Tagged: Celebrations

Celebrating Grow Heathrow’s 3rd birthday!

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Last Saturday, I headed off to Sipson to wish the wonderful Grow Heathrow project a very happy third birthday. Although they have the possibility of a legal judgement looming over them that could – sadly – lead to their eviction from this fantastic site, they still know how to throw a great birthday party – and I hope they have many more!

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Reclaim Love 2013: Release the Peace

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It’s hard to believe that this year’s Reclaim Love was the tenth of these annual events in London. My first was in 2010, and that seems like a mere five minutes ago… (you can find photos from previous Reclaim Love events here, here and here).

After last year’s downpour, the weather gods were kind to us – and old friends came from near and far to celebrate ten years of bringing peace and love to the streets of London. Here’s a few pics from Saturday’s gathering at Piccadilly Circus…

May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…

Reclaim Love 2012

It’s February, which means it’s Reclaim Love time again. With my camera in tow, and despite the pouring rain in London yesterday, I headed off to Piccadilly Circus in order to bring you a taste of this annual pavement party, which is dedicated to bringing real love back to the whole world.

You can see some of my photos from previous Reclaim Love events here and here.

May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…

Reclaim Love 2011

Readers with long memories will recall the fun I had at the Reclaim Love pavement party in 2010. You won’t be surprised to hear, then, that I had to return for more hugs, drumming, music and dancing in central London at the eighth of these enjoyable gatherings, held last weekend on a beautiful and surprisingly warm winter’s day. Here’s a few photos of the fun and games:

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The Longest Day: Summer Solstice

Today, as far as I’m concerned, is the first day of summer. By some reckonings, that technically occurred last month, but, for me, as for many others, summer only really begins with the solstice, an event which is widely celebrated on June 21st throughout most of the northern hemisphere (conversely, the winter solstice is being celebrated in the southern hemisphere today).

But what exactly is the solstice? It’s actually a lot more complex than the familiar image of convoys of hippies and druids gathering at Stonehenge to watch the first light of dawn break through the stones of this ancient monument – although this is probably the most well-known (and – at times – controversial) incarnation of such ancient solstice celebrations here in Britain.

We’ll start with the science (and if I’ve got this wrong, let me know!).

Astronomically speaking, the summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its maximum elevation in the sky and the day is at its longest. This happens because the rotation of the earth’s axis has tilted the northern hemisphere closest to the sun, and it will now begin to gradually shift back – resulting in the slow shortening of the amount of daylight in a 24 hour period as summer makes its slow and stately progression towards autumn and winter.

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Reclaim Love 7, or (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?

“If peace on earth was declared today, what would you have to do to keep it that way?”

On Saturday 13th February, a group of like-minded people gathered under the statue of Eros in London’s Piccadilly Circus to dance and drum and eat and hug and celebrate the idea of universal love and peace (photos below). Reclaim Love, the organisers of this, the seventh of these annual ‘pavement parties’, printed up flyers explaining why it was both important and necessary:

“We have called this gathering in response to the fear and confusion in the World at this time. We have decided to send LOVE and HEALING to all the Beings in all the Worlds in an effort to restore peace and harmony throughout infinity”

Now, I am aware that my approval of all that makes the usual cynical lefty me sound like a sad old hippy who has taken too much LSD in her time (um, actually…) and probably says ‘groovy’ far too often for her own good (guilty as charged), but I like the idea of universal love and peace.

In this damaged world where everything has become a commodity, love and peace have become rare and precious artefacts while so many people are suffering because of hatred and war.

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Twelfth Night, or What You Will

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die. —

That strain again; it had a dying fall:

O, it came oer my ear, like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing, and giving odour! Enough! No more.

‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before”

– Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night: Act One, Scene One

Without doubt, those are some of the most famous opening lines in the history of English literature. You may recognise them from your school days; from studying Shakespeare in English classes. Twelfth Night is easily my favourite of all the Bard’s plays; it is fun, subversive and full of mistaken identities, game-playing with gender (and thus, to a modern eye, sexualities too), and out-and-out Shakespearean farce.

Far beyond the ‘boring Shakespeare’ many of us encountered at school, methinks…

Written sometime around the turn of the 16th century (dating Shakespeare’s plays is not an exact science), and probably first performed in 1602 at London’s Middle Temple Hall in the Inns of Court as part of that year’s Christmas festivities, the plot of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night vividly echoes the riotous reversals and noisy fun of the real life medieval Twelfth Night holiday celebrations – in fact, it was written to be (and often still is) performed as part of these Twelfth Night celebrations

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