Friday, 14 April 2017

1 peter; 2 peter and jude

On Sunday 19th February I finished the IVP Tyndale commentary on 1 Peter by A F Walls (introduction) and A M Stibbs (notes). It wasn't great; one of the least satisfactory Tyndale commentaries I can remember reading. It felt a bit less analytical and a bit more sermony/daily-Bible-notesy than the series usually is. The introduction wasn't bad, though. The current IVP Tyndale 1 Peter isn't the same book.

On Thursday 13th April I finished Michael Green's IVP Tyndale commentary on 2 Peter and Jude. It was a solid, sensible little commentary; interestingly, it still seems to be the current one, though it's quite old (a lot of my IVP Tyndales - as these two - are picked up secondhand so are not the latest version); perhaps he revised it at some point along the way.

Both these commentaries, of course, read in relation to what we're studying in our house group Bible studies. (Next up, Romans; have a number of commentaries to choose from on the shelf already, not sure whether to go for John Murray's old one or FF Bruce's IVP Tyndale (also old); Tim Keller's done a more popular commentary on it recently, I have noticed.)

now you see me 2

On Friday 24th March in the evening I watched Now You See Me 2 on DVD with Maisie (she'd bought it new recently); it wasn't great, even more preposterous than the first one (throughout one is disbelieving that these tricks/illusions/stunts/feats are doable in the real world of the film rather than just things created to look good on screen, which for me undermines the whole essence of the film) and more pointless. Maisie enjoyed it rather more than I did.

one chance

On Monday 27th March I watched One Chance, the Paul Potts biopic, with Maisie. It was quite good - pretty straightforward and warmhearted, which was fine by me.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

hoovering music

I appreciate the irony of singing 'I want to be anarchy - no dogsbody!' while I'm hoovering in the toilet, but it's an irony I'm at ease with.

Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees also came up in my hoovering headphones. It took me many years to notice the quiet cry for help in the middle and end of that none-more-strutting anthem: 'I'm going nowhere, somebody help me.' It's really very striking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQwNN-0AgWc

author pen-names

Twitter fun of the day was 'Your author pen name is the name of your childhood pet and the name of the thing you are terrified of'.

J K Rowling's was Thumper Smallspaces, which I rather like.

I worked out my own would be N A Darkheart.

(N A Myown-Darkheart, to give it the full double barrels.)

Friday, 7 April 2017

divergent

On Thursday 6th April Maisie and I watched Divergent in the afternoon. It wasn't bad, although its underlying premise is as preposterous as when I read it in the book; I enjoyed the film more, perhaps because I had less time to think about the preposterous premise. (I'd read the book when Maisie got it, as a vetting pre-read, and it was fine, though in fact she says she didn't finish it in the end; I read it on the train back from Aviemore, where she'd bought it.)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

morris folk club - march

At folk club on Tuesday I sang Ophelia's Song (a setting of some of what Ophelia sings while mad in Hamlet, which I know from Jane & Amanda Threlfall's version) and Billy Taylor (there are a hundred variations on this song, this version was the one which Malinky did). They went okay.

Best of all, though, I got to sing Sweet Nightingale (aka The Birds In The Spring, this version also from Jane & Amanda Threlfall) with Ginny, and that went pretty well. I always particularly enjoy singing duets with Ginny, as not only does she sing beautifully but I think our voices go well together (they do in my head at least; I can't guarantee what it sounds like in the real world). (I pretty much always enjoy singing duets with anyone from the choir, of course, which is full of people with lovely voices, so that in itself isn't remarkable.)

Full set list here.

Friday, 24 March 2017

the smiths

Thinking of every Smiths song I like, there isn't one I wouldn't prefer with Morrissey's vocals taken off.

Monday, 20 March 2017

what would an atheist do?

I've started reading Rumours Of Another World, by Philip Yancey. Here's an interesting early paragraph:

'No society in history has attempted to live without a belief in the sacred, not until the modern West. Such a leap has consequences that we are only beginning to recognize. We now live in a state of confusion about the big questions that have always engaged the human race, questions of meaning, purpose, and morality. A sceptical friend of mine used to ask himself the question, "What would an atheist do?" in deliberate mockery of the What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) slogan. He finally stopped asking because he found no reliable answers.'

Saturday, 11 March 2017

the comforters

On Tuesday I finished The Comforters by Muriel Spark. It was her first novel, which I'd never heard of before seeing the list of her novels on Wikipedia a while ago, in relation to doing a page for Not To Disturb, which I'd never heard of before seeing and buying it. In fact, given what a notable novelist she is, there were a surprising number of novels I'd never heard of, below the big hitters.

I enjoyed it rather more than I'd expected, for a first novel I'd never heard of from a big name, after not being impressed by Memento Mori, which is one of the big hitters. I liked the quirkiness of it, especially the idea of the character who felt she was in a novel, in itself not unheard of psychiatrically, and her relationship with the novelist she could hear typing; that wasn't fully resolved or explained, but that annoyed me less than similar effects in Memento Mori and Not To Disturb. It was plot-packed, some of it I think deliberately daft because of the 'in a novel' theme. (I guess the title is a reference to Job's comforters, but if it is I don't get it much.) So, certainly my favourite of hers I've read apart from The Prime. (Her novels are not very long, which also makes me happier to give others a go after ones I've not been so keen on.

Friday, 10 March 2017

greenbelt - reflections

In broad summary, I'd say going to Greenbelt last year, my first actual camping festival, was a pleasant surprise in terms of the practicalities (as covered in the previous post, and not least due to having Susannah there to help make it a good experience for us), was rather disappointing and unremarkable on the whole as a music festival (as also covered in the previous post), and was depressing as a Christian festival.

greenbelt - music and events

We were at Greenbelt, Friday 26th August - Monday 29th August last year. This is what I did.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

grinding down

Seven tweets:
It grinds you down that not only do more+more people think you and your church are misogynistic homophobes, but more+more Christians do too.

look, they're Christians like you and they don't believe that; clearly your reasons are misogynistic/homophobic, not theology.

& ultimately those perceptions of what is acceptable within church traditions move out of general use and into legislation.

But it's the personal sense of it that is the hardest, of course, rather than all the large-scale levels beyond you.

as the box within which you and your fellows are gets smaller and more painful, your boxy little heart gets crushed too.

and the gulf of understanding between your heart and those around you gets larger, as the shared starting points get smaller.

[everyone competes to play world's smallest violin for the self-pitying misogynist homophobe; oh poor you]

Sunday, 5 March 2017

sing

On Saturday afternoon (4th March), Maisie and I saw Sing at the Genesis Cinema. It was quite good, and we enjoyed it. It wasn't groundbreaking, but told a familiar story well, with good music and good humour.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

twilight: breaking dawn - part ii

On Monday 27th February Maisie and I watched the last of the Twilight films, Breaking Dawn Part II. It was fine, and not as dull as Part I. Having seen all the films now, Maisie has just started reading the books. I'd guess that she won't be that bothered about watching those films again, unlike, say, the Harry Potter films. I certainly wouldn't bother watching them again.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

morris folk club - february

At the Morris Folk Club on Tuesday I sang four times, unusually.

I sang Three Craws to start with, mainly to teach it (or at least expose it) to the choir: it's one of the songs in the choir's current bird-themed set, and was one of my suggestions. I reminded them that when Fiona and I had led a choir rehearsal she summed up our teaching style quite accurately as, 'We've sung it to you twice - how come you don't know it yet?' But it's a pretty simple song, and it went fine (I wrote a key word from each of the crow verses on my hand so I didn't forget them while I was teaching it).

Then I sang Nathan Jones, which is short, and went fine.

In the second half, Tanja, Ginny and I sang The Parting Glass (in the Voice Squad's three-part version, as we'd done with others in a small group in the choir's drink-themed concert), and I think that went rather well, if I do say so myself.

Finally I sang Making Time, which is the song of Tim's which I'd picked up and meddled with the words to (it was a lovely tune, but he had felt the words were somewhat unfinished and was happy for me to have a go at). It's the fourth time I've sung it in public, also unusually for me - at Morris, then at Sharp's, then at Tooting. People have responded well to it; it's a good song. I sang it particularly last night because it was Tim's last time at folk club before leaving for Devon.

Full set list here.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

a time to murder and create

On Saturday 25th February I finished A Time To Murder And Create, the first crime novel I've read by Lawrence Block. I enjoyed it, and I'll certainly seek out more by him. Bethan had given it to me as a secondhand book present for our anniversary last year (we often give each other secondhand books as, or as part of, presents, particularly if we wouldn't have something physical to give on the day otherwise), and just picked pretty randomly as far as I can see (as they often are), other than being a crime novel. It was an American private detective one, quite old fashioned in style and structure (which I like), though being from the mid-70s it of course had the marvellous improvement upon older novels of being cruder. (To, of course, no benefit in general and to detriment as far as I was concerned. It seems to me that novels in the years post sexual/verbal/thematic liberation (esp 70s) often appear today to be overtly and grossly sexist, and in fact much more so than older fiction. It's interesting that's what we did with our liberation, or what our liberation revealed. This book - from the 70s - isn't a prime example of that, but it put me in mind of it.)

Saturday, 11 February 2017

trent's last case (1952 film)

On Friday evening we all watched Trent's Last Case - the 1952 version, starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood and Orson Welles. It was fine, though not as good as the original book by EC Bentley, which I read many years ago and was very good (it was, as I remember, written to make fun of detective fiction yet ended up becoming a classic of detective fiction). The film told the story pretty faithfully, I suspect, but just didn't have a lot of life and wit to it.

Friday, 10 February 2017

duke's hall - academy symphony orchestra do strauss

On Friday 20th January I went with Bethan's dad to a lunchtime concert at the Duke's Hall in the Royal Academy of Music. The Academy Symphony Orchestra did a programme of three different Strausses - Johann II, Josef and Richard (with a clap-along encore of the Radetzky March by Johann Sr). We enjoyed it.

the fly in the ointment

On Wednesday I finished reading The Fly In The Ointment by Alice Thomas Ellis. I enjoyed the writing, and the voice, but it wasn't my favourite of hers. I'd probably have appreciated it more if I'd read it closer to the other two in the trilogy telling the same story with different narrators, remembering the other views, building the fuller picture of the story. I'm realising I'm running out of her fiction to read; a couple that I have on my 'still to read' list I'm pretty sure I've read already, but a long time ago; and they're so short that it's not difficult to read them again. And I like very much her dry sense of humour.