Thursday, 21 September 2017

the prodigal god

On Monday 18th September I finished The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. It's not that long a book - an exposition of the Prodigal Son parable - and I've heard some or all of it in sermon podcasts, but it's a good, thoughtful, challenging read for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Here's what the secondhand copy I read looked like, (in)complete with torn-off corner.

lcm thanksgiving service; the killers

On Wednesday 13th it was the LCM thanksgiving service at All Souls. I only mention it because I was in the LCM choir in it for the first time; we sang Mighty To Save, and it went pretty well; Shantelle ran it, and did well. The chaps were on the tune, so it wasn't too challenging. We're hoping to keep the choir going for more frequent use, which would be good.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

the suppliant women - first rehearsal

Yesterday we had the first rehearsal proper of The Suppliant Women - a first, intensive weekend of rehearsals, but the Citizens only required on Saturday morning.

Friday, 15 September 2017

the suppliant women - preliminaries

On 3 July I got an email from The Young Vic, as part of the Taking Part mailing list, saying they were looking for people from the community - Lambeth or Southwark residents - to take part in The Suppliant Women as chorus members.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

thinking, thoroughness and simplicity; spitalfields

It was suggested to me today that I think of the alternatives not so much as 'thinking too much about things' and 'not thinking about things', but the more positive 'thoroughness' and 'simplicity'. And that I might have a go at trying out simplicity sometimes and see how that feels.

I'm thinking about it.

Later I had a wander around Spitalfields Market and looked at lovely clothes which I could wear if I were a slim woman or a rich, confident man. I am only one of those five things. Still, lovely to look at.

Monday, 11 September 2017

hamlet at harold pinter theatre - andrew scott

On Wednesday 14th June I saw the Almeida production of Hamlet starring Andrew Scott at The Harold Pinter Theatre. (I think it was a preview, nominally.) It was pretty good. (It was my first for a while, and I'm getting round to writing it up now because I'm about to see another one.)

Friday, 8 September 2017

any way you look at it, you lose

If I've understood it right, if you're pro-life and think abortion is acceptable a) sometimes, then you're a myogynist hypocrite, b) never, then you're a misogynist monster.

bust-out brigade

Sometimes I wish I had the secret earpiece some clearly have playing The Go! Team's Bust-Out Brigade as they walk down the street or into rooms. But only sometimes.

ode to billie jo

Bobbie Gentry's Ode To Billie Joe is a grand song, but it's Jimmie Haskell's string arrangement (laid over simply a guitar/vocal demo, apparently) that makes it extraordinary. Just listen to it.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


We had a holiday in Suffolk in the last week of August (from Sat 26th), near Thorpe Merieux. Things we did included: Bradfield Woods (Sunday); Museum of East Anglian Life and Stowmarket (Monday); Lavenham, including the National Trust Guildhall (Tuesday); Long Melford and Kentwell Hall (Wednesday); Southwold (Thursday); and Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Lackford Lakes (Friday). We had a good time.

british museum

On Thursday 24th August Maisie and I went to the British Museum, which was her idea, and we enjoyed.

Friday, 25 August 2017

the unbearability of life

Sometimes life seems equally unbearable whether Christianity is true (because of the implications of accepting all its truths and teachings, unless you simply jettison those things which you find socially awkward or personally challenging, demanding or upsetting) or whether Christianity is not true (because, to adapt the line about democracy and government to express what I have often felt, Christianity is the worst possible explanation for everything apart from all the other possible explanations that have been tried, and if it's not true then life has no meaning, morality or purpose, we just silently agree to pretend that it does).

Not thinking about it too much seems to be the answer either way, and that's no answer.

I expect I'll feel better after a cup of tea.

Friday, 4 August 2017

pre-wedding advice

I've thought a few times recently about this thing I once said in an email nearly twenty years ago, and this evening I managed to unearth it, preserved in a document in a folder copied from computer to computer over the years.

It was written after a rather civilised stag night, a meal out, at which we were asked what one piece of advice we'd give to our groom-to-be. I didn't say anything very satisfactory on the night, but this is what I said subsequently within a longer email. It is along the lines that I remembered, except possibly shorter (I fear I have grown more long-winded as I have got older), and I think it is probably still what I would say, were I called on to give 'one piece of advice'. I shall leave it as it was, except to remove the name to protect the innocent.

"I felt very strange when I realised that I was the 'old hand', marriage-wise. In fact it made me restrain myself from giving you one of my serious one-sentence pieces of advice, because I didn't want to make things very heavy. ('Give and take' is the true cliche which I did mention.) But I'll give it to you now: 'Love and commitment is an act of will'. There will be many days when you are in the company of a woman who is more beautiful, or more charming, or more witty, or more intelligent, or more sensitive, or more caring, or more funny, or more sexy, or more spiritual, or more 'on your wavelength', or basically more attractive in one of any number of ways than your wife-to-be. But you must enter into marriage, thinking, 'Yes, I know there will be days like that, and I have made my choice and my commitment in that knowledge. And it is my choice and my commitment that my love for my wife-to-be is and will continue to be different from and beyond the love I will feel for or give to any other person or thing, for the rest of our lives.' And believe me, it will be different and beyond. And it will be very good."

people power at the imperial war museum

On Saturday 29th July Bethan and I went to a paying exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, People Power: Fighting For Peace. It was okay.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

peace and joy

Peace and joy are twin blessings of the gospel; as an old Scots preacher put it, 'peace is joy resting; joy is peace dancing'.
- FF Bruce on Romans 5, IVP Tyndale commentary (1963 edition)

I feel these things insufficiently, but this is a lovely way of putting it.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

an american in paris

On Friday 28th July Bethan and I went to see An American In Paris at the Dominion Theatre. It was good in general, and the dancing and staging were excellent.

Friday, 28 July 2017

maigret goes home

On Saturday 22nd July I finished Maigret Goes Home by Georges Simenon. It was okay. I suspect it wasn't a typical Maigret novel, but I could be wrong. (It was short, as usual, but not a procedural, which I think they usually are.)


On Saturday 22nd July we all watched Joy on DVD, one of the bundle of DVDs that Maisie bought at Cex recently (possibly primarily because it starred Jennifer Lawrence). We all enjoyed it fairly well. A based-on-a-true-story of triumph over adversity, although there was rather more adversity than is my preference in my entertainment.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

mean girls

On Friday 21st July, after a takeaway from Aftertaste, we all watched Mean Girls on DVD - this was Maisie's end-of-term treat evening. It was a pretty good film.

hue and cry

On Saturday 15th July we all watched Hue and Cry, from Bethan's box set of Ealing films. It was okay as a film, but the best bits were definitely Alastair Sim being Alastair Sim, and the scenery of post-war, Blitzed London.