Borbonesa: ZAPART respond!.

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WARNING: This entry is about as factual as most American media reports regarding Iran.

An open letter to High Art Today

Sirs: I'm writing concerning my observations of the so called Brighton scene.

The Brighton scene is simply that; aside from the obvious film analogy; of which I shall return, there is a feeling one derives while cutting through the poky streets; where one can witness a near disharmonious biosphere of recent histories. This – I should add – is a biosphere only in respects of a time-space relationship. One can't help but notice the ignorant coexistence of [film] stills ranging back to the city's proud Victorian past; they are almost evenly distributed; these extras, decked-out by the charitable wardrobe departments. Lacking gainful employment (chosen or not); and at an increasing rate, they loiter; shamelessly available for such roles.

I came to notice that they present an artistic importance also like that of an extra; essential in atmosphere only. I might like to suggest that in the absence of any filming there is a consciousness to be active; maybe a fear of foundation. So, in this spiritless age; an ageless age, they draw from the anarchic remnants to form an annual memorial known as the Fringe Festival.

A recent tour of mine concerning a collection of essays entitled, "Rotting Briton", had me sat in turn; waiting before an audience during this self-concicious theatre. The event in itself may warrant a separate letter, in that this was the only leg of the tour that I was unable to speak. But, one is quiet careful to describe those series of events, and wishes not to indulge it further for fear of continuing this scene as others could have intended. Yet with brevity I shall elaborate.

she visible struggled with them; screeching, "no, this isn't it... guys - no, get them off. My hair?!" – surely the only time a Brighton extra played a part

A veritable network of nepotistic neverbes - patiently waiting for their turn to be looked at - preceded my slot. A young lady of [London's] Royal College merit, filled time with mildly interesting perspective on neglected transient environments, to which proceeded with the conscious ignoring of the fart-cushion heckling (only arousing a glimpse over the spectacles at best). Getting only ten or so minutes into this, some previous speakers; Punch Judy and a policeman (not my embellishing metaphor) sought to evacuate her, later citing her and the event as, "artistically criminal". The spectacle gained the canned laughter it had no doubt intended (based upon the associates joint amusement) as she visible struggled with them; screeching, "no, this isn't it... guys - no, get them off. My hair?!" – surely the only time a Brighton extra played a part. With Punch and Judy either side the policeman began reading from a series of, "Artistic Bylaws", with proposals of, "zapping" – this, that and the other. Due to the alphabetic order of things and the limited time, my slot was, "zapped", maybe also intentionally. The event organizer then followed this scene; entering the stage with a self-congratulating smile; joking that he must be the crocodile – the silly sausage. Not wishing to continue my part, I chose a moment to exit this self indulgent trash; I'm tire of such self-congratulatory in-jokes.

These specific Brightonian extras were the end of it, like Brighton's deepest available retrogrades, borrowing from the core of it and presenting it with a snobbish delicacy. They wear the weathered Victorian landscape with painful detail, presiding a silent authority on all things artistic. Propelled by a nostalgia for white supremacy, they expand in a passive aggressive manner as one's floral frock trumps another's panama hat. Romantic reassurance is found as one enjoys varying side-events like tea parties and picnics. Yet maybe this supremacy is haunting them through their high-ceilinged seaside-maisonette; that the consumed blood of our empirical fore-fathers is weeping with further need from the walls of their kitchens.

I conclude that the, so called, Brighton scene is simply that; well bred children, caged in the trolley of our rotting commercial times; causing a public commotion – not by screaming for escape, but rather, presenting a shameless desire for the old and unimproved Battenberg.

Curiously yours, [ddmmyyyy]

Saturday 15 September 2007, 6-9pm
Borbonesa is a much-loved Brighton-based publisher of overly-wrought novelty printed matter. ZAPART is a brand new critical action group. To celebrate the release of Borbonesa's new Micropaper - Emitron 4, ZAPART have prepared a response. Both the paper and response will be unveiled on Saturday 15 September 2007, 6-9pm. Entry is free.

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Me, before.

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"Did you do the back?", I asked as I lifted my hand from below the plastic bib to check for myself, "yes, it's just like that guy now", the hairdresser mocked, referring a passport photo I'd stood next to the mirror, one taken roughly a year ago, just after the last haircut. "Did I wear glasses in the last photo?", I then asked, referring to the 'before' picture I'd took before he began – I wanted consistency for the 'after' picture you see – "yes, with glasses", came an unamused response, almost like he'd expected me to ask.

Among all the events over the last year (marked with the unruly curls that were now scattered and sharing the floor) the local cheap-chops had had a price hike, what was the equivalent of 30p for your standard short-back-and-sides was now 40p! Another change that could've been found somewhere amid the arches of the curls would be my ability to grumble about this and be understood, which I didn't do, but I felt it illustrated an important difference made during the time between cuts, one maybe worth the extra 10p.

My recent visit to England was expected to be a little disappointing, I knew I'd have to condense too much of what was familiar and missed into a series of partly overlapping events. I'd expected an amount of adjustment in the plans and tried as best as I could to plan around the inevitable alterations. On the whole I'd successfully managed to spread myself thinly across as larger group loved ones as possible, I'd drawn up plans, listed must-dos and pretty much got there – it was all so unfulfilling though and didn't set a good mood for a return to Iran. Coming/going back, however, was not so easy, but it wasn't just the leaving all the renewed familiarity behind.

yet I'm too aware that I can only hold my breath for so long before needing to be in an atmosphere where I can breath once again

I've often found it an appropriate analogy to describe being in Iran as being underwater – it's like I've decided to dive down to the murky unknown seabed, curious as to what I'll find, curious as to whether it's like they say, yet I'm too aware that I can only hold my breath for so long before needing to be in an atmosphere where I can breath once again. This underwater analogy is often extended and ever more fitting, but I think it helps illustrate where my recent psychological retraction from Iranian life has come from.

When those curls were beginning their first curve so much of Iran was unfamiliar to me, I mostly received the place predigested, presented in English with helpful 3D renderings. Coming/going back last year was easy, the murky seabed still had so much to be discovered, this time around it's different, it's not that I've haven't discovered interesting things, more that the novelty has been lost. I have also now reached a standard whereby I can digest this place first hand, where I have an independence, where I'm able to communicate and where I can grumble about a 10p increase at the local cheap-chops. Yet the price hikes feature low as it is with each day that I discover another thing to grumble about and yet another thing to make me want to resurface.

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Not protesting, not a chance.

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"Excuse me, what were you protesting for?", approached a summer frocked lady from behind her sun glasses. "Nothing" – I was a little less detailed in my reply than my fellow law abiding citizen who had seemingly rehearsed for this delayed public response. "We were not protesting, to do that would be illegal", he gently informed her in his warm and unabashed northern manner, "it is illegal to protest within 1km of Parliament without prior police permission". "So what is written on your placards?", she asked with her hands, leaning in and reaching for the sheets of cards resting by our sides, "nothing!", came our choral response. Somewhat perplexed, or even disappointed, she moved on half informing us, "I'm going to that Brian guy, he's been arrested!".

In fear of losing balance between words and actions I found myself on the Strand, London debating what kind of investment I would make into A1 white card to both use and not used for around one hour. We wanted something sturdy, of which foam-board did the trick, but wow is that stuff expensive, "Is it cheeky if we bring them back after for a refund", I asked semi-seriously. The less offensively priced heavy-weight paper however didn't seem like too much of a compromise considering it would still make us only half equipped. With ten minutes to go we were finally armed, we'd settled on a combination of foam-board with heavy weight card, catering for only one extra person yet with the option of halving the papers if we hit critical mass.

Big Ben brought its hands up to two O'Clock as we rested ours down at half-six following our one hour battle with gravity. Like Moses this battle with gravity came with the help of my family whereby my sister brought our numbers up to three, not including the friends' reunion – two additional friends who were not, not protesting beside us on the grass. Like the protest, the response wasn't, we'd gotten a thumbs up and wink from the Brian camp, saw some police officers altering the height of the seats on their bikes yet generally we were something for lunchers to direct their eyes at during a break. "This is not something to be disheartened about", I repeated to my fellow law abiding citizen, thinking back to one of the first comments I'd left on his blog about avoiding tactical voting, "low numbers should not be a reason to not do something".

It's a technicality, he isn't starting a protest, he'd started years ago and hasn't stopped

Brian may have been arrested in the past, but for his personal battle (concerning a great many things wrong in a decreasingly great Britain) he will not be arrested for the laws concerning Parliament's no-protest zone. It's a technicality, he isn't starting a protest, he'd started years ago and hasn't stopped. Brian's a kooky chap, his face has been in the kiln too long which has also resulted in the heavily badged soldier's helmet being glazed to his head. He looks like a guy you avoid in train stations and lives like him too but I prefer to consider him a landmark, one casting a shadow over Parliament or even Big Ben.

"Shall we get him to sign them or write something on them", I embarrassingly voiced out as we waited to speak with Brian, I thought it'd a poignant use of the blank white sheets yet worried it might offend the man. Brian made his way round the usual topics to a small and partly participatory crowd: depleted uranium, starving children, civilian deaths and a lot of Blair. I glanced around his growing territory, a titillating mix of images and slogans, all of which careful to not infringe council by-laws. Four camo-green tents had been added since my last visit and were leaving squared patches of malnourished grass in their rotation.

"Gordon's gay and he should admit it to the people, more lies from New Labour", parped a tubby chap with Brian non-plussed. "...murdering the children, those poor innocent children - those are our children...", Brian looped, "...that fucking Blair...", he continued as the tall gentleman to my side paused from his ice cream and politely asked that he didn't use that language in front of his children, referring to the young boy and girl weaving between our legs. "I will use language like that...", Brian firmly retorted leading the tall guy to almost square-up to Brian, "listen, we're all doing our bit", he begun. Again Brian retorted, "but we're not doing our bit our we...", to which the tall guy enlightened us of his charity work in setting schools up in India. A stalemate was met in an unnecessary stand-off, Brian was brash – I wouldn't be so bold – but I feel he can afford to be.

I toiled over that heated moment, over those who are, "doing their bit", and Brian sets an admirable standard in method. I came as a tourist – meeting words and actions (not to mention friends) in the presence of Brian made me feel more so, but I came to do something and like my voting green, I don't believe it was a waste.

An Email sent out prior to the day:

> Forgive the generic,
> I'm linked to some group regarding citizen's rights and
> got this email (below). I've seen one of these before on
> some website, people standing in silence holding blank
> placard, it's weird. As I'll be in the neighborhood I
> thought I'd check it out, anyone else fancy some
> pre-Sunday lunch dissent?
> For some background, read:
> Blair laid bare: the article that may get you arrested
> Britain's liberties: The great debate
> Look forward to seeing you all.
> ddmmyyyy
> ----- Original Message Follows -----
> From: Andrew Nominus
> To: ddmmyyyy[at]yahoo.co.uk
> Subject: Not a protest, not a chance
> Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 08:54:10 +0000 (GMT)
> >The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005) makes unauthorized protests illegal within 1km of Parliament Square.
> >Do not protest.
> >Do not protest in Parliament Square on 1pm Sunday 20th May.
> >Do not carry a blank, white placard with nothing on it.
> >Remain silent.
> >
> >Pass it on.

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My brother's final collection show at the RCA.

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"Hey, Superman?" inquired the boy standing in my path down London's notorious Brick Lane. He aimed me up and repeated himself, "...how's it going Superman?". Out of flattery and sarcasm I chose the latter, guessing this was some kind of taunt. We scuffed passed one another with me choosing to ignore things either way. Again he mistakenly addressed me causing me to get a second opinion from friends and family with me. "What?" I abruptly responded while turning on the spot, "you looking for a place to eat?". I hate those street ushers, "no, we've just eaten".

"You see Dave, it's awkward, I've been squatting for the last year or so since coming to London", my friend explained after I inquired as to why he was so coy around my family moments before. "I tried breaking a new one the other day but had problems, I've been staying with friend since the police found out the last one". And with this began my lesson on how to start a squat, Squatter's Rights and planning permission problems for landlords.

"Hold up boys", I heard over my left shoulder as we passed a group of part BMXed first generation Asian locals. I was walking with my friend towering over me, he was part leant on my shoulder and swinging his leg with every step (no doubt this was easier than tying the lace). "The law says you can't break and enter a place, but if a place is open and empty you can stay there providing you do a few things...". He stopped, he then flinched, as I looked to see why I felt something hit my right shoulder. For the second time I turned on the the spot, "what?".

"yeah what you doing like being gay and stuff"

"What you doing? What you being gay for like?", said one of the eight or so youths consciously limping along with chips in hand. "What's you problem?" I inquired in rage as my friend encouraged me to leave it. "We don't like that shit round here", said another, "yeah what you doing like being gay and stuff", added another. I made towards them slightly, "what are you going on about?".

It was all so bizarre, I was walking through one of London's more diverse regions, among a predominantly mixed immigrant community and being enlightened on conduct in my home nation by first generation school boys. Interestingly the Brick Lane area is home to many Muslims and having arrived from the Islamic Republic of Iran I found it especially bizarre that there was less tolerance in how men walk together in London, I mean, the Muslim men in Iran walk together with linked fingers.

"What you fucking doing like, walking like with your arm round each other and shit?", said another. "It's none of your business how I am with my friends...", I shouted back as they walked away seemingly surprised at my challenge. My friend tried to place this moment, nearly going as far as excusing their behavior. We caught them up at the end of the road where they'd gone their separate ways. Two of the boys stood in our path and things evened out.

"Mate, mate, you know like, my friend yeah, you know, he gets like that and shit", the local conduct was subject to negotiation it appeared. "You know what I mean mate, you just shouldn't be doing that shit around here, you know like arm around each other and shit", this boy was alone, his friend had his lips sealed. I heatedly had my two bob's worth which went some way in diffusing my anger and left having the one with the mouth offering matesy hand shakes before leaving this super hero and his floppy sidekick alone.

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Traditional sweet shop from the town my mother lives in.

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"Hello... yes...", my periphery hearing locked in, I knew this tone, I knew that yes, "HANG UP!", I shouted. Another yes came, "MOTHER, HANG UP!". "No, I don't have gas...", she answered confirming my suspicion. "YOU DON"T NEED IT!", I persisted as the door shut on me. Twenty minutes later the door opened, "you don't know what that was", she almost smugly stated aware of what was coming from me, "I know you don't need it", I replied...

My mother might consider herself lucky: prize draws inform her that she has been shortlisted for a possible £10 - £15,000; traveling traders that come to town, hire function rooms to exchange hundreds of pounds of my mother's limited cash for a black bin liner of unknown and already owned electronic goods. "I can't believe my luck", she'll probably one day write after adding her bank details in response to the email informing her that she's won a lottery she never played.

"well if you're dead how on Earth will you be able to press the button!"

"So you've just provisionally agreed on... what would it be? ...over £340 something over a two year period!", I shrieked. "Well what if I'm lying dead!", came the first of her justifications, "well if you're dead how on Earth will you be able to press the button!". "They call people!", "who?", "you know, people nearby", "and what if you're not carrying this alarm thing?", I hated doing this but I hated seeing my mum being taken for a mug once again. The burglary scenario didn't stand the logic test either as I pained to hear the poor repetition of the sales staff's pitch.

"Ok, ok, I can cancel it tomorrow", came the voice of defeat. "Mum, it isn't about me being wrong or right... you know...", I calmed myself, "if you haven't already got it, you may not need it". I then followed by asking her to join me in writing a list of everything she might need, this may have appeared a little condescending but I wanted to illustrate my point, and politely let her know that she just isn't that lucky.

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Catching up on the UK news after arriving.

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"That's a horrible thing to say!" my mother snapped while we sipped our tea with milk. The horror had gotten worse, a cricket team showed solidarity by wearing yellow ribbons on their sleeves as the dedicated tail-end of the news detailed the Find Maddy Campaign. Suggestions that the police were frustrated were quashed and progress was shown in the seizing of computer equipment owned by some fresh faced lad in Portugal. Correspondents were there, on location, with speculations, without information, with concern and without anything to learn. "Do you see what they've done there?" I sarcastically pointed out as it was back over to the UK where we were reminded of the solidarity – the ad-hoc campaign press office had headlined posters with 'Look', but the first 'o' shared the blemish of Maddy's right eye. "You're sick you are" gasped my mother.

"What about the 20 woman and children that have probably arrived in Dover this morning?", I retorted, "destined for sexual slavery". It wasn't a cultural lag, where only that morning my tea was sipped without milk in a wholly different nation – one I dare not draw comparisons with. How Iran affords me with a rotten perspective. "This isn't news mum", I pointed out while extracting the thickly layered emotive content from the thinly sprinkled journalism.

The growing album of amateur snaps that hang on the nation's conscience was opening a new page

The media parade increasingly ready to fill the minds of the masses with displays likes these – these yanks on our heart strings – troubles me for the precedence it sets. The growing album of amateur snaps that hang on the nation's conscience was opening a new page, I hope the sticky cellophane won't seal her fate – I genuinely do. Yet my mind found a new level of cynicism as I pondered what the nation's response would be if this young blond beautiful girl wasn't – is that a horrible things to say?

Madeleine's fund as of 01/06/07 totals £581,813.01
Visits to www.findmadeleine.com total 142 million impressions

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