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notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
My wish list
Email me: john[at]johndavies.org
Join me on my
1 - On rogation beside the River Alt
2 - Bounded by green avenues
3 - Following mislaid tracks
4 - Bringing in the Bacon
5 - Tropical storms over Scarisbrick
6 - Leisure pursuits
7 - The shopping trolley trail
8 - Everyday English
9 - Dog & Gun rogation
10 - Boundary slippage
Talks and articles:
Iain Sinclair in Conversation with John Davies
(at Greenbelt 09: cd/mp3)
Walking with the Psychogeographers
(Greenbelt 2008 talk)
Walking with the Psychogeographers
(Greenbelt 08 talk: cd/mp3)
Heaven in Ordinary
(Greenbelt 2007 talk)
Heaven in Ordinary
(Greenbelt 07 talk: cd/mp3)
Heart of Cheltenham pilgrimage: notes
Heaven in Ordinary
(Greenbelt Leeds event talk)
Reading the Everyday
(Greenbelt 06 talk: cd/mp3)
Reading the Everyday
(Third Way article: pdf)
Reading the Everyday
(Greenbelt on Iona 2006)
Stars of Norris Green
Making of the
Towards an Urban
Theology of Land
Mapping an Urban Parish
the cost of my MPhil/PhD
gratefully received via
the Gulf War
A permanent record
of the fate of Iraq
Joe Moran's Blog
The Reluctant Ordained
Dave Walker's Cartoon Blog
Dot Gosling: Wildgoose
Walking Home to 50
The Manchester Zedders
A Mis-Guided Blog
Territories Reimagined: International Perspectives
Islingtongue / Leytonstongue
Remapping High Wycombe
Danger: Void Behind Door
Strange Attractor: Further
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary
Unofficial Fall website
Bill Drummond: Penkiln Burn
Julian Cope: Head Heritage
Second Layer Records
News From Nowhere
Smoke: A London Peculiar
London Review of Books
provided by the
Church of England
Church of the
Friday, February 28, 2003Twenty-Third Turnoff and other wondrous things Twenty-Third Turnoff. What a fantastic name for a band. Led by a lost genius, Jimmy Campbell, their 1967Êsong Michaelangelo is apparrently a real psychedelic gem. And their name conjures so much in the minds eye - angst, rejection, classic counter-cultural stuff. Where does it come from? The truth is brilliant: Twenty-Third Turnoff were a Liverpool band and they were named after the 23rd turnoff from the M6, which goes direct to our home city.
Just one gem from a whole evening of wonderful insights at The Bluecoat tonight, where Liverpool-born music writer Paul Du Noyer was in conversation, around his recent book Liverpool: Wondrous Place: Music from Cavern to Cream. It's a very informed history of a quite exceptional aspect of British popular culture - this one city's astonishing creative output over the past fifty years. It emerges from inside Erics to do some fascinating cultural geography; it hangs around the car park which is a 1970s city council's "tribute" to the Cavern, to reveal some details about the Beatles' Liverpool life unrecorded elsewhere.
All this I got from tonight's talk. And a copy of the book, which I've yet to read. My last impulse buy before Lent (probably). There are more blogs on this coming, I feel.
Radio Merseyside today to record next week's Thoughts for the Day, which go out on the breakfast show after half-seven (and also at some other earlier unknown hour) Monday to Friday.
That was enjoyable. Good to chat with producer / religious presenter Wayne Clarke who's got a background in among other things, Radio Greenbelt - he was there when it began, back in the early eighties when it was the first-ever event radio of its kind, a pioneer of what's now commonplace.
In the best sense, Radio Merseyside also seems quite commonplace - in that it's a busy building full of chatty folks and does really seem to be a genuine local voice, a place where genuine local voices are made at home. And as all good community stuff does, it thrives because it's run by dedicated folk. Wayne works eighty percent for Radio Merseyside and is a Baptist minister thirty percent of his time, minimum. You do the maths.
Thursday, February 27, 2003Light / Heat
In our search for light over heat in the present debate Nick has chosen to share an article from Chalmers Johnson in the London Review of Books. ItÕs a review of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg. He writes:
Ellsberg helped end the Vietnam War, but publication of this memoir now is not just a happy coincidence. The features of American government he documents - the cult of Presidential infallibility, the march of militarism, the executive's routine lying to the other two branches and to the people, and the cancerous growth of official secrecy - are just as relevant today as they were thirty years ago. The United States, even the world, desperately needs more Ellsbergs.Ó
Searching for light is a noble pursuit, but in this climate, nigh-impossible to achieve to any satisfaction. Save us, though, from dismissive cynicism. Repeat: Õthe world desperately needs more Ellsbergs'.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003Mystery Worshipper Ship of Fools and I realised that I'm so aged that I have a complete collection of the original SoF magazines from the early 1980s. Now they're entirely online, of course, and in my vanity I was drawn back to my fav. SoF page: this one, which features me (scroll down to the photo just above the heading 'Exactly how long was the sermon?' and there I am in the background). Strange feeling, knowing I've been at the same service as A Mystery Worshipper. Who are these shadowy figures? Will one be scribbling notes about my performance at next Sunday's 8am BCP?
Tuesday, February 25, 2003Mustard Seed and Pax Americana Tom and Christine Sine have long been a source of forward, radical thinking from their Washington state base. Their books and talks have been consistent sources of challenge and inspiration to me over the years, in promoting radical discipleship and exploring something barely touched by the churches - "futures", using statistical trends and observations to propose new ways of doing church for the new emerging societies.
They and their network Mustard Seed Associates do some valuable work online too, and today their concern is to get some debate going about 'the new doctrine of Pax Americana that underlies America's new more aggressive foreign policy':
You can get onto this on their website.
Monday, February 24, 2003Divine Intervention at FACT There we go. It's been seven years in the making. It cost £10m to develop, build and equip, and it's the first purpose-built arts project in Liverpool for over 60 years. And tonight I stepped into FACT, the cityÕs shining new cinema / multimedia centre for a first look.
Although the dedicated folk at The Plaza, CrosbyÕs community-run cinema, keep ÔarthouseÕ films on their agenda, LiverpoolÕs not had a proper art cinema for a few years. So FACT is very welcome. And itÕs doubly welcome as part of the city centreÕs renovation, on the site of a derelict warehouse in a quarter of town which is being well transformed into a lively living and entertainment space.
ThatÕs the official line, of course, and begs some questions. The council could do with speeding up the regeneration of outer estates like Norris Green, whose people are crying out for long-time promises to be fulfilled. But it is good to see the centre coming alive. And tonight it was good to see a quality film in a quality seat in a gleaming new building.
Most FACT first-timers are seeing scouse director Alex CoxÕs made-in-Liverpool Revengers Tragedy which does look good with Christopher Eccleston and Eddie Izzard bringing the Jacobean horror-comedy bang up to date.
But I opted for another, whose short run ends tonight, Divine Intervention, a darkly comic portrait of life in present-day Israel-Palestine. ItÕs very good, an odd mix of slice-of-life realism and astonishing flights of fantasy, directed by Elia Suleiman who also takes the lead role, a character (ES) based on himself. The blurb describes it well:
In an interview, Suleiman said that Israeli cinephiles loved Divine Intervention. In the wider Israeli community it probably makes a few more more waves than that, but itÕs a treat. FACTÕs a Picturehouse cinema. If thereÕs one near you, thatÕs one art film worth seeing. For starters.
Sunday, February 23, 2003T-Shirt
Philosophy Football are aiming to raise £5000 for the Stop the War Coalition with sales of this very fetching t-shirt. Go on, it's less than a tenner.
Saturday, February 22, 2003Count yer blessings
Oh, yes. Hilarity prior to RadzinskiÕs great escape act today, at my usual spec on Goodison Road. As I opened the latest When Skies Are Grey my eyes lit on this classic.....
06/02/03 Liverpool 0 Palace 2
"We don't like to lose but this could be a good thing for the rest of the season. It could be a blessing in disguise. We'll See.Ó
29/01/03 Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2
"You don't always get everything going your way in life but I believe my players have overcome the disappointments better than I have. This could be a blessing in disguise."
26/01/03 Palace 0 Llverpool O
"You learn more about your players. A crisis can be a blessing in disguise."
15/12/02 Sunderland 2 Liverpool 1
"I said to our players that our season starts now. We are still in the Uefa Cup, the Worthington Cup and the FA Cup. We're still in a strong position. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise."
25/11/02 Fulham 3 Liverpool 2
"I think we will see this period as a blessing in disguise. In fact, I like being down like this because you always learn more about your players from a defeat."
17/11/02 Liverpool 0 Sunderland 0
"This is something good about my team - once a game is fnished it's in the past. When you lose it's an opportunity to recover your focus, sharpen your energy. Time will tell - it could have been a blessing in disguiseÓ.
25/09/02 Valencia 2 Liverpool O
"There's no disgrace in losing to a good team - and it's better to lose the first match than the others that follow. This was a reminder of what is required at this level... and maybe it was a blessing in disguise."
This week Rick Parry, Liverpool's Chief Executive was quoted as saying: "we are extremely happy with everything Gerard has done for us and we have absolutely no doubts he'll be with us for the foreseeable future."
There is no disguising this blessing.
Friday, February 21, 2003T-Shirt from Small Ritual
Thursday, February 20, 2003Testament to my failure..? Steve Binns, in our church hall by invitation of The Wavertree Society to talk about the life of William Gladstone, four-times Prime Minister and contender for Greatest Merseysider.
True to his reputation Binns was entertaining and insightful. He's made a lifelong study of Gladstone's exhaustive (and exhausting) diaries which record "every fifteen minutes of his life since he began them at the age of fourteen". And he's only part-way through them - "They'll be a testament to my failure" he jokes; his work is slowed considerably because it involves translation into braille.
Steve's been blind from birth. Which makes his achievements in learning and communication all the more impressive. He's a twice-weekly contributor to BBC Radio Merseyside, he's tour guide at Liverpool Town Hall and St George's Hall, and he's much in demand for talks like tonight's.
He tells jokes against himself like once pointing out a famous work of art on the wall at St George's Hall, only to be told by the schoolchildren he was addressing that there was nothing there, the painting had been removed for restoration. But he needn't - his learning and the style in which he talks wins him respect; he's one of those people whose life gently mocks the term 'disability'.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003Radiating gratitude Saddest blog entry IÕve ever read. Taylor quotes US church growth 'coach' Todd Hunter haunted by the perceived failure of "the celebrated approaches to Ôchurch growthÕ I employed my whole lifeÓ and left wondering Ówhy so many of us are on this upsetting journey of letting go of almost everything we've known regarding church?Ó:
I think that's right. Certainly after the annual Liverpool University Anglican Chaplaincy Lecture which Rowan Williams delivered last night, an exquisite exploration on the theme, The Authority of the Church.
Some - perhaps many - Ôauthority figuresÕ would approach that topic in such a way as to assert and bolster their own position. ThatÕs one ÔseductionÕ IÕd say to Steve Taylor we need to watch out for. Not Williams, though. Warm and seemingly relaxed in his own, and our company, his take on the churchÕs authority to represent God in the world, is to ask the questions,
- Are we a people who look like weÕre being converted?
How far away all that is, from a Ómindless pursuit of numbers, growth and programsÓ. How liberating. Words of a great, and humble, leader.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word, a fantastic take on the Beckham-Fergie saga...
Tuesday, February 18, 2003Bragg at Greenbelt - the news is out Greenbelt appearance on Bank Holiday Monday, August 25th. Not before time, because while his theology will be quite different, his heart beats close to Greenbelt's when it comes to issues of social concern, a heart for the outsider and the ordinary struggling folk. The chemistry of that gig should be fascinating. I'm welling up already.
Meanwhile, The Price of Oil, Billy's protest against US and British plans to attack Iraq, is being downloaded at an amazing rate from his web site. Almost 15,000 downloads so far - and the song has been circulated widely on the internet. If you haven't done so already, grab the free mp3 (5.6MB) and pass it on.
Voices on the radio
tell us that weÕre going to war
those brave men and women in uniform
they want to know what theyÕre fighting for.
The generals want to hear the end game
the allies wonÕt approve the plan
but the oil men in the white house
they just donÕt give a damn.
ItÕs all about the price of oil
itÕs all about the price of oil
donÕt give me no shit
about blood, sweat, tears and toil
itÕs all about the price of oil
Now I ainÕt no fan of Saddam Hussein
oh, please donÕt get me wrong
if itÕs freeing the Iraqi people youÕre after
then why have we waited so long.
Why didnÕt we sort this out last time
was he less evil than he is now
the stock market holds the answer
to why him, why here, why now.
Saddam killed his own people
just like general Pinochet
and once upon a time both these evil men
were supported by the U.S.A.
And whisper it, even Bin Laden
once drank from AmericaÕs cup
just like that election down in Florida
this shit doesnÕt all add up.
ItÕs all about the price of oil
Ôcause itÕs all about the price of oil
donÕt give me no shit
about blood, sweat, tears and toil
itÕs all about the price of oil.
Produced by Billy Bragg and Simon Edwards
Monday, February 17, 2003The Greatest Merseysider - must be Doddy??? Greatest Merseysider. They provide a sample top ten, to provoke us into voting, I hope, rather than in seriousness, because there's only about three in there worth even a second thought. Non-starters, in my opinion, range from the faintly ridiculous (Ken Dodd, Cilla Black), through the really absurd (Lily Savage, Michael Owen - ha ha!!) to the frankly offensive (Edwina Currie). The real contenders must include John Lennon, William Gladstone, Michelle Lewis.
If it ends up anyone other than Lennon, I'll be surprised. But the interest will lie in the peripheral votes; whether the likes of Michelle Lewis get included in the end list. I admit, I didn't know who Michelle Lewis was till I read the website today. A 20-year-old born with curvature of the spine and brain damage:
I really don't know who to vote for. The Merseysider who's been the most influential on me must be my mum; but I guess polls like this can't cope with such subtleties. Oh, blow it - I'll go for Ian McCullough. I know he would.
Sunday, February 16, 2003Opposing War Is Good, But Not Good Enough
They can, however, be stopped by the application of international law, by popular opposition movements, by the use of dissenting media and other nonviolent means of undermining repressive regimes, all of which could be supported by Western governments with a bit of will and wit, in the present crisis.
All this is pointed out by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall in an excellent article, With Weapons of the Will: How to topple Saddam Hussein - nonviolently. It is also supported by Falch A. Jabar who writes, Opposing War Is Good, But Not Good Enough. ÒGetting rid of the Ba'th regime in Iraq has been the cause of my life for almost a quarter of a century,Ó he writes, offering an analysis of the present situation rare in its insight, balance and, ultimately, positive nonviolent solution. This involves moves which will turn the 'ruling class-clan' against their leader:
(b) giving him an alternative for safe passage at the same time;
(c) sending a list of thirty or so of his aides who are persona non grata and demand that they leave the country with him;
(d) encouraging this class-clan to oust Saddam into exile.Ó
Much of this has come from another excellent Sojourners initiaitive, just launched. TheyÕre calling it A National Teach-In on the War on Iraq. As part of their ongoing effort to offer creative nonviolent alternatives to war, they are organizing a series of teach-ins at colleges and in local communities through the week of February 24-28:
Can Saddam Hussein be disarmed without war?
What role can nonviolence play in bringing justice and democracy to the region?
What are the real reasons for the rush to war?
Will war lessen - or increase - the threat of terrorism in this country?
What role should Christians and other people of faith play in efforts to stop the war?
Are there alternatives to war?
Saturday, February 15, 2003Carry on the struggle Carry on the struggle: with the help of the many currently-active anti-war organisations. evening prayer. Media Workers against War website, a good source of trustworthy information today as most days.
Write your own Bush speech using the fantastic lemonbovril drag-and-drop method.
Peace Not War compilation to enjoy Alabama3's Woody Guthrie:
for the frightened baby on some foreign beach
you'd better bang a gong and pray
they reach a safe harbour
LoveMusicRadio, today from 1pm (highlights repeated through the weekend).
Disarm Iraq Without War statement from religious leaders in the US and UK.
targetted civilians indiscriminately, with only 7% of munitions being guided.
morning prayer. Tariq Ali's speech which coined the phrase "Not in our name", remixed by ADF Education and featured on the Peace Not War compilation.
Friday, February 14, 2003Out on a limb
Scattering those gulls
Just now I'm out of the loop for mass protests, in the loop for silent vigils, so that's what I'll be joining in tomorrow afternoon, at Liverpool Parish Church. That and the bag of rice - it all helps.
Thursday, February 13, 2003The Modern Antiquarian Kilmartin in June. Click on the interactive map and you see the attraction - it's a hidden, prehistoric, edgy place. 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of Kilmartin village, 150 of them prehistoric, according to Kilmartin House visitor centre.
I'm drawn to places like that (recently it's been Pembrokeshire Bluestone country) - partly for their isolation, and partly because of a fascination with landscapes marked by the inhabitants of previous millennia. I don't share all of Julian Cope's interpretations of such places (he's a bit "gnostic" for me), but some of his instincts, eg, "The past 2,000 years of Roman Christianity have set up within us a deep denial of this island earth".
I enjoy chucking my copy of Cope's The Modern Antiquarian into the car on a summer's day and after wandering some lonely upland, returning to check out The Modern Antiquarian website to see what other visitors have written about the place I've just been.
Refreshingly humbling to find yourself a tiny figure on a vast landscape, to know the 'civilisation' you represent is just one among many ways of life visitors to that place have lived over so many centuries.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003Sleep of Reason
Remembering James today, and the impact his death had on society, I've put up here an essay I wrote while at Ridley, my 1999 meditation on the Bulger / Venables / Thompson case under the question, "Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed, nothing else." (Fletcher). Is this an adequate understanding of love and justice?
To what extent can society love Venables and Thompson, I was asking, as decision day regarding their release drew close. We know what happened since; but fundamental questions remain. Tonight I've got to help a group explore how, on our Lent study course, we tackle the theme of redemption.
We accept the redemption of time-served criminals such as Jonathan Aitken (establishment deceiver turned Oxford theologian) and Charles Colson (Nixon aide turned top evangelist) but not Venables and Thompson, or Hindley (despite her assertions about Christian conversion). Why the difference; what are the limits of redemption and who sets them? Do we really believe in the power and reach of love ... can we? dare we??
Tuesday, February 11, 2003Blair/Bush debacle - the Rice Solution
Enclosed in a small jiffy bag, addressed to Rt Hon Tony Blair, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AJ, and posted off with £1.06 worth of stamps - I reckon thatÕs a simple act which will impact. At least symbolically, which is how protest works.
Monday, February 10, 2003Good questions The Second Coming the world is saved by the death of God... Thought-provoking stuff with the 'messiah' played with his usual intensity by Christopher Eccleston, and Lesley Sharp playing his lover/killer/redeemer with equal conviction.
Great opening to the drama as a miracle makes Maine Road the epicentre of the coming armageddon; must feel like that to Kevin Keegan most Saturdays. The film did well in using Manchester and Mancunians as those 'chosen' to be there in those days - how it ought to be, probably - in the ordinary, among ordinary folk.
I didn't mind seeing the drama putting an end to organised religion, but I wasn't convinced about the theology. But I think writer Russell T Davies left enough unresolved at the end to invite us to keep on questioning the "no God = all good" theory. If it's really all just down to us, can that ever work?
Sunday, February 09, 2003Class of Langley, 1975 The Langley Schools Music Project has become a latterday musical gem. It's feted as underground - I bought it at Rough Trade - and 'outsider' music. But all it boils down to is a bunch of children singing Beach Boys, Beatles and Bowie in a school gym. Fenger, a music teacher responsible for a number of schools in rural British Columbia, dreamed up the idea of bringing the children together to perform contemporary songs using simple instrumentation, and recorded the results.
It's attractive, simple, beautifully naive. Their choice of songs was perhaps inspired, becuase today we'd call all of them 'modern classics', or perhaps they just reflect the truth of Monica Lynch's observation, reproduced in the cd booklet: "If you wanna know if you've written a hit, play it for kids."
Fascinating listening to this today, after last night's big church event, our 'Guides and Co Talent Show'. The girls and their friends had dreamed up the idea, spent months planning it, and weeks practicing their 'turns', mostly musical, pop, songs from the shows, various types of dance. It was the first of its kind in their experience, and they went for it with such enthusiasm that, I as MC, had to keep the show moving through no less than thirty acts.
But that too, was attractive, simple, beautifully naive. We talk so much about involving the children in grown-up activities, and it is so often mere lip service or condescension. Great to let them leave us adults dependent on them for a change, as they led off and did things their way. Scary, too, for us on the interface between them and the audience: it had its moments, but it worked. A memorable occasion, and at ten, eleven, fourteen years old, memories go deep.
In his cd notes Fenger says , "It would be great to see those kids again. I'll bet they remember every lyric of every song." It could become a sort of musical Friends Reunited for the class of Langley, 1975.
Saturday, February 08, 2003Alive in the Library The Corrymeela Community last November, Jan Sutch Pickard was taking a month's break from her role as warden of Iona Abbey. She spent it, unusually and interestingly, doing a sort-of pilgrimage of ancient texts - visiting libraries, pulling on special gloves to thumb through some of the most ancient and revered documents in our heritage, including the Book of Kells, and discovering the stories around their production.
Jan's a poet and editor of some distinction (you'll find some of her work at Wild Goose Publications) and has a lovely eye for detail. She can make - and has made - a subject which could be grey and dusty, into something colourful and alive.
I know this because at the end of November we met at Corrymeela, swopped a few thoughts about how our times had gone. And later I was delighted to receive some of Jan's poetic reflections on her month. With her permission, here's one of them:
Just as the snowdrop needs frost
to rest and to germinate,
so libraries need silence:
stacks of silent tomes
slippered feet, gloved hands,
Sometimes libraries surprise
with unlikely acquisitions:
a snoozing tramp amid newspapers;
eloquent love letters, penned
by hands long since crumbled into dust;
a harp not played in living hearing;
mummy cases opened like Russian dolls,
disclosing the child of an Egyptian priest
clenched in an aching silence.
What have these to do with books,
and the lively faith of their makers
whose daily work was sowing
symbols across the page?
What have these relics to do
with meaning coming through
like a green shoot Ð
entering our minds like a flight of birds?
Taciturn and tired folk, things worn out,
exhale the dead air of a treasure house;
meanwhile the held breath of a library
is not the silence of death
but of expectation.
The books are waiting for what will come next:
the books are waiting for the word to become flesh.
Friday, February 07, 2003The walk across the park
Barking up the one tree still standing
The walk across the park
A green awakening
The low road
Windswept and perspiring
The walk across the park
The walk across the park
Soon I'll be mountain bikin'
Scattering those gulls
Thursday, February 06, 2003Five words which describe your life at the moment Romford YMCA, more precisely from the desk of Pip Wilson, the General Secretary there. In past times, on overnight Greenbelt meetings, IÕve enjoyed Romford YMCAÕs warm welcome and good hospitality. It owes a lot to PipÕs philosophy, which is that everyone is a Beautiful Human Person.
ThatÕs everyone who walks through the doors of that massive tower block on Rush Green Road - everyone, regardless of background, business, beauty or body odour. ÔU R UniqueÕ, Pip affirms. And that builds individualsÕ self-esteem; and it develops community, as the esteemed learn to esteem others too.
Like all YMCAs Romford has the difficult task of marrying a Christian ethos to its major mainstream work but the philospohy does it, permeating the culture of the place. It means that the Ômanagement modelÕ is non-hierarchical because ÒPeople being told what to do doesn't help to develop peopleÓ(Pip). It means that the overriding principle Òis to build relationships and not to provide activities and programme which would be like a consumer organisation.Ó It means that Ôthe Christian wayÕ is promoted by Body, Mind and Spirit activities, in an experiential programme Òaiming to develop healthy relationships and therefore create dialogue and a cycle of learning.ÓÊ
The websiteÕs full of peopleÕs stories from many whoÕve been affected by this philosophy, this approach, this commitment, seen themselves flower, flourish, as part of it. And it doesnÕt stop, thereÕs always more to explore, new ways to encourage people to open up. So, on todayÕs eNewsletter, a question from Pip:
This is a question I have asked 54 people so far this year. Revealing indeed and fantastic discussions sometimes. See a list of some here.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003That's enough war for now The Doors) I think I got the school assembly talk quite balanced - by talking about the just war theory. That I also got in mention of next week's mass protests being organised by the Stop the War Coalition is purely incidental.
That's enough war for now. Normal blogs resume asap.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003Quote for the day
Monday, February 03, 2003Showing restraint in the face of the horror The Fire this Time soundtrack on earphones, and it made the experience all the more searing. The lady opposite me on the way home, reading Maeve Binchy and being politely conversational, must have wondered why I was twitching, tightening up, probably looking very pained at times. I hadn't explained that I was listening to the destruction of Iraq over a fractured, at times brutal soundscape. And from time to time I wondered why I was putting myself through it - on my day off as well!
The answerÕs inexpressible but somewhere related to the reason I regard Apocalypse Now as the most-essential film of all time, and KurtzÕs Óthe horror, the horrorÓ the best summary of war IÕve yet heard.
As the reaction to all this brews inside, for the sakes of those whoÕll be listening in to my talks and sermons this coming week, I hope I can show a little restraint.
Sunday, February 02, 2003Time again for The Fire this Time last blogged about The Fire this Time, a unique soundtrack to the Gulf war, an imaginative CD project telling it like it really was - and is - utilising quotes from all the key actors from Oliver North to Madeleine Albright, champion of the "deadly remedy" of sanctions against Iraq, illegal under international law:
The album features exclusive music and mixes by some of the finest comtemporary electronic artists in the genre, including Orbital, Aphex Twin, Bola, Bass Communion, Michael Stearns, Higher Intelligence Agency, Soma, Barbed, Tom Middleton's Amba, and with additional music by Ashra, Pan Sonic, Speedy J and Kait Gray.
Saturday, February 01, 2003Good spirits at Goodison Everton this afternoon. I arrived early and wandered along Goodison Road taking in the mood. Spirits were good. Gentle almost, though not passive. People going through their matchday rituals. At the chippie opposite the main stand entrance I reckoned some of those folk in that queue had been doing that for decades, could probably recall the price of cod before Bob Latchford grew his beard. Squeezing through the tea-and-cakes crowd in St Luke's Hall it seemed to me that those sat around the tables having been served by the dear church ladies, looked as 'at home' there as they would at home.
Standing on the traffic island at the end of Gwladys Street waiting for Paul, Hal and Matthew to arrive, I read David Moyes' programme notes, which ended, unremarkably perhaps, "Finally, I'd like to welcome Terry Venables, Brian Kidd, Eddie Gray and Roy Aitken for this afternoon's match". Something about that impressed me deeply. How must it feel to be Moyes, a young man by his own insistence still learning his trade, to be the person offering hospitality on behalf of a world-famous institution, to men who are legends in the game. Thrilling, no doubt. Deeply, gently, thoroughly satisfying.
And the dynamics of football mean that Moyes's gentle thrill and satisfaction spread around the club, penetrate all who share his blue passion.
We have recently been where Leeds are now - in crisis. Which flavoured our satisfaction at winning another game and pulling up alongside Chelsea in the league table. Felt for Leeds today. Felt generous towards them in their struggles. As we walked out towards a twilit County Road after the game I thought, you can do that easily when things are going well.