andrewgodsell

Tales from an author

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

#AliceInWonderland #LadyOfShalott #GlassOnion

Here is another extract from my new novel – with a bizarre poem.

Alice was suddenly feeling very alone. Indeed she felt a bit like that mysterious woman. Which mysterious woman? With a bit of thought, Alice remembered what she meant. The idea that had popped into her head was about The Lady of Shalott, a poem by Alfred Tennyson. This had inspired an atmospheric painting of the same name by a painter, and his name had been….“J M W Turner….no not Turner….J M W Watercolour….no….and it was not Watercooler….oh I remember now, he was J W Waterhouse.” The Tennyson verses about unrequited love drew upon a tale featuring Elaine of Astolat – linked in some way (Alice could not quite remember….how?) to King Arthur. The lady in the poem experiences a sad existence, watching the reflected activity of other people in a mirror (“shadows of the world appear”), and weaving stories she observes into a tapestry.

Trying to re-orientate herself, Alice said “Do I know the things I used to know? Let me see. Try Geography. Britain is England, Scotland, Wales – yes that seems okay. Now try to remember the states that made up Yugoslavia. What were they? Croatia, Serbia, Titograd, Yugotours, Sveti Stefan, Spassky, Bonsai Eva Herzigova, Macedonia, Alexandria, Cleopatra, Albania. No I do not think that was quite right. What about the provinces of the Netherlands? Should be simple. There is Holland, North Holland, South Holland, New Amsterdam, Edam, and New Zealand. Maybe not? Will try to recite some of The Lady of Shalott.” Alice began her favourite poem but, like a northern song, the words appeared to be going wrong:

Weaving a tapestry, the Lady of Shalott

Visions reflected through a glass onion

Catch a glimpse of a fair maiden

Her feet sore from bunions 

Fixing a hole in the ozone

Nearly ending the verse, that’s your lot

“I’m sure those are not the right words”, said poor Alice, and her eyes filled with tears again as she went on, “I am so very tired of being all alone here!” As she said this she looked down at her hands, and was surprised to see that she had put on one of the Rabbit’s little white gloves while she was talking. “How can I have done that?” she thought. “I must be growing small again.” She got up and went to the table to measure herself by it, and found that, as nearly as she could guess, she was now about two feet high, and was going on shrinking rapidly. She soon guessed that the cause of this was the flapping of the fan, and dropped it hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.

“That was a narrow escape!” said Alice, a good deal frightened at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still in existence. “Now for the garden!” and she ran with all speed back to the little door. Alas, the little door was shut again, and the little golden key was lying on the glass table as before. “Things are worse than ever,” thought Alice, “as I was never as small as this before.”

As she said these words her foot slipped, and in another moment, with a splash, she was up to her chin in salt water. Her first idea was that she had somehow fallen into the sea. “In that case I can go back by railway,” she said to herself. As a young child, Alice had come to the general conclusion that, wherever you go on the English seaside, you find some children digging in the sand with wooden or plastic spades, then a row of beach huts, and behind them a railway station. In later years, Alice understood the symbol of the steam train thrusting into a dark tunnel. Now she made out that she was in the pool of tears, which she had wept when she was nine feet high. “I wish I had not cried so much!” said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. “I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer today.”

Alice was wearing a rather fetching blue and white dress, bought for a fancy dress party as far as she could recall, and found swimming in this a bit of a challenge. Alice was also wearing a pair of black and white chequered hold-up stockings, and a pair of high-heeled black shoes.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Re-Blogging an excellent piece on #PattiSmith #Devotion – amazing book I have read recently.

I started this review at three in the morning. I woke up with a pain in my side; probably the result of poor cooking decisions on my part. I sat in a large chair, covered myself in blankets, and wrapped a heavy scarf around me for a shawl. The pains subsided with the writing, and […]

via Devotion: Patti Smith —

#AliceInWonderland #AmWriting #Fantasy

A day on from a Blog piece about my new novel, Alice’s Adventures in Fantasyland, here is an extract from the first chapter, in which Alice is transported from Britain to a different place.

       1 An Enchanted Garden

“An enchanted garden, and a golden afternoon” Alice declared. Alice was sitting in the grounds of Strawberry Fields Forever, a National Trust stately home, with her friend Sadie. The house, situated at Lyndhurst, a quaint village (or was it a town?) in the New Forest, retained the decor of the late 1960s, when it had been owned by a wealthy hippie, Mean Mr Mustard, and his sister, Polythene Pam. Alice and Sadie had just eaten lunch, each having chicken salad followed by strawberries and cream, washed down with quite a bit of wine. Alice checked the incoming texts on her mobile phone, replied to those requiring a reply, updated her Facebook status, and skimmed through the latest happenings, plus thoughts from dozens of people, on Twitter. This brought her up to date, if only for a moment, in the ever-moving world of mobile communication. Putting these things aside, Alice sat in the sun with Sadie, enjoying a rare moment of carefree relaxation. Sadie mentioned the stunning surroundings – the grass and trees were bright green, and the sky was bright blue. Sadie started to read The Diary of a Nobody, by the Grossmith brothers, a delightful Victorian novel, brought to life with lots of hand-drawn illustrations. Sadie was looking for inspiration, as she hoped to become a paperback writer.

Alice plugged herself in to her IPod, and listened to songs by the Beatles – including a lot of tracks from Love, the surreal remix and mashup album. Towards the end of the glorious 80 second edit of Glass Onion, Alice closed her eyes, saying she was “resting” them, and dozed. Entering the place where wakefulness drifts into sleep, when in bed at night, Alice often experienced something she called a “mini-dream,” a dream of just a few seconds, from which she would exit, briefly awaking, before falling properly asleep – her “golden slumbers.” Alice had a “mini-dream” about eating giant strawberries, and told the detail to Sadie, who seemed unsure what this meant.

Alice drifted on to the image of a White Rabbit, seen wandering the grounds of Strawberry Fields Forever. The Rabbit seemed almost human, as it was wearing clothes, and muttering something to itself about the passage of time. The Rabbit even took a watch from a jacket pocket, and announced the time as “fifteen minutes,” without specifying any relationship to an hour of the clock.

Intrigued by this, Alice wandered towards the Rabbit, which hopped through a gap in a hedge. Alice noticed a group of four beetles, as she continued to pursue the Rabbit, which jumped into a narrow tunnel. In a moment of spontaneity, Alice squeezed into the tunnel, and felt herself to be moving at great speed. The strange thing was that she was not falling downwards, instead she was being sent in a roughly horizontal direction, apparently by some unseen wind or other power, through an ever-twisting tunnel. Alice felt a mixture of fear and exhilaration, as if on a rollercoaster ride, and wondered where she might arrive. Perhaps the other side of the world, or was this a route across the universe into another dimension? How long would the ride take? The answer to the latter question came just a couple of minutes after entry to the tunnel. All of a sudden, the helter skelter journey stopped, as the tunnel reached a fork, and the power pushing Alice forward ceased. Alice took the left prong of the fork, having seen the Rabbit do this. Passing a sign advising that this was Penny Lane, Alice walked along a wide, empty, corridor, and found herself to be alone. Where had the Rabbit gone to? Where was Alice? Was this a place far away from the lonely people?

In a dash to follow the Rabbit, Alice had left her handbag, with her mobile phone and money in it, by the chair in the garden of Strawberry Fields Forever. In any case, she did not know where she was, and whether her phone and money would be of any use in this new place. More importantly, how could she get back to where she had been? “Help!” Alice whispered to herself. As she walked what appeared to be a long and winding road, Alice was reduced to tears.

Alice walked further along the corridor. Having seen a table in the distance, Alice walked towards this, and found a small golden key placed on top of the table. There were several doors leading off the corridor, but Alice could not get the key to open any of them. Then she saw a single curtain in the corridor, and moved this to reveal a small door. The key opened this door, leading into a tiny corridor. Alice crouched down low, but the corridor was too small for her to be able to safely enter. Alice wished she could navigate the corridor, as it led to the loveliest garden she had ever seen – or imagined. The garden had tangerine trees, marmalade sky, cellophane flowers of yellow and green. It all seemed splendidly surreal, and reminded Alice of something. Then she realised, and said “It is Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds brought to life.” Alice was experiencing a day in the life of a wonderland. Suddenly, as if moved within a giant kaleidoscope, the scene shifted, and Alice could see a walrus and some eggmen, sitting in an English garden, waiting for the sun. “I am the Walrus” reflected Alice, meaning a song, as she did not really think she had turned into a walrus. Actually Alice wished she was a rather naughty girl, the sort who would let her knickers down, just like sexy Sadie, after the fancy dress party, as they shared a brief moment in the park.

Speaking to herself – as there was nobody else here (was it here or there?) to hear her – Alice said “I wish I could shrink down to somebody small enough to get through to the garden.” Alice locked the door, stood up, put the key back on the table, and found that a bottle had mysteriously just appeared on the table. The bottle had the words “Drink me” printed on a label. Alice realised it might not be a good idea to taste the mystery drink, as it might be harmful, even poisonous. On the other hand, with strange things happening, it might be worth trying the drink. There were not any ingredients listed on the bottle – perhaps it was a dubious alcohol mix. Alice tried a quick smell, followed by a small sip, and it seemed okay. Alice drank about half of the contents of the bottle, and suddenly felt herself to be shrinking. Before she knew it, Alice had been reduced to about two foot in height. Alice walked back to the door that led to the garden, but then remembered that she did not have the key. The key was on the table and, trapped by her small stature, Alice could not reach the key.

The small woman resumed talking to herself, saying “Now Alice, you need to concentrate.” Alice repeated similar phrases, as she said (she said) things to herself. As a child, she had been very fond of pretending to be two people, and Alice occasionally reverted to that frame of mind. Alice said “It’s no use now to be pretend to be two people! Why there’s hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person. I cannot recall anything so strange as this happening in my life. At least, not since that piano – or harpsichord – had started playing to me for no real reason”. Alice found that a small cake had appeared on the table, with the words “Eat me” marked in blue icing. Alice thought that eating the cake might return her to her normal height, at which point she could reach the key to the door. Alice started to eat the cake, and was soon growing back to normal height. She grabbed the key. Alice was not now able to fit into the tunnel, but reasoned that by drinking the rest of the drink she could make herself shrink again. This did indeed happen. Looking through the door, Alice hoped to walk into the enchanted garden. Perhaps she might find the White Rabbit, or even a human being, in the garden. Alice wanted company, as it was eerily quiet, and she did not even have her IPod with her.

 

 

 

 

My life doesn’t understand me.

Interesting first post……..when will the saga continue?

Books abandoned, 2016 — Biblioklept

As always: I’m sure it was my fault, and not the book’s fault, that I abandoned it. (Except when it was the book’s fault). And also: “Abandoned” doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t come back to some of these books. (One of them even ended up on a list I made earlier this […]

via Books abandoned, 2016 — Biblioklept

Obsessive Compulsive Asperger

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Obsessive-Compulsive-Asperger-Andrew-Godsell-ebook/dp/B01MSTMUOQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480596376&sr=1-2

I have just published a book with the above title. For the moment it is only available on Amazon Kindle, but a paper version should arrive in a week or so.

The book is an attempt to explain a constant experience of feeling different to most people.

“Variety is the spice of life”, as the old saying says. Across many years, with a lot of multi-tasking, I have played the roles of writer, public servant, political activist, something in the City, minor television personality, very amateur footballer, raconteur, publicist, winner of table tennis plus disco dancing competitions, and English eccentric.

Most of this activity has taken place in obscurity, but there have been numerous moments of public recognition, at intervals across several decades.

There is usually more than one side to a story.

In contrast to the upbeat impression I like to convey, the book stems from my dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Asperger Syndrome. I have been gripped by many obsessions, alongside a range of enthusiasms. The writing is an attempt to provide insight into the thought processes of somebody with a mental health condition, or combination, which can be defined as Obsessive Compulsive Asperger.

In one respect, my book is different to any other that I have read. The passage of time is something that features constantly in my thoughts. References in the text to dates during my lifetime are highlighted in bold. Words linked to my feelings of anxiety also appear in bold. This may not make for the easiest reading, but it does reflect the experience I have of focussing on dates and sources of anxiety.

Another obsession is the search for something magical – perhaps unobtainable. Amidst frequent difficulty with mental health, I am blessed with wonderful moments of happiness – as beautiful and fragile as the life of a butterfly.

I hope this has been of interest to readers.  The plan is for this to be the first in a series of posts about the experiences that have led to the book.

Thank you for reading

 

 

#LabourPurge2 – An Update

I have not Blogged here about the Labour Purge for several weeks, but I have had a piece on the subject featured by Labour Insider.

http://www.phillipdavidjones.com/single-post/2016/10/26/Labour-Purgatory

Since I wrote that piece, many other members of the party have also had their suspension lifted, but with a warning. There are still many party members suspended, one of whom, Glynis Millward, is taking legal action.

https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/suspended-labour-member-sues-iain-mcnicol-unable-vote-leadership-election/

The Purged and recently Unpurged continue to work together to challenge the process, with some of the detail set out on the Blog below.

https://shadownec.wordpress.com/about/

As for my case, the Information Commissioner’s Office are looking at a Data Protection complaint I have raised regarding the Labour Party, and I have taken legal advice. I continue to correspond by email with Labour HQ, but their legal team seem unable to respond in detail to valid points. Here is a summary I sent to Labour HQ on November 7:

Hello (yet again) Labour Legal

Your email of November 4 is another example of the Labour Party evading issues surrounding my suspension.

There are numerous unresolved issues from my previous emails to yourselves.

The most pressing points – in the view of myself and my legal advisor – requiring a response at the moment are:

1 For the third time I have been sent evidence that I did not Retweet the message relating to Angela Eagle. You claim “This retweet has since been removed from your twitter, however the Labour Party is in possession of evidence that it was once there (namely for a period following 6:48pm on Thursday 30th June 2016)”. Why has this evidence not been sent to me? Why is it not included in your responses to my Subject Access Request? How was the evidence obtained – was it a human or computerised process? How long do you think the alleged Retweet was on my timeline?

2 My email of September 6 said:

“My Twitter profile states “ReTweet not always endorsement”. I often Retweet things I do not necessarily agree with, as part of the sharing of information on Twitter, and I know many other people do likewise.  I cannot see why the Labour Party is using resources trawling social media, looking for evidence of alleged abuse, that can be used to suspend members, when that alleged abuse took place prior to the publication of the rules for the leadership election. Such trawling of social media is contrary to a recommendation of the Chakrabarti report. In view of this, the suspension of myself, in the mistaken belief that I had Retweeted derogatory comments about Angela Eagle, would be particularly unfair”.

Why have you not responded to this point? Please respond now.

3 I do not agree with your decision to protect the confidentiality of the person/s who made the original allegation, given that I believe it to be a malicious and unfounded allegation. I presume the Labour Party has some written record of the allegation, and therefore request that this is sent to me, along with an explanation of its absence from the SAR response.

4 I have been a Labour Party candidate in local elections on 10 occasions. Why is there no material about this in the SAR response? What other types of material are missing?

5 Please issue another letter, offering a clear apology for the incorrect decision to suspend me from the Labour Party.

Andrew Godsell

 

#LabourPurge2 This could be progress?

 After sending six emails, and having three lengthy telephone conversations with Labour headquarters, since receiving the “evidence” for my suspension more than a month ago, the long-promised written reply to my challenge finally arrived two days ago.

 As I had asked a series of specific questions, I thought I might get specific answers, but all that the helpful Compliance colleagues managed was a few standard sentences, one of which claims to remove my right to appeal:

Dear Andrew,

Apologies for the delay in responding to you.

Your Subject Access Request has been posted to you and should be with you within a week.

There is no ability to appeal an administrative suspension. Suspensions are put in place while an investigation is carried out therefore you will have the opportunity to put your case across as part of this investigation. You will be contacted shortly regarding this.

Kind regards,
Rebecca

Having given myself 24 hours to calm down, I tried another patient and diplomatic appeal, which I emailed yesterday. I do not know if there will be any meaningful response from party HQ, but at least I have more evidence of my trying in good faith to resolve the issue – when the party finally address the case:

Hello Rebecca

Thank you for replying.

I maintain that this process has been mishandled, and am disappointed that nobody in Compliance or Legal seems able to respond in detail to the points made in my series of emails below.

My email of September 8 reports telephone conversations in which Compliance and Legal said they would look at my response to the evidence, and lift the suspension if they agreed with me that I had not Retweeted the relevant messages. Why has this not happened?

I have been suspended for 7 weeks, and lack a right of appeal. The party has failed to meet its obligations under the Equality Act, and the situation is harming my mental health.

Your email states “you will be contacted shortly” about the investigation, but I have been told this several times across 7 weeks without anything happening. Please can you be more precise about a timescale?

I am copying this email, for information, to Jennie Formby, who has taken up my case within the NEC, and Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council. I have worked, and campaigned, with Jennie and Simon for several years, and they have both expressed a wish that the suspension be lifted, enabling me to return to Labour Party activity.

Please can somebody see sense, and lift this mistaken suspension?

Thank you

Andrew Godsell

#LabourPurge2   Invited to a meeting then banned from attending

It is now day 50 of my suspension from the Labour Party. I still lack evidence to substantiate the reason for the suspension, or any prospect of an appeal hearing.

The party machine continue to frustrate efforts to tackle this.

Having received an email inviting me to a meeting of Southampton and Romsey Labour Party, I sent the reply below yesterday.

Hello Ken

I have been suspended from the Labour Party for 7 weeks due to unsubstantiated allegations that I have broken party rules. Despite numerous telephone calls and emails to party headquarters, I have not been given a timescale for an appeal hearing. Party HQ are aware this is having an adverse effect on my health, but refuse to deal with the matter.

Given that thousands of other party members nationally are in the same position, I wish an opportunity to raise the matter at the next All Members Meeting. Please can you advise who I should contact to get the suspensions issue added to the agenda.

Thank you

I received the response below, banning me from the meeting I had been invited to attend, and refusing to allow discussion of the Labour purge (whereas many Constituency Labour Parties have passed motions asking for an end to the purge)   

Dear Andrew – Ken has passed me your email below.

I shan’t be putting this as an item for All Members Meeting for the following two reasons.

Firstly, as you are currently suspended, you are not permitted to attend any Labour Party meetings.

Secondly, even if you were, as previously advised in my email of early September, the local party has no say on your suspension or the timing, or outcome of, the national party’s consideration of the matter giving rise to the suspension. This is a matter for you to resolve directly with party HQ. I appreciate you may have been waiting a while but, if you feel you are being unfairly treated by the national party, you may wish to consider getting some independent advice. The local party cannot, and will not, interfere in the process.

I hope that clarifies why the matter will not be discussed at the All Members Meeting. If you have any issue with my reply, I suggest you contact Louise McGee, the Labour South East Regional Director, on louise_magee@labour.org.uk.

Regards

Matt Tucker

Chair of Southampton & Romsey Labour Party

I sent the following email to the Regional Director, but I doubt she will be in any hurry to reply.

Hello Louise

Please see emails below.

The lack of support from a local party I have worked hard for over many years is very disappointing.

I left telephone messages with your office on October 7 and again today, asking for a call back to discuss a timetable for my appeal, but this has not happened.

If I am prevented from attending meetings – in apparent contravention of the Labour rule book – I wonder why I received the email at the start of this chain inviting me to a meeting. I have also received other recent emails inviting me to Labour events.

Please can I have a prompt response to the points I have raised.

Thank you

 

#LabourPurge2 Data Protection breach reported to ICO

Yesterday I raised a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office about a series of Data Protection breaches by the Labour Party.

It is now 44 days since I was suspended from the Labour Party on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and I still have not been told when my appeal might be heard. I have sent yet another chaser email to party HQ today.

In contrast to the silence from party HQ, many of those suspended from the party remain  committed to an open discussion of the Labour Purge. I therefore set out below the points I made in my complaint to the ICO:

I wish the ICO to assess the case, and confirm that the Labour Party has breached the Data Protection Act in its dealings with myself. My case is similar to that of thousands of other party members, who have been arbitrarily suspended by a group at Labour headquarters, in a purge of people wishing to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. The suspension letters are signed by Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party. I expect the ICO to find exactly which people in the Labour Party are guilty of this action, and issue a large fine – I understand the maximum possible fine is £500,000.   

The Labour Party has breached Data Protection law in three respects;

1 I submitted a Subject Access Request on August 27 2016, which was 40 days ago. They have not provided the requested information in the required timescale.

2 I have been suspended from the Labour Party, and prevented from voting in the recent leadership election, on the basis of malicious and unfounded allegations about comments I made on Twitter. The “evidence” provided by the Labour Party does not match the allegations, but they have refused to address my appeal, and correct their mistake. I have provided the organisation with my name and email address, in order for them to communicate with me. They have misused this data in order to trawl through my Twitter account looking for evidence to suspend me. I did not authorise the organisation to misuse my data in this way, and they have not advised me that this would happen.

3 The organisation has failed to deal with my Subject Access Request, and appeal against suspension, in a reasonable timescale. They are aware that I struggle with Asperger Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, long term mental health conditions. I have asked them to prioritise my appeal in view of this, but they refuse to offer any timescale. This means that the continued misuse of my data by the organisation is causing me damage, distress, and mental pain.

 

Post Navigation