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Friday, 17 May 2013

An enabling state, an apple tree for free, a piece of paper, a party with Mabel, and a life story

On a Thursday midday in Swindon’s Arts Centre, the undersigned wore a tie and Lord Sainsbury of Turville defined capitalism as an economic system in which ‘assets are owned by individuals, not the state, and production is guided and income distributed by the operation of the markets.’

He went on to deride neo-liberals, say that progress is important, and the state must be involved. What we need, apparently, is ‘an enabling state’.

What we need, according to Satish Kumar, is ‘a walk in nature with a loved one as part of our working day’. This would prevent many people suffering Nature Deficiency Syndrome and be part of a Natural Health Service. It would save many £s in health care, he said.

Satish pointed to Nature as offering all things good, insisting that ‘we exist in our relationship with the earth; long live earth worms, working for us without wages; bless the apple tree, that works for us for free and, when we pick its fruit, it never asks for our Visa card; solve your marital problems by walking together in nature, so that you focus on walking, not on your relationship; learn to bake bread; and every school should have a garden!’

With the same passion that Satish eulogised nature, Ian Sansom praised paper but not before he told us that he got his first guitar in Swindon, so associates our town with sweet guitar music.

But back on paper, he told us that, for a while, his near-obsession with it, led him to collect it in the street, as treasure, not refuse.

He pointed out that paper’s success is because it is light, durable, and easily disposed of. In order to make a twenty-first century sheet of paper white, crisp, and pleasing to the touch, it has about 30 chemicals added to the vegetable fibre that make it. Maybe that’s why the the paper-less office has never come about; which is quite unrelated to Ian’s estimate that each of us uses 23 loo rolls a year. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking. More?)

Meanwhile, at Artsite, mischievous Mabel, bad-teeth Barry, and friends frolicked as only they know how and in the Studio, Life Writers presented snippets of their work and produced an event that was one official Festival helper’s highlight.

Habsolutely! Highlights, highlights everywhere, and each one makes you think.

Matt Holland
Photo credits: Richard Wintle – Calyx Multimedia