Saturday, 31 August 2013

Seriously, let's have Fun! Stuff to look forward to.

This A Graceful Death and Sounding for the Soul event is dedicated to the memory of Julia Wilson, who died on the 9 August, of Motor Neurone Disease.  Julia's portrait is on the poster above.  She was a wonderful teacher and a bright and loving soul.  It was lovely to meet her and to be with her in her final stage on this earth.

I am very grateful to the Bognor Regis Lions who have supported us with the donation of their very wonderful venue, the Roland Rank Centre here in Bognor.  The Roland Rank Centre is a converted barn, with light, and wood, and space, and a huge friendly central hall with a fully equipped kitchen at the far end. A small but generally relevant digression now follows.

My old Dad went to Holyrood School here in Bognor, with Roland Rank's son, of the same Rank family that bangs the gongs for the opening of the Rank films of long ago. I have had gentle and generous support from John Rank over the years, and he was here at the first showing of the A Graceful Death exhibition in my home in 2009.  I think he is a wonderful, kind man. One of the Holyrood old boys, and another of my father's friends now in his 80s, tells me that they were known as the Holyrood Hooligans at school. An old school prospectus tells us that the school phone number is Bognor Regis 65. My father lived with his grandmother in Bognor and her phone number was a very prestigious Bognor Regis 6.  They were the sixth household to get a telephone, and Holyrood House was the sixty-fifth.  Now of course, we all have many phones each, with numbers long and complicated.  How things change.  The prospectus for Holyrood School, in order that parents know what they are letting themselves in for, for goes on to tell us grimly that -

"The school is registered as "efficient" by the Board of Education.   Last inspection 1931."

Damned, it seems, with faint praise.  And very deep and meaningful that now Sarah Weller will be banging her Sounding for the Soul gongs in the plush and spacious Roland Rank Centre on the 14 September.

Back now to the excellent and more than efficient Roland Rank Centre on the fancy Aldwick Road in Bognor Regis.  It will host the four new and as yet unexhibited  AGD paintings beautifully, and will be very resonant for the Sounding for the Soul sound works and sound bath.  The kitchen at the other end is essential, because we will be giving you tea and cakes on arrival and especially after the Sound Bath, to gently bring you back to earth and help you go home not only healed and inspired, but full.

So.  What to expect on Saturday 14 September when you come to our event?  Briefly, this is the menu.

Arrive at 1pm, Sarah and I will meet you all and you will be able to have a look at the new A Graceful Death paintings amongst the older ones, and see the new poetry that has been donated.  Sarah's crystal bowls, her singing bowls, her gongs and her drums and percussion instruments will all be set up for you to see, ask her about, and to form some idea of how the sounds will work in the converted barn of the Roland Rank Centre.  Help yourself to cake and tea, wander around, and read what is there, see what is there and introduce yourselves to the Sounding for the Soul equipment and the paintings.  Tallk to us, talk to each other, have more tea.

2pm I will tell you about the work that I do.  I will introduce you to the people behind the paintings, (not literally), and speak of the effect that painting people who are dying has on me, on them, and on the public that sees the pictures.  Dying is a normal human activity.  It is filled with fear and the unknown, and it does us good to look at it, discuss it, and see that people who are dying, can be wonderful teachers and role models.  But we don't often get to see them.  This is where A Graceful Death steps in.  I would like to hear your experiences too.

3.15 I hand you over to Sarah.  Sarah will introduce her instruments and talk to you of the power of sound and vibration in healing.  She works with people with Alzheimers, and has held workshops for sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis.  Sarah does sounding work for everyone that comes to her, and is highly trained in her field, and has made a study of the effects of sound and healing.  She will then ask you to lie, or sit, (bring a cushion or a blanket for this part - Sarah will have plenty herself if you don't want to bring one) and relax.  She will guide you to do some deep breathing, and then will start what is called a Sound Bath.  This can last up to an hour, and you experience the most amazing sensations of sound and vibration.

After this, you will need to drink water which will be provided.  You will also need time to come back to the present, the effect is very much like a deep meditation.  Then, a cup of tea or coffee and some more cake. That will also be provided, of course.  I hope there will be a bit of time to chat, and to discuss how we are all feeling.  At 5.30 you will go home and rest and may even dream differently that night.

The £15 that you are paying for this afternoon of awareness and experience, goes directly to the A Graceful Death project.  This enables the work it does with the dying and the bereaved to continue.  And so many thanks to you all for coming.

Coming up!

Jackie with her hair, having her chemo at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.  

A party in the Walnut Tree Pub here in Bognor Regis.  Why? You ask.  

Do you remember that the fourth and final painting for AGD this year is of the beautiful and articulate Claire?  (It will be shown with the other three on Saturday 14 Sep).  Claire's close and dear friend, Jackie, who looked after her so tirelessly when she was ill with her cancer, has now been diagnosed with cancer herself.

Jackie's cancer is being treated.  She is receiving chemotherapy and has decided to have a sponsored head shaving party to raise money for AGD and the awareness raising of end of life issues.  And so!  Jackie is a party girl, a girl who likes a good evening out with friends and family, and Jackie has suggested making an evening of fun and games at the Walnut Tree pub (who have agreed happily, to host this event), and so that is coming up.  We chose a date before Jackie's hair will fall out anyway, with her chemo, and it will be the 20 September.

We aim to have an evening of events, including the head shaving by a local young hairdresser, and a pub quiz.  If anyone out there has any good ideas about fun fund raising things we could do that evening, let me know.  What we have in mind is a great evening out, with fun and games, despite a very serious message which is, dying is natural and we need to see it and talk about it.  I will get this up and running by next week, and thank you Jackie for being such a star.

Shall I?..

Have a Reggae Evening as a fund raiser for AGD?  I love Reggae, and I am a bit of a groover, I think it is a very good idea.  Wouldn't it be nice to have it in Jamaica?  But no, Bognor will have to do.  Watch this space.  I feel an evening with all the old favourites coming up.  And since a lot of them are dead, it fits in nicely with AGD.  Like, Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott.  It's all becoming very exciting.  It is true, that until we are dead, we are very much alive.  And now, without further ado, I shall lie in the sun in my garden listening to Misty in Roots, and planning our very own Bognor AGD Sunsplash with the ghostly echoes of the Holyrood Hooligans laughing and jamming and mashing up the style in the ether around me.

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