Good Lad Initiative joined the March4Women on Sunday March 4th! We started walking from Westminster, London, UK.
We marched for gender equality along with thousands of other women, men, children and pets. We marched from the Houses of Parliament over to Trafalgar Square, following the historic march of the Suffragettes.
Under Nelson’s column in the Square, speeches, music and celebrations were held to commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK.
The Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, spoke inspirational words to the crowd on the very spot where her great-grandmother made her history-changing speech.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, proudly said “I am a feminist” and reiterated his commitment to making London equal for all.
Annie Lennox televised her message to the Square from giant screens. So many musicians, celebrities, comediennes gave their time to speak and entertain. It was a truly inspirational atmosphere and a fantastic feeling to be there!
What is the Good Lad Initiative? GLI runs workshops with trained facilitators in all-male school classrooms, for pupils aged 12-18. The workshops address issues of gender equality and masculinity. We encourage young men to talk openly using the media of role playing, games and exercises.
to you and yours for the holidays!
– from Ben
Although I’m American, by birth and by blood, I’m also something else too: my mother was English.
I recently applied for a British passport – and was approved! Joint citizenship for Americans is now allowed, so I can carry both. It means, in a few weeks, a second passport will be winging it’s way to me. I’ll be the bearer of not one passport, but two!
How did this happen? After filling in many forms and providing much data to show 1) I am me, and 2) I am related to my mother, I was granted approval to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen. Yesterday, I attended the all-important naturalisation ceremony to receive a shiny new paper, confirming the same.
It was a lovely event, with a prominent citizen from my locality addressing and welcoming us all, cups of tea and biscuits afterwards, and a view over a verdant park. A quiet day to reflect.
Has this changed me at all? In a bureaucratic sense, possibly. Both halves of me are now recognised by relevant bureaucratic powers.
And yet fundamentally, there is no change. I am who I am, one man from two sides of a very large pond. I savour cool Jack Daniels as deeply as a room-temperature Glenmorangie. I drift away to Hotel California as effortlessly as I do to Stairway to Heaven. And I enjoy Hemingway and Proulx, as much as I admire Austen and Conan Doyle.
These halves of me – they’ve been here all along.
Receiving my British Citizenship Certificate from Lady Arnold
ODE TO A WREN
A graveyard squats beyond a wall
Where they bury dreams with rocks.
As child, as adult, those dreams once called
And on those caskets knocked.
Each year a thinning wail would stray
From walls bulged thicker, taller.
Each day my prayers, more distant, play
In silence to the caller.
Until that sleety autumn noon
When quiet cloaked my pleadings,
As thorns and claws and hooks of Moon,
Tore love from spirit’s bleedings.
Now death puffs its heartless chest
On bones through broken soil,
A waxen, tuxedoed dinner guest
Slurps grinning at the spoil.
Time tried but failed to fix
My endless melancholy,
A constant acid reflux mix
A three-legged border collie.
Okay, so the dog makes zero sense,
I bet you can’t do better,
Onward then with the suspense,
As I struggle with every letter.
One day the calendar did turn,
And a wren, of fluffy breast,
Who’d dined on creepy-crawly things, and a worm
Flew by to build a nest.
The graveyard scared the birdy so,
It jettisoned its eating.
A deluge white as driven snow
Spattered barren soil in greeting.
And in that spattering, a seed was sown
It germinated quickly.
Then roots and trunk and branch were grown.
The plant grew tall, and thickly.
It burst the walls, it let in light,
The voice of hope returned.
The dreams with their attendant might,
Bore fruit in all I’d yearned.
Now love has settled where all was lost,
I’m no longer a complainer,
Remember—whatever the cost—
Keep hold of hope. That’s a no-brainer.
The moral of this poetic crime,
Strained from slurry, compost, grit?
No one’s more certain than I’m
That good can come from s**t.
A Valentine’s Day Poem…from Ben to you.
(Ode to a Wren, Ben Starling, 2016)
Happy…Lunar Year of the Chicken!
Hurrah, we all get another chance to make our new year’s resolutions!
Have you made yours yet? I have. Mostly about fitness and getting a new book ready for release. I’ve made it to yoga class three weeks in a row and am busy editing away. I’m on my way!
What are your new year’s re-resolutions?
What plans have you made?
All the best wishes for a new wonderful year from,