Saturday, March 31, 2007

Connect Festival

Part ((1)) of two music related posts...

I'm not a target market!

Or at least I try to persuade myself that I am not... but, unfortunately, I seem to be the target market for the new Scottish music festival :: Connect

It is billed as... Scotland's new three day boutique event... to be held in the stunning grounds of Inveraray Castle, situated on the banks of one of Scotlands most beautiful lochs, Loch Fyne, Argyll on 31st August, 1st & 2nd September 2007.

Acts announced so far include Beastie Boys... Bjork... CSS... Nouvelle Vague... LCD Soundsystem... Mogwai... and Primal Scream :: Its caught my attention anyway.

I quite fancy it... and thought it would be an ideal escape for Roscoe's stag whatever - A weekend at the end of summer overlooking the fab Loch... enjoying some great tunes. Nothing untoward which will keep me in Janey and Ruth's good books. We'll see. I do, however, fancy it regardless.

I've never been to a festival ((one... two... three... awww!)) and this is more my kind of thing.

I've never been camping either... and would be up for 2 nights in the great outdoors. I do like the enterprise that a company called Tangerine Fields have - they are the official tent provider at Connect as well as most of the other UK festivals. For £95 you can hire the 2 Person Dome Tent Package with a spacious dome tent, with storage porch, double airbed, and 2 sleeping bags. What's even cooler is that any sleeping bag they hire out... after the event they give them away to the homeless charity Crisis.

I figure I should be able to beg or borrow kit for the weekend... but I like the idea and give them kudos for it.

Heading off on a tangent... while on the Tangerine Fields website... I followed a link to the Family Music website.

They offer a kind of cooler music club kind of service... where, for a fee, they send you a number of CDs that they believe you'll love from the info you've given them (fav artists / wish lists etc). Its another enterprising idea that I give props to. Personally, I like the hunt... the search... the flipping through racks in music shops like Fopp... but I can appreciate some people don't have the time and like the idea of a curator's recommendation.

So anyway... who is up for a festival?

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What have I been up to?


Sorry I've not been posted as much as I usually do... a ton of things on my mind and heart just now. One of my many faults is that I spread myself too thin... don't give people / tasks enough focus while always eagerly looking for the next new thing... the next new experience. I am learning to focus on who and what I have in front of me... its a journey to change my behaviour... but I have made the first few steps.

That's why I've not been updating the ol' nanolog for a few days. Hope you don't mind.

So what have I been up to? Work has been pure mad hectic this week. Lots of people wanting and not enough people trusting. Crazy. Spent a considerable part of the week in meetings... with my trusty collection of moleskines at my side.

Ivor's "Christ" Carpet

I met up with Ivor and Rita on Thursday night to give them an update on ((deep)). If you read my other blog :: Headphonaught's Hardthought :: you'll know that I've got funding for the project... with the first event loosely planned for October. I am so chuffed with this.

Art in Pancho Villas

Yesterday, my lead took the team to Pancho Villas in the Merchant City to celebrate meeting a major milestone. Nice ambience. Very Mexican... with great art and even better food (Sorry Richard)

Fajitas King Prawn

Their king prawn fajitas were to die for! Great Mexican food. Only complaint was the slowness of the staff... the meal took ages... but, all in, it was fab.

Afterwards, I worked on to get everything sorted for my week and a bit off work. We are heading over Berwick way for a few days next week with my folks. Hope to go to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne at some point. More on that later.

At night... we headed over to the Salvation Army in Hamilton for a presentation by Raymond & Gillian on their travels in South America. Was far more exciting than it sounds... their passion for simple travel and the people they met shone through.

The Second Phase

Though the coffee chain's specific plans are not known, existing Starbucks franchises across the nation have been locked down with titanium shutters across all windows. In each coffee shop's door hangs the familiar Starbucks logo, slightly altered to present the familiar mermaid figure as a cyclopean mermaid whose all-seeing eye forms the apex of a world-spanning pyramid.

Those living near one of the closed Starbucks outlets have reported strange glowing mists, howling and/or cowering on the part of dogs that pass by, and electromagnetic effects that cause haunting, unearthly images to appear on TV and computer screens within a one-mile radius. Experts have few theories as to what may be causing the low-frequency rumblings, half-glimpsed flashes of light, and periodic electronic beeps emanating from the once-busy shops.
The Onion

The second phase of Starbucks' expansion plans have been announced. Be as scared as my contact who passed me the link in a brown paper envelope. He refused to be photographed... but I managed to seek a wee pic.

Somethings going on... be afraid... be very afraid!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

((deep)) - update meeting tomorrow

From Screendumps

Meeting tomorrow with Ivor and Rita to discuss progress on ((deep)) - talking about the team needed... venues considered... costs / budgets... and timescales.

Please support me in whatever way is natural to you.

Ivor's "Christ" Carpet


Meeting went very well. We have identify the next steps and Ivor has earmarked funding for the project.

Next Steps to include...
* I need to present the idea to the Division at "Ignite"
* A Steering Group & Team need to be identified and mobilised
* I need to continue to Scout for a location, although I can now consider leasing a property (which is better for the whole view of ((deep))

We agreed to aim for the first event to be in October 07. Not long really.

Why I do it!

Laura, Sam & my stuff

I hope Laura doesn't mind me quoting her... but her quote really lifted me and I thank her for it. I don't quote this to make myself special or to say... look at me... but simply to show everyone why I do what I do. Why I sometimes spread myself too thin... Why I sometimes neglect people I love... This is why:
We headed down to Caffe Nero after that for ‘The Gathering’ which, due to our bizarre collection of toys, ended up being plain daft. We had the whole group tied together in a web of wool that, at one point, looped itself round the entire basement space ..and it was just silly and funny. It was so good though – just to be able to spend time in an atmosphere where I’m relaxed enough to have fun like that, in the company of a bunch of people who show a genuine interest in each other. I’ve really struggled to make friends since moving down here, so feeling a part of a group like that is a huge privilege to me. Lovely bunch of guys – Thomas deserves a lot of thanks for bringing them all together.

Thank you! and to all who have gathered... my thanks!

15 years


I love Olly

15 years ago today... Olly and I had our first date. We'd met at Olly's cousin's wedding on the 6th March, 1992; and had been corresponding on and off since then. She wrote to me before I got a chance to write to her :-) Oh and for folk born since 1980 - writing letters is like email... except its takes a long and involves paper, pens and stamps!

The last 15 years have been the best of my life and I am grateful to Olly for all that she has done and continues to do for me... and our family.

She is the best friend and dedicated wife a man could have. I am the proof that geeks can, and do, get the girl!

Love you, honey!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Use your vote... wisely!

Use your vote... wisely

On the way into Glasgow on Saturday night... I saw these signs everywhere... and it saddened me some what.

The Scottish Christian Party claim to be proclaiming Christ's Lordship and want your vote in the upcoming Scottish elections. Why was I saddened by this? Surely I should be rejoicing as the Christians across all denominations and traditions who have greeted the Revd J. Hargreaves. “At last we have a political party that will stand up for the Lord.” is their response.

Why? Well first off... We have gone and done what modern Christianity does very well... break away and create a separate something - we have created another exclusive, Christian-only, ghetto. This time its a political party. What happened to being Salt and Light within the existing political parties? Changing them with your example from within? That's obviously not on anyone's agenda.

We should not have separate anything... we are in this world and must be an example of it... we should not think and act like the world... we shouldn't originate from it. To create another Christian-only club totally defeats this.

As the Scottish Christian Party we represent Christians in Scotland in the same way as the Scottish Socialist Party represents, some but not all, socialists in Scotland. (There are still some socialists in the Labour Party, and some affiliated elsewhere and nowhere.)
Secondly... they do not speak for me. I am a Christian... with no need for a political party to attempt to represent me or speak on my behalf. I don't subscribe to a stereotype and don't want my faith to become some form of demographic variable to be fought over. This is another misuse of the name / word / noun "Christian".

I give credit to the genuine folk who see this as making a difference... shining a small light in this dark world... but I just don't get it.

As for my politics...
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25: 34-40 (New International Version)

Think about it.

A few things of note

This bin loves litter

Even in the remotest of places on earth... if you look hard enough... you will see love.

I'm sorry for the intermittent nature of the ol' nanolog over the last wee while... There are things I need to do and things weighing heavy on my heart that means I need to spend time away from 'tinterweb.

A few things of note (In no particular order):
* Olly is blogging more... which is a real encouragement
* I am meeting with Paul Clement today to discuss his involvement with ((deep))
* I am also meeting with my leadership on Thursday to discuss progress with ((deep))
* I am confirmed on my Prince2 course that will be held in London... but its in May instead of April
* I have stuff to do for my wee web thing... which should be going into test in April sometime
* I have a video podcast to complete
* I will be joining Olly in a wee trip to Croydon with the Bellshill SA Band in June - we will be staying with Jonny Laird and family... which will be sweet!

I'll be back soon... Oh and apologies to Richard Bradbury over in Zambia for posting pics of food... don't want you missing home too much!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This was the weekend that was...

Mural on Wilson St (Merchant City)

Another great weekend... with lots to see and do... just how I like them to be!

Exterior of the City Merchant

For lunch on Friday... I was invited along with the management team of the project I am working on (I used to be management) for one of the team :: Eddie's leaving lunch. As we work in the Merchant City in Glasgow... we have an amazing choice for food and I was delighted when my boss invited me to The City Merchant - its a fantastic seafood restaurant that's ideal for that special occasion.

Interior of the City Merchantscallops with kedgeree
Sole with chilli mashvarious deserts (Chocolate Mousse / Cloutty Dumpling / Ice Cream)

The interior is really interesting with fab still life displays... quotes and info on sealife (i.e. your meal). The food was something else... truly amazing. Scallops with Kedgeree (top right) to start... followed by sole with chilli mash & garlic butter (bottom left) and to finish a selection of deserts (bottom right) - chocolate mousse... clooty dumplin... and vanilla icecream in a thin chocolate shell.

The City Merchant is famed for its use of local producers and, in my opinion, it deserves the reputation it has. Truly one of the best meals I've had in Glasgow... and certainly the best seafood I have tasted in a long time.

Pat, Kev & ShionaJen, Eddie and me
(L to R) Pat, Kev, Shiona, Jen, Eddie and me

It was great to spend some time with the team... away from the noise and clatter of the open plan office. They are a great group of people and a pleasure to work with. Shame to see Eddie moving on... but glad to know he is happy and content within himself. Cheerio, big man!

Drinks were provided at 1630hrs... I stayed for a short while but needed to say my apologies... because the Family Headphonaught were heading to the pictures:


I can remember a time when going to the pictures was frowned upon by good... upright... church folk. Now... progressive thinking... missional churches such as Destiny, Edinburgh are using their space to bring some fun to their neighbourhood. Our friends, Kirsty & Fraser, organise the The Reel : a film club that shows great films for no reason at all other than to introduce people to the church and have some fun. Their church building was a turkish bathhouse and a cinema previously and is an ideal venue for a film club. Olly has posted more on it here and I don't want to steal her thunder... Needlesstosay... Darth Vader knows what Luke is getting for Christmas... because he has felt Luke's presents!!!


On Saturday morning... I headed into Glasgow to hang with Alistair and document his prayer vigil in George Square in Glasgow. I've shot some film... and interviewed a few people... and hope to release my first journey into video soon.

It was great to spend time with these young Jesus-freaks... Folk like Alistair... John B... Dan... Laura L and Laura B... I am filled with hope when I hang with them. They will go places with the Good News that I can only dream about!

The Council Buildings

I got a chance to sit down with my old pal Robert Addie and chew the fat with him for a while - he's too old to sit on tarmac! We talked about Human Trafficking... prostitution in terms of demand and supply... and "Roman" vs "Celtic" approaches to evangelism as detailed in Dan Kimball's book :: The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations ((I finally got round to picking up the book... and now can't put it down!))

I left the group... sitting in a circle... listening to redemptions songs playing on a mobile... waiting for Alistair to bring back pizza. Not sure how much prayer was happening... but delighted to see the kids coming together with prayer and praise on their lips.

My fav bridge

I headed home... to spend the rest of a beautiful and sunny Saturday in the company of my wife and we'ans. Got to my fav bridge in Motherwell and realised I had left my sunglasses on the train! Argggghh!!! They weren't expensive or from Venice or anything... its just that I have a fat face and I need broad glasses... and they fitted me a treat.

My world

We headed to my favourite hill :: Tinto :: this is a sacred hill... a special hill... My grandfather climbed this hill up until his 86th birthday... My parents have climbed it... My Uncle Robert climbed it... It has so many great memories and on a day like yesterday it was a real privilege to walk at its base. Olly has posted about our visit [here] and I don't want to steal her thunder on this occasion either. It was a great day for a walk... and the quiet was what I needed.

Preppin' for Youth Alpha

Afterwards... we watched some telly as a family... and then went our separate ways - I had prep to do for Youth Alpha in Paisley.

St Bernadet's

This afternoon we were invited to the Christening of our neighbour's we'an at the local Catholic church. I am embarrassed to say that this is the first time I have set foot in a Catholic Church for any sort of service ((I have been to various Catholic Churches in Italy... especially the St Peter's in the Vatican City)) and I was surprised and saddened by the experience.

Surprised by the beauty of the building and the artwork. Something special that I believe the Protestant tradition has lost. Saddened in the fact that the theology on display was, in my humble opinion, so near and yet so far... Infant Baptism does not promise eternal life - only an individual decision to accept God's grace can do that.

Irn Bru

All in... it was a lovely service. We headed over to the Motherwell Miner's Welfare Club for a buffet and spent some time in conversation with our neighbours.

Later on... I headed over to Paisley to lead their Youth Alpha class. They have some great kids who were a pleasure to hang with... and lead through a difficult topic.

Good times!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


another perspective

Sometimes you need to look at things from a different perspective... from another person's viewpoint.

Jen... Jon... Alistair... Paul

Spent time today in Starbucks. Intention was to meet up with Jon G to discuss an issue that's been troubling my mind of late. When I got there... I had the pleasure of hanging with Paul and Jen as well as Jon. Alistair joined us later.

Its nice to be surrounded by likeminded people and share in something simple and basic... yet kind profound. This is fellowship... and its great to be part of. Paul and I spent the majority of my lunch hour in conversation on where the synergies exist between his project and ((deep)) - encouraged by the overlap. Points to a greater plan for Glasgow.

Thing is though... never got a chance to talk 1-to-1 with Jon. I appreciate his counsel... and he calls on mine. I am grateful for him popping over tonight to talk. I needed his perspective. Thanks, bro!

New Music from Earth Monkey Productions

From Album Covers

Simian Shaun has a lot to be proud of just now... He has a number of new releases on his netlabel :: Earth Monkey Productions :: 3 of which I am really digging.

First off... we have the sequel to Cousin Silas' Ballard Landscapes... This second installment contains some more of the beautiful ambient soundscapes that I just lap up. Textures... Layers... of blissful ambience. Great for foreground or background listening... as is:

From Album Covers

Des Slow and the stop pills with elements - 4 tracks of ambient electronica in the vein of Tangerine Dream. Deep listening. Special.

From Album Covers

I am also loving the patient lifting ep by the cardboard lung :: more dissonant with found sound and stolen voices... over ambient guitars. Loving it as the soundtrack to dreary days in wet Glasgow.

If you like ambient soundscapes then check out Earth Monkey Productions - you will be surprised by the quality of their roster's output.

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Olly's revamped blog

From Screendumps

Olly has revamped her blog :: check it out and give her some encouragement by leaving a comment or linking to her space.

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Last night...

shoes with wool

Another gathering... another good time had. More info here

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gathering :: March


March's gathering has to be the silliest yet... with conversation touching on films... music... and things to do with some toys purchased by Laura and her gang in the Pound Shop.

shoes with wool

For some reason a ball of wool was passed around... tie us all together in some weird, unintentional metaphor. Guess who's shoes?

duck, laura & sam

Laura brought her pal Sam from up North... as well as bringing "Big" Chris and a chap called Jay that she knows from ICC. The wool was his idea... I think.

Jay & Adam

Jay (right) wasn't the only new face... Adam aka Lurch (left) came along. As did Martin B... who's laugh was infectious and was heard before we saw him.

Afterwards, the majority of folk went for noodles. At this point, I was happy to leave them to it... my job done, in a sense, by bringing them together... and because I wanted to see Olly and the we'ans.

Another good night. Here's to the next one!

Photos :: here - I think we may need to create a flickr group for all the photos taken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

gathering :: google calendar

I've set up a public google calendar for this gathering malarky. If you use google calendar... and I recommend you do... you can subscribe and keep up-to-date.

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The 1,500th Nanolog Post

Alistair mind your head

This is my 1,500th post on the ol' nanolog... and its fitting that its about my adventures in Starbucks :: grabbed a large cup of earl grey with Alistair before heading off to a meeting with techy people who, I am convinced, were speaking in Klingon or something.

Alistair is a big encouragement to Olly and I... and its always a pleasure to grab some time with him. He was buzzing about the flash prayer mob he's organised and was giving me an insight to his plans for the future.

Thanks for the blether, pal!

Gathering today...

From Gathering Flyers

Hope you can make it... More info here

gthrng :: bdgs

Oh and I've made badges... Only got 10 so first come.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Communitas :: Coffee with Innes


On Friday... I managed to grab a coffee with Innes J. Its great to hang out with him and journey together for that wee while.

He's reading a book just now called Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture by Michael Frost Here's a wee snippet from the synopsis on Amazon...
"Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture" presents a biblical, Christian worldview for the emergent church - people who are not at home in the traditional church or in the secular world. As exiles of both, they must create their own worldview that integrates their Christian beliefs with the contemporary world.
Innes has really connected with this book. He spoke of the difference between community and communitas - we are all seeking community in one way or another... but what we really long for is the bond... the close connection... the communitas that comes from shared journeys... shared ups and downs... shared hardship and struggle and the joy of achievement.

He used my trip to Philly as an example of communitas... and went on to suggest that for true fellowship to occur we need shared goals that people can live... rather than just talking about community over a coffee. This really challenged me... and encouraged me.

Been struggling with some of the purpose driven life... especially around a piece we touched on in day 17 ::
I can't claim to be following Christ if I'm not committed to any specific group of disciples.
I find Rick Warren's writing to be too black and white... there are always shades of grey that his idealistic view will miss. In essence, is he saying that you can't be a Christian if you are not part of a church? This is surely nonsense.

Thing is... there will be people who are not part of any established group who are still committed to Jesus and share with believers. I don't need to be part of a church to be a follower of Jesus. What I would suggest, however, is that my willingness to be with likeminded people does, in some way, describe my motives... my understanding of my faith.

If I claim to be a follower... and yet do not actively seek to be with likeminded followers... then I am a grain of wheat that is surrounded by weeds. I don't believe we should live in isolated ghettos... distant and exclusive from the world around us. We are not of the world but we are most certainly in it! but I do believe we need to be with likeminded people... and share with them... in order to fully experience the joy and freedom that comes from grace.

Its kind of like a salesperson out on the road... meetings all the time... sooner or later they need to get back to the office. Replicate their email... communicate with their management... share with their team. Life is fine remotely for a while but we need come back to the office.

Same is for followers of Jesus. Every so often... we need to share... learn... laugh... cry... with people who share our beliefs. We are exiles in this land... and need to come together to ensure the continuity of our message.

In a crazy... roundabout way... I think I just explained the quote I disagreed with earlier. Hmm!

Anyway... it was great to spend time with Innes and look forward to Wednesday when we meet at the gathering.

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Last few days...

love life

The intention for this weekend was to chill out with my loved ones... Had a few things planned but most importantly the focus was to spend time with my family... and some close friends. On Friday evening I received an email that kind of threw me off kilter... took me aback, to be honest. I've tried to put it aside... but I can't.

Spent Friday evening watching a very good Red Nose Day... I'm delighted to see they raised £40m for deserving causes. My head wasn't really with it... all I could think about was how much our government have earmarked to replace Trident... somewhere in the Billions! and think what good that money could do it we used it for peaceful, humanitarian projects instead.


On Saturday, I spent the morning with my pal Derek who is a talented graphic designer and mac geek... who is working with me on a wee project.

posse in effect

The remainder of the team joined us later in Starbucks for a good and progressive discussion. I can't really give too much away just now but I am working with my mate Baz... Derek... and a chap called Tony... on a wee 'tinterweb application. Basically, its the realisation of an idea Baz shared with me a while back... and I am hopeful that it could become something special.

view from the car

After lunch... Olly and the we'ans ventured over the Forth Bridge to Glenrothes to see our pals... Chris and Dawn. The plan was to hook up with Dan & Carol-Anne and head into the new Nando's in Dunfermline before making our way for a concert by the Bellshill Salvation Army Band.

dan & carol-anne

olly, dayna & miriam

dawn & chris

We all had a fab meal. It was great to be in each others company and just rest. Olly and I are grateful for their friendship and thoroughly enjoyed being there.

We made it to the church on time for Olly to take part. She played her trombone with gusto... and sang a beautiful song called "Hold me close" - it was a long but varied programme... and a great night all in.

Breakfast with Olly

Today... for Mother's Day... Olly got a well-earned breakfast in bed with two lovely handmade cards from Dayna and Miriam. She's a great mum and a fantastic wife. Thanks honey.

Church was good... the sermons with be here shortly and available to download from iTunes.

Been fab to relax with my nearest and dearest... and thanks go to them for lifting me from the dark place I started out in on Friday night.


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