Sunday, 30 May 2010

Really listening

I have definitely got better at listening as I have got older. I mean really listening. That's quite an achievement for someone that's a really enthusiastic extravert like me. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement; I mean we are all of us perpetual 'works in progress' after all.

It occurred to me this week that listening properly is possibly one of the kindest things you can do for someone. And it also occurred to me that most of us probably are not used to being listened to - not properly. I might even go so far as to say that many of us probably have some 'hang-ups' about not being listened to because the vast majority of children just weren't listened to back in our day and proper listening was certainly rarely domonstrated in my childhood!

I used to think what I articulated was the quickest way to impress others and hopefully leave them thinking I was worth knowing. I now think differently!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

THE Festival

Every year the Norwich and Norfolk festival surpasses itself. And predominantly it's one adjective expanding: quirkyosivitiness (I know, I know - it's not a real word but it's what it does). Whoever is in charge of bookings must spend all year searching really hard for the bizarre and the extraordinary. And these acts and events don't appear in the expensive ticket, high brow, classical concerts part - no - they happen in the fringe festival and they happen all over town.

Take this afternoon. I wandered into town with my family with no agenda. If I am really honest - I had actually momentarily forgotten the festival was on. A man playing fiddle on a tightrope jogged it back into my memory.

....as did the somewhat strange merri-go-round in one of the city centre parks....

Having remembered the festival was on I had vague recollections of something happening in Blackfriars Hall that I had an inkling I might like but wasn't sure what it was. I had read a programme at some point...so I had enough confidence to believe my inkling could amount to something.

I am glad we did because we stumbled upon an: oh-so-much-my-cup-of-tea.

The Home Sweet Home Thingy. I don't think any name could ever do it justice...and that one certainly didn't. It was an EXPERIENCE - one that left me buzzing.

First you chose your cardbaord flatpack home and are given the white key to its door. It could be a canal barge, a flat, a small terrace, a large terrace, a detached, or various other shapes. Then you gathered up some craft materials and proceeded to decorate it in a style of your own choosing.

It was a hall full of people absorbed in creative flow.

I chose to create Professor Pott's house - a house with an explosion coming out of one window, a mutant mayor out of another, various experiments in action in and around the house and the start of a ladder to the moon on its roof...amongst other things. This was what it ended up looking like....

But creating a house wasn't all. There was a postman collecting and delivering letters being posted to and from houses.


There was also a community notice board and Residents FM Radio blasting out 'what was going down in the community' inbetween requested tunes. They told us of a campaign to have the radio mast moved to a non residential site (I might have started that because it was interfering with Professor Potts' experiments but another letter cited support for its position - I suspect it was from Mr Fuzz of the Television Shop), it also informed us of a ghostbuster business opening up centre town, of new fire station, etc....it was non-stop community action. I sent a letter to the radio over concerns about building regulations citing specifically that the fire station was somewhat flammable, that a large orange helium balloon was interfering with air traffic control and that explosions are not very community minded. There was even concern in the north of town that zombies might be taking over.....(concern initiated by the middle house in this terrace)...

On Monday, there is a street party, after which we can take our properties if we wished to.

My only complaint: I got a cardboard cut on my finger. Cardboard cuts are worse than paper cuts but considered a worthwhile price to pay.