Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Misandry, Medusa and Men's Rights

It may not have escaped your notice that over at Comment is Free there has, of late, I know not where (sorry, that's Hamlet)....been quite a lot of what we might call - let's go for something approaching neutrality here - people making noisy noise about misandry. First there was the whole Tom Martin brouhaha, here and here (see also Sian of the Not-Straight Ribs here). And then Ellie Mae O'Hagan wrote a great piece last Thursday about the now infamously withdrawn Topman T-shirts, the ones that compared women to dogs (she's a bitch, geddit?), or gave a jaunty recitation of excuses for domestic violence. They're fucking hilarious. Given the apparent mood of the times, Ellie's credulity un-stretching assertion that the T-shirts indicate a disturbing normalization of misogyny met with a fairly predictable response.

First off there was the whole, crushingly depressing "it's just a T-shirt - jeez, don't you people with vaginas understand jokes"-fandango. To which I'll say what I've said before and suspect I will say many many times again: 
1) 'Joke' and 'politically significant' are not mutually exclusive fact, quite the opposite...humour can be used to subvert political oppression (hats off to you Mister Colbert) or to normalize it (thanks again Mister Hill). Comedy, is, in short, one of the most effective political weapons we have, and using it doesn't exempt you from an iota of political responsibility. Not a single drop.
2) I'm sick to the back teeth and half way down my oesophagus of the raggedy old 'women not having a sense of humour'-thing. First. Please. Get a new line. Second, we have a sense of humour. If we didn't have a sense of humour - living in this rampantly capitalist patriarchial ecologically-suicidal car-crash of a society - we'd have a hard job getting up in the morning and getting on with the business of working, and looking out for ourselves and trying to care for other people. The reason why we don't find this funny is not because the deity of humourless-bitches surgically removed our funny bones at birth but because:
3) Violence isn't funny. And nor is comparing people to animals. And violence and comparing people to animals at the same time. That never goes anywhere good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stopping the Rot

Four months ago Nocton Dairies – evangelists of the doctrine that ‘Cows do not belong in fields’ – withdrew their plans for a super-dairy in Lincolnshire in the face of public protest and objections by the Environment Agency. Now, both sides of the Atlantic have seen a further hardening of opposition to the practices of intensive agribusiness, and in particular, the routine use of antibiotics in industrial farming. In the States, the launch in early May of a campaign called "Moms for Antibiotic Awareness," was followed at the end of the month with a lawsuit filed against the FDA by The Natural Resources Defense Council. Both take issue with the fact that 80% of the antibiotics given to livestock are non-therapeutic, habitually placed in food and water to, in effect, ‘immunize’ animals against their less-than-salubrious living conditions. Similarly, the Friday before last The Independent revealed that the past decade saw a dramatic increase in the agricultural use of three classes of antibiotics considered vitally important to human health. This serves to further intensify concerns about the role of farming practice in breeding antibiotic-resistant super-bugs like MRSA, and the lethal strain of E. coli responsible for the recent outbreak in Germany.

Some of us – cynical about the incessant manufacture of panics – might well want to chalk this up to Yet More Scaremongering. However, I find it useful to divide the anxieties of our age into ‘Stuff which is in the interests of capital’ and ‘Stuff which is not.’ Opposition to extracting maximum profit from a pound of pig’s flesh – irrespective of the effects on health – seems to fall squarely in the second box. Which leads me to suspect that it might be more than just another whipped-up neurosis designed to brow-beat me into continued consumptive compliance.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hysteriawatch: Like twitching, but for feminists

We might remember that some time back, our great and beneficent leader, on being interrogated by Angela Eagle during PMQs, decided that the best way to wriggle out of inconvenient questions was by engaging in an ill-advised impersonation of Michael Winner. 'Calm-down-dear'-gate, as it was thankfully never named, was, according inevitably to some, yet another instantiation of the way woman just don't get the funnies, or are prone to getting themselves all worked up about things which are really No Great Shakes. Because you see, not only do women's natural sensitivities prevent them from engaging appropriately in that great ratiocinative arena otherwise known as the House of Commons (priceless really, considering how much general school-boy jeering and paper-waving they routinely get up to over there), when this is calmly pointed out to them, they get all huffy and over-emotional.

As Libby Brooks noted in The Guardian that Thursday, language is actually Quite a Big Deal, particularly when that language is deployed more-or-less subtly to delegitimize critique, in a manner which neatly side-steps the need to actually deal with the substance of that critique. And, when it comes to Not Wanting to Listen to Women - especially when they are making observations about the myriad mechanisms used to silence, sideline or undermine them - there is perhaps no better way to silence, sideline or undermine them than wheeling out the accusation of hysteria. As it happened, a short while after Cameron's blunder, I published my little bit of criticism about Moffat and Who, which caused a predictably explosive response. As a case study of the polysemic range of rhetorical tricks on offer to anyone who wants to pull the 'I am Logos, and you are Irrationality Embodied' move on their opponent, it was, I have to say, something of a gold-mine. The reasons why I Shouldn't be Taken Seriously included, among other things, the charges of "incoherence" and "silliness," and the observation that I was "rambling," spouting "nonsense," and "ranting all over the place." I was told twice that I was "pseudo-" something or other, and finally - my personal favourite - that I was "insane" for trying to classify kisses. I mean, it's clearly a great Enlightenment endeavour to label butterflies pinned to a board...but kisses? Well that's just barking.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Notes on 'the good' (i): Peer-to-peer relationality and postmodern productivity

"[M]odernity...based on a autonomous self in a society which he himself creates through the social contract, has been changing in postmodernity. The individual is now seen as always-already part of various social fields, as a singular composite being....Atomistic individualism is rejected in favour of the view of a relational self, a new balance between individual agency and collective communion."
Michel Bauwens, P2P and Human Evolution (44-5)

"Soon this society will only be held together by the mere tension of 
all the social atoms straining towards an illusory cure."
The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection (19)

"There is a logic of self-unfolding at ethic that values activity and caring...creativity, the continuous surpassing of oneself in solving problems and creating new use value."
Pekka Hinamen, The Hacker Ethic

Postmodernism - that favoured buzz-word of Nineties theory-drones - has, it must be said, something of an image problem. On the one hand it is despised, with equal vociferousness, both by the forces of political reaction - that legion of young and old fogies who would prefer to drag us kicking and screaming back to some unspecified point before 1967 - and also, at the same time, by many of the hard left. Quite why so much frankly inarticulate disgust is reserved for the deconstructionist-feminist-new-age-vitalist strain of the philosophical left by the Badiouian-Zizekian new guard is something I have never really been able to adequately get to the bottom of....largely because I find such apoplexies of revulsion deeply suspect. Nonetheless, it does have to be said, that while deconstruction should be always defended against the erroneous charge of nihilism, there is still much work to be done in terms of hashing out what we might understand as the form of positive or productive deconstruction. As one of my friends said to me recently, putting his finger on the issue which has perhaps alienated just as many as the spectacularly dense - but endlessly repeated - reading of 'there is nothing outside the text' (yes, that's right, Derrida thinks that tables don't exist)'s all very interesting as a theory, but what on earth is one to do with it?

What unsettles me so deeply about the current trend to dismiss deconstruction - in fact, to dismiss pretty much the entire legacy of post-Bergsonian/pre-Badiouian French thought - as simply a fad or a fashion, a mere intellectual blip in the forward march of principled the fact that what we are dealing with here are some really really fundamental ontological claims, claims about the nature of reality which we can't just imagine away because we think they lead to namby-pamby-wishy-washyness, or a failure of political virility. As Michel Bauwens suggests above, one of the most - in fact I would say, the most - salient fact about what is unhelpfully called the linguistic turn, is that it is not really about language at all, but is, rather, a claim about the fundamentally relational nature of is a claim that each and every being (whether a sign or a state, a subject or a star) is constituted by its temporal and spatial relation to that which is other than itself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Education, education, education

So, inevitably, after the backlash comes the backlash...the furore generated by A. C. Grayling's gobsmackingly cynical announcment of the New College of the Humanities (see here and here for press, and here and here for blogosphere) mutating, by the week's end, into Deborah Orr's feigned incomprehension of what all the fuss is about, or Simon Jenkin's telling us - with characteristic generosity of spirit - that the fuss is about nothing more serious than "rich pips" getting pissy about having to pay for their own education. (There is also a staggeringly odious display of neo-colonial ad hominem non-argument posted by some chap called Hugo on the Varsity website for anyone who fancies getting really irritated - waytogo laying that ghost about Cambridge fostering disgustingly complacent posh-boy privilege Hugo).

So, for those of you having a problem getting your heads around this, let's spell it out. The fuss is about capitulating to the assumption that the function of education is to be rendered only in the logic of capital. Grayling, relying - as do so many of those who choose to sell their principles down the swanny - on the 'real-worlder' defense, claims to be defending the humanities from their present peril. But, as has been pointed out (here for example), if you want to defend the humanities, then how about you try defending the humanities...Because, do you know what doesn't come under the rubric of 'defending the humanities'?...Acquiescing to the neo-liberal managerialism that insists that the humanities are 'non-productive' leeches on the public purse and are henceforth only to be enjoyed by people who can pay eighteen grand a year to be educated by a bunch of media-hungry celebrity intellectuals.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Doctor Who and its Discontents: Part I - Moffat, Misogyny and the Problem with Pond

Doctor Who fans, by and large, are a tenacious bunch. As the tales of the wilderness years - of long nights spend huddled round the flame of Big Finish - suggest, there is something about the dedication that this show inspires which goes way way beyond whether it happens (or not) to be any good (or not) at any particular time, or whether, even, the Doctor is presently in possession of a televisual incarnation at all. Quite why Doctor Who rocks so hard is a topic of eternal and, necessarily, open-ended debate; favourite theories include the versatility of the format, the child-like effervescence, the unmistakable aroma of camp mixed with the uncanny, and of course, general, all round, timey-wimey goodness. But, in the end, it probably boils down to the one simple thing most Whovians can agree on (and that's not much): this guy is the greatest superhero ever conceived by human-kind, and there is a place tucked inside each of our souls - filled with the longing for wonder, and adventure, and cosmic justice - where we all need to believe he is real.

Being not only tenacious, but fastidious, by nature, the response of most Whovians to being disturbed or disappointed by what the Doctor has gone and done this week is to engage in explosions of analysis. And here we find ourselves. For I, among many of the faithful, am not at all happy with what is going on in the Whoniverse right now. This is, we should note, a far from unanimous opinion. There are many - principally those who spent much of the RTD-era wailing though gritted-teeth about the latest credulity-stretching deus ex-machina - who are endlessly enchanted by Steven Moffat's Chinese puzzle-box approach to plot development. Also, Moffat can do monsters. That I'll give him. But Who is more than the scaries, and evidence is accumulating - from declining ratings* to the National Television Awards flunk** - that all is not well in the land of rebooted New Who.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Of the rich, by the rich, for the rich

So let's cut to the chase. I’m no fan of the monarchy. I’ve long suspected that the British can be fairly divided into two camps when it comes to kings and queens; the reverential doff-your-cap-at-the-squire types, and the naturally irreverent I-fart-in-your-general-direction types, those who occasionally come with a side of “but-I-thought-we-were-an-autonomous-collective?” While some get all supermarket-sweep when faced with monarchic memorabilia, there are others – let’s call them the children of Python – who have only ever purchased a Charles and Di tea-towel with an eyebrow firmly-arched. I’ve always been in the latter camp. My general response to learning that ‘Waity-Katie’ would wait no more was to stifle a groan at the thought of the ensuing quasi-fascist bunting-frenzy and then set about planning how to get as far away as possible from nuptial-central. The western coast of Wales seemed like a good bet. And that is exactly where I’m going this weekend.

Fig.1 - Evil bunting

However, that said, I'm not going to take this lovely carnival affair (I'm rather hoping there will be mask-wearing and trance-dancing later) as an occasion to reflect on the relative demerits of constitutional monarchy versus its upstart republican cousins. No, instead, given the dire political situation (which, I might add, this whole wedding-fandango is doing nothing to obscure), I thought this a good opportunity to think through the general crisis of political legitimacy in this country. The crisis of political legitimacy which, for that matter, is also apparent in many other countries where the mechanisms of representation have become so utterly distorted by the overweening interests of capital. I guess that pretty much gives away where I’m going with all this (as if the title was obscure), but to back up for a second…what I want to talk about here is not the pros and cons of whether we should or should not have an elected head of state, but rather, the problems our political system shares, by historical descent, with its more pure-blooded (yuk!) republican relatives.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Facing the Book of Hate

{Disclaimer - This one's about the abuse of women, so...erm...there's not many jokes}

There is a deeply shocking, and somehow, at the same time, shockingly credible story in today’s Guardian about the rising rates of violence, intimidation, control and general abuse directed by teenage boys and young adult men against their female counterparts. The piece follows a warning this week by Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, that teenage girls between 16 and 19 - closely followed by girls aged 20 to 24 - are now the group most at risk of domestic violence. Portraying an adolescent universe in which young women are routinely subjected to sexual slurs, and humiliated or ostracized for perceived permissiveness, the story also echoes one which appeared in January, noting that, at the same time, young women are also being pressured into sex with either one or multiple partners, and/or having their movements and social interactions monitored and controlled by men through the threat of violence.

What struck me about both of these stories is the role attributed to social networking sites in general, and Facebook in particular, in the creation of so-called ‘Sket-sites,’ in which intimate images and/or details of a girl’s sexual behaviour are posted online, and men invited to pass judgement or gives marks out of ten on a scale of nought to…you get the idea. The reason why this is particularly striking was that it follows, by only a few weeks, my finally getting around to watching The Social Network, and being, on that occasion, deeply struck by learning that the most powerful incarnation of Web 2.0 was unambiguously forged in the fires of misogyny. Zuckerberg, we recall, having been dumped by his girlfriend (for being an asshole, not a nerd) retires to his dorm and whips up a program called Facemash, which invites innumerable anonymous men to make judgements on the relative sexual attractiveness of two randomly-selected young female students, the photos of whom Zuckerberg has oh-so-respectfully hacked from the school’s websites. This opportunity to subject such a large number of unsuspecting young women to the objectifying and violently adjudicating male gaze is so compelling, we are led to believe, that within hours the Harvard network succumbs to the intensity of traffic.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fighting the Inevitable?

Now and again, it can be hard to think something and its opposite at the same time - or perhaps more accurately, it can be hard to remember that one is the kind of person who thinks it important to try and think something and its opposite at the same time. Yesterday I redrafted (for the umpteenth time) an article on natural childbirth, which more or less consists of me siding with the second-wave critique of obstetric domination against the the third-wave suggestion that those crazy seventies hippies got it all wrong about cesareans and epidurals not being such a great idea, because, y'know it's all discourse innit? Wheeling out the "discourse-all-the-way-down" argument in reference to a process in which someone separates your viscera with a knife is probably, quite rightly, around about the place where reductive social constructivism lapses into almost pure self-parody (and, of course, don't get me started on how much damage has been done to the reputation of my dearest Jackie D by persistently associating his name with this kind of nonsense...c'mon now chaps, when he says "there is nothing outside the text", he doesn't mean text, he doesn't even mean language). Nonetheless, having spent the best part of yesterday thinking about material resistances to discourse, this morning, I find myself obsessing about the discursive construction of gender and its paradoxes. This is largely in response to:

1) These striking images which have been doing the rounds on the femi/philo end of the blogosphere:

They hail from this blog, and depict the vocabulary used in children's toy ads by gender. 'Nuff said I reckon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning from the Lake

One morning in late July, on the East Coast of the States, I stride off into a forest made by men. I am going for a swim, heading from the ‘wrong side of the park' – with its plexi-glass bodegas and strip of tacky beauty bars – to the plant strewn chic of the Slope; that sweep of mellow brownstones and organic-yoga-coffeeshops that effortlessly exudes the eternal form – the blessing and the curse – of inner-city gentrification. It is not yet hot. The air is barely moist. My footsteps strike the asphalt in the dark iron-lined tunnel where, in the afternoon, the blues of people's voices will echo from the walls. And, as I hurry round the curve that swings out of the tunnel I am suddenly so struck I have to stop.

The lake, folded in a fine mist, spreads itself before me. The shore is fringed with mallow, pink blooms nestling in the mass of green. The trees extend their morning-arms towards the sky and glitter. And, as the thick duckweed water breathes out slowly, on the far side of the shore, where shadows gather in the wood, an explosion of activity, and black birds spill out against the blue. Sometimes, in these rare moments, the resonant silence seems to speak and, even here, in the centre of the city, my bones hum to the heart of the earth. Two swans, four gangly-grey adolescents in tow, glide – as only really swans are able – out from below the bridge. All thoughts of getting to the pool in time are gone. My laps can wait. I walk down to the water.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On the value of upsetting atheists

There is, perhaps comfortingly, a clockwork predictability to the outrage spilling from some sections of the science community in response to the fact that Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, has accepted this year's Templeton prize. The million-pound award is given annually to those whose work in science has something to say about what the Templeton foundation describes as "the big questions." Lord Rees' life-long efforts "peering into the farthest reaches of the galaxies" have been commended, on this occasion, for raising "questions" about "our nature and existence" and opening "a window on our very humanity." 

This seems fair enough. Many of us - when not flattened by the daily schlep of life - are at least inclined to ponder the mysteries of our existence; to wonder how and why we came to be this particular being, in this particular time, clinging to this particular planet in the vast chasm of space. For those who hail from the intellectual enclave inhabited by Dawkins and his compatriots, this kind of thinking is, however, nothing but the thin end of the wedge. To wonder aloud about what it might all mean - or what our lives might be for - is the start of a slippery-slope; one which leads inevitably, and in short order, to a murky bog of quasi-medieval bible-bashing, spooky superstitions and religious zealotry.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Getting government off the backs of business is the core mission."

Beautiful nugget of honesty from Tory Minister Greg Barker bragging at the Moore School of Business in South Carolina here. Not ideological eh?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two-Brain Willetts and the Mother-Monster

There is a (very funny and horribly astute) joke doing the rounds in the States presently...It goes something like this...

There are three people - a CEO, a Tea Partier, and a Union representative - sitting round a table on which there is a plate with ten chocolate-chip cookies. The CEO leans in, takes nine cookies, and then, as he settles back into his seat, looks at the Tea Partier and says 'You wanna watch that Union Guy, he wants some of your cookie.'

It seems that we could do a bit of jiggery-pokery with this scenario - let's replace the CEO with David Willetts as the emissary of fat-cat adminsitration intent on maintaining white upper-middle class male privilege, and replace the other two with a middle-class woman and a working-class man - and we have a fairly good approximation of the 'divide and conquer' strategy enacted by David Willetts on Friday.

Middle class women, Willetts claims, are responsible for the lack of social mobility in this country, because, they have, basically, been stealing working-class men's jobs - or rather, they have been going to university and getting themselves all educated and hence, stopping working-class men getting educated instead (well at least it makes a change from brown people stealing white people's jobs...)

Where on earth does one start with this nonsense?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Austerity and Lies

Things it is useful to know about our current economic situation:

1. Our current level of debt is not historically high - for 200 of the past 250 years our debt has been higher than it is now (1)

2. Our current level of debt is not high on an international scale - for example, Japan's debt is currently three times ours (1)

3. The financial crisis (bailout + falling tax revenue) is responsible for 78% of the deficit. Labour overspend accounts for 22%. (2)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Big Society' Thinking

Hard on the heels of the dubious arrests of the Fortnum and Mason's 138 (not something I thought I'd ever say), the blogosphere and left-leaning media are also alive with concern about government interference in another arena of public life, in this case the research agenda of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Following the suggestion in last Sunday's Observer that AHRC funding was made conditional on establishing the 'Big Society' as a research priority, the Council has published what it describes as a 'refutation' on its website, claiming that the government didn't put the financial thumbscrews on them with respect to their agenda (there has been much hay-making on philosophy lists about the abuse of English verbs here...'refutation' being the act of demonstrating that something isn't true, as opposed to 'repudiation,' which is just saying that it isn't true.) The AHRC's 'refudiation' (as Sarah Palin would have it) has been - according to their Chief Executive - sent to the Observer and, in response, a letter from academics has also been dispatched to the editor, pointing out that there is probably even greater cause for concern (from both an intellectual and democratic perspective) if the AHRC has compromised the future of free academic inquiry entirely of its own volition.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's the Beeb yes, but not as we knew it...

Last night, while we repaired our march-tired limbs with tea and Thai-green curry, the anchor over at BBC News 24 thoughtfully worried on our behalf. How 'disappointed' us law-abiding types would be, she lamented, that our efforts had been 'overshadowed' by the 'criminal' acts of a bunch of 'maurauding' anarchists 'intent on causing havoc'. Although deeply moved by her concern, I was, as I suspect will be many, far more troubled by further evidence that the Beeb has clearly decided its long-term future is best secured by aping The Daily Mail.

Intent on ensuring (while performing such distress at the fact) that the march would be overshadowed, the footage of the total break down of law and order in Trafalgar Square consisted of a 30 second sequence played on a loop...cue fireworks, some small fires, and then one (conveniently) black man waving his hands ineffectually at a line a line of riot police. Over this, the stone-faced anchor intoned her litany of talking points: What, she demanded, is anyone doing in Trafalgar Square on a Saturday night after the biggest protest in this country for eight years, unless they are undesirable criminal types set on unleashingly limitless chaos? The protest has finished, surely they understand that all right-thinking people have gone to bed? Luckily, Bob Broadbent, the Met's Commander for Public Order, was on hand to supply an answer. They are, he usefully clarified, not protesters, but simply "mindless yobs" who "don't care who they hurt or what they damage" and who must be contained in order to prevent people leaving the theatre being terrified by burning placards and wheelie-bins lying on their side in the street. It is such a shame, the Mayor of London wailed across the bottom of the screen in inch-high type, that people will insist on abusing their right to protest so recklessly.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Government huh? What is it good for...?

This is one of the oldest in the book, right up there with classic favourites like 'what am I doing here?' 'what is it all made of?' and 'why is there something rather than nothing?' (though personally I've always found that one silly, and not in a good way). When Socrates sat down with Glaucon and his mates some four hundred years before the Common Era was birthed in a stable, the question on the table was one which still speaks to our current situation, particularly on the day before many of us converge on London to place our bodies between the government and the things that we value.

The question - then as now - was whether we will simply accept that the state's performance of justice - or 'fairness' as the ConDem doublespeakers are fond of saying - is no more than window dressing on the straightforward exercise of self-interest by the ruling class, or as the sophist Thrasymachus challenges Socrates in the first book of Republic, justice should be properly seen (read, by a pragmatic 'realist') as nothing more than 'the advantage of the stronger.' (Republic, 338c) In some sense, much of the history of philosophy - as much of our political history - is the attempt to grapple with, and to resist, the conclusion that politics is simply the domination of the many by the few for the purpose of self-gratification and aggrandisement, and it would be foolish to expect it to be otherwise. Plato, for all his many faults (and they are, oh so many), deserves his place in history simply for having undertaken the first systematic consideration of what a just state would look like. The city he comes up with is such a joyless and totalitarian wasteland that no-one in their right minds would want to live there - and here of course, we encounter the specter of the disaster of the Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist experiment which, among other things, the neoliberals have been dining out on for the last forty years (and its becoming increasingly clear who is picking up the tab for that one). The fact that we have bought the lie that any attempt to organize society for the good, rather than on the basis of self-interest, leads inexorably to a dystopia of food lines, dusty cigarettes and brutalist architecture, is one of the great victories of neoliberalism, and is possibly the single greatest reason why the capitalist elite (and let's be clear about who the elite is here Mister Tea-Party, because believe me, it ain't the folks using fancy words who are trying to screw you) have been able to get huge swathes of the electorate on both sides of the Atlantic to consistently vote against their own interests.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Dear Reader,

You don't exist yet, and as it happens, neither do least not as the author of this yet-to-be-written blog. As is the way of these things, I will have to write myself into existence (and before you anti-constructivists start screaming blue bloody murder...I don't mean 'make-myself-up-out-of-thin-air-using-a-bunch-of-words' but something more along the lines of 'engage-in-the-process-of-making-myself-into-something-that-I-won't-ever-become-unless-I get-off-the-damn-sofa-and-start-typing.' (The fact that I don't actually have a sofa is (in this case) quite beside the point, we all have sofas-on-the-inside, and they manifest themselves in a bunch of ways...what they share is being the place that we go to hide from the business of becoming what we want to be))

So. Why I am here? In addition to my mindfulness about my aforementioned materialization, I am here to get stuck into practicing something which (in all silly and not-so-sillyness) we call 'betweenitude' around these parts. What this might mean, and why we might give a monkeys, will hopefully become clearer as things go along, but for starters lets begin with...