Discourse and thoughts

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts – Soren Kierkegaard

Stop all the locks, and stem the river’s flow…

This video is a shortened version of the poem. Like many people I’ve become almost incandescent at the liberties taken in our name, with our money, paid regularly to the UK’s water companies. This poem is the first verbal shot across the bows of their boats, cruising nonchalantly through mess of their own making in our rivers. The full poem follows.

Stop all the locks – River Thames


Stop all the locks, and stem the River’s flow
Stop the frogs from larking in what they cannot know
Silence all the warblers, choke the roach and bream
Fill it all with sewage now, the tributary and stream

Restless birds are circling, with nowhere safe to feed
All of this to satisfy your Corporation’s greed
Nature now is watching you, as she slowly dies
The water vole and curlew, can you hear their cries?

Stash the boat and fishing rod, the water wings, canoe
This water, once a haven, not safe, for me, for you
The children cannot paddle here, dip water with their toes
And in the silent shallows, water boatman no longer rows

The reed mace, and the rushes here, now wither far from green
As browny sludge and algal blooms now dominate the stream
A dragonfly’s mistaken what’s sticking out of mud
And lays her precious tiny eggs upon a cotton bud

The shallowness of gravel once filled with fishes eggs
Now lifeless and particulate, a mess of floating dregs
The food chain has been broken, the caddis fly’s no more
All that’s left is greyness, we lay this at your door

Though every household pays you, to manage, clean and fix
Our water, waste and outflows, yet still you play your tricks
Financial orchestration, the substance of receipts
To move our funds to dividends and manage your deceipts

So who are your investors? Where is their domicile?
Do they live next door to us within this Sceptr’d Isle?
We think that so unlikely, more that they’re all off-shore,
Extracting too much profit, to leave our Rivers poor

It’s time for some accountancy, perhaps an AGM?
To give us explanations, from where decisions stem
Let’s meet your truest shareholders, and have them take the floor
Let them ask the questions, they number by the score

Up first, the water-crowfoot, her flowers like a mat
The most diverse of fishes enjoyed her habitat
“I need the freshest water, why can’t you keep it clean?”
The bed where all my roots should lie – the dirtiest I’ve seen”

The mayfly and the caddis, the flatworm, midge, and mite
The water shrimp and damsel, are here to join the fight
Invertebrate ecology, it needs the clean, the fresh
Not soaked with fecal coliforms, bad filtered through a mesh

Let’s not forget the creatures, of feathers and of beak
They all deserve protection from persistence of your leaks
Heron, Coot, and Mallard, the names of just a few
How can they breed and multiply amongst this rancid stew?

Wind whispers in the willows, about a corporate thief
And Ratty, Toad and Badger now share collective grief
Whilst Otter’s gone a-hunting for non-existent fish,
Mole no longer burrows, and reeds no longer swish

We can’t splash about in shallows, E. Coli for a friend
You claim all this is ‘Legal’, the ‘Rules’ for you to bend
Wild swimming isn’t sensible, because to our dismay
We float along with pathogens, Hepatitis C or A

Dendritic networked freshness should feed into our Thames
Map-drawn in lines of blueness, a thick, wet thread of friends:
“The Cole, the Leach and Windrush, the Evenlode and Pang
The Cherwell, Thame and Kennet” the gathered naiads sang

Each join and add their offerings, fresh sky-fall and the rest
The Mole, the Rythe and Hogsmill, should be amongst the best
The Wandle now meanders, and Tyburn’s underground,
Why ruin this potential when richness can abound?

But rivers are not wanted now; so squander every one
Pack away the willow trees, dismantle all the fun
Pour away the chalk streams, scrape water meadows clean
For nothing shows that’s pleasant now, in fabled lands of green

The limestone and the chalk stream, the trout that gasp for air
Every single life form, deserves your greatest care
So time to issue notice, however much you howl
We’re side by side with Nature, and standing cheek by jowl


Copyright and Art

There’s a big debate around IP and Rights historically and I’m not sure that it always falls the side of the creator. I am curious how far we can push the legal definitions of what is usable for collage Artists or those who reference original work to make new work. The recent lawsuit in Belgium which fell foul of photographs being used as source seems clearer than some. I think all Artists need to look carefully at how they work and not consider it a ‘given right’ to copy or use source without consideration of another’s creative effort. Just because we are Artists does not give us rights over others.

ArtQuest does a good job of pooling articles and discussions on potential risks. Obviously it’s always worth thinking about talking to a legal professional regarding anything potentially contentious but how do you know? Perhaps there’s a case to be made that we need a bit of vital self-education here which will, in the end give us more freedom to pursue our own creative endeavours.

I am thinking that I might explore this visually and ask questions around these areas:

  • How much source material is too much/little to use?
  • Does it matter whether the work being used is ‘owned’ by a large corporation or and individual?
  • Where does global fame matter?

In the one hand copyright protects creative efforts of any substance but the issue of how much of that material is protected is always going to be a case for lawyers dancing on the head of a pin…


I know everyone but me has already discovered this but SoundCloud opens up so many interesting possibilities. This is my first recording of a short bio piece.


Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf

I am embarking on a challenging work this year as we lead up to Mein Kampf falling out of copyright. This book, so repugnant in its words, by Adolf Hitler, and the widely adopted nature of its contents in the 1930s changed the world as we know it. There is nothing to compare to the atrocities committed in the lead up and during World War II. However, if there are opportunities to present (re-present) symbols of this time as reminders and challenges against repetition then it is worth the effort.

To destroy a man is difficult, almost as difficult as to create one:
Primo Levi

To see the Project look here.