Silly Putty

Sibyl I mean Father Christmas gave me some in my stocking, I did have some when I was little but I don’t remember playing with it half as much as I am now, I find myself holding it all the time. So fun. This one is not like the traditional silly putty, it isn’t in an egg shaped container and it actually bounces. No container means no place to put it when I’ve finished playing with it. I’ve already ruined one coat pocket. Other uses are that it can make imprints. It’s also great to have in hand when you shake with someone. Good clean(ish) fun.

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Blewog’s Firey Diary – 20/12/2010 (Incredeebluh, Maths GCSEs & Sufjan)

So the Christmas holidays are finally upon us and I am sat in’t living room listening to the Glee cast sing the far superior version of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (don’t try and disagree!)

The snow is here too (not in the living room) I made the observation yesterday that if it was snowy all the time (like in Narnia) then we would be really excited to see green grass and flowers and leaves and all natureish stuff and that. So yeah, snow is awesome, it does look pretty when it rests on the branches of trees in that Christmas Cardian way, but I think the main fascination is novelty. Maybe we should make an effort to marvel in the things we see every day (like sunset, our hands, clouds, and the sea (only I can see that)).

I recieved The Incredibles on DVD from a highly generous couple, and I loved watching it again. I cite it as my favourite Pixar, partly just to be different to everyone else, but I genuinely do love it, the whole mood of the film is just stunning, so different to anything else I’ve seen. Brilliant!

Oh yeah, twas my birthday! I am now twenty one! Still sounds very young, which is a good thing I imagine. It was a great day, I was on the panel for a ‘Grill a Christian’ event at lunch time and in the evening we had our Welsh CU Carol service, the latter was a particular encouragement. Christmas is a great time to talk to people about Jesus, where they think their lives are going etc, and everyone loves to sing the odd carol (not odd carols though). After that we went to a place that offered Karaoke, I particularly enjoyed singing the Carpenters song ‘Close to You’ (Mam would be proud) and dueting on ‘Penny Lane’ with the Snufferjog.

My two favourite questions to ask people are these: ‘What did you get in your Maths GCSE?’ (if you’re a bit older it’s O-Levels, and believe it or not some people don’t do exams!) and ‘What do you have on top of your Christmas tree’ (in the same way, some people have nothing and some people find it too personal a question). But if you are to see me soon, I shall be asking you those questions! People’s answers are most commonly B and Angel or Star. My answer would be robin goch and C.

Leading on from one of those questions, I think how someone decorates their tree says a lot about what their like. For example, me and the Mrs’ tree is very colourful with mismatched decorations, and it isn’t very big. Alright I don’t know what that means, but you know what I mean… you don’t know what I mean, ah forget it.

Dad’s always been very good at preaching through the nativity, I became aware of this because more than any other passages in the Bible, when I read through the Christmas story I regularly get automatic exegesis from my Father replaying in my head (which is cool!) I also get a lot of his (mostly helpful) theories and corrections to common misconceptions for example:

  • Three kings – there probably weren’t three, and they weren’t kings.
  • Little donkey – Mary and Joseph probably couldn’t afford one.
  • The Stable – It doesn’t say anything about a stable, it might have been a cave, or a field.

You get the picture, some of this is helpful, but sometimes I have to hold my tongue in case I ruin Christmas. I won’t tell you what he told me about Santa.

I really love mince pies, and having been enjoying them solidly since December the first. Wife thinks I’m weird because I prefer shop bought ones to home made ones, which is not usually the case when it comes to cakes, but sorry it’s true Mr. Kipling rules this one.

I’m really getting into Sufjan Steven’s 2010 EP ‘All Delighted People’ at the moment. Very interesting stuff. Love it. It’s also led me to look into similar bands such as Soul-Junk and Danielson Famile, but they are a bit less accessible, nevertheless I have time.

This is the first year I haven’t had a chocolate Advent Calendar, my Mum sent us a picture one with lots of robin gochs on it, I bought Sibyl one with glitter and Father Christmas in a sleigh on it. But yeah, no chocolate – how crazy, what am I becoming? (A jackal?)

Listening to

(it’s based on Ezekiel 1!)

Virally Contracted

Thank you once again internet, for this.

Letter to a BBC Radio Chaplain

I sat with my wife in bed this morning, listening to your thought of the day slot on Radio 2 we waited eagerly for a rare chance to listen to a Christian share her faith. We are live in a time when Christians are being sidelined and it is so very rare to hear God’s name being mentioned on the BBC. I hear reports from broadcasters such as Jeremy Vine, Simon Mayo where they give details of instances where they have not felt able to speak out about their religious convictions, because their beliefs are being restricted.

You started by talking about the importance of touching, I was glad to hear you telling some moving stories and anecdotes all involving the significance of human contact. However I began to despair, considering the extremity of the small slot of time you are given on the radio, you still had not reached the point where you were able to point the listeners to Jesus. When eventually you did, I was bitterly disappointed to hear you skim over the entirety of our Lord Jesus’ ministry, by summing it up with the fact that it was merely good that Jesus touched people, concluding that we should be like that more often.

What does your maker think of you? What will he say when you meet him on the day of judgement? I do not doubt for a second that you have considered this question very carefully and are in a far more advantageous position than myself in terms of religion. But God sees the opportunities you’ve been given to broadcast to millions and the fact that you have squandered them with a bland, empty and intolerably hopeless message does not bode well for your eternal soul.

But there is hope yet! Jesus loves you still, as he loves me. I think back to countless occasions where God has given me the chance to share my faith with others, but I have shrunk in embarrassment or not said the right thing. I ask that you consider deeply and thoughtfully whether you really are born again (as Jesus commands us to be), ask yourself if you really are following the commands of the Bible, and whether you actually are teaching what God wants you to. I plead with you to repent from preaching sugar coated tributes to the beauty of humanity and instead to turn to the one who is able to cleanse from all wrongdoing, the one who sacrificed his own son and promised to rescue us a lost race, if we turn to him.

Poem: ‘The buzz has gone…’

 

The buzz has gone, he just can’t feel it anymore.
The buzz has gone, he just can’t feel it anymore.

Since August the first,
They’re displaying the curse,
Pleading “Empty your purse!”
For Christmas.
But the past couple of years

Just haven’t been the same,

And he can’t avoid it.

It’s calling his name,

It’s everywhere, it’s in the air.

People trying to make him feel

Warm.

But he’s not hot anymore, he’s cold.

In fact he’s freezing.

Ice on the pavement,
No central heating.
Blocked up noses,
Daylight is fleeting.
Where’s the excitement?
Why’s my heart not beating?
Why am I revolted,
By the thought of seeing…
Tinsel?

The buzz has gone, he just can’t feel it anymore.

His Mum doesn’t love him like all of yours do,
She sent him an advent Calendar, this year it’s blue.
You might think it’s nice,
It would make you feel happy,
But you don’t understand,
This present is really, really naff.
Instead of opening the door and getting some chocolate,
Every day he gets a Bible verse.
How depressing.

Ah, nostalgia’s not what it used to be.
He’s mislaid those rose tinted specs,
His memories exist on a USB disk,
But he left that in the library six months ago.

But he just wants to smile,
Like that little child,
The one in the advert for Disney.
But he’s not delighted,
The feeling’s unrequited,
Might be a little short sighted,
But he wishes to be invited,
And not to feel slighted,
Like the kid in the advert, who got up and shouted:
“I CAN’T SLEEP, I’M TOO EXCITED!”

But the buzz has gone, he just can’t feel it anymore.

So dash it all,

Cos that’s what adult life’s all about

(As soon as you hit the late teens).
All the things you once loved,
The fun and the games,
Turn ugly, sour and green.
Maybe it’s not that bad,
Kids don’t get to mate.
Like us grown ups do.
But it get s quite difficult to find your one true love,
When you’re completely off your face.

Don’t forget Mum,
She’s hasn’t a clue,
They keep texting,
Saying “Praying 4 U!”
“Mother, how is that helping?”

Fists clenched in rage.
“I know you like church,
But I’ve left home, I’m at Uni, I’ve got friends, and coursework, and rent to pay!
Why not send me money instead?”

Besides, all this religious good will,

None of it’s real.

Well that’s what his mates say anyway.
They proved to him that a virgin birth is scientifically unfeasible.

(You can show it in a lab!)

“So there Mum.”
As for angels, stars and silent nights, they’re just silly.
But instead of crying and lying and waiting for death,

He’s got a new plan which will give him new breath,
He’ll enjoy Christmas for the food, make sure he has fun, make sure he sees family,
This Christmas’ll be the one!

So roast your dignity on Nat’s open Fire!
Cos it’s beginning to look a lot like… nothing.
So let it snow, let it hail, let it rain.
Precipitation is no longer my concern.
As long as his stomach is full of food,
And his blood is pumping full of booze,
He’ll have a jolly good Christmas.

So he sits there, smiling, cos he’s in the know.

He’s waiting for Santa to come down the chimney
(So to speak).

But you guessed it,

The buzz has gone, he just can’t feel it anymore.

He sits there and screams,

He’s fuming this time:
“I hate it, I hate it!

I hate it, I do!

I wish I was five,
I wish I was five,
I wish I was little,
I wish I was five!”

Then strangest of all,

He gets on his knees,

And looking to heaven,

Says these words that you read:
“God if you love me,
Make me an infant!
Lord Jesus I want it,

You could do it in an instant.
All I want is the life of a child!
You know, a bit like Peter Pan,
Oh Lord make me fly,

Please make me soar,
To be like a boy but not like a man.”

“I don’t want to worry about my exams,
I don’t want to worry about being poor,
I don’t want to sit there and get unemployed,
And I want to stop feeling so, so annoyed.
Take away responsibility,
Take away all I owe,
Take away confrontation,
People I don’t want to know.”

Then he fell asleep.
The very next morning,

He opened a door,

A minature one,

On that festivial eye-sore.
And this here is what,

That young man has seen:

Mark Chapter ten specifically verse fifteen:
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter therein.”

Oh.

Phil Collins and Me

I found the album No Jacket Required by Phil Collins in Oxfam today, I’m enjoying it verily and it has prompted me to write a history of my short but varied relationship with the man’s music in my life.

I first heard him when my Mum got his Hits CD one birthday when I was about nine. Me and my brother Dylan used to love listening to the track True Colours (a Cindy Lauper cover I later found out) as well as the track One More Night. Our discovery came in the midst of my first mix tape making process, so I put those two tracks on it. I listened to them over and over and over on my tape Walkman. I remember it was a wintery Sunday night and I was sitting in my top bunk bed, I could not stop listening to the music. I went downstairs and told my mum that I didn’t feel well enough to go to evening church, but she saw straight through me, “You can’t miss church just to listen to Phil Collins you know!” Fair enough I suppose.

We had such a strong and emotive connection to this music! Dylan later told me — much to my amusement — that when he first heard the True Colours cover, he actually cried. I find that funny now, but it accurately captures the level of our commitment to this pop star at the time.

We later started to love more dancey tracks such as Easy lover and Sussudio during which we would play, get down and sing along to the music. We also enjoyed singing as well as singing Both Sides Of The Story in silly voices.

I eventually recorded the entire hits CD onto a tape so we could listen to it in the car, and my two complete and utter favourites by that point were Dance into the Light and Something Happened on the Way to Heaven.

I later came to enjoy Phil as he wrote some songs for the Tarzan film. But the viewing of the film became a rather emotional ordeal for me in itself, I think mostly because I went into it knowing it involved a baby losing his parents and I spent most of the film in a rather jittery place. You’ll be in My Heart got significant airplay on Radio 2, which eventually led me to ask Dad to download it for me — in MIDI format of course, what else? — our Yahama music programme would play it and I could sing the words.

We also got a demo of the Tarzan computer game free with a packet of Frosties, although it only included one level, we played that to death. I cruelly made Dylan watch me over my shoulder as I got to do the fun part and swing from vine to vine trying to find various letters of the word ‘Tarzan’ if I remember correctly. My best friend played it with us a couple of times, he would often come round to our house after school if he’d forgotten his keys and was locked out. He was very keen on the game and this obsession (I’ve never told him this) led us to give him the catch phrase “I want to play Taaarzan!” shouted in a Veruca Salt-esque way.

As the years wore on, I sought to widen my music experience and I found myself looking into some of the non Prog-Rock Genesis material. Of course I enjoyed the classic Invisible Touch as well as quite a few tracks from that album.

He was on Room 101 recently, and one of the things he put in was ‘Televangelists’ which pointed me to the song Jesus He Knows Me, a song which instinctively I would steer clear of in fear of blasphemy, but it’s sentiments are very interesting, an anti-hypocrisy, anti-greed and anti-selfishness track which has a lot to say to these men who claim to be true Christians and flaunt themselves on American TV claiming to heal and help, all the while raking in copious amounts of cash.

During my gap year I looked further into some of Phil’s stuff and found out that my Wife’s brother-in-law owned every singe Phil Collins album and was a massive fan. That was great to know.

I read that at the height of his career he considered suicide which is really sad. I guess it comes down to the fact that in terms of cool ratings, we all know that Phil will never be cool. But when you look at it, there’s no doubting his tracks are extremely pleasurable to listen to. News is that he’s now retired, I heard him being interviewed on the radio, and it was quite moving to hear him talking about how he wanted to spend more time with his kids etc. I’m sure that won’t be too long before he releases some proper pop for us to enjoy once more, until then it’s just me and my tapes.