Poetry on the Hoof: Serbian kids past present and future, tense.

Serbian kids
Listen to turbofolk,
And Californian surfing pop,
riding your pentatonic scales and beatbox bullets
With ease.

You gas gobble up the guezler with the guzzler,
The soviet command with the Yankee demand,
The eastern promise and western demise,
With aplomb and the lead free sonic shrapnel
ricochet of NATO bombing.

Economising where you can,
With the diphthongs and glottal stops,
Preferring instead Cyrillic imperatives of Ч, Ђ, Џ, Љ, Њ and Ћ.
Your present itch is our future tense.

you go
looking to Paris
looking to Boston
looking to Moscow
looking to Rome
looking to Istanbul
looking to Athens
looking to Budapest
looking to Home
looking to Belgrade
looking to Zagreb
looking to Skopje
to Sarajevo
Ljubljana
And Podgorica
Check out Pristina
wondering wtf lol SOS.
Past Perfect or imperfect?
Provisional or conditional?
But what a future it is.
We would be wised-up
to memorise it.
Hvala!

It’s Conference Season! How to avoid the worst of conferences

Its that time of year again!  Time to pack our bags, brush up our papers, remember how to work powerpoint remotely and steel ourselves for mass produced sandwiches in ecologically friendly cardboard boxes.  Yes, the joys of the conference and all it entails.

i’m really looking forward to conferences that don’t build on their content, aren’t a mix of practical and theoretical, are technologically unreliable, are unrigorous, provide a platform for the wrong kind of speakers, aren’t chaired well, don’t offer chances for dialogue, have the same old same old people on the panels and  provide too many spaces for axe grinding: and particularly those educational conferences which have little in the way of artistry and preach the educational message in an utterly non-educational manner.  Conferences with a pay-bar on the opening night are also low on the list.

But hope springs eternal and i’m looking forward to a better experience of meeting old colleagues, making new friends and confering – the whole point of the conference experience of course.  As Mohammed Arif said at our first All Our Futures conference, I came to England alone; and leave the conference with new friends’. So here’s to new friends, new ideas, new challenges and with any luck, new solutions to feeding the conference frenzied masses.

If you’re at BERA at the Institute of Education, London next week, the Transformative Difference Conference at Liverpool Hope University the week after, the PASCO Conference in Belgrade next month or the ISBE (Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurialship) Conference the month after, please feel free to come and strike up a conversation.  Who knows, we might have some ideas on what constitutes the best of conferences!

Have a Nice Day – Belgrade Style

Someone says ‘I love you’  to someone else on a mobile and up and down the train carriage little messages of encouragement and protection flutter by which are offered as a way of saying ‘take care of yourself through the forthcoming day as you never know what’s around the corner’. The hidden but frequently visible primaeval anxiety of the unknown – wrapped in that little message of “take care…” followed by “and you…”

J tells me of the Macdonalds restaurant in Belgrade where staff handed out hundreds of free burgers during the civil unrest and the student gatherings in Belgrade round about the time of the NATO bombing. Never thought I’d say it but hurrah for Macdonalds and their staff.

We stop off at the Sanctuary, a pub opposite a famous church so named as it protected the artists, leftists and radicals from the police: a secular place which is just a stones throw from the spiritual sanctuary offered by the church. They were always left alone apart from when Milosovic was in power  who then cracked down on them.

I can see why if you were a young firebrand all the bombings and corruption and edginess of it would appeal:  a rock and roll life style for those with no musical ability or talent – the X Factor with balls guts and high stakes – and where things matter more, are more heightened, have a greater intensity than the living of your life in a progression of civil obedience and decorum. Or as a member of a boy band for that matter.