21 December 2009

On "Avatar" (no--I haven't seen it)

This link is about third-hand. And given that I have not seen the film, and may well not bother--I still haven't seen Titanic--why am I commenting? I haven't tracked back to the sources of the linked post either.

Partly because third-hand blog-posts with their accretion of comments are a cultural artefact in their own right...

But also because the quoted piece in the linked post struck a nerve with me.
    In the late 1960s and early 70s, I was involved with, and for a year lived in, a community house in Moss Side in Manchester. 
    (Google it and take your pick of the references: I've just discovered that the Hideaway youth club where I peripherally and ineffectually  volunteered booked a band called the CrossBeats in March 1967 just a couple of weeks before they played an obscure venue called the Cavern Club in Liverpool; they were booked by a certain Rose Drummond, who later married my housemate in 1970, Joe Burgess... and that was the first time I had heard of a mixed-race marriage, nine years before my own.) Wow, what you can turn up in a few moments!
Eventually, the house was compulsorily purchased and demolished, and (most of) us graduate do-gooders moved away to our middle-class destinies, basking in the moral and political glow of our transitory pretence of identification with "the disadvantaged". I spoke to a real resident of the area as we reviewed the project. He was very kind and appreciative about our well-meaning contributions to the area, but as best I can recall he said something to the effect that;
We do appreciate all you and your companions have done... but don't kid yourselves that you know what it is like to live in Moss Side, because you did it by choice. You have somewhere else to go, if you choose. We haven't.

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