Blog archive October 2010
these women are in their 60s [old age pension, free bus pass etc]. no wonder the government is raising the pension age to 66 [and beyond] as soon as it can.
i just found this email i wrote to cathy kirkpatrick - text only, no addressee so it took me a while to work it out:
at grace last night, being stuck for ideas for a pentecost service, we used your 'fire' service as featured in the prodigal project. the tvs were set up in a horseshoe around a flaming barbecue in the centre of the church. around the tvs, an outer necklace of candles. our new vision mixer, on 'permanent loan' from the bbc, makes whole new realms of video effects possible, which look pretty good on five screens. we think we'll use the arrangement again for events - i'll send you pictures when i get them out the camera [a couple of months]. for the service itself we stuck to the original script.
we had our share of technical hitches. as i read 'the fire of god's presence' ["there is nothing but the fire and the darkness"] the tvs switched to benign blue sea creatures while the video guys scrabbled at the controls. the flaming coal for the tongs wouldn't glow, and as it was passed round each person blew on it to try to get some orange; it became a sort of ritual action, but meaning what? one child was only just dissuaded from taking the coal in his hand. we tried to burn adverts symbolically, but the pieces of paper were too large and went up in sheets of flame, threatening to fly off the barbecue and stressing the vicar. but it was a good service, and the beautiful setting was a sacrament.
afterwards, my hour's drive home on the motorway became a kind of harmonious extension of the service. the road was uncrowded; the orange floodlights curved overhead in the deep blue summer night sky, the red taillights and white headlights in motion, the blue glowing rectangles of signs; people would travel to see such displays. the engine of my vw bus makes its coffee-percolator burbling somewhere in the back.
when i got home i ate strawberries, for the first time this summer. it felt like a moment to make food up, to eat three of something that comes in twos, to eat things that are not like the meals your mother taught you. unless you had a strange hippy mother who had thrown out order in cooking as a product of the system and was teaching her children that you could eat anything, anytime, however you liked.
while digitising my tape collection i recovered half a side of rave-era pirate radio recorded on 21st october 1989. i often used to listen to pirate stations when working late in the office alone - this was a brief golden age of stations run by people who were also running legal and illegal raves. as in this clip, the stations existed to advertise raves - in a cat and mouse game with the authorities, the venues were kept secret so it was necessary to phone the numbers given out on the radio to receive directions. often the directions were in pieces - you had to follow the first set, then phone in to hear the next part - from a public call box as only rich people had mobile phones then - often the venue itself was changing as the police chased the organisers!
on this evening i remember grabbing a tape i could bear to record over and stuffing it in the machine to catch this - there was a sense that things were reaching a crisis point as the police got better at busting raves and radio stations. this page [dead link] gives you the history - note the entry for 21st october. chuck d's plug for biology was in vain!
the tv news feature that the dj mentions at about 3m30s is, amazingly, on youtube here - you can see the poor biology ravers getting nowhere. at 2m15s you can hear the dj from my soundclip telling everyone the bad news.
to put the grace zines on smallritual.org i had to remove some other things - btinternet/~smallritual is full at 50Mb - the space that came with my broadband account 10 years ago. btinternet webhosting ceased to be mentioned or offered by BT c.2004, and i waited for smallritual to disappear but nothing happened so i forgot about it. i had hoped that the space had been increased over the years or could be, but it seems that btinternet is only being maintained as a legacy - i now notice that my ftp login says 'BTopenworld maintains this FTP archive as a service to its Internet customers'. BT support staff are generally not aware of its existence any more. so there's nothing i can do to make it bigger, and it may have the plug pulled by BT at some time. time to look for new hosting.
the old grace zines 1998-2000 are now available as pdfs here on smallritual.org - they will probably go on the grace website later. i've improved them in various ways - they are now in colour and the images can go full bleed - extra material that was lurking in the original graphics files has been added, and some less good stuff removed. for those who weren't around back then, i used to print 50 copies and give them away at the end of services from time to time - i think the original intention was once a term ie three times a year, but that only happened in 1998. it was a nice way to bag up some of the stuff we'd been doing in the days before we were publishing on the grace website or had blogs [a long time ago!].
i had been meaning to do this for a few years, since i had the software - the original files are in an extinct format. what finally provoked me to do it was buying the restored version of space:1999 on dvd to watch while ill - and i remembered grace:1999. the first improvement was to replace the old lo-res cover image with a hi-res one from the dvd.