Saturday, July 30, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate factory

A wonderful film, went to see it this evening. Visually it works really well, Tim Burton is such a visionary when it comes to these things. The last 10 min of the film is somewhat disappointing though.

South Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Chris Clark came to visit me today in his new car, he'd already been to pick up Helen C and she had the great idea of going to South Yorkshire Sculpture Park to have a look around. I'd never been before, and really enjoyed the experience, fantastic vast grounds in which are sequestered many varied sculptures to explore and find. in addition a number of galleries too. Sculpture is an art form that I don't normally appreciate, not someting you see often - apart from statues. In fact, whilst looking at some of these pieces I wondered how it was possible tolearn such techniques to create such vast pieces of work. Some of the pieces must have been incredibly difficult, technically, to construct, and expensive. Helen mentioned that cost was the most prohibitive factor whilst studying art, so the main medias were paper and video. Which is a shame to think that our most inovotive young artists are limited due to lack of funding - who knows what they could come up with otherwise!

I like these pieces, the bold primary colours, and the way that they appear completely different from various angles.

I quite like the form of steel girders, the rusting really gives them some kind of character of their own. How would you put something like this together, or imagine the angles that it would produce?

This anvil is huge, and when i first saw it, i didn't even spot the figure mounted at the top.

Helen had spotted this sculpture from afar, and thought for a moment that it was me, despite not having a head! So I made it look more like me!

Just demonstrates the beautiful surroundings to the sculptures.

Chris pretends to admire a piece, whilst Helen hides behind

I really liked the use of space in this gallery, I took a few surrepticious photos. The colour pictures were vast canvases and must've been a huge task to create mainting the same colour throughout. In fact the black piece had been produced using a knife an dthe different thicknesses of oil made the light shine differently upon the piece, so that close up there were distinct differences in the sheen.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Greenbelt Wristband

I almost forgot, I received my Greenbelt wristband today in the post, along with the "do not put this on until you get there" advice. Fantastic, I'm really looking forward to this. It's such a great festival, so much to do and get involved with. There's even some good music lined up already, I'm particularly anticipating seeing Estelle live. There's a few good poppy tunes on her album, almost as good as Ms Dynamite.

Then for 80s nostalgia there's the proclaimers and for something a bit different a dj set from Gilles Peterson - nice!

Miserable weather

It really is pretty dreadful weather today. Been caught in the rain a few times walking to and from the community centre. Wish I'd applied for the job now, but cos it's only part time I was put off. It's all good experience. Bluestone rang me up and they've got a week of work next week, so that's good news.

House group is cancelled too, and I've been looking forward to that all week. Typical, though the way this week is panning out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Still nothing on the job front, luckily I'm doing a few hours at the community centre as an interim manager. I'm enjoying it and putting together a database of user information on outlook express, so hopefully the new manager will be able to use mail merge functions for sending out invoices etc.

This evening I've been to Cheseterfield to watch a preseason friendly against Spanish Premiership side Malaga. Planned to meet Scott and David at 6pm, but got there 15min early cos I came on the train. A packed Virgin train, squeezed into the end of a compartment near the toilets - it stank and no windows to open. Virgin trains are proper rank. Anyway standing up for 20 mins in that condition had got me feeling a bit weak in the knees, so I called into a pub for a quick half pint. It was much needed, I was really thirsty. Met up with Scott and David and intended to go to this really good real ale pub for a meal, but it no longer served food - so next best thing was Wetherspoons. Nice and cheap, and it was good to catch up with Scott, haven't seen him in ages. He's a big Chesterfield fan and had already been to a number of pre-season games.

The match itself was rather dull, as is the norm for the preseason matches. Interesting watching trialists trying to impress, some looked like they certainly had potential. Chesterfield lost 2-1, not bad considering the opposition. Our consolatioin goal was quite spectacular, a long range top corner blast froma young lad called Adam Smith.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The best chat

I've had in ages..

Met up with a friend who used to go to WHY and is now studying art at St Martin's College. I was fascinated to see how a year at art school had affected her faith and perspective on all things. It was great to see the ways she had been challenged and the affect of post modernity and it's failures. Incredible wisdom and insight - that I wish I'd had at her age. She had become a member of Christians in Art and this seems like it has been a valuable fellowship of support.

It was good to see someone else who had obviously had the same problems that I had with faith, but coming at it as an artist whereas I approach it as a scientist. Questions like are the ways that you think of things that challenge your traditional understanding of christianity that you received from church right? And do you worry that ppl will think less of you as a christian in these traditional settings because you are challenging these preconceived ideas. All very interesting.....

I'm a genius - give me a job

Well that's the approach I tried today as I went around the various employment agencies in town. Took along a revised CV that focused more on me being able to do anything rather than my scientific expertise.

Seemed like a waste of time tho - all the students have taken all the temp jobs and they said no-one would take me on permanently cos i was too qualified. Pretty annoying, especially one agency - Manpower (A horribly gender specific name, don't you think) who had work for a medical secretary, but wouldn't even consider me cos I don't have any experience - I've got a chuffing PhD you fools!!!!

proper pisses you off.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

War of the Worlds

Now that I've finished Harry Potter I've begun reading Cloud Atlas, which seems like an interesting novel - I'll let you know when I finish.

Richard's brother has been over for the weekend to celebrate his birthday and we enjoyed a few ales at the fantastic cask and cutler friday night. Last night they joined me and andrew at the cinema to watch War of the Worlds. An enjoyable film, not a great one, but the effects are really stunning and makes for gripping viewing. Bit of a soppy ending as you'd expect with Spielburg, but was interesting to hear the acknowledgement of God as creator of the microbes that caused the demise of the aliens and the fact that humans had evolved over millenia to gain immunity against them. Similar to the novel, but I wouldn't have been surprised if the reference to God had disappeared.

Don't think Spielburg has ever seen a microbe down the microscope as those on display looked rather suspicious. Those on display were certainly supposed to be eukaryotic - whcih is strange - a yeast infection perhaps? As well as a defined nucleus they also had these other strange compartments that didn't appear to be either mitochondria or Golgi, so who knows what they really were supposed to be!

Helen P came round this eve and we watched Pirates of the Carribean, chatted about my travels and stuff. And finally I was able to have a Harry Potter conversation with someone who has finished the book. So could try out all my theories I've been gathering from the net.

Friday, July 22, 2005


The past couple of days have seen interesting developments in pursuit of purportrators of terror. This has included the killing of a suspect on a London tube train, which to me is quite disturbing, that our police now have the power to shoot and kill suspects on the spot. In fact watching the news today has been somewhat like watching an episode of 24, but from the public perspective - just imagining a Jack Bauer character chasing these terrorists.

Which brings me to something I mentioned earlier - what is happening to the reporting of news? At the moment as soon as a major incident occurs the BBC are asking for pictures and video footage from mobiles to be sent to them, instantly there are reporters on the scene interviewing eye witnesses, and thus the eyewitnesses accounts of affairs become a kind of fact or truth in the public eye. These accounts are retold without emphasis on the effect of circumstance on interpreting events. Quite dangerous. Is it just our own insatiable desire to know everything that is hapening in such exceptional circumstances that fuels this? i must admit as soon as I hear of such a story I'm either turning to the TV for 24 hour news coverage or going to the bbc website.

Why is it that we like to be in the know?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Gordon was up for his graduation and I went to meet up with him at the pub. It was interesting hearing the graduation tales, strange to think I've don it twice now...

It was good to get out and spend time with friends at the pub, haven't done that in ages.

Still wanted to chat about HP, but no-one I've met has read it yet. Found this great site though called Harry Potter Lexicon which has loads of information on all characters, spells and beasts including derivation of each. It's interesting how knowing the derivation helps understand more about the word inquestion. Some things were obvious like Sirius Black, Sirius being the name of the Dog Star and Sirius being able to turn into a dog. But it has interesting info like Albus Dumbledore's brother is the barman at the Hogshead!

The moon was large and full this evening, tinged slightly yellow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Half-Blood Prince

Well I'd have never guessed who it was!

Just finished it today, and it was gripping as ever. I won't spoil anything for those who've yet to read it, except it's terribly sad at the end.

Just want someone to chat about ideas and theories for the last book now!

Monday, July 18, 2005


Not felt too tired at work at all today, finished around 3:30 and went home to catch up with Harry Potter, I'm really enjoying this installment. In fact I was so engrossed I didn't realise the time and was surprised when Andrew called round at 7pm to give me a lift to Bryce's for a meal.

Nice to catch up with Bryce, it will be a shame to see him leave the circuit, he has brought a lot of useful talents and been a big help to the work of Christ in his section. It was also incredibly interesting to hear his story of how he felt called into ministry.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday Funday

Another good nights work, most people were well behaved and at 4am as dawn drew in me and Craig went around the site taking up all the tape markings from around the camp site that marked out all the plots. It was strange to think that we were wide awake working whilst everyone was oblivious to us, asleep in their tents.

Got about 4 hours sleep before leaving and meeting andrew, matt and emma for lunch. Headed down to Carver fields for the circuit Sunday Funday which had all the markings of being dreadful...

However, it was ok, plenty of people came and although there were plenty of things to do, i was quite happy to sit and read Harry Potter and chat. Too tired for anything else. The weather was good, so made for a pleasant afternoon.

Tired, asleep by 8:30pm

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Or lack of it. Went to bed at 8:30am and my head was all foggy cos i was so tired. Couldn't sleep well. Although I was given a room to sleep in during the day it was right above the dining tent where young people were shouting oggy oggy at the top of their voices. Then at 10:30am a drumming workshop started up!! Now Cliff is a fairly large site and of all the places they could hold such a workshop they decided upon outside the building where the night stewards were trying to sleep!

On a beter note, I've been given access to the new Harry Potter book to read, so i did that whilst the workshop continued outside


So to celebrate 60 years of MAYC a weekend event had been organised at Cliff College. I use the phrase organised loosely, as per normal it was arranged in a chaotic manner. In fact I had been quite annoyed at having volunteered to help steward and not hearing officially that I was required until 2 weeks before hand. And then I still didn't know what I was supposed to do until I was due to start. That's what happens when your church doesn't employ people with good management and organisational skills and relies on friends of friends to bail them out and volunteers whose time is not valued.

Hmm that's a bit of my rant - i won't continue otherwise I'd be here for ages and ages.

So I've been awake since 6:50am on friday and won't be off to bed until 8:30am saturday. My job involves checking people aren't making too much noise during the night and are in their relevent tents/rooms and a few jobs around the site. I'm joined by a nice guy called Craig who was asked to help out by his friend on Tuesday!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Old testament

So been doing a bit of work at Bluestone this week, but there isn't enough to keep me there all week. I should really use my free time better though. Should start looking harder for jobs, but it's just too demoralising to be bothered with. There is opportunity to work full time for Bluestone, but that position won't be available for a few weeks yet.

House group continues to be interesting studying deuteronomy. You can really be quite critical about our interpretation of Christianity reading some of these passages. We discussed to some extent what making a graven image is. This passage is quite specific about how any representation of God be it human or otherwise is forbidden. In contrast to Christendom where great art works have been inspired to represent God and even our representation of Christ as God in these passages seems to be wrong. That gets us into the difficulty of understanding the trinity and the triune nature of God. Fascinating.

We concluded that as long as we knew that representations of God would only display a minute portion of what God is, then they would be ok to help inspire us in worship etc. Cos I find images useful, especially when we know how limited language and words can be - pictures can just be so much more expressive and fresh and animated.

Alison also commented on how valuable she found the prayer room at the weekend which was welcome encouragement, and good to hear that people really felt a peace of God upon them whilst praying there.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Some prayer pics

Pictures from the prayer room

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Prayer slot

So think I finally dropped off to sleep properly sometime after midnight. I'd set my alarm for 2:40am but it eventually woke me at 2:50am quickly changed and washed my face to try and wake myself up and entered the prayer room. A cup of tea was first on the agenda, and once that had passed my lips selected some tunes and began exploring the room. Wrote a few prayers, then a Moby track inspired me to try a drawing. Did a bit of dancing too, don't know where the time went really. After 4am the room steadily got lighter and 5am soon came round. Just had time for a bit of Taize singing, but no time for reading.

From what I've heard a lot of people found the time in the room really helpful and beneficial. Which is encouraging, hopefully we can run something longer next time. Just hope that it's easier to fill the time slots, as that is very hard work!

Friday, July 08, 2005

24 hour prayer

Arrived at church at just after 5pm to start setting up the room, Siobhan, Greg and Andrea came to help. Covered floor in dust sheets, walls in backing paper for graffiti, set up tables for painting etc, hung drapes across the room to split the space up into sections and added some small desk lamps for lighting. Set up one section with loads of bibles and prayer books and finally set up laptop with operation world info on. All slots were filled with me and siobhan doing a 2 hour slot each in the small hours. The room looked really good and Gill arrived as the first person, whilst she was utilising the room Steve was waiting for her and found that the thought for the day in the Sheffield Star was about praying, including a bible passage.

Greg treated the room decorators to pizza, which was nice. Watched Royal Tennenbaums before trying to get a bit of sleep before my prayer slot.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

40 years....

Looking at Deutoronomy in bible study at the moment and i engaged in an interesting discussion about the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. To me the actual physical presence in the wilderness is not a punishment, and a place that I'm sure it would be common for nomad tribes to inhabit. I think that the time was required for the Israelites to put all their faith in God. They failed to enter the promised land the first time round because the journey did not appear to them to be an easy one, a land already occupied and although they agreed it was a land of plenty, it didn't come for freee as such and required faith in God to help them settle in an occupied land.


How can you legislate for something like this?

It made my stomach lurch when I heard the news. At once awful and terrifying and on the other hand fuelling this sense of needing information. Is this longing for information a product of my generation, so exposed to news that we insist on knowing every last detail of what has happened to help us process the event?

A real tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Getting creative

Siobhan helped me decorate some drapes for the 24 hour prayer room this evening. Projected images onto sheets and drew them roughly, painting over them. In the end they looked quite effective. Got home around 10pm and my head hurt, another exhausting day and again no work on the horizon. Had to sit down and get myself together. Tried a beer from my cask, and it was ready - got a slight hint of the sterilising solution to it though :( Next time I'll make better attempts at washing it out.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Back working at Bluestone this week, quite a bit of filing to get on top of. Continued trying to fill prayer slots this evening. Attempted an early night to catch up on lost sleep from the w/e. A futile task as I couldn't drop off, too many things spinning in my head. Like - when am I going to get a job/get time to apply for jobs.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Farewell service

Attended the farewell service for Bryce and Maggie this evening. Had arrived early to set up sound stuff for band members. Decided to send left and right sound up the inbuilt XLR cables to the inhouse amplification system. Ended up being a waste of time because their amp is only mono!

There were loads of people at the service, in fact nearly all the congregation from the mornings CVM service were present in the evening!

Amusing thing was this activity that all the congregation were invited to take part, creating a college from post it notes. The thing is it took about 40 mins for everyone to queue up and stick a post-it onto the picture! Still it was a good opportunity to chat with friends sat nearby.

On a plus point, because there was so many people from around the circuit present I was able to get quite a lot of people signing up for the 24 hour prayer day and from a variety of churches. So the original aim of getting people who had never tried this style of prayer on board seems to be becoming a success. The next step is to see what they make of the event and how to progress the idea for Pray Without Ceasing next year.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


An early start this morning, up about 4am and meet Ellen around 4:45am to drive up to Leeds to catch the train to Edinburgh. Jo joined us and we met Gill at the station. The chartered train was an old style passenger train which seemed to take the interest of a number of train spotters on our way up.

The weather at the start ofthe day was grey, drizzly and overcast. In contrast Edinburgh was bright, sunny and warm.

I've never seen so many peolpe before, thousands all gathered on the meadows awaiting to join the march around Edinburgh. There was so much going on, it was a shame that we had such a limited time there. Took two hours before we were actually on the march, in which time people had already completed it! So the city of Edinburgh was completely surrounded by a ring of people dressed in white.

Incredible - it really must make a statement to all those gathering at Gleneagles that 225000 people would gather in support of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY without the pulling factor of live music that draws the crowds to Live8.

A long and tiring day. But hopefully it will help press the world leaders onto the path to aleviate world poverty

Friday, July 01, 2005

Church Council

Had a bit of a lie in this morning after the long journey and busy week. My sister was over to see my mum too as it is her b'day tomorrow. Gave my mum her present and then chatted with my sister, haven't seen her in ages.

Another busy day as I finished preparing a presentation for church council to show all the costings of our proposed redevelopment scheme. The meeting was conducted in a wonderful spirit. I presented the figures and David shared the discussions the property group had had on the options left open to us. We then spent a bit of time in silence and prayer whilst Andrew lead us in song before making our decision. The decision being that we continue to press ahead with the plans, despite being short of around 150k, as we believe that this project will help us fulfill the vision we believe is from God to create a new kind of church building in that particular area. Hoping that the circuit will be our guarentor as we seek further funding from granting bodies.

It's not going to be easy!