Thursday, February 28, 2008

My mind feels so noisy...

My mind feels so noisy...there just seems to be so much going on in my head that I can't think straight. I feel as if God is calling to me and I can see Him standing a short distance away, but all this mess, all the thoughts, all these bitter feeling, all the pressures, all the activities....they are all making too much noise and I don't know whose voice I am hearing anymore.

My wife is back blogging... back with a bang. She has eloquently articulated how we are feeling on our journey. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Football, WII and cultural relevance...

From the away end

Last Wednesday I went to see Motherwell play Inverness Caledonia Thistle - Motherwell [my team] won :: 3 goal to 1... This would normally be good news for me... and don't get me wrong it was a pleasure to watch my team net 3 goals. Problem was... I was in the AWAY end with the Caley fans.

I got given 2 tickets for the game. I had offered the tickets to a ICT fan... but he couldn't make it. So I had a wee night out.

Only people who have sat with their opponent's supporters will know how hard it is to keep your cool when your team scores... sitting on your hands... biting your tongue... I hope you know what I mean?

I even got in on the act... the Caley goal was a belter and was one worthy of a wee celebration... you know, for the sake of footie and a' that.

Thing is... the whole experience got me thinking. It made me consider what it is like not to be part of the majority... not part of the dominate culture that surrounded me. I have always tried to live different... but this experience challenged me.

It challenged me because it reminded me of Daniel... Young Jewish chap... Exiled in a cosmopolitan country... in the heart of a impressive empire. Daniel stayed true to who he was... to his faith... and to his people. He didn't celebrate as those around him did... he didn't eat the food sacrificed to the god's of his captors... and he didn't bow down to the idol in the image of the king. He kept himself true... with God's help.

Sure I had chosen to do what I did... I wasn't captured or anything. I was there to enjoy the footie. Thing is though... I wasn't true to myself or my team... and I wasn't true when I celebrated Caley's success. I was seeking to fit in... become part... a social chameleon. Not willing to stick out... in fear, I suppose.

Please do not think for one moment that I was in any danger from the Caley fans. Nice bunch of folk. No worries there. I was more in fear of getting kicked out... you are not really meant to do what I did.

I was scared that by being me... I would lose out. Now you can appreciate where I am coming from.

As a follower of God in the way of Jesus... in this fantastic world that is brilliant in many ways but yet just isn't the way God intended it to be... just isn't the Kingdom of God... I am challenged by this.

Am I too engrossed in the culture that surrounds me? Am I an active participant in the suicide machine that Brian McLaren talks about in Everything Must Change? Consider this blog... music... tech... material stuff... am I an active contributor?

Olly and I bought a WII yesterday. Its for the family. For my kids as well as for my parents. Its a social tool and something we can use when exercising hospitality. Thing is... did we need one? No. Did we want? Oh yes.

Its the big ticket item... the flavour of the month... the thing to have... and we joined the gang. Thing is... this is one of many things I am scared to give up. If you consider the Prosperity System that McLaren speaks of... I am part of this. I like my stuff... I like my comforts -- the house... the iBook I am presently typing this post on... my iPod etc etc. I am part of this.

My desire to be part has made me a contributor and co-conspirator. I am part of the problem. I am a consumer who consumes things without proper consideration. I am gleefully cheering for the opposition when I should be supporting my own team.

Its all about culture relevance -- seeking... desiring... wanting to be part. Wanting to be relevant... to be cool... hip... bleeding edge. Again, consider this blog.

Is there anything different about me?
Jesus makes it clear that he doesn't want his disciples to be removed "out of the world". Instead, he sends them "into the world", but as they are "in" the world, they are not to be "of" the world, just as he is not "of" the world.
Brian McLaren -- Everything Must Change -- p114

What does this mean? Well, to be honest, I don't fully know... in the context of what I have spoken about above.

I am "in" the world and... yes, at times, my thinking / behaviour is "of" the world... but I am learning what it means to be not "of" this world.

Learning Kingdom values where I put others before myself... where I repay evil with love... where I seek reconciliation instead of revenge... where I try to be content with what I have and am not boastful/proud/self-assured as a result of my stuff.

This goes against the very nature of the world. I agree I should live with less and seek to minimise my impact on creation... and this is a hard journey for me.

I remember Shane Claiborne speaking on relevancy... when I saw him in Glasgow last year... he said we should be in the world but peculiar to it. We shouldn't be so well adjusted that we happily cheer on the other team.

I do, however, believe we are given skills/passions and opportunities that we must use in our efforts to live God-centred lives and bring Kingdom values to this world. We are in this world and need to be relevant to those that we are called to be part of... but in doing so... we do not need to be "of" the world > we can think/act/live differently. We need to be relevant but peculiar. We need to serve God first and then the rest falls into place. We can have all the stuff we want... but as long as we serve God first... all the stuff and nonsense that we fill our lives with will become second best. Tools to be used by crafty insurgents of love... as a means to an end > that end is loving those around us... regardless as to whether they love us in return or not. Tools not held on too tightly.

I hope this makes sense? We need to stick out... act/think/live differently as we benefit from the freedom that comes from the grace of God. In doing so... we shine our small lights in this dark world.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tunes for everyday use

Been doing my research... checking out some classics... First up on the classic list is The Clash >> I love their well known songs :: London Calling... Rock the Casbah... Should I stay or should I go... I fought the law... :: and wanted to learn more. Their fondness for dub reggae appeals to me. Their singles collection is a good starter and one that is growing on me. Well worth checking out.

As part of my research... I have been listening to The Police with their self titled compilation of 30 singles and fan faves. I love songs like can't stand losing you... Roxanne... message in a bottle... and every little thing she does is magic and its great to be able to bang them on the car stereo and sing-a-long badly. The compilation is fantastic > its all encompassing and well worth checking out... if you like your new wave reggae/ska flavoured.

Something newer... something full of future sounds and flavours. The Rapture are a fab post-punk-electro-rock band that make some amazing tunes in the school of DFA records, LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. Their album Pieces of the people we love is awesome... truly modern... right now... and I love it. Sounds great walking the streets of Glasgow > wish I had it on the iPod when I was walking the streets of Manhattan.

I am a huge fan of Tom Middleton and his compilations are world class. I picked up Cosmosonica vol 1 > Crazy Covers for £4 and love it. The intro track where a crooner sings some ghetto classics is bad... that's bad as in awful. However the rest of the compilation is fab > Mrs Robinson by The Lemonheads, Roxanne by Aswad and Frontin' by Jamie Cullen are some of the fab tracks in the collection. The emphasis is on fun and different... making for some tunes that will get people talking.

Now for something new and bleeding edge :: first up is the latest album from Distraction Records -- I found out about d_rradio from an ad on Facebook and was shocked to find out they are doing a pre-release deal where the album is available for free up until the actual release on the 3rd March...
Two weeks before the release date proper, we are putting 320kps (VBR) mp3 versions of each track of the album, on our web site, for you to enjoy for absolutely nothing at all. No hidden catches! Hey, Thom Yorke can pat himself on his back eating organic couscous perched on top of his lofty pedestal for charging you at least 45p for Radiohead’s 160kps mp3s. It’s alright for him; he’s a millionaire. But we’re a tiny label, with ZERO grant funding - we haven’t even rich parents or a big label subsidising us - giving away audio from the d_rradio album for sweet FA, encoded at a rate almost as good as that of the CD. It really has taken the last of the coppers in the Distraction PayPal account paying for this little fellah, we tells ya no lies.

So why are we doing this? Simply put, we thoroughly believe that, once you hear how brilliant the d_rradio album is, you will want to support both d_rradio and Distraction Records by buying the actual album. We genuinely plough all of our money (and our wages) back into our releases, so if you like it, ensure that we continue to survive (survive being the operative word. . .) by purchasing the album from our web site, buying the album from our preferred, independent retailers, or by donating some money to us.
I love it. d_rradio remind me of Boards of Canada and a more downtempo Slam > that's a good thing > I haven't heard such good electronica in a long time. Fantastic beats... imaginative soundscapes... lovely. A Life Alive is just so vibrant whereas tracks like So Long and Wish For More Wishes are more glitchy and ambient. Truly great headphone music that needs a wider reach.

Lastly we have Commissions from the el presidente of Earth Monkey Productions with a collection of tunes that he has written to "pay the bills". Tunes / soundscapes from his work in his community.

Tracks like Thumbelina and Erazerbyrd have subtle folk flavours. Dybbk, Phelps and Bedroom have more overt techno influences which are more upbeat and gregarious. My fave track has to be Round And Round with its chilled downtem-pop soundscape and female vocals... something exceptional in an already great collection of electronica and ambient soundscapes. That said... I have to be honest and say that I don't like the school project work > the found sounds are a bit too found for me. I have tried but I'm just not there yet... maybe one day. All in... a great collection of work and something to be proud of > made even better by giving them away for free. Thanks Shaun!

That's me... my iPod is bursting with great tunes. What are you listening to?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tate & Lyle going Fairtrade

I thought today's news story [Tate & Lyle sugar to be Fairtrade] was amazing... and made me smile ::
Tate & Lyle's sugar is to be accredited as a Fairtrade product, becoming the biggest UK company to carry the label.

Granulated white cane sugar will be the brand's first Fairtrade product but it says it expects its entire retail range to follow by the end of 2009../

The firm says it will add £60m to the value of Fairtrade sugar inside a year.

Fairtrade Foundation executive director Harriet Lamb said: "In terms of size and scale, this is the biggest ever Fairtrade switch by a UK company and it's tremendous this iconic UK brand is backing Fairtrade."
Now this is progress!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ)

Watched Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind with Olly and my VIPs this evening >> its a classic anime film from the mighty Hayao Miyazaki >> it is visually awesome with a pretty complicated story and great characterisation. Its hard to explain but a joy to watch.

We watched the 2005 reissue with voice talent from the likes of Patrick Stewart, Uma Thurman, Edward James Olmos, Shia LaBeouf and everyone's favourite Jedi Knight Mark Hamill.

Key themes include environmentalism and living peacefully in a violent world >> impressive content for a family film >> one that makes you think without preaching to you.

Check it out. There is more to film than Hollywood!

This is cool :: Obama art

Spotted these pics while browsing notcot and I have to say I love them! Very straight, no chaser >> I am impressed as to how creatives have bought into the image and presence of Barack Obama >> he's about as iconic as Dubya is not.

See more here :: [Chicagoist] >> nice!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why You Blog?

Noah Brier is a chap I respect... he has inspired me with some cool ideas >> introducing me to Tumblr and being the brains behind streetmining and the awesome likemind (anyone want to host a Likemind in Glasgow with me???)

Anyway... his sister -- Leah -- is blogging as part of her senior communication thesis... literally her blog [whyyoublog] is an integral part of her study ::
As a senior communication major at George Washington University, I am hoping to take a journey into the blogosphere and learn what makes people blog, and what their blogs contribute to their lives. My journey of inquiry and discovery is to take a closer look into the creation, maintenance and effects blogs and their authors. Any help in the creation of this blog dialogue would be greatly appreciated!
What a cool idea... must be genetic or something?!? Anyway... I answered her latest post >> Blogging about blogs >> and missed a ton of stuff out... but thought I'd share what I wrote as a way to encourage anyone in the ol' nanolog community who wants to talk more about their interaction with blogs to speak up:
1. Do you blog? If yes, why?

Yes... been blogging for a while now and love it. Its the way in which I express the whole of me... all my passions / obsessions / dreams... the holistic stuff.

2. Do you read blogs? If yes, what is your favorite and why?

Yes... 137 in my google reader. Favs include Coolhunting / Josh Spear / Johnny Baker / Aurgasm / PSFK / tallskinnykiwi / my pals JD Blundell, Johnny Laird and faithscape21.

3. Do you consider the ‘blogosphere’ a community? If yes, what kind of community?

Yes I do... I have met people I met through my blog... had food and talked like I've known them for years.

Your brother, Noah, hooked me up with a fab insiders map of NYC for when I came for a brief visit.

Its about give and take... write and comment... hook people up with others who do stuff they need.

Its more a "fellowship" of likeminded people and a conversation with buddies.

4. How does connecting with people online change the nature of interpersonal relationships?

I know more about my pal JD in Texas than I do about my nextdoor neighbour in Motherwell, Scotland. Its about trust and friendship, not about location.

5. Does becoming part of an online community and/or being a part of a new generation of writers change your thoughts on blogging? Why and how?

Yes. Its about contribution and collaboration... its about working together... supporting each other... keeping the conversation fresh and the fellowship tight.
Summing up... I think its all about contribution and collaboration instead of consumption >> we are making culture right here and now. Thanks Leah! Best for your senior year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This is cool: Songza

songza is an online music search engine and jukebox... find songs and if they are there... listen to them there and then .Doesn't have everything... but it did have Radiohead and Bob Dylan... and what more do you need?

Check it out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Putting a face to a name

Me and Rob GT

RobGT :: blogger :: Tweeter :: Facebook friend :: popped in for some food on his way from his home in Coventry to see family/ friends and get some work done in Aberdeen. It was fantastic to put a face to a name and have a good blether on stuff we have in common >> tech >> faith >> life in general.

Big thanks to Olly for making some cracking fish and chips... and some sweet apple crumble!

Good times!


Thanks to Darrin for the heads-up to this fab game for the PSP >> Patapon >> According to the wiki...
it combines the gameplay features of music and rhythm games, real-time tactics and God games. It was developed by Interlink, the creators of LocoRoco. Presented in a cartoonish, high-contrast silhouette two-dimensional environment, the player, as an immaterial deity, controls an army of caricature tribal miniature creatures by beating traditional talking drums to create a rhythm, much like a drum could be used to keep a human army marching as a single entity, or to scare an enemy.

The last time I got excited about a game for my PSP was LocoRoco and it comes as no surprise that Patapon is by the same company that made LocoRoco. Can't wait.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's in my work bag?

My work bag

My previous post on my social bag got me thinking about my work bag... a sweet Manhattan Protage DJ bag in a nice corporate beige rather than skulls et al. I don't have as much stuff in it... I sometimes need to bring my Thinkpad home now and again:
  1. A copy of MOJO - their interview with RADIOHEAD was fab and a great read.
  2. A copy of Naomi Klein's No Logo which is another fab read >> its opening my eyes to modern day capitalism and brands... challenging me.
  3. 3 MOLESKINE notebooks -- I use a large planner/notepad at work... I got it at a discount because it was an 18 monther... I use the 2007 pages for notes and stuff -- and my ever faithful RHODIA scribblepad.
  4. 2 of my 3 iPods >> I have filled the shuffle with Stevie Wonder's 70s albums for a random burst of happiness if/when needed.
  5. A wee memory stick for files.
That's me. What's in your work bag?



This is Bobby. Bobby is 17 and is an inspiration to me. An inspiration in the Rob Bell / Shane Claiborne / Brian McLaren school. He makes me think of my faith and encourages me to keep going. I blogged about the Aridrie folk last May...
It was inspiring to see the folks in Airdrie keeping their end up in the fight. The young folk were there because they wanted to be there... and were really making a difference. Their Singing Company for example is leaderless and still the kids keep it going under their own initiative. This blessed me. As did the attitude of older folk who were actively encouraging the younger folk and giving them their time and respect. Beautiful.
my words

...and my words hold true to this day.

Bobby being enrolled

Last night I was proud as punch to see Bobby enrolled as a Soldier of the Salvation Army. Proud because of his commitment to God. Inspired to see this young man seeking to commit his life to His Lord and to serve others.

Afterwards... Airdrie hosted a gathering entitled Project X -- The Essential Band aka Particles of Warp played a fab set even though they were hampered by a missing VGA cable. They are sounding good and led a quality time of praise.

Jon G

Another inspiration for me... Jon G... brought a thought to the gathering. He used the gym as a metaphor for church... everyone needs the fellowship of church... everyone... the super-fit... the ordinary folk... the fat folk who, to be fair to them, work harder than most in the drive to get fit. Sweet metaphor that worked for the gathering.

Good times! Great to catch up with old friends and come together for a common purpose.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What's in my bag?

What's in my bag?

I tend to carry a lot of stuff around with me... not just my metaphorical baggage but stuff in my bag too.

I picked up a fab messenger bag in Philly for $5 (approx £2.50 or so)... its a collab between LOOPNYC and the ANDY WARHOL foundation... its a really well made bag with a fab, repeating skull print. In it are the following bits and pieces:
  • 2 magazines -- GOOD magazine and Giant Robot magazine -- I rate them both highly... GOOD has a socially responsible slant to pop culture whereas GR has an Asian perspective... fab.
  • 4 books -- the MESSAGE translation of the Bible... No1 Ladies Detective Agency... Everything Must Change... and... Daily Readings for a Purpose Driven Life (for my Lenten journey) > I love to read and try to grab any opportunity to do so.
  • 4 notebooks -- 3 MOLESKINES (1 plain, 1 planner & 1 unopened lined) and 1 RHODIA square for scribbles.
  • 1 Nintendo DS Lite with Dr Kawashima's Brain Training - the suduko rawks!!!
  • 1 iPod (5th gen / 80 gb) with a fab GRIFFIN case that doubles as a stand for watching videos.
  • Nausicaa DVD -- no1 in the Studio Ghibli series -- from the master: Hayao Miyazaki.
  • Cosmosonica -- a collection of crazy cover versions from another master: Tom Middleton.
So anyway... that's what's feeding my head and my soul just now. What's in your bag? What's feeding your head and soul?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Respond with the energies of prayer

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that../

"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."
Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)

Some of you will know I have been going through a hard time at work. I received a pretty vitriolic comment a wee while back that originated at my work that knocked me for six.

I kind of forgot about it while I was stateside... but it worried me upon my return to work on Tuesday. I reported it to my manager before I left and he has been impressive in his handling of the whole thing.

Anyway... cut a long story short... I asked for support from a few good friends and members of the nanolog community... and they hooked me up with prayer... all from a distance.

Today... the individual who posted the comment pulled me aside and apologised! > a genuine... heartfelt apology... and I accepted it. All I wanted was the chance at reconciliation and today I got it.

I now pray that we can move on. The HR machine will run its course... and there isn't really anything I can do to stop it. I wish I could. The individual demonstrated real remorse and I don't want anymore...

So to everyone who supported me through this... you know who you are... my sincere thanks! That's true friendship and kingdom living in action.

Rainydayz Remixes

Big thanks to my brother J for giving me the heads-up on Rainydayz Remixes > an 8 track EP of tracks remixed from the fab Radiohead album [in rainbows].

Just finished listening to it and its fab! Amp Live has really done justice to the tracks -- he has created some new music > predominately hip hop flavoured > that acknowledge their roots and take them into new directions.
While the Oakland producer/DJ acknowledges that he probably should have contacted Radiohead (who were not involved in the project) to seek approval prior to making his interpretations publically available, an agreement has been reached between all involved parties and Amplive has been granted permission to release Rainydayz Remixes for free to the general public. Effective immediately, the eight-track record is available here.

Rainydayz Remixes is composed exclusively of source material pulled from In Rainbows, re-envisioned by Amplive and complimented by vocal work from Too $hort, MC Zumbi of Zion I, Chali2na of Jurassic 5, Codany Holiday, and Del The Funky Homosapien.
Loving it... and Radiohead keep amazing me with their now-savvy approach to content / product and their fans. More great publicity for them and more great tunes for folk like me. Nice job!

Check it out.


Here's a message from Amp Live himself... I love the power of the 'tinterweb!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Eleanor Rigby

My pal Matthew over at The Spacebase has posted a fab critique of one of my fav songs >> Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles >> its for his college course and I heard about it when he tweeted about it yesterday.

Its a great critique that captures the gist of the song... especially this paragraph:
This creates, I think, an unintended correlation between the mix, rather than the music, and the lyrics. While Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie isolate themselves in the church--which grows increasingingly irrelevant to anyone outside (which, in this case, is literally everyone but Rigby and McKenzie)--McCartney's vocal withdraws itself from the focal point of the mix.
The chorus [All the lonely people] is such an awesome commentary for now. The disintegration of family and community is displayed in Eleanor Rigby and Father MacKenzie's lives.

Eleanor's existence is the antithesis of the Friends generation... picking the rice up after the Wedding... her funeral where no one attended... the opposite of "I'll be there..."

Father MacKenzie's expression of faith is equally desolate... doing the same ol' same ol' with no results... no one got saved, afterall. His is a beautiful metaphor for continuing with tradition and repeating the same mistakes without acknowledging the need to change. A word the church of now should heed.

These are my thoughts on the song... but I must be mindful that it is just that... a song and a beautiful song to boot. I'll let Matthew sum it up...
The main point I would like to make here is that "Eleanor Rigby" is a song, not a poem. The lyrics are poignant, and in the right context, moving, but the right context for these lyrics is, I feel, George Martin's delicate and reserved string arrangement. It provides the perfect setting to make sure these lines do not descend from pathos into bathos. Though it is a valid pursuit to discuss a song's lyrics separate from its music, it can be a faulty pursuit. In the case of "Eleanor Rigby," it feels plain to me that the song loses much of its meaning once lyrics are separated from music.
Thanks Matthew and thanks to the Fab Four for such a great song.

This is cool :: Sleeveface

I love records... their sound and the tactile nature of the covers... and this story on BBC News made me laugh. Their website [] is just so cool and a ton of fun... try guessing the album covers.

Check it out... and if anyone wants to give it a go... leave a link in the comments.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tunes from Philly

Have you ever considered what life would be like without music? I watched Cloverfield in Philly and only realised at the end credits that there wasn't a soundtrack. A pal at work told me about it and I total forgot. Sometimes you need to go without to appreciate what you have... like when I walked alone on 6th Avenue... just enjoying the sounds of the city... Goldie on my iPod when I got back to the hotel sounded vibrant and new.

Anyway... I picked up some great tunes when I was stateside... so real gems, in my view.

First off, we have Peter, Bjorn and John with their 2006 album Writer's Block >> I picked it up for their song [Young Folks] which is so flipping Marmite its unbelievable - everyone I know either loves the song with its great beats and catchy whistling or hates it with a passion only reserved for fallen politicians. Its indie rock and very pop but in all the nice ways... singalong choruses... big guitars... funky beats... and I really like it. So much so... I annoyed my colleagues with the whistling riff and drove them to distraction and threats of physical violence. Not good... but secretly fun. Its a great album and one that will sit nicely in my collection.

Next up is the awesome Von by Sigur Ros >> this was a real find as I have never, to this day, seen it in Glasgow. It feels fresh and new even though it is over 10 years old. Its full of imaginative post-rock soundscapes... ambients sounds and jagged guitars over delicate vocals... the kind of thing we have grown accustomed to from Sigur Ros and just lap up. So much so that when Myrkur plays it feels odd... because its a more melodic, indie song rather than the post-rock we (certainly I) know Sigur Ros for. All in... its a fab album full of great potential.

Lastly... something completely different. I am a huge fan of the San Fransican record label Om >> I love their taste in house music and downtempo beats... as a complete escape from and antithesis of the more obscure and avant-garde electronica and post-rock that I love.

Samatha James has been getting some play with her debut album Rise. Its a collection of some of the most soulful and seductively chilled house music I have heard in a long, long time... with production credits going to Sebastian Arocha Morton aka ROCAsound. I heard of her via Aurgasm and really liked her voice. Reminded me of the first time I heard Bebel Gilberto. Well worth checking out... as indeed are the other two albums.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Brian Mclaren @ Davos

Brian McLaren was recently at Davos for the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum >> He posted some comments on YouTube discussing the experience:


I think its pretty awesome that McLaren was there... that's salt and light in my view. Contributing from the fringes... making connections... representing Jesus in this kind of unique way >> not really sure who else was there that I connect with other than some rock star called Bono (heard of him?)...

and Rick Warren...

I am encouraged by their contribution.

Tunes for Philly

Here's a few tunes that I picked up for the trip to Philly ::

First off... some deep techno from the fab netlabel Sutemos entitled CMYK (Sutemos020) is a fourway collab between Sraunus / Grad_U / Mikrokristal and Zulusas that is just plain lovely. Its minimal techno with real depth and feeling. Fab instrumentals that formed the soundtrack to the desolate land that I saw while flying to Newark. Astonishing that this album is a free download.

Next up is the soundtrack to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where Tan Dun and Yo Yo Ma create an awesome soundscape of drums, traditional instrumentation and Ma's cello. I can give or take the closing theme A Love Before Time but the rest of the album is fantastic. I picked up my copy in a charity shop on Byre's Road for a couple of pound. Money well spent.

As was Timeless by Goldie which was a steal at 50p in the Salvation Army shop on Dumbarton Road. This is my all time favourite drum and bass album... its 13 year old but still sounds as fresh and futuristic as it did when an old friend's brother brought it home. Goldie's beats paired with Rob Playford's soundscapes and some fab vocals make this a classic and timeless recording. I love the way there is almost two separate things going on >> frantic beats over sweet soulful synths. Beautiful.

Check them out.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Heading home...

Statue in Philly's 30th st station

Apologies for not keeping up with the blog over the last few days... been busy with work and there has been a lot happening in the US:
  • The awesome SUPERBOWL 42 > Eli Manning made me a fan with that awesome play... escaping the sack and firing the ball for one of the best catches I have ever seen.
  • SUPER TUESDAY > Obama & Clinton winning states and keeping the race tight.
  • Tornadoes > Watching the news and hearing of the devastation and loss of life - my prayers were/are with the mourning.
Work was good... we did what needed doing... and the recreation was sweet - food and drinks with my colleagues... finding some space on my own > coffee in Barnes & Noble... hunting in the Mall (the $5 shop RAWKS!!!)... 3am video iChats with my VIPs in Motherwell... gaining the confidence of driving in the US... on my own... without GPS.

I'm knackered and am suffering from the lack of humidity (itchy skin... bleeding nose etc) but glad to be going home. I have enjoyed being with my colleagues and have seen some amazing sights / picked up some cool stuff... and sorted out my head. I am glad to be going home to Olly, my VIPs, my friends and my space.

My only regret is not getting to hang with Johnny Laird's pals > Taff and Nicky (Sorry guys... but I never got a chance). I didn't get to see some of the places I wanted to see in Manhattan... but I saw plenty more to compensate.

Its been good. Thanks to everyone who sent mail, texts and facebook hollers. I'm on my way home... via the 30th Street Station (see pic) in Philly and Newark International Airport.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New York... New York..!


I had a great time in Manhattan on Saturday and Sunday... saw the sights... sampled the food... walked the streets... and got a real taster for this amazing city.

I'll post more on the experience when I get some time... I took 168 photos that are in a Flickr set [here] - check them out and let me know what you think. I need to name some of the pics too.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Its about us... with grace

Truth on the walls
Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Matthew 16:24-26 (The Message)

I've seen the polar ends of America in only a short time here in Manhattan... the rich with their fur and big cars... the poor lying on the streets. It breaks your heart.

We are called to care... called to give a damn about those less fortunate than ourselves. Its not about me anymore... its about us.

Thing is too... everything my heart desires is around me... but what would it benefit me if I lose me [my soul... my essence] in the trade off?

Its time for our souls and our words to merge (as the prophet wrote on the station wall)... to become one... where we become what we say... say what we are... and for that we need God's grace. As the Songster piece goes...
Grace to forgive
Grace to forget
Who dares to throw the stone?
Grace to endure man's pettiness
Grace to forgive my own!
From all pretence by grace set free
Make me the one I am thought to be
To be like you in word and deed
Your grace, limitless, I need
Think about it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Barack Obama

I don't know enough about American politics... but from what I have heard on the TV debates / news and what I have read online... if I were American, I would support Barack Obama.

That said... I would love to see Obama go head to head with Mike Huckabee who is a Republican candidate who greatly impressed me. America needs some new leadership... new blood... new ideas... a change from the in it for the few mentality of GWB. Obama and Huckabee represent this, in my opinion.

As an outsider looking in... I really hope America gets this.

Poster from Shepard Fairey at OBEY who said this...
I believe with great conviction that Barack Obama should be the next President. I have been paying close attention to him since the Democratic convention in 2004. I feel that he is more a statesman than a politician. He was against the war when it was an unpopular position (and Hillary was for the war at that time), Obama is for energy and environmental conservation. He is for healthcare reform.
I get that.

Philly - days 4 & 5

What a beautiful morning...

Thursday was a glorious day. Sunny but cold. The sunlight streaming in the windows was a wonderful encouragement as I went for breakfast. Been eating a big bowl of fruit every morning along with some oj, some skimmed milk and coffee. Sets me up for the day.


The workshops are pretty intense... with lots of liquids consumed to keep us (me) sharp. Loving my snapple... especially diet lemon ice tea. Fab. Drinking loads of water too... my skin feels dry and dehydrated.

Everybody in the Himalayan

After work... the whole team headed to a local Indian restaurant called The Himalyan >> its a fab wee family place. A couple of chaps from the vendor (Shripad and Shrinivas) are Indian... and this is a place they go to often. I had spoken to them earlier in the week about going for a Ruby Murry and they were delighted to take care of us all... ordering food and making the evening flow.

Artwork in the loo of the Himalayan

The food was good and the artwork fab... all in... a lovely meal with the team.

Rain... please stop!

This morning could not have been more different from yesterday... it was pouring... so much so it reminded me of home. Today wasn't as intense... more of a day to resolve issues... answer questions... and tie things up.

Fish and Chips

After a lovely iChat with Olly... Dayna & Miriam... and my sis Janey... I joined my colleagues in the bar for some food. Felt like fish and chips... and wasn't disappointed.


Later on... I decided to head to the local cinema to see Cloverfield >> the latest cinematic sensation. It didn't disappoint... although the camera work did exacerbate a headache. Its an awesome film >> fantastic concept extremely well executed and brought to the screen. The footage is raw and very realistic... a bit too raw for some. JJAbrams has created something brilliant... an ideal film to prepare me for my trip to New York tomorrow. Well recommended! I'll leave you with this...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friend's Wheel

I realise that not all my friends are on Facebook... but the Friend's Wheel app is a fab wee tool that shows all your friends and displays the interlinkages. Its a nice pic and is now on my wallpaper on my iBook... its helps when you feel like you are miles from everyone.

Check it out.


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