Sunday, 22 September 2013

St Brelade’s Festival of Spirituality: First Thoughts

While it has not quite finished, I thought I'd review some of it event so far. There is still:
2 pm-3 pm The Personal Journey – Healing the Memories
A talk by Brian Clarke on ways to reduce the negatives of life – followed by a therapeutic healing session – in the Fisherman's Chapel, Admission FEE
6.30 Celtic Evening Prayer in the Fisherman's Chapel.

And remember the Labyrinth on St Brelade just below Midbay.  People have been creating and walking labyrinths for centuries. In medieval times, Christian monks would walk them to reflect on the journey of their lives. Beach Labyrinth is a new take on an ancient tradition. How far have you come to this point in your life to be right here, now? Walking the Beach Labyrinth gives you an opportunity to think about the journey of your life. A chance to let go of any rubbish in your life; a chance to draw a line in the sand and move on, a chance to make a solid change for the better.
But in the meantime, here are some brief comments on two of  events I attended.  I'll be reviewing the Ray Simpson presentation in a later blog as well as the God Particle.
Photos of the events so far can be seen here:

Life's Vicissitudes
There are times when I am exceedingly glad of spell check, and that word –must surely be one. Here were different portrayals of clergy, and life's vicissitudes, one of which must surely be how to spell that word, let alone say it. Vicissitudes - not a word you want to say after a glass of wine.
This was a very good evening led by Jo Mulliner with a look at the Vicar of Dibley and clips from Rev for the discussion, part of which was how people see clergy, and how they behave.
What does "Vicar" spring to mind? At that point, Derek Nimmo as Noote in "All Gas and Gaiters" got a mention; incidentally, the radio version is being repeated now on BBC Radio 4 Extra,
It was also looking at contrasts between the cosier presentation of The Vicar of Dibley, which is rural, and written 20 years or more before Rev. Rev is much more gritty and the clips taken from that were much more uncomfortable to watch, particularly the drunks at Christmas Eve.  And it is set in one of the poorer, run down areas of London.
Both programmes take the viewer through a journey, but Vicar of Dibley (and I was surprised at how funny it still is) is much more valleys and hills, going up and down – but not too much. Rev, by contrast is ravines and mountains, but as I've told people who felt it strayed from comfort zones, if you persevere through the deepest valley, the mountain heights will be all the more effective afterwards. Like life, you have to go on the journey and have faith that it will make good in the end.
Jo presented the evening very well, and there was lots of laughter, as well as an engaging discussion between clips, and not forgetting some of  her own and Mark Bond's  personal experience of their own journey, which they shared with us, and made it very authentic, not just a look from the distance.
Matt Harvey
Tinker Taylor,
Soldier Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar man, Thief
Doctor, Lawyer,
Indian Chief.
According to Matt Harvey, the reason why we didn't end up in those rich professions is because when we learned the rhyme (usually after eating prunes and custard), we were never told the last two lines. A class conspiracy! So now you know!
I hadn't originally planned to go to this event, then my poem got on the shortlist, and I felt I had to struggle out on a Friday night, at the end of the week, rather than just putting my feet up.
My poem didn't win – I hadn't expected it too – but the winning poem from an Australia was extremely good, and I can see why it easily won the adult class. The children's classes were also good – but I read the poems later as I had trouble hearing – the microphone and acoustics were not brilliant for someone hard of hearing. It is one of the reasons I tend to avoid hustings and political meetings as well. Fortunately, St Aubin on the Hill has a hearing loop system, and turning my two hearing aids to that meant the sound became crisp and clear, so I was able to enjoy the evening.
"An Evening with Matt Harvey" was a delight. He's an award winning performance poet, and think Pam Ayres but male, and you won't be far off. All of his poems are drawn from like, are quirky, fun, and linger after the laughter has gone, and there was plenty of laughter. One or two of the very quick ones were like Ronnie Barker on speed. And interspersed was light banter, strung between the poems like a thread between beads. It was an evening I'm glad I didn't miss, and great fun. I loved the love affair between flotsam and jetsam, the one about slugs, the two about potatoes, the tennis poem, the IT poem full of bits and bytes (and I noticed the Dalek creep in!). And there was a great rapport between Matt and the audience.
Here's Matt with his tennis poem "Twock" on YouTube, not from tonight, but he did this poem tonight. They are not all as breakneck speed as that! But it gives a taste of a bit of the evening. Incidentally, the book functions rather as a prop; he hardly glanced at it.

Incidentally, he was appointed Official Wimbledon Championship Poet 2010. The job entailed coming out with a poem each day of the championship to entertain the spectators. The poems would also be available online and in podcast.
You can read more on Matt here:

Over the past few days, I suspect St Aubin on the Hill has resonated with more laughter per minute than most of its time since being built. This was an evening which left you feeling good – as they say, "laughter is the best medicine", and I am glad I did make the effort to turn out.

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