Now I am come to praise my father Wayland
– or rather, our father, who art now in the chalk earth downs of Wiltshire,
and also in the sun, the rain and the wind that ripples through the leaves and sails,
in the laugh of an infant and the slap of a wave
and the arc of a gull across the sky..
Mere words are small, for the mysteries of life and death
and for the hollow loss that our physical, emotional selves have been feeling.
There is really very little to be said
I could say that I miss him
and am made of him
and that he’s changed in form..
Our Wayland’s there – not here.
One of the strong ones
who brought us here to this time, this place, these ways
and may be remembered always…
I think our dad was one who tried,
and oftentimes succeeded,
in good company
to honour dignity and truth
and our natural lust for life.
Progeny of priests, and pirate admirals, a sculptor and politician
Son of Bill and Kathleen,
younger brother of Pete,
husband only of Liz,
father of Easter, Emily, Mopsa, Thoby, Louisa, and me,
Grandpa of many, becoming great,
friend, colleague, inspiration,
and generally good man to countless unnamed others.
It’s strange, and good, to have parents known beyond their circles
– to share the wisdom, joy, and sadness.. and the mystery
No one here has the full picture, no words can sum him up,
there are thoughts and prayers for him today in an LA Buddhist temple,
in India, in Africa, Australia… one quoted:
“When Wayland would tell stories of his life, he was for me like 'that low door in the wall... which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden'”
The picture I offer too is partial,
that of a child and rebellious but devoted daughter.
By the time I came to know him
he was statesman, chairman, spokesman, writer, editor,
activist and mentor, walker, sailor, linguist,
lover of the sun and water and land,
maker of fires and protector of old stones,
wise to the birds and wind,
a traveller in mind and word and body…
he was born quite lucky, with reasonable wealth if not always health
and grew up situated and partial, tetchy as the best of us,
but always interested, erudite, appreciative, concerned, and open-hearted when he could.
Iridescent, said one tribute,
that came from the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology,
an organisation Dad helped to create,
educating lawmakers about such very practical matters..
It’s an unusual inheritance, to be raised
with the ways of banning female genital mutilation discussed over dinner,
and a prime minister over for tea,
knowing landmarks like this church and St Pancras wouldn’t be here now but for Dad,
in the 1960s he ensured there were stopping places for travellers,
there’s even a rumour he made a call that let the Rolling Stones play in Hyde Park.
Where our uncle Peter worked to create conservation areas
Wayland and Liz worked for arms control,
pushed government to avoid the ‘dangerous precedent’ of paying people not to pollute
saying instead that industry everywhere needs to plan for systemic nature protection.
Had this sane approach been adopted since the 60s
more potential guests might be here today.
Several now are across the sea in Copenhagen,
still trying to make polluters pay …
Oh it’s not just Eros been denied, as dad knew well,
but the straight talking, life-giving whole of life
from which we take so much without giving back
and of which we are so much a part.
Our father’s name was Wayland Young
and with our Mum, Elizabeth
and also Nanny, Ellen,
he tried to show not only us, his Young,
a good Way to be in this Land.
Wayland is an old name,
Wayland the Smith,
From the myths of these our Northern lands.
A craftsman, son of a sea-giantess,
blessed with a talent for beauty,
he was trapped and made to work,
but given feathers, flew high, and escaped…
Among his last words, that strange dark sacred night that Dad departed:
‘shall we go up’?
When I was small and walking in the park ,
I would often seek out feathers - ‘a feffa for my faffa’.
Each feather I see now reminds me of my dad..
…that kind and clever man who gathered us up and shaped us,
challenged and frustrated us,
encouraged and protected us.
Some of his jokes may have been the worst
but he made the tastiest chips in the world
and welcomed our strangest friends.
And giving, loving, loving so
his wife and friends and family
and homes and place and history,
and justice, and wholeness, and peace,
And music and writing and books and ideas, and young people having fun
and democracy and that really interesting new person he met just last night…,
holding fast to what is good from the past while glorying in the present…
and welcoming the best of the wondrous new.
We may remember him writing, at work in grand old buildings
in conversation over a fine long dinner
maybe sailing an Italian lake ..
or walking, always walking (a writer needs to walk he said)
in Kensington Gardens or the welcoming Wiltshire downs
or soaking up the sun like the beneficent Leo he was
- the family would say he only need look at his passport to get a tan..
In his last years,
during the ‘long goodbye’ as some would call dementia,
many trees in the park would become the ‘most beautiful’,
the dog, the ‘friendliest ever’,
people, the ‘cleverest and nicest’ too.
The core of him, as it reduced , was ever kind, and warm, and funny
He’d dive deep into memory
or the music of Bach, or Faure
eyes closed, entranced.. delighted..
or play his fine strong piano while we readied to go out
or dance, drinking wine and chatting for hours
before settling down with Liz.
At times he would lament decline
and weep for other old people,
the lonely and the destitute
who lack the comforts he had.
Other times our Dad would quote a Yoruba man
who, when asked what something nearby was,
had told him simply ‘Nachar’.
Dad died at Beltaine, early May,
time of wild fertility, when heart fire burns so fresh and strong
that one day one old, old, worn out, patched up heart,
just couldn’t take it any more, and stopped.
That was the heart of a bright-eyed blond and baby boy,
child who became the man we knew and loved,
and mourn and celebrate today
so much more than these few words can express…
There aren’t many men around like Wayland.
In fact, from this year, there are none.
But what there are, is the millions of us,
his friends and family, colleagues and allies
and more that I have forgotten to name.
we each of us embody and reflect his same mission to connection
with that source from which we all came,
and to which we will eventually return.
And while we live, and strive, and love
tell our tales and honour the ancestors and dance
He’s with us, and among the others passed this way.
The shine has now gone from our Wayland’s eyes,
And that is difficult to know,
but bluebells their colour
will grow in the west woods
at the time of year that he died.
What other ways than religion are there to organize our spiritual needs and answer life's big questions? To live more sustainably, maybe it's time to stop prostituting our moral compass to the promises of diverse priests....
'Comparing alternative media in North and South: the cases of IFIWatchnet and Indymedia in Africa' Environment and Planning A 1173 – 1189
Abstract. Alternative media form an important part of the global mediascape. Research on this phenomenon is, however, often drawn from studies in the ‘global North’. In this paper we discuss alternative media in the ‘global South’, by exploring two case studies of cooperation between Northern and Southern partners: IFIWatchnet in South America, and Indymedia Centre in Africa. We highlight how Northern and Southern partners differed in identity, organizational forms, and accountability. We find that Northern partners were oriented to more ‘marginal’ identities, fluid organizational structures, and informal structures of accountability. In contrast, Southern activists articulated more ‘mainstream’ identities, relied on more structured forms, and linked to formalized modes of accountability. The result was often significant clashes over what it meant to be alternative media, how alternative media should be organized, and how people should be held to account. This meant that North – South cooperation was often fraught with struggle. These difficulties are reminiscent of the limitations of creating global cooperation through seeking to spread modes of activist organization developed in the North, which emphasize autonomy, networks, fluidity, and, in some instances, direct action. Authors: Fabian Frenzel, Steffen Boehm, Pennie Quinton, André Spicer, Sian Sullivan, Zoe Young
Strategies for Effective and Just Conservation: The GEF and India Eco-Development – Growing the Inefficient Economic Approach to Conservation
Article on the Global Environment Facility and making our films 'Suits and Savages' in the special issue of Current Conservation (Volume 3, Issue 3) on 'Displaced and Disobedient Knowledge', Spring 2010.
Upsetting the Offset, Mayfly Books 2009.
This book engages critically with the political economy of carbon markets. It presents a range of case studies and critiques from around the world, showing how the scam of carbon markets affects the lives of communities. But the book doesn’t stop there. It also presents a number of alternatives to carbon markets which enable communities to live in real low-carbon futures.
Doth a leaf protest its changing colour
Or mourn when time it comes to fall?
Might the moon resist its waning
Or tides raise struggle 'gainst the ebb?
Would the sun tire of its journeys
Or days lament the dwindling light?
What eats, excretes
Whoever lives, becomes an ancestor
Whatever grows, will wither and decay
Why is decline so hard for us who grew to face?
Changing coloured leaves give space for beauty
Their leaf mould, more to earth
Cycles of the moon shape lives of woman,
The tides leave fertile edge for all
Sunset - and man can lay to rest
Evening.. evening.. evening.. fall.
Contributions to Tactical Technology Collective's "Message in a Box" Video Toolkit, 2008
“The Transmission Metadata Standard” with Mick Fuzz in Deptford.TV Diaries II - Pirate Strategies, 2008
Written with Tim Forsyth, Mute, 2007, republished in Eurozine, 2009.
In its current form, cap-and-trade amounts to a system that interferes with development patterns in the South to offset carbon emissions resulting from "business as usual" in the North. Politics should be seeking alternatives to the trading model.
In ECO - The Voice of the NGO Community in International Environmental Negotiations.
CoP of the Convention on Biological Diversity, March 2006
Tamáss echoes Gödel’s theorem: ‘no theories, no forms … can be up to the phenomenological complexity of contemporary Beirut’; something similar is true of all globalising cities, from Los Angeles’s segregated dream factories to occupied Baghdad. Like military, religious or corporate strategists, intellectuals conceptually map as they observe. And like the post-war planners’ remaking of central Beirut as ‘a laboratory for current and future elaborations of global capitalism’, artists too leave blank areas beyond care, co-option or comprehension.
“Beach Buffs and Film Combers” Illustrated article about the 'Bring Your Own Film Festival" on an Orissan beach, published in Mute, 2004.
“Agribusiness Invades Poland”, illustrated article on the ecological and economic consequences of expanding corporate pig 'factories' in former collective farms of Northern Poland, published in Mute magazine, 2004.
With Glastonbury sanitised this year, the Big Green Gathering (BGG) drew in party people in search of Avalon’s freer spirit. They found a sorted little festival in Cheddar, Somerset – run mostly on wind and solar power – with music, info, art, permaculture, workshops and films. But organisation and self-control started to break down after dark. It was only afterwards that I discovered it was meant to be ‘alcohol free’.
World Bank in a New Avatar - While the World Bank launches its ‘development gateway’, critics gear up to counter the ‘caring sharing knowledge bank’ that it strives to portray. Published in Down to Earth, New Delhi, 2002