Thursday 10 May 2012

E-bites, great writing (not mine), swearing and inspiration

Most people who know me take the piss out of how much time I spend online. Blogging, facebook and now Twitter are a bit of a waste of time... Having said that a friend went to a social media seminar recently where he was told that the use of these online media is 'the modern way to have a conversation'. Possibly, although I'd expect a conversation to be a bit more 2 way than many of the empty e-bites we see (and here I include myself as being as guilty as anyone).
Every now and then I get lucky though and over my breakfast this morning I read 2 very different pieces of writing. Chris Townsend tweeted a link to this piece by eco-business evangelist Yvon Chouinard: . I'll let you read it yourself and see if you get the little guilt pangs that I did. Let My People Go Surfing was a great read on his business philosophy but easy to write off as only applicable to a small company. But his next book, The Responsible Company (i'm sure there is some irony that I'm linking to that title on Amazon) is due out in the next few days and the fact that corporate giant like Wal-Mart, Adidas, Nike, Gap, Yahoo, our own M+S (as well as competitors North Face and REI) have been taking advice from Chouinard rather gives the lie to this.
The other piece I've read today gave me a nice shake up and wake up. I'm always a little seedy when I come back off a good expedition (1 friend would research me and call it 'post-residential syndrome'). Having been out somewhere just pushing myself a little, dealing with what comes and the simplicity of staying safe, fed and warm whilst working towards a simple, physical objective its always a little hard to come back to 'everyday' life. Toss in the fact that I've been diagnosed with arthritis in both my knees and that my running career is definitely over (I can't jog 10m let alone the 10k I used to happily knock out on local forest tracks) and my active life has been feeling a little grey (Note: I've bugger all to feel sorry for myself about really- great family, second child on the way, doing a job that I love- just feeling my age).
I've never spoken to Nick Bullock but I suspect I'd get a pithy quip along the lines of 'man up youth' and reading his latest blog offering: got me thinking again. When I'm out on a good trip or have a good days climbing I really feel that passion for it all that makes me want to do it in the first place again. Its too easy as an Instructor to go through the motions of teaching the mechanics and to forget what its all about but it sounds like there was no danger of that at the latest round of BMC Alpine Lectures!
Climbing isn't about text books and perfect practise (don't tell the pedants on UKC, you'll have a 300 post bitchfest) - these things are nice places to start but when you need it most you have to get a little creative, dig deep and get on with it (aside- how many engineers/ex engineers do you know who are climbers? Apparently there is something in the problem solving- movement and ropework- that strikes a chord). Usually for me this involves swearing, relief and exultation. And a dirty great smile afterwards.
If Nick's critics don't get that (or have lost it) from their climbing... or don't see the value of having someone who can articulate it (and I'm including the swearing as articulate) that then they are missing something (the point?). I have heard Nick speak a few times now and its like a bucket of cold water on a hot day; shocking as hell, not always immediately welcome but refreshing nonetheless.
Resolution for the day: go back out there and do something to swear about (great thing is that's relative- one mans wet Diff is another man's E9) and make sure when I'm working more of that comes into what I teach.
Right I'm off out on the bike... to a wet Polldubh... if that doesn't make me swear what will!

Post script. 2 hours on the bike and an hour soloing wet mica schist in my bike shoes. World now a brighter... wetter place.


Anonymous said...

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