Essential viewing on PBS tomorrow night:
It is the spring of 1964 and the civil rights community is gearing up for Mississippi Freedom Summer. Mostly white student activists from the North are preparing to link up with mostly black freedom workers to accomplish what the Mississippi power structure fears the most: registering black people to vote.
The state’s entrenched white power structure are ready to fight back.
A long hot Mississippi summer is about to explode.
A film by Dawn Porter.
Aww Yeah. The Best of Both Worlds!
So here’s the deal:
I’m doing a SFW, SF-Friends-and-Family version called "Some Days You Just Have To Dress Up As A Cow"
The main version, complete with this dude nude and some other shots with ‘tude will be called "Fake It ‘Til You Make It", and that will be made available on this blog…
…but not just yet. You’ll know when they are good to go and where to order them.
Oh! OH YAY! A book is about to be born!! It’s a good day!
(some thanks to Katie West for talking me through some details of the process on this strange Sunday)
I think the powerfully suggestive lyrics “can’t get … out of my head” should be banned. At least from choruses.
That Kylie track was alright, but the gun-puns, again Franz Ferdinand offering was bloody awful.
(Now there’s a statement I never thought I’d hear myself say).
Two months later, can the radio in my head could stop playing it, please?
Last Asda Shop: NYE 2013 to cache a few essentials before New Year’s Closed Day.
And lo, on my last visit to Asda, I was ID-ed.
I gave the cusp-of-40ish cashier a look that I like to think conveyed “C’mon sister, I’m buying eggs, spuds and ale. Grown up stuff; don’t mess with me.” But it only took her the briefest re-appraisal to agree on my age as I said it. I resisted an urge to protest and took the beer.
Today, Jan 2nd, required tools as well as victuals.
So I set off to North Street, merrily thinking I’d hit plenty birds with just the one rock. Minutes later I was crestfallen to discover my local chock-full indy hardware shop-keeper had as much idea what a “shave hook” was as I’d had half an hour earlier before my boyfriend explained it. Shrugging, she said she couldn’t tell me if she had one, or if she did, where it might be. At least in Screwfix they can bloody look it up, I thought. Happily, I found it in seconds on the rack nearest the counter - about 2ft from the good lady’s face.
Then, disappointed at the Deli. No loo-roll! Travesty! (They normally sell loo-roll; obviously if this were strictly a vegetables-stuffed-with-animals or vice-versa sort of establishment, that’d be fine and I wouldn’t expect top hats or dumbells or DAB radios either, but they do sell basic cleaning of self and home stuffs). Furthermore, despite a glut of short-dated 2-litre bottles of milk, clearly out of favour even in the absence of any half-sized siblings and unlikely to attract sufficient attention in the remaining two days of their lives, they offered no discount.
I decided however, in my infinite wisdom, that these are but minor and human shortcomings; of which actually I have plenty, not least forgetfulness. The deli guy came after me with the rice crackers I’d abandoned on the counter, and the hardware lady, though I interrupted her text conversation on my return, knew exactly where the radiator keys were.
Oh and I sawed a kitchen roll in half with a bread knife: instant loo-roll, ta-daa.
(Lion Stores, Southville Deli)
I know the title sounds like a no-brainer. I mean Exclusively Locally.
I just went through last year’s bank statements.
Last year I banned myself from shopping at Tesco -there are 3 within spoon-throwing distance of my abode so I’m pleased to have mostly succeeded… But I think I’ve unwittingly redirected my cash toward Asda/Wallmart.
So this year I think it’s local only.
Maybe ban Amazon too.
Now I’m immediately trying to weedle out of that thinking it’ll be Far Too Hard. But that’s ridiculous, right? Hard is …not having fresh water within 5 miles of your house, or bringing up kids on below-minimum wage, or being evicted from a shed by some twat from Eton who apparently never read the Nativity story, or the massive contraction of all world economies and death of physical and local exchange resulting in total human isolation and exploitation. Those things would be hard.
I realise I’m discussing several issues at once here but the point is I don’t have any excuses.
(Though I expect the insistence of most local shops to close as soon as people finish work will become a problem).
Anyway we’ll see.
Independent crafters are undervaluing their products; selling at a loss means we all lose.
Today I overheard someone at a craft market saying she makes no profit from her goods -they’d never sell if she charged the real price. She does it “just for fun, ‘cause she “has a job anyway”. Another woman was selling tin-can lanterns that require at least an hour of time and 50p worth of electricity, water, wire, can, and tools, for one English Pound. Even if she values her time at minumum wage, this woman is donating £7 to each of her “customers.”
I get it; I under-price too. First, because I enjoy design and craft, so I’m prepared to work for less; second because I know we’re used to Ikea pricetags, so I feel like I have to charge less, and third because I have a few strings to my work-bow too, so I can charge less. But there’s a limit!
I sell my VHS Dual Timezone clocks for £39 (plug) and I agonised over pricing. But making one takes over a day, plus paint and parts; I’m charging half what it should be. So yes, I expect £20 would get me more sales, but I’m not going to do that, because there’s a responsibility here, surely?
I’m betting the workers in Chinese sleep-in factories don’t have many subsidised crafty side-projects on the go, so I don’t think that’s a model we should be trying to compete with.
Perhaps the tin-can lady intended her lanterns as a loss-leader, but what if someone else had arrived with mostly tin-can lanterns to sell? Please let’s not adopt cut-throat corporate tactics; we don’t have the economies of scale to cope, and we should have the heart not to.
If you deliberately sell at a loss, you’re letting the companies that pay shit wages in China set the price bar. Perpetuating the misconception that labour is low value means it will become less viable to ever make a living from independent production. Eventually, the only option will be to “have a job”- ie. work for a corporation, make money for companies who already have loads of money, doing something we are less connected to, less in control of, and find less rewarding.
I’m not saying be greedy; this is - obviously - a planet of finite resources. But don’t sell at a loss! And if you’re torn between two price brackets, have the confidence to go with the one that best reflects the value of your labour. Otherwise we’re complicit in the system that undervalues it.
We must charge a fair price or we are selling ourselves and everyone else short.
Mshed: We Are Bristol
My student’s work on the Mshed website. Yay. This makes me very happy.
Well done Josh.
HER: “Are you going to watch the fireworks tonight?”
ME: “Maybe. I expect I’ll stay at home and reassure my cat.”
ME: ”Are you going somewhere to watch them?”
HER: ”Well, we might go to the park, but last year there was this Crazy Lady there.”
ME: ”What kind of ‘Crazy Lady’ ?”
HER: ”She was walking around telling everyone to stop letting off fireworks and look after the environment and wildlife… heh”
ME (what I should have said): So when you say ‘Crazy Lady’, you mean a ‘Compassionate Environmentalist Prepared to Take Action according to her Principles’?
ME (what I actually said): “She doesn’t sound that crazy…”
HER: ”Well, she had an umbrella, and she was dressed like Mary Poppins.”
ME (what I should have said):
"so you mean a ‘Compassionate, Active Environmentalist, with a Sense of Style, Prepared for Autumn Weather’ -?
…I mean who is really CRAZY in this picture: The concerned woman, or the crowds of people “celebrating” the failed and forgotten religious power struggles of over 400 years ago by FIRING EXPLOSIVES INTO THE SKY ?”
ME (what I actually said): “… Mmmm”