Saturday, December 11, 2010

A heart needs a home

Theme Thursday test

The Unthanks perform Robert Wyatt's 'Dondestan' (with clogs dance).
London, Union Chapel - December 8th, 2010

Palestine's a country / or at least used to be.
Palestine's a country / or at least used to be.
Felahin, refugee (Kurdistan similarly)
need something to build on / rather like the rest of us.
Palestine's a country / or at least used to be.
Palestine's a country / or at least used to be.
Felahin, refugee (deportees similarly)
need something to build on / rather like the rest of us got

Its just a year ago that we saw The Unthanks at the  Hebden Bridge Trades Club [ my photos].. This week I booked my tickets to see them play Manchester Cathedral on 30th April.
Becky Unthanks (2nd clog dancer from the right) although born in  Northumberland , now lives less than a mile from my house in Hebden Bridge.I see her shopping in the CO-Op & suchlike........
Halifax born Dominic Rivon threw out a challenge this week on his blog Choose one question from All Soul's College exam paper & write a blog post on it.
I have picked..................... Is exile always a misfortune ?

"Exile" might usually be seen as a geographical idea. To live apart.It's also tied in with a feeling of banishment . The majority have exile trust upon them. Those who choose exile do so out of circumstance.
I guess my Dad's life could have been described as one of "Exile".Living in Britain because he couldn't return return to his home in Poland.I am sure he saw this as his total misfortune.
[Incidentally , I am looking forword to seeing the new Peter Weir film The Way Back based around the life of
Sławomir Rawicz
born in Eastern Poland near my dad & like him, conscripted into the invading Soviet army, in 1939 from which both deserted and fled through the World to escape.]
The problem with this geographical exile is that truth & fact can become hidden\lost & incomprehensive in the exile's new home. It difficult to pass the legacy on..........I , for example, still don't fully understand how my Dad got from "A" to "B".I know he escaped Poland. I know he traveled via South Africa.I know he ended up in Scotland to join the Free Polish Airforce. But I don't know how this was done. I guess I never will...............
My dad hated his exile. Maybe if you chose it yourself it is different.? The World is full of happy expectant migrants Sailing to "New Worlds".in the hope of a better life.I,m sure it's not always a misfortune. The misfortune is not having a choose in one's life.................
How odd , at this point I was going to quote something Bryce Taylor said to me once.
" To Have True Freedom You Must Always Have 3 Alternative Options In Any Decision ". You Are Not Free If You Have No Alternative.........
I studied under Bryce when doing a 2 year Transpersonal Diploma with Oasis Human Relations. He had a very powerful influence on me.I lost touch after I left in 1996.It's a measure of my exile from him that I only tonight learned just now of his death in March via the Oasis
facebook page.
How strange ,reading his obituary  in The Yorkshire Post I found out things I never knew about him.He was born in Rochdale and he was a "keen photographer, gardener and Bob Dylan aficionado."
He was full of Power............To Say I liked the man would be wrong.But I respected his power & insight. He Saw me better than I saw myself (which was a worry !) bryce was one of the most influential people in my life.It is strange now to know of my exile from him.............He changed my life is ways I still have to discover.

His position was ,maybe, that We are all in exile.but we have the fortune to find our way home.
The facebook site carries photos of tree planting ceremonies to him on October 20th in Boston Spa,Yorkshire & Boston Massachusetts ( GRLI GA).Below a photo of Bryce (holding a carpet someone thought looked like a tree stump) & me.on the grass, in exile............
Another final point.You might find yourself in Exile and never need to move an inch! You stay still & the World changes around you.The current political & economic climate a case in point.Maybe it's not a geographical thing at all......................


Roy said...

Hmmmmm... Such a potpourri of subjects in this post! I like the idea of making a stab at one of the exam questions. I'm seriously contemplating one on question #22 - "Why does music matter?" Yeah, that one's right up my alley!

Xmichra said...

I don't know what to say... it seems a misplacement of feeling in this arena. Perhaps the feelings are exiled as well.

Trulyfool said...


I agree that this is an interesting mix of focus. The heart does need a home. Maybe some of us find that, a bit, for while, in moments of respite, during our personal life.

Nice music, both. The Thompson piece, which I've never heard, brings me back to 'early 70s' evenings alone in an apartment with, usually a six pack, a bad movie on TV, and a default resort to vinyl music likely too loud for the neighbors.

The Unthanks -- great name! -- clogging -- great dance! -- to a piece called Dondestan -- great title took me in two directions. As a sympathy piece for all the displaced, I'm with it. As a (possible) satire (?) on reflexive (?) Leftist (?) political positioning, it's a bit discomforting. As 'quick history' for listeners, it's way too abbreviated, absenting the not small number of Palestinians who want to form a country for the first time and re-displace the first bunch of Israelis they find. 'Re-displace' being a euphemism for what soccer rowdies might not even imagine.

Your dad's journey. I read some material this past year talking about this very thing -- the trek of Poles down through Africa eventually meeting up with British forces and becoming part of the invasion force later on. Brave, harrowing.

Your teacher. I've had no more than half-a-dozen like this. Guys (and gals!) who 'reached' me significantly, likely without knowing the extent.

Somehow, you've made me feel good, Tony!


mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for such a thought provoking post.... your meditation and musings on exile are multi-dimensional.

there have been many, many times in my life where i've felt like an exile in my homeland.....

exile....home....two very powerful concepts

sad that bryce died suddenly so young - maybe 40 years ago 63 seemed old but now at 55 it is just around the bend

thanks for the tunes!!

clogging rocks

Zuzana said...

Dear Tony, this was one of my favourite post of yours.
As you know I can relate to so much that is written here. To have to be forced to leave ones home and not be allowed to return is terrible. And then one day, when you go back, you realize the home you once let is not there anymore and that realization is terrible, as then you are truly forever homeless...
I also have met people that touched my life and opened my mind to the world in a profound way.
Have a lovely Sunday dear friend,

Kurt said...

What about if you got old and live in a city full of young people and you don't understand anything they say.

tony said...


Anonymous said...

I think it would be so difficult to have to leave your homeland and not have a choice. I think you would always have that longing or space that you couldn't fill.
I am sorry for the loss of your mentor. He sounds like a very interesting man.

Danny said...

" To Have True Freedom You Must Always Have 3 Alternative Options In Any Decision "..., that's a very interesting proposal. something to think hard on...what happens if each of those alternatives are worse by turn though, like a diminishing return of choices?

tony said...

Danny.In my experience thats often the case! A Bit like spinning various plates on Poles........!
I think his point was to avoid having just one "answer" to any given question.Not to assume that a perfect solution to any given situation.In any case, it keeps you busy while it all goes down the Pan!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read. Thanks for joining in. Where does exile begin?

I should make clear I wasn't actually born in Halifax - it's just one of the many places I've lived. I started out in Lincolnshire. Have I been living in exile from Lincolnshire ever since I was 6ish? Perhaps exile is as much to do with feeling you don't belong where you are as with feeling cut off from the place you belong. As you say: "Maybe it's not a geographical thing at all".

Tess Kincaid said...

We are all in exile, but we have the fortune to find our way home.

This is such a powerful thought. I'm going to be thinking about this all week, Tony. Thank you.

Orange Bear said...

Great Robert Wyatt song I must admit I didn't know.

Caught the Unthanks on TV the other night - a Christmas show. Just wish they'd been doing this kind of thing instead of the stuff they did (well I must admit I didn't watch it all - so they might have, but I doubt it! It was all top hats and Victorian Christmas stuff).