Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We are not in control of what people remember... but we are in control how we react!

I'm not long back from my we'ans' Easter show at their school. Thoroughly enjoyed it... but something stood out in addition to Dayna's version of "We'll meet again" or Miriam's shadow-boxing to "Eye of the tiger"... a couple of the songs caught my attention.

One of the years sang along to two tracks from the Bee-Gees' soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever: "Night Fever" and "Stayin' Alive".

Now... I love the soundtrack and I'm not criticising the choice in anyway... they are tracks that define the 70s and are miles ahead of ABBA, imho.

As always... the songs got me thinking... what was once controversial becomes bland through the co-opting of the mainstream.

Consider this:
"Two theatrical versions of the film were released: the Original R-rated version and an edited PG-rated version.

The R-rated version released in 1977 represented the movie's first run, and totaled 118 minutes.

After the success of the first run, in 1978 the film was re-issued to a PG-rated version and re-released during a second run to attract a wider audience. The R-rated version contained profanity, nudity, drug use and an attempted rape scene, all of which were de-emphasized or completely removed from the PG version.
Saturday Night Fever :: Wikipedia

The film was watered down to appeal to the mainstream. What was once controversial has now become definitive of a time and place... so much so, Primary School children sing-a-long to tracks from the soundtrack.

I see examples of this all the time... something once powerfully subversive becomes assimilated into the mainstream. I guess this is progress. We become acclimatized or, dare I say, calloused to that which was once shocking.

I was told once that the only difference between a good hair cut and a bad one was time... and it is time that heals and it is time that helps us forget the controversy.

When you consider the whole hubbub that has surrounded the release of Rob Bell's recent book :: Love Wins :: can I suggest that, through time, this controversy will blow over?

It will blow over because people will actually read it... and the offended will move onto to something or someone else. There is always the next thing... which, in evangelical circles, usually means another book from Brian McLaren.

Or it will blow over because his writing is deemed irrelevant... and, as such, will wither and die... because it lacks meaning and significance to people... failing to connect.

I guess this is why patience is a fruit of Spirit... rather than shooting-from-the-hip... because worth isn't always seen in the moment.

Now... please note... I haven't finished Love Wins and am not in a place to venture an opinion yet... but I will say that I think the subject matter contained within the book will last... because it isn't a new argument... its just been refreshed.

Can I also suggest that the damage left by those who were offended... who reacted in a manner  diametrically opposed to grace and love... will last longer than the content of their opinions or their arguments? The internet isn't archived.

I guess this is where the learning is... whilst opinions change, people move on and the mainstream co-opts... our words now remain... forever... on the internet.

This is why we need patience, grace and love more than anything... we should be known for our love. We should be quick to love... to listen and to understand... and slow to react with anger.

We are not in control of what will last or will be remembered. Can you imagine telling John Badham... back in 1977... that in 2011 his film will be remembered through key songs from his film's soundtrack being sung by Primary School children? He'd have laughed...

We are not in control of what people remember... but we are in control how we act or, more importantly, react at each moment of each day.

Take it seriously! We need to live a life of love... every single day.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

April 2011's Calendar

April 2011's Calendar :: 1920x1080

April is nearly here... and when it came to creating a wallpaper... I only thought of this pic :: taken at a wee Photosafari to the Lighthouse... from where I was able to snap a pic of a part of Glasgow's skyline... and then later tweak it in Lightroom to emphasis the sky and, in doing so, create a nice colouring of the buildings.

Usual flavours are included below...

Oh and thanks to everyone who let me see last month's wallpaper in situ... was a sweet sight indeed! Your desktops are far tidier than mine.



Photosafari to a Parish Church in Govan

250311_ a crown of thorns?

Six colleagues and myself took the clockwork orange to Govan at lunchtime today... to have a wee donder around an old Parish Church's graveyard.

Thoroughly enjoyed the company, the banter and the ability to bounce ideas off my fellow photographers.

250311_ stone cross #3

250311_ blossom #1

The full set are available here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sparrowhawk... in our back garden

250311_ Sparrowhawk #5

This bad boy was spotted this morning on the fence in our back garden. It isn't a brilliant pic... but then what do you expect when you've jumped out the shower, thrown on your housecoat (soaking wet) and grabbed the first camera you could. If he returns tomorrow then I will be ready... with my tripod and the Canon with the 300mm lens.

250311_ Sparrowhawk #4

It truly amazes me the wildlife we get around our house in Motherwell... bats, foxes, loads of wee birds, and now... a Sparrowhawk. He'd better not be after our resident family of Blue Tits or there will be trouble.


"iPaditis" by BBC Comedy

This is too close for comfort... I recently double-clicked a word in a book to get the dictionary definition like in the Kindle app. Oops!


"Radio Fan Speaks Out" by BBC Comedy

Very funny... very funny indeed!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seven questions... with Circadian Eyes

I've been a huge fan of Bryan Collins' work ever since I picked up his rain ep many months ago. His latest album :: who we were :: is my kind of awesome... a beautiful blend of ambient and post-rock soundscapes with an emphasis on the piano rather than the guitar (although there are guitars!!!)... so much so I broke my consumption fast to pick it up and listen to it. Whilst I feel a wee bit guilty... I also feel the delight that comes with hearing music that is so wonderfully me its a joy.

I've been friends with Bryan via Twitter for a wee while and have been following the build up to his album release. I caught up with him after it dropped and asked him my seven questions...


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Bryan Collins, a 22 year old college student who writes piano music under the name Circadian Eyes.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished my debut full-length album "who we were" and now I'm promoting it across the internet!

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
I had been tinkering around with the piano for a few years, but it wasn't until I heard Olafur Arnalds that I decided to take it more seriously. He is only a little bit older than me and he writes these beautiful pieces, so I wanted to try something in a similar style.

- Name place that has inspired you.
Most of my music is based around childhood memories so I have taken a lot of my influence from my childhood 'homes' and the experiences I had there.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
I take influence from the simplicity of nature, like open fields, quiet forests, things like that. I like to visualize nature scenes while writing music.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
I am a huge fan of music in general and I wanted to try and create something that I would like to listen to, and that I could express my emotions through. The piano is a very beautiful instrument and I have found that it's the easiest instrument for me to get the emotions in my head into musical form.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Hope, Nostalgia, a general sense of calm. I'm a very optimistic person and I try to create music that reflects that. I hope that when people listen to my music they can be less stressed, and maybe take their mind to a good place.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
The online community has played a huge role in Circadian Eyes. I released my first EP a little less than a year ago and I didn't really expect too many people to pay attention. But I did the best I could using self-promotion tools and the response I have gotten since then certainly surprised me. Thanks to the internet, the music written in a dorm room in a small town in New York has been heard in several countries around the world, and that still amazes me.

7) What is next for what you do?
Promoting the new album and getting the word out about my music is my main focus right now. I'll be finishing up college in the next few months, so I'll pretty busy doing that. But I'm always writing ideas for new material and I certainly won't stop creating music anytime soon!


Thanks Bryan! Please check out who we were and support truly independent music... it is a beautifully constructed and well thought through album... that is well deserving of the minimum asking price of $3.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Please don't assert your own self-asserted grandiose orthodoxy on me!

"...fundamentalism is the more terrible and destructive heresy than the thoughts of some doctrinal revisionists, as the fundamentalists (in heretical fashion) assert their own self-asserted grandiose orthodoxy on others, dividing the body where it ought not to be, all for the ironic sake, in a paranoid frenzy, trying to find the inauthentic believer, to root out the snake in the grass, the wolf in sheep's clothing that does not truly believe in the true fundamentals of the faith and will ultimately harm the flock!
Rob Bell, Love Wins, and Forgetting the Rule of Faith :: after orthodoxy? via @diecast with thanks.

When it comes to matters of faith... I don't like to be told what to think. I believe God gave me a brain for a reason... and whilst it does contain too many lines from Bladerunner and displays a fondness for Bon Jovi lyrics... it does work.

This quote is taken from a very helpful blogpost... that articulates some of the thoughts I have had of late concerning the approach of certain folks regarding Rob Bell's latest book.

I don't appreciate being told what to think... and I hope my friends (both those who hold to faith and those who don't) will testify to this.

So to all the Fundamentalists out there who may read this... please don't assert your own self-asserted grandiose orthodoxy on me! Let me think for myself.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The thrill of winning and the need for joy that lasts

220311_ UCP: winner of Business Breakthrough Award

I asked the question in the previous post because I experienced a real sense of elation as the project I worked on won an award at our division's annual award ceremony. The award was for "Business Breakthrough" and recognised the project that had the biggest positive impact on the wider (not just Technology) business community within my work. It was, in my opinion, well deserved - we rolled out an organisation-wide intranet for 10,000 people within 9 months.

I was delighted. It was nice to win.

But I was sad too.

Sad because I didn't win the individual award I was shortlisted for. It went to some more deserving.

This kind of joy is a fickle mistress... it gives you a buzz but does not provide enough to last. It is fleeting... momentary... temporary... enough to know its no longer there when it is gone.

Its like praise or the adoration of fans... and like all mistresses... it is addictive. We want and crave for more... and don't appreciate what little we have.

There is a need to cultivate a joy that lasts... to take pleasure in a job-well-done... to find the appreciation of something beyond ourselves... to be grateful for what we have rather than hankering for what we don't.

St Paul says in his letter to the Philipians (4v8)...

" best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."
Lasting joy comes with the best of all this world can offer... not the worst.

Being recognised by my peers is something worthwhile indeed and something to be proud of... I didn't need to win. I had already won... in a sense. But still I wanted to win. The recognition of the shortlisting wasn't enough. I wanted the trophy. I wanted my time in the spotlight. I wasn't grateful for what I had.

This is the ugly side of competition... the craving for more... the lack of contentment... the inability to feel full... the lack of gratitude.

I can and will move forward by putting this disappointment behind me... and focussing on, and being grateful for, the real and true elements of success - the collective success of the project and the recognition of my individual efforts - this is enough.

In fact, this is more than enough.

I am very grateful.


Question: What brings you joy?


What brings you great delight... the sense of elation & keen pleasure?

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Monday, March 21, 2011

The fear of missing out... reluctance to be a "have not"... and self-identification

As part of my erratic fast from consumption... I have been considering some of the motivating factors for why I want stuff.

On Saturday... Olly, the we'ans and I took a wee trip on the train to Edinburgh. I consciously chose the train because it meant we could have a relaxing journey. It's cheaper than the car too, which was an added incentive. Oh and I had a voucher from the disruption due to the snow.

We had a lovely trip to Auld Reekie... the weather was chilly but everyone enjoyed the donder around the wee boutiques that make up Cockburn Street and the Grassmarket... as well as having a lovely lunch in the Elephant House.

Anyway... we ended up in John Lewis... Olly needed a bigger nossil for her icing bag and I love looking at kitchen appliances (seriously... I do). Whilst on the ground floor I found the Kindle and was ooohing and aaahing at it.

I showed it to Olly and, well, she tore a strip off me. Afterall, as she pointed out and I was fully aware, it was only six months since she had bought me the iPad.

Instead of sulking... I took to pondering why I want a Kindle so much.

I have legitimate reasoning... a single-function bookreader, it is very good at what it does...

...and having one would protect the investment I have made in case Apple, in their insanity, drive off Amazon with their 30% mark-up...

...and the screen on the iPad is reflective, especially in a train...

...and, well, you get the gist.

One thought that came firmly to mind was the fear of missing out... and my reluctance to be a "have not".

I hate the thought of missing out... I want to have... and don't want to be a "have not"... or at least, I don't want to be seen as a "have not" in the areas I want to participate in.

For me... mobile technology is one such area. I have my iPhones, iPods, MacBook Pro, iPad, Nintendo DS and PSP... as well as my cameras. I take considerable pleasure in these things... for what they are and what they enable me to do. What's more... I like to be "seen" as the type of person who has and uses these things.

I recognise and acknowledge that... for me... these things are part of who I see myself. I self-identify with them.

I see the Kindle as part of this.

I love my brand new Vauxhall Meriva... but am not a car person and don't self-identify with it... unlike mobile technology.

This self-identification is why I always carry a bag full of my toys pretty much everywhere i go... I have my iPhones and iPods on my desk at work or beside me on the sofa in the living room... It also explains why a "digital fast" would be an absolute nightmare for me - I can't handle not having these items beside me because I would feel stripped of their associated significance.

I guess this fear of losing that which we self-identify with is at the heart of the battle for our self that is embodied in minimalism and, to a lesser extent, appropriate-ism.

Let's be clear... in one sense, the material / physical sense... I don't need a Kindle. But in another sense... in a psychological / mental sense... I do.

It is, therefore, in this psychological realm that I need to focus my time and efforts as I seek to move beyond and away from this self-identification.

That's where it's hard... because I care what people think.

That last sentence was extremely difficult to type... but it's true

...for certain things.

For me to reject consumption... and the self-identification that underpins it... I need to move to a place where I do not self-identify with these external material things but with internal mental and spiritual qualities.

Imagine if I were to fully internalize and identify with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Imagine if these qualities were the things I wanted people to see in me?

I would rather be known as good, kind, joy-filled, loving and peaceful gentleman... who had a thing for music and design... which was aided and enabled by material things

...than an Apple Fanboy or design geek.

I don't think it is mutually exclusive... but I do think we need to get it in the right order.

This is what my Lenten journey has helped me to see... the need to get things in the right order.

I believe thankfulness and appreciation comes when we get things in the right order. When we shape what we have... by who we are...

rather than who we are being shaped by what we own... or... what we don't own.

It is a journey.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lullatone helps Japan


Got an email from Lullatone... they've changed their prices on bandcamp to "pay what you want" and are donating all proceeds to the relief effort in Japan. What an awesome act of kindness... and a real win for music fans too - awesome music & the ability to give.

Check their music out at


Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rob Bell... and games of Yahtzee

190310_ Rob Bell (and me) (078/365)

If you know me... you'll know I am a big fan of Rob Bell and consider his book Velvet Elvis to be a foundational text in the re-imagining of my faith. I've heard him speak twice and consider him to be a exemplary communicator.

Recently he's been getting a hard time from conservative commentators / preachers / bloggers for the content of his latest book... Love wins.

Now... I haven't read the book and will not comment on what some people say it says. I will be my own judge after I have read the book. I may even post my thoughts on the ol' nanolog. I will make up my own mind. I will not rely on anyone... even if I consider them to be "a trusted source".

The point I will say... however... is that the furore that has surrounded Bell's new book is downright shameful and embarrassing. Big "name" preachers willing to condemn him as a false teacher and heretic because they don't agree with his thinking... based on their judgements shaped by quotes and a promotional video made by Bell himself.

Surely there must be a better way to disagree... especially in public. Are we not meant to be know for our love?

Also, aren't we the people of the second chance? If so, why are we so willing to condemn others... so easily? Why can't we give people the benefit of the doubt and... you know... actually read their work for ourselves? Why are we so willing to act like a Pharisee and go for the speck in someone's eye instead of tackling the big plank in our own?

Most days I spend my lunch hour in Starbucks drinking coffee... chatting and playing Yahtzee with my dear friend @myopicaardvark. He is an agnostic (borderline atheist) and very critical of the institutional elements of church. He likes to think for himself and we can have some spirited conversations... where we chew over numerous ideas... including ideas of faith.

What I really dig about our friendship is that we can and do agree to disagree... and can continue to converse over the roll of virtual dice. He displays an openness and acceptance that is a continual inspiration to me.

I believe he judges me on who I am and the fruit I produce... and not who I claim to be or the ideas that are attributed to me. He has taken the time to get to know me... and I have benefitted from this.

I really wish some Christians could do the same... or at the very least they could take the time to study first hand before getting their metaphorical stones out to throw.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Five from bandcamp #8 (for Music Monday)

Five more albums from bandcamp that have really spoken to me...

First up we have some seriously powerful and atmospheric post-rock soundscapes from Sky Flying By. Their album... Do they still make lighthouses?... has a wonderfully cinematic soundtrack feel to it that moves from very expansive, unhurried and open... to tight, rhythmic and immediate. My kind of sound.

Pay what you want.

It would appear the link above is now dead... you can still by the album on iTunes for approximately £5. Shame... as I thought I had it but didn't.

Next up we have To Bury A Ghost with the Hurt Kingdom EP. This EP needs to be heard. I doubt I could do the combination of sounds, rhythms and vocal harmonies justice with words alone. The backing is very much beat driven with some fantastic guitars and other instrumentation... that is intentionally deep and dense... which underpins some seriously haunting vocals... reminiscent of Guy Harvey, Tom Yorke and Bono.


Butterfly Explosion bring some fab music to the table with their album Lost Trails. Their sound has a dreamy pop / shoegaze aesthetic with breathless vocals, vibrant drums and layers of guitar... that, when combined with a post-rock sensibility and structure, makes for a really compelling and immersive listening experience.

Well worth the €3 asking price, imho.

Real life color by Magicman is a collection of atmospheric lo-fi electronic soundscapes... that engage with their simple charm and grace... a very jaunty and upbeat grace at times... something I am very grateful for. I love music like this... it spreads happiness... and makes me smile!

Pay what you want

Last up we have Jigsaws by nanolog favourite good weather for an airstrike. Jigsaws is a collection of drones recorded between 2009-2011... that makes for wonderful headphone music... the kind you put on when you have to concentrate and want to block out the world. I particularly enjoy the ambience of the tracks whilst reading H.P. Lovecraft on my daily commute... albeit... the music probably isn't dark enough to soundtrack his books. That said... Jigsaws does complement the books nicely and is a welcome addition to the tunes on my iPhome.

Pay what you want

That's me for now... please support independent music!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adding insult to injury

Adding insult to injury... my DHQ have created another poster. I didn't need nor ask for another poster to be made. Tx

At church this morning I noticed that my poster has been replaced with the one above.

I find it insulting for the following reasons:

1) In my response to DHQ... I said the following:

"...As for the poster, I would prefer you kept it in situ as I think destroying it would be a waste of resources and, as such, poor stewardship on the part of DHQ."
I want everyone to know that I never requested my poster removed. I am not that petty. I also think the paper and ink needed to create these additional posters would have been a waste of resources.

2) When discussing the poster, I was told to include a picture of the visiting band. In addition, I was told that my photo of the cornet... on its own... was too overpowering and they'd prefer the picture to be more in the background and the information to be more prominent. I guess these requirements no longer apply, huh?

3) I said all I wanted to say and whilst invited to discuss the matter further, I didn't consider it necessary... especially on non-neutral turf. I wanted to let it lie, why couldn't they?

I'm hurt... I see this action as being completely unnecessary... except to spite me. If you see it differently then let me know... because I can not see this as being anything other than a further kick after I was down.

That said... I intend to put this behind me. I am excited at the thought of new leadership within DHQ... new leaders who come well recommended by dear friends. I hope they will be the fresh air that the West of Scotland Division really desperately needs.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

You're blessed when... you're content with just who you are

you're blessed - content (1280x800)

I've found this verse inspiring on my Lenten journey. Its taken from Matthew 5v5 and is from the Message translation.

There is so much to consider in this verse... and, to help me ponder it, I've created a wallpaper for my MBP.


Things I am grateful for #2 ... photosafaris with friends

110311_ Glaswegian skyline #1

When it comes to photography... the only thing I love more than taking photos is... taking photos with like-minded friends.

I have spoken before of the wee posse of photogeeks at my work... that I brought together share knowledge and shoot pics together... and today I am no less grateful for them. The group has really bonded and we share some great times out and about in Glasgow on a Friday lunch hour.

110311_ looking up from the MacIntosh room #2

Yesterday, we paid the Lighthouse another visit. We had intended travelling on the clockwork orange to an old church in Govan but the weather wasn't ideal... and we collectively decided not to chance it. The Lighthouse is such a wonderful venue with features and views ideal for a roving band of photogeeks.

I shot with my Nikon d60 and nifty-fifty lens... and Don's Yashica A TLR (after discovering the shutter needs cocked (thanks Marc!)). I've processed the digital pics but have a few to take on the Yashica before I get them developed. I have a feeling they will be horrendous because I'm doing a lot of guesswork... but that's how I learn so we'll see.

110311_ towards the infinite

The rest of my photos are available here. I'll post on the Yashica pics when I finish the roll.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I really like the new Starbucks branding

080311_ Starbucks New Identity (close up)

Yesterday... when I went for a coffee and a game of Yahtzee with @myopicaardvark... I noticed the new Starbucks logo had arrived in Glasgow.

Personally, I really like it. Its familiar yet new and fresh... exactly what a design revamp should be, in my opinion.

I also like the way the Siren's image is being used on the sleeve... in its enlarged and slightly abstracted glory. Its like the logo is precious... but not something to be slavishly revered... instead there is room for innovative manipulation.

All in... a revamp I really like... so much so I asked for a paper cup to take home. I figured after all the coffees I've had in my own to-go cups... one paper cup wouldn't hurt.


Things I am grateful for #1

080311_ Fairy Cake #2

Things I am grateful for...

  1. Meeting friends who you haven't seen for ages in your favourite coffeeshop... and catching up like it was only yesterday that she moved away.

    I caught up with Laura Bridge today over coffee. She looked fab... in very rude health and was her usual animated and inquisitive self. I miss her. I like the way she sees the world. I gave her my "spare" Olympus Trip 35 camera... as it didn't deserve to sit on the shelf when someone like Laura could make it sing and dance. I am eager to see her output.

  2. Homemade Fairy Cakes... they beat store-bought every time.
  3. Swampy-Bluesy-Rock music from folks like The White Stripes, The Black Keys and Abraham the Poor.
  4. The horror of HP Lovecraft. I finished "the Call of Cthulhu" today... and was stunned at his wonderfully dark prose.
  5. The lyricism of Simon and Grafunkel songs... such as "I am a rock".

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Seven questions... with Johnny Rose (@98rosjon)

Johnny is an awesome chap that I know from Twitter. I think he is very, very funny... and very, very driven. Seriously, he should bottle his drive and sell it. He's overcome some big obstacles and is currently looking for "a proper job".

I'm proud to call him a mate.

I caught up with him on email... and asked him my seven questions.


1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jonny Rose and work in social media for a property company in Central London. As well as this, I blog extensively on Christianity, New Media and my local community (Croydon). I also work at my parents' nursery. When I say 'work', I mean impressing the kitchen staff with my dance moves and playing with stuffed animals.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on The Purley 2.0 Project which is a hyper-local initiative of mine to build a stronger and more sociable Twitter community. I've been orchestrating tweet-ups with local Tweeters and will be doing workshops in the summer to get more newbies involved. At this very moment, I'm preparing for the Croydon Twestival which will be held in Purley on March 24th and all proceeds will be going to the lovely people at South East Cancer Help Centre.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.
The people who inspire me are almost always Christians who are excelling in a particular capacity. I also occasionally flirt with the idea of getting a Malcolm X picture framed above my desk.

- Name place that has inspired you.
One place that definitely inspires me is Jamaica - I'm doing everything I can to retire out there by the time I'm 30!

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
One "thing" that inspires me is the blogosphere. I can't get enough of blogs. Reading a great blog can be equally as rewarding as eating a delicious meal.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
I'm driven by the Gospel and the Great Commission ("To go and make disciples"). That's not to say that I do it well (or even all the time!), but - ultimately - trying to make people see how amazing Christ is and what He's done for them so that they can have a relationship with God is the undercurrent of everything I do. That...and a cold, hard lust for power and money.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
Hopefully my creativity conveys the importance of having a sense of humour and seeing the value in not taking things too seriously all the time. With my blog - especially the Purley 2.0 stuff - I'm trying to show people the benefits of socially investing in our local community, looking out for the vulnerable or lonely, encouraging altruism and charity and essentially "loving one another as ourselves".

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Community is a huge part of what I do - especially my local community. Everything I'm doing at the moment professionally (in the social media realm) is so that I can develop the skills needed to empower, connect and build up people in my immediate area. Communities are becoming increasingly fragmented and people no longer know their next-door neighbour nor do they meet together *en masse* in local clubs anymore. It's becoming more and more important in my mind to do everything we can to sustain our local communities.

The other community that has a huge part in my life is church. Having fellowship with other Christians is a truly invigorating and inspiring experience and meeting up frequently gives me the strength and vision to do what I'm doing.

7) What is next for what you do?
I have lots of plans for the future (most of them legal) but the main one at the moment is to move from freelancing to a proper job at a PR/Social Media agency in London where I can be trained in the dark arts of the retweet. After that? Might just become Prime Minister for a laugh.


Follow Johnny on Twitter (@98rosjon) and check out The Purley 2.0 Project.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

For Lent 2011...

281209_ Minolta P's_ 006

I am about to embark on my Lenten journey for 2011.

Tomorrow marks day 1 of my fast... although I'm not sure "fast" is the correct term to use... because I intend to use the time given within the Lenten period to appreciate what I have.

In other words... for the next six weeks or so I am giving up the consumption of new things.

I have too many books that sit unread.
I have too many albums that sit unheard.
I have too many apps that sit unopened.

I need to appreciate the home that I have.
I need to appreciate all the tools I have.
I need to appreciate more the clothes that I have.

This is why I am struggling with the term "fast" because... if I am honest... I will no go without. I have more than enough already.

This is more a period of focus... of scrutiny... of observation and assessment.

Its about me taking time to say thanks.
Its about me taking time to appreciate what I have been given.
Its about me taking time to count my blessings... as the song goes.

In addition to the "what" I intend to contemplate the "who"... and give thanks for everyone in my life... because I believe it is not possessions that make a person rich but his relationships and the experience that comes from these interactions.

Most of all... I want to explore my faith and to use the time for contemplation on the sacrifice that was made... to buy my freedom.

This is all about stewardship... all about what I do with the freedom I have been given... and it is ultimately and most importantly... about God from whom I believe I have been blessed... abundantly blessed.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Putting their money where their steadfastness is... APC's Butler Jeans

Along with your much-loved classic denim, you’re also doing a line called Butler Jeans. Can you tell us about that? 
Some people who buy our jeans only want to wear them when they’re pristine. When they start to fade or get holes in them, they don’t wear them anymore. So you can bring them back to the store and get a new pair of jeans at cost. We take the old jeans and wash them, mend them, mark them with the initials of the person who wore them, and sell them. No matter how much money you invest in machines, jeans always look better when they’ve been broken in by a human being. I call them the Butler Jeans because in the 19th century, English aristocrats would have their butlers wear their new clothes before they did, so they wouldn’t look nouveau riche.
NYTimes - APC's new digs via psfk

I really love this idea... albeit I couldn't afford a pair of APC jeans. I love the idea that APC are so assured of the quality and steadfastness of their jeans that they are prepared to invest the time and energy to fix them up and resell them after being returned.

I love the fact they are promoting reuse and profiting from the venture.

I also love the customer-focussed element of this... giving both the hard denim fan and the broken-in denim fan what they want :: a quality pair of jeans at cost, a hassle-free means of recycling and a sense of "immortality" [and] a broken-in-by-a-human pair of jeans respectively.

I guess the only loser out of this deal is the charityshops who may have received the no-longer-pristine jeans.

All in... its a fab idea, imho.


Friday, March 04, 2011

Sunday night... a gathering in Bellshill

Really looking forward to this... I've heard the band that are playing are sounding fab!

Three non-Apple tech toys... I would really like

OK... I admit it. I am a card-carrying Apple fan boy... but I also acknowledge awesomeness from other providers. Apples are not the only fruit... so to speak.

First up... we have the ubiquitous Amazon Kindle. Yes... I have the Kindle app on my iPad and my iPhone... but there is something about the Kindle that is really appealing. I think its something to do with the non-backlit display. I also have a ton of books on my Kindle app and it would "protect them" if Apple did something silly and blocked the app.

Next up is an awesome speaker system from Jambox from Jawbone... it connects via bluetooth or 3.5mm cable and provides amplification to your life on your phone... tablet... or laptop. It can be used to play songs... or take calls. Its getting a good press and intrigues me as a device... taking the personal towards a more public sphere.

Lastly, we have the Lightscribe Echo "Smartpen"... which, in conjunction with special paper, allows you to record your meetings via an audio recorder and a tiny camera that tracks your writing and creates a "softcopy" of your notes when you sync with your PC or Mac. A friend at work has one of these and I think it would be a real time-saver... removing the time needed to transcribe your notes. I find I write my notes rather than type them... typing on a laptop creates a barrier between yourself and the person you are meeting.

So yeah... that's me... for now. If anyone has any ideas of non-Apple toys that I've missed... that would really work in my life, please let me know.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cruel Cuts Can Create Community > my seventh guest post from Damien O'Keeffe aka @flawedmonkey

250211_ observe

The UK Government's Comprehensive Spending Review held no real surprises. As a nation we had been living beyond our means for a long time, and the years of 'live now, pay later' had caught up. The time to pay up had arrived. What did, perhaps, surprise everyone though was the severity of the cuts proposed by the CSR, and the immediacy of their effect.

Frontline public services bore the brunt (hardly surprising with a Conservative-led coalition in power) as did the arts. The NHS, libraries, children's services, even the police force have been told to cut their expenditure drastically in order to balance the nation's books. Local Authorities have made entire workforces redundant in order to cut their costs. Even the Nation's forests were being put up for sale at one point.

Funding for the arts has been slashed. Not only through organisations such as The Arts Council but also in terms of funding higher education courses in arts related subjects. But then, the arts have always been an easy target; they don't really add anything to the quality of life, do they? You can't account for art or calculate it's cost effectiveness. So why should our hard-earned taxes pay for it? It is such narrow-minded and short-sighted thinking that leads to babies being thrown out with the bathwater. A classic example of this is David Cameron's speech glowing with pride at the success of the British film industry at this year's Oscars. The best picture of 2011 is 'The King's Speech', a film only made possible through the funding and support offered by The UK Film Council, an organisation that David Cameron has decided must go as it is not cost-effective!

The big idea behind the Government's thinking is 'The Big Society' - a radical notion that, somehow, we are all in this together (apart from the bankers pocketing bonuses for not losing too much more of our money, but let us not even start on that little injustice!) and that we must each take a bit more responsibility for the services and resources we use. On the face of it, not an unreasonable idea but this does assume that this hasn't been happening previously, that we have all been acting totally selfishly. Such an assumption, I would suggest, says more about those making it.

The actual effect of the spending cuts and the privatisation plans and the securing of larger profits for a smaller elite has been to strengthen the bonds of community that already exist, and to increase the ways in which people are willing to support one another. An attempt to force people into competition with one another has, in reality, begun to bring them together.

There have been a number of high-profile campaigns against various aspects of the proposed cuts. Organisations and lobby-groups have sprung up, galvanising support for libraries, the NHS, the arts in general, and the publicly owned, publicly accessible national forests.

On a smaller but equally as important level, there has been an increase in the ways people have supported artistic and creative endeavour. Social networks have brought together like-minded individuals who are collaborating on projects, pooling resources, and promoting one another's work. This very post is the result of such interaction. My kind and generous host has also provided photographic artwork to a range of up and coming musicians; not for monetary gain but for the pleasure of helping someone else. One of these musicians is collaborating on a project with a student from my College. A professional actress is 'giving something back' by coming to talk to and mentor some of my acting students. All of these meetings and sharings have occurred either directly or indirectly via twitter.

I know that Thomas is passionate about many things and a man of faith. I also know that he understands how small acts of kindness and support can mean so much. In giving a little we have both gained so much more in return.



Currently listening to... "Disarm" by She Makes War

I listen to a whole heap of music these days... and every so often I hear something completely fresh... something that is wonderfully new-to-me... that makes me rejoice in the power of music to connect, inspire, empower & revive.

I have been listening to "disarm" by She Makes War aka @warriorgrrl on Twitter ... and am rejoicing at the quality & diversity of the music contained therein.

I love her voice... it has a uniqueness about it - an enticing combination of tenderness and sheer power - that is a joy to listening to.

I also love her instrumentation... it twists and turns whilst staying close to the alt.rock genre.

All in... a wonderful discovery & well recommended.

She gives me hope that Britain does indeed have talent... just not on ITV.


Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous


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