Blog archive May 2005

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30.05.05 / 01 / no job

i just noticed something...

the email button on the CV site homepage links to steve@smallritual.COM which i don't own. maybe that's why i never got a job that way. oh shit.

29.05.05 / 01 / heritage websites

i just rediscovered my first two websites.

Another City is a piece of alt worship history. It was an attempt at a series of collaborative Millennium events by the alt worship groups of London and their friends, to take place during 1999. I somehow ended up as co-ordinator - my first big job in the alt worship world and the foundation of my position there since. We drew up a great programme of events, but most of the groups could not commit to times/dates/venues in time to get any publicity done, so the series got pushed back to the second half of 1999 and then cancelled. The one thing that emerged - at the point where we cancelled the rest of the series - was the Labyrinth at St. Pauls Cathedral, which had been slated for June and then September, and finally happened in March 2000.

Oh, and Abundant discovered St Peters Kennington Lane while searching for a venue, and started Vaux...

The website was my first, done in an add-on to Freehand called Insta.HTML that eventually grew into Dreamweaver. It turned your graphic file into web pages, but the code sucked, so I had to learn HTML in order to correct it. the rest follows...

btw if the pieces of Another City seem out of alignment try reducing the text size in your browser. this was before style sheets!

I also found my CV site [resume to you yanks] from july 2000, made the same way. looks damn sharp - but that's what happens if it's all images. i was touting for a job outside architecture - didn't get one though :_(

note that smallritual hadn't happened yet [though i had the domain], and smallfire had only just been launched - it had that TV graphic for no more than two months before the brown/orange version came along.

21.05.05 / 01 / grace weekend

Some incriminating photos of today's aspirational grace planning meeting in Esher. we're doing what other bodies might call a 'church family weekend' but that's too fluffy a description for us to acknowledge ;) . the idea is to spend some time together out of the usual rut of service planning, to take a longer and wider view of what we do and instigate some changes in how it's structured. it's been a productive day, we seem to have the bones of a new approach. now we're back at the bakers planning in outline the next year's events.


Man...miss all ya'll. Where was this again? Who's/What place? Why do images load so slooooow? WTF is "outward impulse"? What's "out" and "in"?

daniel miller

miss you too.

this was a millionaire's house just southwest of london. the owners go to the church that moya and andy go to on sunday mornings. they let church groups use it for day retreats etc. so moya fixed for grace to use it. i lived for many years in the next town and used to drive past this house quite a lot. always wondered who lived there.

i think 'outward impulse' referred to our wish to put stuff out there eg ideas, resources.


20.05.05 / 01 / st mary-le-bow

st. mary-le-bow crypt cafe pics in photo albums. for those who want to start something to inspect the premises. nice bit of sixties concrete. nice food.

19.05.05 / 01 / broadband

have broadband again, so it won't take me all evening to do stuff now.

not wireless yet though. hardly worth it to go five feet.

18.05.05 / 02 / sydney

just booked flights to sydney for two weeks in june. am going to see cathy kirkpatrick and andrew lorien. they've been begging me to come ever since they were in england for greenbelt 2001 [middle photos].


So meaning there's a 4-year delay between request and actual visit means we can expect you in Dallas sometime 2008-9?

Seeing those GB pics (hadn't made it myself yet then) made me miss it and sad that I probly won't get to come again this year...maybe never. :(

daniel miller

yey. sydney is one of our favourite places on earth. i'm sure you'll have a great time.



jonny baker

since you've flown half way around the world to get to sydney, why not drop into new zealand for a few days. we'd love to put you up.

steve taylor

18.05.05 / 01 / headhunted

i got a call from a headhunter today. while he didn't have anything to particularly tempt me, it was grossly flattering. and leverage against my [current] employers - better give me that pay rise! wonder who's been putting my name about?

15.05.05 / 02 / easyworship

some things are beyond satire...


Distraction Free Worship

EasyWorship is designed to easily display songs, scriptures, videos, and alerts to your congregation with little or no distractions. This is accomplished by utilizing two ordinary video cards with one of the video cards displaying the control screen and the other card displaying to the congregation. This allows the operator to control all aspects of the service and only show the congregation what they need to see for effective worship.


"easysalvation" is designed to easily get you into heaven. "cheap grace" mixed with a few "good deeds" and you'll find the here-after nearer than before...

adam feldman

15.05.05 / 01 / vaux to close shock

vaux have just announced their closure after seven years of controversial creativity. there will be a greatest-[s]hits service on 5th june and a celebratory buffet on 3rd july. the usual fatigue/dispersal reasons are in play, but they also want to move beyond 'the service' and explore other routes.


wow. :( wish i could have been more a part of what it is/was.

daniel miller

maybe it's like obi-wan kenobi. it dies so that it can be with you everywhere.


08.05.05 / 01 / new domain!

i just bought a new domain - don't go, there's nothing there yet - for a project that's been growing in my head for a while. The New Brutalism was an architectural movement, and in the end just a stylistic label - brutalism, small b - of the 50s-70s. When I was first interested in architecture as a teenager, the only books I could get from the local library were from the 60s, so 60s architecture and theory became formative for me - which has always rather set me apart from my contemporaries since this stuff was already out of print and out of fashion before we were students, and has not yet come back. recently i've been hatching plans to photograph various brutalist buildings, and i finally got my POV sorted today while examining the terraces of the National Theatre [any photo project needs a POV].

but i was weirded out to find that the New Brutalism is now a] a band and b] a poetry movement [sort of] based in Oakland CA. This article seems to be the best explanation for the poetry/blogging side of things, and i can't resist a couple of quotes [ok this is the original location of the quote for good manners]:

Top Ten Myths about the New Brutalism

10. In order to become a New Brutalist you have to kill a librarian.

9. Every New Brutalist poem must contain at least one of the following words: teal, monocle, isotope, Minotaur, caryatid, integer, palimpsest.

8. New Brutalists and Creep Poets are mortal enemies who stage secret underground "rumbles."

7. "New Brutalism" is an anagram of "lesbian war drum."

6. James Meetze likes to be called "Li'l Tiger."

5. If you go to Starbuck's and mention New Brutalism, you get a free latte.

4. Joshua Clover wanted to be a New Brutalist but was rejected because of "the way he dresses."

3. Negotiations are under way for a WB series starring that one guy from that one show.

2. Making it known that you're a New Brutalist is an effective way to get laid.

and ... the number one myth about the New Brutalism...

1. It's people—the New Brutalism is made out of peeeooooppppllllle!


Bill Marsh again on assembly poetics:

"The logical endgame of assembly poetics is that (and this is the best part) it constantly disassembles and reassembles itself and thus rarely resembles a poetics. Those who have missed or mourned the absence of a discernable poetics among the tribe's most recent emissaries may do well to consider the "shape-shifting" character of today's assembly workers and their associated assemblies. If you happen to be at the right place at the right time, you may catch a glimpse of what you're looking for, but don't expect too much. The vision will be fleeting, an illusion of sorts, and what's more the people around you may have an entirely different sense of what they just saw, and there will be much excitement but little agreement."

the latter part ["if you happen to be..."] should be a header on


but steve, i may be blinded or ignorant but i don't see any beautiful things in the architecture of that period. why are you so taken with it!!! i need educating to change my mind - or is that the point - to make a website of brutish disgustingness?


you will see beauty when i photograph it! though a website of brutish disgustingness might be fun


the starbucks free latte thing is definately a myth. i've yet to squeeze one out of them...

adam feldman

02.05.05 / 01 / play

i came across the editorial from eye magazine winter 1998 again this morning. it still seems to me to be articulating a vitally important concept for new forms of church, so if i've quoted it before i'll quote it again:

...playing can be a re-enactment of fundamental ways of learning. In some ways, actively solving a riddle can result in a more persistent experience than just memorising an answer. To design with this deeper meaning of play in mind, one has to look at not just the paraphernalia of play, but at the structure. Arranging information in a manner that enables the user to play with it in meaningful ways brings with it a rather different approach to the discursive or narrative structure behind the design.
A designer... would not be formulating fixed answers any more, nor providing established and singular paths through a narrative or an argument. One could say that the 'problem-solver' of old would now put solving the 'problem' in the hands of the audience, the reader or user. Designing in this context would mean making the design playable and the rules transparent...
...a controlled kind of open-endedness and an insightful use of play can benefit even the most hardcore purpose-oriented interfaces or designs. Far from being elusive or dysfunctional, the 'indeterminacy' that characterises play can help a reader to concentrate on the connections between data - when the answers are not given, the questions become of paramount importance.
Play and exploration are closely linked. When designing from an exploratory point of departure, an essential part of the act of signification shifts from author and designer to readers, who become players - and 'winning' becomes understanding... the reader has to analyse before they can move on in the narrative or argumentation.
...To play is an intrinsically critical operation that questions all information the player is confronted with. The player asks: what if? And moves on by trial and error. Questioning the meaning of things and situations, considering the possibilities for alternatives, checking the obvious against the obscure, all are essential to play.
...Enhancement of the message can sometimes mean that the message is made less accessible instead of directly proposed... it is the path towards it that can contain the most valuable information... the real message, then, is how you access it.

I often think theological colleges ought to be reading design books and magazines, because these are the places where the construction of culture is analysed.


Gotta say, as someone on the edge of a theological college at present [my spouse is in training], that I think that this is true in many ways. Trouble is that the curriculum is still being mo[u]lded by certain kinds of academic approaches which are not friendly to this. More's the pity. In fact it seems to me that it's got worse in the last ten years along with the whole academic endeavour being eroded by monetising the wrong things and building inappropriate accountability structures ... whoops off on a rant, sorry I'll stop there. I've jut got "Play Ethic" the book, so looking forward to thinking this through a bit more.

andii bowsher

everything's been damaged by "monetising the wrong things and building inappropriate accountability structures"!

the academic approach needs to be recognised as a particular tool, which may not be appropriate for all uses. a sharp knife may cut very finely, but it's useless for dealing with a bowl of soup! [the academic approach is to freeze the soup first...]


Partly depends on what you want to count as 'academic', of course. My wife used to teach drama; she argues that it can be rigourous and academically excellent BUT not if your definition of 'academic' is based on the study of history, for example. If it's about helping people learn and pushing them to learn well and well-roundedly, fine. But if it's just teaching people to write papers and pass exams, not. It's just that it's easier to measure papers and exams. The real challenge in teaching is to focus on learning and doing the hard work of making sure that learning is appropriate and that we have appropriate means of assessment.

andii bowsher

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