Okay, so this was originally purely going to be a blog with my vacation snaps on. Well, that was until I realised what blogging truly meant. Since commencing my blog at the beginning of June, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to read blogs written by many many others (refer to the sidebar for some of my favourites). The one thing that has completely taken me by surprise is how many people have so eloquently expressed themselves in their blogs and posts. Albeit, the design and layout of the blog itself, or the interesting and varied topics that people blog about.
I have laughed at some, felt sad about some. Some I have agreed with and others have made me angry. But each one is priceless in the fact that it has allowed an individual to express one's self, to express one's opinions. It has also provided a medium that allows people from all over the globe to communicate with each other and to share their thoughts and passions.
In my neighbourhood, people just don't take the time to talk to each other. We all leave our front door's in the morning and walk to our cars, occasionally taking the time to look up and acknowledge each other in passing. We work all day and then return home in the evening, and close the front door for another day. Where has community gone?
I remember when I was a child, playing around the street or the park with all the neighbourhood children, wilst all of the parents stood in the front gardens or back gardens talking and laughing. I also remember fondly when the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977 (I was only 5yrs old), it was an occasion where the whole of England became one big street party. There has been nothing like it since.
Not that I am trying to say that the Blog world is a street party, but it has provided a community. A community where people share thoughts, ideas and opinions. A community where people are free to speak openly. A community where people encourage each other. It is this freedom of speech that I strongly applaud.
So, this leads me nicely into the purpose of this post. A few months ago I was introduced to the works of an artist. Not any ordinary artist but a graffiti artist. His "name" is Banksy. The reason that I was so attracted by Banksy's work was the principle he holds and his desire to express himself. In his book, aptly named "Wall and Piece" he says about graffiti:
"They say graffiti frightens people and is symbolic of the decline in society; but graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people; politicians, advertising executives and graffiti writers.
The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their messages in your face from every available surface but you're never allowed to answer back. Well, they started the fight and the wall is the weapon of choice to hit them back"
Please look at a small sample of his work below:
"18 minutes, Chalk Farm, London 2006"
"If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then
rats are the ultimate role model."
Brighton Beach, England 2004
Shoreditch, London, England 2004
"Does my bomb look big in this?"
"So little to say..."
So, this is one guy's way of expressing himself, his way of being an individual. But what really struck me was his "Manifesto". It is one of the most moving and emotional passages I have ever read. It is one of those pieces of writing that since reading, has never left my heart:
An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was among the first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945.
I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere, some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had fallen.
It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and children collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to their assistance. One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect. It was, however, not easy to watch a child choking to death from diphtheria when you knew a tracheotomy and nursing would save it, one saw women drowning in their own vomit because they were too weak to turn over, and men eating worms as they clutched a half loaf of bread purely because they had to eat worms to live and now could scarcely tell the difference.
Piles of corpses, naked and obscene, with a woman too weak to stand propping herself against them as she cooked the food we had given her over an open fire; men and women crouching down just anywhere in the open relieving themselves of the dysentery which was scouring their bowels, a woman standing stark naked washing herself with some issue soap in water from a tank in which the remains of a child floated. It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don't know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again; they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.
Source: Imperial War museum
As mentioned in an earlier post of my trip to Poland, I spent an afternoon in Auschwitz Concentration Camp near Krakow. It was one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life. After reading the quote from Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO's diary in Banksy's Manifesto, it reminded me what individuality and freedom of speech is all about.
....and on that note, I have finally convinced my father to start a blog to show his work. He, along with my wonderful mother, have been kind and loving parents to my sisters and myself. My father is also a very talented artist who has never really promoted his work - hopefully until now. Please feel free to view some of his fine work at http://davettridge.blogspot.com/ - Portraits & Landscapes. As a proud son, I truly hope that this medium will provide him with the confidence and recognition that he and his work truly deserves.
Once again, I applaud the blogging world for providing a medium to allow us all to express ourselves.