This is Halloween…

Words by Holly Royle

The 31st October, the most wonderful time of the year, a time for tricks and treats and the shops already have their Christmas decorations out…
Skulls and zombies never quite seem to fit comfortably next to baubles and angels.
The event of Halloween derives from the festival of Samhain originally celebrated by the Celts. During this festival it was believed that the souls of those who had died would return to their homes. People would wear disguises such as masks to avoid being recognised by the spirits. Nowadays the holiday is an opportunity for dressing up, hosting parties and having fun.
As a lover of the Gothic subculture, Halloween is an excellent time for homeware shopping (who says I can’t have Halloween decorations up all year round?). But it does raise the question, why is it socially acceptable to dress up in eyeliner and black lipstick for one day of the year, but not for those who choose to do so year-round? It seems somewhat hypocritical of those who judge 364 days of the year, only to then dress up as Dracula.
But I digress, Halloween is ultimately a time of fun, dressing up for everyone.
Happy trick or treating!

🐺🎩🇸🇪 – Emojis and Language: Laziness or Efficiency?

Words and Picture by Reece David Merrifield

We all know the cliché ‘a picture can paint 1000 words’ or its equivalent translation, and in many cases I can agree that it has some worth. Yet nowadays we seem to be bombarded with images, especially through communicative means, that have in some ways replaced a need for its worded equivalent, and this is especially prevalent in ‘emojis’.

I guess, in some respect, I can be seen as ‘old school’ when it comes to SMS. I stick with my tried and tested ‘:’)’ and the classics such as ‘:)’, ‘:(‘ and ‘<3’, only stretching so far as to put ‘;-P’ which I consider to be quite complex for myself, and many people would be quite surprised by that. I have lagged behind the constant evolution of the emoji, and most of the time if I receive one, a ‘?’ will appear, so I have no clue what that person is feeling, and usually guess most of the time.

In some aspects I appreciate their simplicity, and in these busy times who needs to explain themselves in 1000 words when a few little images will do? But what is amusing is that, as a language, it is still in its infancy, and many problems have occurred as a result of this: the ‘demand’ for a ginger emoji; racial misappropriation when using ‘black’ emojis; the latest one I’ve seen being a ‘breastfeeding’ emoji. One can only assume that it is there to break down patriarchal attitudes related to public breastfeeding and its relevance in an ever increasing tolerant 21st century society.

I guess that you could put it down to my cynical attitudes towards the technological era and my love of sarcasm that I will never be able to get on board with the language of the emoji. It’s true, but I think my romantic idealism of a world where everyone would be able to explain themselves in the most eloquent of fashions, through art or written word, is also a factor in this. And, I admit, I can be a hypocrite: I’m monolingual (subject to change hopefully) and cannot draw even the most basic of stick-men. Yet my appreciation for these forms is something I hold true to, and will continue to do as I become (I expect) more bitter about technological advancement and its impact on language.

Have a nice weekend: 🙂

The Sensory Enigma – A Poem

The Sensory Enigma – Holly Royle
If I am myself, then this is not me.
The girl dancing happily and free
Is lost, in the music and the dark.
The encompassing darkness has never been
So comforting to behold.
The glowing pairs of eyes, visible for but
A split second show their digested poisons.

Blindly following, ascending into darkness…
How can this be right?
The vibrations through my bones grow,
They reach my heart and my soul.
I am lost in this place,
Removed from reality; the outside
World I cannot see. I feel free.

The smoke begins to fade,
The dream to dissipate.
I descend through darkness, back
To my world; which no one can forsake.

Performance: Chester Speakeasy

Words by Joshua Cialis, pictures by Jade Wolf

Last Friday our very own editor, Joshua Cialis was the support act for the renowned poet Mike Garry. This event took place at the launch of the Chester Speakeasy at the Live Rooms. Here is his account of the experience:

Back in august I saw a post on the Speakeasy Facebook page advertising a paid opportunity to support Mike Garry at the Live Rooms. After several takes and a varied selection of poems my audition tape was ready and sent off to await its fate.

Two months pass and an email arrives saying that I won the opportunity to perform. So I select my set list, a varied amalgamation of my better work. On to the venue, notebook in hand. Sit down have a beer and watch all the great open-mic performers (of which Jade and Holly from Foxtrot Uniform were among). Then my turn, Shelly – who was such an amazing and energetic host – introduces me with the warmest welcome to the stage and I do my poems. I am one of those people who is rubbish at remembering things so I had to have my book with me but thankfully I now know my poems enough to only glance. Being a lit stage made it difficult to gauge reaction as I could only see silhouettes of faces and could not actually see their expression but the audience made appreciative sounds so I must’ve done something right. It was only when I sat down after my performance that I remembered that I’d forgotten to perform my newest poem but never mind.

After my poems are performed I leave the stage and wait for the main even, the main man Mike Garry. For those that don’t know Mike’s work; he writes amazing sounding poetry which is accessible and recognisable for all. His blinding performance encompassed all my favourites which I had seen before plus some newer poems. As a swimming teacher, I especially liked ‘Armbands’ and for sentimentality of school days ‘Signify’. Finally Mike Garry finished with my all time favourite Garry poem ‘Ode to St Anthony’. Adding extra feeling and atmosphere by bringing on a viola player to play the backing track. An all round great performance by all.

Hot Off the Press!

Today is the day: Foxtrot Uniform becomes a physical entity! We have picked up our magazine from the printers. The paper is still warm and the ink is still drying.

You can order your hard copy online by emailing us (foxtrotuniformpoetry@gmail.com) or if you know one of the founders contact them and they will give you a copy; printed copies cost £1.50. Or as an introductory offer we will send you a digital copy for free. Again just email us.

Yours creatively,

Joshua and the rest of the Foxtrot Uniform team.

In or Out: Sense and the Moment

Words by Reece David Merrifield & Joshua Cialis; Pictures by Joshua Cialis and Clàudia Pinazo

Today, Joshua and I (Reece) have been discussing the ‘moment’, so we’d thought we’d share an extract from our conversation as a final piece before the moment our magazine comes out on Thursday…

R.D.M: Our social lives are a series of instantaneous time capsules designed to capture a moment where we know the moment is a good moment so we must detach ourselves from this moment and have our moment’s moment saved for tomorrow because the future is no longer measured in generations but in 24 hour timeframes and in between such moments our moments are enjoyed by other moments and we enjoy people enjoying these moments and when the flow of enjoyment spills its last drop we must turn on the tap once more and find ourselves being social once again by being socially unsociable to interconnect tomorrow’s summer with yesterday’s winter and find a constant medium between all extremes for if here we find ourselves with a moment to spare are we really in that moment at all?

J.C: To live in the moment, sometimes one must extract himself from the scene. This should not be an everyday exercise but maybe once a week we should cast off one of our senses and live purely with the other four. Obviously, the easiest sense to ‘switch off’ is our hearing, or rather we can make our ears concentrate on something else (music). This lack of hearing allows our sight, smell, taste, and touch to be heightened; allowing us to be more in the moment. Obviously, you lose those snippets of social conversation you’d normally hear from passers-by but everything else is elevated, the smell of the canal meandering past, the light of the sun passing idly through the branches of a tree, the way people walk rather than the way they sound. To truly be in the moment we must use all our senses together but sometimes to notice everything deeper we must remove ourselves from the picture and see the world as someone who does not understand it. Take away human contact and communications and see, smell and feel the world. Then once we have done that and noticed the less noticed senses, we must again fully immerse ourselves in the cacophony of sound and vision that the world offers us.

R.D.M: But if such and such is true, why must we not walk with a peg on our nose? Or continually chew the same flavour of gum? Maybe even keep our hands in touch with the one we’ve always loved? Or wear our darkest pair of sunglasses in the depth of a winter’s rage? Put this all together and listen to music, are we taken out of the picture completely or have we indeed made a new picture from all this nonsense? One does not need to dampen a sense to be removed from the picture and therefore see something new, for the listener will see more if he is aware of that around him and add to the overall picture in a three hundred and sixty degree sorta’ way.

J.C: Yet, for us to fully appreciate all our senses we should get rid of one some of the time – almost as if an experiment. Obviously, it would be interesting to see how our senses are heightened when getting rid of other senses, however, this is not particularly practical – or in some cases safe. One cannot walk around blindfolded without assistance of some kind which then adds another variable to the experiment of the senses. Again, chewing gum would affect the other senses, hearing yourself chew, smell as well as taste. It is therefore, far more practical – for now at least – to only experiment with a lack of sound; and not regularly. This may allow us sensical advances and allow us to better understand the world we live in when our hearing is given back to us by the pausing of music or the taking off our headphones.

To Know or to Feel?

Words & Picture by Reece David Merrifield

I’ve recently undertaken a Psychology course at Högskolan Väst, and it both fascinates and upsets me. The amount of statistics, figures and hypotheses is actually quite exciting and has to be appreciated, for it is in our nature to be curious about our surroundings, from the global level to the next-door neighbour. The aim of the course is to help us understand culture from a psychological standpoint, to open our mind to how different people’s worldviews can be, and what may be strange to us is somebody else’s norm. Living in an ever increasingly globalised, scientific and technological era, one cannot help but see why it is necessary for the human race to become more compassionate and sympathetic towards one another.

However, I took a personality test as part of this course, and it frightens me that I can be deduced as a collection of numbers. Mathematics is a language, but it rarely leaves room for error or spontaneity, thus stripping away something I hold to be crucial in our experiences as individuals. The more objective we become, we leave ourselves prone to being more and more parochial in our attitudes towards other people, as if we’ve already sussed them and we leave it at that, even if it’s that not what psychologists desire. There needs to be a balance in what we know, what we can predict, and what can be left to our imagination, the coincidences, the accidents that may prove foul or may prove serendipitous. Remember, penicillin came about from pure chance, and I count that to be artistic as much as Dalí’s ‘Persistence of Memory’.

Now, I’m not advocating that we abandon our rationality (as anarchical and exciting it may be for a while), but that we live amongst both companions of artistry and objectivity, and that we do not merely survive, but live, and in the fullest way possible. I predict a neo-Romanticism will arrive in the nearby future, and it will be a necessary reaction to the monotony of modern life. We must know how we feel, for the harmony of the world, but we also have to feel without necessarily knowing, for this is what it means to be authentically human.

Solidaritat amb Catalunya

Words by Joshua Cialis

Here at Foxtrot Uniform we support freedom of speech and democracy. We support the rights of the people against that of the State. Therefore, the actions taken by the Spanish State against Catalans trying to vote in their independence referendum is frankly wrong. Regardless of the view whether Catalonia should or should not be part of Spain, State brutality against a democratic act such as voting should not be seen in twenty-first century Europe. We are therefore publishing a poem about the events that took place in Catalonia yesterday.

Joshua’s poem was composed on the night of 1st October 2017 after viewing pictures and videos of police violence against voters in Catalonia. It uses the tune of Christy Moore’s song, ‘Viva La Quince Brigada’, for the reprise but the rest of the poem is free verse.

 

Solidaritat amb Catalunya– 01-10-2017 By Joshua Cialis

The screams of free men fill the square
As police raid a crowd.
Men and women gathering just to cast a vote,
Just to choose a future.

A comradeship of heroes was led
To the ballot box of the powerful and wealthy,
They just wanted their land back again.

An old man sits in the crowd
As they drag them away
And he wonders what they’ll tell the children
About the day that democracy died.

A comradeship of heroes was led
To the ballot box of the powerful and wealthy,
They just wanted their land back again.

The children sit at home
And wonder why Mare came home bloodied
Or Pare sits in the back of a police van.
Is this the future they vote for?

A comradeship of heroes was led
To the ballot box of the powerful and wealthy,
They just wanted their land back again.

But firemen protect the people,
A human shield of might
The Catalonian people have won their battle
Of solidarity.