Blog archive September 2009

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30.09.09 / 01 / more redundancies

not a good day at work. another round of redundancies was announced. i've dodged the bullet for the third time, but morale's not good. the boss was visibly upset at having to make the announcement. matters are complicated by mandatory HR procedures which drag out the process while seeming to leave everyone in the dark as to who's going until they go or have gone.

but i'm not hugely surprised. some of us have been very busy this year, but it's not clear what will sustain us through 2010. i don't expect any real recovery in britain until 2011. there has to be an election next may at the latest and the direction of the economy and of the public finances are uncertain until that's done.

19.09.09 / 01 / more tattoos

adding in lines to mirror the ones on my left arm and shoulder. i look more balanced now. there's space to fill in later around the labyrinth tattoo. the outlines hurt more than i remember from the last time, but the fill was ignorable, which is strange because it's a triple needle and the outlines are a single. harry spent ages getting the lines in exactly the right place on my body before inking, checking symmetries, curves, distances from joints etc. he's a perfectionist, but that's the way it has to be.

Tattoo 190909 04 web

16.09.09 / 01 / yesterday's tomorrow's world

more nostalgia - the bbc has created the tomorrow's world archive.

to publicise it here's a compilation of tomorrow's world clips from the 60s and 70s. the first home computer terminal, a mobile phone with a dial, moog synthesiser, and some failures.

love the groovy credits of this 1965 episode. as for the content, it's fascinating to see things being thought about for the first time, but the pace is glacial by today's standards. elsewhere, paying by debit card and pin number make their debut in 1969, and a 1979 prototype of the mobile phone has a dial and curly cord like recent novelty handsets. notice how weird it seemed at the time to be able to roam freely while talking on the phone.

15.09.09 / 01 / toy car nostalgia

the sight of this prompted me to photograph some of my old matchbox toy cars for flickr. and the comments led me to this dealer site which makes me slightly breathless - i possessed around 50% of these cars. when i was small my dad used to come home with them as a present for me, and the ones from the 50s were in the toybox at my grandparents' house which had belonged to my uncle. it's amazing to see them again as i first remember them - new, with paint on.

but some of the breathlessness is no doubt due to the prices quoted! in fact this site has truly breathtaking prices, but the models are mint condition with boxes.

i had the original james bond aston martin in 1965. i tried cleaning it once with lilac wax polish which stuck in all the grooves. it got lost when we moved house :_( strangely, we still have the 'villain' from the ejector seat.

11.09.09 / 01 / in praise of the sci-fi corridor

wonderful article about an essential aspect of nearly all tv/movie scifi, bringing it into full view. you won't look at these things in the same way again. my personal 'first scifi corridors' are the ones in the dalek city on skaro in the original 1963 'doctor who and the daleks'.

dalek corridor skaro

the crosswalls contain metal doors that rotate downwards to cut off sections, and on the wall in each section is a dalek eye stalk.

06.09.09 / 02 / computer dating 1960s style

this dating agency leaflet fell out of a 1960s book in oxfam. what is extraordinary is not the vague claims to computer assistance [although it may be a first], but the questions which give a rather startling insight into social mores at the time. whose ideal date would be 'not interested in sex'??

06.09.09 / 01 / cybersyn and the socialist internet

i'm indebted to vaux for bringing to my attention the extraordinary cybersyn project of early 1970s chile - an attempt at using information technology to enable a centralised planned economy, a 'socialist internet' years ahead of its time. [in fact, to call it an internet is misleading - it was a centralising system not an emergent one - the factories were not expected to collaborate with each other except via the state. but i find the term 'socialist internet' provocative.]

unfortunately it didn't really get going before pinochet's military coup brought the whole socialist experiment to an unpleasant end. the operations room [below] was a marvellous space - like the entire project, it's 70s science fiction made real. but the metal inserts on the lefthand arms of the chairs - are they ashtrays?



Now I think about it, this is so obviously 'up your pipe'. Thanks for the HT on behalf of 'Apple'. Also, if you have any interesting thoughts on the relationship of Technology and Theology please feel free to post something on the Apple blog. We're blowing the Vaux thing wide open— opensource theology, swarm fictions. Hope to see you on the 17th.

nic hughes

i hope that we're meeting in a room like this on the 17th! this is the new vaux chapterhouse...


02.09.09 / 01 / bluegrass eucharist

one of the very best things at greenbelt this year was the bluegrass eucharist service by house for all sinners and saints. they were scheduled up against headline act royksopp, so i had to make a choice of solidarity - i feared they wouldn't get many takers. how wrong i was! they filled the venue and turned 100 away.

and the service was marvellous. singing's a funny thing. so often it's no more than half-hearted mumbling, and some alt worship groups have given up altogether rather than drag an unwilling congregation through the motions. and yet - if you get the style and the songs and the mood right, the results are astounding and transcendent. why did hundreds of people sing so lustily songs that they barely knew printed in that stave-with-words-below format that's so hard to follow? i guess it's one of those things where numbers really do make a difference - the more voices there are, the better it sounds and the more people want to join in. and the style of the music is so cheerfully singable - large chunks of the liturgy were also sung, but what a contrast to the classicising formality of the standard church of england version! the liturgy and music were created by kent gustavson, published as 'light into the world: hope for a new day' and available from amazon or

oh, and the sermon was great too. some people at grace feigned shock that i should praise a sermon, but as with singing, what works, works!

i captured as much footage as my camera would hold. first up, pastor nadia bolz-weber introduces the service with some references to the current swine-flu rules - no common cup, servers using hand gel etc - all of which will be subverted by the general hand-shaking and hugging of the peace!

nobody wanted to leave at the end, so the last couple of hymns are really an encore.

people were saying afterwards, how about this for the sunday morning mainstage communion? i think so...


For you to praise a sermon, it must have kicked theological ass. Wow.

becky garrison

Steve, thanks for posting this... it was a fantastic service and as you say the sermon was well placed and thought provoking. Certainly a New Forms highlight this year. Did you by any chance record the sermon?

ellen loudon

sadly no. wished i had. the only answer is to record entire services and edit, because it's hard to guess beforehand which bits are going to be good.


thanks Steve, this was certainly one of the highlights of my greenbelt this year - I am the blonde just in front of your camera in the first few vids. I thought the sermon was great too!


Thanks so much for this Steve! I can't tell you how much fun this was for us. I'm happy to send you the text from the sermon if you'd like.

nadia bolz-weber

nadia has posted the sermon text here


Hey Steve. I'm the Methodist HFASS-er from the B&B. Thanks for posting the video, I had no Idea it was on the net. I'm glad you liked what we did. Your thoughts on the nature and experience being transcendent was well said. I'm glad that is one of the things people could take away from our service. Good luck and many prayers for your ministry.

john ashley

Does anyone know the words that they used during the absolution, I found them very moving but cannot remember what they were. Thanks


Hi Steve, I'm the main cantor in the videos above, I was wondering how I get permission to see them. Thanks for the writeup, by the way, we had as much fun singing for you as you did worshipping with us!

jessica glaser

how do you get permission to watch the videos? I was at Green belt last year and also at this particular event - so would like to see the clips - thanks

gill taylor

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