blah blah cafe – Jean Michel Jarre

jean michel jarreblah blah
blah blah

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Hearing Voices Cafe: Toronto – Mon 14 Sep 2015

HV Cafe Toronto WHVD 2015 Poster
Hearing Voices Cafe : Toronto

Mon 14th Sep 2015
6pm to 8pm

@ Coffee And All That Jazz

72 Howard Park Ave

Streetcar – 506 College, 510 King, 504 Dundas

hearing voices cafeInspired by the work of artist Dora Garcia we will be hosting a Hearing Voices Cafe to celebrate World Hearing Voices Day on Mon 14th Sep 2015.

PDF poster/ flyer  Hearing Voices Café WHVD Toronto- 2015


Hearing Voices Café

To hear oneself speak is maybe the minimal definition of consciousness.

HV Cafe Traumzeit HamburgThe designation “Hearing Voices Café” actually applies to every well-patronized coffee shop. At the same time, the phrase “hearing voices” is also associated with the phenomenon of hearing inner voices. Drawing on the ambiguity of the term, the Spanish artist Dora García is installing a gathering place for people who hear voices, hosted by the Traumzeit Café in Hamburg. Oct 2014.



What happens at a Hearing Voices Cafe?

People will come together, talk, hear, listen. You can come to ask questions, pick up information leaflets, buy a button, share your story in your words. Or, since the café is open as normal, you can simply visit the café, enjoy a coffee, tea, snack, light meal.

What do we mean by “hearing voices”?

Many of us will hear voices that others don’t hear at some point in our lives – it is especially at stressful times like the passing of a loved one.

It is an experience that can be difficult to convey to others and for others to understand. Our goal is to help people understand what it can be like, how common it can be and to understand in ways that are not based in fear.

Mostly what we do is create safe spaces where people can talk, hear and listen to each other.

A hearing voices café is one way to do that.

Who hears voices?
About 300 million people around the world hear voices that others don’t on a regular basis – most are either ok with their experience or find it valuable in some way.

That’s about as many people who live in North America- or in Europe- yet in our culture we tell ourselves and each other the story that people who hear voices must be regarded as sick, broken, dangerous, less than human.

It is worth reminding ourselves that in some cultures it is the people who don’t hear voices and who don’t talk about it who are the ones who give rise to concern.

Research shows that people’s experience with voices differs with the culture they are part of – in one study people who heard voices in West Africa explained their voices as god like, deities, offering help and guidance; in Western India as family and relatives nagging and reminding them of duty to family and to do chores; and in West of America people experienced their voices as demonic, violent and threatening.

What do people do ?
Well, pretty mush just what they do in any old cafe, except they actually talk with each other instead of getting lost in their laptops.

How much does it cost?

It’s free.
Coffee is $2.25 for a medium-sized mug.
There are plenty of small meals and snacks all below $10 most are below $5.

We will have limited supply of free coffee.

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don’t label me…

dont label me

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seeing words, hearing voices

For those who think hearing voices must mean you a broken brain,  think again.
Many writers hear voices, and as Ray Bradbury says

“All writers hear voices or they couldn’t do dialogue”

As important as the writer’s ability to capture and convey voices is how readers experience that when it comes to their turn: here’s an article from The Guardian series The Inner Voice looking at the rich and vivid inner experiences people have whilst reading what writers write.

You’ll find there is all manner of voices, accents,  and richly different experiences shared by readers. Is also clear that those who get nothing or not much, feel a bit left out.

Seems reading is a common and life-enriching way we can hear voices that we can’t hear with our ears – by seeing the words on the page.

“Not only is the world stranger than we think,  it is stranger that we can think”

Accents, narrators and total silence: how you hear voices when you read

Do characters speak to you when you read – or are you more affected by the author’s voice? In response to a survey investigating what hearing voices means to writers, we asked readers for their experiences. Here are some of your responses

How loud are your inner voices? Photograph: Mode Images Limited/Alamy

Marta Bausells| Tuesday 9 September 2014

Hearing voices is not only common, but it turns out to be a rich and underexplored area of study. For a thought-provoking set of articles on the phenomenon, head to our Inner Voices series, where you’ll find a scientific exploration of talking to ourselves, a survey on how authors find their voices, why hearing voices was central to Dickens’s technique and the different sorts of voice-hearing described by Hilary Mantel and Virginia Woolf, among other pieces.

As important as the voices in writers’ heads are those that are heard by readers. So on a recent open thread, we asked you how you experienced characters when reading – specifically, how you heard their voices (if indeed you did). Your answers were fascinating and amazingly diverse. Here is a selection of your contributions.

Reading dialogue out loud

It’s usually early on in a story my mind seeks out a voice for a character I feel shouts out to have one. Sometimes, I will read dialogue out loud to establish it.

Without help from a writer’s description, and involuntarily, I will gradually begin to form a vague picture of each character. I suspect many of these are subconsciously based on characters I’ve seen on TV. At times, they will be based on people I’m acquainted with, or characters in the news and screen personalities.

I find it very easy to imagine the voices of characters, which probably has something to do with writing myself. All my characters develop voices and accents very early on, as it helps give me a deeper insight into how they will respond to situations that inevitably form the plot. These voices are very vivid indeed. –BryanHemming

Narrator voices – of different kinds

I’m hearing a narrator reading the book to me. It’s the same no matter if I’m reading in German or English. Since I started to read more English books the voice appeared. It was not there when I had more difficulties understanding the meaning. – Petra Breunig

I always hear the voices of characters in books, and if I can’t, it’s usually because I’m not that into the book. I sometimes get other sensations, especially if the author describes a place well, smells, sounds, the feel of certain fabrics, atmosphere, like cold, heat, mugginess. A good book can get all the senses going. –Mel Davies

The importance of accents

I always read out dialogue in my head when I’m reading Irvine Welsh novels – I’m English, and it’s somehow much easier to understand what the hell they’re saying when I am ‘listening’ to them in this way. – markthemovieman

I am a very slow reader of novels because, I think, I hear the dialogue in real time. Each character tends to get an accent, and that’s more specific as I get into a book. I read a lot to my kids when they were younger, which may be connected. –TerryMarx

I hear the voices of the characters as they speak. Not always in the dialect or accent that they may be described as using. However, when I’m writing my own fiction I do hear their differences in pronunciation, usage, etc. –MakeMPsOwnUp

Connecting voice and image

If I have a visual image in my head, the voice is connected to that image. For example if a male character is “seen” by me as a big fella, he has a deep voice. Someone I deem to be an older woman has no squeaky girly voice. Visual impacts are very strong for me and I reject a movie immediately if the actors don’t represent my mental image.

Some books are stronger than others. I personally reckon the reason the books of Stephan King never really translated to the screen, is because the characters he described touched many parts of us. One trait stronger than the other. And this made them likeable to us, despite them not necessarily being the nicest of people. But if you focus on another trait as a film maker, you lose many readers. –SybilSanderson

The only time I can recall this happening, and it was vivid, was after I had read Peanuts, with Charlie Brown. I’d initially discovered it in newspaper cartoon strip form before going on to buy the book versions, which were just the collected originals. I knew all the characters, from Charlie, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy (who did not talk because he was a dog, he only thought), Pigpen et al. I read them all.Then the cartoons arrived animated on TV and I remember shouting at the screen “THAT’S NOT THEIR VOICES!” I had such a clear idea in my head what they sounded like, I couldn’t watch the TV version. –nationwide

Charlie Brown
A voice very much his own … Charlie Brown. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

How hearing difficulties affect the experience

I do it to a certain extent. I am deafened and can hear very little.So I am used to filling in the gaps when lip reading or using subtitles to watch dvds and TV – remembering where I can from when I could hear, I also have auditory hallucinations – I know I can’t hear a tap running or leaves rustling in the wind without my brain filling in the sound. I find I am “hearing” the voices of actors and actresses too young for me to have actually heard and also, as the article discusses, finding voices for characters in books – especially those I have read more than once. I cannot recall doing this when I could hear however. –Themardler

Not hearing much

I generally just hear my own internal voice. I can’t simulate accents in my head without phonetic spelling. I don’t see characters clearly either. Generally I think I assign a few vague traits to them, and draw backgrounds from memory. –Tom Jubert

I don’t hear the voice and only have a weak visual sense of the characters, or indeed settings – more a “wash” sense or atmospheric. For example, an Atwood novel like Cat’s Eye might be set somewhere pretty mundane but I feel a profound atmospheric skew due to the strangeness of the novel, like the world described is a few degrees off kilter relative to our own. –viriditan

Hearing the author

If I’ve heard the author speak, I actually hear them reading it to me in my head. And, also, the main character in my head will look like the author, even if they’re of a different gender… –samofthepryce

I read a book written by someone I know, and heard his voice the whole way through. It was a good book, but he speaks quite slowly, and as I read I had to keep waiting for him to catch up! –DrHeadgear2

I “hear” the book I am reading as if it is being read to me by the author. If I don’t know what the author sounds like I imagine the voice from what I know of their biography. When I read Midnight’s Children I heard the voice of Salman Rushdie, which I knew from interviews he had given. I was disappointed when someone bought me the audio version to find it being read by someone with an Indian accent. I only managed to listen to one chapter. It wasn’t the sound of the book for me. –morememoreme

A lot of readers emphasised that poetry is a bit different than prose. For instance, campasyoulike said:

You have to hear poetry, it’s in real time. Usually, and especially in the case of TS Eliot, hearing the poet’s voice will give you greater insight (if you hear it once, recorded, you hear it all the time when you read). Reading novels like that would be a bit long though.

Not hearing but seeing

I’m never conscious of hearing a character’s voice, but I often visualise a character’s appearance, from cues in the text. That is why, for me, film adaptations of much loved books are often a disappointment, when totally bizarre casting choices are made. Gizzit

I visualize very well when reading. The more enjoyable the story, the stronger it becomes. In a series, especially those extended ones, the vices, images, and “reality” become stronger until there is as much going on in my head as there is on the page. Yes, I did have an imaginary friend as the oldest child who was an only until age 7. My children and grandchildren have followed suit as well. I frequently hold conversations with myself – I look at it as a means of working through decisions and stress. I teach literature and read voraciously. –Denise Cuevas

But that’s a whole other story. We’ll be tackling the visual side of reading in the books blog soon. As always, feel free to add your own experience below the line.

You’ll find more people sharing their experiences in the comments below the article.

Find it here.

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Shot by both sides – Magazine

Magazine_-_Shot_By_Both_Sides_single_picture_coverShot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything
Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding

This and that, they must be the same
What is legal is just what’s real
What I’m given to understand
Is exactly what I steal
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn’t lose myself in the crowd

Shot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything
Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding

New offenses always in my nerves
They’re taking my time by force
They all sound the same when they scream
They have to rewrite all the books again
As a matter of course

I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn’t lose myself in the crowd

Shot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything
Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding

Why are you so edgy Kid?
Asks the man with the voice
One thing follows another
You live and learn, you have no choice

I didn’t lose myself to the crowd
I didn’t lose myself to the crowd
I didn’t lose myself to the crowd
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way

Shot by both sides
I don’t ask who’s doing the shooting
Shot by both sides
We must have come to a secret understanding

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Oh Yeah – Yello

yello5Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
The moon, beautiful
The sun, even more beautiful
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeahBeautiful
Oh yeah
Oh yeah

Good time

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the voices are real

For any one who is in doubt.
For anyone who has the hubris to think that they get to decide
what is real for someone else.
For anyone who thinks that they know best.

And for anyone who doesn’t understand but wants to – the voices are as real as anything that you experience and call real.

For anyone who hears voices and has struggled to have others understand – and in doing so only found themselves denied opportunity to speak their truth, or worse.

It is very, very simple.
The voices are real.

The important question is not:
Where do the voices come from ?
and especially not:  where do all voices come from?

Nor is it:
How do I make them go away?
and who can help me make them go away?

It is more useful to ask:

What might it mean f0r me?

What meaning might I make?

And, if I find myself struggling it might be useful to ask:
How can I begin to change my life?

And who can help me with that?

say it loud….
the voices are real neon flashing

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One great splitting of the whole universe in two

one great splitting of the universe

“One great splitting of the whole universe into two halves is made by each of us; and for each of us almost all of the interest attaches to one of the halves; but we all draw the line of division between them in a different place.
When I say that we all call the two halves by the same names, and that those names are ‘me’ and ‘not-me’ respectively, it will at once be seen what I mean.”

William James


We each divide the world in two – Me and Not Me -and we each draw that line between those two parts in a different place. Then we pretend that it’s fixed and inviolable and that that the line was put there by Not Me – when, all the while, the line is only there because “me” put it there.

Now, if something comes along that  “me” doesn’t like, let’s say it’s a voice that only me can hear and that counters my deeply held beliefs, or leaves me feeling dis-empowered – then it is easy and natural for me to say “that’s ‘not me’,” and to summon strength to fight it, and especially if I live in a culture that trains me to do just that. It might even work, or work sometimes or for a while, but I will consume a lot of energy fighting it off, keeping my defences strong.

Choosing rigidity and resistance is one way of dealing with external forces and is useful sometimes but at some point a rigid body will, in the face of undiminished forces, eventually topple or fracture and snap.

I could instead choose adaption- to draw my line between me/not me in a different place: expanding my understanding of “me” as being defined not by my physical boundaries but as “me” becoming everything that I experience.

This way if I hear a voice it then becomes part of my experience. In that sense it is “my” voice, as in: I’m the one who experiences it and it’s effect on me; I’m the one who decides what what it means to me; I’m the one who gets to define it; and I’m the one who decides what I do about it.

If a voice is now part of my experience, part of me, then why would I fight it?
If I were to fight come part of my body – say my arm- then that would seem at least a little strange, ridiculous even. How is that different from if fighting of my own experience?
If nothing else such a fight would consume energy I could use for something else.

It’s not easy- and anyone who tells you otherwise has had their head stuck in a dark place for a long time – and it can be challenging. But when we are challenged we have a choice – we can stay away from the challenge or when we’re ready we can, given time and the right support, learn to overcome any challenge.

I’ve learned that the line between me and not me is something that I create.

It is neither fixed nor inviolable.
It moves and can be moved, it is fuzzy and it wobbles like a jelly on a plate.

And that line is wherever I draw it.


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David Watts – The Jam

the jamFa! fa! fa! fa! fa! fa! fa! faaa!






David Watts

I am a dull and simple lad
Cannot tell water from champagne
and I have never met the Queen
And I wish I could have all he has got –
I wish I could be like David Watts
And when I lie on my pillow at night
I dream I could fight like David Watts
And lead the school team to victory
Take my exams and pass the lot

He is the head boy at the school
He is the captain of the team
He is so gay and fancy free
And I wish I could have all he has got
I wish I could be like David Watts

And all the girls in the neighbourhood
Try to go out with David Watts
The try their best but can’t succeed
For he is of pure and noble breed



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Inside Homer’s Head






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