Friday, October 27, 2006

Farewell, Young Man

Chris has gone home.

Chris has been around Oxford for the past couple of years, and over that time he has been a source of amusement to pretty much all who've had the good fortune to be in his sphere of influence. He remains a man of great humour/humor, an admirable depth of honesty and feeling, height, and for a man of such youth, a level of insight that frightens me sometimes.

For those of us in hOME, the tall Canadian will be greatly missed, although it is assumed that he will get his lanky ass back to blighty for Greenbelt '07.

Farewell, you young, good and faithful servant.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dutch Designs

Last Friday I visited the Dan Perjovschi exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum modern art museum in Eindhoven. The exhibition is a series of quickly drawn cartoons that surround the staircase that links the first and lower floors. The cartoons are rough but to the point.

My favourite cartoon is a picture of a house crammed full of stuff (car, bike, TV, whatever). There is a man with a knapsack at the door, and the owner of the house declares 'Sorry, we're full'.

If you do a google search on the images for Dan Perjovschi you can see plenty more of his cartoons.

I followed that up by visiting s'-Hortogenbosch, where the local delicacy is the Bosch Bol, a softball sized pastry covered in chocolate and filled with sweet cream. Two of those in an hour will wire you up for the week. As well as make your heart skip.

The Saturday was spent at Interieur, in Belgium. I went with my lovely hostess, Rebekah, and her colleagues Stephan (the straight one with a desire to find the perfect hinge), and Jasper (the enthusiastic one). Interieur is a massive architectural design fair that features lots of very chic northern europeans and lots of very chic european design outfits. When it came to the Smeg stall, the very chic fridge contained beer. For the less than chic kiwi, this was reassuring. My three guides made for a very entertaining and informative afternoon. It was always very reassuring when the three agreed with me about style. I have more style than I give myself credit for...

There's a lot to like about Holland. Particularly the beer, the town centres, and the lovely lovely Dutch women. Oh yes, we like them a lot.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stop the Demand

A week or so ago I got the following email from a friend in NZ. Last night at hOME, with the accompaniment of current favourite, Michael Franti, we acted on Sarah's request.

What language are your fears?
What language are your tears?

-Michael Franti

Hi there,
One issue that is guaranteed to make me weep is vulnerable people being trafficked to meet the demand for the purchase of sex.
The Salvation Army has instigated a global weekend of Prayer and Fasting for sex trafficking victims, due to take place this coming weekend (Friday 29 Sept to Sunday 1 Oct).I thought that you might be interested to read Stop Demand's statement in support.

Love to you all,
Sarah O'Brien
Statement to International Listserves
Stop Demand Foundation, New Zealand
September 28, 2006

Sex trafficking fuelled by male demand – Salvation Army's Prayer and Fasting Weekend

This weekend's Prayer and Fasting for victims of sex trafficking, organised by the Salvation Army throughout many parts of the world, is a praiseworthy proactive response to an unacceptable global scourge. Trafficking, mostly of young women and children for the global sex trade, is the third largest international criminal activity and a multi-billion dollar industry.

While traffickers are frequently portrayed as "evil", unscrupulous, and brutal, we are reminded that they are only intermediaries. Traffickers' lucrative earnings are made possible only through the huge global demand from sex-buying men who seek a 'smorgasbord' of mostly-female bodies of varying ages, ethnicities, and physical characteristics, to fulfil their various wants and fantasies.

Sex trafficking is preventable. It would end tomorrow, if male demand for paid sex stopped today. If there were no demand, there would be no supply. Traffickers would simply move on to another marketable commodity.

Throughout this weekend's remembrance of sex trafficking victims, let us also challenge the behaviour, attitudes and beliefs of the millions of sex-buying men who fuel sex trafficking.

Until we see a decrease in demand, sex trafficking will continue unabated.

Denise Ritchie
Stop Demand Foundation, New Zealand