Thursday, 31 July 2008

Prince Is In The House

There is a new blogger on the scene. Check him out.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Everybody’s Free To Change Their Mind

To know me is to know that I violently hate hip hop and all its relatives.

While playing pool with m’great mate Murali the other day, I heard the same song three times. I was appalled. The high pitched chipmunk singing struck me as absurd, and I assumed that the artist – who it turns out is called DJ Ironik – had butchered what sounded like a pretty song.

But the tune stuck in my head, and I revisited it. I have performed a u-turn.

From what I can tell, this is an original piece, so DJ Ironik is entitled to present it however he wants. I think I prefer the non-chipmunked version though, which can be found here.

I’m a sucker for memorable lyrics. I adore the line ‘the angels can wait for a moment’. It speaks of a quiet, dignified desperation in the face of the impending death of a loved one.

It may even be my favourite song of the moment. I cannot stress enough how much this is a turn-up for the books.

UPDATE: Looks like that lyric comes from a Westlife song originally.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Bof

I currently lack inspiration. This is tiresome.

Monday, 21 July 2008

These Are Krazy, Krazy, Krazy, Krazy Nights

Check out Krazy Horses, which I have added to my links on the right.
It is being run by my friend and collaborator Nick Hodder, and is an Edinburgh stand-up show.
At £0.00 for entry, it is cheap at twice the price. And indeed four hundred times the price. And even one million times the price.

Sundays Supplement

This podcast is fun. It’s called Sundays Supplement (no apostrophe) and is cast by my friends Iszi Lawrence and Simon Dunn.
You will notice that Iszi is incapable of admitting defeat.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Walking The Walk By Talking The Talk

I had a nice realisation on the bus back from a gig (which went well) last night: I am a stand-up comedian.
There's a long way to go. But when the idea first came to me, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it at all. I am doing it. That means something.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Getting Back Into Polly Ticks

Herewith a brief observation about today’s by-election in Haltemprice & Howden.

It is possible that David Davis will not serve in a David Cameron Cabinet. His resignation didn’t please the leadership, and was certainly high risk in terms of his career. But it also possible that David Davis will get a Cabinet job, and indeed that he will become Home Secretary.

Here’s a scenario. By being seen to stand down on a point of principle, Davis has been bolstered among the Conservative Party membership. He has also won the admiration of some fairly unlikely people, such as the civil liberties lobby. And he has become more famous – fame being at a premium for the largely unknown Shadow Cabinet.

If all of the above is accurate, then David Cameron may well conclude that he can’t afford to leave the even-more-powerful-than-before Davis out of his Cabinet, and Davis may have seriously boosted his chances of becoming leader if the opportunity arises (and you never know when that might happen).

And my final thought is that I don’t believe for a second that none of this has occurred to David Davis, one of the most nakedly ambitious politicians I have ever encountered.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Happy Birthday Becca!

Have a world class one. I'm mighty glad you're here.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

God And That

I find all this somewhat fascinating.

To paraphrase someone, one reason I find debates on religion interesting is because the stakes are so low. I find it hard to get worked up about what practices consenting adults choose to indulge in, and would be the first on the frontline if individual liberty to express honestly held beliefs - even prejudices - was to be eroded much further.

By contrast I get so worked up by political disagreements that I sometimes opt to avoid them.

And yet this does matter, and it is political. The Church of England has a unique relationship with the state and as such it does – to a hard to define extent – both shape and reflect wider societal norms. And only a fool would assert that sides are being picked purely on the basis of textual analysis. Clergy are not immune to gut instinct, peer pressure, the changing zeitgeist or prejudice.

Which is not to say that all opponents of female bishops are bigoted, or even necessarily uniformly conservative or traditionalist. It would be fantastically arrogant to dismiss them as that.

Moreover, Mischievous Tom derives some satisfaction from seeing people resolutely refuse to back down from sincerely held views in order to fall in line with modern norms. The comedian Harry Enfield went up in my estimation when I read that he was opposed to the ordination of female priests. (I don’t know for sure if the assertion was accurate.) It’s not that I agreed with him – it just struck me as admirably contrary.

(My admiration for Enfield fell correspondingly when he asked Terry Wogan, who had just said we pay too much tax in this country, ‘Don’t you want hospitals?’)

I’m not a Christian, and I’m not a theologian. So I think it behoves me to show some reticence in criticising clergy for their interpretation of Christian doctrine. However, I have no hesitation in making a broader statement about the merits of a) homosexuals and b) women.

On principle, I am in favour of both! It seems to me perfectly clear that gay and lesbian people can form loving and enduring sexual relationships and that the physical expression of such tendencies is not inherently harmful or coercive. That for me is the only test that matters – not whether it makes evolutionary sense. Nor, to be honest, whether the Bible does or does not indicate approval.

It is equally clear to me that females are not inherently inferior to males. Physical strength is not a character trait. And I don’t think you need to be a theologian to conclude confidently that the idea that men are invariably or inevitably better able than women to interpret the bible, or provide pastoral care, or give a cracking sermon is bunk.

I would defend the Church’s right to conclude that it wants to persist with such bunk, but only tentatively. I think we all have a right to express an opinion, and the dial should perhaps be turned a little higher because this is – despite erroneous claims to the contrary – our national religion.

Recent events have made me all the more inclined to say that we should accuse people of prejudice only very sparingly and with care. But I do think that the Church’s hostility to homosexuals and women is founded at least in part – and probably in the main – on prejudice. And hostility it is too. ‘Hate the sinner not the sin’ doesn’t cut it when you are sticking two fingers up to rational thought and treating some people as second class.

But there I go betraying my own prejudices. I can see that Rowan Williams is in a bind. I suspect he also feels the same way that I do. When the Church can be and is a force for good, when London is rife with knife crime and young men are crying out for someone to show them some tough love (even if they are crying subconsciously), it seems a huge shame that it is spending such a great deal of time talking about gays and girls.

And I also think it is a shame that many homosexuals and women are left wondering how warm a welcome they can expect from a Church in which they would dearly love to play a part.

Gotta Keep Faith That Your Luck May Change Tomorrow

Tomorrow I make a play at extracting myself from the old 9 – 5 lifestyle. Please pray, cross your fingers, think of me or do whatever else you (successfully) do for luck.

This is a real crossroads in my life. My natural caution seems to be getting the better of me at the moment. That's a shame, and somewhat sinful, as not everyone knows what they want to do with their life.

Or do they? I sometimes think that we all know, and it's just a question of honestly admitting it to oneself. But maybe that's not true.

Affected as so many of us are for a few days by Wimbledon, I want to pick up a racquet. God knows it's more interesting than hitting a treadmill. Anyone for a game? I only own a squash racquet at the moment, but will gladly rectify that if there are a few takers. In fact one regular taker will do! Squash and tennis are both cool.

That's another reason that office life is so unappealing. Fitting in time to work the body is difficult.

But find time we must.

Another Ode To Individualism

This is a great rendition of a terrific song. And Mick Fleetwood (the drummer) pulls some hilarious faces during it.

More Tennis

One thing that Sunday's Wimbledon final helped highlight was that I can live without a Briton winning the title. Indeed it would have been a tragedy if Andy Murray (the tennis player, not THE Andy Murray) had somehow beaten Nadal in the Quarter Finals.
I don't feel any greater degree of separation from Federer or Nadal because they aren't British. I have seen enough of each to decide confidently that they are great men. And they are sensational players.
Nor does it make any sense to be expected to warm to or root for a player just because they are a Brit. I haven't quite made up my mind about Murray, but there are several players I'd rather see than him.
Less easy to defend is my almost total disinterest in the ladies' game. I can't say I'm proud of it, but it's a fact.

Monday, 7 July 2008

I Was Right

I told you it would be a classic.

‘[Nadal] flew to Germany in person to apologise to tournament organisers.’

He is such a classy guy. So is Federer. It really doesn't make sense to describe either man as a loser.

And I guess having correctly called the match a classic in the waiting, I am a winner too. Really you can't separate the three of us. We each played a blinder.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Sunday

So I have a little bit of time on my hands and, for once, a little bit of money saved up to be able to enjoy it. How to spend the time?

Firstly, I need to get back into blogging. ’nuff said.

I also need to become healthier. Six months on Boris Johnson’s campaign for Mayor of London, and another couple on his transition team (WE WON, WE WON, WE WON!) wasn’t exactly conducive to this. Then I had to contend with Tiscali comprehensively failing to provide a Broadband service, meaning I had to work in town, and couldn’t eat at home.

No such excuses now – it’s time to learn to cook and to fit in exercise as a top priority. A friend passed on the best advice I’ve ever heard from a personal trainer. She said that she doesn’t really have time to exercise, and the trainer said that no-one has time. You just have to be ruthless about it, and make time.

And, obviously, I need to find some gigs. As I’ve basically decided to pursue a freelance career (unless I can find a very accommodating employer in a salaried job) waiting until I know what I’m doing job-wise is going to be mistake. As with the exercise, I HAVE to make time for the comedy, so I shall get on the phone and book me some gigs.

This afternoon promises to be highly exciting. Roger Federer defends his Wimbledon title – indeed goes for an unprecedented-in-the-modern-age sixth straight win – against Rafa Nadal. The relative merits of both players are well documented. Suffice to say that this match WILL be a classic. Even a straight sets win will be far from dull, as in order to effect that, the winner will have had to play tennis that is out of this world. If it goes to four or five, it’s going to be nail biting.

I really like both men, so will be happy regardless, but I suppose I am keen to see Rafa win today. It’s not so much that dominance is boring, more that I’d love to see him take a title at Wimbledon. Moreover Federer will likely win there again even if he loses today.

More after the match.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

There IS Only One Way Of Life ...

... and it is indeed your own.

Listen to this. My God it’ll get you going, and I really admire the sentiments expressed in it.

The story is going well.

New Life

So my latest fling in politics (which was a blast) has come to an end, and it's time to start something new.
I'm not sure what it's going to be, but it will be:
a) something I really want to do;
b) creative;
c) fun!
And I'm going to get back to blogging, Baby.
But tonight I am going to start writing a story.
Speak soon, grapple fans.
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