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Archive for December, 2007

Just in case you lose the plot over the next few days of madness. Here’s Linus to remind you.

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Procrastination.

So, I’m back from an epic tour of the East of the country. I’m stopping over in Hove before heading to the land of warmth and hugs at the parents house tomorrow. This evening I was supposed to work through my long list of things to do before going home. Useful things such as packing, wrapping presents, generally tying up loose ends and remembering to take things such as airplane tickets.

Instead of sensible things, this evening I have watched Top Gear, drunk mulled wine and made finger puppets. Instead of going to bed at a sensible hour I’m blogging and on Msn. Sigh, ah well, tomorrow is another day and maybe I’ll manage to do all those things in 2 hours. Maybe.

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Joy.

Last night I fulfilled a 15 year old dream of mine. I saw Bruce Springsteen live. Ever since I first jumped around my bedroom to Born to Run, and read everything I could about him from books out of the local library, I’ve wanted to see him live. Mainly because that’s what he does best. Last night the long wait was over and it was entirely worth it. I have no idea how to write this in a coherent way that isn’t just babbling over and over again “He was amazing…”.
So, in no particular order here are my highlights and favorite moments:

Getting to go with Melinda, a fellow fan and someone who genuinely gets Bruce, who isn’t being polite because I love him. Who was just as excited as me and just as thrilled on the tube on the way home.

The first song, not being able to stop smiling like a wide mouthed grinning idiot because that speck on the stage was actually Bruce Springsteen.

The way the whole set was put together thoughtfully. He told a story throughout the songs of the evening. He took us across America, from being lost in the back of beyond, to the pain of being let down by dreams that don’t last, to cynicism and then to redemption, hope and the joy of being alive.

The gruff growl counting the band in, one, two, a one, two, three, FOUR. Cue explosion of sound on the ‘four’.

Music that reaches inside your soul, twists and turns and makes you want to explode with joy and inexpressible emotions.

Singing Promised Land and knowing the difference in singing now to singing as a messed up 14 year old. These lyrics had so much meaning for me back then and now serve as a reminder of how far things have come.

“I’ve done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start

There’s a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I’m heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted”

Likewise the moment in Badlands, delighting in the lyric; “It ain’t no sin to be glad that you’re alive.”

The exquisitely dark harmonica playing on Reason to Believe, normally a song of hope, it turned down a road with black clouds on the horizon and cynically wondered how anyone can find a reason to believe in this world.

The despair finding it’s death in the hope of redemption. Redemption coming through love, an open road and the prospect of a Sunny Day. Hope bleeding out all over the place.

The encore. The eruption of joy at Born to Run into Dancing in the dark. Every person on their feet singing loud.

The other fans. Everyone there loved this man and his songs, everyone joined in, even on the new stuff. The older man next to me who battled with his English reserve all night and then let himself go in the encore.

2 and a half hours of relentless, stirring, delightful, empowering, hopeful, delicious rock and roll.

This song sums it all up, not a classic Springsteen but more of a tribute to the genius of music. Happy sigh.

“Day after day I’m more confused
Then I look for the light through the pourin’ rain
You know, that’s a game, that I hate to lose
I’m feelin’ the strain, ain’t it a shame

[CHORUS:]
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Beginin’ to think, that I’m wastin’ time
And I don’t understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
And I’m countin’ on you, you can carry me through

And when my mind is free
You know your melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitars come through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy you’ve given me
I want you to know that I believe in your song
And rhythm, and rhyme, and harmony
You helped me along, you’re makin’ me strong

Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away”

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Here he is: James Howarth. He lives in Canada with his Mum and Dad most of the time but came over for his Baptism yesterday. He is cute and smiley and laughs a lot. I like him.


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Read this. It’s not about Christmas, but in a roundabout way probably is. It’s certainly what Real being a Christian is all about.

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Christmas thoughts.

Sometimes we need things put in a different way, we need things phrased differently. Recently I got some people to read out John 1 in three different versions of the Bible. Hearing the familiar words expanded, rearranged and explained helped get the meaning across loud and clear. Here are some examples:

From the Amplified Bible:
“All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].”

“And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.”

From the Message:
“The Word became flesh and blood,and moved into the neighborhood We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”

From the Word on the Street:
“Bizarre! No-one recognises him! He speaks them into existence, but they don’t recognise him or his voice.”

“So God’s voice gets flesh and blood, skin and bone. He spends time with us; we hang around with him, get to know him and see what he’s like. And? As magnificent, as superb as you’d expect God’s only son to be.”

The point? God has come into this world as one of us. We can know him. He has revealed himself to us. We are not left in the dark. Yes, there are a million things I do not understand about God. But I can know Him. Christmas reminds me of who he is and how I can. That makes all the difference in facing whatever good or bad confronts me. Well, sometimes it does. Sometimes I want to scream and rage and cry. And I can. Because he came. I can’t escape the reality of being held by the Maker of the world. Right now I don’t really want to.

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Christmas Day

Yesterday was Christmas day in our house, a long standing tradition where we invite many people who live near us to participate in good food and lots of fun. Yesterday was no exception. We ate much food, walked on the beach, took a multitude of photos, ate mince pies with brandy butter, drank mulled wine, took a Christmas Quiz, gave presents, got presents, laughed and rounded off the evening singing Christmas songs and listening to pretty music at Kate Rusby’s gig in Brighton. All in all a highly satisfactory Christmas day.

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