A Eulogy to Tom Palmer

I first met Tom on the Steps of St Pauls. One early morning during the occupations we sat on the steps and we talked of change I don’t think Tom had been to sleep. I have chosen to write a Eulogy and not an obituary for Tom because it is about celebrating his life yet I know Tom’s life was not always a celebration. Tom is well known to the protest scene and wasn’t always a welcome participant as his illness increasingly interfered with his reality. But Tom is exactly the reason we sat on those steps he was a young adult that needed support, his family needed support. This was something that wasn’t being offered in this time of banking crisis and cuts to Mental Health services and the National Health.  His mental health deteriorated in front of us. It had got to the stage that the only time he got to see the services he needed was through contact with the police and the courts. None of us were qualified to deal with the situations that Tom presented us with. But that was part and parcel of Tom, on the other hand Tom was super intelligent and for all his extreme paranoia was astute with his observations of the state. He set up his Anarchesque Boilerplate an alternative news outlet and his writings where insightful and progressive. He was a musician and many a night was serenaded by Tom on his guitar and his lyrics were sharp, current and funny. His poetry and narrative of life was sometime bordering on genius.

We used to joke when we met about how I had blocked him on social media. He didn’t get upset we would laugh about our interactions or should I say his interactions and my ignoring his claims of myself being an agent, which was standard. One evening I got a call off GBC asking me to pass by the James Bond Premier as we had received a phone call about a demonstration there. When I turned up the crowds where flocking around the red carpet to see the stars walk down the red carpet. Then I heard some shouting and there was Tom shouting at the actors walking down the red carpet that James Bond wasn’t an agent that he knew the truth as he was agent KingFisher. The police where watching him as he shouted “Oi Janie Mac tell them, she knows she’s an agent, she runs GBC they are all agents” It was funny but at the same time Tom believed it to be true so therefore it was.

I will leave you with something Tom wrote  HOBO HILTON, Heir Apparant to St Pauls? Evicted on Oct 19th

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We have lost a Musician, Artist, Poet, Anarchist, Activist, Victim and fellow Occupier. Someone that could have changed the world.

Love always

Agent Janie Mac

Solidarity Not Charity

Did a little more upcycling today for Streets Kitchen. There is something about Solidarity Not Charity that is just core for me.  Over the last while I have been collecting canvas bags that have come in from the donations and this afternoon decided to have a little spraying session.

 

These bags will now be used to go out on outreach filled with necessities from the amazing Streets kitchen and the message will start spreading and others may join in. For any information on helping out with Streets Kitchen just click on the link.

All donations welcome and volunteers are always needed.

 

Solidarity Not Charity

Jx

 

Just an Old Piano Stool

I can’t help it, tatting. I am always picking up shit just in case it is useful. This time it’s an old piano stool I picked up from the side of the road. The craft work in the making of this stool is evident, the turn of the wood is beautiful. To see it chucked out is such a shame. So I up cycled it.

First I gave it a scrub, filled some splits and fixed a board in from an old wine box also tatted.

Then I painted it and looked at it for a while. I had intended to make it into a bedside table but I don’t have room for a bedside table lol.

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So I filled it with flowers and some herbs. Only took me a couple of hours from start to finish.

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Upcycle, renew, reuse and enjoy.

 

Jx

 

Hackney Homeless Hunger Fest BBQ

What a rewarding day.

We have a huge homeless population and it is growing. “People that have fallen through the net” they say. I hate to say it but there is no net. Not any more. We are so dysfunctional, too many departments, case workers,  social services, probation,  police and the community care teams that have no common goal, not only from their own doing but from the machine that grinds them down and removes the humanity through red tape and fear.

I am now used to the relentless need to feed refugees, people from countries that have attacked their own people or who been attacked by people from other lands. Those fleeing from droughts caused by climate change and the natural disasters that make land inhabitable. Those fleeing their bankrupt and corrupt systems, fleeing hate and poverty but to have to feed people on the streets in a society that is so rich they have no real excuses just no moral compass.

Today I joined some friends and went to show some solidarity and volunteer my Sunday with Streets Kitchen in Hackney London.

I have always said the only difference between me and a homeless person is the roof over my head and luckily the support of a network that has given the support when needed and I have returned the favours to many. But when you don’t have those for what ever reason that is when the community should step in and this is exactly what Streets Kitchen is creating, a network of support and solidarity. They may not offer long term solutions yet but nobody is professing that that is the aim. They are there to show solidarity and not charity and today was a beautiful example.

Out of the chaos there is order.

We turned up at the warehouse and went down the list ticking things off as we piled them up ready to go in the trollies. Heather had  this to a fine art.

Cups , Tea Urn, Plates, BBQ x3,

Banners – Streets Kitchen /Solidarity not charity

Clothes for the free shop

Food

And so the list went on. Heather (long term volunteer and organiser) was finely tuned into what was going to be needed after having plenty of practice from Streets kitchen outreach. We packed DC’s van and set off via here and there picking up much needed supplies. All whilst on the phone talking Gazeebo’s and ice we approached London Fields.

Open arrival we were met of talk of security and other outreach groups had already cut deals of no political banners, no music, no notice boards, no this, no that. We appeased them with unsaid compromises and the banners stayed under the table for a little.  Volunteers turned up from all walks and the formation of a BBQ and feast appeared in the middle of the park. It was a vision of grass roots solidarity. People that didn’t know each other making quick introductions then getting on with firing up the BBQ, laying out salads, Stacks of soft drinks in ice buckets everything you would want for a good feast.

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Slowly one by one the security came to us and told us that we were doing a good thing and we sweet talked them into allowing a generator to start boiling some water to make hot drinks. When offered food they declined humbly as they were fasting and bingo we were all on the same side.

Before long the smell of the BBQ was to much and hard work put in by John (Long term volunteer) paid off and the Hackney Homeless Hunger Fest BBQ was exactly that. Homeless people and volunteers from all over came together and enjoyed good food, good company, laughter, compassion and no judgement.

And to top it off a chance of a haircut and a little boogie to a sound system as long as we didn’t upset the neighbours.

 

The Political banners came out in the end but in the end the most political act that one can do is to provide food for those with none.

Solidarity not Charity

Jx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bird Feeder

This time of year some of our neighbours need some help. Spring when the birds are having to feed their chicks is the time of year that they have the least in nature to feed on. The plants haven’t produced seeds and nor is it warm enough for the abundance of bugs and flies.

Creating a Bird Feeder out of recycled lids

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During my purge on plastic I have ended up with a massive pile of plastic lids. I didn’t know what I had been saving them for but I knew I would use them for something and a bird feeder it was.  So with the help of my sister we decided to have a go and put my idea to the test.

We gathered the lids washed them and joined them together with a nice twine. ( I feel a bit all Blue Peter here).

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We bought a range of bird feeds from the £1 shop so it didn’t come to much and a lump of lard. Melting the lard  in a saucepan adding the bird feed to it until it became thick and tacky.

We took the threaded bottle tops and scooped up the mixture and patted them down with the back of a spoon. Laying the tops on a baking tray to let them set.

And we waited.

I have now hung these bird feeders in and around the Heath and they love them.

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I won’t restock the bottle tops as they are fiddly and not that great if they get dragged off by foxes leaving plastic around the Heath. So I have made sure I have kept an eye on them and collected them when they are finished.

They look good but not really enough food in them. I think I’ll just use larger containers. But we tried, it was fun, it looked good and I know the birds enjoyed them.

Jx

Extreme Right Wing Neo Nazi Terror Plot Foiled

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That’s what the headline should have been, but alas no it read that a Terror plot against the Euro 16 had been foiled. So for all intent and purpose with todays emphasis in the media being an Islamophobic narrative we could be forgiven if we assumed that this was a Islamic state attack that had been disrupted, who else would attack a predominately white European competition? Not until half way down in the article do you see mention of the plot to kill Muslims and Jews.

The very fact that this person was caught leaving Ukraine a country with the White Power Flag hanging in it’s government buildings, a country where fascists and the far right openly attack and have killed members of the “left”  Recently Ukrainian MPs passed a law that officially recognizes Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated with Nazis in the 20th century as ‘freedom fighters’. Members of several official, underground and paramilitary groups, including the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army, operated from 1917 till 1991. They fought ‘for the country’s independence,’ and are now granted social benefits by the new law. I find it surprising that this plot was foiled by the Ukrainian SBU and wonder what their agenda is. But that’s yet to be seen.

Imagine if this attack had been an ISIS/ISIL member that was caught leaving say Pakistan or Saudi Arabia 2 countries known for being strongholds and financers of ISIS/ISIL. The news that a white Neo Nazi had been caught at the border of Ukraine and Poland has proven once again that our media is only interested if the perpetrators are Muslim. This attitude has again been confirmed to me by looking at my news feed on Facebook and twitter. Not a whisper, this guy had the makings of Chemical weapons, Stock piles of machine guns and ammunition that were only going to be used in racist attacks.

Everyone screamed outrage at the Paris attacks and not at similar attacks elsewhere and people lambasted others for their selective outrage. If this guy hadn’t have been caught, someone that was working within Ukraine with Armed Neo Nazi groups and had he managed to carry out the suggested 15 attacks at the Euro’s by a French National once again you could change your profile pictures in acts of support to the murdered and injured and they may even include a football logo. It sickens me that our media make light of this type of attack. People are more likely to be killed by neo Nazi’s in Europe and America than ISIS

Janie

 

 

First Shave of the Year

After getting through 2 razor blades and a bath that looks like some slash horror scene with out the blood and a plug hole that looks like a yeti has just been sucked up I now have shiny hairless legs, well the bottom bit anyway. It’s always such a job the first shave after winter. Do I do it in the bath and have hair floating around? Do I do it in the shower? and miss big chunks as I can’t see properly with the water cascading down them. I actually find a combination works best.

Winter is officially over I have shaved my legs.

Now why would I want to tell you about my personal maintenance?  What I wanted to talk about is how this action created a whole dialogue in my head like no other. Why would I have a twinge of betrayal to the feminist movement? That my actions are not that of a true feminist? Why do I feel I have to justify the action with this dialogue? I must feel that otherwise why would this thought even come into my head?  For me the leg hair is a seasonal thing in the winter it is left and I believe it helps insulate me and for the summer it comes off.  This is for a couple of reasons I find that when it’s warm I get itchy and the other is you don’t get to see my lovely tattoo underneath the forest and I would hate not to be showing the world my tattoo.

ggg

 

I agree it’s natural and Patriarchy along with the media have made it seem unnatural by dehumanising and sexualising the women to the extent they have no body hair at all which leads us into the complex relationship we have with body hair, but that another blogs worth. Obviously I wouldn’t be shaving my legs if there wasn’t any razor’s around but there is so why wouldn’t I ?  I think and feel sexy either way and so does my partner . I am not even going to go into the pressures put on to our teens through porn to shave, preeen, pluck and wax to be ready for the taking. That fight back is on a different scale.

The point is to be able to do what we ever we chose and not what is expected of us isn’t it?

Janie