About Bella Basura

Don't dream it, be it

Ten Films – Citizen Kane

(Directed by Orson Welles 1941)
I have watched this film many times and there are many reasons why this film makes me weep.
I first came across it as a student while studying for an MA in Film Theory at the then Polytechnic of Central London  based in Soho. Citizen Kane formed the backbone of a module on Auteur Theory, this is where the weeping starts, and doesn’t stop for two years until I abandon the course.
This protracted film drags us through the tropes and clichés that came to define the Orson Welles oeuvre. Still weeping with boredom, I note that Welles adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial also carries the same ubiquitous extended pans/zooms, dolly-shots and Atlantean sets but isn’t nearly so yawn inducing. The narrative drive of Citizen Kane is a posthumous retrospective of Kane’s life through the anecdotes of those who knew him, it circles around a central enigma: the meaning of Kane’s apocryphal last word, uttered in death-bed solitude, as he wistfully gazes into a snow globe – “Rosebud”. What is the significance of Rosebud? the narrator of the film asks, a question that has tortured film critics and film students  alike for over 75 years.
My interest in the film revived briefly a few years ago when I discovered that Rosebud, along with Standing Rock and Pine Ridge, were amongst the first Reservations set aside in 1889 for the containment of and destruction of Native American peoples in Dakota. The more I read about the “Indian Wars” and the aftermath; the reservations, the forcible removal of Native American children, re-education to white ideals, and the persistent denial of Tribal land-rights (which are still going on at Standing Rock), lead me to dream that Citizen Kane was a condemnation of American policy towards the First Nations. Of course, I found no evidence of this theory in the writings of film critics and theorists, and the last time I re-watched the film I really had to work hard, and turn a blind eye to huge tracts, to shoehorn the film to fit my thesis. Still, researching Native American history was rewarding, if heartbreaking work, and it has given me more to weep and despair about than the MA in film theory ever did.
More recently I have decided that Citizen Kane was a future-shadow, a premonition of the 45th American president, and I draw solace from that image at opening of the film, imagining Donald Trump, an implausible life ending in bleak loneliness, wallowing sick in his unseemly wealth, with only a snow globe for company.

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Rite of Passage

In my day jumping the trains to London was a teenage rite of passage. As outlandish and mythical as it may now sound, there once really was a magical spiral staircase at Finsbury Park, and it fed directly down into the London Underground. Truth to say everybody knew about it, everybody used it and everybody took it for granted. Like a down-snake, or a disused helter skelter, it was a ride, a trick, a trick of transformation. All you  needed was a bit of vim and nerve and you could transform an invalid overground rail ticket into a newly-minted 3-zone London travelcard.  In one quick downward dive you could fall from Finsbury overland, spiralling right down into the tube network, and so into the throbbing veins of central London itself, and all for th price of a 3-zone travelcard. Jumping the trains into London was a veritable teenage craze, in my day.

Having said all that, the charm only seemed to work going into London. We overstretched ourselves mortally when we tried to dodge out, away from London. Notable was the time we tried to jump the trains as far North as we could get, and were apprehended in Birmingham, after Leicester Central had telegraphed ahead, with our descriptions and modus operandi. So when we did our handbag-drop-bum-rush routine on them for the night train out of New Street, they were already wise, and held us in a holding cell while they waited for the Transport Police. We had to phone my friend’s big sister. We were only set free after she finally showed up, gave some uniform some money, smiled winningly and flirtatiously at the right people and was heard berating us as she stomped us to her car.

“Next time” Big sister snarled “Phone someone else instead”.

Clutches of Love Online

A few weeks ago I posted up the Clutches of Love chapbook, including the wonderful introduction written for me by the inspiring psychedelic poet – Katya Lubarr. A few days later Katya emailed me asking me where the pieces were, the links didn’t work, she couldn’t find the pieces…I had a look and she was right.By Dave Challis March 2017

But  I was in the middle of National Poetry Writing Month, I was overwhelmed with rhyme and rhythm and iambic pentameters and dactylic feet, and worrying whether my sonnet was Shakespearean or Petarchan…the rigours of re-editing the blog-posting seemed beyond my grasp.

But that’s all over now, so finally, I have managed to make all the links work, so that the whole chapbook can be read online – here Clutches of Love

ENJOY!

 

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We Wrote, And Wrote, And Wrote

Here, for your pleasure,  is the report I wrote for The Edge Cafe Newsletter April 2018 about the Creative Writing group at The Edge Cafe…

On 12th January this year a thronging crowd gathered at The Edge Café for the combined Launch of Edgewords Anthology and Oblique Arts Exhibition.

Edgewords Launch 12th January 2018 The Edge Cafe cambridge

Edgewords Launch 12th January 2018 The Edge Cafe cambridge

As I stood beside the Community Fridge, I wondered how many more people could comfortably fit into the room. In nervous anticipation I watched, as more chairs were dragged out from the back room to seat the expanding, buzzing audience. Victor, Munizha, Lisa, Faith, Kate and I (The Edgeworders) were waiting to perform from Edgewords Anthology chapbook. Chapbook is a sixteenth century term for an independently printed pamphlet. In making our 2018 chapbook we participated in the whole process of it’s production: from writing content, through editing and collating, proof-reading and printing, to bookbinding paperback and hardback copies, using traditional hand binding methods.

We started writing back in September last year, our Creative Writing sessions ran on Friday afternoons, and we spent two hours a week in word games, outings to Cherry Hinton Hall and a local bookshop. We played with images, rune cards and even a chess board to ignite our imaginations. Our writing was posted weekly on our blog-page (https://oblique-arts.com/tag/creative-writing-workshops/). We chatted, drank tea, laughed and got to know each other, but mostly we took quiet time to explore, follow and write out our thoughts and inspiration, we wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

By November we had gathered enough material to edit our chapbook, which we then proof-read, printed and bound. Later, preparing for the Launch, Edgeworders worked together at solo performance and in devising collaborative group performances.

Edgeworders at The Maya Pyramid at Cherry Hinton - by Victor-Manuel Ibanez

Edgeworders at The Maya Pyramid at Cherry Hinton – by Victor-Manuel Ibanez

The accompanying Art Exhibition, in deep white frames around the walls, encompassed a range of media – photography, painting, sketching, illustration, bookbinding and collage, work from Oblique Arts visual art workshops in December and January.

For me, the Launch was a thoroughly enjoyable success, and a satisfying culmination of working with inspired and inspiring writers. I hope we can secure funding for future creative writing sessions, and produce an Edgewords 2 Anthology.

I am hoping we Edgeworders will meet again soon
for yet more Wild Encounters.see footnote

Thanks to Bev, Sarah and Jannie of Oblique Arts, Andy and The Edge Café staff, Simon and ASH Coop, and to Cambridge City Council. I mostly want to thank Munizha, Lisa, Victor, Faith, Kate, Jane and all who joined us in the Creative Writing workshops, for the enthusiasm and joy they brought to the project.

Footnote: Wild Encounter is a delicious ruby-red fruit tea served at The Edge Café.

Edgewords Launch running order:
Introductions from Beverley Carpenter, Jannie Brightman and Jean Dark.
Performing Haikus Medley – Group Collaboration Performance.
Mill Road Day by Victor-Manuel Ibaῆez.
Speaking of Smoking by Bella Basura.
Recovery Runes by Faith.
Fiction by Munizha Ahmad-Cooke.
BREAK.
Rainy Hearthfire by Jean Dark.
Gaia by Faith.
The Narrow Escape by Victor-Manuel Ibaῆez.
Ripe by Munizha Ahmad-Cooke (performed with Lisa Evans and Jean Dark).
The Cuckoo by Lisa Evans (Group Collaboration Performance)

 

Jean Dark
Spring 2018

A Calling of The Circle: Part Three

A Calling of The Circle
Part Three

I call to you fading sunset
Join this circle of the turning year
Your soft blue light
dripping the western sky
Bringing cool mists
Blessed be the autumn time
Join this circle of the year
In the twilight’s full cup
I call to you in the West
Hail and welcome
At the equinox of autumn

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Day 13 – NaPoWriMo

A Calling of The Circle
Part Two

I call to you hot midday
Join this circle of the turning year
Your burnished red light
Climbing the Southern sky
Bringing blazing fire<
Blessed be the Midsummer
Join this circle of the year
In the fiery wand of midday
I call to you in the South
Hail and welcome
At the height of Summer

 

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Day 12 – NaPoWriMo

A Calling of the Circle
Part one

I call to you bright sunrise
Join this circle of the year
Your yellow light
Climbing the eastern sky
Bringing sweet fresh air
Blessed be the springtide
Join this circle of the year
With the dawn’s sharp sword
I call to you in the East
Hail and welcome
At the equinox of spring

Day 11 – NaPoWriMo

Today I have attempted to write in the Ode form – my inspiration was discovering that the local art museum in town has a piece of Grayson Perry pottery on loan. From that it’s a small step to the inevitable duff pun that gave me my title…

Ode On A Grayson Urn
I’m not big on museum pottery,
Not even if it’s done archaeologically,
Not Meisen shepherd, nor Stafford teapot,
Beaker people beakers inspire me not.
Yet today I felt my enthusiasm burn
While gazing at a Grayson Perry urn
Bulbous fat vase, rounded proud and brazen
Where flowers, faces, and colours are glazen
For among splotches and gilded lillies,
Grayson throws in pictures of big willies.

Clutches of Love

Day 10 of NaPoWriMo

Darling, When I think Of You

Salome
by Pierre et Gilles
Augmented photograph. 1991

Darling, when I think of you…
My skin tingles, hairs rise.
In my dry gummy mouth
I taste a metallic
Taint of terror.
In my mind
I see a red-flare distress beacon
Bloom glaring
In the empty dark sea night sky.
I hear klaxons ringing out
Harmonics of horror.
I smell the sweat of my own fear.
Darling, in truth,
I try not to think of you…
Too often.

 

 

Today I am posting up a poem from my new chapbook – Clutches of Love. I was lucky enough to have Katya Lubarr of the Cat Basket write the introduction, which I was very pleased with. We are hoping to collaborate on a similar chapbook anthology in time for Valetines Day 2019 and we’ll soon be putting a call out for contributions.

But, finally this chapbook of Clutches of Love is finished, and is available to buy print-on-demand from my Esoterranean Books store on Etsy, the chapbook is priced at £5.

NaPoWriMo

Clutches of Love

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Jean Dark

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The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here

Day 9 – NaPoWriWee

NaPoWriWee

I don’t know if I will make it through NaPoWriMo. I have sorely struggled to write productively daily. At times I wondered why, in light of the fact that I have never called myself a poet and never showed much interest in poetry before, I set myself to write a poem a day for a month. I was maundering about the weather and housecleaning for a couple of days before I realised I needed a plan, a framework to get me through a month without feeling it was pointless. That’s when I decided to use the NaPoWriMo month to research and experiment with poetic forms. I wrote a haiku, then  I chose to make a cut-up of David Bowie lyrics into  a Shakespearean sonnet. I  re-examined earlier experiments with Beat poet Brion Gysin’s Permutation Poems, researched and attempted a Triolet, and I’m planning next week to find out about Kenning poems, a form used throughout the Dark Ages as a semi-sacred form – think Odin losing an eye, hanging on a tree for nine days and nights, in order to gain knowledge of the runes and achieve mastery over language.

So, on the bright side – I may not actually make it through NaPoWriMo, but I have made it through the first week. I’ve done a  NaPoWriWee, and I’m hoping to do another one soon.

Today’s poem is a Haiku, called April, like a reprise of the poem I wrote on the first day.

April
Daffodils clamour, high blue sky,
Yearning equinox,
In the promise of summer.

NaPoWriMo

 

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Jean Dark

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