Off to the big city to see Brooklyn's finest this week. A long way to go to see them but, to be fair, they came a lot further, following an extensive US tour.
Shepherds Bush was, disappointingly, not sold out - though this might in part be due to them playing places other than London in the UK this time round. Their alleged obscurity meant that I couldn't even give my ticket away and so, ever intrepid, I ventured on alone. It was a really fun night, as you'd expect from TMBG.
On the day before I tried to borrow my daughter's slim line camera (knowing I wouldn't be welcome with a DSLR, only to find that it was playing up. On the train up I discovered that my camera phone had packed in as well. My attempts to remain upbeat were squashed a bit by being able to stand four people back from the front barriers - a blessing to have such a good spot but frustrating that I could have got some great shots from there.
When, after the opener You're On Fire, the band invited the photographers in the pit up on stage for some crowd shots, I was - I confess - a little envious. Big kudos to Helen Parish, one of the lucky four, for uploading her's onto the interweb. All the pictures you see here are her's.
There is a real party atmosphere at TMBG gigs. The sock puppets (yes, really) and daft songs are part of it, as is the feeling (knowledge) that you are in on a good secret as to how darned good this band is. Quirky and clever yes, but also the pruveyors of extremely fine songs in a variety of styles. There's something for everyone and if you don't like this one, there will be another along in two to three minutes.
Plenty of banter with the audience including the self-deprecating line, "We ruin you for other bands".
I think that this is the setlist, though I am slightly hazy on the order of a couple of them. How many bands play their biggest hit third song in?
1 You're On Fire
2 Damn Good Times
3 Birdhouse In Your Soul
4 The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
5 Don't Let's Start
8 Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
9 Black Ops
12 Can't Keep Johnny Down
13 Boss Of Me / Circular Karate Chop
14 32 Footsteps
15 Memo To Human Resources
17 Call You Mom
18 Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
19 Ana Ng
20 New York City
21 Rhythm Section Want Ad
22 He's Loco
23 When Will You Die?
24 The Mesopotamians
25 Number Three
26 Doctor Worm
As always with your favourite band there were some things in there you'd like to have seen more than others but a fine set all the same. One of my personal highlights was "When Will You Die?" (which is very funny as well as being a great song) followed by The Mesopotamians in the first encore.
Here is the first of those, accompanied by an interesting film....
Every year I am in the happy position of the one of the countries biggest and best illuminated carnivals parading down the end of my road. If like me, carnival growing up was a few lorries in the daylight banish all thoughts. This is loud and flashy - pretty much how we do things a round here.
It's difficult to photograph, all the carts are lit differently, but great fun to try. These are some of my better efforts from this week.
Sunday was the best - a baptism service for two people in the congregation. We had a packed church and a great service. Quite apart from the boost that baptism gives to the people going under the water, the church gets a lift from it. Because this is what it's all about for Christians (Baptists in particular?). Seeing grown ups deciding that they want to take the plunge - as it were.
You see, we don't christen or baptise babies or children, though we are happy to give thanks for them and pray for them. We figure that it's something that kids need to make their own minds up about, and in due course, when they are old enough, we baptise them. We use a lot of water too. Maybe it says something of the extravagance of grace.
Came across a great passage from a children's book just last week about baptism and how wrong people can get it. This is from the point of view of a child:
"I'd heard about Baptists from Jacob Henry's mother. According to her, Baptists were a strange lot. they put you in water to see how holy you were. Then they ducked you under the water three times. Didn't matter a whit you could swim or no. If you didn't come up, you got dead and your mortal soul went to Hell. But if you did come up, it was even worse. You had to be a Baptist."
Robert Newton Peck, "A Day No Pigs Would Die"
It's true we're a strange lot. But surviving baptism doesn't make you a Baptist. It's a public declaration that you have become a follower of Jesus - other denominations are available. Though, obviously, they aren't so good...
A great day. For all the things that we are involved in as a church - this is what it's all about.
The famous frontage - the only mock Tudor fronted football ground?
Great opportunity to photograph in a great stadium on Saturday. Portsmouth have had a few bad seasons of late and their fair share of troubles, underlined by the hoardings proclaiming their 2008 FA Cup Final win just five years ago. Their support has held up well though, over 16,000 fans showed up for this one.
Pompey fans - apparently not too keen on Southampton
Horribly windy day and Portsmouth took a three goal lead before City redoubled their efforts and clawed a couple back. At the end there were six minutes added time but it wasn't quite enough, great game though. Even so, possible highlight for being surreal was the speech from the pitch that we were treated to about Charles Dickens at half-time. That was a first!
From the away end the photography is from a pit that you stand in - different
The Angels Stadium - one of my favourite pictures from holiday
The Red Sox did it. Or rather, David Ortiz did. A convincing 4-2 win over St Louis and I confess that I watched pretty much all of it. Great stuff.
We're talking baseball, in case you're wondering. I don't fully understand how it works but having seen a game in the summer, I was immediately hooked. A friend took us to see the LA Angels. We chose Mike Trout as our favourite player before we saw him play because how can you not root for a guy with a name like that? Turns out he's their star player but we didn't know that - honest. "We" beat the Toronto Blue Jays. A brilliant evening that the whole family enjoyed. Normally that would be the end of it but on returning home I found that, due to a BT broadband line, I was able to watch baseball here too. Hence being able to watch the World Series. Had we made the trip to watch the Dodgers instead we'd have had a longer season as they were contenders at one point. But you know how it is, support your local team.
I see that there is a South West League over here. It comprises four teams, Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter and (oddly) Torbay. If I was ten (or twenty) years younger... As it is maybe I'll take a camera along sometime.
I'm a middle aged man, a Baptist Minister, and more to the point an evangelical Christian. I have a great family, the best wife, an interest in music (mainly the sort of things that a middle aged man should like) and media in general. I like my sport and hardly ever play any. Will watch Test matches very happily and have a love of football, Exeter City are my club of choice.