Archive for March, 2009

The Tourist

“Sometimes I get overcharged,
that’s when you see sparks.
They ask me where the hell I’m going?
At a 1000 feet per second,

hey man, slow down, slow down,
idiot, slow down, slow down.

Hey man, slow down, slow down,
idiot, slow down, slow down”.

From “The Tourist” by Radiohead.


Today’s been one of those days.  I woke up and my mind was racing with all the things I needed to do.  I was late out the door and the bike ride to work felt rushed rather than just fast and enjoyable.  A day of deadlines and interruptions ensued.  Tasks done and a to do list just as long at the end of the day as at the start. 

A ride home into a head-on wind was endured and my mind was whirring over preparation for small group, figuring out who is around to help do music at church on Sunday, enquiries to make with the Planning Department about our house extension, stuff to do and just more of it…

Our Pastor sometimes uses a phrase about “God moving at the speed of love and that being three miles an hour”.  I think what he means is that God can move at the speed of light but often chooses to move at the speed at which we walk.  Thinking about it, the only part in which I slowed down (apart from a really good chat over a meal with a good friend tonight) was the walk home from my parents after collecting my daughter tonight.  She wanted to wear my bike helmet and help push the bike back to our house.  We talked and chatted and laughed and squinted into the spring evening sunshine as she told me about her day.  She forced me to slow down and savour something simple.  Maybe I need to learn from these moments…


Bicycle Race.

“I want to ride my bicycle.
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle.
I want to ride it where I like.”

From “Bicyle Race” by Queen.


After much deliberation I have taken the plunge and bought a new bike for the commute to and from work (and for general fun and fitness).  I found it helpful to search other blogs and chat-room forums and reviews to assist in my decision – together with some very helpful advice from my neighbour.  I thought it might help someone else if I posted a few comments on my choice.

Firstly, I went for a hybrid which is essentially a mountain bike frame with gearing more suited to road use, particularly more teeth on the front chain sprockets.  I wanted something that would bomb down the cycle lane, so was advised against a comfort or cruising bike and I opted for something with 700 wheels which are larger that the traditional 26″ wheels found on most mountain bikes and many hybrids.  Slick tyres also help with speed and effort for a ride that is mainly on tarmac.

I purchased a Giant Escape R1.  It looks great and rides super-fast! 

There were a couple of essential upgrades.  I reluctantly included mudguards.  I always think they instantly make a bike look boring, but I’ve spent the past few months collecting all kinds of crud on my frame, pannier, clothes and shoes.  I got some Giant QR race guards which are practically invisible and will hopefully limit the amount of spray and rubbish I attract.  I had  to get a new pannier rack given the existence of disk brakes compared with my last bike (a trusty companion of 15 years).  The Top Peak rack is really solid and my Altura Night Vision pannier clips on with more more ease than on my previous rack.  

The bike is matt black and looks pretty mean.  It makes up for the fact that my high viz jacket and 1500 candlepower lights render me brighter than a crowd of ravers with glo sticks.  It’s hard to believe that I didn’t get hit in traffic during my student days of wearing black all the time, cycling daily and often having dead batteries in my lights…

Express Yourself

“Express yourself”

From “Express Yourself” by Madonna.


“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me”. 1 Corinthians 13:11.

I’m wondering if that really represents progress?  A snapshot of our family life this week is posted brilliantly here.

Opening Night

“I dedicate a colour to
my dearest friends and family who
so solemnly and nicely dressed
come visit me, I must confess
I feel like Gena might
upon her opening night.”

From “Opening Night” by dEUS.


So, tonight was the official opening night of our “Art Of Joy” art exhibition at The Lot in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.  We had no idea whether anyone would turn up. A great night unfolded with about a hundred or so folks filling up the space.  It just felt like one of those parties we used to host back in the day during our pre-parent stage in one of our old flats.  Some friends brought acoustic guitars and played and sang along.  There was the general din of chit chat as conversation flowed between old friends and new.  It was a great atmosphere and we hope it spread some joy to all present.  At various points throughout the evening I clocked members of our little small group collective just smiling as they took it all in.  

I got chatting with a couple of folks I’ve meant to introduce myself to for ages about the possibility of a beach focussed missional expression of fellow surfers.  Big smiles were shared as we looked out the window as dusk fell in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, fresh in the realisation that the clocks changing soon will herald in the season of evening surf sessions after work…  

The exhibition is open till the 17th April and you can pop into The Lot to view the work at any time.  We will be posting up more details of the work on display and how it can be purchased at The Art of Joy website shortly.  30% of all sales go to support the work of The Grassmarket Mission with the vulnerable and marginalised of this great city.

The Final Countdown

“It’s the final countdown…”

From “The Final Countdown” by Europe.


So, I’ve previously posted about the art exhibition and live music project, “The Art Of Joy”, that our little small group collective are embarking upon here. 

We’ve never facilitated something like this before, yet, last Sunday 12 artists’ work was submitted.  We  turned up to hang it all and it’s amazing the extent of transformation that can be achieved in the space of two hours.  There was something of beauty in a group of folks, many unknown to one another, working to create a sense of space – sharing advice, tools, picture hooks and smiles.  People from different places and backgrounds and of different generations working together for a common purpose.

Our opening night is at The Lot, The Grassmarket, Edinburgh from 7pm till 9pm this Wednesday evening – the 25th March 2009.  Entry is free and there will be refreshments available.  Please come and see the work.

More information is available at our website and 30% of any sales proceeds from artwork will go directly to The Grassmarket Mission to assist their work with the vulnerable and marginalised of Edinburgh.

Beautiful Day

“It’s a beautiful day,

Sky falls, you feel like

It’s a beautiful day,

Don’t let it get away.”

From “Beautiful Day” by U2


Yesterday seemed to put everyone I met in a better mood.  The sun seemed to have lit the entire sky and I found myself squinting as I tried to negotiate the traffic to get across the road to the bus stop.  There was a haze that looked like smog from the traffic but was met with a briskness in the air that blew my fringe out of my eyes.

As the day progressed the glances I made away from my PC monitor and out the window, over the roof tops and chimney pots, were back-dropped with a perfect bluebird sky.  Everyone’s thoughts seemed to turn to being somewhere else whilst simultaneously being pulled to the here and now of the tasks in hand and deadlines to be met.

My working day was happily interrupted yesterday by a call from my sister advising that she’d managed to secure my wife and I tickets for the U2 360 gig at Hampden on 18th August.  She’s a subscriber to and was able to get access via an earlybird ticket release ahead of the date of the tickets officially going on sale on Friday at 9am.  This is not the first time she has managed to secure me tickets for a gig I really want to see.

It was a beautiful day.  Thanks, Sis!

We Care A Lot


“We care a lot about disasters, fires, floods and killer bees.
We care a lot about the NASA shuttle falling in the sea.
We care a lot about starvation and the food that Live Aid bought.
We care a lot about disease, baby Rock, Hudson, rock, yeah!

We care a lot about the gamblers and the pushers and the geeks.
We care a lot about the crack and smack and whack that hits the street.
We care a lot about the welfare of all the boys and girls.
We care a lot about you people, cause we’re out to save the world.


And it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.

We care a lot about the army, navy, air force and marines.
We care a lot about the SF, NY and LAPD.
We care a lot about you people, about your guns.
about the wars you’re fighting, gee that looks like fun.

We care a lot about the Garbage Pail Kids, they never lie.
We care a lot about Transformers cause there’s more than meets the eye.

We care a lot about the little things, the bigger things we top.
We care a lot about you people, yeah, you bet we care a lot.


Well, its a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.
And it’s a dirty song but someone’s gotta sing it.”

From “We Care A Lot” by Faith No More.

After a totally nuts week at work, I crashed out on our sofa exhausted on Friday night letting the TV feed me whatever rubbish it cared to.  It turned out to be “Alex Zane’s Top 20 Rock Videos” on E4.  Man, there were some awful songs: “Let’s Get Rocked” by Def Leppard; “Rockstar” by Nickelback; anything by The Stereophonics, to name but a few. 

There were actually a couple of classics that took me back to my teenage years: Metallica’s “One” (the video was genuinely one of the first to really make me wake up to the horrors of war); Guns ‘n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”; Faith No More’s “Epic” and, more recent contender –  the ever catchy – “All The Small Things” by Blink 182 which was accompanied by a hilarious video.

Despite all of this, the programme made me think.  Some people say that Heavy Metal is the Devil’s music.  I’ve listened to plenty of music which could be described as less than edifying, but not all of that was heavy metal or rock.  I’ve also found a lot of truth in a lot of seemingly weird places over the years.

What was the first song I recall actually making me think about green issues?  Strangely enough it wasn’t some folkie protest singer, but, actually way ahead of a period where environmentalism was embraced it was Nuclear Assault’s “Critical Mass” back in 1989. 

Please watch the You Tube clip below for at least a couple of minutes and, as George Michael once said, “Listen Without Prejudice”.

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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