Friday, 26 June 2009

I hate pigeons

On the way home from the Banksy Exhibition (see previous post) I was innocently walking along the pavement when, suddenly, the wrath of a pigeon descended on me from a great height. Typical.

Banksy Vs. Bristol Museum

This afternoon, we went to see the Banksy takeover of Bristol Museum. We know the museum well, and it was fascinating to see how it looked after being Banksy'd.

The museum is littered with 'new' exhibits by a 'local artist', and these range from the ridiculous to the sublime, all done with an edge of social comment and dry wit.

If you haven't been, but are thinking of doing so - Go. It's brilliant.

Here's his 'Flight to Egypt':

And the incredibly moving 'I hate Mondays':

A quick google image search will give you a flavour of the exhibits, so I won't reproduce more here, but to do justice to the exhibition it simply has to be seen in situ.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Postcards from the Wall #3

Here's the third in my series of postcards from my study wall:

Monday, 22 June 2009

New Pew

This weekend I took delivery of my very own pew...

It comes from the Vine Baptist Church in Sevenoaks, where I grew up and was Baptised in 1986. They are currently renovating the church and the old pews, which date from 1888, have to go. So I've got one. Here it is in my study:

This afternoon, John Weaver (our College Principal) decided that my study was lacking something, and a few moments later he appeared at the door with a lectern and Welsh Bible, from which Martyn started to read:

And here's me, the ever-attentive congregation:

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

MotoGP is THE BEST motorsport (well, F1 comes close)

Many will know that as far as sport is concerned (and as I've said before), if it doesn't have at least two tyres and an engine, I'm not that bothered.

F1 has been a passion for many years, but in recent years, particularly since getting my own sports-bike, I've been loving MotoGP.

The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) is Valentino Rossi.
He has 8 Grand Prix World Championships to his name.

The young pretender to his crown, and his team-mate for 2009, is Jorge Lorenzo, a 22 year old Spanish rider.

If you have never watched a MotoGP race, and are wondering what all the fuss is about, the final three laps of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix are possibly the most exhilerating three laps you will ever see. So, if you have five minutes and want an adrenaline rush, take a look at this (there are no crashes, I promise):

Chris Moyles

If you've never listened to the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show on Radio 1 - where have you been?!

Well, anyway, whether you love him or hate him, you have to watch this...
In terms of cultural impact, it is unintentionally one of the best pieces of religious broadcasting I have ever heard.

Thanks to Steve Holmes for spotting it. Read his thoughtful analysis here.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Bristol Zoo Car Park Attendant

For those who don't know, I live in Bristol. I'm even a paid-up member of Bristol Zoo Gardens, and visit there pretty much weekly. I don't pay to park, because there's always plenty of free parking in the streets around the Zoo if you don't mind walking for a couple of minutes.

But there's a large Zoo car park out the front where you can pay to park if you're so inclined...

Well, this morning in the car on the way to work I was listening to the podcast of Friday's Radio 4 News Quiz, and Phill Jupitus told the following story which he claimed was from last week's Bristol Evening Post:

Outside Bristol Zoo there is a car-park where hundreds of cars and dozens of coaches park on a daily basis. Until recently there was a very genial fellow with an official looking hat, yellow waistcoat and a ticket machine charging cars £1 and coaches £5 for the privilege.
This parking attendant worked there for about 25 years, through wind, rain and scorching Bristol summers, eight hours a day, six days a week (and Bank Holidays). He was an industrious worker with an exemplary sickness record.
One day he didn't turn up for work. “Oh dear” say Bristol Zoo management as chaos descends on the car park, “we’d better phone up Bristol City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant.”
“” say the Council, “that car park is your responsibility.”
“But” say the Zoo, “he was employed by you, wasn’t he?”
“Not us”, say the council.

Brilliant story!

But then I tried to check out the Evening Post article in question...


Guess what...???

It's a urban myth!

What a shame!

ThisIsBristol tell the story of its circulation over the last couple of years here.

Postcards from the Wall #2

Here's the second in my new series of postcards from my study wall:

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Read my book for free...

...well, part of it!
Amazon have now scanned an excerpt of my book for their 'look inside' feature.
Check it out here.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Jesus loves you

I'm sure some of you have seen this before, but it's new to me, so I thought I'd share...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Postcards from the Wall #1

Those of you who know my study, will know that I have a number of postcards on my wall. One of these featured in this post. But I thought the others might be worth sharing...

So here's the first:

Monday, 8 June 2009


A thought to start:
If you hear thunder, you might say it's 'thundering'
So what might you say if you see lightning?

Another thought:
Why is there not a verb for the act of making a verb out of a noun?
What should it be? To 'verbalise'?

Anyway, to the point:

I'm a big fan of Chris Ellis's work.

His contributions to Baptist hymnody and liturgy are immense, and he brings a lively and creative mind to his linguistic creations.

I was fortunate enough to have Chris as my minister for five years in Sheffield, and we have been good friends ever since. I have particularly appreciated his pastoral care at a number of crucial points in my own journey. Chris, if you're reading this: Thanks. Chris is currently the minister of West Bridgford Baptist Church, and Moderator of Baptist Union Council.

He has a certain 'style' to his hymns and prayers, which often leads him to start 'adjective-God'...

Some examples:
(admittedly most of these are from 'Gathering for Worship' so some of them may be by Myra Blyth the co-editor of the book, but this is a blog and factual accuracy is, as we all know, a moveable feast under such circumstances!)
  • 'Passover God we remember your faithfulness...'
  • 'Creator God, you make your world so rich with things to do and know...'
  • 'Loving God, we come in answer to your cal for faithfulness...'
  • 'Loving God, we give you thanks...'
  • 'Faithful God, in faith and hope...'
  • 'Living and gracious God...'
  • 'Almighty and eternal God...'
  • 'Creating and redeeming God...
  • 'Covenant God, you are always faithful...'
  • 'Generous God, pour out your Holy Spirit...'
  • 'Merciful God, whose steadfast love is renewed every morning...'
  • 'Eternal God, in Jesus Christ you have given to us...'
  • 'Living God, loving father...'
And so I could go on...

However, with Chris's latest book, this pattern takes a new twist...

'Adjective-God' becomes 'Verb-God'

The adjective has been 'verbalised'

The 'Guide for worship leaders and worshippers' is called... 'approaching GOD'

This isn't a review of the book - but just to note that it is EXCELLENT and I think everyone who leads worship should read it.

What I want to draw attention to is the similarity of the title of Chris's new book and that produced by his brother Rob a few years ago (also a superb book and worth reading):

It must be a 'family-thing'...

A thought on missiology

I am fed up with people who think that living the gospel is the same thing as attempting to convert the world through sheer force of enthusiasm.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Procrastination is the key to success

It has often been observed about me that I am 'the king of procrastination', and it is true I could procrastinate for England.

If something can be put off for another day, then it probably should be!

When I was a teenager, a good friend once asked me why I continually played 'chicken with my work' and she was very definitly on to something in identifying one of my key personality traits.

Now, I could refer you at this point to my personality type: in MBTI terms I'm a 'P' which, although it doesn't stand for 'Procrastinator', certainly could do.

According to the
  • I work in bursts of energy.
  • I am stimulated by an approaching deadline.
  • Sometimes I stay open to new information so long I miss making decisions when they are needed.
Yep - that's me!

Indeed, it's freqently been said of me that my work is outstanding... sometimes by several months!

If I have work to do, I will find a hundred creative ways of avoiding it. I'll watch TV I would otherwise hate. I'll go for walks. I'll stare out the window. I'll empty the diswasher. I'll hoover the house. I'll blog. Anything to avoid doing what I have to do.

Now, you might think that this is a recipe for a professional disaster... But I've learned to use it to my advantage!

The secret to using procrastination as a key to success is to have more than one thing on the go at once.

Here's an example: I've been putting off writing a paper. I just haven't been able to get round to it. Then, yesterday, a massive admin job landed on me. Now, to avoid the admin, I'm writing the paper. Go figure.

I suppose, when I need a break from the paper, I can put it off by doing the admin.

You see, it's quite simple.

Procrastination really is the key to success.