Saturday, 30 January 2010

A walk on the beach

Not a lot of blogging as work has been full-on this week. Thursday was the day off and fed up with the exercise bike in front of the telly I resolved to go for a long walk instead.

The weather was good, bright and crisp - until I reached the beach. A strong and cold wind whipped in across the bay and it was a close run call whether my nose or my eyes ran most. Really bitter and the only other people on the beach were walking dogs; they had to be there. The notable exception was a man in his sixties in shorts and tee-shirt who was jogging, bent into the wind, oblivious to the stares of the crows that skulked in the litter washed up by the tide.

After a while, either the wind died down or as I walked round the coast I got some protection from it. As soon as I cut in land over the golf course it was much calmer and warmer too.

In all this I was helped along by the music I listened too. I had treated myself to a TMBG album I didn't have (Lincoln) and Japan's Gentlemen Take Polaroids (a steal to download from Amazon at the moment for just over £3). Yet the album that really put a spring in my stride (it was a long walk) was The Seeds of Love by Tears For Fears. One of those situations where you listen to something occasionally and rediscover it all over again. A brilliant album, I saw them tour it in Manchester with Oleta Adams on piano. Having gone with someone who really liked them I was surprised at how good they were.

So the latest track to be posted is from TFF. Enjoy.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

iPod Wisdom

Wise man, he say, "Don't leave it too long to back up your iTunes library". Otherwise it takes you 11 DVD discs and (with two failed discs) over 24 hours of writing your discs to achieve the desired result.

Wise woman, she say, "Serve you right for having so much rubbish on your iPod."

I say, "Wise woman - she not so wise."

She say, "Wise man - ha - no such thing."

Thursday, 21 January 2010

More Giants

Today's offering from TMBG is proof that you don't need much of a budget to make an interesting video. Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head is great fun, although to be honest I was looking for Don't Let's Start which I prefer and isn't on You Tube in a decent quality version.

I will stop this TNBG thing today for fear of losing any of my three followers; it is Andy's fault for encouraging me.

If I was in LA I would be getting to one of their shows next month Draycotts!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

They Might Be Giants

It's a bit clunky but I have found out how to add a list and so a feature on the blog with music you probably never wanted to hear in the first place let alone ever again. Our Friends Eclectic can be found in the top right hand corner and when the song in question is underlined you get to hear or see it, if you so desire.

First up, the one song you will know from the woefully underrated TMBG. I still have little idea what it is about but enjoy it all the same.

They have a 'Users Guide' best of CD which is a great introduction to their quirky world of genius. And what a world it is....

Friday, 15 January 2010

Ziggy Stardust and the Postmen from Mars

Seen any of these groovy beauties yet? I have just found out they were out a week ago and need to go to the Post Office tomorrow anyway. Now we can really stick it to the man, right?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Liverpool 1 Reading 2

Liverpool - it's like watching the Chuckle Brothers putting up a deckchair

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Alastair Campbell does God - a bit

Found this on the Guardian website thanks to the BUGB alert I receive each day and thought it was interesting for the perspective that the Bible contains good things whether you like it or not.

Alastair Campbell: how Bible prepared me for Iraq inquiry
Former No 10 press chief took sustenance from Psalm 56 before appearance at Chilcot inquiry

Alastair Campbell once famously said: "We don't do God." But, as he turned up at the Iraq inquiry yesterday morning, he apparently took moral sustenance from a passage in the Bible. He has written about it today on his blog.

I am amazed ... how many people, though they know I don't do God, sent me passages from the Bible. As I walked through the media scrum on the way in, and on the way out, and listened to some of the overblown and agenda-driven commentary, I was glad to have read in the morning an email with Psalm 56 attached ... 'What can mortal man do to me?' it asks. 'All day long they twist my words, they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life ... ' I never detected a death plot among the British media, but the rest of it sums up the Westminster lobby to a tee.

It's a very long blogpost and, as you'd expect, it contains the usual diatribe about the media. But it's worth reading, not least because he describes how he prepared for the hearing and he makes an argument about how the government should defend its record. On the Bible, he says he agrees with Neil Kinnock, who said it was a shame he was an atheist because "some of the best lines are in the good book".

Monday, 11 January 2010

To cancel or not to cancel...

... that was the question.

The other church that meets in the same road as us decided to cancel their services yesterday because of the snow and ice but stubborn non-conformists that we are, we went ahead. Got there early to clear paths etc (tip - don't use cat litter to grit a path, you just tread clay everywhere) and then discovered that on the coldest week of the year we had a heating failure.

So all change from the Main Hall (also known - wrongly - as "church") to the smaller and quicker to heat Lower Hall and much movement of chairs, Bibles, projector - which also failed - and subsequently hymn books and printed sheets because the hymns come from different sources. And we couldn't print the noticesheets either.

Not a promising start but many more than originally expected (I'd estimate between 60 and 70) and everyone pulled together like in the Blitz. We actually had a good service, many commenting on the intimacy of being together in the venue. We did cancel the evening service after a show of hands showed there would be eight of us, but that was okay.

More heavy snow is (currently) forecast for this part of the world tomorrow so we may go through the whole thing again next week.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Golden Grahams

As the Women's Fellowship meeting was cancelled this afternoon I spent time with my favourite parishoner over a beer and a steak sandwich in the pub around the corner. Then watched the thrilling climax of the third test in South Africa and a new obdurance that I thought was foreign to us. A great result and a good day.

Planet Earth is white and it's minus 20 tonight...

A great NASA picture showing what the UK looks like today.

Exam - the Movie

Was interested to learn of a British psychological thriller that has a (so-far) limited release this month. Exam looks like a scary and probably quite violent film which has been described as "imagine an interview that is a cross between John-Paul Sartre and Alan Sugar" and has been raved about in Empire magazine.

What attracted my attention is that is the directorial debut of Stuart Hazeldine. Stu was a student at a university I worked in for UCCF in the Kent days and we showed a film that he made at a student event. I remember really enjoying that film although, at nearly three hours long, it could have done with shortening. So I'm looking forward to seeing it, either on the big screen or on DVD.

You can see a trailer here on YouTube.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


It never snows here, that's what they told us. When, in our fourth winter, we had a bit of a dusting the kids had a couple of days off school and some of their friends who have lived here for twelve years had never seen snow in town before. The picture is from last year when I was caught in the act and ruined my doing good deeds in secret.

But last night we had a good dose of the white stuff, whole thick swathes of it that made listening to the local radio for school closures a formality. School is already off for tomorrow as we await the possibility of more snow and the certainty of freezing temperatures - forecast at minus eight.
I'm grateful for the warmth of the house and the stockpile of food we have left over from Christmas and - I think - for being able to work from home.