as nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, etc, trying to stay clear from those involving invasive action.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Bathing in knowledge

Bath of knowledge...
This bath is made entirely out of books which Vanessa cut and fitted together over a metal frame to form a bath of books, which is suspended by four antique bath tub, lion-shaped feet. She intends to later cover it in layers of resin and has already applied proper taps and drain, so that it will be a utilizable, functional bath at all effects.

The idea is of immersing oneself in knowledge, books, truths, and 'cleaning' or ‘purifying’ one's mind with from external, every day life bombarding from media, by reading ad reflecting on books,- ‘pure sources’, which is of course, metaphorical, implying we can become polluted by ideas of truths and knowledge, which we can only 'clean' by reading our way through to our own ideas and reflections.

Footprints were made by tracing her foot prints as she got out of the bath and walked over to the sink, on the right, which is filled with shredded pages, ripped from books. Under the sink is a stack of books. Vanessa also used pages to cut out the foot prints, which she glued on the floor, going from the bath to the sink.
The books are mostly old, hard cover, fiction and historical books. From the outside of the bath one can read the spines of some, as on the rim of the bath, which is covered entirely by book spines. In side the tub, open pages are laid out, so they can be read whilst lying in the bath.

Vanessa works mainly with books, light bulbs and plays with notions of knowledge, information, identity through knowledge, and tradition with all its imprisoning stereotypes and classifications in today’s society.

She also refers to food relating it to knowledge and generally to the concept of societies which thrive and become more centred on capitalist and consumerist modes, dictating lifestyle, life objectives and social expectations. Social ‘bingeing’ on classifying social identities according to force-fed notions and encoded schemes of a ‘free’ modern age in which we are unwittingly dictated by the capitalist virus in all of us, perhaps inevitably welded to our survival instinct.

I believe her work can be interpreted on many levels, also, within very sensitive topics, that I think many people, perhaps mostly women, but not necessarily excluding men, can relate to, as for example food disorders and sexual inhibitions through social pressures created by media dictating expectations.

On the right and bellow you see Vanessa signing the bath, having finished it (but still missing the resin coating to come later), after months of work in Canterbury.

Where would your mind flow to, if you were to loose your self in a bath of books, pages and words, only you- alone with those words?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

the author...

Vanessa Mancini

Vanessa has just finished her BA in Sculpture and early childhood studies.

Through many existential struggles that we all thread through, becoming who we are, she has grown stronger, and managed through this medium, to express what words cannot, and to incourage people to look further in ways that words cannot be more explicit yet so magnificently vague and interpretable.

No, I do not mean to be doing publicity, the aim is to offer visual inspirations to those who might not have time to look beyond their fast track city trajectories.

In an egoistic search of attempting to express what thoughts some of her works unlock in me and so doing, crystallising my own contemplations, I hope these will be at least appreciated and refreshing.

Lady in blue

I look at her lady in blue and wonder…

What defines a woman in 2008?- Beauty?-Propriety? Femininity? Independence?

Does gender define women in their femininity as sensual?

Have women really broken free through feminism in 2008? Equal career opportunities, freed from cultural expectations, to ware those skimpy miniskirts in broad daylight…for the fun of it, because they can?
…think: are those women depicted in sex and the city nothing more than rebels from stigmas that will for ever define women in one way or another. They are after all, only searching for something as class-climbing, or love-searching, family-searching and career –searching women through out the narrative.
How, in 2008 does ‘she’ become disgraced?

‘She’ looks misunderstood and probably, misunderstands herself. As do men probably in a world in which gender roles loose defining boundaries what is left for us to mark identity? Why should these two-way markers be cancelled in the first palce though, as these are inevitable logistics that make our world possible.

To cancel, deny and use hostage a marker leads only to the downgrading of markers, be it racism, classism or sexism.

Search to understand, express and look beyond.

Who is the Lady in blue...
The object, victim, or culprit?
Or only a woman within…looking out of a life-lasting shell, the birthmark of a sensual object, a sensual culprit…

In the words of Vanessa on what she searches through her work:
"In seeking to further my understanding of the visual culture, I do not wish to reproduce beauty or ornament.

Instead, I mean to experiment with values, already existing in every day to day objects surrounding us- imagery, senses and sounds, giving another chance to judge and perceive these through new perspectives.

Setting the right context means alienating the object from its prison of traditions, and stereotypical preconceptions, these take on new meaning and identity.

Over the past three years my processional development has embarked a path led by intertwining conceptual and contemporary ideas.

Technique and hand craft are shadowed in terms of importance and no attempt is made of capturing the literal reality in which we are conscious viewers.

I wish to experiment with the context in which realities are found."

…grazie Vess, I try to put in words how your thoughts’ forms have inspired my perceptions…