Spike Lee did good.

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 2 Comments

Here’s the thing…documentary film is so important because it can somehow weave archive material, emotion, personal journeys and personal ‘truths’, passion and great spontaneity too. And they are so often about stuff we need to know about but could never begin to find out….to see, to feel on our own.
Documentaries don’t always tell the truth. To begin with there is the camera and then the person behind the camera, the producers, researchers funders yadda yadda..so many filters..and eventually there is the extreme skill of the editor – but the real artistry of good documentary is that it can move us, make us quake in our boots, think, debate and potentially even get off the sofa and follow up on what we have just seen. All film needs to be sold to a broadcaster/audience so there is ALWAYS an angle. In a way a ‘truthful’ documentary is an oxymoron. That aside, I have just watched Spike Lee’s ‘When the Levees Broke’ a four-part ‘requiem’ about Katrina, New Orleans and the aftermath. There is no disembodied voice-over telling you what to think; just stories from every angle from the people who were there, wonderful composition, editing including archive that grips and carries you through.
It is a great doc and inspirational for any filmmaker. In contrast I am now watching S.W.A.T with Samuel ‘one act’ L. Jackson. ….well…my brain is full. By the way, if you are wondering, although I can’t really get much from a full screen at a cinema now (I can only see parts of a screen at a time and usually it is all too dark for my eyes to pick up detail….plus I get lost trying to find my way back from the loo and then after ages of feeling peoples heads to find my buddies will only discover the sods have eaten my popcorn), I can still see films on DVDs on my TV. Screen is smaller and I can get as close as I like. So there.

Murky Saturday

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 1 Comment

Today is difficult. Grey light with murky vision makes me feel claustrophobic; everything looks like its under dirty water. I only just got out of my pajamas and its lunch time and there is a pile of work to do…none of which I can assure you will be done. My sight is too tricky to go into town. Without being able to drive or ride a bike anymore one’s world gets really quite ‘local’. The only choice is to walk come rain or …well, as this is England, ‘not rain’. I am always considering how many crowds and how many major roads there will be and today…nope. Its not completely laziness. there is an element of self preservation. I make mistakes when feeling soul weary and when you are pretty blind those mistakes can cost you a lot more then just your pride.
Anyway – I am hoping England win the rugby this evening as beating the French usually ensures the general English gloom lifts across the nation and the word ‘jolly’ can be used again at least until the finals…
Meanwhile a poem. (Don’t say you haven’t been warned…)

Dry Erase Marker. (on losing my sight in 2004)

My eyes are being sucked slowly by sickness,
Gobstoppers going from hue to blue
To black.

I want you to give them back.

My horizons are broken into jags of jigsaw,
My mountains have bite marks
My seas are squeezed;
And all the time,

While the trees strike my face and
Traffic is a game for card sharps,

I am desperate to breathe.
Colour is oxygen and light becomes
My bread and wine.

Parkour for the blind!

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 1 Comment

I was thinking of parkour today…you know the crazy wonderful sport of urban ‘running’ where you jump and run and do remarkable physical feats whist dashing from a to b in a city. The opening stunt sequence of the last James Bond had a parkour sequence – the stuntman was an original parkour ‘choreographer’. ( I must also recommend the fabulously daft but exciting French film ‘District 13’ which has mind-blowing parkour sequences….
Anyway and yadda yadda… I was thinking that I would have loved to have tried it when I had more sight..but actually then I realised that a lot of us VI (visually impaired) people would probably be damn good at it as we already have to plan and judge and think on our feet- fast and as far ahead as we can vaguely see each time we head out the house. I, and many with tunnel vision, learn to manoeuvre with huge blank spaces in the world. . One has to make a guess and a damn good one about those tricky blank spaces before one walks through them and that is more complicated the more people and ‘urban furniture’ (maaaan…how hip am I? Well not a lot obviously if I am still using hte word ‘hip’) one has to walk around , over or through. .. only aterwards you may feel the whoosh of the car you didn’t see, or knock into the edge of a stairwell you didn’t quite see…great for adreneline junkies! But that is why one gets a tad weary when trying to travel through London or figure out how not to get run down when crossing a 6 lane main street in New York. Yup, all us visually impaired people are doing parkour brilliantly everyday..just very very slowly…….Truly extreme sport …If you ever wanted a rush try taping your eyes half shot on your way into work next week…

I am so happy that Doris Lessing got the nobel prize for literature! At last that cynical, sharp and searingly intelligent writer has been recognised. I met John Thaw the actor in Zambia once, on the film set of Michael Raeburn’s version of Lessing’s ‘Grass is Singing’. I was very little but I remember I told him I wanted to be an actor and he wished me well. Turns out he hated every minute of the shoot in Zambia and swore never to go back again… I am sorry about that.

My Mum and her partner are on their way back from volunteering in Shanghai at the Special Olympics. We are all in dread of the thousands of digital phtos but looking forward to the stories! In the sailing the Brits won bronze, and gold!

Introduction to my first blog!

Tanvir Naomi Bush Uncategorized 3 Comments

I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. This may sound like the Latin for some exotic garden plant but unfortunately is actually a genetic disease that causes the cells in the retina in the back of the eye to give up the ghost in varying patterns with no fixed timetable and often several side effects..the most annoying one being eventual blindness. Right now I have a very limited tunnel of vision which blurs and distorts occasionally during the day depending on light and stress. My peripheral sight, what’s left of it is a white out. Additional blurring is due to a secondary condition called macular odema which is extremely annoying but at least comes and goes unlike the RP which kills the cells and then leaves them lying around like a load of old garbage blocking the remaining view.
For some RP comes swiftly. It can blind a man in under a year but for many lucky sods like myself it is slow allowing us to adjust with each little theft of vision over tens of years. It plateaus and stays still for months, years and then can suddenly change again. You never know how it will be when you wake up each morning so there is no schedule for complete sight loss just a dull plodding dulling of my favourite sense.
I am not a hero. My failing sight does not make me able to hear whispered conversations at 50 paces, kill 100 thugs with only my karate skills and a length of curtain rail nor does it make me pale and interesting. It pisses me off. I rage RAGE against the dying of the light (to entirely misquote Dylan Thomas). I covert others ability to still drive , to cycle, to jog, alone and independent in the golden evening light, to just wander to the city centre without anxiety and planning. I sometimes can’t bear to be with my friends who move with such sickening ease through my murky world. Compassion I scream in fury at myself. Be F***g Compassionate! But its hard and more and more I find I have been home alone for days and days. Time has passed and I have used every excuse not to face the world. Not to fall arse over tit in the world.
I hold my fear and fury close to my chest and stick it under my bed when I go to work or out with others but it is always there when I come home; a little yet monstrous ball of grief and terror with teeth. I refuse to be a ‘disabled woman’, a middle aged blind woman. To refuse to accept this growing part of me means I am constantly fractured, torn and confused but it also means I have freedom and resilience and can dream without the weight of potential blindness on my back.

So there it is…the beginning of my blog to which you are very welcome….just to note that with this blog comes the unfortunate potential for gobbets of self pity and winging to infiltrate the general claptrap for which I apologise in advance and will do my utmost to avoid. Also, this is not yet set up to be visual impairment accessible which is ironic but I am a complete luddite and anything technical will have to be done by someone else so apologies tto the VI readers. I will sort it out soon!