Hearing the Presence

 Reading David Toop’s Sinister Resonance has been quite interesting. Though slightly over written he makes the good point how sounds without known sources are sinister.

At the same time the nature of sound is that it appears from nothing and seems to disappear back into nothing. In our minds at least sounds need a tangible source for us to be comfortable with it.

This has interesting effects when we come to spirituality. Believers talk of hearing from God but in reality this must be a scary experience. Seeing must be so much more comforting but throughout the Christian scriptures there is an interplay of God not being seen and God being heard and when he is seen in the incarnation the establishment and the powers are ‘blind’ to him

It probably names the fear of why we are frightened of God. To hear something from intangibility is frightening and though we make a play as to listening to God we are fearful of what we might hear. For what is actually behind that sound? Doctrines and beliefs get their stuffing knocked out of them when we encounter a primal sound with no tangible source. 

Yet in order to conquer the fear we need to find the source. Once we find the source we know what the caused the strange sound and we can be comforted. The interesting twist in the Christian story is the source calling after us.

God calls out to Adam in the garden. Jesus refers to his sheep knowing his voice. So the strangeness of the source is our concoction. When we listen closer, get over our fear and welcome the source calls out and who looks for us then the strange scary sounds become beautiful music.

Worth a whitewash

This story about the US coach found guilty for abuse is shocking yet familiar. Abuse occurs. The leaders of the institution where the abuse occurs find out about it. They cover it up. Whitewashed.

A lot of incidents have poured out from the Catholic church where this has happened. Even my old bible college seems to have indulged in this. So too my daughter’s school. It’s obvious that something has gone wrong. Yet in the name of protecting status leaders of these institutions seem unable to fight the injustice. It is amazing what we can convince ourselves of. And sometimes we convince ourselves, it’s worth a whitewash.


Questions for Baby Boomers

The world grapples with a so called impending economic armageddon. So who is supposed to pick up the pieces? The youth. There’s a generation of politicians and writers saying that the young are too spoiled and expect too much. Yet slowly it’s dawning on many that the older generation’s lifestyle also needs questioning.

The older generation had completely free education, a completely free health service, houses that were affordable and very generous pensions. The same generation doesn’t want newer housing to reduce prices, thinks that the young are lazy and that they are essentially self made. I think this attitude needs to be questioned. They had a good ride and when there’s trouble they’re asking their children to pick up the pieces.

History might look at that generation as being the most irresponsible.


The habit of the fall

Falling is that

not so strange habit


I cycle through

so often that it seems


Maybe I should cry

help or just wait


this place of nothingness

of tired repeats

of dead history

is unbearable.

Would you break

this habit?

A bit in my teeth

would be nice.

Better a horse than a free spirit

for the breath keeps on floating down.

Down the fall, yes that tired repeat

it comes with no respite to the sink

I know I ignore you

but could you just

love and breakthrough?


I went to my first ‘non-Christian’ English wedding last weekend. By non-Christian I could be being judgmental but to our knowledge the couple weren’t practising Christians. My wife’s cousin was getting married to her boyfriend of many years.

The service itself was the standard Anglican wedding service with two surprisingly modern songs being sung. By modern I of course mean that it’s about 20 years old. The vicar whom we later found out was the curate did a good job I thought. He was evangelical and jovial and played the guitar on one of the songs. The organist was awful. She couldn’t play. It seems that the church didn’t want to risk allowing a good organist to come in play because it ‘would hurt her feelings’. WHAT???!!! Argggh! We shall rant about that later.

The couple seemed oblivious to all this. They were very much in love and were quite emotional through the service. I found that very eye opening. I didn’t really understand how a ceremony could make a difference to a live-in relationship of a few years but for this couple it really did.

Through the speeches this was further accentuated. Maybe in the day to day mundaneness things wouldn’t be that difference. But this ceremony was important. And it allows me to view the ceremony of the wedding in a more interesting light. We are humans after all. Ritual and ceremony are important to us.


Thanks to one of my oldest mates, Paul I got to see GnR in concert.Yes, I know Slash isn’t there so that’s half the magic gone but Axl Rose still rocked it.

Starting off with a song from Chinese Democracy they then went into ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’ I must say my hair stood on end. The band were brilliant with Axl for some bizarre reason choosing to have THREE guitarists. Yes three. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it but there you go. Reliving teenage years is always good.

The sound (PA) however wasn’t that good. I don’t fully get it. Surely the GnR would have one of the best as their sound engineers? Or maybe my ears have become more and more accustomed to other things.

The crowd was interesting. It was mostly white with a smattering of Asians both subcontinental and far eastern. But the Asians didn’t look or sound as British born and brought up folk. Paul theorised that these were people who had loved GnR in the country that they had grown up. As far as I could see there were no black people. I found it quite interesting. I had a slightly blinkered notion about music that it was a unifying force. Yet recent experiences have shown that the opposite is true too. Music divides.

Back to the concert, Axl was fashionably late. Obviously the crowd grew restive and the booing and whistling started and so the PA guys played out a bunch rock hits from the nineties and noughties in effect to shut us all up. I had just started reading ‘Noise: A Political Economy of Music’ by Jaques Attali where he speaks of the powers that be using music to silence people. How true! Shame on you Axl. But thanks for our teenage years.