Well, it's been a busy, and reasonably productive, if rather mixed-up week.
Yesterday, we (ISM Bristol) had a couple of activists talking at the local Palestine Solidarity meeting; they were from two groups of Middle Eastern activists touring Europe under the title of "Marhaba Europe", coming from a collective in Spain called Escanda.
(Marhaba means "Hello" in Arabic). Each tour group includes (or is intended to include) a Palestinian activist, an Israeli dissident, a Lebanese activist and a European activist working in the Middle East. We just had two last night; the Lebanese person had visa problems, and Heidi, an ISMer from Germany, was exhausted. They've been touring for a couple of months, just a couple of days in each place. Planning to go on till Easter.
So, we had Saif, a Palestinian ISM co-ordinator who splits his time between Balata refugee camp near Nablus in the West Bank, where he's from, and Spain, where he has residency; I know him from my trip to Palestine earlier in the year; and Itay, an Israeli "refuser", that is who refused military service in Israel, as he did not want to be part of an oppressive occupation of the Palestinian territories.( on the meeting itself )( Of mice and men )
After the meeting, and some food, I had the honour of playing host to Saif and Itay for the night before they went on to their next stop in Birmingham. And guess what they wanted to do when they got back to my humble abode?
Watch Buffy videos! Yay! Saif had only seen up to the end of S3, and Itay had also seen S7 but missed much of the intervening; so we stayed up watching the first four episodes of S4. Saif was staying in the front room, so I think he might have carried on after I went to bed.
It reminded me how much I really want to go back there. Easter. Or summer. Will have to go ahead with that name change. I have decided on Alfred Bickersteth by the way.
This week I'll have had stuff on every evening; Wednesday and Thursday I've already described. Monday evening a group of us met to set up a local Campaign Against Arms Trade group; six of us, all up for doing stuff, which is a darned good start. Looking forward to a launch in the new year, Jan/Feb probably. Tuesday was choir practice (the UWE Singers). Tonight is the dress rehearsal for our concert, which is tomorrow evening at 7.30pm in Bristol Cathedral. We are singing the Bernstein Chichester Psalms
which are quite wierd but quite gorgeous too, and Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande
which is very swingy and boppy. The orchestra are playing, amongst other things, a Rachmaninov Piano Concerto.
I joined the choir just this term, first time I've been in a choir for several years, and the previous one, which I was in maybe 2.5 years, was my first. I have a reasonable voice, but my sight-singing is poor, and I need a lot of practice. I think I am just about there with these pages, though there are still a couple of dodgy entries. Should be OK. The choir as a whole seems to be coming along nicely with the pieces, though even I am not the weakest link. (When some other people in the bass section want to stand next to me - Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.)
On which (possibly slightly flat or mistimed) note, I had better be off home and then onto the cathedral.