The Philosophy Café at the Dugdale, Enfield

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Enfield is very fortunate to have a Philosophy Café which is based in the Dugdale Centre.  It is the brainchild of Dr Alan Murray who is a gifted poet as well as an excellent teacher of both poetry and philosophy.  It is proving very popular with about 30 people attending each time.

 

Philosophers on the way to the café!

 

 

I must admit to being a little apprehensive before my first attendance.  Our twin granddaughters live in France and, along with there fellow students, burnt their philosophy books when they left school.  An extreme deed but they had been having eight hours a week of philosophy lessons.  President Macron, a philosopher himself, says he wants to reduce or ban such lessons as it is having an adverse effect on the French psyche.  Philosophy is powerful stuff!  Still, I believe it teaches us to think, be precise and to debate issues without resorting to shouted abuse or violence and I love ideas and discussion so I was looking forward to my first session.

French philosopher

 

 

French philosopher meditating.  Didn’t one live in a bath of milk?

 

 

 

 

 

Alan chooses a topic and introduces it in a short lecture using the work of René Girard to illustrate and structure the lesson.

The topic for my first attendance was the concept that desire is mimetic and much must be or how else would advertising work?  Some desire, I feel, is hardwired into our brain as a consequence of evolution and natural selection but it was a fascinating concept and the debate was reasoned and disciplined thanks to Alan’s guidance and it has provoked me to a new way of regarding desire; to contemplate the implications of the concept.

I soon realised that a common agreement on the precise meaning of words was needed and I was reminded of someone in the 17th century, whose name I cannot recall, declaring “we need more words”.  More new words were added in this century than any other due to an avalanche of new ideas and discoveries.

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The average native English speaker has a vocabulary of about 20,000 to 35,000 words.  It is estimated that there are 750,000 words in the English language.

 

 

Whether or not there is a word for it, things exist and a word can only express a part of something.  Light is just a small segment of an infinite range of electromagnetic radiation of varying frequency and wavelength and we only need a word for it as we can “see” it.

Prism and rainbow

A prism will split white light in to different colours. Some people can see more blues than most but there is only one word “blue”  Dogs see a limited range of colours and can see UV light which is invisible to us.  Apparently their urine fluoresces UV light.

 

Now a philosopher

 

 

I am getting lost in my argument and thinking and need more visits to the Philosophy Café.

March Miscellany

By now I was beginning to get back to normal and wondered if an icon would help my site and here it is just 512 pixels square.  It is one of a short series of images I took of a Peregrine Falcon that was being displayed at Capel Manor.  I was trying out a telephoto lens. hence the black background.

The 12th we went to see Carmen at the Royal Opera House and what a disappointment.  I was expecting, colour, passion, warmth, exuberance.  It was all grey, black and white and Carmen appeared in a grey gorilla suit!  It was dreary and we were glad to leave at the interval even though the tickets had cost an arm and a leg.

Dugdale Foyer

 

A March success story was the project to expose the original floor of the theatre Foyer  in the Dugdale Centre.  Paul Everitt had asked if I could suggest a quick way to remove adhesive residues left when the carpet tiles were lifted.  Fortunately I was able to help using Chela’s product Eraze HD and the beautiful metal tiles were brought back to life.  What a difference!  The whole area was opened up, looks lighter, modern, edgy.  A museum shop selling goods made in Enfield will soon be installed.

Victorian Anthony

 

 

We went to a wonderful exhibition of Victorian photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.  The photos were contact printed onto sensitised paper from glass negatives.  There is a short video showing how this was done.  I can be but filled with admiration at the technical as well as artistic skills of those who produced such beautiful, evocative images.  This is a fun picture of me posing behind a pop-up Victorian photo frame.  I am doing my best to look full of deep and wonderful thoughts.

 

 

China Town

 

We had lunch in a Malaysian Café, C&R, in Rupert Court and it was lovely.  I had the Singapore Laska featured in the review (link above) and it was delicious.  I like chrysanthemum tea and had a mug of it.

Visiting China town is always fun  and I was able to buy a tub of Pu-Er tea

 

though Valerie steered me away from the delicious Dorian fruit; they have a stimulating fragrance and heavenly taste!  I had been searching for this tea and is most delicious, even though it is probably made by the modern accelerated fermentation process.  The traditional method has the tea fermenting in a cave for 10 or 12 years.  Now that I have the taste I must seek out a traditional product.

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Valerie wanted to check that the headstone of her great aunt Fanny Darville, née Danvers, was OK.  Last time we visited it had fallen over.  Valerie jumped up and down on it after we had re-set it.  We found it upright and solid, no movement, which was good and Valerie planted a primrose which looked very pretty against the grey and lichen tombstone.  The Danvers’s line goes back to the Regicide John Danvers who was one of the signatories of Charles I death warrant.  Fortunately John died before Charles’s II thugs tracked him down.  His co-signatories suffered horrible deaths.  The grave is in St Nicholas Church, Great Kimble and the cemetery is  lovely.

Grave Yard

Work was being done to renovate various paths as you can see.  The yews are just magnificent and the bench and swing next to the large yew in the background above, made great pictures.

Swing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yew Tree and Bench

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally a walk up Bush Hill and along the Victorian path and down to Enfield Town Park, (please excuse the paucity of information on the linked website.  Best I could find).  The long narrow and steep final stretch of the path meets a little iron bridge over the New River where we fed the ducks and coots and magpies.  We enjoy this.

New River Loop 2

 

 

Holocaust Memorial Day, Dugdale Theatre, Enfield

This year, Enfield poets were asked to read poems  at the Holocaust Memorial Day  taking place in Enfield and I wrote the Haiku above for this occasion and it was translated into Hebrew by Poet Nurit Kahana.  In the feature image above you can see us in the front row. From the right; Christine Vial, me and Valerie Darville who was sitting next to Gerald Granston who spoke about his experience escaping from Germany on the SS St Louis.

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It was an extraordinarily moving event that were very proud to have taken part in. The theatre was full and there was a mix of ages and backgrounds of both  those taking an active part and those in the audience.  As well as the moving account by Gerald Granston of his experiences on the SS St Louis and how he eventually came to England, there was a film of Appolinaire Kageruka  speaking of his harrowing experiences during the Genocide in Rwanda demonstrating that genocide is still happening all these years later.

 

I was made to think of the awfulness and horror of the Holocaust with friends, neighbours, work colleagues denouncing Jews to the Nazis; how could this happen?  I was born during the war and remember post war newsreels of the death camps but I needed to be reminded of this now. How can we keep the memories alive so that they are still real, visceral, long after any survivors of those dreadful times are no longer with us?  The Memorial Days are designed, in part, to achieve this and I hope they succeed.

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There was music from he Wolfson Hillel Primary school choir who sang, in Hebrew, songs full of passion and feeling.

 

 

 

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Cllr. Doug Taylor who initiated Enfield’s first Holocaust Memorial Day talking to Gerald Granston and Rabbi Emanuel Levy.

 

 

 

HMD 25th Jan 2018

 

 

 

Enfield Poet Christine Vial

 

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Enfield Poet Anthony Fisher

 

 

 

 

The poems can be seen here.

Images courtesy of the London Borough of Enfield

 

9th Floor – Royal Free Hospital

 

The 4th of February was a dramatic day for us.  Thanks to Valerie’s clear thinking and action, it started with an appointment with a duty doctor who sent me to Barnet A&E and then the Royal Free Hospital.  The experience prompted a short poem.

9th Floor night time
On arrival, the ambulance personnel pointed out the night time view

and  these are the evening and daytime views.

So here is the poem:

Ninth Floor

For me, the fourth of February
began at the duty doctor
and ended, via Barnet A&E,
on the ninth floor of the Royal Free;
the ambulance crew pointed out
the magnificent view over London.
A massive infection kept me there for six nights.

That first night I felt oddly secure
even though I was without
my instruments of support;
spectacles, hearing aids, watch
wallet with cash and cards,
my phone off as the battery was low.

I thought of how Valerie had come back
to see me leave in the ambulance,
glad that she was now safe at home.
Shrouded in a yellow-grey miasma of nausea,
time for me was distorted-
Valerie came each afternoon
and the children on separate days.

Elwyn witnessed my examination
and claimed that my right testicle
was the size of a grapefruit
though goose egg was more likely.

My daughter brought me home,
sent a laconic text to her brothers
“Grapefruit back in fruit bowl.”

© Anthony Fisher March 2108

View from the fruit bowl.

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