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

    Friday, December 31, 2004
    2004 Revisited - my Christmas letter for those who missed it
    BIG MOVE this year - ten minutes the other side of Queen's Drive to the outlands of Croxteth / Norris Green. To become priest-in-charge* at the CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD (*that's vicar, effectively, without some of the privileges). Been here nine months now, settling in ok, thanks. Twenty-four hours before being licensed to that post, I went to see BILLY BRAGG singing Leon Rosselson's WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, for a bit of perspective: They make the laws / to chain us well / The clergy dazzle us with heaven / or they damn us into hell / We will not worship / the God they serve / The God of greed who feeds the rich / while poor men starve. Well, you have to watch yourself in this sort of job. Highlight of settling-in, so far: embarking on a series of PARISH WALKS which I'm documenting online at WWW.JOHNDAVIES.ORG and are proving great ways to get to know the place and its people. Musical highlight of the year (live): seeing PJ HARVEY at Dublin Olympia, and earlier bumping into her on the steps of Books Upstairs, for a quick surprise chat, which was nice. Musical highlight of the year (cd): the entire recorded works of SUFJAN STEVENS, a joyful discovery. Poet of the year: Cardiff's incendiary LLOYD ROBSON. Our WAYNE 'played too well' for England and inevitably we lost him to one of those cash-cow clubs, but not before I'd done three Rooney baptisms and been interviewed (and quoted at length) by a GUARDIAN journalist watching the Portugal game in the WESTERN APPROACHES (the Rooney family local across the road). He lives in Formby now. We haven't missed him. Surprise of the year: DAD, 65, comes with us to his first ever football match. Surprisingly good event: Liverpool Clergy Conference, because for entertainment we had ROGER MCGOUGH and KEN DODD. Best other event: a seminar at LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL with Tel Aviv architect EYAL WEIZMAN, curator of the banned exhibition and book A Civilian Occupation; his analysis of the landscape of The Occupied Territories is mind-blowing. Book of the year: Weizman's; runner-up: Franklin Foer's HOW SOCCER EXPLAINS THE WORLD: AN UNLIKELY THEORY OF GLOBALIZATION. Hopes for next year: more enjoyable study time at ST DEINIOL'S LIBRARY and another great fortnight in ST IVES CORNWALL, both of which I newly-discovered this year. And, of course, EVERTON FOR EUROPE - all entirely probable... HAPPY NEW YEAR - and keep up with me daily on the website...