Posts Tagged 'radiohead'

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

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Records spin in revolutions and have soundtracked them.  Music has the power to affect our emotions.  Words have the power to connect with us and change our world-view.  Songs can mark occasions or point in time.

It gladens my heart that there are artists out there wrestling with the reality of their own experience of the human condition – trying to find their way through this maze of life.  People who write honest music that is often raw, emotional and stripped of the gloss of much over-produced, glossy and empty pop music. People who don’t take their position lightly.

I received the following email this week.

“Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

‘i am the only one that got through
the others died where ever they fell
it was an ambush
they came up from all sides
give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves
i’ve seen devils coming up from the ground
i’ve seen hell upon this earth
the next will be chemical but they will never learn’
http://download.waste.uk.com to download the song

Recently the last remaining UK veteran of the 1st world war Harry Patch died at the age of 111.
I had heard a very emotional interview with him a few years ago on the Today program on Radio4.
The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me.
It became the inspiration for a song that we happened to record a few weeks before his death.
It was done live in an abbey. The strings were arranged by Jonny.
I very much hope the song does justice to his memory as the last survivor.

It would be very easy for our generation to forget the true horror of war, without the likes of Harry to remind us.
I hope we do not forget.

As Harry himself said
“Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims”.

Recently the Today program played the song for the first time and now it is available to download from our website.

Please go to

The proceeds of this song will go to the British Legion.

To peace and understanding.

Thom.”

Fitter, Happier

“Fitter, happier, more productive,
comfortable,
not drinking too much,
regular exercise at the gym
(3 days a week),
getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries ,
at ease,
eating well
(no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)”
From “Fitter, Happier” by Radiohead.

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In a podcast I listened to recently Rob Bell said he had vowed to ask himself about every journey he was making – could he walk it and, if not, could he cycle it?  He said it has transformed his life.  He saw parts of his city that he’d never noticed before, he found time to contemplate things.  He suggested such an approach would save time that many of us make driving to the gym, being there and driving back and reclaim some of our evenings.  He said “It’s hard to consider the lilies at 70 miles per hour”.  It makes a lot of sense to me.

I’m not there yet, but I find myself increasingly considering whether a drive constitutes a non-essential car journey and can be replaced with a walk or ride.  Cycling to work has left me feeling fitter, more focussed and happier and has simply involved better utilising time I would ordinarily have been sat behind my steering wheel.  Twice this week I’ve caught up with a friend on their cycle into work and we’ve had the chance to have a really good chat whilst riding to work. 

I can enjoy life in the slow lane or I can go like stink with the wind in my hair and a smile on my face. Tonight, for the first time, I rode part of the way home with my four year old.  It was one of those snapshot moments streamed full of sunshine and happiness.

It’s true you see the world differently from a saddle.  If you’ve not seen the clip below, then I trust you’ll enjoy Edinburgh from a different perspective.

Words

“Too many words.

Too many words”

From “Words” by Low.

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We throw a lot of words around in our daily conversation.  We de-construct them at times or try to figure out how to apply the concepts they are associated with.

A friend and I were talking of how he is sending his daughter to Edinburgh’s only Gaelic speaking nursery.  She is only spoken to in Gaelic in the hope that a process of immersion will help her pick it up.  He hopes it will assist her in learning other languages in later life – particularly French as his family spend two months a year overseas instructing snowboarding.  Neither of us know any Gaelic, but there is something nice about trying to preserve something of our nation’s heritage and tradition.  Another friend recently commented that the Gaelic word for “butterfly” is “an dealan de” which literally translates as “a glimpse(or glimmer) of God.”  How beautiful is that?

I’ve really enjoyed reading a couple of posts by another friend this week exploring two other words I am grappeling with at present – “Missional” and “Sabbath”.  I’d really encourage you to check out this and this.

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.

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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…

Lucky

“It’s gonna be a glorious day”

From “Lucky” by Radiohead

When Thom Yorke delivers the above line, it is a crecendo which soars and lifts my spirit.

Today I was awoken by the my daughter’s calls for me which have become my Sunday morning alarm.  Once I got focused, I realised that I had a heart and head full of content thoughts having spent the last two evenings in the company of important friends, chatting to the wee small hours over good food and red wine. 

After a read of yesterday’s Guardian whilst my daughter watched a little TV, I pulled on my jeans and wind-cheater and strolled down the road to our favourite, nearby, cafe to pick up fresh coffees and pastries.  The sun was still low in the sky and bright enough for me to squint into it for most of the walk.  The air had that frosty chill when you inhale deeply followed by steam exiting my nostrils.  My Bloody Valentine provided a perfect sound-scape from my headphones as I tried to dampen the muffled sound of the passing cars and their long shadows.  There were copper leaves in the gutter and middle aged women carefully delivering communion galsses to the local church.

Sunday is often referred to as a day of rest.  We had the best laid plans of making it to the early service at 9.30 as my wife was heading off to a class with a friend at 12.  We were nowhere near making 9.30 and had thought of just ditching the 11.15 service in exchange for a family day together and, maybe, a drive in the car listening to last week’s sermon on iTunes.  20 minutes before the 11.15 service, our nearly four year old started saying how much she wanted to go to church.  Five minutes later the two of us were properly dressed and bundled into the car with her singing “Worthy, You Are Worthy” the whole way there.  (It is usually that, or “The Milkman of Human Kindness” from the child seat these days and either is fine with me).

We made it to church on time and joined some close friends in the pew.  The music was great and my daughter was desperate to go down the front and do some actions she had learned to “Worthy You Are Worthy”, before disappearing to Sunday Club all by herself like a proper little indie pop kid.

The sermon was powerful.  Our Senior Pastor Karl noted, “We are here today because God brought you here”.  I was there because my insistent nearly 4 year old wanted to be at church enough to kick my butt into action and I am more than grateful to her for it.  As I type this, my wife has headed out to the evening service to hear the same sermon.  As I look at the scribbled notes I took during the sermon, I wonder what specifically I was meant to hear?  What is to be illuminated to me and how will I respond?

The afternoon was spent helping my daughter on her bike, aping around in crunchy, fallen, leaves, playing in the swing-park, eating a late lunch and playing “nurseries” whilst being scolded any time I tried to sneak off to play my drums.

All in all, it has been a glorious day. 

I once heard Rob Bell deliver an amazingly helpful sermon on what it means to keep the Sabbath.  He described it as “the day when my work is complete, even if it’s not”.  A time to intentionally set aside the things that so often consume us, to rest and be fed instead.  He encouraged the listeners to find out what feeds their souls and to do that.  For me, I really miss church if I’m not there on a Sunday – not out of any sense of religious guilt, but, simply because it is a great place to be.  A place where I am accepted, stimulated, challenged and leave with a bunch of thoughts and ideas scribbled in my notebook and bouncing around my  head.

Feeding my soul might include anything from spending a lazy day with my family, a cozy afternoon in our home with the rain drumming off the skylights or paddling out into the sea on my surfboard to try and catch some waves – just feeling small in the vastness of nature, but fully alive.  And yet, any of those activities would take second place for me when compared with getting to one of our Sunday services.

Morrisey once beautifully sang, “Every day is like Sunday.  Every day is silent and grey”.  I no longer see Sundays or Sabbaths as something to be endured, but rather as something to be embraced.  As the Icicle Works put it “Love is full of wonderful colour”…or as REM put it, “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight losing my religion”.  But, what I have found is something stripped of tradition and ritual and yet appreciative of what those things point to or can help with.  My faith has felt more alive and stimulated in the last three or four years than it has done in a quite some time.

Everything In Its Right Place

“Everything

Everything

In its right place

In its right place

In its right place”

From “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead

Do you ever get those moments when all seems well with the world and everything is in its right place?

Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve just been on holiday for 10 days, but our stay in Cornwall was filled with many such moments.  We were away with close friends who really “do life” with us.  The friendship began through meeting together maybe five or six years ago to do a bible study series based around the theme of lent and the film “Chocolat”.  Since then it has blossomed and each couple feels they are missing out on the others’ events if we don’t meet regularly to simply hang out and catch up (invariably over some food).

We’ve watched eachother become parents and now our children are at a stage where they get excited about being together and playing. 

We have enjoyed so many honest and, mostly, edifying discussions over the years.  We’ve said grace before meals and really meant it, savouring eachothers’ company and the food and wine that so often accompanies our putting the world to rights.  We know the ins and outs of the reality of one anothers’ daily existences – the joys, the passions, the frustrations and hurts.  Text messages, emails and random acts of kindness carry each family through our journey. 

It is a truly beautiful thing to behold…even when the dirty dishes are piled high and the kids have raked havoc with toys strewn everywhere.


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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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