Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, photography, Visual Impairment 1 Comment

I feel better today,,,,cheery even… which is why I don’t mind that my eyes have smoked up like a car windscreen on a cold day when a whole bunch of you leap in with laughter and friendship and steammmmmm …
So…I don’t mind my eyes smoking up. After all its been grieving and loss and jet lag and then those beautiful things that friends and family do like the notes of support on the email and phone, the cleaning of my sluttish flat, …it all has the effect of leaping into the car after playing Frisbee on a chilly beach. Its ok. It will pass..It’s the macular oedema just messing with my retinas…at least I hope it is because the RP takes the sight away for good and right now that would REALLY piss me off…… although I am having to be a bit more careful and less intrepid as I am knocking over everything and, nearly, everyone.


Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Writing Leave a Comment

I keep seeing my cat out of the corner of my eye and turn happily to greet her only to find emptiness. It is giving me stomach ache.
I have an urge to head off on another crazy adventure, to just get out of this grief sodden flat… but it is impractical and knuckling under and applying for work is the only way forward. Blast and buggeration. Someone said that applying for jobs, the endless ‘why I am great for the job’ and ‘ in my last job I yadda yadda’ was like detention for grown ups. ‘Tis true but whilst I am waiting to be discovered as the first visually impaired action film icon ( I have my tag line.. not ‘I’ll be back’ but ‘See you Never!!’ as I blast off their heads with my AK47 before triple vaulting off the top of the burning building. Sick and yet contemporary ironic don’tchathink?) and, as I seem to be writing my best selling novel at one page every two months, finding some paid work is the only option. Christmas is coming after all and someone needs to buy my Dad some more fishing gear….

Bleach Bypass

Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Film, Visual Impairment 2 Comments

We used a process called ‘bleach bypass’ during the making of one of my early short fiction films called ‘The End of Summer’. It entailed taking the 16-millimetre film through a convoluted system of washes in the lab that result in the picture having a strange, darkened, stormy texture to it. It almost appeared as if certain colors have been washed out and others had had their volume pumped up. Several films had done this before ours…indeed we nicked the idea from ‘Breaking the Waves’ by Lars Van Trier. We used the same lab baths of chemicals as ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrel’s by Guy Ritchie.

The reason I am banging on about this is that with RP, (my eye condition), my colour vision is changing in a strangely similar fashion. Evidently I will loose it all eventually but at the moment there is such an interesting subtle dimming. Elegant almost and not yet melancholy. I am losing definition between browns and dark greens and blues but oranges and definitely reds glow. I can walk down a street and be suddenly surprised and moved by a potted geranium glowing like it’s on fire from a window.

And the Cat died….

Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Visual Impairment Leave a Comment

First off my apologies for the long gap in posts but an hour after the last one the vet called to say my wonderful old one toothed, odd purring moggie, Martina, had liver cancer. Within a couple of hours I was holding her in my arms and watching as the vet pushed the plunger on the hyperdermic and her heart was stopped. She just dropped her nose into the crook of my elbow and her little heart stopped. I was beside myself with grief and guilt and even now as I write this, knowing it was only a matter of days for her, my own heart feels black with guilt. I have seen so much death but I have never been the one who signed a life away before.
I was collected from the vet by a friend and another friend later took me to a pub for whiskey but there was no time to gather myself as Teelo’s wake was Saturday and I was flying to New York on Monday.
On Saturday morning I walked into the kitchen and smashed Martina’s feeding bowl in fury at the week. I felt like a murderer.

Friday after the funeral

Tanvir Naomi Bush Poetry, Writing Leave a Comment

Teelo’s funeral was in Lusaka yesterday. They played reggae and handed out roses. In Zambian tradition it was an open coffin and everyone who saw said he looked peaceful. In fact Mrs. T, known for her acerbic and bitter take on life commented later to her daughter ‘There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with him to me, ‘ in an aggrieved tone that implied he might be faking. His great friend Mu did the eulogy and my father sent a text saying the church was packed to the gills.The wake took off right after the cremation and I imagine is still going on.
I lit candles and played Marley and danced and cried in the dark drinking too much gin. Later I spoke to C, his ex, on my mobile for hours. Vodaphone are going to love me.
Today I am hung over and resemble the weather which is grey and soggy. My old moggie is at the vet having her liver scanned. She has obviously also been at the gin. I refuse to even contemplate she may be too sick to come home so I will need to go and pick her up this afternoon and I still want to get to the gym to get rid of some of this podgy melancholy.
Tomorrow I go to London, to a Zambian restaurant on Southwark Bridge to drink more (good god!) in honour of Teelo with those of us who couldn’t make it back to Lusaka.
I am inarticulate and miserable so less said better.

Car crash takes my friend away

Tanvir Naomi Bush Poetry, Writing 2 Comments

I was going to write about the golden light of autumn this weekend, about a friend’s new baby and about some quite funny stuff that happened last week…but a man was killed on Saturday night and his death changed everything.

This man was about 6 foot but taller with the huge matted dreadlocks that he had been growing since he was in his 20’s. They were showing a little grey but not so you’d notice. He was what he would call, with his explosive laugh, a ‘goffle’ a coloured man, mixed race with roots in Scotland and Zambia. He had been born in Ndola a mining town in Zambia but I am not sure what his Dad did there. I know he was a bright kid and a charmer even back then. I know he always dreamt of ‘the big time’ but wasn’t sure what that really meant for him. He was an excellent actor even as a youth and a self taught artist. He ran his own graphic design business but he still dreamt of something bigger. He could have been a film star- he had the charisma. In fact it was charisma, this huge bear like personality that made this man a central hub of my community. He was a self professed bullshit artist, he was a barfly, he was a womaniser and he was occasionally a bully but he was huge hearted and warm. Strangers and old friends flocked around him. He was the life and soul of every bar he commandeered.

Incidently …at the vets…

Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Visual Impairment Leave a Comment

I have had a couple of notes of support about this blog and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Baring one’s soul (and in my case, my teeth) is only possible with your help, feedback and criticism.

Yesterday a dear pal, D, popped by for lunch and was kind enough to help me out by driving the cat (with the off purr) and I to the vet. The vet’s waiting room is so much more exhilarating then the doc’s. People turn up with motley collections of creatures on leads and in cages and usually spend much of the time leaning over said creature speaking in baby talk. People ,and English people at that ,actually talk to each other at vets…the doggy people usually shriek at each other – mostly about anal glands and mange. Cat people are usually quieter and looking a little guilty. Cats will have that effect.

Nodding off in the loo

Tanvir Naomi Bush photography, Visual Impairment 1 Comment

I mentioned that travelling through cities is quite a challenge with limited sight and therefore a bit knackering, but I think today was a bit ridiculous even for me…. I had organised to meet a journalist at the National Film Theatre on South Bank. He wanted to interview me about a photographic workshop I did a couple of months ago specifically designed for visually impaired people and I thought I would then use the day to doss around some art galleries and perhaps extricate an employed friend or two from their offices for lunch. Unfortunately it was green bin day today so the walk from my flat to the station involved manoeuvring around hundreds of bins on narrow pavements and then having to run for a train.

Spike Lee did good.

Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Visual Impairment 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 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.

Murky Saturday

Tanvir Naomi Bush Poetry, Visual Impairment 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…)