Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Greenbelt 2010: Through the back of the wardrobe.

It struck me, as I reacquainted myself with the festival site on Friday, that Greenbelt is a lot like Narnia. Each year, you arrive back and it's as though you've never been away, that the intervening 12 months didn't take place. You just carry on from where you left off. As soon as you've sussed out the new names of the old venues, you're away!

This year was the first year that we had no need of a tent. Just me and him indoors safely held in Maggie's (our van's) embrace. So it was simple case of arrive, sit about in a queue for what seemed like several years before driving onto the campsite and parking up...easy!

We seemed to pack in quite a bit this year. It was a privilege, as always, to hear Richard Rohr speak. We only got to the first talk but we bought the CDs and hope to spend some time in the Winter evenings being challenged by those. He is always such good value - when other speakers seem to recycle material, Richard Rohr always seems to have something new for you to chew on. Bruce Kent was fab, too - he has such a lively mind at 80 - I wish I had half his intellect now! I also got to see Mark Yaconelli and regular Greenbelt favourites who never disappoint, Maggi Dawn and John Bell.

I enjoyed hearing Dave Wiles of Frontier Youth Trust. I've long been impressed by Dave's capacity for storytelling and illustrating basic truths through story. He has a book out called Stories from the Edge, which I am going to buy as soon as my funds allow. I don't think the YMCA cafe made a very good venue, though, as there was too much coming and going and people chatting over their lunches...well, it is a cafe! Shame there wasn't a small talk venue like the CMS and Blah tents they had the other year.

I like to try and support events connected to Jonny Baker. His is one of the two blogs that I've consistently read during the last 4-5 years now without tiring...and he's a good bloke (despite being a Chelsea fan!) This year that meant an airing of Landskapes, an album of sounds from the Grace worship community in Ealing and a conversation on the topic of curating worship. This is also the theme of Jonny's new book called, surprisingly enough, Curating Worship. Jonny led a really inspirational discussion with contributors, Steve Collins of Grace and Cheryl Lawrie who is involved in creative worship activity in Melbourne. God, they make it sound so easy! I came away with lots of brilliant ideas which will, no doubt, gather dust in some dark corner of my brain. I also shrugged off shyness and fear of doing the wrong thing and attended a Grace service which I really enjoyed, though I'm not saying it was a gaffe-free zone on my part.

Performance-wise, I loved seeing fellow scouser, Roger McGough, of whose work I've been a fan for years. Beverley Knight was superb. Best surprise was Michael McDermott. I liked the look of him from his website and so decided to take a chance on him. It was a good call.

I still managed to fit in some time for social activity and whilst I missed my lovely mate Jon , I was thrilled and delighted to have his gorgeous wife Clare all to myself for what must have been a good couple of hours. To keep the spirit of ASBOJesus alive, I met over coffee (or alcohol) with Janetp, Linus, Tiggy and the lovely, funny Dennis and his delightful wife Sha. I didn't see nearly enough of Sonia and Iain (who was little more than a Will o' the Wisp in Messy Space). But I briefly met Allatseawithabucketandspade and Rebecca.'s all about the people, innit?

Me with Clare...ignore me - I look like I am having a stroke!


jon said...

yes, it is all about the people.
that's what i missed. the event is like a big field in which i get to meet good friends. glad you caught up with clare, she had a great time with you.
funnily enough i find most of the other greenbelt stuff just gets in the way of me spending time with the people i love. many of my mates tend to be busy and all i really want is to be is in the pub with them. :-)

Anonymous said...

it was lovely to see you for the bit of time I did. sonia

Holy Famoley said...

Jon, it was just one of those lovely chance meetings with Clare and Sonia when we were trying to find a talk doubt ordained since before the dawn of time! ;-) Tell her I hope she didn't feel too grotty on Saturday night. And you were missed by so many people...extrapolate the responses from my small sample across the WHOLE of Greenbelt and you are surely the most popular person on the planet...good job you don't have an ego ;-)

Sonia, it was great to see you, too. Still didn't find the time to ask how your academic work is going, which I wanted to. I'll just have to come back to Bath asap and have a proper catch up.

jon said...

shucks... they clearly don't know me. :-) x

jon said...

btw... clare was hoping she'd have a chance to spend time with you. it was top of her 'things to do' list. :-) said...

we had a great time with you chatting over coffee its always good to be brought back to earth with fellow scousers, hoping your young ladies journey to spain was good! and what do you mean "the funny dennis"

dont forget if we come upto the pool we should hook up again.

Anonymous said...

Yay for ppl =]

Was lovely to meet you guys and Janetp too! Def a big pluspoint of my greenbelt experience.

Dennis, sorry i missed you. To you and Jon both, an expression of hope that i get to meet you at some point in the future =]

Thanks to all of you for brightening up my life with what you do online.

jon said...

hi carole, linus and dennis... yup it was a disappointment not seeing you this year. hopefully next year i will feel more able. in the meantime, if you're ever in the bath area, let's hook up. love and best wishes. jx :-)
ps. yup, it's all about the people.