BELK: A Ballad of Reading in Gaol (full version of essay published in Scottish Review of Books)

A Ballad of Reading in Gaol

(Full version of Scottish Review of Books Essay.)

By Martin Belk

A young woman hangs back after my writing seminar at the new City of Glasgow College with a question: “What’s it like, ya’ know, in there?” For a second, I’m thrown, forgetting that in the preceding class I’d alluded several times to my prison writing workshops. Before I could respond, huge, heavy tears welled up and fell from her eyes, falling down to her denim jeans. She didn’t say anything more, she didn’t need to – she has a loved one on the ‘inside’. I didn’t quite know what to tell her: a ‘modern place of rehabilitation’, to reassure her, or, a ‘bona-fide prison’, to confirm and confront her worst fears? Neither is entirely true, there are problems in the narrative.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: AND NOW … REALITY

The UK election is over. The bombast is past. Now, not only Britain, but most of the world is facing a future that will become ever more difficult even in the richer countries, and catastrophic in the poorer. While politicians, most of whom are profoundly ignorant about the realities of the world and the period they live in, will will continue to make statements about ‘recovery’, ‘back to propserity’, etc. — thinking people and the few public voices that are honest as well as aware will have to come to terms with the single choice that lies before us: either accept a long regime of austerity, that will include rationing of the essential things we need to live, or, sink into a new dark age where hunger, thirst, famine, anarchy and tribal warfare will be the norm. read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – WE’RE FALLING APART: IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT

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I, for one, am very fatigued to keep hearing about the sad state of Western economies, particularly in the US and UK. Frankly, ‘SHUT UP ALREADY’, is my current sentiment. Every single bit of this so-called financial crisis is your fault, our fault, and now it’s high time to take action or just lie down and take it.

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ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – WHITE PAPERS and NET PIRACY: PACK OF WHITE LIES…

Tomorrow, the UK government is set to release a ‘white paper’ on piracy over the internet. The assertion is that internet piracy is costing thousands of jobs, and threatening the film, radio and TV industries, as well as life in the free West as we know it today. BULL.

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ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Monday Man: CALLING ALL INDEPENDENTS

The absence of any confidence or even belief in the probity or competence of those who have been elected to govern, either on a national or regional level, is now so universal that the question must be asked: Why are so few people standing up to challenge those in power, who it is obvious are interested in little other than feathering their nests and getting re-elected until it is time to retire? read more —>

ONE blogs – MARTIN BELK – THE FIGHT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR

Once, when I was younger, back around 1979, I was sitting in Mrs Bland’s classroom beside my friend at the time Jay Hull. Jay and I’d been spending our morning lying about all the girls we’d done and were gonna do and had been told we could do (there was time for some of that, back then).

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