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Grey or Gay?

Simplicity, decluttering and minimalism create beautiful living spaces. They are beautiful in the sense that they feel light and spacious and are calming in their common hues of white, black or grey. I like the paper lanterns you can put over a lightbulb, it makes the room airy and light – good idea. Let’s have a look at one of those first:

Zen or any other Monasteries also have an empty, clean and fresh feel about them. I can vouch for one I went to some 75 kilometres north of Bordeaux, in Plum Village, France. It’s where Thich Nhat Hanh’s and his Sangha live, pray, sing.

Elsewhere in the world, some Buddhists went up a mountain to meditate and generated enough heat from their bodies to dry a wet towel!  Pretty well known now. What I am saying is, they are certainly not cold.

Some people like meditating because it appeals to their urban coldness, the modernist writers have documented the isolation of the city, the cruel indifference of it’s grey slabs, of wondrous anonymity?…Others for respite and healing from the scolding fires of love.  Ideally, life, like art, ought to be merry and gay.

Some elements of modernist and abstractionist art favour a cerebral look at life, devoid of colour, this isn’t a respite from emotion, but coldness from the outset, the predominance of the mind, expressing itself. Greys! You don’t want to be of that species.

Chinese Classical dance, so colourful,  warm and kind, is a number one artform, is a perfect example and puts what we want to say most vividly and masterfully. Check these two out:


Bamboo – the simple solution for almost everything.

Bamboo has a minimalist characteristic, it works it’s way around many functional uses, making life simpler  – the ancient Chinese used it for everything almost. After reading this, you will know bamboo solves life’s problems both then and today – in 14 ways. You can build a house live in it, eat it in your meal, use it to run your ecosystems, recreate civilisation, as you will see. Read this list to get the low down. What I like about bamboo that appeals to the minimalist mindset too, not only it’s simple and natural elegance, but it’s smooth texture, it makes us closer to nature itself, away from the urban hubbub of machinery and computors. The minimalist is concerned with sustainable renewable energy,  green living, to a point, as wasting finite resources such as coal, oil and so on, can lead to lack of usable energy resources in the future. The minimalist always only uses what they need, nothing wasteful or superfluous, so it is the minimalist naturally has at least some concern for greener living.

Beautiful Bamboo – A poetry all on it’s own.

1. Musical Instruments & Equipment

Many of us have seen the bamboo flutes from Kung-Fu episodes, or the great pipes commonly associated with Pan, or panpipe moods CDs which has got covers of  classic ballads like those of a certain Celine Dion, Wet Wet Wet, or whoever!…Although mostly associated with the wind instruments, bamboo is used to construct a variety of percussive instruments. Examples include the xylophone.

Pic of xylophone coming up later

2.  Footbridges

Kampong Cham bridge in Cambodia: the longest bamboo bridge in the world.

3. Alternative Energy

Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to a foot a day. True. Another ‘green’ use of bamboo is as a building material for alternative energy installations. In many rural settings, bamboo is a primary material for building waterwheels for hydropower. Bamboo is also used to make blades for wind turbines. Without getting silly with it, bamboo can be used.  There are novelty gimmicks, which uses bamboo in a way that I wont include here — those are plain ridiculous or just too futuristic to mention in this list! When I wanna drive a bamboo car assume I’m not a writer anymore.

4. Kitchenware

Bamboo cutting boards are quite kitsch and much easier to clean than typical plastic cutting boards.

Bamboo is a popular material for traditional Asian kitchenware as well. For instance, bamboo steamers have been used in Asia for centuries to cool rice and steam vegetables, but have more recently made their way west and bring an elegant, healthy way to steam—rather than boil vegetables—preserving flavour, nutrients, all that.

And since you can have the versatility and durability of bamboo as kitchenware items, why not consider bamboo for…

5. Lunch

…Or dinner, for that matter. Bamboo shoots have been a popular food staple in Asia for centuries.


Despite its myriad of uses within the culinary world, it’s safe to assume that bamboo’s most appropriate use is in making bamboo beer.

Consuming traditional grains like barley and hops, beer made with bamboo offers a unique flavor.  Making bamboo beer requires a process of fermenting the rich natural sugars of the plant’s sap. This beverage is naturally enjoyed in Asia where bamboo is plentiful, but is also found extensively in Africa, though only during rainy seasons.

6. Air Fresheners

7.  Healthcare Lotions   

When heated, bamboo charcoal is made into a medicinal vinegar, used in places like Japan to treat minor skin conditions like eczema. Bamboo products like this are also known for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

8. Clothing

Bamboo has become a popular choice in durable, air permeable, soft fabrics, and is used in to make bedding, underwear, baby diapers, blankets, bags, hats, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Including hot stuff.

The undergarment above too, is made of bamboo. It’s not from a novelty gimmicky catalogue, this is common practice, hence I have included it here.

Art & Writing Materials

Artwork created with or from bamboo is still very much part of a living tradition and practiced by cultures throughout the world.

In early Asian civilizations, bamboo ‘slips’ were regularly used as writing surfaces. The Art of War by Sun Tzu was composed on a bamboo slip in the 6th century.  A slip is a tablet read down the bamboo stalk.

10. Smoking Paraphernalia

Bamboo was used to make the cigarette holders popularized by films in the 1920s.

11.  Computer Hardware

The use of bamboo for aesthetic purposes seems ideal within the world of computers. Given its natural look and durability, bamboo has been used to enhance computer hardware. Bamboo is used for keyboard covers, computer mice and other types of computer hardware in the field.

Bamboo is symbolic here too, reflecting the green design of the new Asus, but many cases of Fujitsu brand prototype laptops have been constructed of solid bamboo rather than just a veneer, making them more biodegradable. In the meantime, however, bamboo fibers are used in packing material for Dell computer equipment, bringing the computer hardware industry one step closer to a greener future.

12. Construction Scaffolding

Bamboo is used extensively throughout the world as an inexpensive, plentiful and sustainable material in a variety construction projects and scaffolding is no exception. The strength and durability of the plant easily bears the weight of workers, their tools and other materials.

Bamboo has incredible strength, meaning that it can withstand significant amounts of stress and is comparable to steel’s strength. China, where bamboo is used in much the same capacity as steel is in North America. I have spared you a picture of scaffolding.

13.  Fishing Gear

is commonly used in the construction of fishing poles. But did you know that bamboo is also used as a support for large fishing nets, gorgeous photo below.

In some rural settings, such as those found in places like Vietnam, bamboo is used in the construction of fishing boats, too.

The boats are small and maneuverable, allowing fishing to take place in narrow areas where commercial vessels typically can’t go. This allows the fishermen to deliver their hauls directly to shore.  It’s not the one’s you get in theme parks, where you’re getting all splashed up with friends eh!

14. Weaponry

Bamboo swords and staves (a long stick or staff) have been used for thousands of years—as training implements in the kendo tradition of Japan and in India bamboo staves are constructed for stick fighting, a form of martial arts training. These traditional disciplines and the use of bamboo weapons remain.

Just like as used in fishing poles, bamboo is a trusted material for making bows and arrows due to its strength and ability to bend without breaking. In the South Seas, bamboo blowguns and darts were staples of indigenous hunters and ancient Samurai warriors utilized bamboo to construct the hilts of their katana blades. Scabbards for the weapons were constructed from bamboo.

read volume eight of this dizzying & vastly eclectic, broad and tapestry like
construction, an interconnected work that unravels itself through reading the
other volumes but equally pleasurable and philosophical, quirky and light to
read as a singular work.

Read more:

Photo Memory Storage Space, A Metaphor

‘Old photos I was dumping

That once dumped me!…’

From Living Arrangements,

by Zubyre Parvez

We all keep photos of places, ourselves, and the people we care about, whether digital or otherwise.

Sometimes, they accompany us on trips abroad,  ( I mean your Aunt Agatha or the photos themselves) that make up our memories of good times. Initially, that’s fine.

Later, after the travels of my early years, I could boast that I had been there, got the t-shirt…but wait…

The photos lost their sparkle as they became not so shiny trophies of the ‘good times’,  after I invested too much emotion in the good old days — not allowing the gift of the present make itself known. I had lost  expectancy and enthusiasm with the passage of time, so the present constantly paled in comparison. They became the ‘defining’ moments, but when we define, we limit not only the experience but our future possibilities of life, as well. Yes they were the experiences that shaped us, but we don’t need to fit any mould, including the past, that’s just old, that very word ‘mould’ is restrictive.

I decided to sort the over-investment of emotion to those silly photos…by throwing out all the unnecessary snaps.  For example, if you got your bighead best friend in five of your photos, keep just the one, and so on. And all the photos you took of ‘anything’ in your holiday enthusiasm, you can fling those out — I mean things like the coach station with your gran looking all weary, or where the empire state building looks wonky.

I decided that landscape photos were particularly irksome to me — forgive me, if that’s your thing, — but I’m a Londoner myself, a citizen, at heart, and I’d rather experience nature in the moment when I get the chance, then photograph it too much, — what’s the point in snapping something in touristy zeal if you don’t experience it fully first? Zen Habit’s Leo Babuta, tells of how we should rely on ‘pure memories’, I could not have put it any clearer…instead of relying on technology too much…

As I threw the irrelevant out, I have less baggage to carry about. And my laptop digital photo storage space is a bit more mindfully used, that’s less of a headache now.

Improve Your Writing for Pleasure or Profit – Stuart Wilde, A Writer Case Study

We can apply minimalism to our writing — writing that is to the point, and clear. Alot research writing, for e.g., simplifies and summarises detailed or technical information from various sources — people don’t have time to wade through 3,000 pages of jargon. Similarly, Hemmingway the Great American novelist, wrote with a spare and limpid style, it’s impact, powerful. Minimalism can be seen in poetry such as the concerntrated Japanese Haiku form, or more recently micropoetry, which only uses a few words, or in understated poetry, perhaps; or poetry which is on closer inspection about minimalism! More about this topic in a future post. Now to the piece: This is an interesting piece about the writer Stuart Wilde, his influences and his mehod…  This piece, emphasises brevity, (minimalism), includes exercises to achieve good, concise writing, so I have included it here for your interest. – zubdizi.


Writing is all about using words to create mental pictures and evoke emotions. If you want to write for profit it helps to first read a few of the great works.

I’m a true blue Francophile, I love France, at school I wrote my main paper on the role of the bourgeoisie in the French Revolution. People think of it in terms of Les Miserable and hags knitting at the foot of a guillotine, but what people don’t usually know is that the French Revolution started in fact, as a rebellion of the middle class. Only later did it devolve into the blood lust of the rabble.

In my late 20s I studied French literature, Rabelais, Flaubert, Stendhal, Proust and Baudelaire, the 19th Century poet who wrote the famous work “Les Fleur du Mal”—The Flowers of Evil, and I was very influenced by Rimbaud, he wrote all his famous works as a teenager.

It was these French writers and the Afro-American writer James Baldwin, and Hubert Selby Junior, who wrote the Last Exit to Brooklyn, along with the English war poets Sassoon and Brooke and Lawrence Durrell who wrote the Alexander Quartet, that inspired me to become a writer. Durrell used a lot of words as that was the style in his age, but what he wrote was very beautifully crafted. He was one of the greatest writers that ever penned words to paper.

I saw how elegantly these writers organized words and how they drew pictures in a reader’s mind—funny pictures like cartoons, or moving poignant pictures; pictures of beauty, love, and sensuality, or the heroism of daily life that evokes emotions bringing readers to various conclusions and understandings.

If you haven’t got time to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace then just read twenty pages of some of the great works watching for the style and the writer’s voice, so you learn.

I learned to write books and songs very fast. A full-size book takes me about a week or less, my book God’s Gladiators took me four days and nineteen hours, writing nonstop for 23 hours a day. The lyrics and storyline I wrote to the operetta Heartland by Tim Wheater, took me just less than four days, again writing 23 hours a day.

And when writing I learned to use as few words as possible. A paragraph is like a railway track, every word is a log on the rails that the reader has to hop across. The fewer logs the more fluid and entertaining your writing.

I wrote my first book when I was nineteen, and my second book Sacred Clown in my twenties, neither came out, my first published work (Miracles) appeared when I was thirty-eight.

I calculated recently that I’ve written over five million words, an average paperback nowadays is 60,000-70,000 words, so I’ve done 80+ books worth. Phew!

Train yourself in this way: write a paragraph as an incident using only forty-six words that includes a dog, a priest, a broken egg and a lily. The forty-six words must be exact.

“I was watching a priest on a tow path by a river, he was tossing an egg in his hand up and down, with him was a black and white collie. The priest bent down to admire a lily, the egg broke on the dog’s head”. (46)

It’s all about pictures.

Try this: write a para’ of sixty-one words to include a train wreck, a cheese sandwich, a seven-foot tall basketball player with a lisp, and a one-legged woman with a ladder.

It must be short, informative, funny and/or moving and exactly sixty-one words.

Then if you want to get really fancy try another task with less words, let’s say, the history of the world in twenty-one words.

“The history of the world has come and gone; some was pain, some was song, none of it took very long.” (21)

Setting yourself these small exercises teaches you to be brief, precise and poignant, you learn to create the pictures with as few words as possible.

When you go on to writing pages at a time do this:

First say what you want to say, paragraph one. Then briefly extrapolate on what has been said, offering ideas and examples, paragraphs two and three. Then answer the reader’s doubts or questions, and end the page by concluding what you have written with an added point—the wrap and pack show. Then go to page two, do the same. When you get to page 220 your tome is finished—mail to publisher requesting check.

Your voice is your style, be brave, develop an original voice, different to others. Conformity is a disease of the dull witted. I once wrote about driving down the Fulham Palace road in London a bit drunk. I described it saying “I was under the affluence of incahol at the time”, which is how a person that’s a bit tipsy might speak. It’s so much more entertaining than saying, “I was under the influence of alcohol”—see what I mean jelly bean?

When you finish what you have written don’t be attached to your words, go back and delete 25%, be brutal—remove logs, watch for repeats, watch for where you are talking down to the reader, or you are being pompous, or condescending (a big no, no); watch where you are not clear and precise, watch for a lime green poison called waffle. Never be scared or irritated to delete parts of what has been written if it does not follow the short—sharp—witty—poignant—informative, rule.

“Buy for now.” (As a shop sign might say at the time of the sales) Yeh man! Buy for now. Stuie…W.

{Editor’s note: Stuart Wilde has written twenty books, 60+ audios CDs, two films, and the lyrics to seven music albums. SW has also written 800+ articles some are here, others are at and the rest have been deleted over the years. SW never keeps a long-term record of the stuff he’s done. He believes words and ideas exist eternally in the reader’s mind, he quotes Omar Khayyam, see below}.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it”.

Omar Khayyum

Minimalist Furniture – Introducing Basurita


I moved to a doublebed room, a couple of days ago. Just for me – it is more cozy that way. I was impressed by the drawers underneath the bed – enough for my clothes. No wardrobe needed. Relief. Better still though is  Basurita:  a room/divider, wardrobe and bed, rolled cozily into one. This frees up alot of space.

Design by fraupawlik c/o Katharina Pawlik.

Stuart Wilde on Silent Power (Vid)