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MAGAZINE FOR WELLBEING

Spring Issue 52

2014

SPRING

ISSUE 52

>> TED talks & Loneliness >> Beauty & Preservation >> Learning Disabilities >> Different Therapies >> Art, News & Reviews


Equilibrium Patron Dr Liz Miller Mind Champion 2008

Front cover: Mehmet

web alerts If you know anyone who would like to be on our mailing list and get the magazine four times a year (no spam!) please email: equilibriumteam@hotmail.co.uk (www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium). Equilibrium is devised, created, and produced entirely by team members with experience of the mental health system. Photo copyright remains with all individual artists and Equilibrium. All rights reserved. 2011

Design: www.parkegraphics.co.uk

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editorial We hope the sun is shining for you and that you enjoy our Spring issue of Equilibrium. Packed full of the usual news, reviews and opinion pieces, we’d again like to thank our guest contributors and artists - do keep sending us your fantastic work! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue, so go ahead and tweet us at @teamequilibrium. And if you’d like to join the team, contribute an article or picture, or find out more, please do get in touch via equilibriumteam@hotmail.co.uk. Kate, Editor/Team Facilitator

disclaimer Equilibrium is produced by service users. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly forbidden without the prior permission of the Equilibrium team. Products, articles and services advertised in this publication do not necessarily carry the endorsement of Equilibrium or any of our partners. Equilibrium is published and circulated electronically four times a year to a database of subscribers; if you do not wish to receive Equilibrium or have received it by mistake, please email unsubscribe to equilibriumteam@hotmail.co.uk

the team Facilitator/ Editor: Kate Massey-Chase. Editorial team: Angela, Dev, Ian, Alan, Polly, Chrissie, Nigel. Graphic design: Anthony Parké.

contact us Equilibrium, Clarendon Centre, Clarendon Road, London, N8 ODJ. 02084894860, equilibriumteam@hotmail.co.uk. We are in the office on Friday afternoons 2.30-4.30, but you can leave a message at other times and we’ll get back to you.

contributions Wanted: contributions to Equilibrium! Please email us with your news, views, poems, photos, plus articles. Anonymity guaranteed if required.

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Seizures & Bliss

http://pharmacistontherocks.files.wordpress.com

Ian Stewart

I have been looking at an article (New

profound momentary experience imme-

Scientist 24 January 2014) passed to me

diately makes me think of the TM tech-

about people suffering from epilepsy who

nique (transcendental mediation) and

have experienced bliss with the onset of

the experience of what is described as

seizures. Fyodor Dostoevsky described it

the ‘transcendent state of consciousness’.

as “A happiness unthinkable in the normal

In fact, the article in New Scientist ends

state and unimaginable for anyone

by saying there are fortunately safer ways

who hasn’t experienced it…I am then

of experiencing the same feeling through

in perfect harmony with myself and the

meditation.

entire universe” (The Idiot). I practice TM, which cannot be learned Scientists are trying to find the cause of

from a book but once learned opens up

this state through electrical stimulation

a whole new world to the initiated and

of the brain and it is with this in mind that

experience of bliss is one aspect of this.

I draw from my own experience, not

Perhaps it could help epilepsy sufferers

of epilepsy but of meditation. Subjects

lessen the more unpleasant effects of a

with epilepsy who have experienced this

seizure? Science is a wonderful thing! 

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Summer/ Issue 38


Learning Disability: Then & Now

Dev Chatterjea

Computers had just started out and Windows’ Word had not replaced the DOS (Disk Operating System) version of Word, which did not have any spell checks or altering function other than save, open and close. The Internet was still to come. This meant everything was done by hand.  For a person with learning disability it may have been a problem, because the person may have made spelling and grammar mistakes causing them to re-write the work several times

http://ct-educationadvocates.com/information/learning-disabilities/

over. As for finding work, they would have Learning disability is defined as ‘a

to go to the library, where it could be diffi-

reduced intellectual ability and difficulty

cult if a person who has trouble reading.

with everyday activities’ (Mencap).  This

 

definition is only touching the surface, but

This is, however, different nowadays. At

20 years ago it was a different story.

present, children can get better one-to-

 

one support with their studies, because of

During the 1980’s and the first half of the

the better understanding of learning disa-

‘90’s understanding of learning difficulties

bility. This includes adults who back then

were very different to how we view them

had virtually none or were worse off then

today. One of the reasons for this was the

their younger counterparts. Now, both

lack of knowledge in this field. In fact, very

children and adults are able to get tested

little was known about them. In the ‘80’s,

for learning disabilities. With the inven-

little or no testing for learning problems

tion of the Internet, Word, mobile phones,

were done; this meant that there was

and other technology, people are able

less help for people who had them. This

to gain information visually and audially,

was especially common for people not

where as “back then” you were only had

in education, and even those who were

text and a few pictures. New technology

would get minimal support from “Special

allows people with learning disabilities to

Needs staff”.

achieve better skills and qualifications.

 

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

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image by <a href=”http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

Different types of therapy

There are lots and lots of different types of therapy out there – probably more than you could ever imagine. Some of these are more common and available on the NHS, and others you might have to hunt a bit further for. It can get confusing and perhaps seem overwhelming with so many options available, so here’s a short breakdown of some commonly used types of therapy. If you think you would benefit from one of them, speak to your G.P. and find out what the options are. It may be that there is a long waiting list, or it is not available in your area, but by starting that conversation and asking questions, you might be pointed in the direction of a helpful source of support. The following descriptions are very basic, but hopefully should provide a starting point for further research if you are interested.    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) CBT has become a very popular therapeutic approach and one that has gained a lot of credibility over the last decade or so. It is a ‘forward-thinking’ form of therapy, which looks more at how to cope with your present difficulties, rather than delving deep into

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your past; it is ‘problem focussed’ – honing in on the specific difficulty – and ‘actionorientated’ – trying to find a workable and active solution to that problem. It is primarily concerned with ‘unlearning’ the patterns of thinking which cause us unhappiness, and is thus most used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. The way we think (our cognitive processes) impacts on our feelings and behaviour, so if we can start to recognise the thought patterns that trap us (blowing things out of proportion, seeing things in black and white, etc.) we can start to feel more grounded in reality and hopefully calmer. CBT also uses mindfulness meditation and bodycalming techniques to help centre us in the here and now. In 2008, the NHS trained a lot of professionals in CBT as part of an initiative called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), so that it could be used to treat more people and hopefully mean fewer people were prescribed medication without access to a talking-therapy. It is popular with both health services and patients because it is quite a short, focussed process, and doesn’t require months of therapy.

Summer/ Issue 38


Kate

Psychoanalysis The most famous psychoanalyst is Sigmund Freud, and when you picture someone lying on a couch talking about their dreams to a man with a beard, this is the school of therapy that originates from. Psychoanalysis is concerned with our subconscious mind, digging deep into the thoughts and desires we didn’t know we had, but which manifest themselves as unhappiness or anxiety in our day-to-day lives. Psychoanalysis can take many years and can be a big commitment; some people attend five times a week, although on the NHS this is unlikely. Although we have moved on from many of Freud’s theories (such as the famous Oedipus Complex, which suggests all men want to marry their mothers and murder their fathers), psychoanalysis does still concern itself with dreams and symbolism.    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) ACT, developed in the late 1980s, is less well known than the previous two, but – like CBT – uses mindfulness strategies, and is focused on acceptance. It is designed to increase

psychological flexibility, and can be run in groups on individually. ACT’s main difference from CBT is that whereas CBT tries to teach people to unlearn or change ‘unhelpful’ ways of thinking and behaving, ACT teaches them to simply notice, accept and embrace these thoughts, feelings and sensations. It encourages you to act in accordance with your values, working out what’s important to you and then committing yourself to goals which align with your values.        Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) CAT is a type of therapy which brings together ideas from different therapies – both cognitive and analytic, as the same suggests. In this way it both looks back at your past, like psychoanalysis, and forward at your future, like CBT. Together the client and therapist explore the events and relationships in a person’s life, often from a very young age, which affect how they think, feel and act now. It has a strong focus on an empathic relationship between the client and therapist, within clear therapeutic boundaries, and is also time-limited, usually lasting for 16 sessions.

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The Fruit & Veg Mountain has been research to back up these findings. And so it can’t be argued, alas. The research, which involved a 12-year study, also found that vegetables were four times healthier than fruit. Or if you prefer, fruit are four times more useless than vegetables. So this increase in our fruit and vegetable There I was, on the cusp of something extroadinary, a grand shift in the dietary habits I’d acquired over a lifetime. The goal to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day: the Holy Grail of healthy eating. And I was so near to my goals; I was up to three portions a day. And then it happened. An apocalyptic turn of events occurred, dashing my hopes against the wall. We must DOUBLE are 5 a day intake of fruit and veg in order to stave of illnesses. The cruelty of this blow is hard to put into words. Would it be an exaggeration to say this is akin to being in striking distance of K2’s summit, only to be told someone has added another 10,000

intake, it should be mentioned, is about significantly lowering the risk of premature death. People who ate at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables each day were 42 per cent less likely to die from any cause over the course of the study. The researchers also discovered that canned and frozen fruit increased the risk of dying by 17 per cent. Yes, I had to do a double take on this. It is perhaps worth repeating: canned and frozen fruit INCREASED the risk of dying by 17 per cent. Death by canned peaches? Fruit juice was found to have no significant benefit. And there goes the easy option. Onward and upward...

feet?! Probably. So why the change? Needless to say there

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Nigel Prestatyn

Summer/ Issue 38


Reviews: Book & Play Shock of the Fall by

 The Eradication of

Nathan Filer

Schizophrenia in

Winner of the Costa

Western Lapland

First Book award

- Ridiculismus -

 

Shoreditch Town

This is a sad book.

Hall Council Cham-

The protagonist

ber  

Matthew lives  a

This four hander

rackety unfulfilled

(two actors each

life as a young adult

side of a screen

- partly in a pokey highrise flat and

that became windows and had meaning) with an fasci-

partly in a local ward of a psych hospital

nating title attempted to give the audience

where he has been given a ‘schizophrenia’

an experience of psychosis. It was based on

diagnosis - and where he literally has noth-

Open Dialogue the revolutionary technique

ing to do, and nothing to fill his days. Except

pioneered in Finland that has virtually ‘erad-

smoking and taking extremely debilitating doses of psychiatric drugs. He is eloquent and touching speaking of his

icated’ ‘schizophrenia’ in western Lapland. They aimed to ‘conjure up a comic nightmare of delusion’. I’m not quite sure whether this was achieved. Delusion is a

family - who love him unconditionally and

very personal and internal thing, I think, and

support him through it all. There has been

a man reciting his delusions about Margaret

a great tragedy earlier in his life - and he

Drabble and the Nobel Prize was a tad trite. 

can’t detach from it and feel free of the

Into the mix swirled folk dancing, endless

unnecessary guilt he carries. 

conversations about what was for supper,

It’s refreshingly written; sometimes illustrated, sometimes changes of typeface and gaps in the text. Filer is an honest writer and spares his audi-

a boorish psychiatrist shouting at his partner down a phone, imaginary or real partners who could be Mark or Marnie, crisps, and death. It had the aroma of a student production,

ence not much. He is or has been a mental

bit devised, bit raw, slightly embarrassing.

health nurse so he knows his territory.

But it made me want to find out much more

Definitely worth reading.

about Open Dialogue and maybe that success in Finland could spread worldwide.

Polly Mortimer

  Polly Mortimer

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

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Paintings & Drawings

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Summer/ Issue 38


by Mehmet

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

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Lonely? At least I’ve got TED

I’m not referring to a cuddly toy that lives in my bed; if I was, that would be Lucy the Lemur (all my toys had alliterative names) and yes – she still lives there, and no – I’m not ashamed! The TED I’m referring to on this occasion is, for those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to encounter it yet, a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. It has a ‘critically acclaimed, award-winning website’ (TED. com) ‘featuring inspired talks from the world’s leading thinkers and doers’. Their mission is beautiful in its simplicity: SPREADING IDEAS.   TED started out in 1984, originally as a conference bringing together people from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design – hence the name. However, since then it has broadened its remit, its platforms and accessibility; now, along with conferences, a collection of the best talks are made available free on the web (and as of November 2012, TED Talks had been viewed more than one billion times), and there are other off-shoots, such as local events run independently (TEDx) and speakers performing and presenting all over the world (TEDGlobal).

Photo: Anthony

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 The aim is that the conferences and talks bring together ‘the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers’, and, with a refreshing lack of hierarchy, how prestigious or well-known they are does not change how long their slot is: they all have to present in 18 minutes or less. This is one of the greatest joys of the TED talks themselves: their brevity. Interesting concepts, ideas and research, communicated clearly, entertainingly and accessibly. There is little pre-amble, navel-gazing or academic selfindulgence; with only 18minutes, the talks are focused, direct and cut to the core of the question or argument the speaker has chosen to tackle.    When I say they make me less lonely that’s in fact only one of the many emotions their stir in me. Categorized on the website into sections, which include ‘inspiring’, ‘funny’, ‘beautiful’, ‘informative’ and ‘courageous’, you can select what you feel you’re most in need of a dose of – a quick bit of inspiration, something to remind you of the beauty in the world, a cerebral work-out – and choose from the range of talks at your finger-tips. I like having something on to listen to when I’m doing boring chores, and definitely find sorting washing goes more quickly when I’m turning over complex puzzles, weighing up social arguments, or having a giggle. I’m also, if I’m completely honest, not that good at spend-

Summer/ Issue 38


Kate

ing long periods of time on my own. Sometimes not even short periods of time! My own pop-psychology reading of this – and one which I think actually holds some weight – is that the root cause of this is that I’m an identical twin, so never had much practice at it. Even in the womb I had company! Regardless of why, I do know I get lonely quickly, and so knowing that I can find a short burst of stimulating distraction in a few clicks is reassuring, comforting. My other go-to is Radio 4, oh and doing crafts, which my friends tell me makes me both ridiculously middle class and middle aged – but my twin sister does tapestries and makes hummus, so I think it’s important we keep things in perspective.   Loneliness can be a wolf howling in your stomach, or a dog scratching at the door. TED talks won’t help with the loneliness we can feel in a crowded room – unless you’ve got very subtle headphones and don’t mind rejecting any attempt at conversation! – but they can be a small form of solace when you’re sitting at home, by yourself, in need of an external focus.   The mental health charity Mind has a page on their website about Overcoming Loneliness, which as well as suggesting ways to connect with the world around you, also mentions the utility of learning to spend time alone, feeling comfortable and at ease in your own company. I sometimes find when I’m on my own, my immediate instinct is to reach for the phone, but I know I’ve personally learnt that if I give myself the challenge of getting through chunks of time without calling someone, it proves to myself that I

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

don’t need someone else there all the time. I don’t need validation; I can chat to myself; if I get bored and restless, that’s not the end of the world and I can find my own solutions. Sometimes I also challenge myself not to put music or the radio on, as well, so that I’m not always blocking out silence or the meanderings of my own thoughts. If we distract ourselves all the time, then when do we think? When do we rest?   But if ‘the rest is silence’ (Hamlet pun – couldn’t resist), then my head will probably explode. Anyone who knows me can confirm I don’t do silent for very long. All things in moderation, I say, and sometimes I get more of a break from an eighteen minute mental holiday into the world of a fascinating idea, than my own internal monologue. And being stimulated stirs me out of loneliness and boredom; it energizes and invigorates. Like Lucy the Lemur, I can cuddle up to an idea (although in a less literal and physical sense), cling  on to it like a rock in a storm, enjoy it like a chocolate chip in disappointing cereal, hang out with it like teenagers at bus stop, or run with it like a hare on ketamine.     Five tip-top TED talks to get you started:         ·        Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity ·        Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability ·        Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight ·        Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice ·        Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend (Lando wrote about this talk in Issue 50 of Equilibrium)

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Beauty & Preservation

Britney Spears wants to be cryogenically preserved, as did Michael Jackson. The apocryphal myth has it that Walt Disney did too. We have the lucrative field of cosmetic surgery with its desire to stave off the degenerative processes of old age. The pervasive desire to keep youthful, to preserve our existence. and the many variations that exist, are attempts to deny Mother Nature her destructive processes. I have to say, I am not entirely adverse to the concept of preserving oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existence, albeit in a metaphorical sense. As an artist there is always a desire to create a legacy beyond the here and now. I am ever conscious of wanting to pass something down the line, or a vainglorious attempt to leave behind a body of work which may somehow be appreciated in the future.

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I have recently increased my minor amber collection. There is a distinct difference to my latest piece: it contains a biological inclusion: fossil. I am reliably informed that these flies, in their perfectly preserved form, are approximately 40 million years old. This strikes me as an instance of where Mother Nature and her desire to yield all matter back to the earth, has only partially suceeded. This is natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cryogenics of sorts, as are the instances of mammoths frozen in time within Siberian glaciers, or the Tollund Man found in a peat bog - a naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BCE. Apparently, the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical features were so well-preserved that he was mistaken at the time of discovery for a recent murder victim. The butterfly has long been a symbol of the zenith of beauty in nature, and not necessarily in living form. We still manage to appreci-

Summer/ Issue 38


Anthony Parke

ate the beauty of these creatures in books, and in specimen cases. I have four butterflies which are mesmerising and beautiful to look at. However, they are dead and pinned to a board! Observing their beauty is not an experience altogether different from the butterfly exhibition I viewed recently at the Natural History Museum last year – though these were alive! Their beauty, dead or alive, somehow still remains. I have raised Peacock butterflies from caterpillars, watched half a dozen hatch and fly around in a special net nursery I keep in my living room. The kids love it, as do the adults in the family. This beauty can also be seen in amber, in specimens of incarcerated butterflies, just like the specimens I have on my wall. So, in a sense, beauty can exist for 40 million years in a state of perfect preservation - though dead. Some 12 years back I went to a fascinating exhibition by the German doctor Gunther von Hagens. Michael Jackson missed the

time period for cryogenic preservation, but von Hagens had apparently agreed with Jackson’s people that he would be plastinated: Bubbles, Jackson’s pet monkey had been plastinated some years before alledgely. It was apparently Jackson’s final request to be united with Bubbles. So it seems his desire for immortality had a spiritual as well as aesthetic dimension. To take a creature’s veins and arteries and fill them with plastic, to preserve this vast arterial network truly seems a thing o fiction.

Nature has a fascinating way of returning all matter back to earth, and yet reveals glowing instances of where it manages to preserve aspects of its own creations. So, why does this all interest me? What ties these disparate strands together is preservation. I was raised in a world where, to a degree, the beauty around me often felt as though it was continually being destroyed. I’m not referring to physical beauty but rather the beauty of say a family life, the beauty of my brother and his life which was blighted by illness. And so the beauty of a childhood life often felt like an ephemeral thing, and part of me has always wanted to be able to somehow find a way of preserving aspects of beauty. And I guess this is why I turned to painting, to seek out the objects I find fascinating, inspiring and beautiful and metaphorically preserve them in oil and canvas. To see these paintings you can go to Anthony Parke’s website at: http://www.parkepaintings.com/

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

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http://www.referencethis.ca/2014/04/381/

Fiction: Flight of the Bumblebee (excerpt)

I kept trying and trying to fly towards the

was like an invisible wall.

sunlight, but I kept crashing into some-

“Hang on for me, Mayleah!”

thing. Something I couldn’t even see. There

I got up and once more prepared for flight.

were no other leafed plants, no sound of

“Wait for me! Hey, wait! This is hard work.” I

humming, no other usual garden scents.

paused for breath and tried to calm myself.

Soon I was totally disorientated. Even so, it

“Curl forelegs and middle legs and …”

came as a shock to find myself stranded

Bang.

from the colony, completely cut off. There

I checked my position. My legs were curled

was no escape. Just as I was beginning

in evenly, and my speed was good.

to feel the fear of never sensing anything,

“One, two, three …”

flack!

Smack.

                “Oy!” I hollered. Bang!

I felt very confused. My wings were in order,

“Ow! My eyes! That hurt!” I was stunned.

clear and well veined. By rights, I should be

Bash.

able to fly away without any problems.

“No! What’s the matter with me?” I’d flown

“It’s so weird.” I was utterly perplexed, and I

directly into something invisible—again! It

began to doubt my abilities. “I can fly prop-

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Summer/ Issue 38


Frances C Burton

erly, can’t I?”

“Who’s bothered about honey at a time

It was the first time I had felt so alone, so

like this?” I felt humiliated and frustrated.

desperately lonely. I tried again, but with

“We’re all here to help you when you

the same painful result.

need us!” came the reply.

“Why can’t I fly? Why can’t I even fly to

“Ahlon, I’m not joking. I don’t know what

the clover?”

to do. How do I fly back?” I rubbed my

I was starting to feel very anxious. The

face with my front legs. “Can you all see

dense yellowy-white spikes of the clover

what’s happening better than I can?”

looked so very appealing, and I was so

I was shocked that even Ahlon didn’t

near them and yet so far.

have an answer.

“It’s a mystery.”

“You must have been put there for a

After another failed attempt, panic set

reason, perhaps to learn some valuable

in. I breathed in and breathed out as

lessons,” signalled Neyum. “Spend your

slowly as I could.

time wisely. You’ll be able to fly properly

“Have I been careless?”

soon, you’ll see.”

Thump! Stunned again.

Instinctively, I wanted to buzz back

“God, where are you? What is this? Some

shouting, “I’ll give you a few wise words,

sort of cruel joke?”

Neyum. One is ‘help’ and the other is

My head beat with every collision, and

‘me’.” But I was too exhausted to be

my eyes stung and watered as I crashed

angry.

around. I became so weary.

I was badly bruised and my wing joints

“Help! I can see you! Can’t you see me?

felt as though they were seriously

Help! I can’t fly. Mayleah—look! Neyum!

sprained. Any impetus I had to return to

Help me, Ahlon. Ahlon!”

the nest left me right then and there.

I hoped the others wouldn’t think I was

The air was still; it almost felt absent.

making something of nothing. I could

For the entire time I had been aware

see them, and I buzzed and flapped

of the fact that the garden beyond

my wings to get their attention. At last,

the invisible wall had beautiful borders.

Neyum spotted me. He was always

However, the more I struggled to get

ready to comfort and encourage any

there, the more I could only focus on

bumblebee.

my own trapped position. Gradually, my

“Don’t worry,” he buzzed. “We’ve got

awareness of the soft fluttering of butter-

some honey ready for you for when you

flies around the buddleia began to fade.

get back.”

My appreciation for the flowers and cont.

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EQUILIBRIUM EQUILIBRIUM 17


cont.

even the nectar dimmed. I couldn’t cope

it easily, but immediately I noticed that it had

with this isolation. All I could see were the

no veins, no stem, no marks at all.

edges of my wings fluttering madly. However

Nonetheless, I felt safe at last. I was raised

cruel, this was no joke. I despaired.

up! I was saved or being saved, but by

“Why can’t they offer helpful advice?”

what or whom I just didn’t know. Yet I knew

I lay on my back buzzing, groaning and sigh-

that I’d breeze through that invisible wall at

ing. It felt futile. I wanted to ask Neyum if a

last, and I did! I was ecstatic! At long last, I

lesson really had to be so painful to learn. I

could see the sky and feel the breeze…No

wanted to invite him to tell me the secret to

sooner had I smelled the flowers and felt sure

learning it faster.

I was saved than the white leaf tilted and I

“What an earth is it going to take?” I asked

dropped. Down into the undergrowth I fell.

myself.

The descent was fast, and it was a long, long

Silence.

fall. I landed with a thud. I had lost all the

I mumbled to myself, then gave one last

strength in my body to get up and fly away,

push with my wings and waved my legs

and I didn’t believe I ever would regain it. I

with sudden fury in an attempt to lift myself.

was too damaged and had lost the pollen

But I had no power and I stopped trying.

I was carrying in the fall. Within seconds, my

I stopped moving, and I stopped crying.

sense of freedom collapsed. I was overcome

Strangely, there seemed nothing left to cry

with a very deep and real sense that I had

for. There was no point.

lost any ability I ever had to hum, laugh or

I lay still as if possessed by death itself and

sing. So I began to cry. In fact, I wailed.

hoped I wouldn’t be easy prey for some-

I wept for what seemed like hours. I mourned

one or something…It was at that moment

for others who were caught out in the same

that I realised why some bumblebees never

way, and I mourned for myself. It was an

returned to the nest, and I resigned myself

ordeal which I could not explain and whose

to the fact that I was next and that nobody

purpose I could not begin to grasp.

would come looking for me.

 

And then something flat and white sped

 teacherwithbipolar.blogspot.co.uk

towards me. It might have been a bird, but it didn’t have any wings or feathers, claws, feet or legs. It had at least four long sharpish edges. One edge slid underneath me until I had the impression that the ground had become pristine, clean, pure. I suppose it could have been a variety of leaf, but it wasn’t one I’d ever seen before. I rolled onto

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Summer/ Issue 38


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Local Artist Shows Paintings at Catto Gallery

Local artist Anthony J. Parkés’ hyperrealistic still life paintings are to be exhibited at Catto Gallery situated in the beautiful, leafy village of Hampstead. Anthony J. Parké lives in Highgate with a studio in Muswell Hill. His skill lies in his ability to create stunningly detailed oil paintings of fruit and other organic materials, whilst also capturing the extraordinary striations of glass vessels which hold these objects. These paintings can often look like photographs such is the level of detail, and as a result each painting can take on average 60-100 hours to complete. Anthony J. Parkés’ series of oil paintings entitled “Beauty & Preservation” was excepted by Catto after a meeting with the three gallery directors. Regarding his show with Catto,

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Anthony Parké

Parké stated “I am deeply gratified to

in particular their relationship to glass.

have this opportunity; Catto is one of the

Anthony says, “While such incidences of

most prestigious galleries in London and

smashing glass are a thing of the past,

for them to recognise the value of my

glass appears in all my paintings, its

work is a wonderful acknowledgement

meaning now inverted. Now the glass

of the time and effort I’ve put into my art

is reconstructed into an ideal state, as

practice over the years.”

something whole and beautiful. The glass is a metaphorical means of capturing

The stillness and peacefulness of Anthony

and preserving natural beauty, similar to

J. Parkés’ paintings belies a highly

the way the specimen jars at the Natural

disrupted period in his childhood which

History Museum preserve organisms. It’s

continually inform fundamental aspects

as though I’m trying to put back together

of his work.

all the broken pieces of my early childhood, and make something beautiful

Parkés’ love of natural objects began

and whole once more which can never

in his early childhood where he foraged

be lost.”

the overgrown lands of an abandoned railway at the back of the family home.

The main gallery at Catto also has a

There he found his love for all things natu-

lower gallery called Catto Below. Antho-

ral. But in this same period he grew up

ny’s’ exhibition of 18 paintings will take

with a very ill brother. His brother broke all

place there and the show will run from

things related to glass. Parké says, “The

May 11th-31st, 2014. Catto has grown

aquarium was an ideal for the family,

to become one of the finest art galler-

something peaceful and beautiful, and

ies in London; for this reason Anthony is

when my brother exploded it‘s glass

delighted to be on board. he says, “I can

façade, I learnt as an eight year old how

only hope that the exhibition goes well,

ephemeral beauty could be. Within the

that many people attend and get to see

gushing waters I saw an array of fish and

and enjoy my paintings, and that the

shattered glass fuse into an image of

overall response is good.”

beauty and destruction.”  For more information visit www.parkeThese images of beauty beside destruc-

paintings.com. Catto Gallery is situated

tion have haunted Anthony ever since,

on 100 Heath Street, London, NW3 1DP.

www.haringey.gov.uk/equilibrium

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Equilibrium spring issue 52