Thursday, March 30, 2006

why I love the Messiah

I've been singing Handel's Messiah for months (since mid-January to be precise) but without really paying much attention to what I was singing. At the first rehearsal with the soloists it hit me just how amazing it is. It's the choice of texts, the way Handel sets scriptures from the Old Testament (Isaiah 53v3-6, Psalm 2), and makes it so clear that they're about Jesus. Part 2 starts with 'Behold the Lamb of God' and continues with the suffering of Christ, and ends in victory with the Hallelujah chorus (the bit everyone knows, and deservedly so.) Part 3 looks forward to the second coming, beginning with 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' and ends with 'Worthy is the Lamb', one of the songs of praise in Revelation.

Basically the words are amazing, the music's sublime and it's a generally fabulous piece to sing or listen to. Probably more fun to sing. And this isn't the fabulously eloquent post I wanted to write about it, but I said I was going to write one, so here it is.

Monday, March 27, 2006

arr, pirates!

Ooh, seeing this on Thinklings reminded me that church yesterday was taken over by pirates.

aka the leaders of the new 'Kidz Klub' (ack, can't stand deliberate bad spelling, but if said 'kidz' like it, so be it). Anyway, they took over the service and we played silly games and sang songs and Debs and I had fun doing all the actions and giggling all the way through. The idea was to give the church a taster of what's going to be happening on Saturday mornings once a month in a new outreach to the area around City Church.


another newbie

Yet another Jubilee church blogger - David Anthony's blog. Dave's an intelligent guy (and a fellow Oxonian) so I'm sure he'll have plenty of interesting things to say.

almost cut my hair

Well, I didn't cut it myself, but I had it cut. Not that you can tell. It's just the same, but shorter. Debs wondered why I bothered. I tried to take a picture, but all I managed were pictures that showed a) the dirtiness of the bathroom mirror and b) the mingingness of the not-a-cold-sore thing on my lip, so I gave up.

After singing Handel on four out of the last six evenings, I still have bits of the Messiah buzzing around my head. This is mostly lovely, except when you're trying to go to sleep and get a fugue-like bit (most often And with His stripes, or worse, He trusted in God) stuck in your head and it goes round and round unrelentingly for hours.

Ah, yes, I was going to rave about how great the Messiah is, wasn't I? I'm a bit too tired and feeling the effects of the missing hour (oh, has anyone read Mason and Dixon , no? Oh well, I'll spare you the riff on what got lost in the missing hour, like the horse and dogs that didn't make it, or maybe did and went the long way round, I really can't remember. It's a very long and odd novel and that's one of the more coherent bits. There's some really odd stuff about giant plants and things that I just gave up on. Either I lost the plot about halfway through, or Pynchon did.) and as you can tell, not really in a fit state to write sensibly. But it is great, and the music is sublime, even the bass arias. Although I wish there was another really good bit like the Hallelujah chorus at the end.

I'll stop now.

Or not. There's a novel by Stevie Smith which I love, called Novel on Yellow Paper. I wanted to quote some lines from it, about going on and on, but don't worry, there's a 10,000 word limit (something like that), but Google won't give me the quote I want. So I'll give you this one instead. Perhaps an apt quotation for all bloggers.

"For this book is the talking voice that runs on, and the thoughts come, the way I said, and the people come too, and come and go, to illustrate the thoughts, to point the moral, to adorn the tale."


Friday, March 24, 2006

A14 sunset

A14 sunset 2, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

It's been a long week. Today I've been to Milton Keynes and back for a meeting. Tonight and tomorrow night I'm singing in the Messiah and I really want to write something about the amazingness of Handel, but I'm too tired. I'm going to go home and have a shower and get ready to sing, so I'll leave you with this beautiful sunset.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

postcards home

New addition to my blogroll, I miss my cat, by Jo from my old London church. Go and read her amazing story of how she ended up in Thailand.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

new Jasper Fforde in July

10th July to be precise. Details and cover design here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

tabula rasa

station wall, originally uploaded by the pig wot flies.

Monday morning rolls round again. A new week, a blank slate, to fill with plans and activity and business. Except, like this wall, it's never totally blank. There are routines, grooves to slip into, things that must be done. Some good, the structures that keep you safe and on time. Some bad, the bad habits you can't shake.

Looking at this picture reminds me of a metaphor for sin, the memory of which puts me back in the school playground. I think it was a powerful idea in my head when I was younger. Our conscience, our soul is a white sheet. Sin stains it black and grey and muddy. So matter how much we try, we can't wash it away. Jesus comes and takes away our stained sinful sheet and gives us his spotless white covering.

I'm not sure it stands up to detailed theological analysis, (What is the sheet like to begin with? It can't be spotless. What happens to the thrown away sheets?) but something abut the metaphor obviously gripped my primary school-aged mind. I think it's the idea of a new start, washing away the past and being given a new righteousness from God.

So what does that mean for my patterns, habits and grooves? Do they get renewed too?

Well, yes. But how? Still working on that one.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I thought this week would never end

But it's nearly the weekend.

Notable events of this week:

A giant Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff-esque) in front of the car show room I pass on my way home. Now replaced by an equally large and angry looking Octopus on the roof.

Looking out of the window to find my nextdoor neighbour's washing line was full of stuffed animals, pegged up to dry.

I videoed Tuesday's lunchtime seminar all by myself. I haven't watched it all yet, but so far it looks OK.

Snow on Tuesday. It didn't settle, but it looked quite impressively blizzardy for a bit.

Yesterday I wore a wrapover dress over trousers which caused my two office mates to comment, independently, that I looked smart. Does this mean I'm not usually smart or just that it was an outfit they hadn't seen before?

Make-it-up-as-you-go-along curries are sometimes odd, but sometimes delicious. This week's, which was actually a half-remembered Jamie Oliver recipe with chopped tomatoes and cream of coconut, but without half the crucial ingredients, was towards the delicious end of the spectrum.

I still need a haircut. Does anyone know any good hairdressers in Cambridge?

Monday, March 13, 2006

head full of fuzz

As demonstrated by the fact that I managed to post this on pigwotknits by mistake.

That's how I feel today. Not sure why. Too much caffeine? One too many anxiety dreams? I haven't exactly been sleeping well.

Not much else to report.
I wake up, I go to work, I go home, I eat, I knit, I sleep.

Except it's just been the weekend. Which was different.

Sorry, nothing sparkling to say today. I'm feeling a bit flat.

I did manage to find and stay on the A14 yesterday, so that's an achievement. The secret seems to be to remember not to be put off by the twists and turns and weird bifurcations and forget what the map looks like and the fact that usually when I'm on this section of road I'm going to Melton Mowbray and just follow the signs. Why this doesn't work in the dark, I have no idea.

Can I go home now?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm really a very good driver

I am. Ask Debbie. Ask Duton or anyone else who's been in my car. I'm a good driver and I have a pretty good sense of direction, in the city. So why on my way home from Sainsbury's last night did I end up in the wilds of the Cambridgeshire countryside, not entirely sure where I was? Why, when trying to find a new venue for my cell group a few weeks ago, did I find myself in a field, miles from civilization, surrounded by travellers?

In the country, it's a different story.

The Cambridgeshire countryside is very pretty. Flat fields stretching off into the distance, long straight stretches of road raised a few feet above the level of the surrounding ground, beautiful views with lines of trees marching off into the distance.

None of this is of any use whatsoever in the dark.

The other crucial point about Cambridgeshire roads is their casual approach to signposting. You're looking for a village, let's call it Groundwater. You come to a cross roads with a pretty fingerpost pointing you towards Groundwater, Ely and Cambridge. "Oh good," you think, and poddle along in the direction of Groundwater. You come to the next crossroads. There are directions to Ely, Cambridge, Watertree and Soggy Oak, but no directions to Groundwater. "Oh well," you think, and decide Groundwater must be in the opposite directions to Watertree and you'll go that way. Next crossroads, no directions whatsoever. "Oh dear," you think, "Perhaps I should turn round." You drive along the long, straight dark road with a 3 foot drop on either side desperately hoping for a side road or gate in which to turn round. Suddenly, with no warning, you see a turning to Groundwater and you have to brake abruptly and swing round the corner, sending everything on the back seat flying onto the floor of the car.

Then there's the A14. Me and the A14 have a difficult relationship. It looks like a very useful road, running roughly East-West across the North side of Cambridge. There aren't many East-West roads on that side of Cambridge, so it should be very useful for getting to places. Er, no. The A14 is elusive. Despite the fact that I can get on it a mile and a half from my door, I inevitably lose it again. Unless I'm trying to get on the M11. Otherwise I end up heading to Bedford or Ely or Newmarket when I wanted to go somewhere else entirely.

Perhaps it knows. Perhaps it's a conspiracy of country roads to send me and my bug hurtling back to the city where we belong. Perhaps the signposters of Cambridgeshire want me to be lost.

Perhaps I just need to look at the map more often.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'm not dead

Just a bit busy.
Essay writing did beat knitting, so I didn't finish my Olympic cardigan.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was in London on a course on publicity and promotions which was very useful, if quite intense.

Today is a busy day at work since there's a big public lecture this evening, followed by a posh dinner and discussion. And I seem to need to be in about three places at once for most of the evening. I do get to eat yummy food though, so it's not all stressful.