white dove

Posted in journal on November 12th, 2011 by george

Yesterday was Remembrance Day, or Veteran’s Day as it is known in the US. I chose to go and sing in the street in Kettering, Northants. I set my alarm on my ‘smart’ phone for 11am, so as to be sure to observe the customary 2 minutes silence at that time.

I glanced at my phone some 10 seconds early, and turned off the alarm as I leant my guitar against a nearby tree. Turning to see how people in the fairly busy market were behaving, I could see that most people had come to a halt, some it seemed frozen mid-action, and a definite hush had descended on the town. To be sure, some people carried on regardless, apparently oblivious of the stillness around them. Mostly though, small groups, couples and single figures alike remained still and absorbed in silent reflection.

A small group of pigeons were bustling around each other in front of the town hall. At almost exactly 11.02am, a white dove swooped in low across the square and landed among the pigeons. A second later, a trader shouted, “…apples 49p a pound…”, and everyone resumed talking and moving.

None of us could have scripted such a scene.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , ,

remembering St John Fisher and the monstrous King Henry VIII

Posted in humbug alert, opinion on June 22nd, 2011 by george

On this day in 1535, the great John Fisher was beheaded at Tower Hill in London. He shares this feast day with his friend and fellow martyr, Thomas More.  They both forfeited their human lives for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII’s claim to be Supreme Head of the Church in England and for upholding the Catholic Church‘s dogma of papal primacy.

Henry VIII is often popularly viewed as a lovable rogue, a champion of wine, women and song. In fact he was a monster, who set a precedent for the sort of self centred greedy bastards who have been running this country ever since. Marrying 6 times, he pioneered a complete disregard for the sanctity of marriage.

Central to his Reformation manoeuvres was the dissolution of the monasteries, who until then had provided for the impoverished in the form of land for them to cultivate and live on. This land was taken away and given to his cronies, creating a new landed gentry beholden to the crown. It is claimed that a fifth of England’s landed wealth was redistributed in this way. Suddenly there were tens of thousands of dispossessed poor with nowhere to go, and no means of support.

Henry had created a new underclass. This alienated much of the population outside London and led to a northern uprising, the Pilgrimage of Grace comprising some 30,000 rebels. Their leader Robert Aske was arrested, charged with treason, and executed along with some 200 of the rebels. This put an end to the disturbances.

How was such a fiend allowed to wield such absolute power? To this day the English are accomplished at murmuring and complaining, but have little enthusiasm for revolutionary action. So the prevailing bullies go about their nasty business, encouraging the population to drink up and forget about it. Cheers mate…..

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , , ,

banality & disaster

Posted in journal on March 11th, 2011 by george

This morning, I logged on to Facebook to see what was up. Half way down the news feed was a post from a journalist friend with a link to a live BBC news feed about a 8.8 earthquake in Japan. Clicking on the link I quickly discovered the enormity of the tragedy. Several minutes later I returned to Facebook.

There were a few sympathetic messages about the Japanese disaster. The rest were as follows; invitations to gigs, dinner plans, complaints about partners, “I’m so lonely….”, an offer of ukelele lessons….you get the picture.

Its hard to say if this is reassuring or deeply disturbing. A bit of both I guess. Life goes on, as I’m sure we would all want it to. What can we do? If you think prayer makes a difference, as I do, then a few minutes praying for the many people affected would be time well spent.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , , , ,

Ash Wednesday

Posted in journal on March 9th, 2011 by george

First day of Lent today. Went to mass this morning and had ashes smeared on my forehead. I have signed up for 40 days of no coffee or tea. Also no meat, cheese, alcohol or TV!

Not for the first time I am aware that what I am denying myself is all stuff I’m better off without anyway. So apart from all this detox, I am planning to spend more time praying or helping other people. Which it has to be said, will also improve my well being.

In some ways, Lent is a time to get a glimpse of a better life one could enjoy all year round.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , ,

my spiritual home

Posted in journal on January 2nd, 2011 by george

Why, in this city that never sleeps, do I always feel at home? I lived here for 9 years in the 80s but that was a long time ago. Still, now as then, I love this town and the way it seems to take me to its heart.

Much has changed. Then it was cheaper, more dangerous, funkier….The likes of me could afford to live here. Today it is very different. Yet much of its unfathomable centre remains unchanged. A friend once described it as ‘….like a big old snake….regularly shedding its skin, but continuing to crawl and slither on…’.

I’m sure I have nothing original to say about it. But it continues to affect me, whether I’m here or not. To me it represents a tumultuous crossroads between the old and the new, a resounding now that includes yesterday and tomorrow, but is bogged down in neither.

In a way I cannot begin to explain, I am more able to be myself here than anywhere I have ever been. This may seem fanciful and sentimental. So be it. I am grateful to the town and its wonderful people for helping me feel this way.

I have been in the US since November 20, and in New York since December 6. I fly home to Cambridge England on Wednesday Jan 5.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: ,

not feeling great

Posted in journal on August 25th, 2010 by george

This morning finds me less than 100%. Nonetheless, I am able to perform various tasks. In fact the more I do, the less I dwell on how half-assed I feel! So I will not bore you with the details, but carry on doing the deeds with gusto, until I can no longer stay awake. By which time the way I feel will be of zero importance. I might even feel better!

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

I don’t want to die here

Posted in journal on August 22nd, 2010 by george

Last night, over a most enjoyable dinner, some of us fell to talking about plans to find somewhere else to live. Our outlooks and intended courses of action were quite varied, but our motivation and reasons for thinking this way were very similar.

At different times, two of us said, “I dont want to die in….”, followed by our current places of residences. I have lived in the same town on and off for many years. Its a town I know too(?) well, and don’t like living in very much. Several times I have been geared up to take my leave, and something has happened to postpone my departure. Still I remain convinced that the day will come.

I am not at all convinced that leaving will be the antidote to my dissatisfaction. Although there are a number of places I believe I would be happier in, I don’t know that I will ever find somewhere to settle. Perhaps I am doomed to wander back and forth until the time and place of my demise present themselves.

What seems clearer than ever this morning is that for all of us the location is not the problem. If we were living our lives to the best of our ability, doing only the things most important to us, then where we were wouldn’t concern us. I am loathe to admit it, but I remain up to my neck in procrastination.

So although I remain as determined as ever to move, in the mean time I pray for the resolve to change my life right where I am. I can do better, and that being the case, there is no excuse for not doing so.

When death comes to claim me, I pray my house is in order, and I am in the middle of doing things I believe to be good. Then where I am at that time really wont matter.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , ,

Maud

Posted in announcements, journal on August 2nd, 2010 by george

MaudMaud is the name coined by my son for our recently purchased car. Maud is an automatic diesel Mercedes, and is a dream come true.

In these dire times it may seem both foolhardy and a little sick to covet and own such a thing. Like many people, despite serious reservations, I have accepted that for the moment I cannot do my thing without a car.

Throughout my life, I have owned old cars. Usually I am the final owner. That being the case, I have mostly had decent old cars. Why drive an old Ford when you can drive an old Volvo? An automatic diesel Mercedes has always seemed to me the very best car I could ever hope for. Now I have one!

So welcome, Maud, into our family. Your superior engineering and the very comfortable ride you provide are much appreciated. We shall do our best to maintain and care for you in the times to come. Long may you run.

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , , ,

to drink or not to drink

Posted in journal, opinion on June 10th, 2010 by george

Throughout my life, it is music that has been my number one preoccupation. However during some periods of my life, drink has run a close second. Since I was a teenager, I have had a long and turbulent relationship with the demon alcohol.

My family moved to Cambridge in 1967, the summer of love(!). At seventeen and fresh out of boarding school into a student town full of pubs, my drinking career took off without a hitch. For the next several years, despite passionate affairs with most of the available recreational drugs, drink remained the undisputed protagonist in my hedonistic heart.

I moved to London, then the streets of Paris, where hours of playing music every day began in earnest. Still a drink of some kind was never far away. Life’s essentials were reduced to a minimum as all surplus funds were offered up at the altar of Bacchus. Fortified with ‘Dutch courage’, I embarked on one adventure after another throughout my 20s. Having lived to tell the tale, I cannot honestly say I regret my alcoholic exuberance. Without the booze, I may never summoned up the nerve to do many of the things I did. Read more »

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , , , ,

vying for position

Posted in humbug alert, opinion, rants on May 7th, 2010 by george

UK Election synopsis….government closes up shop and for weeks and at great expense, professional liars bombard us with empty promises, at the end of which a bamboozled nation is unable to decide conclusively, probably because the choices are so poor…the result leaves the state more bankrupt than ever, with no honest men able to effectively steer us toward something better, leaving ordinary British people more angry, confused, frustrated and miserable than ever….can we learn anything from this fiasco?….probably not….we have been perpetuating the same crock of s#*t for so long we dont know where else to turn…
in a  nation driven to drink a long time ago, the winners are probably the pubs, who will be busier than ever, filled with those drowning their sorrows, and those who have washed their hands of the whole sorry charade….

Click to share this post with friends.

For more great content, remember to subscribe to my RSS feed. Subscribe

Tags: , , ,
Get Adobe Flash player