“Like writing a plan to harness the passion and energy of Hitler’s stormtroopers, converting their mass movement into one based on love and green principles, it’s hard to see it as anything but a most dangerous, delusional utopia.”
Read my response on Medium to Paul Kingsnorth’s call for a green nationalism.
“You can take away the passing fashions, retro facial hair shapes, beer cans curled up in beards, you can take that all away, let cutesters and norm-core and wave after wave of trends come faster and faster. Let it all come and go. Beneath it all; we’ll still feel a structural cultural emptiness. We’ll still crave authenticity.”
My latest article, “Howl of a Reluctant Hipster” is available on Medium
Neste Dia das Letras Galegas estivemos na rua a recolher as palavras da gente. Depois, redigim um poema com todos os contributos. O poema é realmente do povo. O desafio do dia era fomentar a participaçom e criarmos um poema; no projecto assembleario espertamonforte! o desafio é fomentar a participaçom e criarmos um futuro. O primeiro foi um sucesso; o segundo, depende de Monforte.
Mais o próprio poema nom podia ser de carácter político, tinha de ser universal, de todos, por todos e para todos. Portanto, evitei empregar as poucas referências à política que forom propostas polos monfortinos: alguém escreveu que “a Monforte falta-lhe umha piscina pública” e, mesmo se em espertamonforte! concordamos com esta ideia, nom a utilizei.
My latest article on why I speak Galizan and why I use the word Galiza has now been translated and published, in Galizan. Readers of Galizan or Portuguese can take a stab at it here in…
I bought this land without words. Witlessly I negotiated down the price of a house and land in a country I’d never heard of. I thought I was in Spain but Spain is an English word. I’d learned España from a book but España is a word for people who believe in España. I get ahead of myself. I, wielding the few Spanish short course words I had, stood before him speechless; my partner beside me with fewer words than I. The numbers I understood: quince mil, fifteen thousand, but he saw our doubt. With a faceful of weary wrinkles he blurted trece mil, thirteen thousand. He had some shrewdness to him. He’d allowed us to camp over on the land for a long weekend, clear our own paths in its wordless wildness and fall completely in love with it. And now he wanted us to buy it. Thirteen thousand euros is a good price. I didn’t know what to say. I stuttered and looked at Andru who shrugged. Sure; we’d probably take it for thirteen thousand. We probably would have taken it for fifteen; we were just nervous about committing there and then. I looked into the void for words; there was nothing. My tongue had been torn out; my mouth, hollow. The tools I was raised with to communicate were useless. This wrinkled, weary anarchist ready to be rid of the land panicked: doce mil, he said. Twelve thousand. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. He wrung his hands nervously and then, after a wordless pause, raised both of his hands, fingers splayed— each finger representing a thousand euros: diez mil. Ten thousand.
Shocked, we shook on it.
Continue reading In Galiza.
“Nothing is less sensational than pestilence, and by reason of their very duration great misfortunes are monotonous. In the memories of those who lived through them, the grim days of plague do not stand out like livid flames, ravenous and inextinguishable, beaconing a troubled sky, but rather like the slow, deliberate progress of some monstrous thing crushing out all upon its path.” Albert Camus
A small official sheet of paper tacked to the market door announced his death. We would have completely ignored it like we ignore other births and deaths flowing around us but for one word caught in the corner of the eye: Barxa.
The market door provides news for this small rural town and all the hill hamlets that swirl around it. Our raggedy half-wild farm is one such satellite.
This was a death we had to investigate—we knew of this man. Our farm lies on a broken road falling away from a remote village. Beyond it is a foot-path to the broad river Sil and a crumbling abandoned village. This man was the last resident of that village, Barxa. With him goes its memories, stories and secrets. This was reason enough to investigate the death: to try and collect those words before they scattered into the wind and the river. As for the cause of death, we suspected plague. Not black death, nor bubonic nor pulmonary plague, but an unrelenting invisible pox devastating Galiza, the country we live in. And so my partner and I packed our bag for the journey. Continue reading Barxa: Death in the Countryside
Ours is the story of two young London men who fell in love and decided to return to nature. We wanted to feel the seasons on our skin and to work and live in such a way that the hard grey lines between us and nature dissolved. We wanted to be self-sufficient, to grow all our own food and build our own house. We wanted to leave the city for the wilds.
Inside us, even in the metalscape of the city where seasons signify passing fashions, in our bodies’ dormancy, is a yearning. For some it sleeps, in others it stirs and kicks and for a few it pounds. We want to know that adventure and exploration still exists and that we ourselves might actually be able to do some of it. We need to feel that this drab world of ikea, i-pads, and immigration detention centres has not destroyed every last hiding place of nature and that we have not completely driven the wilds off the planet. We seek it out where the ecologies are thickest: teeming with layers of beasts, plants and spores. As humans we seek out the wild in the bleakest lands where fragile ecological networks scurry away from the burning sun or freezing wind. Continue reading Chasing the Wild
Andru and I hear of a death very near us and trek off to an abandoned village. Barxa* is the story of our trip, the story of a dying countryside and a call to action.
“Barxa” is published in the Spring edition** of STIR, a wonderful magazine that features articles and interviews on the international co-operative movement, the emergence of the commons and collaborative networks, and other community-orientated alternatives in technology, agriculture, food, sports, energy, education, etc.
Illustration by German Gullion
*The x in Barxa, in Galizan, is pronounced with a sh sound.
**25% off on pre-orders
Andru and I left London to live in the countryside, to try and grow all of our own food, to seek the wild, but chasing the wild, it eludes us. My first article is about the beginnings of our journey, the search for the wild and what the chasing wild might really mean.
“Chasing the Wild” is published in Earthlines Magazine Issue 8 (March 2014) in a special feature on ‘Men and Nature’ guest edited by my friend, Alex Lockwood. You can order a print or digital copy of this issue of Earthlines here