Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A thigh slapping night in the URC...

Ok, I've been persuaded (some would say nagged) to try blogging. As with those annual news letters you get sent at Christmas, I wonder if telling everyone what you are up to on a regular basis is a touch arrogant.

You know the kind I mean, "things have been good in the Jones household this year - our wonderful son Tristan has overcome dyslexia to achieve a First in Classics from Oxford. He did this while circumnavigating the globe on an old moped to raise money for AIDS orphans...blah blah blah...

So I will endure to not brag about M and the fact that she can now wipe her own bottom and manage to flush the upstairs loo on her own. It would be too big headed...

Our good friends Jack and Emily have convinced me that this blogging business is a good thing. I haven't actually consulted them on the subject of blogging but I do follow their progress through their wonderful blog, "Red Bay Days." So I suppose if I find the idea of having a nosey into the lives of my friends OK, then I it might be safe to assume that they quite enjoy doing the same to us.

So where to start...

For those of you who don't know, I have finally answered what I think God has been calling me to for a while now. That is to say that I have started to explore the vocation of ordained ministry in the Anglican Church. A vicar if you will...

I have had an informal chat with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands who has given me some advice on the way to go. So I have ordered a couple of books: "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and "The Christian Priest Today" by Michael Ramsey. I will no doubt be obliged to review them on this forum for you at a later date. Hurrah...

Alice and I had a proper date night last Thursday (15th Oct). Not only is this rare, we managed to go and do something that we both were properly 100% excited about. There was no discussion about the right sort of restaurant, who would be the driver and what the budget was. That's because there was no food or drink involved. We managed to catch Show of Hands on the Chelmsford leg of their "County Towns" tour. Show of Hands are on of Britain's leading folk acts and are from Devon. They are made up of singer songwriter Steve Knightley and Phil Beer who can play pretty much any stringed instrument you dare to imagine. They are joined on stage by double bass playing Miranda Sykes for their live sets.

We first came across Steve Knightley at a gig he did with Martin Joseph at the South Shields Customs House in 2005 (I think). Anyway, I got a chance to chat with Steve during the intermission. It was very refreshing to be able to chat with the artist during a show, especially at the bar. I asked him a number of questions about the instruments he was playing. His main instrument, I found out, is a Mandocello - which is essentially a guitar sized mandolin. I was sad enough to take a photo of it the other night for your viewing pleasure. It's the one on the left...


The other thing that caught our attention that night was his voice. It is such a unique and powerful tool - deep and bassy but piercing at the same time. A really awesome sound.

The gig itself was excellent. The show was opened by the brilliantly eccentric Flossie Malavialle, a French singer/guitarist based in Darlington (!?!). She has a wonderful French accent, with Geordie overtones and is quite mental I'm sure. She talked (a lot) about the English language and its oddities - and for the most part was charming and funny. Flossie likes a good oxymoron (now then) and boy can she sing. She managed 5 songs in 40 mins and sang in French, Spanish and English. Her voice is incredibly powerful but remains sweet throughout. She finished with the epic "Amsterdam" by Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel - her tribute to a man who has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. Very nice...

Show of Hands finally took to the stage after 9pm and opened with a song called "Tall Ships" - a nod to Phil Beer's involvement in the actual Tall Ships race this summer. The set continued for a few songs and if I'm honest, it was a bit slow. But then the smoke machine went mental and filled All Saints URC with a thick mist. Fantastic. At one point I lost sight of the band! Despite the crazy haze, the band relaxed and started to joke around. Steve started to quote from This is Spinal Tap and played the beginning of "Stone Henge", "no one knew what they were doing or what it was for.."



After that, the evening was filled with leg smacking fiddle solos, punchy folk tunes and some new material. The new song Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed from the new album of the same name pointed to insurance company AIG talking government money to pay massive bonuses to their staff earlier in the year.

After thanking Iron Maiden for the special effects, the boys finished with an unplugged duet, off stage at the front. Good stuff, a great date night for us old marrieds.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, now that you wrote that, I actually need to update my blog! It's so much easier to read everyone else's! All my pretend friends, like Pioneer Woman.
    Well done Andy! You have inspired me.

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