Les Fils de Shamgar

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

The new Pond/Pad

The Frog's new place looks a little like this:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Good films to use in outreach?

I have just got home from a seemingly fruitful session at our church in a pub meeting. We used Memento to point out two important secular-age truths:

  1. We are stuck in a situation of manipulation and frustration where we search for our own meaning and mini-narrative. We even change identities to cope with it.
  2. Finally we are guilty of creating our own lies and then absorbing them as truth to make life livable.
It ended with the 1 Peter text about being redeemed from the empty way of life. I think it was a solid time - feedback has been very good and friends were invited (which is always a positive sign). Anyways, next month we are doing another, so I thought I'd put out the feelers for suggested film texts to use. I know it's a bit of a mindfield because it depends on who you are showing it to etc etc, but any thoughts are well worth considering. I had thought of Level 42 live in concert in 1989, but didn't think it would be that useful. Also: the films don't have to be fiction.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Firefox 2, Skype 2

This one is mainly for King, but others may find useful. Firefox 2 is now out and if you haven't used it then please consider because it has so many more features and usability than Safari or IE. King spent some cash on getting himself Skype-able and I haven't really done much about it... (sorry bruv...). Anyways - yesterday I got the latest download and got my minDV camera working with a mate! The lastest is pretty good and well worth it - esp King.

Level 42, Brighton Centre

Many thanks to my lovely wife for this one. I went to see one of my favourite bands ever last night. Yes, I know that there are lots of sad details to this story:

  • I have only been to two gigs - level 42 in 1987 and level 42 in 2006
  • when I went before I was 17, had a thin leather tie, a flat top and took binoculars
It was a weird experience from several perspectives. Much of who I was as a growing teenager was based on what I could get from this band. Obviously, becoming a christian at 18 challenged the way I idolised the bass guitar and particularly slapping it like I was a fish monger or something. The funny thing is that they continued with me in a weird sort of way and it was such a pleasure to hear them play such a tight set. Each of the musicians feels as if they are at the top of their game. Purely on a professional basis they were amazing, but there was more. The older songs were sure crowd-pleasers. 'Hotwater' never gets old (so take that, Unpainted) At one point they played 'Starchild' which was literally one of the first things they ever did. At this point the seated rules of the Brighton Centre were ignored and people crowded down the front. For me, the very best of the gig was the newer stuff from Retroglide. I feel like they have produced a work real quality with stimulating original lyrics and music. The other thing is that they have matured in way that is hard to explain. I think that after the Worldmachine album they were a bit spent - producing hits like Lessons in Love was good for the bank but I mainly tolerate that stuff. The split was probably a good thing, and now they have returned after a few years of trying different things. Having Mike Lindup in the band is such a good thing. I hope that he sticks with it because there is a good balance between him and Mark King. The other band members are superb. Nathan King (who I think is Marks brother..?) is a tremendous guitarist and feels better for live stuff than Boon Gould did in 1987... but then, I did wear a leather tie and take binoculars, so who am I to speak. Gary Husband (drummer) is awesome and has now earned himself a concrete position in the band. If Boon Gould got a bad word in the last few comments, he should take heart. His lyrics on the new album are tremendous. Now stop crying, someone loves you. Final words: there is this peculiar fantasy we all have about meeting our childhood heroes, or at least interacting with them (yes? don't leave me cold here man...). Well here are my connections to date -
  • I met Mike Lindup at the Tiffin School fair around 1989 as he was watching a Brazillian Samba band that a friend of his was in
  • My old mate from school Mike ended up in a great funk outfit playing slap bass and he jammed on stage with Boon Gould
  • Last night when Mark King announced 'track no.2 forom the new album' and everyone went quiet for it's starting notes, I shouted loudly 'Very good!' and made him laugh. This is a big deal for me...
Clearly, this posting has no space for anyone to comment (unless of course you have the same tendencies, which most of you do not), so if it stays blank for ages I won't feel too worried about it. Thanks Mrs Tata for the tickets.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Half Term Happiness

The last few weeks have bitten one giant mortal chunk out of my ass (is that bad to say? hey man, it's true). One thing that often happens at such times is a tendency to lean a little on good music for a bit of support especially when I am marking thousands of books for ridiculous deadlines and foregoing basic important bodily functions like sleep, toilet, food etc. These albums have become very real and happy experiences to me and I heartily recommend them to anyone who has had my life experiences, upbringing and general cultural baggage. 1. The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Giant Pink Robot At War with the Mystics Two albums that have something of the spirit of the old genesis albums in a new body in a new time. A weird sort of punk edge permeates but there is a philosophical foundation to grip onto also. You can pick up CDs so cheap now it is worth buying the album and listening whole. They are kind of innocent, pantheistic, energetic and positive in a bizarre way. 2. Level 42 - Retroglide This is their new album! I got it because it was my birthday and also because I am going to see them on tuesday in Brighton. I have been listening to it a lot and for any old L42 fans this is a great piece of work. Even Mrs Tata likes it. The lyrics are intriguing and fresh. After about 30 listens (yes, I know) I am still really enjoying it. 3. Ratchet and Clank This is a PS2 series of games that are making me also very happy at the moment. Great great great great. I just picked up the third one for a tiny amount of cash and it is such a great experience. And now - the rest that is: Half Term.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Frogs have a new pond

We exchanged today - complete on Friday. Hurrah!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sclah Films: 'Idol'

It's a 60 meg download, but well worth every second/byte.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cuteoverload links

This made me laugh out loud. So did this.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Secular Sunday School Final

If you have any corrective suggestions I shall implement them before emailing on Tuesday evening. Any positive feedback is useful as well.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sick Secular Sunday School

Any responses welcomed. Still thinking about a text.