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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, July 23, 2002
    What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?
    Well, the nearest we got to crowd trouble at the Elvis concert last night was when five burly Security blokes tried hauling an equally burly guy off his friend's shoulders in the middle of an audience swaying to 'What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?' Ironic, that, I thought. To his eternal credit the guy landed on the floor still holding his beer glass aloft, not having spilt a drop. THAT is self-control.

    Costello was on blistering form; relentlessly good, rocking out with a vengeance. There's not too much GRACE in his songs, the emotions are too raw for that. But therein lies their value: no chance of 'psychic numbing' in his world. This isn't music with which to drown sorrows: but rather, to flail about for reasons for the sorrow, to shout, cry and scream for answers. Beautifully brutal.

    The summer begins here for clergy too: well, ones like me whose term-time weeks are full of schools activity: assemblies, communions, hosting class visits to church, running clubs etc. That's all over for a while now; so it's time to look ahead - to Bank Hol Weekend, meeting valued old friends and recharging the batteries at Greenbelt (my 23rd) - but also to the autumn and beyond. Today I'm taking a carload from our Penny Lane parish home to the Welsh borders to look at a couple of prospective centres for a Parish
    Weekend in 2003. After the recent trauma of leading the funeral of a friend lost in tragic circumstances, this sort of day is a real kiss of life to me.