Tuesday, 17 October 2017

tim jones and the dark lanterns, and the foxglove trio

On Saturday 14th October I was at the Unity Hall on Upper Street, with Michelle and Ginny, for The Foxglove Trio's album launch gig, where the support was Tim Jones and the Dark Lanterns, which of course was why we were there really. I've seen both before, and enjoyed both, and they were both good this time too.

Monday, 16 October 2017

morris folk choir - mall galleries gig

On Saturday 14th October Morris Folk Choir did a lunchtime concert at the Mall Galleries. It went pretty well.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

blade runner - the final cut

On Thursday night and then on Friday morning I rewatched Blade Runner - this time The Final Cut (on a cheap Fopp DVD I got some time ago) - in case I manage to see Blade Runner 2049 on the big screen. It was as good as I remembered.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

male response to sexism

'Don't just oppose sexism & sexual assault because you think of your daughter, but because you think of all women, even ones you don't like.'

- I tweeted this yesterday, hence its brevity. I could expand on it, but you get the gist. (It's relevant to a current news story, and some men's responses.) A female friend thanked me for it. I said, 'Thank you. Though it's upsetting that we live in a world where a man gets to be thanked for saying something that shd go w/out saying.' - with a quick supplementary: '(you know I'm upset with men of the world, not at all you. Oh, Twitter. xx)'.

applying logic inappropriately?

Here's a bit of an email exchange I had last week, following up a conversation. (I thought it was easier to just copy and paste than try to 'put in my own words' from scratch; hopefully it'll still make sense to me if I read it again in the future.)

From my email: 'I paused at the thought that you couldn't tell what people were thinking, you could only observe what they said and did. .... what, I wondered, was it that made me stop over this fairly unremarkable thought? I think it was this: that I was not applying the same rules to myself as I was applying to other people. That I think of my friend as kind - to take that example - because of what they say and do and how they do it, their behaviour and their words and their manner and their tone (including my perception based on these things that they are genuinely kind and not pretending), without knowing (or possibly even thinking about) what is going on in their head. My friend thinks of me as kind on exactly the same basis; but I have the advantage (or disadvantage) of knowing (or thinking I know) what is going on in my own head. Perhaps I should trust my friend's estimation that I am kind in the same way that I trust my estimation that my friend is kind.'

From the reply: 'think about .... how it might not necessarily be a 'provable' set of criteria that leads one person to think of another as, for example, 'kind' (it might, indeed, be far more subjective and instinctive than that), and how it seems that you might apply quite different 'rules' to how you see yourself than you would to others.'

The idea that one might be trying to apply rigorous logic inappropriately to realms in which rigorous logic is not appropriate, or applicable, or enough, is interesting, as is the idea that one is not applying them consistently. It seems relevant in the context of people and relationships; perhaps it is also relevant in the context of issues around faith.

(It also strikes me that the inconsistent application of rules to oneself and others is also an issue - perhaps a greater, more frequent danger - the other way round, where one might hypocritically hold people to standards which you yourself fail to meet, or assume/think the worst of people's motives and what's actually going on in their heads in relation to their words and actions.)

Monday, 9 October 2017

how they used to vote in lewis

I grew up in the world of Malcolm K Macmillan as the Labour MP for the Western Isles. ... I remember very clearly the routine that people like my father followed on the day of the election. The 7am bus from Portnaguran, almost always driven by the Nogish, carrying a substantial number of mill workers to Stornoway, would stop at Aird Primary School. They would all leave the bus and cast their vote. It was so elegantly simple and such an important act.
- From Matthew MacIver's My Portnaguran column in the October 2017 Rudhach

private eye cartoon - 'not irritating'

Cartoon from 22nd September Private Eye: one person saying to another, 'You're not allowed to find me irritating... I identify as not irritating'.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

on preparing to read melmoth the wanderer

I'm about to start reading Melmoth The Wanderer, by Charles Maturin, which I picked up a secondhand copy of last July (for £3.50, if the pencil price is to be believed) - an Oxford World's Classics edition from 1989.


I always think of my father when I do anything resembling DIY. Yesterday afternoon Bethan and I put a new fence panel up at the bottom of our garden in a space which wasn't quite big enough for it. I don't know if he would have laughed about the bodge job we made of it or been impressed by our ingenuity. A bit of both, I'd like to think.

swallows and amazons

On Saturday evening we watched together the 2016 film of Swallows and Amazons, which we all fairly enjoyed. It was better done than I'd expected, with an impressive adult cast. Bethan's the only one of the three of us who had read the book (a long time ago). Bethan said she didn't remember the spy plot, which surprised me as it seemed pretty central to the film, but looking it up on Wikipedia just now I was surprised to see that it was indeed completely introduced for the film, inspired by Arthur Ransome's own connection with Russia (and building on the idea that the relevant character in the book was based on himself).

Saturday, 7 October 2017

the suppliant women - second rehearsal

The second Suppliant Women rehearsal for the Citizens chorus was on Wednesday evening.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

tim keller - romans 1-7 for you

Today I finished Tim Keller's popular commentary, based on Bible study notes, Romans 1-7 For You. I read it in conjunction with the FF Bruce Tyndale commentary (old edition), while we've been doing Romans in housegroup, as I will now do with the second, 8-14 volume. It was helpful; it was particularly helpful using them together, approaching Romans with two different commentary styles.

Here's the book:

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

if I stay

On Monday 2nd October Maisie and I watched If I Stay, a teenage romantic drama, on DVD. Neither of us were very impressed; cliched, unconvincing, not that well written (the Wikipedia article suggests it wasn't well received).

Monday, 2 October 2017

a scrabble variation

Last night we tried a variation on the usual Scrabble rules.

Probably the main weakness with Scrabble is that the luck of the draw can give one person a bad hand for a long stretch (or throughout) and the other a good one.

We have a similar word game, Waddington's Dixit (no longer made, I think - we picked it up in a charity shop years ago), which gets round this problem by having the hands of letters laid out around the edge of the board and the players move around the board by dice, so the same hands are being played by all the players. This is the best feature of that game, but other differences from Scrabble aren't so good.

So last night we thought we'd try to introduce the sharing of hands to regular Scrabble. We set up three hands, visible to both of us, and a dice which each player rolled before their turn: roll 1-2 and use the left hand, 3-4 use the middle hand, 5-6 use the right hand.

So there's no uncertainty about whether you should save letters in the hope that you can use them better next turn; you play the best word you can from the set in front of you (still bearing in mind board position factors, of course); meantime the other player can look at the other two hands for possible words, since there's a 2 in 3 chance they'll be playing one of those hands next go.

The rest of the rules are as usual, except the game is over when one of the hands is cleaned out (or it is agreed that none of them are finishable) and there is no adding or subtracting of the remaining tile values from anyone's score.

I thought it went pretty well, Bethan less so, perhaps because I adapted to the new system more quickly and won... We'll give it another go.

We might introduce a time limit on turns, which is of course another main weakness of Scrabble, sitting around waiting for the other person to come up with their word.

(I shared this on Facebook, to see if anyone else had tried this. We'll see.)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

boudica - the globe

I went to see Boudica at Shakespeare's Globe this afternoon, and it was not bad.

Friday, 29 September 2017


On Monday evening, while Bethan was at choir, Maisie and I watched Gravity from the digibox. We both enjoyed it, though Maisie was (as often while we watch telly) wasn't fully immersed in it as she was playing games on her phone throughout. It was straightforward enough, with little dialogue, that you could easily 'follow' it while otherwise engaged, but I'm sure it's one of those films which are a lot less interesting and enjoyable if you don't immerse yourself and give yourself fully to it and its world. I've half-watched plenty films in my time, I'm sure; I try not to give her too much of a hard time about it too often.

I've seen some good 'alone or almost alone in space' films in recent years. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were very good, and it was impressively done, including the effects.

morris folk club - september

I was at Morris Folk Club on Tuesday. I sang In The Sidings (Cyril Tawney) and Patrick (The Humblebums - one of the Gerry Rafferty songs rather than a Billy Connolly one, about the artist (and subsequently writer) John Byrne), which both went fine. The latter was one of the shrinking list of songs I have done at Sharp's but not Morris (not many left now; the former was sung at Morris's train concert by one of the small groups, but not the one I was in. Full setlist here.

morris folk club - july

On Tuesday 25th July Bethan and I went to Morris Folk Club (Maisie being in Lewis). I sang Whole Wide World (the Wreckless Eric song) and Wild Mountain Thyme (more or less The Corries version, naturally; a gentler version than the sometimes too-much singalong it can inappropriately turn into).

Mandy from choir, who had been unwell for some time, had died at the weekend, so she was much in our thoughts, and a number of the songs we sang we had her in mind. At the end Michelle sang a beautiful version of Your Long Journey. Full setlist here.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

ff bruce on romans 6:15

FF Bruce on Romans 6:15 (from my old (1963 edition) IVP Tyndale commentary):

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

42nd street

On Monday 31st July Bethan and I went to see 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. We enjoyed it a lot. If there is a finer sight and sound on stage than massed tap dancing, I don't know what it is.