Les Fils de Shamgar

Swinging the Ox Goad in Birmingham, Southgate, Chessington, Sevenoaks, Boston and Brighton.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Apple Store Birmingham

I just dropped the Old King off at work and the Unpainted is unconscious. What is a man to do?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More of the Pier

This is the final version. Colour will have to wait because it was just too involved.

Blooming Brighton Pier

A dear friend has commissioned one of the Palace Pier in Brighton. I said 'yeah sure, no problem' and gave a decent price. Then I started doing my research. Man. That pier is very very very complex. Aerial images are hard to get - they are also usually out of date. I did a lot of walking around (on) it and drawing a whole bunch of sections. Here is the pencil rough at A1 size (four attached A3 sheets). I am about to start inking it and will try to get a colour version done after seeing three of Les Fils in Birmingham.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I am sure you knew about this stuff but I thought it is worth posting it nonetheless. It has all sorts of consequences for all sorts of people. Once again we come back to the well worn evangelistic illustration 'if we could show a film of your private world on this screen..' only this time it is a real possibility, and in higher resolution.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

GCSE results day

My in-laws live here... In the madly data-driven world of modern secondary education this is what it is all about. Today is the day where it's going to come back to you. This is where it all ends. I am not free from anxiety or curiosity... I shall drive in for about 11am when heads of department are free to discover and then will discover the answers to several questions: 1. Did we get more than (the previously shocking) 30% A-C for the RE short course exam? Most of the kids don't wanna do it, they all have to do it, but will the efforts of the year result in anything decent? Answer: weird - there was a tremendous muck-up and the marks for an ENTIRE YEARGROUP were never converted into actual grades. 300 kids plus teachers plus me plus head all going 'we don't know what it means'. We wait and see on that one... 2. Did the first bunch of full course GCSE students get beyond the 60% national average? Answer: actually the average is 52%. We got 80... I put the noose away. 3. Am I a better/worse teacher due to better/worse results? Is my self esteem knocked or inflated due to the plans I have been putting in place? Answer: well obviously it's a bit of yes and no (we are never free from our surroundings unless you become some hardcore buddhist or something). I do feel both relieved and glad that there has been a difference. In fact: the big big story is that our school has been struggling to get beyond the early 40% marks and today we reached 52% - a jump of about 9%, which is the highest in our history. This is sweet news and we have been carrying the dead weight of it for several years. The final truth is that I thank God for it and pray He will use it to bring about gospel-friendly conditions where the ultimate meanings of life can be achieved. Thankyou Lord. 4. Did any teachers cry/hang themselves? Answer: no, err I don't think so. 5. AOB Answer: I met with Helen and Bob (those of you involved in my wedding 8 years ago may remember having some nice breakfast on their lawn back then on the day...) tonight and took home a frozen pheasant that Bob had shot and plucked himself. Oh baby.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Now that my Mac has settled down (after weeks of broadband/software gremlins I decided to reinstall the operating system and replace the crappy BT USB modem with a lovely little ethernet X-modem) I have finally got round to setting up a Flickr account. Here's a few snaps to feast your eyes upon boys - though this "feast" may look more like the cats left overs than a tasty banquet. I'm still waiting to see more photographic action from my fellow bloggers....get posting boys before I send Robert Duval round to threaten extreme violence.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I got sent this postcard the other day.

I'll make him an offer he can't refuse

So what's all the fuss about with the first two parts to this film trilogy? Yes the third was a bit of a turkey in comparison but what makes these films true classics (in your opinion) rather than just good films? I liked the moody way they were filmed and there was some pretty funny/interesting bits of dialogue but at the end of the day they were just films about gangsters? Maybe I'm just not that into the gangster genre. One thing that bothered me was the ambiguity of the characters - it felt to me like I was being encouraged to like/root-for the Corleone family yet they were as guilty of any of the gangs of horrible criminal acts. I didn't like the fact that it seemed to revel in and justify the violence of these "cool" characters who strutted about making speeches about honour and loyalty. When the bloke woke up to find his prize Stallion's severed head in his bed I didn't know whether to laugh (it was pretty funny) or be disturbed (it was pretty disturbing). Ironically the only point at which I felt true pity for any of them was at the end of the third film when Pacino's daughter (the one that apparently Tata fancies) was shot dead in an attempt on his life - a crushing repercussion for the life he chose.

Sunday, August 20, 2006



Saturday, August 19, 2006

Web graphing

This one has been doing the rounds in the last few days: you put in a website address and it spits out a graph of the page hierarchy. The top one is this site, the bottom one is saamvisual.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A welcome upgrade coming...

This is good news. ps How are your summer weeks going?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Narrow Road

This one is based on a personally frustrating experience this week involving a so-called 'impartial' professional person. I have kept it vague to keep the wide appeal. PS Usually I put these up for corrective comments, but unfortunately the deadline (today) is too tight to invite it...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I have the blood of a Royal Marine

The picture is H.M.S.Warrior the ship my great great grandfather served on as a Royal Marine. My old man just emailed it to me and I feel strangely proud of my long lost ancestor. Having said that he may have been more like the bloke with false eye balls in the Pirates of the Caribbean rather than some nautical hero! Do any of you guys have interesting family trees? Anyone know what their great great grandfather was like? p.s. on a bizarrely related subject (related to the title of this post at least) I got my blood donor card through the post today having donated my first pint a few weeks ago. My blood group is O rhesus positive which is good apparently because anyone who is rhesus positive can use it - which is 83% of the population! I can almost feel my pride inflating as I type. Joking aside, it was very easy to do and something I wondered about doing for a long time but never got round to it. If you're another waiverer then visit the site (www.blood.co.uk) and then decide. Apparently only 5% of people who could give blood do so. Something you may not know - before you can donate you have to complete a questionaire (see the web site) and some of the questions are pretty shocking - at least they were to me on a Wednesday morning while I sipped a cup of coffee at work!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Busyness and Christians

I am going to go out on a limb with this one before I have even finished reading and meditating on it. This book is exceptionally good, even if the £8 tag for a slim volume might make you squeal slightly. Please get it and read: it comes in busy-friendly chunks and has a brilliant approach to things:

I have been reading Tim Chesters book on Christians and Busyness. He wisely approaches the root(s) of busyness and chips away helpfully with (what feels like) scriptural integrity. I like his approach: continually emphasising the need to think about what/why we are doing rather than doing things more efficiently. I am struck by the need to let the furniture be arranged more carefully for the coming year. I want to be a man of God who is at rest and not clawing the whole time to make a name for myself. More later.
This is a quote by err.. me. I just wrote it before doing this post.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Before King gets the slapping he deserves...

So then, some images just in case anyone thought we were serious blog or something... Aah, rust. So symbolic of spiritual decay, yet so gorgeous on a 6 mega pixel image using the macro function. Carson. He of the megabrain status with a heart of gospel warmth that even a fledgling flicker of candlewick nervousness wouldst not be snuffed out, either. San Michel et Gigi. Myself and Unpainted from the days of university fridge milk stealing. Notice that San Michel (Unpainted) has already started to develop some hebrew lazy eye tendencies. Maybe he is just jealous of my obvious bikini line. A kindly portrait of MacArthur after we cussed him for being such a stiff-boy while King (now also known as 'coke' by Unpainted: 'we are using code names') started drooling over his latest tome:'Why Paul hated the paradigm of clapping in the first century eschatalogia' Precious Bane. He is certainly Precious.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Urban Evangelism

I really want to hear your thoughts, experience, wisdom on this mighty subject boys. As many of you will know, my local church is smack in the middle of a newly built housing estate. The properties have sold like hot cakes and we are now surrounded by a fairly white middle class community. An important issue facing us is how do we reach these people with the good news of God's grace? I have done my fair share of door to door in the past and must admit I'm not convinced how useful or effective it is to reach people in our culture today. A lot of damage has been done by the cults (not to mention pushy salesmen and political canvasers) so the question remains - how do we reach these people? I've read books like "Ashamed of the gospel" by John MacArthur which is a call to reject a worldy-wise pragmatism (as seen in some approaches pioneered in the States) and to rely on bold and clear preaching of the gospel as the power to save. That's all well and good but how will these people hear this preaching if they never darken the door of the church? As a reformation boy I do pray that God in his sovereignty will bring people in but surely the Lord also sends us out! Yes, but what does that mean to us as we meet in the middle of a Birmingham suburb? I don't think we are surrounded by obvious social needs (e.g. drug addiction, single parenthood, OAP's) so the Garston Bridge type of approach probably wont work (i.e. seeking to show loving care and support to folk in these difficult circumstances). I'm really putting my head on the block now but I'm also not convinced of trying to meet the leisure "needs" of the middle classes by facilitating sporting activities etc. (Old King braces himself for a barrage of attack from the offspring of Chessington). So the question remains - what are we to do to reach the urban masses? Cold calling on the doors? Preach boldly and pray they'll come in? Stand in the street and preach boldly hoping that they'll tear themselves away from their wide-screen plasma screens or pull over their MPV's to stop and listen? Run keep fit classes and hope they'll come in and want more than a bit of exercise? Do a survey to try and find out what social needs we may be able to help meet and hope this will open opportunities to point them to Christ? Put on alternative topical meetings in the church building using the latest media tools that aims to engage with people where they're at and move them on to thinking deeper about spiritual issues? Speak to me boys! Spill your evangelistic, mission-minded, church planting, gospel passionate guts in the comments or there will be a lonely Old King left to muse to himself and the cat.

Latest: The Frogs on the move

The Frogs are looking for a new pond of our own to move to. Not too far from Sevenoaks we hope. Please could you pray for us as we house hunt. Offer accepted! Praise God. Thanks. Tony