Archive for the ‘ Ramblings ’ Category

Singing silence


It has struck me that I have written about various things here, but I haven’t really touched on singing, which is an important part of my life and forms part of the blog’s title.  So why not?  I’ve realised that singing is surprisingly hard to talk about.

Technically, I’m not a great singer.  I read music very slowly, and I understand very few of the concepts.  Yet I can vibrate my vocal cords, flap my lips and tongue around and create a noise which people tell me is very pleasant.  I can’t improvise a harmony as many people can, but I can learn a harmony and stick to it.  When I sing, I like to use the words and the emotion as much as (perhaps more than) the notes, so I’m probably more an actor who sings than a singer who acts.

So, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but it feels very right indeed. Better than right, in fact.  Continue reading

On blasphemous operas


A column in the Guardian prompted me to think, yet again, about the intriguing phenomenon that is Jerry Springer: The Opera.  This is a show that I feel rather strongly about, and given that I am an evangelical Christian, you might think that you can see where my thoughts are likely to be headed.  You’d probably be wrong.

Continue reading

On crossing the road


Hello, everyone.  My name is David and I am a pedestrian.

Sometimes I feel that this fact about my boring little self is sufficient to mark me as a social outcast, a strange and peculiar creature that should not be able to function within the bounds of modern society.  Yet somehow I manage very well, and have no desire to learn how to drive.  I’d be a rubbish driver, anyway.

Today, as I wandered the streets of Singinglibrarianville in search of a prescription for my housemate, I was struck by the many oddities of crossing the road, a routine pedestrian activity.  I am glad I live in the UK, land of the amusingly-named crossing places, and more importantly, a land where pavements (sidewalks) actually exist on almost all roads, and where crossing the road somewhere other than a crossing isn’t a crime against the state.  Anyway…  Continue reading

Higher education = Big Brother?


It has occurred to me that there are disturbing parallels between my work in the Library of Doom and the world of so-called ‘reality’ television. Both provide a vital social service, but the populace at large is probably blissfully unaware of this. We keep strange people out of the workforce and off the streets for a period of time, contributing to the overall sanity of the nation.

I do not watch reality shows very often, but it is sometimes unavoidable due to friends, relatives and housemates who devour them greedily, thrilling to the exploits of the publicity-hungry folks these shows tend to attract. Increasingly, the cast list of these shows (I’m looking at you, Big Brother) largely consists of strange, unpleasant people who I’m very glad I’ll never have to meet. For anything up to three months, these people are locked away in a secure environment, meaning that their interesting social skills are only inflicted on a dozen or so people. Thankfully, it seems that the British public decides en masse that nice people should win these shows as often as possible. And also, I have to admit (grudgingly, mind you) that Big Brother has probably done wonders for tolerance, acceptance and inclusion, in that the past winners have included a gay man, a male-to-female transsexual, a working class chappie and even, of all things, a practicing Christian.

Higher education performs many roles, but at least where I work, it fulfils the same vital function as reality TV. I see disturbing numbers of people every day with bafflingly low levels of knowledge, intelligence and common sense, people who surely could not function in the workplace. For three years, or possibly more, we shield society from these people and attempt to teach them the skills they’ll need to survive. We try to show them how to think for themselves, demonstrate how to interact in polite society and force them to fend for themselves without mummy or daddy to cook, wash and clean for them. “How long can you borrow a 7-day loan for?”  “Have you got any photographs of the Great Fire of London?” And of course the brick wall people, who make you feel like you’re either talking to or bashing your head against said edifice. Don’t you feel glad that the valiant staff of higher education institutions are keeping these people away from the rest of the world and at least attempting to turn them into functional members of society?

Maybe the analogy’s not valid, but it struck me recently, so I thought I may as well share it.

Taking pride too far?


Pride is a strange thing. I’m not talking about hubris, or the pride goeth before a fall sort of pride, but the pride you can have in other people, or rather the pride that other people can have in you. Parents seem to have a natural ability to be proud of their offspring, but my recent foray onto the stage has a attracted quite a bizarre mix of pride manifestations.

The sweetest is my sister, who told everyone ‘my brother is/was in a show!’ and was positively beaming when I saw her in the bar after Me and My Girl (my latest show, and my first principal role since I left school almost 10 years ago). A colleague, who also attended the final performance, said that it looked like she was going to burst, she was that proud. I suspect I’ll return the compliment in August when little sis gets married.

Strangest is a colleague who’s convinced that I’m somehow going to leap from amateur theatricals to international stardom (which would be awful – even if it could happen, I wouldn’t want it to, as I’d go insane). Any bit of progress I make, or thing I’m asked to be involved in, leads to a chorus of “I told you so, see big things are happening”. It’s exciting, yes, but it’s hardly as big as she makes out. She has also taken out dibs on writing my official biography, bless her.

Most inevitable is my mother, but I only discovered the extent of her pride in what I did when I visited home last weekend. She already caused me great embarrassment at church the day after the show, when she almost succeeded in derailing the service by talking to the worship leader about it. People from my church obviously don’t see my parents very often, so they have a very odd image of them! To be fair, though, I did have quite a queue of church folks congratulating me after the service. When I went home last weekend, I went along to mum and dad’s church (which was my church when I lived at home) and discovered that she had shown the programme and the reviews of the show to everyone who knows me. I can just imagine her accosting random people and forcing them to be very interested.

I’m embarrassed, but also deeply touched to see how much I mean to people around me. I am proud of what I achieved, in a dazed sort of way, but their sweet, demented, sometimes misplaced, somewhat excessive, pride is a different thing entirely. I’d best stop writing now, as if I dwell on it too much, I may start to cry.

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