Some readers will know that my current obsessions are conspiracies and suspicions. One of these days, these may coalesce into something substantial. But that feels a long way off at the moment. Ho hum. But for now, if you want some brilliant ripostes to those who suck up every conspiracy theory going, then my suggestions are twofold:
- Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest David Aaronovitch’s superb Voodoo Histories, reviewed here some months back.
- Watch, chuckle and take very seriously indeed these little gems from the wondrous archive of Mitchell & Webb.
They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. 3 entertainment heroes: Morecambe, Borge & Dawson, all passed on, but all wonderful in their different ways. And they had impeccable timing, comedic and musical.
Enjoy. Read more
This is a serious bit of randomness (or should that be randomity?) from my son (Bananamationman) and his best chum Tyler (Tee_Po).
They were at a loose end a couple of weekends ago and so crafted this raster superb and searing satire on the self-help industry. I’d even go so far as to say it was prophetic, actually. Almost pythonesque, in fact.
Watch, and be inspired. Read more
Half term was not idly spent by Joshua and my nephew Hudson (despite consistently dismal weather). Over the week, the fused their considerable talents to produce this short, which is little short of a masterpiece (IHMO). Read more
Which is a title sufficiently conceited to put anyone off reading this post. But let’s face it – it’s a not uncommon attitude. It lies at the heart of individualism, that pervasiveness western sickness that lies at the root of so many of our ills. It was the title I had in our current series, Great Lies of Our Time (I’m assured that the talks were not allotted because of some particular problem that needed addressing in each speaker – but who can say for sure?).
You can now download the talk here.
Well, the boy’s done good again. For most of the weekend, Joshua (aka Bananamationman) worked on a very ambitious white-board stopmotion narrating the story of the Creation from Genesis 1-2. It’s frustratingly brief – but then when you realise it took around 11 hours of drawing and photographing each move, you can understand! There are some lovely touches – my particular highlights are the waves, the fish and the bird.
Awesome. Beams of paternal pride pour forth!
I’m afraid I can’t really resist this – being a proud dad an’ all. But here are a couple of stop motion videos that my 13-year old Joshua made over half term. He’s experimenting with different methods, and so taking inspiration from all kinds of different things out there. Read more
Well, this is a lot of fun – done by my son and nephew. It’s amazing what you can do with a camera and some poker chips when you put your mind to it. Enjoy
and that concludes Q’s service for this academic year. Off for a couple of weeks – may be the odd photo posted. But normal service will resume in September.
In the light of recent events, it seems only appropriate to bring this back to the forefront of public attention. You’ve seen the trailer for Hackgate The Movie – now read Hackgate The Poem. Written by Humbert Wolfe in the 1920s, it shows that little has changed over the last century or so… Read more
A few years ago, I was staying with my wonderful godparents, Jim & Sallie, at their home in Philadelphia. We had a spare mo, one afternoon, and they took me to see the phenomenon that is the Wanamaker organ in what is now Macy’s. It is the largest pipe organ in the world and is wonderfully absurd. It is played twice a day, presumably as a not-so-subtle incentive to bring shoppers in and to lull them into false senses of secure profligacy.
Well, Jim emailed this link – filmed just over a week ago. Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah sung in the middle of the cosmetics department by a whole host of Philly choirs and organised by the Philadelphia Opera Company. What joy! It gave me goosebumps the first time I watched. I just love the sheer incongruity of it all. It was Halloween weekend, and so you have makeup artists wearing little devils’ horns wandering around the store while people sing this:
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Turn up the volume!! The sound quality is pretty good.
I’m not normally in the habit of contributing to advertisers viral campaigns – in fact that goes completely against my grain. But I just love this ad for the world cup run up. Captures so many things that I love about Africa:
As promised a few posts ago, here are the 2 other videos brilliantly produced by Simon Green for our Celebrity Culture sunday. Both are vox pops.
1st asks the simple question, WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY?
2nd asks IS JESUS A CELEBRITY?
Some FASCINATING answers! Jesus would be, like, MASSIVE!
Thanks guys for doing all this.
I post this satirical blast for a number of reasons.
- it makes me cringe – because it could so easily have been made by a Christian in earnest… (in fact, there were awful moments when I really thought that it had been – I wouldn’t put it past someone out there…)
- it illustrates what many people assume – and shows the absurdity of many of the assumptions made by Christians about those who themselves make assumptions
- it is clever and well produced – but so full of logical leaps and flaws that it sent my brain into worldview overdrive.
Watch and learn!
One of the admin team actually had a spare red carpet up his sleeve (thanks, Dave) – and so this was put to good use and then wheeled out this Sunday for the latest in our Christians facing Issues series. Here is a paparazzo pic of the fab Dimity, (one of the team who slaved away to get things ready), getting into the celeb mood…
Because this time, the topic of concern was Celebrity Culture. Planned months ago, it couldn’t have been held at more appropriate time, coming at the end of the week in which Michael Jackson’s funeral took place. Regardless of how aware or consciously influenced by celebrity culture we are, it is a fact that the world of celebrities is part of the very oxygen we breathe. So there were many things today that got people thinking…
And being the BBC’s next door neighbour means that we see celebrities walking past our front door on an almost daily basis, putting us in a peculiarly good place for addressing it.
Tim & the gang came up with a brilliant and thought-provoking time:
- 3 short in-house videos on the subject
- conversations with people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to this subject
- 3 Bible passages (1 Samuel 18:6-9, James 2:1-5 and Philippians 2:5-11) with 3 mini expositions from Hugh Palmer
- all surrounded by songs and prayers to tie in.
Colin Paterson is Entertainment Reporter for the BBC and a church member. His two worlds couldn’t be more divided – epitomised by last Tuesday, when he went from Leicester Sq covering the Harry Porter premiere, and then rushing to get to his All Souls fellowship group immediately after.
He made this fantastic short film about the history of celebrity – having had special access to film in the British Museum (and so name-checking everyone from Rameses II, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra to the stars of today)…
There were two other films – vox pops from ASLP and Oxford St – will put those up when they become available.
Now HOW did he do that??!!
And while we’re on the subject, here is an old spoof of Copperfield’s act – hilarious. My favourite is the car park barrier…
I’ve joined up to (RED)Wire – Bono & Co’s weekly music ‘magazine’ which gives you great music in aid of HIV/AIDS work in Africa – and I THOROUGHLY recommend that you do too. Fantastic stuff.
In the 2nd edition (the one which included U2’s I Believe In Father Christmas), is found this brilliant short. That hugely compelling Beninois actor Djimon Hounsou reads excerpts from a brilliantly satirical article written by a Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, for Granta Magazine. The background music is provided by another Kenyan Ayub Ogada, whom I’ve loved for ages. Some of his stuff was used for the film The Constant Gardener.
All in all a powerful combination. So here it is:
Now read the original essay at Granta. It’s biting satire at its very best. Clichés are bad enough in literature – but when they simply re-enforce patronising stereotypes, they are dangerous. I find this acutely challenging and am all too conscious of falling foul of not a few clichés that he exposes.
- For some reason, long-lasting celebrities get referred to as national treasures; well Dale Ralph Davis is a kingdom treasure – not because he is a celebrity in any grim sense of the word, but because he brilliantly communicates the Old Testament in his preaching. Here is the transcript of a fantastic recent lecture, which answers the question ‘Why is the Old Testament shut out of the church?‘ (HT Paul Carter).
- This lecture seems to be the first in an annual series held at RTS, called The John Reed Miller Lectures. Previous series are on iTunes U and can be subscribed to by clicking the link (previous speakers include Mark Dever and Sinclair Ferguson). So hopefully Ralph Davis’ will be there soon.
- Jonathan Dodson on ReSurgence validly observes that too many Christian songs are worse than soppy love songs not worthy of God’s love.
- 10 reasons why one pastor doesn’t like most Christians. The tone’s a bit harsh, but there’s something in much of it.
- Amazing new resource: ALL of Jonathan Edwards writings searchable online.
- Romeo Dallaire commanded the UN peacekeepers in Rwanda in 1994 – his is a truly chilling story. (HT to David Kim)
- I’ve really got into the design site Visual Culture – it consistently has fascinating stuff on it. Check out these provocative ads from a French NGO called Stop the Cycle of Pain. Compelling and powerful.
- Bankers are bonkers – official. Here is the evidence. A care worker wanted to increase her £200 overdraft by £50 to give her some spending money for Christmas, and ended up with an overdraft of £84,480,090, while being charged only £5 a month! No wonder there’s a credit crunch.
- Old news now, but in case you missed it, see the British Prime Minister claim to have saved the world.
- This is a work of genius – it shows that BOTH candidates for the US presidency were nothing if not consistent during the debates:
- Tag Gallery is a very cool way of searching for images and photos.
- The Godfather Photo Album – here are a few excerpts. The 1st looks gruseome until you see how they did it in the 2nd!
- It is human nature that we are never satisfied:
All preachers need role models to learn from…
Look and learn. Note the following:
- the confidence to ‘own’ the whole of the stage by walking its length
- the ability to engage with all corners of the audience
- the ability to sustain interest throughout the message
- the ability to give the audience what they want
- the ability to vary the intensity and volume of what’s being said
- the ability to give the audience what they want, without actually saying anything of substance at all
I can’t imagine where this young prodigy learned his craft…
Oh and by the way – i’ve just noticed that this is my 300th post. So that’s nice…