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The Art and the Artifice of a Borg Culture

The Borg have returned…!

BESS'S ART JOURNAL: Through the eyes of a street photographer

Sleeping Coffee Shop Big in this case is definitely beautiful. Best viewed on a screen larger than the size of a postage stamp.

What looks great on a big screen doesn’t necessarily translate so well to the tiny screens that we have become accustomed to in the ever evolving, technology dependent procession of our daily lives. My concern is that this increasing dependency on handheld devices will indefatigably change the nature of art completely.
Photography in particular has become a huge industry. Once the pursuit of specialists and ambitious amateurs, it is now accessible to almost everyone with a portable device. It has reached this zenith of cultural importance and success mainly because unlike it’s classical twin still knee deep in tangible pigment based mediums and physical tools of application, it jumped on the technological bandwagon and became digital, thus feeding the insatiable hunger that we have all been brainwashed into believing we…

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Borg Lady Pink

Borg Lady


What have I got to complain about?
I have a roof over my head,
Food on my table,
Change in my pocket,
A man who loves me,
And three wonderful children.
My life is perfect.

“Carriage seven of eight…”
Next station: Somewhere Else.
Even the Borg Lady in all her
Computerised wisdom knows
That this journey is reaching completion,
That I will depart at the penultimate stop,
Taking with me only that which I came with.
“Please do not leave your baggage unattended…”
Nobody wants to deal with potentially explosive baggage.
Nobody wants to be delayed or harmed by your carelessness,
Or your efforts to remain composed,
And aware of the rules upon rules,
Conditions upon damnable conditions,
That numb the brain and slacken the responses.
Be alert! “Report any suspicious items…”
I can’t, can’t you see?
I have been broken by your rules,
Your selfish regulations that dictate
The shape and nature of my path,
Forced into a rigid grin, braced by tracks vying to perfect and correct,
And inform others of my highly polished,
Gleaming white integrity.

“Mobile communications must be kept to a minimum”,
Interesting turn of phrase when we are all
In motion, trying to keep ourselves to ourselves
As the Borg Lady suggests we ought to.
Like particles randomly dancing in a fit of Brownian Motion,
Clashes will happen, collisions occur,
Interactions necessary.
Exchanging of baggage inevitable,
Sharing of bodily expulsions obligatory,
Desired yet abhorrent,
The margins invisible,
Mutable and vague.
Carnal deviancy sanitised by self-imposed order.
Physical closeness tempered by emotional distance.

But what have I got to complain about, really?
‘Keep your feet off the seats’ says the sign.
‘Give priority to those who need it…’
More than you, more than me, you mean?
Be noble and selfless, despite the army of feet
That have been wiped upon my seats on an endless train journey
A thousand carriages long,
Over countless miles scored deep into the earth,
With nothing but the blurring of existence,
To stimulate your senses,
As time and space is swallowed whole,
By an unseen fossilised maw.

“Get your feet off my seat.
Stop telling me where to get off,
Don’t tell me how or where I should sit.”
That’s what I feel like telling the Borg Lady,
But she, like my life, is infallibly perfect.
She will never complain because she is
Programmed that way.
The assimilation happened at birth;
And at the final stretch of my journey,
I see the map of my own life,
With its colourful but rigid lines,
Intersecting and conflicting across
The sprawl of my own urban, mundane landscape,
Scarified and stained with the fingerprints of a passing himanity.
Defined and signed by the unmistakable hand of assimilated,
Mechanical, objectified insanity.

“I, One of One am not Borg…”

As I reach my stop,
I glance back at my seat,
My resting place on the journey behind me,
Catching a glimpse of my future.
And I see nothing.
I have all I need.
I did what I was told,
And my life is perfect.

Lucy (2014) in the Sky with F***ING BRAIN DAMAGE!

This made me laugh a lot. :)

This Blog Intentionally Blank

This will be a short post (rant). I was flying to the UK in either December or February, when I was met by a promising movie, Lucy (2014) starring the great wooden cigar-store Indian actress Scarlett Johansson. I was a bit excited, as it promised to be Sci-fi, looked bad, and I’d heard nothing of it. Sadly, I couldn’t enjoy the biting cynicism of superiority that usually marks my watching poorly written Sci-fi. In fact, despite having Morgan Freeman playing Easy Reader a leading scientist on brain science, the movie crashed for me in the opening minutes. It was the premise, you see.

For Lucy, the entire movie revolved around the “FACT” that humans use only 10% of our brains. What would happen, it speculates, if we actually used 100%? What would that do to our dear, sweet mannequin Lucy?

Well, she’d not be as dumb as monkey shit, for…

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Maria meets Stan

Post Abuse 101 – Things that bug me.

It’s funny how a lifetime of abuse can shape your outlook on life. The pattern of abuse is always the same however, because it is based upon the dynamic of Enforcer and Enabler. It is a relationship that never has any middle ground. Both roles are motivated by fear, which promotes a need to either control or be controlled. Being both aggressor and victim are active choices based on fundamental premises of survival. The underlying premise being: If I do not do this, then so and so will happen, either to me, or because of me. It is a weighing up of options that have very specific and limited outcomes, but that are essentially about preservation of self. However, it still takes both parties to perpetuate the relationship. It is an active choice for both, and as such, an unspoken agreement between the two. What makes this statement especially controversial is that no-one wants to admit that this is the case, except the irony therein is that this is why abuse exists at all.
Often however, victims of abuse will continue that dynamic within their own minds long after the act of abuse was committed. Victimhood is a mindset that is perpetuated by the individual belief in the need to survive. It becomes habitual. It becomes a character trait, and a way of life. It is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however, it is still a form of self-abuse, or self-harm. Being concerned about survival promotes defensive behaviour, even when there is nothing to fight anymore. The victim becomes the abuser, because in being defensive others are targeted as would-be aggressors, even if they aren’t assuming that role, even if in fact they are being supportive and nurturing.

Most abusers were or are victims, they are one and the same person. And the hardest thing to do for either is to admit full accountability for their choices and actions, due to a sense of insecurity. The damage happens because they are both afraid and angry, and incapable of assuming personal responsibility, based on the belief that “It is them, not me, and there is nothing I can do about it”.
Both roles are akin to dealing with a caged wild animal who is only concerned with finding an opportunity or a route of escape. Whether in that moment, or in eventuality. Defensiveness is an attempt on the part of the individual to resolve current circumstances, however resolution only comes  from admitting personal accountability. If you are ok with the world, the world will be ok with you.

Abuse makes hypocrites of us all. It also inspires a peculiar sense of humour. We all have our coping strategies. So here are a few things that really bug me about the Abuser/Victim paradigm, and some useful tips:

1. The act of saying sorry: Saying “sorry” is an act of submission not equality. It resolves nothing, and it is a an acknowledgment that harm has already been done, and that it may already be too late to fix things. Saying sorry gives people permission to act irresponsibly, repeatedly. It is a ‘Get out of jail free’ card.

Better still, don’t do things you are going to regret. Mean what you do and mean what you say. Find ways of channeling your resentment in creative ways that are unlikely to harm others. Saying sorry absolves nothing. If you are going to bash somebody over the head, then be responsible enough to admit that you thought it was a good idea when you did it, and that at that moment you were aware of the possible consequences, but chose to throw caution to the wind anyway. Be bold enough to admit that you are capable of being abusive, even towards those you love and respect.

Saying sorry does not foster trust, I’m sorry but it doesn’t.

2. Projection: People who criticise others for doing exactly what they themselves do. Don’t be a fucking hypocrite! Have the balls to take responsibility for your own behaviour before you deflect it onto others. If it keeps happening to you throughout the course of your life, chances are, it’s you. Be aware of who you are, and your behaviour. Be honest with yourself even if you don’t like what you see, it is still you, and nobody else’s responsibility. Only you can fix you, don’t make you somebody else’s problem.

3. Trust: If you want others to trust you, stop behaving like an asshole. No one has the right to impose their fears on others. Be bold enough to say: “I’m having difficulty with what was just said, or what just happened because I am afraid that so and so will happen.” (If this is not possible in actuality, then be bold enough to play that scenario out in your mind, frequently. You will be surprised at how changing your mindset can be incredibly empowering, and how instantly things and people around you will begin to change once you take responsibility. Yes, it really does work like magic. Trust me. There are no closed systems. There are no limitations, just you and your wonderfully infinite imagination. Your imagination is your biggest asset and your most precious tool, use it well. Don’t be a tool.)

4. Personal Responsibility: Be brave enough to say “I do this” instead of “You do this”. It’s possibly the hardest thing to do when you are acting defensively, but it serves to defuse rather than ignite a potential conflict. Be mindful that your reactions are yours alone, and have nothing to do with the other person. In any conflict, both parties are actively choosing to react in the way in which they are, and that the behaviours are quite isolated and separate from the other. It isn’t mutual and it isn’t interactive. Defensive behaviour is not conducive to resolution. If you cannot swallow your pride due to fear of losing control of your sense of safety, then be brave enough to walk away. Far away, until you are able to say “I chose to react in this way, and I wouldn’t want someone else to behave in this way towards me“. Saying “I” is more powerful than saying “You”.

Saying “YOU” makes victims of us all. Bloody stop it!


N.B. If any of this has upset you, then please remove yourself and reconsider the above points in the safety of your own mind. No harm was intended on my part. I’m just another hypocrite who is tired of abuse. As I wrote this piece, I have already taken my own advice into consideration. 

Track B – (The Art of Street Photography) – The Art of Composition, and the Composition of Art. Part 2.

The continuation of our series The Art of Street Photography, by Maria Phillips and Bill Jones.

Raw, Naked Art

The Real Versus the Almost Real

In our development of this series me and Bill have discussed at great length what makes Street Photography an art form, it is in fact what inspired the series to begin with. We drew the conclusion then, that in order to appreciate and understand the Art of Street Photography, as is the title of this series, we first need to address the concept of art, and how exactly it applies to this particular medium, which we have hinted at to some degree in our previous posts with regards to its historical evolution. There seems to be considerable consternation amongst photographers and critics alike as to exactly what this genre is, whether it’s meant to convey a message or a story about the societies we live in, or whether it is meant to be a form of voyeuristic art for the sake of entertainment. There…

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Covent Garden


I’m a bit rattled this morning, having had not very much sleep. My daughter had gone into meltdown when she realised that non-school uniform day was tomorrow, not today. So I was awoken from my dream-filled slumber by my phone buzzing urgently, the familiar buzz ascribed to one person alone in my contacts list, and the impending dread of wondering what I did this time?
Could I drop her uniform off at the school pronto?Fred and Ginger
Not any time soon, I said. And that was that.

I’m not good with urgent awakenings. It often sends my heart into an irregular rhythm and I get a tension headache that tells me the universe is a cruel master at times, and should stop making me perform like a little dancing puppet.
I’m sitting in my work chair (one of those bent plywood, flat pack Swedish affairs that bounces slightly when pressure is applied) trying to calm my tired head and placate my Fred and Ginger heart.

The image of the marionette is strong in my mind for some reason. I remember as a young child having fallen in love with the old wooden marionettes that had been on display at Hamley’s toy store on Regents Street in London, back in the digital-calculator-watch filled day when toys were still cool and home computers were an innovative abomination.
I’d bugged my then not yet absent father for months it felt like, about this particular marionette of a traditional Bavarian mountain farm girl that I’d seen on my first visit to Hamley’s. He told me I would have to save up for it, which at the time seemed an impossible task as he only gave me an allowance of 50p a week. The marionette was £34, more than a week’s wage at that point. Eventually my Dad caved and I visited the toy shop again, probably with my Nan, with the sole Black holesintent of purchasing this marionette. Except I remember I was so dazzled by the enormous range of toys which then spanned the store’s four floors, that distraction got the better of me and I changed my mind and bought something else with the hard-earned cash my Dad had given me, hard-earned for him that is. He was so disappointed in me. How things have changed.

Somehow I had ended up with the marionette anyway, although I can’t quite recall how that transpired exactly. But when I think of it, my Nan springs to mind.

My daughter reminds me of me in some ways. She is impulsive and highly sensitive, and changes her mind on the flip of a coin, leaving any preparation or important task to the last minute. I can imagine she was devastated when she turned up at school the only one of her classmates dressed in civvies. She has had a bit of a bad week so far. Poor girl.


I on the other hand have been up to my eyeballs most mornings researching and writing about visual semiotics for the purposes of mine and Bill’s series on The Art of Street Photography over on the other channel. Finishing my next post was my intention for this morning, but my head feels like a gumball machine, that if I shook would rattle and spew forth its planetary wealth. I’m imagining a small blue sphere popping out of my mouth, a little Pluto, and again I am transported back to the same period of the 80s when my brother was up to his own little planetary orbs in computers and things astronomical. I’m filled with a sense of unease as I am dragged back to that time of my life. It was one long disappointment that I longed to be over and done with already by the time I was 6 years old. I was 9 maybe 10 when Marionette-Gate occurred, a little younger than my daughter is now. Such a sad time filled with so much anxiety, and longing for a bomb to drop on the house, and obliterate what was then my life. The 80s with its nuclear threats, Aids, riots, Nostradamian Armageddons, and bad pop music. I look back and Wooden shoesit’s like an eclectic cocktail that had been spiked with arsenic. Me, a member of Generation X having grown up with a sense of impending doom as the world shifted up a gear and left the dying analogue for the promise of digital wonders. My life has been replete with dramatic changes and shifts, and my own analogue heart is struggling to keep up with all this fibre-optic speed that insists on making it tap its little Bavarian clogs to a long forgotten rhythm.

Change is inevitable I suppose. My daughter might look back at this time of her life with a similar dread too, I dare say. Wondering why Mummy seemed so intent on tracing Grandad’s footsteps, not understanding that her own strings are being pulled by a hand familiar with the contours of her own beliefs and experiences. The accumulated treasury of life, that is nothing more than a gumball machine full of rubberised coloured sugar balls.

It’s almost 11 O’Clock. It’ll soon be time for the day to shift up a gear again as I go and perform my parental duties. Heaviness pulls at my eyelids and my chest, and I could so easily drift away again on whatever adventure I was on before I awoke this morning. I can still make out the images of the dream playing out on the canvas of my shuttered eyelids. Oh well, things to do, brain cells to kill…

Blue Gumball

*Images courtesy of the internet. Unknown sources.

The king and I 2

The Narcissist and I – Conversations with an Anarchist. (Snapshot Stories)

“To define me is to disrespect me, to manipulate me is to misdirect me. To deny me, is an insurrection. That is not love.”


“To call you an anarchist is perhaps the correct term, although convention stipulates that you are very much an Archist. You do everything by the bloody book, you are courteous, smart, and use your smarts courteously. You talk to me in numbers, facts and ailerons that guide this The king and I 2otherwise tumultuous flight on a course of directness. And in your directness there are an infinite amount of deviations that espouse a growing sense I have of your intolerance to absolutely every fucking thing you seem to lay your eyes on.
Am I pissed?
Yes. I hate feeling that every time I object to something you do, you shove me aside, put on the brakes to our indestructible relationship and dump me. You switch off, go quiet, ignore me and make me feel worthless. Do I make you feel the same? Well perhaps, but is it really the end of the world my love?
Do I need to make it any clearer how much I love you and want to be with you? Except whenever this happens between us, not only do I feel it coming like a bleeding great juggernaut heading toward me at high speed, but I seem to be overwhelmed by the feeling that I must The King and I 1engage with the front fender like a rabbit caught in headlights, standing my ground like a proud fool, not wishing to kowtow to your obvious misgivings and consequent rudeness. Then I am left wondering how you steamed right over me, turning me into road-kill, fodder for the ravens and vultures that lurk just in the periphery.
You have to know that you are not the only one that finds this behaviour tiresome, and you are certainly not the only one that wants nothing more to do with it. It seems to turn on a weekly cycle, having occupied the Sunday spot up until recently, now having shifted to a Wednesday since your road rage incident when I was with you last. That was a Wednesday; and it seemed to cement and shift the day of ignition. I say ignition because you are like a bomb waiting to go off almost like clockwork once a day, once a week. I really thought I’d managed to dodge that bullet this time, this particular week. But I see that I was being remiss in my estimations.
I keep telling you this, in fact I have stopped since the last time you dumped me unceremoniously, last Wednesday, but I have said repeatedly that I can read you like a book. How do you think I can love you as much as I do? Because I’m connected to you. When you pull away I feel it like I’ve been disconnected from the mains socket. When you connect fully with me however, I feel like I’m flying high. I’m so full of love for you, for us and I feel as though there is nothing that can keep me from you. But my god you make me work fucking hard for your affection!
I have no clue how I’m supposed to be around you, without breaking the delicate shell-like membrane that you insist on residing within, cocooned in your prison like an incubating dragon waiting to grow to maturity. I know the version of you I want and would prefer, and I’m working damned hard at manifesting that version of you like you would not believe. The you that discards me on a whim is the one that needs to leave this relationship. He needs to find his ownyul-brynner-the-king-and-i2 way, somewhere that he can grow without destroying those he loves around him. That part of you I dislike intensely, and I want nothing to do with him. I know he is a remnant of persons past for us both, but I have no intentions of taking him with us in this incarnation of my life. So if you have a semblance of faith in us at all then you will apologise and make amends because you know and feel that you should preserve us and encourage us to grow in the way that we both know we can. You will message me because you will feel my intent and understand that I am worth more than your pre-emptive wrath.

I’m a fool and you’re an idiot. I want you to fight for me, but I fear you already gave up several Sundays ago. You gave up the ghost and threw me out with it. Maybe you aren’t here because you wouldn’t be good for me or yourself in your current state. At a distance your torrid behaviour is easier to tolerate, then again maybe it isn’t. I always feel like I undergo a death when you get mad with me. You push me as far away from you as possible and it makes my lady parts hurt. I feel my personhood shatter into tiny shards, and I no longer wish to participate in anything. You break me so you can remould me it seems. You tear down my preconceptions and desires likes a force of nature, exposing me for all to see as far as the next fucking galaxy. You make me burn bright like a raging star, reminding everyone who can see me in the infinite Universe of their fate, should they err even just a little from their heart’s intent. And for what? Why do you need to destroy everything in your life until it no longer functions in the way that you found it? Is that what happened to you?
I am not you, yet you reflect me perfectly in so many ways that I will never fathom.
Then in one fell swoop you change everything, press ‘reset’ and the world is full of hope once again. Once that is, you have got over whatever it is you are finding yourself dealing with.
The-King-and-I-yul-brynner-17921601-1024-768The thing is, I’m here and you, well you are somewhere else entirely. You are nowhere near me at all. You may as well be living on a different planet for all I know. I am in a relationship with a man who is thousands of miles away, weeks of planning away, and hundreds of dollars far from me most of the time. Through the magic of current technology that distance seems to shrink a little as I see your face in real-time streamed through the airwaves like a thought-form turned cinematic. I hear your voice as if you were sitting in my head, just within arm’s reach. But then disappointment creeps in as not so very deep down I realise that you are in fact nowhere near me at all. I couldn’t reach out and touch you no matter how much I wanted to. You are a figment of my imagination gone rogue, a fantasy that like a dream I seldom experience with any kind of physical cognition.
I sometimes catch myself wondering where this ring on my finger came from or what it even means, when it only sits on my finger. An abstract notion of connection that is no more than a piece of metal with scraps of the earth carved and polished and set within its cold hard yellow surface, made to look more special than it really is. This ring will never be enough to convince me of anything. I’m really not that much of a fool, although I can be a fool at times. I am not so deluded and a follower of convention that I would fall for that old chestnut. I am more than fully aware of how much work maintaining a relationship takes, and that no cold hard physical object will ever be enough to do that work for me. A cold hard guideline, a reminder, a prompt for the warmth of the flesh and the heaving of a beating heart, and the aspirations of an active imagination that seeks physical expression. If you have faith in us then you will let me know right now. If I do not hear from you, then I will know that you mean to kill us both with your The King and Iarrogance and shame. That you plan to set us apart as a failed enterprise that was never going to take off because the landing gear had already been previously damaged. I look at the empty blackness of the magic device, and I see that you are not really there. You have abandoned me. You have returned to wherever it is you are, and I am nothing more to you than water vapour on your sturdy fuel-filled wings, a contrail left to disperse quietly and slowly over the expanse of the sky; a huge scar across the universe that will never properly heal, but be reabsorbed into the ubiquitous atmosphere, churned around by the weather systems that pattern and temper the lands and the souls who reside upon and within it. Reabsorbed into the dynamic and ever-changing nature of consciousness, and always I am far from you as you fly into the sun.”