Sunday, 4 September 2016

Blob Thing Makes A Prehistoric Friend And Shelters With Good People At #Greenbelt

It was just a normal British Saturday.  Twenty-four hours long.  Sandwiched safely between Friday and Sunday.  The sun would rise and set.  The earth would turn on its axis and travel nearly one degree through its revolution of the Sun.  The solar system would continue its long journey around the galactic centre.  People on the earth would be born and die, marry and divorce.  They would work and play, laugh and cry.  Among them would be oppressors and the oppressed.  They would practise their religions and live with their lacks of religions and some would feel guilty that they weren't practising their religions well enough.  Some would fight and die for the sake of politics, or land, or religion.  Some would be forced to flee the fighting and leave their homes and countries.  Some would marvel that humans fail to get along so often.  Some would pray or work for a better future.  British typists would note that spell checkers were imperfect and would get annoyed that software designers didn't seem to know that practise is spelled with an s rather than a c when it's a verb.  A normal Saturday.  A normal late August Saturday.  Thousands would watch highly paid men kick a ball round a field for a while.  Millions would watch the highlights of ball kicking on television and watch as four people at a desk laugh at people who can't sing very well.  A few would go to watch unpaid women kicking a similar ball round a similar field in a way often more interesting than the highly paid men.

It was a normal Saturday.  But it wasn't a normal Saturday for Blob Thing.  He was at Greenbelt and was having a nice time.  When we left him last he was walking around the site with his person.  His sister Winefride had gone off for adventures of her own with Blob's creator.  Blob isn't being allowed to dictate this post about his adventures because he got so carried away with other things yesterday.  Blob says that it's entirely unfair.  He is pointing out that this post is meant to be entirely about Greenbelt but that first paragraph didn't have anything to do with Greenbelt at all.  Blob says that he would have just got on and talked about the matter at hand if he had been allowed to.  He says that the post is meant to be about the festival not about the inequalities in the pay of male and female football players.  Blob's person has to admit that he is making a fair point and the things about football were entirely her fault.

Blob and his person continued their walk.  It was still raining but not too badly and the sky was looking a little more like a normal sky, suited for a normal Saturday.  Blob says that his person shouldn't start all that normal Saturday stuff again.  He looks like he might get a bit cross with his person if she keeps misbehaving.  She knows she had better behave because he is starting to get a bit melty and she doesn't want to have to deal with Blob Thing in a full meltdown.  He's usually a very joyful Blob but when he melts it's not a pleasant experience for him or anyone around him.  Blob's person promises to behave and together they can talk about his adventures.  First they can have a big hug with lots of pressure and Blob can curl up very small and the universe can shrink down.

Done.  Blob Thing is smiling again.  Greenbelt.  Blob's walk led him next to a couple of sheds.  One of them contained a video "exploring the ambiguity of a moving landscape in time and space."  That's what the description says anyway.  Blob could just see some shapes.  He stood there for a minute and by that time was bored and asked to leave.  Blob's person was happy to depart because she often isn't very good at appreciating abstract modern art either.

Blob walked into the other shed and found it a lot more to his liking.  The display there concerned an archeological expedition that had discovered all kinds of strange things.  It wasn't a real expedition but it was interesting anyway.  On display were specimens of lots of the creatures the expedition discovered.  A couple of the creatures had come out to play and Blob thing went to play with them too for a while.

One of them was so happy to be playing with Blob that it lit up and glowed at him.  Blob's person picked up a card from the exhibition which contained a model to cut out and make of one of the creatures, called Mechanism Number Five.  The card says that there's a website about it all and Blob would have included a link to the site here except that the index page just contains one picture and a link to a second page and the second page contains nothing at all.

Blob left that tent - The Allotment Gallery - and continued to walk.  He decided that they should go and look at some of the stalls near the entrance, run by different charities and Christian groups.  The first one they came to was run by the United Reformed Church.  They were friendly.  They were asking people to write down the things they would scrap about church.  Blob didn't participate but his person did.  Several times.  There is quite a lot she would like to scrap about church in general and a lot more she would like to scrap from the practices and attitudes of some of the churches.  Blob isn't going to allow her to make a list here because he says she could do that on her own blog.  The United Reformed people were giving away some pretty stars too and they had organised a special star hunt across the entire Greenbelt site.  All you had to do was find twenty stars and answer a question about each of them.  Blob thought it would be a fun thing to do and he took a copy of the question sheet.  It was a bit too wet to attempt it then but Blob decided he could do it on a dry day.  He didn't.  The hunt was never undertaken so Blob wasn't able to claim his prize.  He saw at least most of the stars though and they were all very different.

Near the United Reformed Tent was star number seven. This was the Selfie Star and the hunt said that you had to take a selfie at the star.  Blob wanted to do that.  And since at that moment the rain wasn't too heavy, his person agreed to take the picture.  So here's Blob.

Blob is pointing out that his person didn't take a very good picture because she cut off a point of the star.  Blob's person was hoping that nobody would notice that but now he's pointed it out.  So everyone will notice.  She's not happy about that but has still agreed to include this close up of Blob in the star.  Doesn't he look completely wonderful there?  Rainbows and glitter suit his personality very well.

And then the weather turned.  Blob's person took a picture of the mid-afternoon August sky.  The camera doesn't show how dark it was.  And then it got darker.  And darker.  And then the rains fell.  And the wind blew.  And the power supply struggled again.  Fences blew down.  Things in the campsite blew away.  Blob was worried about his own tent.  Would that survive the onslaught of the elements?  Would he have somewhere to sleep that night?  It was a worry.  If Blob Thing had an interventionist personal God to pray to then he might have prayed to it.

It rained.  And it rained.  And then it rained some more.  Blob hid under the cover of the United Reformed tent for a while and then he and his person dashed to another tent.  And then another.  There were nice people in all the tents.  They didn't get to visit many of them - but there would be time for that later in the festival and they would soon learn of the joy of the free fruit being given away by Quakers.  Blob confesses that he passed that tent quite a few times and every time took some more fruit.  As he writes this he remembers that he had been considering going to Quaker worship this morning.  It's too late now Blob.  You've missed it.  You'll have to go another day.

In every tent Blob's person talked to someone.  What else can you do when sheltering in a small space with people and the world outside is blowing away?  One of the stands was run by a few queer people.  Blob's person talked with a transgender woman there who was friendly.  She heard some sad stories of other trans people including the tale of a woman who had nine children, none of whom would talk to her since she came out.  There are lots of sad tales like that.  Blob's person has been very lucky in the last few years.  She is a bit worried at the moment because in the next week she may have to meet a range of people who don't quite accept her.  They include people who couldn't even look at her when he read the address at her mother's funeral two years ago, people who wouldn't speak to her afterwards or look at her, and people who tell her how wonderful they are because they haven't rejected her.  Blob's person would prefer not to have to meet any of those people ever again.  After the next week she will hardly ever have to encounter them and that will be nice.

It's great though that at Greenbelt things were fine.  She felt accepted.  Nobody stared at her.  It was a place of freedom.  That's not to say there weren't some homophobic or transphobic people there.  Someone was talking with Blob and his person during the weekend and said that a homophobic person had come to their stall, a stall run by an organisation standing for equality and inclusion.  But it was okay.  The homophobic person was honest about their views and wasn't looking to condemn anyone.  He was wanting to find resources and help not to be homophobic anymore, without having to read his Bible in any dishonest manner.  Even the homophobic person was pointing towards change and acceptance.  Greenbelt is a safe space for queer people.  And it's a safe space for change.

Blob liked this T-shirt.  He might have bought himself one of them but it wouldn't fit at all.  It's very hard to find clothes in your size when you're a small pink soft toy.  Even size zero clothes are far too massive.  It isn't that relevant anyway as his dress is sewn on so might be uncomfortable to remove.

Blob's person spent time talking with someone wearing one of those T-shirts.  She was very nice.  The person said that they had once been a strong evangelical conservative Christian and had come to Greenbelt anyway.  Lots of Christians see Greenbelt as a bad thing.  Including that person's church pastor who threw her out of the church for attending the festival.  When church leaders act in such a way, Blob says that they are acting in a way that has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus.  They're worse than the "brood of vipers" Jesus talked about and whereas he gave seven woes to the pharisees he would probably find seventy-seven woes for such church leaders.

Blob says that if the way they live and act is Christianity then Christianity deserves to die.  Now.   It's not just some things should be scrapped about church.  It's that church should be scrapped entirely and be replaced by tea drinking and appreciating nature.  There was an if there.  Because Blob says that the way some so-called Christians live and act isn't Christianity.  It certainly isn't following the way of Jesus.  Blob says that his person used to be that way too in some ways.  Blob's person agrees with Blob but didn't particularly want him pointing that out right now.

Time was moving on and the rain was beginning to ease.  If Blob was very superstitious then he might have given thanks to God or some other being for making the rain stop.  People tend to praise God for making nice things happen but they don't criticise God for making bad things happen.  Yay!  God made the rain stop.  People say that.  But they don't tell God off for making people's tents blow away, the fences fall down, or for worse effects of weather.  Sometimes believers can be very inconsistent.  Blob says that all humans can be inconsistent sometimes even if they don't believe in God.

Blob and his person decided to walk back down the site.  They wanted to meet up with Blob's creator and with Winefride and eat some food before being together to share some events that evening.  It was going to be marvellous and there weren't going to be any more big storms.  Tomorrow Blob wants to tell you about his Saturday evening with Rumi, dancing, Steampunk, comedy, a queer church service and late night carrot cake.  It was all very amazing.  Blob wishes that it wasn't another fifty-one weeks before Greenbelt 2017.  He's looking forward to it already.  He's also pleased because he doesn't need to pay for a ticket.  Soft toys are allowed to attend Greenbelt for free.

[2264 words]

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