A funny thing happened on the way to the station

Well, actually, in the station, to be precise.

Now, the reason it’s funny is that, having had some formative on a mostly English-speaking street in Holyhead, whilst being bilingual, my inner monologue has been in English. That just happens to be the way it’s always been.

So, I was in the queue for coffee. I was mulling something deep and profound – such as the Incarnation, or perhaps the riff played on a kazoo in "Blithdraphlith" by Sibrydion, something like that, anyway – and it came my turn to pick up my coffee from the little window.

And I said, "Diolch yn fawr".

This is the first time in my ever increasingly old life that I have done this in England.

The oddest thing was that the guy behind the counter said "Cheers" in response.

My depression’s been playing up lately

Which meant I didn’t enjoy Greenbelt quite as much as I normally do – though see below for the good stuff – and I’ve had to cry off a volunteer rota I’m on for tonight because I’m just not up to it.

Anyway, ten good things about Greenbelt:

1. The Wibmeet, natch. Again, a fine performance by myself in consuming Dave and Charlotte’s crisps, but at least I brought my own wine this year.

2. Having a drink and later a couple of chats with Stephen Tomkins, which is always nice, which came about as a result of:

3. Gerald Ambulance.

4. The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.

5. David Batstone.

6. That film review of the year thingy.

7. The Communion service, which this was not long and rambly.

8. The French potato stall.

9. Chatting with Rhys about Welsh pop (Rhys being the only other person at the Wibmeet who actually knew what words like "Y Cyrff", "Radio Luxembourg" and "Sibrydion" meant)

10. Lleuwen Steffan.


The BBC have a website called “Cymru'r Byd”

On there is a “gallery” of famous people from various areas.

For example, here's the one for the north west:

Look at it carefully. (You won't need to speak Welsh to read the names).

Yes, it really does say Dawn French is from the area, and tries to create a connection with Naomi Watts.

Did you ever see that character on “Goodness Gracious Me” who claimed everything came from India?

More amusing adventures in Idiot Land

Some while ago I went to a wedding in sarf Lahndon.

The following things actually happened. No, really.

1. In pub toilet. Drunk bloke wonders by as I am washing my hands.

He: Is that a real white stick?
Me: Errrrrrrrr…… yeah
He: Does it mean your hard of sight of hard of hearing?
Me: …………….Hard….of….sight.
He: Yeah, I suppose it would be.

2. At the wedding reception, approached by middle aged lady who has been dragging her recently blind husband around like some invalid:

She: I think you’re doing marvellously well!
Me: (internally) I haven’t got much bloody choice, have I?

3. At a station. Drunk person approaches

He: Good blind man!
Us: (discussing this after letting him go out of earshot) Does he think I’m in fancy dress?

A nice, new blank entry

What shall I write in it?

Well, here are two things that bug me.

1. That stupid little dog thingy that snuffles around the screen when searching for documents in Word.

2. The lie that Anglicans tell that there are about 80 million of us – WRONG! If you discount the 46million people in England who are only "Anglican" because we say they are, that actually means we’re a piddling little denomination of about 35m, far less than the Methodists worldwide.

Absolutely last ASB-related entry

Yesterday, my grubby little hands took possession of a splendid, and cheap, large format (and therefore larger print) edition of the ASB. It looks like the President’s edition and has got Gonville and Caius’ college stamp inside. Got it from Lund Theological Books, on that world net interweb thingy.

It has five – yes, five – marker ribbons.

My joy is complete.

Onwards with the Revolution, Comrades

Well, that was weird.

For years I’d worried about having no impact on the world whatsoever, and then in just one entry I attract the attention of Maggi Dawn and a former member of the Liturgical Commission.

How strange is that?

Better not say too much, though, as it might draw the attention of other authorities, and the Bishop of Ripon and 250 clerics will launch a raid on my house at 4 in the morning, looking for prayers of Mass celebration.

Thanks all for the comments – and a big "Hi" to Paul and Maggi as well. I particularly liked the comment "There’s some god stuff in [CW]". After all that debate in Synod, I should flippin’ well hope so.

I liked someone’s comment – Maggi’s? – that CW is a bit like a website in a book. That’s rather astute (and therefore I shall claim it as my own idea and appear far cleverer than I actually am). I remember being in a nunnery when CW;DP Preliminary Edition was the office book and (apart from their very annoying way of chanting the psalms – do NOT get me started on this) – the really, really annoying bit was the jumping about for seasonal materials, refrains, and all sorts. It was an absolute nightmare, particularly for someone like me who is partially sighted (page jumping not a good thing, especially when they’re pages printed by Church House Publishing whose appreciation of the subtler points of the eyesight of their market are as much as that of a concussed bee – if you’re reading this CHP, go and look at the Methodist Worship Book or the Words Only edition of the URC’s Rejoice and Sing or the Cambridge UP 3-volume BCP – that’s how you do this properly).

I approach my use of the ASB as a variation on the permitted "Prayer During the Day" – intro, Psalms, reading, Canticle (which is of course variable to the day of the week), Prayers. Easy. In fact, I’m adapting as I use it – e.g. yesterday at MP I found it helpful to go from the end of the Venite ("… for he comes to judge the earth" etc) into using the Confession from EP. I’m being post-modern with a modern text. Woo, and, indeed, hoo.

What I find odd is that the ASB Shorter Form – which is in structure a bit like PDtD, but without the Canticle (boo!) – wasn’t retained. Perhaps nobody ever used it? It’s interesting to note that the Durham Office looks a bit like it, with the addition (sadly) of some poor opening prayers and those hated responses.

Am I being nostalgic for the ASB in some bizarre pre-midlifecrisis-crisis sort of way? Possibly – some of these texts are suprisingly deep-rooted in me (along with the 1588 versions of the Lord’s Prayer and Psalms 23 and 100 in Welsh which I had to learn as a child).

But there’s also two practical reasons, which I mentioned before – typeface, and you don’t need a separate Bible. I worked out there’s some 70 Sundays and other days (e.g. Easter Week) in this book, some with as much as 6 readings due to the two-year cycle. That gives 350-400 substantial portions of scripture, even before you get to the Saints Days and Commemorations for the Installation of an Abbot.

At present I’m taking the Year 1 OT reading as my daily reading – which draws out the stepped thematic purpose of the lectionary quite well. That sort of pattern should keep me busy for a good couple of years, and then adapting the lectionaries in tables 1 and 4 is enough to keep someone going for a lifetime, without having ever again to try and navigate those booklets with all 17 different daily lectionary options all spread out across the page. Bliss.

Ok, so they’re out of synch with the calendar, but whenever I’ve tried to follow a set calendar I’ve found myself failing after 6 days and getting depressed and cross, so for now, if it’s alright with everyone, I’ll stick to a pattern that allows me to follow the readings in the book at my own pace. Anyway, I’m laity carrying out a private devotion, so the rules for clergy don’t apply to me. Nerr.

Sorry, didn’t intend this to be so long or so grumpy. Must get back to work.

Now, I know I’m a contrary one,

but this is rather strange.

As is normal, my prayer life dragged to a halt some time ago. I pondered what was going on about this, and decided that I like having something written in my hand to follow. I really, really can’t do this in my head on my own – especially anything approaching praise, which usually ends up as "Er, hello God, You’re great. Er, really great. And quite big."

So, like the dutiful Anglican Reader wot I am, I explored the Common Worship Daily Prayer addition.

And found it terribly annoying.

This is why:

1. The type. That "Gill-a-bit-like-the-Tube-map" might have looked funky in 1999, but I find it quite tiring to read – it’s also hard against cream paper when it’s that thin, feint setting.

2. TOO MUCH STUFF! I mean, experimenting with it, I spent as much time thinking about choosing a pryaer or a canticle or whatever as I did praying.

3. Refrains. Sweet mother of Vernon, I KNOW these are traditional parts of Christian public worship, but has anybody actually sat down and thought about what’s the point of them? Seriously.

4. Responsary – this is the random bit of verses that come after the reading. They’re supposed to help you ruminate on a verse or something, but in a very annoying manner and, I might add, if you were using this out loud in a group you’d be cantering through this stuff without it ever having an impact. Again, what’s the point?

So I thinked some more about this, about what I like – it’s

1. Simplicity
2. Everything in one place
3. Nice type.

And guess what? I found it in the ASB. Yes, the hated ASB. The psalms are obviously there, and because they put every reading for a Sunday or Holy Day in, you’ve got a fair whack of the bible in there too, plus the Shorter form of MP and EP are so, so simple – opening, psalm, reading, canticle, prayers.

And it’s in Palatino, nice, friendly, cozy palatino – hell, I was even nostalgic for Rite B as I was reading through it.

What’s going on?

More Welsh pop news

Saturday saw the arrival of a package from Ankst records (www.ankst.net) in Pentraeth, Ynys Mon, which contained a whole host of goodies.

Firstly there was the two Datblygu cassettes. Imagine Mark E. Smith, having a really, really bad day, in Wales.

Then add some more doom and gloom but a bit more coherence to the lyrics.

Stir well.

Et voila, the twisted genius that is David R. Edwards. Their last ever album ends with him stomping away from the mic grumbling "F*** off, Talwrn y Beirdd" (see previous entry). Splendid stuff.

Another great ranter is Ifor ap Glyn, who pops up on an Ankst compilation singing "Fydd y chwyldro ddim ar y teledu gyfaill" (The Revolution Won’t Be On TV, Friend – which I suspect is a slightly sardonic title, given that the only industries in Wales at the moment are tourism and the media, so the revolution will have to be on telly, because that’s the only place people live. But I digress)

Amongst Ifor’s splendid spleen-ventings are:

"The revolution won’t be on the TV, not even on S4C a week after it was shown on Channel 4 and introduced by Melvyn Bragg"


"The revolution won’t be a repeat,
a translation
or an adaptation
of a tenth-rate idea thrown out by Thames TV
in 1973."

And then there’s the compilation of Radio Cymru sessions that various Ankst bands did (including Rheinallt H. Rowlands’ cover of a Joy Division track – now THAT’S depressing, Wood), a record that proves (a) all good things come to an end (the show was axed pretty soon after the compilation came out) and (b) Catatonia were ok but hugely over-rated.

On the same day, got hold of "Cusan Dyn Dall / Blind Man’s Kiss", Menna Elfyn’s book of poems published bilingually by Bloodaxe. She really is very, very good.