Saturday, September 30, 2006

In Between Days

Today Sarah, Mike, Alex, Caragh and Mari all moved out. So for the next day I am in between housemates. It's going to be very strange not having the little people in my house (well, it's actually their house) any more.

It feels very empty right now. I'll have to take solace in that I am booking tickets next week to see them in Nepal.

I'm also enjoying Michael Franti and Spearhead, who played at Greenbelt (but whom I missed, and of whom Muzz said was excellent, and possibly the best concert he'd been to). I've been able to download a track from Yell Fire! from here, and I've ordered both the CD and DVD, the story of his visit to Baghdad, which you can preview here, from a large music chain.

Seeing as he's playing at She' Bu in December I might have to go.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blessed are the leg breakers

As Jim pointed out to me on Thursday, the Traditional Values Coalition (the largest non-denominational lobby group in the US - they represent 43,000 churches) have asked the US Senate to support the White House's call to redefine 'bodily injury' as outlined by the Geneva Convention. Essentially this will allow torture to be used to obtain information.

If I may quote from their website, where they define traditional values:

Love And Hate: The Bible teaches us that we are to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. We believe it is a loving response to oppose behaviors that destroy individuals and families. It is not loving to allow someone to kill themselves or other individuals.

Now, how exactly does that equate with calling for the use of torture?

If you read Matthew 4:12 through to the end of Matthew 7 you'll find that Jesus doesn't preach the politics of war, hate or torture.

As Jim asked them in an email last week, 'who would Jesus torture'?

The church's position in this world should be to preach the politics of peace, and the TVC position on torture is morally reprehensible.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Trinity

(Hi Lorna, don't be shy.)

Bloggers: people who would have liked to been journalists for the Guardian but simply weren't good enough. Lorna, or was it Lizzy, at the Lamb and Flag last night.

Over the past few years I've seen some rubbish movies and read some rubbish books. However through good luck and good management and good recommendations I've seen some great films recently and read some fantastic books. Last night in true Oxford fashion a bunch of folk from hOME, Staldates, Stclements and elsewhere gathered at the L&F to talk about such things. Well, we got together to chew the fat and drink (Jim's declaration towards the end of the evening of 'I'm slowly getting slaughtered here' amused me greatly), and because we are Oxford types we talked books and film.

Jim and I had begun the evening with Esme, Ron and Janine at the Phoenix to see Little Miss Sunshine. It's not a life changing film, but it is side splittingly funny. (The last film that had me slapping my thighs was Garden State). There's farce and there's ridiculousness. There's also a Jesus Figure in the shape of a heroin smoking grandfather who's advice to his grandson is to 'Fuck lots of women. Not just one woman. Lots of women'. The only downside to the evening was the unbearable heat in the cinema, which contrasted with the sign outside that proudly offered an air-conditioned bar. Clearly the air-con didn't stretch as far as the cinema itself. Although as Tim Flannery wrote in The Weather Makers, we cooking our planet to keep ourselves cool, so maybe an hour and a half of sweating through a very funny movie is not that worth moaning about. From there it was on to the Lamb and Flag for book and film group. Which brings me back to the collection of movies and books I've seen and read this year. At the risk of ranting about each one in a poorly written review, I'm just going to list them...

Erlend Loe's Naive. Super
William Sloane Coffin's Letters to a young doubter
Steven Levett's Freakonomics
Nick Hornby's A long way down
Jim Wallis's God's Politics
Jon McGregor's If nobody will speak of remarkable things
Audrey Niffenegger's The time traveller's wife
Philip Caputo's Acts of Faith
Joseph Heller's Catch 22
Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner
Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers
Rageh Omaar's The half of me

and I have on my shelf...
Jon McGregor's So many ways to begin
Andrew Smith's Moon Dust
Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (note to self, just read this bloody book and this give it back to Idris)
The Lonely Planet guide to Nepal. Yeah baby, I'm going there next year. Please feel free to point out the incongruity of going to Nepal and mentioning climate change in this rant.

and those films:
V for Vendetta
Little Miss Sunshine
Hidden Cache

To complete that little consumerism trinity of books, films and music, I've been rather disappointed with the music I've heard this year. Aside from Gnarls Barkely and the stunning Last Town Chorus cover of David Bowie's Modern Love there's not a lot that had floated my boat.

Here ends the failed journalistic rant.

Monday, September 11, 2006


My cricket season ended on the weekend. Sadly a run of bad results meant that we ended on a bit of a low, but to be honest I'm not that bothered. Wallingford's seconds achieved middlish table respectability, we won more games than last year, and as in the past three years everybody who has played for me has played in the best spirit. And yesterday in a friendly against Skandia of Southampton we managed a 90 run win.

I have put the season averages here. It's amazing how much one innings can skew ones average...

Next year I am aiming to retire my captain's cap (we'll see how that works out) and just be a minion. I'm thinking it's time for someone else to have the honour of leading and shouting 'ok, Rich, great spell! Gareth! Next over, this end!'

So to Mark Searle, Mark Cox, Wayne, Smithy, Gareth, Ben, James, Jon, Rich Hadland, Geoff, Rob Swiergon, Jamie, Ralph, Will, Johnnie, Tim, Shan, Jayasuricky, Jez Denton, Andy, Elias, Rob Smith, Bob Emmett, wee little Denton, Gerry, Sarge, Alex, Marc, Ali, Jack, Jez Hadland, Rob Coupe, Smarty and Dave, thanks very much all you've put in this year.

Friday, September 01, 2006


At the Zodiac last night Supergrass played a sold out gig to their home crowd. I was there. It was tremendous.

But what happened to the keyboard player?

Over at Dog Eat Blog, there's a new writer. He's not up to Patrick's standards. Patrick, where have you gone?