Showing posts from November, 2010

Quote for the day

Something my brother sent me which I really like:Quote for the DayWhat I've come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion, everyday acts of compassion. In South Africa they have a phrase called ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me. Chris Abani Professor at the University of California, Riverside

"Of God's and Men" ("Des Hommes et des Dieux")

Many of my confrères in France have been to see this film and unanimously sing its praises. It won the Grand Prix (2nd prize) award at this year's Cannes Film Festival and it charts the dramatic events during the final days of a French-founded Cistercian monastery in Tibehirine, Algeria. I was studying in Paris when these real-life events took place (the mid-'90s) and they were front page news for a good while afterwards. Sounds like the film does a very good job, although the heading for the article is rather misleading ("monastic murder mystery". It is so much more than that. It comes out in Britain on Dec. 3rd.************************

Of Gods and Men: monastic murder mystery A haunting film about a group of monks whose faith is tested in the most terrifying way has become a surprise hit in France. Jasper Rees talks to its writer.By Jasper Rees 11:12AM GMT 05 Nov 2010

One of the big hits in French cinemas this autumn has defied all known box-office rules. Of Gods and…

Pope Benedict: abuse crisis was like 'a tremendous cloud of [volcanic] filth which darkens everything'

Below are some extracts from an article in the Catholic Herald. The book of Pope Benedict's interviews with a German writer that has just been published looks like it has given him the chance to speak freely and openly about a variety of important issues. I get the impression that the abuse scandal (in particular) has convinced him of the need to be more open and communicative in his role as Shepherd of the Church in response to the accusations that have been levelled at the Church. As a result, five years into his papacy, I think we are now seeing a very different Benedict from the one that the world's media has been allowed to put forward for much of that time: we are seeing the real him that those in the know always knew was there and hoped would have the courage to show himself. I, for one, am delighted to see him winning over hearts and minds wherever he goes. Who would want to be in his position? Imagine the stress, the worry and anxiety? And yet, this 83 year old seems …

A code of conduct for film goers...

... from BBC Radio 5's wonderfully entertaining Film Review programme with Mark Kermode + Simon Mayo. Funniest thing on either tv or radio, and great film reviews to boot! But as my film studies pupils have pointed out, they could do with adding something about arm rest protocol and the need to perhaps negotiate the designation of the aforementioned rests with adjacent clients prior to the start of the film.

"Mike Leigh's Mary: a bogeywoman for middle-aged females": The Guardian

Here's a very interesting article about my aforementioned film of the year (thus far): Mike Leigh's "Another Year", which, BTW, I'll be going to see for the third time tomorrow (visits 2 + 3 = taking friends along to see it who otherwise wouldn't have bothered). It makes me want to get a copy of "Happy-Go-Lucky" which I never got round to seeing when it came out (update: I have now ordered it on Amazon).


Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen.In Another Year, Mike Leigh creates a ghastly femme d'un certain age in Lesley Manville's character, Mary. But does it have the ring of truth, or is it misogynist? Are there any women over 35 who will have watched Another Year without a shudder? Mary, Lesley Manville's character – who bowls her way self-pityingly into the lives of the central couple, Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) – is a brilliant and horrific creation. She is a bogeywoman with whom we women…

"In the shelter of each other we will live" - "The Shelter" by Jars Of Clay

This US band that I first listened to back in about 1997 were one of the first modern era Christian bands to breakthrough into the mainstream. I've bought each of their albums since then, all of which have had great individual tracks, but their latest album "The Shelter" surpasses anything else they have done, in my opinion.

It has so many standout tracks and is an album that also feeds me spiritually. There is a genuineness and a focus to the lyrics across the album that give it a real coherence. It is a wonderful album to listen to and I thoroughly recommend it. Of the standout tracks, the above one is that which I have listened to the most, and which I hope to perform at a school Advent Festival concert in early December with my pupil worship band and the school Choir which I have had to take over running this year. Can't wait. Gives me a buzz every time I sing it to myself... and not because of my performance!!!

"The Big Silence" - on BBC iPlayer

Just 6 days left to catch up with this excellent series if you missed it first time:

60 years of marriage

I got back last Monday from spending a long weekend in Ireland with my Mum+Dad for their 60th wedding anniversary. Quite an achievement in itself, but even more so when you know that the 2 of them have been through over the years. A quiet celebration took place on Sunday in their nursing home in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, with relatives from Limerick, Tipperary + Cork dropping in. I marvel at and am humbled by the love my octogenarian, wheelchair-bound parents have for each other. Physical fragility (especially that of my father who has been struggling to fend off Parkinson's for 4 or 5 years and is now much diminished) seems to have brought them closer together. 

My mother has in recent months taken to serenading the residents + nursing staff with high-spirited renditions of Molly Malone and How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? in a very high, pretty, but ultimately tuneless soprano. See below for photographic evidence... God bless her little cotton socks! Dad (who has Parkinson&#…