From my diary

It is Saturday night; in fact the twelfth night after Christmas day, and so – according to Google – the time to take down Christmas decorations.  It is slightly surprising that the Church of England press office does not issue a formal letter to the press, reminding everyone.  Sadly the ecclesiastics of today tend to have other things on their mind.  In its place, a google search reveals confusion.

My own Christmas tree has disappeared into the loft for another year.  How quickly the Christmas season is over!  On Monday I must go back to work on a client site.  It’s a total mess over there – worse than I have ever seen – so how long I will last there remains to be seen.  It will take all my energies just to remain.  If this is what God wants me to do at this time, however, I am willing.  I must bring it to the Lord in prayer, as we must all.  I must make sure to leave, however, before it becomes too much.

My paper trimmer, that I use to cut off the gluey edge next to the spine of a book, has given up the ghost.  The thousand pages of Tissington Tatlow’s Story of the Student Christian Movement were too much for it, it seems; and it died.  I must get another.

I had intended to chop up and scan Douglas Johnson’s Contending for the faith, the history of the Intervarsity Fellowship (now UCCF), but found myself reading it instead and growing interested.  One episode took place at Edinburgh University, where the EUCU (Edinburgh University Christian Union) faced a takeover bid from the SCM in 1951.  On searching the web about this, I was surprised to find a detailed account from someone involved whom I have actually met at the Oxford Patristics Conference and corresponded with about Tertullian!   He was, of course, on the side of the resistance.  I’ve written to ask for more details.  It’s a long time ago, but Christian Unions in universities still face malicious opposition from time to time.  It’s useful to recognise some of the standard ploys.

A few of the books on my “out” shelf have proven more interesting a second time around.  Maybe I should have another go at the Mystery of Mar Saba.

Over Christmas a friend lent me (by post) the autobiography of Emerson Lake and Palmer keyboardist, Keith Emerson, entitled Picture of an Exhibitionist.  I’ve read the corresponding rather sober book by Greg Lake.  Emerson’s book was intended, I think, to show what a wild man he was in the 60’s with The Nice and in the 70s with ELP.  To my surprise it was a sad story, of a lost soul who lived a rather wretched life. Thus he tells us how his creative ability ended when he started using cocaine.  All the “groupies” that the music press journalists loved were in reality just prostitutes.  Many of them were diseased, and so were the “roadies” and musicians.  Indeed ELP actually went on tour with bags of condoms and packs of anti-biotics!  And so on.  There was little glamorous about the life described.  It was a vision of hell, as perhaps so much of the showbiz world really is, if we but knew.


5 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. If your “paper trimmer” is not an electromechanical contraption, but rather the traditional blade on board paper guillotine, instead of replacing it, why not sharpen the blade with a ceramic or diamond hone lubricated with a few drops of dish soap or a dab of aerosol shaving gel. It is a soothing activity and good for the environment, since you will not be adding the item to he waste stream, or feeding the economic beast by purchasing a flimsy made in China replacement.

  2. Have you (recently re)read Robert Herrick’s various Candlemas Eve poems? That is apparently when that 17th-century Church of England priest followed some tradition or other in thinking it was appropriate to take down the Christmas decorations. And, in a delightful and rewarding Dutch adaptation of the first volume of Pius Parsch’s 1937 12th impression of Das Jahr des Heiles, Candlemas is described (my translation) as ‘the closing Feast of Christmastide’. (I seem to have read somewhere I cannot discover again so far that at least some of the Welsh traditionally kept the decorations up even longer than that…)

    In any case, all good wishes for Epiphanytide and the rest of this still New Year of Our Lord!

  3. The traditional blade on board paper guillotine …ah … there was was something soothing about slicing through reams of paper with those contraptions. The weight of the blade, the sound as it ripped through the sheets … :-O

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