Sunday, 30 September 2007

god gave rock & roll to you

funny wizard manbill bailey is currently doing a couple of nights at the riverside studios, a 'pre-stadium tour' testing out some new material with small audiences before cradling it in front of big crowds. probably a good plan with his particular brand of dungeons & dragons garden shed based whimsy that much of his comedy is themed upon.

he is a very funny man. i did laugh at him muchly. to that point where your face becomes painful and it's better to stop laughing or you might sprain a face-muscle. you will not be able to guess where i'll head eventually with this blog.

should've worn a bigger badgemy two favourite observations were these:
from the killers song all these things that i've done a section sees them repeating the phrase "i got soul, but i'm not a soldier." nice little phrase that. but made up of two things that are completely disconnected. you might as well say "i've got ham, but i'm not a hamster."

my idea was "i've got a badge, but i'm not a badger"

secondly, bill talked about george bush. quite a lot actually. he appears to have had a recent switcheroonie with his focus and rather than basing all his comedy on owls and the west country and wooden panels, has become a lot more political. he described president bush leading america as something "pointless and harmless and stupid on top of a much more dangerous thing" . . rather like a bobble hat on a leopard. or a tanktop on a scorpion.

emotive and probably successful advertising. oh yes, and exploitative and disrespectfulthis bought up the point that america is starting to teach creationism over evolution in schools, which very quickly led to a debate about a book called the god delusion which seeks to disprove the existence of god and the pointlessness of religion. bill sought to get audience members to shout out summaries of the book, probably hoping for something like: the god delusion contends that a supernatural creator most likely does not exist and that belief in a god and religion, qualifies as a delusion, which the writer defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.

"christianity is stupid!" called out a drunk woman in front of me, helpfully.

i thought i'd paid for a comedy show, but in another situation i would've perhaps said "anyone who spends enough time and energy researching with a specific point and direction and a talent for the written word could probably write an intellectual book that encourages it's reader to believe every word, polarising their opinion and closing their mind to any other alternative. rather than creating a readership that is accepting of other opinions and ideas, he creates a group of people that are completely unnecessarily militant in their anger against anyone who happens to disagree."

the idiot’s guide to acceptance and humilitythat reminds me of something. =>

see, i told you you wouldn't guess where i was heading with this.

i've written about this subject before, but the down point of last night's gig has incensed me somewhat to comment on the idea again. you see, this book is one of the culprits that joins a long list of sources that cause way more problems than they supposedly seek to solve. it's a trend of the media to exclude religion and people of religion, to turn the average responder against the idea of faith. religious people are publicly displayed to be freaks, or idiots, or dangerous. in modern times, the latter is an easy portrayal and probably sells you a lot of books or airtime.

what annoys me is the focus on the fraction of religious people that are freaks or idiots or dangerous, the reason being "because it's good telly." the normal person with faith, 99.9% of christians, muslims, jews etc. are harmless and reasonable and just living out their life in a way that makes them happy and comfortable. but there's no point in writing a crime thriller about andrew macintosh who has a wife and two kids, has never raped or abused anyone, never committed murder or any acts of terrorism but does run a church hall youth club every saturday and takes his family to church on a sunday morning before going to his mum's house for roast lunch.

here's a question for you: the 0.01% of human beings who are freaks, idiots or dangerous.... where would you rather they were?
a)within a social community (religious or otherwise) who are most likely trying to help them and guide them towards a more reasonable life outlook, possibly seeing they have psychological disorder and seeking out specialist help.
b)at home, alone and unmonitored with only their damaging psyche for company.

thought so.

islamic fundamentalism is to islam
as the ku klux klan is to christianity

whatever you believe about religion, the truth is that the vast majority of people with faith are not militant and angry and seeking to destroy everyone else. they're just living with a quiet respect for their god, with a comforting feeling that there is something looking over them who has a bigger plan that we as humans can never comprehend. i'm pretty comforted by that. it's my belief that is the truth. that's what helps me live my life as a good person. but i'm not you, you probably have a different way of doing it and that doesn't bother me in the slightest, as long as your aim is to be a good person. if your aim in life is to be an arsehole we probably won't get along very well, and i won't feel any kind of loss at that.

written by geniuses, believed by idiotsunfortunately, there is a huge cross section of society that read, see or hear something and instantly believe and accept it without considering their own beliefs, the beliefs of the people around them or any additional research or evidence around the subject. these people watch the news and accept it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth. even bbc news, with it's aim of indifference and unbiased reporting can only broadcast a portion of the events of the world. if you don't believe me, try and summarise the entire iraq war in three minutes... go! it becomes a sort of "me tarzan, you jane" reporting.

"israel good, palestine baaad."

i'll finish with an analogy that interests me:

three people are blindfolded, led to an elephant and encouraged to touch it. the first is a christian. he says that the thing he feels is long and muscular and bendy so it must be some sort of large snake.
the second - a muslim - says he feels something wide and vertical and round with a rough surface. it must be a tree.
the third is an agnostic. he feels a solid surface with a rough texture but from where he's standing he can't feel any edges or get the idea of what shape the thing is.

there is a fourth person. he's an atheist, but he's in a different zoo and there aren't any animals there.

of course, it could all be lies

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

call me the breeze

on my way home today a busker was playing freebird. now there's a track that will without fail make you feel good.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

(you drive me) crazy

it would be unfair on my friends if i kept this piece of genius youtube video from them after getting so much enjoyment out of it myself:

aw, bless 'im

Monday, 10 September 2007

Thursday, 6 September 2007

sugar and spice

something nice happened today

maybe some more nice things will happen as a result

that would be nice

Monday, 3 September 2007

what a wonderful world

here we go again

sometimes you go to gigs, and it's more than just a gig. it's more than standing in a venue watching a bunch of performers construct music in front of you. it's more that seeing the inner workings of how that song you like is made. it's more than passive reception of soundwaves.

the polyphonic spree look like a cult. their songs echo the attidudes of hippies and free love in the sixties. and there are a lot of them. but the similarities are not real, there's no evidence of blind drug-fuelled stupour or suicide pacts. what there appears to be is a bunch of people who have found the exact place they want to be; making great music with the people they love; and through this, they've fallen in love with being alive in a wonderful world.

there were 22 people on stage. guitars, percussion, brass, harps, strings and more singers than you might think you'd ever need... out of every one of them poured love and energy and a downright thrill of being there, on stage, in that moment, with their friends, belting out music that absolutely refuses to let you feel a moment of sadness or worry. the symptoms of this experience could - i suppose - grant them the 'cult' label; because a new feeling came over me, unlike any band i've seen and enjoyed before, i desperately wanted to be part of this one. i wanted to be there, in that group. they looked like they were having as much, if not more fun, than the audience. and not in a bad way, because i've barely seen a gig crowd so wound up and excited.

the spree performed in identical outfits, though not their usual hippy love-smocks. dressed in black button tops not disimilar to kim jong il's outfits apart from the embroidered symbols of love, they appeared on stage through a heartshape cut out of a curtain by Tim DeLaughter, the 'leader' of the band. i hadn't heard the new album and didn't know half of the songs in the set, but it didn't matter. they played for about an hour, a wall of sound declaring the wonder of the world and the miracle of life and how everything is beautiful when we all love eachother. i couldn't help but be whisked away to this fantastic-reality, dreaming of the simplicity of life in the arms of a loved one laying in a field in texas.

especial detail that made the gig for me were the six female backing singers on risers that had choreographed some sort of "avril lavigne teenaged angst-ridden rock kitten style" dance to every song. very sexy.

when they were done, the crowd wanted more. they wanted more love. without desisting the cries for more the band had to reappear - this time in their love-smocks - and encored for over half an hour. they kept going and going, driven by the audience's appreciation. never outstaying their welcome. we loved it. even the 15 minutes where no music was played, instead to the sound of roaring applause the entire band paraded through the audience shaking hands with the public. stalls and balcony. in the end they even had to finish on a song that they hadn't rehearsed or played in six months. brilliant. absolutely brilliant. shot the evening straight into my top five gigs, without doubt.

oh yeah, and you haven't lived until you've heard nirvana's lithium covered by a seven-member choir, two keyboards, percussion, bass, cello, two guitars, flute, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, french horn, harp and a lead singer that is part rock legend and part witch doctor.