This month we made two trips to the city. One to meet up with This Low Carbon Life bloggers to celebrate our third birthday at the Bicycle Cafe and the other for our monthly discussion with fellow Dark Mountaineers. At both the main topic was community convergence.
So this is a small on-the-ground post to remind ourselves that no matter how hard things become, especially economically, it's really good to meet up and share stuff and know you are not on your own. Even though our tendency is to shut down in tough times, we need to head out in the cold and the dark sometimes, and know there is a group of people talking about subjects that get scant attention in the mainstream media, or even in our ordinary daily circumstances. Projects, events, feelings, reflections we can feedback on and share. What struck me was the warmth and stability and coherence of these meetings. How we went home through the rainy back roads and wild winds smiling. How it hadn't always been like that in the city. And now it was.
Trade School and The Common Room where he and Vanessa and Mark are giving classes on the prototype day at St Lawrence's on November 10; Vanessa explained how Occupy Norwich segued into the local progressive community meet-up, Visions for Change, and the ethos behind the ex-airfield community space in Berlin. At our Bloggers meeting, Chris Hull talked about FarmShare, the restarting Transition Circle West, and the great success of the third Magdalen-Augustine Celebration, Jon talked about Norwich Community Bees (now tucked up for the winter), John about the Ceilidhs he organises at the Keir Hardie Hall, Simeon about a recent TN meeting at Inner Space and how the Economics and Livelihoods group's visioning in St Augustine's had led to the creation of The Stage Community Centre (hopefully we'll hear more about all these on the blog later on).
Since we all lead very different lives in different locations, in the city and out, it was a rare treat to meet off-line and kick back for a couple of hours without an agenda. How else do you find out first hand (from Chris Keene) about Zero-Carbon velomobiles? Or what life is like during the cuts at a regular office, or trying to find work as a graduate? Or, for that matter, as a 50-something grassroots journalist/editor.
So for me, it's always about becoming our own media. Writing for this blog, now in its fourth year, editing the new Transition newspaper, but also going out, meeting up, catching up, asking questions, listening, and in many cases, giving each other an opportunity to speak directly:
Here is fellow artist and Dark Mountaineer, Kevin Hunn's video for the Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts, shot at the Magdalen-Augustine Celebration, to encourage people to march in London the following weekend:
Top image: Chris Hull (right) and other participants in Waiting, Shifting, Shopping at Magdalen-Augustine Celebration