Love is all around lenina this Xmas. The reason for this is that I’m in Edinburgh, rather than London.
Remember, many social outings in London were characterised by people abusing lenina, with outright hatred being displayed towards her by various females, including threats of violence towards an innocent, albeit haughty, lenina.
I was trying to get my head around that last night, when seeing some of my Edinburgh friends for the first time since August. With them, love is all around. They’re not over the top friendly in a superficial way (unlike the ‘London crowd’ who are always superficial to the point of not in fact existing. At all.), but they are genuine and solid. My male friends don’t have any flirty bollocks going on, and there is no ‘sexual tension’, instead, it’s just a proper genuine liking, and being happy to be spending some time together.
In the afternoon, I went to my friend J’s in ‘her’ shop (she manages a big H&M store in Edinburgh) as a surprise. She was genuinely happy to see me, with various hugs etc. In the ‘London crowd’ a similar hugging etc. would have occurred, the only difference being that these people have never had a real conversation with me, therefore it’s all unreal (i.e. lenina would NEVER hug a fucking stranger that she’s only exchanged platitudes and generic sentences with, whereas for the London crowd, generic conversation translates immediately into a great, close friendship, that is to be solidified by physical contact such as hugging. Yes, that’s why I don’t see them any more).
I wonder whether it’s something in the Scottish national psyche that makes them more similar to the German one, as opposed to the English (rather, the London one. London isn’t exactly England). I get the impression that the Scottish are initially quite reserved, but, once you actually get to know them, they are the warmest and most genuine people, and you have a friend for life. It’s a bit similar to the German way I think. That’s why I can’t stand the OTT way prevalent in American and Australian culture, smiling all the time and everything is fucking great.
The ‘London way’ seems to be similar. Everything is quite superficial, and you don’t get to know anyone really (but you don’t bloody want to, either!). I’ve only got one friend in London, but I’ve known her since 1994, and the reason why I get on with her so well is probably that she’s a disabled, lesbian artist. I.e. she too is a total outcast from mainstream society insomuch that she can’t and doesn’t relate to hegemonic London discourses surrounding relationships, sexuality, male/female bollocks, or friendships.
Still, the reason for this post is not to think about the stupid city that is London, but instead, to ask everyone to spread the love this Xmas. I don’t care what everyone has been doing up until now, but from today, treat everyone nicely, especially, the people you are close to. Also think of giving some money to charity or doing something charitable. Here are my two favourites:
- FreeRice: I’ve blogged about this before
- the Guardian’s Katine project – if you’ve had a good year and some money left over, you really ought to give some of it away. I learned by watching Make Me A Muslim that in the Islam faith, it’s obligatory to give a percentage of your annual income to charity:
There are two forms of charity in Islam—obligatory and voluntary, called zakat and sadaqa respectively. Zakah, from the verb zaka, which signifies “to thrive,” “to be wholesome,” “to be pure” means purification. Giving up of a portion of the wealth one may possess in excess of what is needed for sustenance, is to “purify” or legalize it so that the remainder may lawfully be used by the alms giver.
Deducting zakat from one’s earnings is a material acknowledgment of the fact that the actual giver is God. Since the giver is God, the recipient is duty bound to spend it in His cause.
The law of zakat is to take from those who have wealth and give it away to those who do not. This rotation of wealth is a way to balance social inequality.
Leaving aside the God stuff which doesn’t sit comfortably with me, the idea of obligatory charity is a great one, and one thing we should learn from Islam.
Though I won’t wish anyone a Happy Holiday. I’ll be wishing people a Merry Xmas, and if they don’t celebrate Xmas, I’ll be wishing them a great holiday, or just a nice time off.