Saturday, 17 December 2011
The thing is, I decided several months ago that I wanted to start blogging as myself, rather than behind the name Comfort Blanket. And once I made that decision I put my energies into trying to get that up and running, attaching it to my website, which I'd get re-designed. Unfortunately, in an effort to save pennies, I'm getting it done by a friend of a friend who has to work on it in his spare time. So it's taking a while. But, finger's crossed, it will be ready by January. And once it is, I'll post the link on here so you can find me – if you still want to that is!
As we hurtle towards Christmas, I just wanted to step off the merry-go-round for a moment and wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Joyful New Year. And thank you for taking the time to read, and comment, on anything I've posted here the last 12 months. Here's to 2012!
Posted by Nicola at 12:47
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
"Alongside the thrill of making a connection to certain people in a certain place during a certain point in history, is the realisation that, like them, we are born, live, love, laugh, cry... and die. Here one moment, gone the next. That is our connection. It's the same journey, just different outfits".
And, as if by magic, here is a set of incredible pictures, which seem to illustrate the point perfectly.
This fabulous website was brought to my attention earlier today by Mister CB (thanks love!). And I adore their clever header – 'The past is a foreign country. This is your passport' – part-borrowed from author L P Hartley's famous opening words of his novel The Go-Between.
It's your chance to be Dr Who... get packing!
Posted by Nicola at 16:09
Sunday, 23 October 2011
I was watching the race live this morning. We're MotoGP fans in Maison CB and saw the crash when it happened just minutes after the race started. And, as the BBC reported, it was horrific. Simoncelli fell and was hit by two other riders. As the replay revealed in all its terrible, slow-motion detail, he was run over in front of our eyes. The impact was such that it forced his helmet off, and that was a sure sign it may have been fatal. That and his motionless body on the track. As the commentators struggled to say anything other than "oh no... oh no", we saw a shot of Simoncelli's girlfriend back at the paddock. She was staring at the screen, her hands to her face. I'm not sure I can find the words to describe the look in her eyes.
Like all motor sports, motorcycle racing is fast and contains a huge element of risk. These young riders understand that, and, to many, that is part of the appeal. There are, however, surprisingly few fatalaties when you add together the number of races and competitors over the years. So it is a shock to see it. And in such graphic detail.
I'm not sure if anyone else who reads this blog is even interested in MotoGP, but it's the end of a life and that's what usually moves me to write a post. Compared to his family and friends, my reaction to Simoncelli's death is pretty insignificant. But I do feel shocked and upset. I can't quite seem to switch off the action replay in my head. Or that look on his girlfriend's face.
I visit families all the time who have lost loved ones in accidents. Sometimes they are young. Sometimes their death has been witnessed by others. A death seen by thousands of track-side fans, or millions of TV viewers, doesn't make it any sadder or more significant. They are all tragic in their own way. But this morning served as a sharp and terrible reminder to me of what some people have gone through before I knock on their door.
Posted by Nicola at 10:57
Thursday, 13 October 2011
But silence is good, right? It's actually 'golden' according to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. And putting a stop to the external and internal chatter that fills our every waking moment is the only way to really engage with our true selves. Or so I read, anyway.
So, perhaps this quiet spell has been a good thing. A blessing. A gift from me to you. Hell, what's to feel bad about? Let's celebrate! But keep the noise down...
Posted by Nicola at 17:42
Sunday, 4 September 2011
|Falling Man by Richard Drew|
In the article, David James Smith investigates the response of, among others, the media, officials, emergency services and, of course, the families of those who leapt to their deaths. Smith encounters resistance – some feel the term 'jump' or 'jumper' is inappropriate as they were 'forced or pushed out by the heat of the flames'. Smith writes, "To be a jumper, many people feel, implies the act of suicide, an act that some perceive as shameful". Officially, all the deaths as a result of 9/11, with the exception of the hijackers were ruled to be homicides, not sucides.
Others, including firefighters, are so traumatised by witnessing the sight and sound of the falling bodies they can barely speak about it. The first firefighter to be killed on 9/11 – Danny Suhr – was, in fact, hit by a falling woman. Some families have taken comfort from the fact that their loved-ones decided to jump, as it meant they had taken some control in an out-of-control situation. One mother saying "They were falling into the arms of God".
Of all the photographs taken of those who fell to their deaths, is one known as 'The Falling Man' taken by photographer Richard Drew (see pic above). It is an incredible photograph, and one which has caused great debate over the identity of the individual and whether it was morally right to publish such a picture. Drew has said he "liked to think of the Falling Man as the photographic equivalent of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, representing all those who had died by jumping or falling".
This was a really interesting feature, on a subject which will always remain complex and highly-emotive. And among the thoughts and feelings provoked as I read about these men and women who fell to their deaths, is how must it feel to have to choose your death? Would I have stayed put to be consumed by fire, or let the building collapse on me? Or would I jump out of the window? Suicide is choosing to turn away from life. These people chose one form of death to escape from another. There is no word for that.
Posted by Nicola at 15:58
Thursday, 1 September 2011
This week it was the actor Larry Lamb. And what a story! He came from a family of well-known showmen and wild beast menagerie owners. One great-great uncle, called James Day, was a lion tamer known as Jimmy Wildbeast (see pic), while his other, more famous great-great uncle was Thomas Day, alias Martini Bartlett – king of the lion tamers. Fantastic! But alongside the surprising characters, was the rather sad story of Larry's mum who had been adopted and always hoped to see her birth mother again. Unfortunately, she never did.
In every episode I've watched over the years, there is always a moment where even the seemingly 'hardened' celebrities start to get emotional. Jeremy Paxman being a case in point. Sometimes it's because they feel sorry for ancestors who have suffered or fallen on hard times. Or perhaps they have met up with relatives they never knew existed. But last night, Larry Lamb became very emotional as he realised he had more in common with his ancestors than just looks or characteristics. After explaining he had found strength from knowing who his grandparents were, he wanted to say something else, but had to take a moment to compose himself. When he did, he said "Because you're just a part of the journey yourself".
I thought his strong reaction to this notion was both interesting and very moving. Like many people, I've attempted to trace my family tree and, alongside the thrill of making a connection to certain people in a certain place during a certain point in history, is the realisation that, like them, we are born, live, love, laugh, cry... and die. Here one moment, gone the next. That is our connection. It's the same journey, just different outfits.
Posted by Nicola at 11:47
Friday, 19 August 2011
Those of you who have followed me for a while (gawd love yer) will know I take pleasure from putting needle to thread and 'centering' myself with a spot of sewing, for reasons explained in an earlier post
Posted by Nicola at 16:58