Catrina Davies. Homesick: Why I live in a shed

February 27, 2022 at 8:32 am | Posted in capitalism, Catrina Davies, Common Good, Democracy, Inequality - Australia, sustainable living | 2 Comments
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Did you know that the average life expectancy of a homeless woman in Britain is forty three? The author of this profound and lyrical book considers herself lucky because she is not one of them, or not yet, because she’s free, not one of the 28 million refugees and asylum seekers ‘hoping for sanctuary in hostile countries like mine’ and she isn’t one of the ’65 million forced out of their home by war or famine or persecution.’ (p. 30)

…if food prices had risen as fast as house prices in the last two decades, a chicken would cost £51 (or in London £100).

Teetering on the brink of homelessness herself, Davies explains how she came to camp and later put down roots in the long-disused old shed where her dad used to work.

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Reinventing our lives: surviving with the help of literature

December 28, 2019 at 6:11 am | Posted in Andrea Goldsmith, Australia behind, Bookshops, capitalism, Charlotte Wood, creativity, depression, Inequality - Australia, mental illness, optimism, value of the arts, writers' health | Leave a comment
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When I was in Dublin in September I bought some wonderful books. A favourite is the intriguing, personal and beautifully written Hidden City: Adventures and explorations in Dublin by Karl Whitney (Penguin, 2014). (I’ve lent it and others to friends and can’t take a photo of its cover or some other favourites at the moment!)

Stitched Up: The anti-capitalist book of fashion (Pluto Press, London, 2014) is a compelling account of how the fashion industry exploits and damages both the environment and individuals. Tansy E. Hoskins’ exposé was an eye-watering shock to me on both counts.

I had no idea about the toxic chemicals involved in high-fashion clothes production, or how, for instance, models are sometimes treated as they are in the pornography industry – dispensable and beneath contempt.

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Optimism in a world of degradation

April 22, 2018 at 2:24 am | Posted in cooperatives, Inequality - Australia, optimism | 5 Comments
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Quality control

I’ve been writing some brief biographies for an organisation and before I interviewed some of these high achievers, I wanted to note down some basic facts about them. So I nipped up to my local library, chained my bike and went inside to the Reference Section for Who’s Who. They’ve rearranged the library and now there’s a vast empty space in the centre. I walked all around the book shelves on the perimeter and couldn’t find where they’d moved the Reference books.

When I asked a library assistant, a willowy girl with wispy chestnut hair, she said, ‘We’re trying to get people to look up stuff online. We’re phasing out Reference books.’

After I picked up my jaw from the floor I managed to voice my horrified amazement at this retrograde step.

‘You’re welcome to express your opinion in writing,’ she said.

*          *          *

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