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" If the world is a tree,

we are the blossoms "


The Garden of Awen

February 14th, 2010

An enchanting evening of the finest grassroots performance poetry, storytelling, monologue, song, acoustic music, dance and other Arcadian delights, featuring Awen authors; special guests.
Garden of Awen takes places on the First Sunday of the Month at Chapel Arts Centre, central Bath.
Each month there is a seasonal theme. Details.

The Emperor of Atlantis

February 14th, 2010

When I started this blog opera was a theme that popped up quite frequently. It’s been on the back burner for a year or so, partly fuelled (note burner analogy running like wildfire through this piece) by circumstances preventing me from seeing a single production last year (“What a tragedy!” I can hear you saying with heart-felt sympathy).

This lack of a post on opera for a long time must be corrected, and circumstances have provided the opportunity. The artist Angela Lemaire, daughter of Douglas Lyne (see a few posts down) has sent me a scan of a woodcut inspired by an opera which I had never heard of: The Emperor of Atlantis. Here it is:

'Death, Harlequin and the Drummer Girl' Woodcut by Angela Lemaire

Angela writes: “The picture was inspired by the opera composed in 1941 in a transit camp, entitled The Emperor of Atlantis.  They had rehearsals but eventually the composers and musicians perished in Auschwitz.  This is an extraordinary story.  The figures are characters in the opera. Though Doug I don’t think ever saw this image, I’m sure he would have been interested – especially about the opera and its tragic story.”

Is Thinking Dangerous?

February 14th, 2010

It’s easy to look around and believe that intelligent debate is a dying art as we all sink under the weight of the lowest common denominator in popular culture. But a phenomenon in Brighton proves that belief wrong. The ‘Philosophers in Pubs’ project, that gets a speaker to kick-start a discussion for twenty minutes, before joining a team of facilitators who float from table to table in a packed pub has been so successful that the landlord has been forced to close the pub to prevent more people entering! Publicans think they have to lay on more food to bring the punters in, but the PIPS project proves they just have to lay on more philosophy!

'Philosophers in Pubs' Patrons of the Park View Pub, Preston Drove, Brighton engage in heated debate

In April they have an evening exploring the question ‘Is Thinking Dangerous’?And as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival in May they will be holding a series of evenings and have asked me to talk at their May 16th event, and sent this description: “On the first 4 Sundays during the festival we’ve asked speakers, from different arenas of human thought and emotion, to say whether it is possible to identify the basis of truth and knowledge.

Following their short, introductory talk we then invite you to consider and discuss your own questions and answers around these fundamental topics. The four weeks are:

Sunday, May 2nd Philosophy – I know What I think.

The mystery of the brain! After thousands of years of thought, how much do we know now? Why do we all think differently and do we learn from our mistakes? Can a philosopher pinpoint how we know what we know?

Sunday May 9th Science – I know what I can prove

A scientist will only accept facts, based on evidence. So how do they come up with different answers? Why are scientific claims so often taken as authoritative?

Sunday May 16th Mysticism – I know what works for me!

Alternative thinking holds the answer to knowledge for many people.  From the supernatural, and spiritual to unconventional ways of learning. Why does it work for some and not others?

Sunday May 23rd Music – I know what I feel

Often by surprise we are caught out by our emotions when we see a piece of art, hear poetry or music. In this final section we will look at the affect of music on all of us and consider why this is.

The Art of Mentoring

February 14th, 2010

A friend has written to me about a training coming this summer. She strongly recommends “this course for parents, teachers and community leaders, run by Jon Young, mentored by Tom Brown (the often unrecognised source of all survival skills teachings in USA and UK), founder of the Wilderness Awareness School in USA and pioneer in the Art of Mentoring.  More info can be found on the website http://www.artofmentoring.co.uk. I have found Jon Young’s work with children and adults profoundly inspiring.  To put it crudely, it is perhaps like a synthesis of a holistic Steiner-Wardorf approach inspired by nature, connection with the natural world, indigenous cultures, ancient wisdom and the problems of modern civilized society. His Art of Mentoring approach has many links with Druidry and the teachings of the Druids complement Jon’s work by providing wisdom from this land.”

July 4-10 in Worcestershire

“Sets fresh standards for environmental literacy that engages body, mind and spirit.”

Story Time

“This is nature education as it should be : mysterious, timeless, hopeful, evocative, and playful”  See www.artofmentoring.co.uk