Video: Catherine, on Scotland (Guest Speaker)

At last, I made it! Here’s a precious talk by a Scottish woman who we had the chance to meet thanks to Cristina! I hope you can find the time to watch the video, excuse the recording and editing mistakes, and enjoy all the learning this talk brings! ❤

Scotland & Scottish English, by Catherine (Guest Speaker)
Catherine, from Edinburgh, kindly accepted Cristina’s invitation (C1, 2016-17) to come to our School as a guest speaker and speak about her country, Scotland, allowing us to learn about its people and culture as well as to listen to the Scottish variety of English so we can get acquainted with its accent. We feel privileged to be able to offer this video to our community. Thanks so much, Catherine, and Cristina, for this precious gift! The video includes her about 15-min talk and then questions by students. We hope you all enjoy Catherine’s talk !


About Heat Wave, I’m not posting Marilyn’s, but this other one! Enjoy!

Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, which I adapted to Causes Are… for an international pacifist meeting but — sorry, I made a mistake — it was not in Berlin when the wall came down. It was in Liege, Belgium. (Checked it here.) Hey, I didn’t do the sexy stuff, really. Too shy and feminist! 🙂 Lyrics below, sing along! 😀

The French are glad to die for love / They delight in fighting duels / but I prefer a cause that lives, succeeds and gives me… FUEL! / A kiss of the hand may be quite Continental / But Causes are a girl’s best friend! / A kiss may be grand but it won’t pay the rental / on your humble flat or make you nice when you’re a brat! / Find rich bores, affiliate ’em to your cause, / work all day and forget ’bout your debts / Your life will be sweet then / so high and so deep then / Causes are a girl’s best friend! / … / There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer / but causes are a girl’s best friend. / There may come a time when you can’t bear not smoking / Think you’re awfully nice and rush outside and have a drag! / Time goes on and youth is gone / but causes’re always there when you care. / So join in, ‘vrybody, and bring lots of money!!! / Causes are a girl’s best friend!

(I should record this for the TP podcast! Demented laughter!)

Joy Harjo, The Creation Story (poem)

Joy Harjo plays the saxophone and writes, poetry and more.

And here’s Joy Harjo saying, singing her poem, and playing.

I created a webpage on for her, to let people know about her. I also asked her if I could record one of her poems for The Talking People Podcast, “Strange Fruit”, which you can also read or listen to. I also comment on the power of poetry in the poem.

You should all learn a poem, or two! 🙂 ❤

My Apologies: Bob Dylan IS a Poet, & Other Stories! (edited)

Due to my ignorance, I was surprised Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize because I thought he had not written literature, but he has. My partner has a poetry book Dylan wrote in the 60s: Tarantula, experimental prose poetry, which is a merit (I have a prose poetry short story if you want to read it, and see how dangerous it is to write) And it’s hard for poets to get prizes.

I would have given him the Peace Nobel instead, really, because his songs were key for the peace movement (the so-called hippies), and to spread ideas, not violence, but well — I take back my words in class the other day. I have nothing to say about his getting the Literature Nobel Prize. Well —

I think of Joan Baez… She would have been a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, as good as Bob Dylan, in any case. And both probably better than other people who were awarded this prize! Were Baez’s lyrics poems? Dylan’s were. Actually, he said of some of those that he didn’t intend to write a protest song (Blowing in the Wind). A great many people in the 60s, who loved literature and the arts, acknowledged Dylan as a talented writer. It’s true that the 60s were full of patriarchal ideology, in spite of feminism being at full blast (as compared with other times, in the USA at least, an extremely patriarchal country, full of patriarchal ideology, this is, violent ideas of superiority-inferiority). Just watch the movie “Hair” if you have a developing feminist intelligence and see what I mean. Women were invisible most of the time, in spite of it all. It was the time when you were considered “estrecha” (not that kind of girl) if you decided to choose who you had sex with, and rejected a proposal. (Include women, and the history of humankind is slightly different.)

And then —

It’s telling that the 10 nominees were men. Not a single woman. But I don’t want to say now that it would have been great if women writers had been considered because I didn’t say that in previous cases where traditionally-minded men were awarded a prize.

I’m glad progressist-minded people are taken into account, because progressist ideas are what have helped us humanize our violent cultural upbringings. That’s my view. People always have questions about whether progressist people DESERVE the (few) awards they get, but I’m critical of this, obviously. (You can disagree with me, anyway — I’m into freedom of expression and find that dialogue is positive for everybody! 🙂 )

Now listen to these people. Bob Dylan IS actually considered a talented poet.

At the same time, I always regret women are nowhere to be seen. Still, there’s no stopping a feminist, there’s no stopping social change for the better, also because quite a lot of women are managing to keep alive and free — particularly, provided people start considering ideas instead of fueling the defamation/slander and misinterpretation of kind people, instead of demonizing  those who care about human beings.

And here is a very telling (significativo, que significa cosas) poem by Anne Sexton, who like Hemingway, committed suicide, but who, unlike Hemingway, instead of being considered a Hero (in the anti-hero version, like he was), was considered a bad mother for abandoning her children, something men writers who committed suicide never were — as if suicide were a frivolity when done by women.

Her Kind –

Incidentally, I’d like to invite you all to learn a poem by ear by heart! ❤ ❤ ❤ I recommend Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver. But this poem may also keep you company, at times. Here are videos with students who learned a poem in our C1 course, in previous years: songs & poems playlist.

Toot Thielmans has passed away! (On Music)

Today I learned Toot Thielemans (I always thought it was Tut Stilmans! 😀 )  died last August — 94 years old of whistling and playing his harmonica! He was BelgiAN, from BelgiUM, where you can find the best beer and chocolate in the world!!

This piece of news brings me that kind of emptiness the death of people whose work you have enjoyed brings. He was and IS a musician who played an instrument almost nobody plays, the harmonica. Actually, when I was a little girl and even when I was a teenager I remember people sang (particularly mothers while doing the housework) and there was always someone bringing a guitar or harmonica to gatherings. Perhaps people keep doing it today, but I haven’t seen that for years. I have the feeling industry has sucked music out of people’s everyday lives! But I’m old and might be just in a different stage of life! Anyway, in case you never heard this musician, here goes a tune he actually composed. You might have heard him in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or well, he played versions of all kinds of jazz and blues songs and tunes.

I heard him for the first time on the radio, in the wee hours of the night, in an attic with no electricity, no water, no kitchen, no toilet! (there was a toilet in the corridor, comunal it was). I couldn’t sleep because it was always freezing cold! So I listened to the radio, jazz program(me)s mainly. In spite of poverty, I loved these moments. I had left my mum’s house and found a job teaching English, so I could earn a living. I was also trying to keep up with courses at college/university. In those days, people didn’t leave their parents house either, at least not my generation, so it felt like having a lot of freedom! And music and freedom sort of reinforce each other to give you great happiness. So here goes this memory to hono(u)r Toot Thielemans life and work! ❤

Our Stories: Being Arrested & Singing the Muppet Show

Today I told a personal story. I didn’t mean to, but it just came out when Lorena mentioned Peggy, a star in the Muppet Show. I sang a bit of the tune “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” Peggy used to sing in the show, and said — oops — that that was one of the songs we sang when we were arrested! 😀 It’s inaccurate. We sang this song once, in a very risky action! The song we USED TO sing while waiting to be processed was “I Will Survive”! 😀

Well, the story goes like this:

From 1989 to 1992 I was on and off at camp, meaning at Blue Gate, in Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, in the west of London, at about half an hour by bus, if I remember correctly. We practiced nonviolent direct action (NVDA, ADNV in Spanish), wrote newsletters on a wheel under the rain, and got arrested for all kinds of actions, mainly trespassing but also blocking convoys so they couldn’t carry weapons on conventional roads and stuff. In England, you can defend yourself at court, so we would prepare our court cases by the fire, out in the open, and by going to the Newbury library, Newbury being a town near camp. I learned a lot about zillions of things. And enjoyed it, too!

Image result for metal ladders buildingI remember an action which was really scary because we climbed a building but going down was simply terrifying, so we asked the MODs (ministry of defence police) to bring a helicopter to take us back to earh! 😀 Or “Simon” (but we were far too high), the crane. Anyway, they wouldn’t. They decided to climb the steel ladder running along the wall and carry us on their shoulders! And we feared we could be dropped! So we were refusing to be carried down. So we sat on the floor, in a line, drawing a circle: each of us had her legs around the woman in front, as well as our arms, holding really tight. The MODs were trying to separate us, but didn’t manage to. And well, it was hours like this, so we sang all the whole repertoir of the Muppet Show, including Lydia, of course!

When I came back to Spain, I tried to create a webpage for all this at but failed. Women’s herstory is of no interest to “the general public”. And I suspect it’s always been so, which is to say, I believe a lot of adorable people have done amazingly good things for humanity, that the best things we have today come from this saga of anonymous people, and that we don’t know about it, or don’t care to find out because patriarchal culture tells us it’s not a good idea. Funny all the nonviolent strugge doesn’t ever make it to history and how people doing it are perceived as dangerous, as if war, corruption, discrimination, etc. were not violence because they are so natural. Nonviolence is natural too, and harms much less! (Here you have another topic to mull over and discuss!) So this is why the site is half-way through and it’s been so for over 15 years, I think (?) Anyway, here’s the link. If you have spare time, you can read. But do so in English! Actually, I didn’t manage to translate that much, anyway.