Thursday, 30 December 2010

That fifteen films meme...

Unfashionably late, as usual!

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen films you’ve seen that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen films you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

Not in order of preference.

Do go tag thyself!

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Friday, 24 December 2010

In the words of the rebel Jesus...

Re-post from last year - still listening and admiring Jackson Browne nailing it...

This amazing song from Jackson Browne is one of my fave Christmas pieces with so much truth and depth compared to other commercial stuff and what we sing in church. Verse two is really hard hitting linking 'Temple Trading' to both the church and environmental issues way back in the early nineties:
Ah, they call Him by the "Prince Of Peace"
And they call Him by "The Saviour"
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill His churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
In the last verse he apologises for appearing to be judgemental (which I wonder if that's another sideswipe at the established church!) before closing the song with the fantastic proclamation:
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus


Thursday, 23 December 2010

We Might As Well Be Strangers...

Last night's episode of the BBC mini series Nativity where the tension betwixt Mary and Joseph is both at breaking point and breaking down as the awareness that Mary's innocence is true grows.

Despite the literary license used to flesh out the narrative, which Biblical purists find uncomfortable, I find it totally riveting, beautifully artistic, sensitively produced and, at times, intensely moving...


Monday, 20 December 2010


On Friday evening there was an excellent BBC4 documentary following the vibrant soprano Danielle de Niese as she worked towards a performance in a leading role as Susanna in the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. Part of the ritual of staging an opera is having distinct rehearsal types in sequence:
  1. Music
  2. Staging
  3. Technical
  4. Sitzprobe
  5. Orchestra staging
  6. Full dress rehearsal
Yes, Sitzprobe also struck me as the most fascinating rehearsal, as well as the most unusual word, derived from the German: sitzen (to sit) and proben (to rehearse). The film showed the full cast sitting and listening to the orchestra as all the sections were played, both instrumental and accompaniment. And that's all the cast did, just listen...

In my early days as a musician I noticed more experienced players would stop and listen all the way through as a piece was introduced rather than start playing along as I was prone to do. This gave time to detect extra nuances and other important elements that I was missing by my 'keen to impress' musically immature participation.

Sitzprobe is an important and often overlooked discipline in many aspects of our hectic lives...

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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Stand up, stand up for Emmanuel Jal...

An Advent meditation from 'ethical rap' artist Emmanuel Jal, endorsed by the peacemaking initiative The Elders, in support of We Want Peace. Emmanuel has appeared at the Greenbelt Festival twice plus the stunning biographical film about his life 'War Child' was previewed there. That turned out to be one of those Greenbelt 'moments', as, when the film show became very delayed, a member of the audience, Shaz Brown, volunteered to perform some of her stunning and earthy urban poetry while we were waiting, everybody there will remember how amazing that was...
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me... he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The ONE artist meme...


Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, answer these questions. Be as clever as you can. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think...

Pick your Artist: Peter Gabriel

Describe yourself: Across the River
How do you feel: Down To Earth
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Mercy Street
Your favourite form of transportation: On The Air
Your best friend is a: Kiss Of Life
You and your best friends are: Heroes
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Shock The Monkey
What is life to you: The Book Of Love
Your current relationship: The Power of The Heart
Your fear: Here Comes The Flood
What is the best advice you have to give: Love To Be Loved
I would like to die... Home Sweet Home
Time of day: Big Time
My motto: Don't Give Up

h/t Rev Sam and tagged by Canon Phil

I tag: Pastor John, The Artist and Tartist, Jon Evens, Tim Abbott and RJ (when love comes to town)

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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Brandon Flowers - a divine spark...

A breathtaking video by The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers beautiful song 'Only The Young':
Mother its cold here. Father Thy will be done.
Thunder and lightening are crashing down.
They got me on the run, direct me to the sun.
Redemption keeps my covers clean tonight.
Baby we can start again.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

When the roll is called up yonder...

... So singer Caleb Followill of the excellent Kings of Leon proclaims in the first line of the band's single 'Radioactive', the words taken directly from the well known Gospel hymn. The inspirational video also demonstrates an acknowledgement of their church roots, featuring an excellent young choir, perfect music for a joyful Gaudete Sunday!

Recently ITV recently carried a documentary which followed the band around for 48 hours entitled 'Excess All Areas' (Explicit!). Despite the title and the presenter's efforts to talk sex drugs and rock and roll, the band came across very much as the family that they are genetically, very different to most bands with similar status.

And to make an important join - check out Martyn Joseph's brilliant song 'Brother's in Exile'...


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Jónsi - Totally Transcendent Tunes

Advent Two

Every so often an musician emerges who is clearly a prodigious talent. Jónsi hails from Iceland and clearly draws on his cultural roots to season his incredibly atmospheric music. His live shows feature stunning background graphics which appear to both surround and integrate with the band's contribution. Wonderful stuff!

h/t Tim Abbott's recent blog review


Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Farmer's Prayer...

A distraught farmer finds all his cows frozen in the snow. He prays to God for help. A woman appears, puts her arms over his icy cows. They immediately defrost and start walking again. "Thank you so much", said the farmer, "you must be an angel sent by God?". "No", she said, "I'm Thora Hird"...

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