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  • Not So Great

    Yesterday evening I went to see The Great Gatsby at one of the cinemas in town.  Because of the timing, it was the 3D version (with audio description of you wanted it).

    I am not a great fan of this departure into 3D films - there seems to be an over-emphasis on a few special effects and a sense more of a slightly out of focus decoupage than seeing something three-dimensional.  Floating one image in front of another (superimposing in the 2D version I assume) adds little or nothing to the story and has the feel of someone who has just learned how to do animations in PowerPoint... 'ooh look I can make this image do that'.

    I have not yet read the book, but I am hoping when I do for something with more depth than I observed in the film. I was left wondering whether some of the acting was bad, or whether I was missing the point that it was meant to be bad.

    This must have been a big budget film, the scale and complexity of scenes must have been very demanding to achieve, and the cast must have been huge.  I'm just not so sure it was all that great.

    Of course, given the subject(s) it explored maybe that is actually the subtlest measure of its success... a triumph of style over content, outer bling disguising inner poverty, the impossible, unattainable dream that ends in mediocrity and disappointment.  If such an impression was deliberately engineered it would be very clever indeed; I suspect it was not.

    Nonetheless, a relaxing and pleasant evening's entertainment on a sunny spring/summer evening

  • When is a Bedroom not a Bedroom?

    I was amused and impressed today when I read of several councils finding legitimate and legal means of getting around the so-called 'bedroom tax' by redefining rooms as 'box rooms' (if they are very small and/or clearly used for that purpose) and/or non-specific (e.g. if they happen to be ground (lower) floor of a two storey dwelling).  It seems pretty reasonable to me, not least as what often passes for a third bedroom in private properties is barely big enough to contain a cot, let alone a bed.

    I am certainly not advocating tax-evasion or tax-avoidance, but I do think there is something unjust about penalising people for liviing on the houses that are available to them just because they happen to be technically under-occupied... The cost of moving to smaller properties, even assuming they exist and are available should not be underestimated, to say nothing of the stress such moves, especially if unchosen, could create.

    But then maybe I would say that as a rent-free under-occupier of a wonderful three-bedroomed property...

  • Sort of Interesting...

    Came across a reference to this short story by Rudyard Kipling when I was doing some sermon research today.  Linguistically very dated, but some interesting ideas even if a bit twee in places.  Vaguely useful as background reading on the context of the letter to Galatia.

  • Instant Access...

    Today I have spent some time reading around the readings I will be using to inform Suday's sermon.  As part of that I downloaded a few commentaries to my kindle (other e-readers are available).  This has the advantage that they are there in a few seconds... and the disadvantage that you can download them in a few seconds means it is tempting to pick some that are very inexpensive without knowing what they are like.  I got a couple with interesting titles that turned out to be very poor, which feels like a lesson learned - if it's only a couple of quid it's probably only worth a couple of quid.  On the other hand I did get one of Tom Wright's "Paul for Everyone" series, which has already justified its purchase.  I also ordered a real paper copy of one in the series I am slowly - too slowly - collecting.  A decade ago, when I began in ministry, my plan had been to buy one a month in this series... real life overtook that ambition, but I now wish I had done it, as I would have the the whole set by now.  Ah well.  I can begin afresh and build on the few I do have until I have the lot...

    In the meantime, back to the start of Galatians and a bit of 1 Kings!

  • Spring Rain Holiday

    True to form, the Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May brings rain... memories of House Group BBQs and a friend's son's birthday parties moved swiftly indoors.

    Two days off (or almost, have a meeting tomorrow) and two lots of visitors appearing.  Am also hoping to get to see 'The Great Gatsby' but that may have to wait until next week now; we'll see.

    Lots to do - cakes to bake (possibly including prototype halal cupcakes - we have been asked if we will have some at our West End Festival 'bake-off'... if you have any tried and tested halal cake recipes let me know)) - dinner to cook but it ill be fun.

    Friends from Warrington with relatives in Scotland who have links to some of my Gatherers (wave to A&D who sometimes read this stuff)

    Friend from Didcot who is visiting another friend of hers in Glasgow (wave to V and all BUGB readers).

    So, two days of 'not church' (apart from a BUS meeting) and some time to chill.  Perhaps a good job I have a (complex) jigsaw on the go as it's not weather for walking.