Monday, 28 February 2011

Windsor, Cafe Rouge, Johnny Cash and Dangly Bits

The other weekend Laura and I paid Windsor a visit. It was a quiet kind of evening. Laura arrived at about 5:00 pm. We chatted a little then drove into town. Parked in the Victoria Street multi storey car park and walked along St Leonard's Road a bit, up along Peascod Street, down Thames Street and into the Central Station and visited Cafe Rouge.

Here .. or there … we are:


As pretty much always, no one paid us any untoward attention. The service and the food were great.

Eventually we wandered back to the car and drove back.

We sat and drank beer and wine … and a tiny little whisky until the early hours. Chatting and listening to music. Quite a mix. Johnny Cash … kind of Country and yet not Country.

And I have at last remembered that I have been planning, for a long time, too look up Johnny Cash singing Hurt. And here it is in the context of a BBC interview:

And here, just the song without the interview:


It is, as Emma said at Surrey Swans last night, a very moving song.

There was also some Indigo Girls and Chris While and Julie Mathews. And a whole lot of other stuff.

At one point in the evening we somehow got talking about Nikki’s escapades. Being asked by a girl at Pink Punters if she had a visible camel toe. Bra fitting at Marks & Spencer’s. And swimming.

The swimming was a new one on me.

In a bikini?

Laura didn’t recall the details.

But … what about the anatomy? Isn’t it even more of a give-away than the voice? You know? The dangly bits?

Not necessarily Laura informed me.

At this point Andrea is intrigued.

So … how do you mean?

Well, you just hide things away where they came from.

Uhm … so how do you mean?

Laura explains a bit more.

But doesn’t it hurt?

Don’t they … well … pop out?

We had drunk a few beers and glasses of wine between us by this time.

Does it really work?

Well … as they say … seeing is believing.


Ok I believe.

The music carries on playing.

Well … I giggle … at least I didn’t take any pictures.

Laura is always up for a challenge.

So here you go. See and believe:



Click here for the detail if you ever wanted to know. The English is a little quaint … though that somehow adds to the thing. Over 198,000 views and 108 comments, so someone somewhere is interested. Mainly in Poland, it seems.

There is a sense of understatement here, don’t you think:

During first tries, you shall be very careful.

I’m happy to agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Calvinists, Christian Soldiers and Jesus

Over the weekend I was talking with Amanda.

Once upon a time she used to go to a Calvinist chapel, though now she has no belief in God.

I don’t know her well, but she really does seem to be a lovely, honest, genuine kind of person.

She was saying that although she has left the chapel behind, it had some good points. No super expensive extravagant buildings. An emphasis on the simple and the sincere. A bit like the feeling you get about Jesus if you read the gospels.

Of course … Calvinists have issues of their own to contend with.

Last night for some reason the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers came to mind. And the thought … how could anyone come up with lyrics like that from reading the gospels? I find it impossible to imagine Jesus singing a song expressing those kind of feelings.

It makes me think of some of the passages from A New Kind of Christianity that Dani recommended. The idea of understanding the Bible through Jesus in the gospels rather than interpreting Jesus through the letters in the New Testament.

It’s really hard to imagine Jesus fighting in a war. Any kind of a war.

I think the only people that Jesus really criticised were the leaders of his own religion. He didn’t get angry about the Romans or the Greeks. Or adulterers. Or sinners really. But about Scribes and Pharisees. I think that the thing he really didn’t like was hypocrisy.

It’s hard to read many of the things that Jesus is reputed to have said and disagree.

But the things that the churches say? Well. That's a different kind of story.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Watersheds, Human Planet and Morality

The BBC are currently showing a series of programmes entitled Human Planet.

It’s shown between 8:00 and 9:00 pm on Thursdays and, according to Wikipedia at any rate, is due for international release sometime soon.

The episode broadcast on 17th February was Grasslands.

Part of the program featured the Suri of Ethiopia. Keepers of cattle who take the protection of their cattle “to extremes”. They fight battles over cattle. Cattleherds must become warriors. Stopping at nothing to defend their herds. “I will defend my cattle with my own death. Cattle are everything to me. they’re all I’ve known since childhood”. Cattle are currency. Too valuable to kill. cared for intimately. One of the warriors fights an annual trial of courage to prove he’s got what it takes. Getting strength straight from his cows, by drinking their blood. It may look brutal … but it doesn’t kill them.






The ritual itself is named Donga. It looks like this:






If you lose, it can look a bit like this:


The thing I find a little strange about this is that there is a theoretical 9:00 pm watershed. TV stations such as the BBC abide by this. Before 9:00 pm, the theory goes, programs should be suitable for younger viewers. The sex and violence is toned down.

It seems strange to me that it’s ok to show cows being shot in the neck and naked men beating each other to a pulp with sticks before 9:00 pm.

But how about an in-love, monogamous, happily  married couple making love. Well no … of course. That would be pornographic. Wouldn’t it? And … if I posted pictures like that here I’d need to mark my blog to indicate that it included adult content.

I can’t help but think that it’s an ethically and morally strange kind of world that we live in.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

On Casting Stones

A little while ago on the TV news there was an item about two people being stoned to death in Afghanistan. There’s information about it here and here. 

I found it saddening. Appalling.

I know that this personal face-to-face kind of violence isn’t the only way that people hurt people.

Societies hurt whole societies as described here. And when a society hurts another society …. really it is people that are hurting people. But in an impersonal kind of way.

Today while I was walking at lunch time I was thinking about the casting of stones. Of the way that at times it’s easy to pass judgement upon others and exact some kind of punishment.

I then thought of this story written in the New Testament:

Early the next morning Jesus went back to the Temple. All the people gathered around him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 
The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all. 
"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?" 
They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger. 
As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened up and said to them, "Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her." 
Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 
When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. 
He straightened up and said to her, "Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?" 
"No one, sir," she answered.

"Well, then," Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.

The story is in video here:

I was struck by one of the comments left there:

“ive made fun of jesus b4 i feel kinda bad now hes way cool for doing this, if only the religious nutters like the westboro baptist church wud follow his true beliefs”

It sort of fits in with the idea that to be like Christ isn’t necessarily to be like people at some churches at least.

Life is so much more than following a set of rules in a book.

On a different, but related theme, I discovered this as well:


Have a listen. What do you think? Wow.