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Landlocked – Mental Health in the UK and the Prevention of International Travel, Translation and Foreign Language Education

air new zealand

On the Second of April 1997, at the point of my first contact with the Mental Health Act, I had my life’s dreams shattered. On that day, my parents had been persuaded to take me to see a psychiatrist at the local mental hospital, St Cadoc’s in Caerleon. I hadn’t wanted to attend the meeting at all as I didn’t have any health issues. However, I was forced by my family to go. I spoke with a psychiatrist, a social worker and a GP and they told me that I couldn’t leave the hospital and that I had been placed under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983, a piece of UK government legislation that I had never heard of at all and that I knew nothing about. I was given a bit of paper which told me ‘my rights’ all of which are lies. I had to stay in the hospital for 28 days. I said I can’t do that as I am a university student at University College London (UCL) and also have several business commitments in the Music Industry for my DJing where I have a night at the Ministry of Sound arranged. They said that it was necessary for me to be treated (against my consent) and that afterwards I would be free to get on with my life.   I won’t go into the details of what happened to me medically during this time as that is not the subject of this article but eventually I spent between 2 and 3 months locked in Isca Ward, St Cadoc’s, before I was released into the community. The misdiagnosed condition (schizophrenia) which I knew from the start that I didn’t have at all has led to a pursuance by this mental health system of me as an individual for over 22 years. I never got to complete my UCL studies and had my music career as a DJ (Wez G) seriously ruined. The End Of Terror website is a solution that I devised to fight my corner in what is in essence a war between myself and elements of the British State.   At the point of realising on 02.04.97, that I wasn’t going to be able to get away from this hospital I had a serious think of the impact it would have on my life. The immediate work and study could be dealt with…

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Review: Catalonia Since The Spanish Civil War – Reconstructing the Nation – by Andrew Dowling

This book focuses on the study of the important Spanish region of Catalonia in the modern age. Catalonia has a strong claim to being an independent state, dating back to its time as the Kingdom of Aragon. There is a unique Catalan language and the region has a culture of its own, independent to that of the main Castilian Spanish national one. In wake of recent events in Catalonia, that occurred after this book was released, this book becomes ever more important to study in order for us to fully understand the political processes that are now occurring in Catalonia and their causes. Catalonia was a key thorn in the foot of Franco and the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and during the ensuing Franco dictatorship, he never forgot the Catalan betrayal. Inherent to Francoism was oppression of regionalist identities within Spain. Under Franco, Catalanism went underground. There was suppression of the language and I found it strange how the main thrust of survival of Catalanism was to found within the Catholic church, an institution that, in particular, during the Spanish Civil War, encountered a fierce enemy in the Catalan people and experienced one of the most excessive repressions of the church by any area during its history, with many churches burnt and priests killed. Catalan liturgies and church literature ensured the survival of the language and the culture was empowered by Vatican support. Montserrat and its role in society in terms of Catalan national identity became intertwined. In the post-Franco era, there has been a resurgence in Catalanism. A degree of autonomy has been granted and widespread recovery of culture has developed, with Catalan being taught again and used in schools and an alternative centre of power to the central Madrid government has emerged in the Generalitat, its key figure in its foundation being long term president, Jordi Pujol. In the modern age, immigration of initially non-Catalan speakers from other areas of Spain, and then non-Spaniards, has created issues for integration within wider Catalan society. Catalonia is a powerful and wealthy industrial region that gives away about 10% of its GDP to Madrid with no return. Politically it tends to lean towards bourgeois values although working class organisation and unionisation has played an important role. There has been an ongoing rally for votes within Catalan politics between middle-right Nationalists and Socialists / Communists. The book’s epilogue explores the…

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Review: Catalonia Since The Spanish Civil War – Reconstructing the Nation – by Andrew Dowling

catalonia

This book focuses on the study of the important Spanish region of Catalonia in the modern age. Catalonia has a strong claim to being an independent state, dating back to its time as the Kingdom of Aragon. There is a unique Catalan language and the region has a culture of its own, independent to that of the main Castilian Spanish national one. In wake of recent events in Catalonia, that occurred after this book was released, this book becomes ever more important to study in order for us to fully understand the political processes that are now occurring in Catalonia and their causes. Catalonia was a key thorn in the foot of Franco and the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and during the ensuing Franco dictatorship, he never forgot the Catalan betrayal. Inherent to Francoism was oppression of regionalist identities within Spain. Under Franco, Catalanism went underground. There was suppression of the language and I found it strange how the main thrust of survival of Catalanism was to found within the Catholic church, an institution that, in particular, during the Spanish Civil War, encountered a fierce enemy in the Catalan people and experienced one of the most excessive repressions of the church by any area during its history, with many churches burnt and priests killed. Catalan liturgies and church literature ensured the survival of the language and the culture was empowered by Vatican support. Montserrat and its role in society in terms of Catalan national identity became intertwined. In the post-Franco era, there has been a resurgence in Catalanism. A degree of autonomy has been granted and widespread recovery of culture has developed, with Catalan being taught again and used in schools and an alternative centre of power to the central Madrid government has emerged in the Generalitat, its key figure in its foundation being long term president, Jordi Pujol. In the modern age, immigration of initially non-Catalan speakers from other areas of Spain, and then non-Spaniards, has created issues for integration within wider Catalan society. Catalonia is a powerful and wealthy industrial region that gives away about 10% of its GDP to Madrid with no return. Politically it tends to lean towards bourgeois values although working class organisation and unionisation has played an important role. There has been an ongoing rally for votes within Catalan politics between middle-right Nationalists and Socialists / Communists. The book’s epilogue explores the…

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Spain’s Catalan Crisis / Catalonia’s Spanish Crisis – Lecture by Dr Andrew Dowling at Cardiff University, 18.10.17

Che Guevara

In light of recent developments in Catalonia that have grabbed international attentions, this lecture was convened by Cardiff University’s Catalan specialist, Dr Andrew Dowling, in order to enlighten us on the subject. It was recognized that the audience was comprised of people with a mixture of knowledge on Catalonia and its crisis. The lecture was aimed to appeal to the different strands therein, with enough basic knowledge on the background of the situation to allow for understanding of the deeper layers of the composition of this global political event.   Andrew started off by revealing that the turning point and key date in the development of this crisis is the Global Economic crisis of 2008. This had a profound impact on European societies. It affected the internal dynamics of Spain and its semi-federal system. As the independence movement grew, class conflicts declined. The Catalan secession became a major crisis to the Spanish government. Catalonia was the epicenter. There is a profound psychological need to protect one’s own. Identity and the National identity comes to the forefront of people’s thinking. What was the Spanish state and the situation in Catalonia like before 2008? Catalonia in essence was the role model for a successful devolution. It had spent 120 years of consolidating its autonomy. In Spain, in other regions where nationalist separatist thinking had been prevalent, there was calm The Basque country was in a post-violent scenario. However, in the approach to 2008, Catalan society became less content. Challenger political parties began to emerge. In the late 1990s salaries for the middle classes started to stagnate. Throughout Spain there was a new generation of voters and the principal political parties – both Nationalist and Social Democrats, struggled to get the backing of new voters. The Partido Popular (PP), the Spanish Conservatives, reigned in Spain between 1996-2004 and had a policy of increased centralization, thus reducing the power of the regions’ autonomy. The periphery was controlled by the centre and this led to a Catalan existential crisis. There has been political Catalanism since the 1880s. Within the Catalan political class there was a renewal of Catalan politics. Between 2003 and 2006 there was a reform of the Regional government system. There was two sides of the divide: asymmetrical regionalism against increased centralisation. The PP and its allies mobilised against any moves from the regions that might lead to the breakup of Spain. It…

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Review: Chav Punk Hobbit – The Quest to The End Of The World – by Jason Phillips

chav punk hobbit

Jason is a Welsh Musician, and in this short book, he details his most recent Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage experience. He takes the Camino Portugués from Porto, a follow up to his previous encounter with the more traditional, and more widely known and popular, Camino Frances. We find Jason alone in his hotel room in Porto in a dusky predawn, a crazed band post-gig, having departed, and left the protagonist with little money and equipment and a pipe dream to escape yet again on pilgrimage to Santiago. This book is a modern pilgrimage, a journey to self. We are not sharing the voyage of a medieval religious monk, we share our modern chav hobbit’s punk desires. He needs not mass, blood wine and body bread, but wifi, bocadillos and plastic auberge mattresses. Our modern day pilgrim needs not God’s guidance, but is savouring the beauty and tranquility of a rustic, muddy countryside, as his mind ventures into the pilgrim spirit and devours itself in questions of self-exploration. A host of characters is met and through the hero’s transcript of muttered profanities as he describes the lurid animals he meets en route we make friends with a myriad of personalities from dotted around the globe. Most notably, German astronomer-theologian Thomaas and later, Irish reveller and journeyman Eoin. Interspersed with Spanish natives and kind Portuguese innkeepers and waiters, our bubbly hero sounds off his thoughts and shares in the rich tapestry of life of his fellow men, all the time progressing his own mind’s journey and in a self-revelatory manner, touching our soul with more profound deeper and wise philosophy. Jason loves his woman in Wales. He never quite transcends and escapes his homeland of Wales. From the murky sacred Ulla river reminding him of his hometown, Newport, to thinking of his absent grandfather having disappeared to Australia on his journey’s End, nostalgia is always a containing force to Jason, preventing him from moving on and getting the success and desires he so craves from life. Is it money he seeks? He answers and affirmative no and sees it as a means to an end in life’s great journey. He does seek Broadband and Wifi, yet after we lose communications and move out of the realm of technological contact with the outside world, our hero is not lost but finds himself again and can let his hair down properly in…

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Account For The Nationalist Victory In The Spanish Civil War

franco

The Spanish Civil War lasted for three years from 1936 to 1939 and was ultimately won by the Nationalists. This victory was far from certain at various points of the conflict and this essay shall explore the many factors that actually contributed to the ultimate outcome and that which paved the way for almost 4 decades of the authoritarian Franco régime in Spain. The single most important factor, in my opinion, which led to the Nationalist victory in the Civil War, was the international support that was offered to Franco’s troops. The Republican side became an international pariah, with only Russia substantially offering support, yet on the Nationalist side a coalition of Axis dictators paved the way for Franco with both Hitler and Mussolini readily providing matériel. ‘International participation and the ideological zeal which surrounded both sides conferred upon the war the character of a crusade.’ (Romero Salvadó 1999:94) Indeed, the whole military uprising, in the first place, couldn’t have succeeded without the Germans successfully transporting Franco’s Army of Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar. ‘Reinforcements were needed urgently on the mainland and, since the rising in the fleet had failed, aeroplanes were essential to carry the Army of Africa to Spain.’ (Beevor 2006:71) They were stranded and the whole pronuncamiento might have failed completely had Hitler’s Luftwaffe never intervened. Franco’s army provided the most crucial backbone for the Nationalist army. ‘In any case, the decisive factor in the power stakes was Franco’s control of the 47,000 well-armed and well-trained men of the Moroccan Army. The battle-hardened colonial army, consisting of the professionals of the Spanish Foreign Legion and Arab mercenaries of the Regulares Indígenas (native regulars), was to be the cornerstone of Nationalist success. (Preston 1996:83) The Arab mercenaries went on to strike terror into all they came across, in particular the civilian populations who they brutalised. Indeed the use of terror was about three times more prevalent in the Nationalist Zone. Despite the presence of the backbone of the Catholic Church in Nationalist Spain, discipline was strict. This was a military area and reprisals for the enemy were widespread and brutal. ‘Although figures are very unreliable and open to controversy about 55 000 Rightists were murdered, mostly in the first months of war, for over 200 000 leftists.’ (Romero Salvadó 1999:113) The theatre of Spain was a testing ground for new military tactics and equipment. We saw firsts…

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