I did take the ukulele to the Quorn folk session last night and a good one it was too. Lots of good music to listen to, an open invitation to join (I can’t remember if anyone exercised the option to ask people not play along, although it didn’t descend into a free-for-all jam) and my book of uke tunes from the old jUKEbox group I used to play with in Oxford was invaluable.
My choices were:
Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Ballard / MacDonald, 1913, but popularised in Laurel and Hardy’s Way Out West, 1937). I probably should have had a solo worked out for the middle – I didn’t want to end too quickly but I’d forgotten the lyrics just repeat until I’d put an extra loop back in
Ain’t She Sweet / Five Foot Two / Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby. This is an excellent medley that was devised by the Oxford Ukuleles group – a blast from the roaring 20’s as we head into the 2020’s.
Sunny Afternoon (The Kinks). A deliberately unseasonal song but a satisfying level of joininginyness in the chorus.
The Quorn session is pegged to run every week, although I won’t be there for all of them, but watch the Facebook group for updates.
Tonight I’m heading to Quorn, a village south of Loughborough, for Folk in Quorn, a folk music session at The Blacksmiths Arms pub. I’d been pondering what instrument to take but, after this afternoon’s practise time, I think I’m going to go for tenor ukulele.
Those lunchtime uke club sessions worked out well for giving me chords under my fingers and a good repertoire of suitable, singable songs.
Back in July, I mentioned that we’d seen the film Yesterday at the cinema. I got a chance to watch it again last night, when a few of the blokes from my church got together for a curry and film evening.
Having seen it for a second time, I think I understand more clearly why it appeals to me. The protagonist of the story is a musician who keeps on pouring out their creativity but, until the miracle moment of the film, hasn’t hit the big time (and it takes a while even when he seems to be the only one who remembers the songs of The Beatles). I know a lot of excellent musicians you won’t have heard of unless you happen to have mixed in the same live music circles; people who keep music alive rather than the very small number who find themselves enjoying obscene levels of riches.
It is also a story of redemption. Without giving too many spoilers, our hero, Jack Malik pursues a lie and finds himself becoming a product rather than a person, making several bad choices along the way. I’ve never heard the song ‘Help!’ as such a cry from the soul as when it comes up in the narrative of this film. However, despite making a series of bad choices, Jack finally listens to a voice of wisdom and, from my perspective, the end is both beautiful and happy.
A final bonus for me was that I think I spotted someone I know on the credits. Camilla George is a great sax player who I did a couple of jazz gigs with about 12 years ago. I’m pretty sure she was in the “brass band” in the Wembley gig scene (yep – just sent her a message on Facebook and she’s confirmed before I finished this blog post!). There are better places you can check out Camilla’s playing (start on her website) but, even so, Yesterday gets thumbs up from me.
My timing wasn’t great when it came to walking down to town this afternoon. I’d planned to finish at about 3pm and was actually wrapped up round about 2:30pm but, by then, it had started raining. I checked the forecast and fairly heavy rain was shown for the rest of the afternoon. Since I needed to get to town and I hadn’t driven in the morning, I decided to head down anyway.
Unfortunately, that co-incided with the heaviest downpour I’ve experience for quite a while. Mind you, by the time I reached the point where I was about to give up, the rain eased off and wasn’t as bad for the rest of the afternoon (unless it hammered down again when I was making use of the library).
I’m now back, changed and letting the wet things dry out! Fortunately it looks drier tomorrow.
One of the unexpected but welcome things I was given as part of my new worship pastor job was a copy of the Church of England Lectionary 2020. It’s an ecclesiastical document and follows its own inner logic and actually begins on 1 December 2019, the beginning of Advent (anticipating the birth of Christ; as this was the beach head of God’s salvation plan, that does make sense), and so I’m already almost a week into it.
One of yesterday’s morning prayer passages was Isaiah 28:1-13. In the NASB, the core of verse 12 is God’s proclamation:
Here is rest, give rest to the weary
Isaiah 28:12 (NASB)
I may not be getting the full sense of it in context but this was the portion that stood out to me. Particularly approaching Christmas when, even more so than the rest of the year, most people would describe themselves as “busy”, I think the community of the church should take time to understand and enjoy the rest offered by God and to share that with those who are heavy-burdened.
Possibly that title is a little more sci-fi than required but I did learn a couple of neat tricks about adding folders to the dock in macOS earlier this week.
In particular, I liked changing the viewing options (I can now easily navigate round my Dropbox folder without opening Finder first) and also using smart folders to create custom searches (such as all Logic X projects on my system). I managed not to get too carried away but would definitely recommend this video to other Mac users.
Knowing that it was uncertain whether I’d be in Oxford or Loughborough on 12 December, I elected to arrange a postal vote. It turns out that I’ll be in Loughborough and will be getting the keys to a rental property the next day, so that was a sensible choice.
That means I’ve already had my ballot paper and, since I’ve got a busy few days ahead of me, I exercised what I considered my moral duty and got it completed and posted back this evening. Oxford East has been a pretty strong Labour seat since 1987 and Anneliese Dodds got a resounding victory when she took over from Andrew Smith in 2017 (about 65% of the vote from a 69% turnout – up even further on both counts). Technically she is actually a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate but, since they’ve had a strong electoral pact since 1927, that amounts to the same thing.
It’s a secret ballot, so I shan’t tell you where I put my cross. However, there are two parties that I hope get a real drubbing at the polls. I think they will here but that may not be the case nationally so a brief summary of identities and reasons is below:
The Brexit Party: this is a one-issue party that is the current home of the cult of personality which clusters around Nigel Farage (look how UKIP has fallen into disarray since he moved on). I don’t see much evidence that the party has anything to offer the body politic beyond its views on Brexit if it does get members elected and this is, after all, a General Election and not a referendum.
The Conservative Party: Boris Johnson alone is enough to give me a low opinion of a party that doesn’t seem to be much into conserving things any more. He has proven himself untrustworthy in public life, has no qualms about promises he is palpably unable to fulfill (does he remember that he said he’d rather be dead in the ditch than not leave the EU by 31 October just past?) and is morally questionable in his private life too. He (and Farage) couldn’t be bothered to show up for a recent TV debate, which shows a contempt for the public. I’m also disgusted by recent dirty tricks from the party as a whole, like trying to set up a site posing as an independent fact checking service.
Anyway, I’ve now revealed some of those I didn’t vote for but even if you disagree and would support either of those two parties, do please make your mark in this election. Worse than Brexit MPs or a Conservative victory is a country where a third of the electorate are so disengaged that they can’t even be bothered to have a say.