Sunday, December 30, 2007

Motherwell captain O'Donnell dies


My heart goes out to Phil O'Donnell's family and friends. He was a great player and a true asset to Motherwell Football Club. Disaster!

BBC :: Motherwell captain O'Donnell dies

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Funny



Read a generous orthodoxy after watching this clip.

New tunes for the post-Christmas period of resting


Olly gave me the new double EP from Sigur Ros :: the first disc HVARF (above) consists of 5 tracks of full-sound... mostly rarities. The second disc HEIM (below) consists of 6 acoustic versions of previous material... almost a greatest hits except it doesn't go far enough.



Both CDs are awesome in their graceful beauty and ethereal otherworldliness > best combined to make one album rather than consumed separately. Perfect listening for the dark mornings and late evenings of this post-Christmas / pre-New Year period of resting and recuperation.



The CDs complement the film Heima which is one of the best music / concert films I have ever seen. The premise of the film is as simple as it is noble - Sigur Ros give back to their Icelandic roots and community with a series of free concerts in the towns and villages of their country.

There is something truly beautiful and inspiring about this film... in fact EVERYTHING is truly beautiful and inspiring :: the scenery... the photography... the music... the people... the down-to-earthiness and humility of the band in their interviews... the simplicity of the concept... the nobility of the concert > all this effort for free. I am buzzing from this film > it is a joy to watch > a real, tangible joyfulness for the vibrancy of life.

The photography needs singled out for a moment... scenes are captured in a glorified FLICKR-style > the ordinary spaces and places are captured in a moment of extraordinary perfection... the perfect moment... that reminds me of the photography I am exposed to on a daily basis on FLICKR > vanishing perspectives... use of light... framing... symmetry... all used expertly. This isn't some National Geographic expose in all its wonder (even though they are brilliant)... but something simpler, more rooted and ordinary... and yet extraordinary > finding the beauty that is there all along... I hope this makes sense?

The music is awesome... I tend to overuse that word... but it is apt here > truly awesome. ethereal... otherworldly... tender... delicate... special and unique... melodic and orchestral... frantic... awesome! I hope, one day, to see Sigur Ros live > to experience, for myself, their magic.

In the meantime... as well as the DVD... I have ripped the film using Handbrake and have it on my iPod too > watched in bed this morning... while Olly was sleeping.

I strongly recommend this DVD to anyone with a passing appreciation of great music... beautiful scenery and expressive photography.



Another album for this period of downtime... although it is far from ambient or downtempo... is Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald's debut album This is the life > not an album I would have naturally picked but it has shown me up in all my pretension > it is excellent and would have been sorely missed if it wasn't for my folks buying me it for a present.

Its chock full of acoustic guitar orientated rock music... simple songs... effective sing-a-long choruses... all executed perfectly with some Scottish charm > her voice is lovely in its Glaswegian brogue. Hers is the music of now for Scotland... and it is fitting that she is playing in George Square in Glasgow on Hogmany > along with The View.

This is a world-class lass who deserves a bigger audience. Love it.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Miriam's Christmas Message

My daughter Miriam was asked at school to write a poem about Christmas... She was given 2 rules: 3 words per line... 4 lines. This is what my 6 year wrote:
Angel Sang Mary
Sparkling Star Night
Special Baby Jesus
Joseph Bethlehem Traveling
She has summed up the whole Nativity in 12 words... in some kind of haiku-like poem. I think it is beautiful... but then I am her dad.

On behalf of Olly and myself... Dayna and Miriam... let me wish you all... in the ol' Nanolog Community and beyond... a blessed and peaceful Christmas.

Christ has come... for everyone! Regardless of the definitions and boundaries we set... or have set for us (willingly or unwillingly)... He has come for everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My Top 10 (actually 11)

Headphones & a Shuffle

The time has come to share my Top 10 albums of 2007... and, first off, I need to point out its 11 > I could not narrow down the following albums any further ::



At number 11 is a piece of ambient brilliance from my friend COUSIN SILAS and chum... Abominations of Yondo is an awesome collection of dark, earthy and deliciously ambient electro-synthetica. Soundscapes to feed your brain and inspire your thoughts > true head music. This netlabel release is not for everyone... but it works for me. Thanks chaps!

original post



The Neon Bible by ARCADE FIRE is next at number 10 > a fab follow up album from the Canadian rockers... another deliciously dark album full of pounding rock beats, thoughtful lyrics and singalong choruses. Their mixing of full on rock and orchestral elements is inspiring > this is an album for long car journeys as well as for headphones. Excellent.

original post



Number 9 sees the second solo album from sweet Canadian singer-songwriter FEIST > The Reminder is a fab collection of acoustic guitar driven pop nuggets. 1.2.3.4 was used to great effect on the iPod Nano ads recently. Charmingly sweet and yet subversively funky... this was a fab follow up and a record that gives me hope in the music industry.

original post



The second netlabel release in the top 11... in at number 8 sees MY FIRST TRUMPET with Frerk > it is a wonderful collection of soulful, vibrant nu-jazzy instrumentation and gracefully glitchy beats. It is catchy, warm and serene.... full of melody and thought. A truly great find and awesome considering it is a free release.

original post



Number 7 brings another fantastic sophomore release from BLOC PARTY > A weekend in the city is an intense journey into the mind of KELE OKEREKE and his band. There is a real depth to their sound on this album > layers of guitars over crazy beats make for the ideal soundtrack for a weekend in a city... such as Glasgow where the sights and the people complement the sounds so eloquently. There is a tangible progression in this album and that makes it a worthwhile addition to any collection. Thanks to an old friend for the heads-up to this album.

original post



In at number 6... and nearly in the top 5... is the latest release from Iceland's most famous female vocalist... BJORK > Volta is accessible avantgarde music... if there is such a thing. This album is a vibrant and diverse stew with some of the craziest glitchy samples and beats I have heard in a long, long time... in the pot with a fab brass band and field recordings of boats' horns. I can't really describe in feeble prose how good this album is. Another album that gives me hope for the record industry > the true antithesis of the manufactured x-factor nonsense... I am a big fan!

original post



Kudos to Jon G for switching me onto number 5 in this list... NEWTON FAULKNER's Hand Built by Robots is awesome! His voice married with his skill with the acoustic guitar makes this album something truly special. Its uplifting and searching... putting words to thoughts in your head... a soundtrack to seeking meaning and value in this world. Powerful in its majestic beauty and expert simplicity. Thanks Jon!

original release



2007 saw another fine release from my fav Japanese super-hero CORNELIUS > His Sensuous album ((in at number 4)) is a natural follow on from his previous material and demonstrates a sonic progression > with intricate guitar work, intimate electronics and the expert use of effects... such as delay. This is an album that needs headphones and the patience to listen to the album from start to finish in real time. A masterpiece.

original post



The last of the netlabel releases in this list... in at number 3 is Ballard Landscapes II by COUSIN SILAS > one of the best ambient albums I have ever heard in my life. Based on the work of JGBallard, my pal CS has created some beautiful soundscapes that capture the desolation, decay and isolation held within the ordinary so perfectly. Dark and man-made... windswept and eerie... a real example of tone and structure within ambient music > truly emotive and evocative. Excellent!

original post



2007 was a big year for RADIOHEAD > they changed the industry with the manner in which they released In Rainbows... or maybe I should have said leaked it. I paid nothing for it and got far more than I deserved. I knew nothing of their work and wanted to try before I buy... and I am so glad I did. I love this album... it sums up all I love about music just now: deep guitars... atmospheric electro-synthetica... great beats... thought-provoking lyrics and delivery. I became a RADIOHEAD fan on the 10th Oct... and have since obtained the bends and kid a > I intend to buy this album too... I want it in my collection. A worthy runner-up in my top ten. Truly brilliant.

original post



My favourite album of 2007 was one that sneaked into my consciousness only recently and yet has made a big impact. I am a huge fan of TOM MIDDLETON for ages... he is an excellent DJ and remixer... and his first solo album Lifetracks demonstrates he is an excellent producer too. This album takes the listener on a journey through key milestones in Tom's life in a unique and vivid manner. His electronica is deliciously vibrant and varies from upbeat and housey... to more downtempo and chilled.

It is catchy and addictive... becoming culturally important in the way all truly good albums do. Dayna [my 8 year old] speaks of it sounding like the music from Blade Runner which is a tremendous compliment for 2 reasons -
  1. she noticed the music &
  2. she associates it with one of the best pieces of ambient electronica ever produced.
This album is up there... and a fitting number 1 for 2007.

2007 was a great year for music... even though we lost FOPP (I'm glad its back on Union St) and had to endure more x-factor guff. I hope 2008 is just as good... if not better. What were your highlights of 2007?

Thanks to all the artists featured for making beautiful music. Here's a wee slide show to recap:



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Sunday, December 23, 2007

quality rather than quantity

I've just read this article on Joel Osteen > a while back I didn't know who this chap was... but now I know. He is the pastor of the largest congregation in the USofA... and a successful writer. As I read the article something didn't sit right with me. I realised what it was when I read this:
“The reason [Osteen is] so popular is because of the spiritual infantilism of America. Not just spiritual, the infantilism of American culture,” Anthony says. “And he feeds the Paris Hilton, Britney Spears culture. It’s all me. Benefit me. What can I do for me? How can I feel better? What can I do about me? How you can get the best of your life? It’s all me-centered.”
I get the fact that he can reach out and bring people to God... that he helps people in need... and crosses cultural boundaries in doing so... but its all about the individual. The Prosperity Gospel that is preached is NONSENSE and, imho, false teaching.

In my experience following Jesus is about the individual but that is one small part of the whole. It is also about the community... and the wider-world of creation. We get ourselves right and then seek to bring the Kingdom of God to this world through our love... peace... patience etc.

We will benefit only in so far as we benefit others... we need to destroy our egos and our selfishness and look beyond our infantile selfs to others > whoever these others are. Self-worth is important... but it is superseded by people-worth, community-worth and creation-worth. We are there to help the healing of this world... which includes the healing of individuals but is far wider than that.

Let's stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of others. When it comes to Joel and the Prosperity Gospel preached by the MEGAchurches and by others... the old adage is the truest > its about quality rather than quantity.

U*P*D*A*T*E

OK...OK... I have way too much love for Roy to get all fixed on this. As I continue to reject the Prosperity Gospel... I have rejected Joel and possibly judged him unfairly > this is a baby with the bathwater kind of thing > I am big enough to say that I am going back to the metaphorical drawing board to do more research... give him a chance... before I form a view on Joel's ministry. I will respond sometime in the new year.

((deep)) in the FLAME

Cas' iPhone

Big thanks to Iain Stewart for mentioning the ol' nanolog in his review of ((deep)) for the FLAME zine for folk in the West of Scotland division of the Salvation Army.

To anyone and everyone who has come here from the FLAME I bid you welcome... take it easy... make yourself at home... click HERE for the ((deep)) stuff and... hey... come on back for more.

U*P*D*A*T*E

I have attached the podcast of Gary's Q&A with Iain and his subsequent talk. Well worth the hour or so investment.

Link

[Please Note > its a 27mb AAC file > for iTunes/iPod use]

My take on the Nativity Story

Woolen Nativity Scene

I was asked by Bobbito to present my take on the Nativity Story to the older kids in the Sunday School... This is what I said (or at least had written down to say... I ad-lib'd a bit too) ::
“The Word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood”

When Jesus was born on this Earth... God (His Father) turned the world upside down.

1) The perfect people to raise Jesus

His mother was a young girl and a virgin... not a Queen, married to the King. She was poor, common, ordinary and yet she was chosen by God to be the mother of His Son. Mary is called “blessed” because of her faith and her willingness to risk her life and lose her position in her society.

His earthly father was a righteous man... who was prepared to quietly divorce Mary and not make a fuss when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy. He too had faith to believe that this was God’s plan and was prepared to risk his reputation... his credibility for Mary and for God.

In the world Jesus was born into... reputation was everything > people tried to live “holy” lives... it was part and parcel of their religion. Both Mary and Joseph were prepared to give up their reputation and accept the accusations of the people... to please God.

In the eyes of the world... these would be the wrong people > poor and accused of sin... and yet, in the eyes of God, these were the perfect people to raise Jesus.

2) The perfect place to give birth to Jesus

Think too on the birth itself... a stable. Kings don’t get born in stables. They get born in Palaces or Private Hospitals... not in the place where animals lived. Mary had a dirty floor to give birth upon... not a clean bed... and she had no one to help her except her Husband. Cold... damp... awkward... uncomfortable... giving birth is not a nice experience but it was made worse by the surroundings.

But the location is significant... Jews have a thing for cleanliness and being born in the stable would have meant Jesus was “unclean” in the religious terms of the day. Here was the Son of God... the very creator of the world as well as the instigator of the Law the Jews followed... classified as unclean.

When Jesus was born into “our neighbourhood” He became human like us and He suffered at the hands of the religious leaders > who focussed on the outside... on appearances... rather than looking to a person’s heart and their actions. Jesus was born without sin... He lived and died without sin... even though He was surrounded by sin and partied with sinful people > Jesus came into this world to heal the sick and do so without condemnation.

In the eyes of His people and their religion... this was the wrong place to be born... and yet, in the eyes of God, this was the perfect place.

3) The perfect people to tell the good news

Who were the first people to hear the good news of Jesus birth? Shepherds. Outcasts of society... ritually unclean... spending considerable amounts of time alone with their animals... living out in the fields rather than in the towns and villages. Shepherd were people whom the religious elite shunned and not the sort of people entrusted with Royal proclamations...

Even so... God’s angels told the shepherds first. This was, in a way, to show that Jesus was born for everyone... even the lowest in society. It was also a good way to spread the message > Shepherds were good messengers... people would speak to them... share with them as they travelled from one village through the shepherd’s fields to their destination.

In the eyes of the world... shepherds were not the most suited people to proclaim the good news of the birth of Jesus... but in the eyes of God they were perfectly suitable.

4) The perfect people to worship Jesus

The three wise men... Kings to some people... were “magi” which is the root word of “magic” and “magician”. They were from the East... most likely from Babylon / Persia (think of Iran & Iraq) and were well read in the Jewish prophesies. This does not mean they were Jewish > they followed a “star” to Bethlehem. A star discovered using a cross between astrology and astronomy.

The first people to worship Jesus were not the religious Jews but people outside the Jewish religion, people and community. Outsiders. Different. Not us. It amazes me to think how we so readily accept the Magi and overlook the fact they were of a different people, community and religious background.

This emphasises the very nature of Jesus’ birth > He came for ALL men... not just the Jewish people. This is a big deal... huge! God shattered the exclusivity of the Jews and opened up His grace and mercy, through Jesus, to everyone. What was exclusive became inclusive > Jesus was and is for everyone... regardless of background, culture and religion.

In the eyes of the world... the magi were not the most suited to greet the new born King – it should have been the religious elite who were meant to have been expecting Him > but in the eyes of God they were perfect because they represented the inclusive... for everyone... nature of God’s good news.

When Jesus came to this world, He turned the world upside down – no longer was God a deity that was distant... but He was us. He lived here on earth. Saw what we saw... did what we do... and the events surrounding His birth show us the greatest truth > He came for everyone... not some small section of humanity but everyone.
That's me take on the story... what to you think? What do you take from the story? What new truth do you see in this old story?

Friday, December 21, 2007

The albums not in my top ten of 2007

iDad

The votes have been cast in my top ten fav albums of 2007... but before I divulge my personal preferences... I thought I'd list the albums that didn't make the list...

Albums I have listened to... but didn't make the cut:
  • Maps > "We can create"
  • Athlete > "Beyond the neighbourhood"
  • v/a > Electronica Unplugged vol2
  • Air > "Pocket Symphony"
  • Bebel Gilberto > "Momento"
  • The View > "Hats off to the buskers"
  • Tracey Thorn > "Out of the Woods"
  • The Shins > "Wincing the night away"
  • The Pigeon Detectives > "Wait for me"
  • LCD Soundsystem > "Sound of Silver"
  • v/a > "Intelligent Toys 4"
Albums I haven't heard yet... so can't include them in my list:
  • Sigur Ros > “Hvarf – Heim”
  • Jose Gonzalez > “In our nature”
  • St Vincent > “Marry Me”
  • Bats for Lashes > “Fur for gold”
  • Iron and Wine > “The Shepherd’s Dog”
2007 was a great year for music... and hopefully I have brought to your attention some outstanding pieces of sonic art. The albums listed above are WITHOUT DOUBT excellent... and well worth checking out (including the ones I haven't heard yet). The standard is so high > I will explain all shortly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Film Night > Wednesday, 19th December > afterwards...

The film night was a reel (sorry...) success! Approximately 50 folk joined us to watch the Nativity Story and not just the usual S*N*A*C crowd either... one or two new faces from the Corps supported us... which was sweet.

The main response... as we gathered for coffee [Starbucks Espresso blend] afterwards... was one of gratitude > the film really helped them get the story and see it in a new light... which was uplifting for Olly and I.

My thanks to Isabel for the refreshments and Alec + Andrea for allowing us to host the evening. Delighted. Catch the film asap > its well worth it!

Oh... and... it was great to see Ian and Cal from Easterhouse. Thanks for coming chaps... and thanks for reading the ol' nanolog!

The Mercy Seat Sessions



Received the following message today from Eric Himes - it was a mail out to all the boys and girls in the Facebook singing company group.
Dear Friends of The Singing Company,

It is with great pleasure that I announce that The Singing Company has just been approved to record another full length album (tentatively entitled "The Mercy Seat Sessions"). We are going to record the first week of January and will release the album at this years' Youth Congress.

We are very excited about the albums content, which centers on the Mercy Seat and follows the themes of Salvation, Consecration, New Life and Mission/Service. We hope it will not be just a recording but an experience for all who hear it.

We have 13 tracks of new arrangements of old songs and completely new material. They include:
  • Save Now
  • Jesus, I Come
  • Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
  • Behold The Lamb
  • Abide With Me
  • Grace
  • Christ Is All
  • New Psalm
  • I Know My Sins Are Washed Away
  • I Am Made In The Image Of God
  • Wake Up, O Sleeper
  • Rescue The Perishing
  • Your Kingdom Come
Please keep us in your prayers as we arrange, record and put together this album. Stay tuned to http://thesingingcompany.com for updates about this album.

Grace,
Eric Himes
The Singing Company
I can't wait!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Special Recognition Award

As I mentioned in my previous post... I received a special recognition award for my efforts recently > £50 to spend on something special... something I wouldn't normally buy.



I am a huge fan of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner > both the film and the soundtrack > and 2007 is the 25th anniversary of the original film's release... so it kind of made sense to splash out on some art... and boy am I glad.

The boxset is 5 DVDs of audio-visual goodness > 5 (yes FIVE!!!) versions of the film...
  1. The definitive 2007 director's cut
  2. The original US theatrical release (1982)
  3. The original International release (1982)
  4. The "director's cut" (1992)
  5. A "working cut" edit of deleted footage
plus a fantastic documentary > Dangerous Days > with Ridley Scott et al > a definitive "making of" for fans as well as their wives (yes... Olly isn't that big a fan). I can't wait to watch the final cut... as well as the original International release which I prefer to the rather lame "director's cut".



One of my all time top five fav albums is Vangelis' soundtrack to Blade Runner > it is sheer bliss. Its the album that introduced me to ambient music... electronica... soundtracks... soundscapes... techno... the works. I love it! So you can appreciate how wet my pants (American) were when I discovered that the 25th anniversary celebration included a release of additional music from the film and an "inspired by" CD as part of a 3 disc digipack.

Absolutely awesome... the 2nd disc is a welcome extension of the 1st... most soundscapes from the film from Vangelis. Truly beautiful ambience. The 3rd disc, on the other hand, is something new... different... intriguing. Its like a cross between a "love" remix CD (like the one the Beatles recently released that mashes up and remixes existing material) and something new > as if Vangelis has himself been inspired by the glitchy ambient electro-synthetica of modern times. Lots of "spoken word" samples that help contextualise the work and provide substance > its like hearing sippets... strains of songs... themes in the background as you go about the busy-ness of life. Personally, I love it. Its new and different... and reminds me of 1994 when the original soundtrack was new and different... and yet familiar.



Last... but not least... I was delighted to be able to afford Tom Middleton's debut solo album :: Lifetracks :: I am a huge fan of Tom's... when I grow up I want to be a DJ/Producer like Tom. I have no chance. I am savouring this album... it is full of ambient electronic goodness > spanning an emotional journey for Tom between 1998 and 2007. In some ways... it is a soundtrack to life... not just his > as he has shaped the CD to be. It reminds me of Ulrich Schnauss > upbeat... vibrant... lively... deep... soulful... expressive... contemplative... passive... meaningful. Truly one of the best albums I have heard in a long, long time...



Here's the video to "Shinkansen" to let you get the gist.

I was blessed to receive this award... and I believe I have used the gift wisely... as an uplift and a memorial. I am grateful!

Check them out... if you get the chance... or pop round to mine one evening... and we'll geek out together.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is this the new chapter I've been waiting for?

New Day

I took this pic last Monday... almost prophetically... to represent the light of a new day > never realising that Monday would be the start of something new for me.

I tend not to talk about my work... partly because I have had issues in the past with what my calling is... and partly because of a misguided feeling that my job wasn't "hip enough" > I am inspired by artists, musicians, moviemakers and the selfless "saints" who put the last, lost and least before themselves. Banking isn't really up there as a personal inspiration for me > at least, until now.

I have been struggling with uncertainty for a while now... its a long story but I was employed by the project I was working on and not by an "engineering room" [a term for a team of technology "specialists"]. In essence, I was a statistical anomaly > one that meant I would be displaced/redundant when the project finished > one that meant I would not receive training or mentoring support. I never did get the PRINCE2 training promised to me.

Anyway... on Monday I was offered a place within the "Business Analysis" Engineering Room > I have made a good impression within the project team... and my line manager within the project pulled out the stops to get me into the BA ER.

The pluses well outweighed the minuses:
  • support
  • training including national accreditation
  • guidance
  • being part of a team
  • overtime entitlement
The only thing I had to give up was my "grade" and "title" aka my ego > my pay, benefits and holiday entitlement are protected.

My role is pretty much the exact same as it was... I am a "Business Analyst"... but the opportunity that has been given to me far outshines where I was. I am not solely tied to my project > I could move on to other projects > expand my knowledge and exposure within the Bank. I will be able to train to become a recognised professional instead of an enthusiastic amateur.

Monday, as you can gather, was an important day for me > I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat on Upper.

Willow

Crazy thing is... it gets better > On Thursday I was part of a "Corporate Social Responsibility" event organised in partnership between my employer (the people), Business in the Community (the fixer) and Neilston Primary School in Glasgow.

I was there because I joined the team on Monday > this was an experience I would never have had if I remained a "lone wolf" on the project.

I had a great time... helping to prune and reshape a living willow structure that kids will play in. Others tidied flower beds, planted trees, built a mosaic, built a compost container and reclaimed overgrown spaces. I enjoyed doing something different, being outdoors (it was freezing) and, most importantly, getting to meet my new team members.

The wider team (Business Analysis is one of 5 ERs within "Business Change") are a diverse bunch of people > wide variety of ages and experiences. Scots... Irish... English... some with Asian descent. One chap is blind and his guidedog is really cute... as most Labs are.

For once, in a long time, I felt at home > welcomed in as part of the team... equal and yet unique.

I had the opportunity to go out for dinner and a pub quiz that evening... but I had tickets for Dayna and Miriam's Christmas Play and I wasn't for missing that.

But that's not all > On Friday, I was approached by the Programme Director of my project and presented with a "special recognition award" for work undertaken a few months back on risk management. I was blown away by this... getting noticed and recognised for putting in a ton of effort to meet a deadline. I'll post about what I bought with the vouchers another time.

I thank God for this > for giving me this opportunity... and for opening this door. I can see, with hindsight, that this is where I was meant to end up... all those abortive attempts to leave the project... and the solution... the way forward... was waiting for me, all this time.

I have a wider area of influence and testimony... which is very important as I bed down and get known. I have to opportunity to shine... and be good at something for once... to specialise in an area within the Bank... and develop a set of transferable skills.

What's more... I have more security > I can stop worrying... and get on with getting good.

The thing is... we all have our role to play. We all contribute to God's Kingdom and this world > we are all Tent Makers, so to speak. We need to be the best we can be for God... shining our lights through our example... tangibly demonstrating a new and better way > one where the Peacemaker is blessed.

So here's to you... to the artists, musicians, moviemakers and the selfless "saints" who put the last, lost and least before themselves; to the stay-at-home mums, the teachers and lecturers, AND the business folk who do what they do for Him... and do it well. You inspire me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Links



First off... my pal Roy Z gave me the heads up today regarding this fab blog for the Stop The Traffik movement > they host some of his fine viral ads... which I just love, btw. Check it out regularly for more ads and info on this important campaign.



Next up is a fab netlabel called Serein who specialise in...
releasing experimental, ambient and electro acoustic compositions but enjoy a vast array of musical styles and hope to keep you on your toes.
I've downloaded Nest and their v/a compilation OIO and am digging their ambient electroacoustic soundscapes. I'm going to download the rest of their arsenal tomorrow... when I get a chance.



Lastly... the mighty coolhunting provided the heads-up to this :: Duelity :: an interesting, controversial (if you are a fundy) and thoughtprovoking piece of animation from students of the Vancouver Film School that mixes the concepts and vocabulary of creationists and evolutionists. Interesting!

Enjoy.

Film Night > Wednesday, 19th December



Olly is hosting a film night next Wednesday at the Bellshill Salvation Army and you are cordially invited. We are going to watch the fab Nativity Story and share in a time of fellowship. Advent is way too busy... and this will give us all a chance to stop and soak in the wonderful story.

The Nativity Story (film) is excellent > well crafted and beautifully reenacted. A real or should I say reel (haha) treat for us all. Be there and bring your own goodies to share... tea and coffee will be provided (I think).

Last weekend...

Bothwell Parish

Friday night, after work, I headed over to Bothwell [a small village full of "posh" people in Lanarkshire] with Olly and the we'ans. The Bellshill Salvation Army Band were playing carols with a local church choir... and I got rope in to sing... which was fun. It was freezing cold but somehow very pleasant.

On Saturday we all split up and came back together :: Olly went to Glasgow to play carols with the Band... the girls had their Sunday School party... and I had 90 minutes to "charity shop".

I am a consumer... I admit it openly... but an alternative, subversive consumer. I raid charity shops and pride myself on my bargainista credentials. Bellshill, where my church is (I live in Motherwell) has some fab charity shops... including our own Salvation Army shop.

I could easily have jumped in the car and headed to the nearby retail outlet... but I decided to invest my time in Bellshill. I wanted to be in the parish, so to speak.

The spoils from a day hunting...

I managed to pick up 7 books and 1 CD for less than £4. Tolkein... McCall Smith... Klein... and a fab CD of Gregorian Chants (see the photo). I surveyed my spoils in the local Post Office's cafe with a pot of tea and a cake for £1.50 (which was a shock to someone used to Starbucks prices).

Restin' after the hunt

I kind of feel guilty... the books cost approximately 50p each > I would have spent more on each but didn't... hence the guilt. I now have the full "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series (completed with this trip) and haven't bought one from a normal retailer. Am I partly responsible in the decline in independent book shops and record shops? I hope not.

Chillin'

I picked up Olly and the we'ans... and we headed home for "Cheese & Bread Pudding, peas and chips" followed by some chilling out together. Sometimes you just have to stop.

American Apparel

Later on... I headed out for ((deep)). I picked up Ninja in town... happenin' on the new American Apparel store next to Urban Outfitters > Its fab. I like their unbranded aesthetic > clean.

It was late when I got home... weather was terrible but my heart was singing with joy. ((deep)) is happening and I had/have a part to play in that. God is good!

Sunday was interesting. Olly headed out early to join her Band on a wee trip to Forfar to take part in some carol services in the area (Forfar and Kirriemuir). It was me and the we'ans... all day.

We somehow managed to get to church (Olly is the organised Drill Sargent of the family). There were about a fifth of the usual congregation there > not solely a result of the Band being away.

2 we'ans, 2 magazines + 1 gingerbread latte = bliss!

After church... we headed over to Borders for a magazine and a coffee in Starbucks > the girls got magazines and I had a coffee. There is something deliciously ironic and subversive about reading a second hand copy of NO LOGO with a Starbucks latte in a bookshop.

Later on... we headed home and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire together on the couch.

We then somehow managed to get to church at night... in which Alec tried something new > seeking congregation participation with the thought > he sought our opinions, which was nice.

Olly arrived home late (after 2330hrs) with a Forfar Bridie > pure steak goodness from the East coast > loved it... but it didn't love me during the night.

The weekend flew in... as all the best weekends do... but this one felt good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

((deep)) #2

The Essential Band

This weekend was pretty amazing… and I wanted to single in on ((deep)) first off. I’ll talk on the rest in another post or two.

Saturday night was awesome… in the real meaning of the work > I was struck dumb in awe.

After a few calls on the Friday night and Saturday morning… I headed into Glasgow with one job > pick up the Ninja. For me this wasn’t a job but a privilege > I really like Michael’s company and it was nice to spend some time together for a blether. I hooked up with him outside Urban Outfitters and we popped into the new American Apparel store prior to jumping into the car. I’ll talk more on that in the other post.

We had a good blether > he is so on the page with what I dream of… its as if he was sent to Glasgow. Crazy! He’s on page with the whole “sustainable business model” for a space for culturally relevant shenanigans within a subtle Christian context > as I said… sent!

The weather was horrible as we drove from Glasgow to Erskine. Erskine is not that far outside Glasgow. It is approx 5.5 miles from Braehead shopping centre - this is relevant as it would appear Erskine is too far for folk who regularly shop in Braehead. This myopia needs to be challenged.

For the Q&A

Anyway… got to the hall and was struck dumb. I nearly welled up with the emotion of seeing a dream come true: a first class interactive prayer space… the band sounding great > all set up and practising… the cafĂ© space laid out… I was blown away… and it was at that point… as I rolled up my sleeves in the kitchen that I realised my role.

Prayer SpacePrayer Space

Prayer Space

My role is to dream dreams… share the dream and let others take the dream and run with it. I’m not there to manage the event… its more about me seeing the vision and doing what needs done to open the doors for those suitably gifted with the creativity to do what they do best… while I help out with whatever. I’m not sure if this is a new form of leadership… but it works. Iain… Kirsty and Cal from Easterhouse… Paul, Jen and the E Band… Tony… Ninja… all make ((deep)) what it is… because they have caught the dream and are running with it in their own way. Beautifully synergistic decentralised creativity > as I said earlier… awesome!

Filling up

After Ninja had provided some sweet soulful tunes and Ivor had introduced Gary Bishop… we entered a period of worship. Intense and worthwhile > we sung sweet redemption songs and had a real sense of freedom of expression… dancing… arms raised… people connecting with God > intimate and dangerously lifechanging. Awesome.

Q&A

Iain then sat down with Gary and held a Q&A session… I thought he had gotten the order mixed up but this work so well… it provided the background on Gary’s context and situation.

We had a break > coffee… tea… muffins… coke (as in cola)… j2o… with Tony and me in the kitchen.

More worship from the Band followed this break and then Gary took to the floor. I have recorded most of his talk and will enclose it here later… He spoke of John the Baptizer and who he thought Jesus was… and encapsulated his thoughts with this phrase:

"God is God… I am not!"

Powerful words indeed. At the end he spoke a prophetic word where he encouraged those amassed to be confident in their own abilities as they were from God > We can do it.

Offering

At the end he encouraged everyone to bring an offering to God from on their person... symbolic of giving something back to God. I gave my headphones > for me I want to give God my comfort... my music > my passion and enjoyment > give Him my all. Others left passports, wallets, rings... it was inspiring what people brought to God.

Gary & Tommy

It was great to see Gary and Tommy (Gary's old nextdoor neighbour and someone transformed by God through Gary > I had a good chat with Tommy regarding the Hatton fight and other things... great chap... he's in Chapter five of Gary's book).

After Gary and Tommy left... there was a period of contemplation and prayer > the feeling of being in the Presence was fab. People sharing in prayer... dotted around the room... Iain prostrate on the floor. Beautiful.

Me and Mr Ede

It was great to see Paul, Esther and Shona there from Urban Expression > thanks guys!

Paul & Ninja

A great night... all in... thanks to everyone for making it what it was.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stuff & Sweeties

Stuff :: charity shop tee and Pink Panther DVDs

My wife is wonderful!!! Olly bought me the Pink Panther DVD set on Monday night [on sale]... because she wanted to... and then picked up this fab [one-of-a-kind] tee from the Salvation Army Charity Shop in Bellshill for £2.

I don't think it has anything to do with the sweetie message... but incase it does... here's a new one:

For Olwyn

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