List of Previous Titles

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Magnificent view of great Talent!

The Cambridge House Community College / Forest School of London Concert
"One Sun, One World"
February 21st, 2013
Held at La Palau de la Música, Valencia, Spain 
Posted by Picasa

WoW! What a Concert!

This past week, February 21, 2013 provided my wife and myself with a very special experience. We attended the annual school concert as presented by Cambridge House Community College, Rocafort Valencia, Spain.

Usually school concerts are held in the auditorium and they reach up to a certain crescendo showcasing new young talent. They are normally enjoyable events attended by proud and delighted parents and grandparents. This was all in evidence at the Cambridge House concert, but it didn't stop there. It was held in the top venue for concerts in Valencia, The Palau de la Música, The Palace of Music, where la créme de la créme perform. The school took its approximately 300 person choir, together with a 41 piece classical orchestra from the Forest School that had travelled from London with their director, Alex Redpath, and under the overall direction of the school's Master of Music, Tim Davis they presented the concert entitled, "One Sun, One World."

It is not my intention to do a critique of the concert per se, but rather I wanted to comment on how wonderful an experience it is to be entertained by los jovenes, the young people, some very young indeed. The children were drawn from the youngest in year 3 to the oldest in year 13, with a sprinkling of adults. Had I wanted to present a critique I could sum up in any number of one word choices, such as Wonderful, Fantastic, Extraordinary, Amazing, Brilliant, Enjoyable, etc, etc, etc.

The theme was our world and our responsibility to take care of our environment. We have been given just One World and as human beings it is up to us to be responsible. That is a powerful and commonsense message that so many adults completely ignore. Sometimes it is done out of greed, other times it is done because of laziness or apathy and ignorance, but whatever the motivation it is tantamount to committing suicide unintentionally.

The choir wore bright yellow tee-shirts and when they stood and were flooded by lights I felt I should have averted my eyes as it was like looking directly into the sun. A wonderful effect!

There were six soloists from whom I expect we shall be hearing much more in the future. They are possessed of beautiful voices that they have already learned to control artfully. I imagine a bright future if they continue their training and keep their heads tightly screwed on.

A Profile in Courage:
I must not leave this piece without turning my spotlight on a unique person. She is a little girl, about seven years of age who is battling with a complex of issues that confine her to a wheelchair and that sap her strength. She attends school and tries to participate where she can. She may not have the energy to even hold her own head upright, but she can sing. She was brought to the stage in the arms of Ana and sat in her wheelchair, with her head held upright, and she sang most heartily. I think that no one can understand that type of courage and determination, we can only just admire her and applaud her. Well done, little one!

On a less positive note some people sitting in our area were behaving very badly. They were busy having a running conservation among themselves, or using their smart phones to send texts, or reading e-mails. I am from a different time when such behaviour was considered rude,obnoxious and extremely disrecptful to those on stage and in the immediate vicinity. I know the world is changing and things change but it seems to me that if you have such a tiny brain and concentration it may be better for you to simply stay away from situations that require good manners and focus.

This was the second time that such a concert has been presented at the same venue and in collaboration with Forest School of London. When these two mighty entities come together, in the words of Alex Repath, they achieve so much more than they could do alone.

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A St. Valentine's Weekend

Make everyday St. Valentine's Day!

Whatever else is said about St. Valentine's Day, the fact is that it serves as a day to pause and quite literally smell the roses. The world is so full of stress producing daily worries that we need a whole day, and preferably a whole weekend to consider when was the last time we looked our better half in the eye and reassured him/her of the fact that they are valued and loved. We sometimes let the passage of time slip away without actually saying the words, "I love you!"

We so often tell ourselves that our partner knows that we love her/him, so we don't have to keep going on about it. Anyway, you show it in many ways, which, of course is good, but I am reliably advised that there is really no substitute for actually saying so, and doing so from the bottom of your heart.

There is something else that I have discovered after all these years: that is the value of the "cuddle." To hold your woman in your arms at Valentine's Day, or at any time of year, just to cuddle her, and to listen to the beats of both your heats. Let the sound lock out the whole world and confirm that you are together, one unit, against the world.

I freely acknowledge that "the cuddle" is not a man thing. Since time began men have seen the cuddle as foreplay, but in the eyes of women it is simply a moment of warmth and the sharing of space unlike no other without the complications of that sex thing. We never need an excuse to go there, sometimes just for fun, but best of all to express your genuine love and need for your lover. Its taken me about sixty years to learn that lesson and I finally "get it!"

What our world needs much more of is love. It is the one ingredient that we can never have too much of. So, bring it on, in very large measure. The fact that I can write a column like this must mean I have pursued happiness, and found it. So, come on everybody,

Make love, not war!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Who let loose the Feral Dogs of Rape?

Fortunately, most men in the world are good and peaceful people!

I have written much about rape in the past but I find I must return to the topic because of the following high profile cases: "Indian girl raped by gang on bus while she was with a male companion." "South African girl raped and killed by gang." "Six Spanish women raped by armed gang in Acapulco." Incidentally, those women were in the company of their six male companions who were tied up. Apparently, to the shame of humanity, a rape occurs every four minutes somewhere in the world.

If we asked 100 people the question, "Why do people rape one another?," we will likely receive 100 different replies. However, there may be one central thread throughout, and that is the exercise of power over another person to achieve what the rapist wants.

I turned to Wikipedia which I found to be an excellent source of information. I googled "Gang Rape" but what I got was the following list of types of rape: Anger rape, Power rape, Sadistic rape, followed by rapes by your date, gangs, spousal, statutory, rape of a child, prison, war, rape by deception, and so-called corrective rape. (The rape of a lesbian by a man to teach her what is normal.)

I strongly suggest that you visit this site as it will open one's eyes and help you to understand better the types of things that drive this very dark side of human nature.

I am curious as to what is driving men to prowl around and to attack a woman, or women with the aim of raping them. Where is this anger and hatred coming from? Were these men not born of a woman? Should the woman have aborted their birth and saved society the distress and pain that is inflicted upon it? There are societies that value boys but who drown their baby girls. Perhaps they should reverse that?

From the above list of incidents we see that one took place in India, another in South Africa, and the last one in Acapulco. Three different societies with vastly differing views about the role in their societies of women, but common decency and right and wrong equally applies, so there can be no excuse.

In the case of rape through anger, I can only imagine that a man finds out that his woman has been having an affair and he goes berserk on her, and defiles her, and does his best to humiliate and to hurt her as she has hurt him. I suppose he tries to drag her down into the dirt and make her feel unclean. He presumably tries to do whatever he feels is necessary to assuage his own ego. I see this as a very dangerous situation, and some might even say that the woman is the author of her own misfortune.

However, rape by a sadist is the most dangerous of all because he will want to reduce his victim to the lowest point possible, and he will want to do it slowly, inflicting as much pain, terror and humiliation as he can, and as a last resort he most likely will kill his victim as the ultimate act of power, whereas Power Rape may involve only sufficient pressure to make the point that the aggressor is the Lord and Master.

Of all the various types and motivations to commit rape, I still think that Rape by a Gang is the most shameless act a man can participate in. It is the act of a coward, because he needs other men to help him accomplish it, and it is something that is akin to feral dogs acting on instinct. It is a very dirty thing to do to mingle sperm from different men in one receptor. The thought of following another man by inserting my penis into a used vagina revolts me. We are men with the power to reason. We cannot blame our actions on instinct. We know the difference between right and wrong of this magnitude. Life is difficult enough with situations that arise  in which the line can be so fine we can cross over it and become guilty of unintended rape.

What can women do to lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim? Firstly I agree completely that it is a woman's prerogative to dress herself in any way she sees fit. Were it not so then someone else would have to dress her. However, here is where common sense is needed. Everyday I pass street girls who dress themselves to expose to me what they hope I might want to buy. These are prostitutes and they look like such working women. If you are not a prostitute then perhaps you shouldn't dress like one.

You may wish to take care to present yourself to the world to impress, but I think it might be a bad idea to attract the attention of a stalker by being overly obvious. I hardly think you would be happy to do that. In the Muslim world some women dress themselves so that they are just one blob of clothing. There is nothing in that to excite the average male, but even she must be careful of her movements. To be alone after dark in in remote places does get you noticed.

In our Western society young women walk around showing the cheeks of their bums and sometimes even the nipples of their breasts. Every man will notice, but it is to our credit that we carry on about our business without molesting her. Frankly, I look forward to the end of winter when girls throw off winter's clothing and expose their legs and chests. There is no more pleasing sight to men then the sight of a beautiful women who we hold in very high esteem. However, we appreciate it even more when it is not overdone. 

A beautiful woman is sometimes handed an impossible situation when she is born into a society in which she feels that her destiny lies elsewhere. By holding herself apart from the locals she may bring rape down upon her because of the jealousy of the local men who feel she is insulting them as she is too good for them.

I don't have the answers that would protect all women from all men. Women have to consider their location and circumstances and then to use their common sense. Were I king of the world I would remove the sense of violence from men, and from women who also rape, so that this scourge was not the shame upon society that it is.

Meanwhile ladies, proceed with caution!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, February 3, 2013

1961! The year that changed my Life

Bermuda, when it truly was "Another World."

While watching an old video promoting tourism to Bermuda in 1961, I allowed myself a nostalgic walk down memory lane concerning my life in that year in my home country of Bermuda. Among other things, that was the year I first dated a girl from across the racial divide. I didn't intend to do that. It happened by accident.

First the background:

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court, in a hearing of Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, ruled that segregation practices in public education were unconstitutional and therefore illegal throughout the country. Thus began the movement of school boards to bring themselves in line with the law. It would take some time to fully comply with the law owing to opposition and other issues such as the busing of students.

The effort to desegregate the system in Arkansas didn't begin until 1957. However, in Arkansas, there was a truly awful man, with the even more horrid name of Orval Faubus, who I will simply refer to as Awful. He was governor of the state, and he ordered his national guard, complete with guns and bullets and knives to form a line blocking access to nine very courageous black students from entering Little Rock High School. This situation continued for one month. Finally, President Eisenhower ordered Awful to the White House and told him that segregation must end in Arkansas, to which Awful replied, "Over my dead body." Fair enough! Somebody shoot that man.

It is important to note that those nine children were daily subjected to insults, assaults,including being spat on and drenched with piss and shit. One girl was set on fire and another suffered acid in her face.

In 1961, tourism was booming in Bermuda. One American student decided that she would come to work at a hotel in Bermuda when her studies ended. I will refer to her as Cindy. She began work on a Sunday evening as Food and Beverage cashier, working in the cocktail lounge with myself and my fellow waiters.

Hi y'all! I'm Cindy. She was Cindy from the South. We worked reasonably well. My shift was to last between 6pm and 8:30pm. However, at about 7:55 Cindy said to me, "Boy! Do you'all have a check for those drinks? That was like hitting me in the head with a sledgehammer. The bar manager hurried over to her and said that we didn't refer to the waiters as boy. We call them by their names. Cindy said, "ah'm sorry, it's jest that ah'm from Little Rock, Arkansas, and there we call 'em boy."

My head exploded! I started to shake as the images of all that the nine children had suffered came flooding in. I asked one of the other waiters to serve my drinks, and as quietly as I possibly could, I growled at Cindy, " don't you ever call me boy again!"  In Little Rock, Cindy, and everybody else referred to blacks, young and old, as boy and girl without anybody ever making a challenge such as I made. She was aghast! "Say what?" For the remaining half hour of my shift she and I had our own quiet and private war going on. Before leaving for my next department I said, Cindy, I'm not through with you We must talk. Meet me in the car park as soon as you cash in. Cindy said, "I will!"  See what I mean? Cindy and I had a date and it had happened completely by accident.

Picture Cindy walking towards me. She was so angry that fire was coming out of her hair and her ears; she was breathing fire like a dragon. I held my car door open for her but she snatched it from me and slammed it. I hate when people slam my car door. She said that I should take her some place where there were no people because this was going to get loud. So, I took her to Make-Out point. People went there to make love. We went to make war. We parked overlooking a long stretch of pure white sandy beach with a palm tree or two, and a clear moon.

I yelled at her and she yelled at me, but she dominated with a long stream of the most awful monologue I have ever heard from another person. Talk about shock and awe! Finally, she had to take a breath, during which I asked,"Did you attend Little Rock High during its crisis?" No ah did not. ah was in another school, but all we talked about was what we would do when the first nig- negra tried to come into our school. We was ready, we were going to----------------. She stopped mid sentence and stared out to sea, and then, looking up towards the Heavens she said, "Oh my Dear God! Ah'm so sorry."

Cindy seemed to have had an epiphany, some kind of manifestation of God that helped her see clearly through her life and her customs and the difference between right and wrong. She began to cry, deep body wrecking, cleansing sobs that caused her to collapse, in MY arms. She carried on in this manner for what seemed like forever, until she had no more tears. Then we talked. Quietly! We talked about our thoughts and our true selves without the influence of others, and we confronted our own demons and talked about how we thought we should be left alone to live our lives. The sun arose and still we talked until finally we could hardly stay awake.

I took Cindy back to the hotel and left her at the gate. We not only became friends that Summer, we became lovers and pioneers in a Bermuda where dating between blacks and whites was not the done thing. The more opposition we faced the more determined we were to stick together, she and I, against the world.

The moral of this story is that no matter how extreme our positions may be, in the final analysis we are all just folks. We are born equal in the eyes of our Creator, and when we die, we die in equality.

A very useful life lesson to have learned that I live by as I write this recollection.

  Cindy, I'm so glad that we met. I have never forgotten you, and I never will.

Copyright (c) 2013   Eugene Carmichael