Li Wei, performance artist, 'Freedegree over 29th Storey'
I discovered Li Wei today- who you should spend at least five minutes familiarising yourself with and asking why and how? - while perusing my very favourite of all Urban Legend Sites: Snopes.com. Ok to be fair, it is the only urban legends site I know, but doesn't that just prove it's the only one worth knowing?
I should post a word of warning here: Snopes can seriously damage the amount of time you spend actually working at your desk. Not for those of us slaving devotedly in the Ministry of course: why, nothing could tear us from the pursuit of cultural excellence. But definitely the rest of you.
Do you ever get emails promising that you'll get free Gap vouchers/£1000 in cash/an Apple Mac if you just pass on the email to ten of your friends? Ever get emails offering you a dead cert way to make money if you'll just cash a cheque or allow someone to deposit money in your account? Appeals for a missing child that you're not sure are legit? Fantastic stories of how if you translate information pertaining to 9/11 into Word into Webdings, it reveals a prophecy about a plane crash conspiracy? If any of these or anything like them apply to you, and actually even if they don't, then Snopes needs to be a regular port of call.
Alternatively, if you, like me, have a passion for urban legends (Ghostly voices on the phone telling you to 'Go and check on the children......'), or all the arbitrary weirdness the web has to offer, then you have to spend some time at Snopes. Oh, and for the Disney fans out there? There's a whole category for you, but start with the article on The Rescuers. What I like best about Snopes is that it even tells you the legends that aren't true - which often yields some fascinating insights, like Who the hell is making this stuff up??? But I guess this is the mystery of the urban legend, they aren't made, they evolve.....
The feedback on the weekend blogs has been an enormous boost in confidence for me, so big thank you's go out to Anthony, Shonagh, Kate and the Chief for being such great cheerleaders when I need them most! As some of you may have noticed, the weekend format for the blog was very different than previous posts have been. I don't want to abandon my previous format for the Daily entirely, however, I may continue to place my own writing experiments on the site from time to time, possibly just at weekends. There is room for all formats, as well as all audiences here at the Heights, so don't worry if you didn't enjoy the difference.
The last two posts were the fruits of a new commitment to write every day, and signs of a deeper commitment that 2007 will be my year of writing - my material, my way (subject to professional edits and the needs of potential publishers - sort of). It's taken me over a year to take the advice of a good friend and a fantastic writer, Miss Lisa Clark: to put my dreams at the centre of everything I do. I have turned down one job this year already to honour my dreams, and I hope I have the courage and commitment to turn down one hundred more, because if I don't, then the dream cannot be what is meant for me.
Success would be wonderful, publication would be fantastic, but before all that, I just want to write, every day, in my own voice, my words. Some of our most loved artists lived their whole lives unrecognised, they were honouring their own dreams for something far bigger than success. They were living out their dreams - and in the words of the great philosopher, Lily Allen, "I know it sounds lame, but it's so true."
So, what news in the world of Culture? It's nearly budget time again for the Ministry, and it's te same story in authorities up and down the country. We have been hit hard before, and those of us who have the choice to (i.e. the ones who just turn up to work every day and run a library, or a museum) are working very hard not to think about that which we cannot control. Meanwhile, those involved in the budgets try very hard to think of new words to say that will convince those in power that it is very hard to keep the libraries and museums open when their budgets keep being hacked at. Keep your fingers crossed.
I'm closing with a special something from Tenacious D, and remember, if you don't love the TD, you don't love the JB. Oh yes.
1. So there I was, an Englishman, sitting in the heart of Germany, drinking cappuchino in an Irish bar!
2. Where there is no vision, the people will perish
3. The trumpet sounds within my soul