Blog archive March 2003

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28th March 2003

Another busy week endeth, and I have finally got a week's leave. Obviously I could spend it catching up on all the stuff I'm waiting to add to this site. Photo essays, church interiors, it's all there in embryo, just needing Photoshop time. And then there's the Small Fire frameless rebuild half-done. But I needed to go visit my aunts/uncles/cousins/grandmother etc who providentially live in one town, Grimsby on the east coast of England. I haven't been for at least five years, and my remaining grandmother is 96 so I've been chancing it. And now duty calls. But only till Wednesday, when I'll be off to St. Ives to chill in the beachside cafe for a few days.

In the meantime here's a thing I wrote on the vexed subject of Biblical inerrancy which I still quite like. And I put a puff for the 'Alternative Worship' book/CDROM on The book launch in London is on Thursday, but I'll be away.

Posted by Steve at 10.10pm

23rd March 2003

This from Karen Ward's blog - it made me laugh so I had to copy it:

karen's native pomo x10c
1 source code
props 2 parental units
don't spam or slam
show at church
ultra props 2 god
no doggin'
don't take no one out
garbage in = garbage out
no 5 finger discounts
check the green eyed monster

Posted by Steve at 1.55pm

20th March 2003

This must be the first war in history where the weapons are smarter than the president.

Posted by Steve at 9.20pm

19th March 2003

Photos of the Superstudio exhibition [see below 15th March]

Posted by Steve at 11.05pm

18th March 2003

Something is wrong with my compact camera. I've noticed for a while now that carefully framed shots are off, but the latest bunch have been all but spoilt. It seems that the viewfinder no longer aligns with the lens - maybe through being bumped or dropped [though never far].

Which prompted me to get my 1980 Olympus manual SLR out of its bag. I hadn't really used it for years, since the focussing screen didn't work too well with the 28-80mm lens I added. And it took so long to focus with all the rings that I didn't think I could use it for anything that actually moved, like people. So I bought the Minolta compact for recording alt worship and left the Olympus in the cupboard. But I now realise that I seldom take a snatched photo anyway; that focussing on people in low light conditions will never be precise; that the optics in the old camera are better. So while the compact gets examined I'm resurrecting the old camera and thinking about accessories. I never got round to buying a flash gun for it, which is how I learned to take long hand-held exposures in poor light conditions. Which certainly proved useful. But a soft indirect flash would help with very dark environments, or infra-red ones like Vaux!

Strange to think that my SLR camera was the most expensive thing I owned before my first computer. Stranger still to think that it is probably worth more, now, than my first computer.

Posted by Steve at 11.30pm

16th March 2003

Oh, and another thing. Lemon Jelly played again at 11am the following [Saturday] morning, for children. No adult unaccompanied by a child, no over 12s. Which is partly an acknowledgement of the appeal of their music to children. But it is also recognition that their adult audience now have children. This much was evident looking around me on the Friday night. The rave generation are now hitting 40.

Posted by Steve at 12.30am

15th March 2003

Saw Lemon Jelly play last Friday. On arrival we were given Lemon Jelly lucky bags and a bingo card. There followed three games of bingo instead of a support act. Lemon Jelly's set was essentially their CD tracks with added accompaniment - and just fine that way. The storming live version of 'Road to Patagonia' was better than the album. There was a guy with a wooden duck on a stick. Several thousand people sang "All the ducks are swimming in the water"... but what really stunned us was the light show. State of the art LED wands in computer-controlled animated light patterns. The effect a bit like the barcode submenus on this site, if they were lights and animated and changing colour up and down as well as side to side. It had the intense eye appeal of electronic fireworks. We want Adam to get us some for Grace. But if we had such lights no-one would look at anything else.

Since the gig things have gone a bit Lemon Jelly. The splendid screensavers from the website are on people's screens and on the TVs at Grace. So is the record deck postcard image from the lucky bag. The t-shirts look tempting too. Oh, and Daniel, 'Lemon Jelly heartily recommends the fine clothing brand that is Carhartt".

Posted by Steve at 11.45pm

15th March 2003

Went to the Superstudio exhibition opening last Tuesday evening. Superstudio were a radical Italian architectural group of the 60s and 70s whose environmentally conscious anticonsumerist stance was ahead of its time. They made radically utopian projects which humorously critiqued the conventions of architecture, society, education, religion and the like. Their most famous image, the 'Continuous Monument', packs all humanity into an endless pure white gridded building circling the globe - thus freeing all the rest of the planet from exploitation. All problems of design having been solved in a single gesture - everything a white grid, possessed by everyone - we can get on with the things that matter such as relationships and rituals. Their film 'Ceremony' explores domestic ritual with humour and irony in a way that looks like alt worship, right down to the muslin meditation enclosures. The Continuous Monument itself strangely prefigures the Internet. Certainly their work is an influence on the Small Ritual and Third Place stuff elsewhere on this site. Walking into the exhibition was simultaneously exhilarating and depressing - exhilarating to see all this stuff packed into one room, depressing to realise that my ideas had been done better thirty years ago.

Before we entered the exhibition the four surviving members of Superstudio discussed the trajectory of their work. Their first rebellion was 'Superarchitecture' - but they found that all they had done was to produce things that people wanted to consume. So their second rebellion was 'Life without objects' - possess nothing but your heart and head [and the egalitarian grid of the Continuous Monument will supply all your other needs]. Does this trajectory sound familiar to alternative worshippers?

Posted by Steve at 10.25pm

15th March 2003

Saw a brilliant piece of subvertising this afternoon. Since the late 80s London Underground have been running a public art series called 'Poems on the Underground', using advertising spaces on tube trains to carry poems famous and obscure for the pleasure of the traveller. The Poems in my District Line carriage had the same distinctive graphic style of any other set. The titles were familiar. But the reading pleasure was of a different kind... I had time to scribble down three. Shall I compare thee to a multinational?

Posted by Steve at 8.30pm

2nd March 2003

My conversation with Daniel about the social positioning of his new Carhartt jacket reminded me of an article in The Face June 1992, noting the emergence of authentic workwear - the sort of things worn by American/Australian postmen or refuse collectors - as street/club fashion in Britain - Carhartt being one of the major beneficiaries. I scanned it and sent it to Daniel, and then I pulled out the copies of The Face June-December 1989. These contain the graphic story 'Signal to noise' by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, which was the eventual inspiration for Noise in 1998 which then became the Noise station in the Labyrinth in 2000. The idea just lodged in my head. The graphic story concerns a film scriptwriter dying of cancer, writing his final script about the expected apocalypse of AD 999. It's a moving tale about facing death, worth revisiting, and was later published as a book.

Weirdly, the November 89 issue of The Face also contains a piece about the degree show of one Paul Hobbs. He's a friend of Jonny's, has done stuff at Grace and his paintings are on our walls. The 1989 stuff was called 'Bread of Life', and consisted of 30 loaves made in materials such as wax, papier mache, rubber, wood - only one was actual bread, and that one was wrapped in barbed wire.

Posted by Steve at 11.40pm

2nd March 2003

The DVD that comes with 'Blower' [see the booklist right] is alone worth the price of the book. Instead of the usual snowboard movie aesthetic - clips of jumps to a 'rad' punk/hiphop soundtrack - Jon Boyer gives us Koyaanisqatsi for snowboarders - beautiful imagery to some great chillout music, not a hint of 'X-treem' sports nonsense. Heavenly - I watched it right through three times straight. Nice to find one other person that sees snowboarding the way I do.

Posted by Steve at 2.20am

2nd March 2003

astonishing interactive site - surely what gibson's cyberspace was meant to look like. plunge into the data flow.

Posted by Steve at 1.40am

2nd March 2003

The King's Arms

I'd like to sit
On a bar stool in heaven
Right next to Christ.

We'd share a jug of beer
And a packet of smokes
(although I doubt he'd inhale)

I think I'd tell him
About fast cars on open roads
8th birthday parties
And Arsenal's disappointing away form
I hope he'd tell me
About his favourite star
Why sheep exist
And how he thought of photosynthesis

By the second jug
We'd move to sit by the fire
Have a couple of cigars
And a packet of peanuts

I think I'd get angry
And ask Him
About rape and HIV and Hiroshima and cot-death
Then he'd get even angrier
And ask Me
About rape and HIV and Hiroshima and cot-death

And then
Then maybe we'd sit quietly
And sup our pints
The fire would burn
The logs would crackle
And the world would turn

After a while I'd tell him a story
He'd tell me a joke
And we'd play a few games of dominoes.

This a poem by dfg that is in the same sort of territory as some of my stuff. The rest of their stuff is in its own territory.

Posted by Steve at 12.20am

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