Is Empathy only present if you are well and well fed?

Starvation Diet. What is it?

Mmmmmm chocolate, Mmmmmm sandwich, Mmmmmm doughnuts, Mmmmmm beer. Spoilt for choice. Trying to resist. When I resist I put the money in a pot. When the pot is full I send it (the money, not the pot) to somebody who needs it to survive. The art comes about through the documentation of the process, here and in other places. There is no end to this project.

23 Aug 2010

Its a date

Have set the date for my extreme starvation diet for the week starting September 6th. Have been in training, eating porridge for breakfast and weening myself off the honey and raisins, mixed results. Two other kind souls have agreed to join me and take part in the normal starvation diet for the week. Think I'm going to do a video diary each day of the week so watch this space.

Just as an aside was glad to see that Our Lady of Sorrows was getting Pizza to cheer her up. (see Image)

The cupboard was bare

Or was it? So many times I enter my little pantry, look around at the stacked shelves and decide that, no, there is defiantly nothing for tea. Granted there is a proliferation of rice and spice and some cheapo spring rolls that I've decided are unfit for human consumption but it turns out there is enough to create something delicious and nutritious without dashing to the shop again. Lentils, aforementioned spices, the scrappings of a peanut butter pot and some ground up porridge oats are believe it or not (trust me I looked on the internet for inspiration) the ingredients for mini vegi burgers. A tin of tomatoes spices and some cinnamon to make it all a bit Moroccan as a sauce. A few strands of spaghetti and a bit of cheese from the back of the fridge finished it off. Stuffed now and feeling very smug and pleased with myself. Another one in the eye for consumerism. More pennies in the Starvation diet pot.

Crisp hangover

Crisps make me feel ill. The other night we sat down to watch a film. It seemed like the occasion required snacks. My son and I set about the weigh and save pick and mix sweets and a big bag of crisps. Crisps are very salty. That may appear to be stating the obvious but as a once semi regular eater of crisps I hadn't really noticed it. I hadn't noticed the affect they have on my body before. Now I've been avoiding lots of snacks since October I notice changes they provoke more profoundly. Thirst drew me to drink my bedside glass of water before my head even hit the pillow. The following morning I was still dehydrated, poorly belly and a slight fuzzy head. I had a crisp hangover. Crispy hair of the dog anyone?

15 Aug 2010

Get Lost

Getting lost on a bike is great for the fitness levels. It also adds a sense of adventure to my life, which is, quite frankly missing of late. Standing at the cross roads just outside Davenham wondering if I should aim to get to Plumley in 20 minutes to get the train back, go and sample to delights of Lache Dennis or could I make it all the way to Knutsford?. Its the kind of mico exploration I've come to love, exploring the detail of your area rather than getting transport to other places. Along this morning's route there is an organic farm which sells ice cream and has a wonderful view. A riverside ride which at points get a little too close to river for comfort and the ever pretty Whitegate Way. Its all here on the doorstep. Its all part of this mornings adventure. Total ride 17.25 miles, need for lie down and good book, total.

8 Aug 2010

Get a Proper Job

Had some other ideas to post but they have completely gone out of my head. So will post these musings instead. I justify myself constantly. Sometimes in response to challenges from others, sometimes just because its what I do. This role as an artist, which I'm playing at present, isn't seen as a proper job. For a start at the moment it doesn't bring in enough hard cash to support us, secondly it doesn't involve going to a place away from home to work for someone else and there are probably a whole host of other thirds. I see it being useful. I see it being challenging but I still justify. Was also thinking that artists are more commonly involved in experiments where as others feel that they are into presenting conclusions.

6 Aug 2010

Extreme Starvation Diet

Am thinking about doing starvation diet in a more extreme way for a week in September. The plan so far is to eat only rice and porridge for a week and only drink water. To help me in my quest I would really like at least 5 other people to take on the challenge of doing the standard Starvation Diet for that week. This would mean resisting things you don't need to eat, luxury items, snacks, expensive meals out etc and donating the money saved to charity via my Just Giving site of to another starvation related charity of your choice. Reading the book I'm on at the moment has really given me food for thought and made me think about my actions for future generation as well as just thinking across the globe. If anybody wants to join me do let me know by commenting below. If you want to express an opinion on my plan also feel free to comment below. All comment are moderated just to make sure I don't get loads of junk mail comment on here so can take a little while to go on line but will get there eventually.

4 Aug 2010

Starvation Through Time

Am reading a very grizzly but thought provoking book at the moment called "Bread Of Dreams" by Piero Camporesi. It looks at starvation through history in Europe. Heart warming chapter headings include, "The Disease of Wretchedness" and "Sacred and profane Cannibalism." Came across the word Autophagy, which was a new one for me (google it if you wish as a description here would all be too much)and notes of people eating the elderly to secure the lives of the young. It made me think again about our place in history. I've previously wrote about our lucky geographical and historical placing. Lucky to be born in place time in this era. A recent radio program on money was saying that my generation will not have the economic benefits of the baby boomers, those born 1945-50. There will not be the same opportunities to buy cheap houses and see the prices rocket until you sit on a nest egg, there will not be the opportunity to walk into a job for life or expect to retire at 60 on a good pension. What we have just witnessed in the last 50 years may be unique. The boom in food supplies, the mobility due to oil may soon come to a close. Fingers crossed we don't have to ask questions previously asked in the not so distant past like "can we ever eat human flesh without sinning?" or "when should we pile granny on the bonfire?". I know that I am straying into perverted territory here but maybe it is only by virtue of our extreme privileged times that we are able to find these questions so abhorrent and I am finding this book such sickening reading.

As one of the past commentators on this blog noted, extreme poverty can bring with a very different perspective, even maybe a different morality. However I like to remain less pessimistic about our future than the last few paragraphs might indicate. Maybe we in the West will suffer some of the extremes of the past or current other world but it will probably be how we react which will determine the true decline into wretchedness. I was pondering about how it may be the thoughts like "Let them fend for themselves, I'm keeping all this for myself." which are just one step away from drugging Granny up on Hemlock and feeding her to the kids. Both things come from the same pragmatic striving for individual survival. In fact maybe our current morality is more perverted than that because it is not survival we are aiming for it is luxury. We do, however know that we can work beyond that way of thinking, things like empathy exists in the human mind, compassion and love. If we allow these things to prompt us into action for the good of everyone maybe the future will be less bleak. It is with this in mind that I need to look to those less fortunate, either geographically or in terms of the future, galvanise myself and stop slipping off the wagon. To be repelled by the stories from history and in the same breath resign others to chocolate slavery or eat food brought about at the cost to future generations so that I can have more would surely make me a hypocrite.