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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I love to see friends who have talent really going for it. So I want to give my backing (for what little that is worth) to Capac. There are three guys in the band, Gaz, Stu and Josh and they've been building up a following in the Liverpool area of late. I know of them through Gaz, who did a teacher training course with me. By the power of Facebook, I found out that one of their pieces, Palindrome, was being used in Hollyoaks so I broke the habit of a lifetime and watched the programme! That was enough to arouse a long overdue interest in what they were doing. Interest is growing; the guys have recently enjoyed playing a Maida Vale Session on Radio 1. If you are looking for X Factor fodder, look elsewhere...this is far more specialist in its appeal. I tried to research dance music genres and subgenres and came up with an epic tome on Wikipedia. So chucking all that aside, I would describe their music as electronica/ambient soundscape with a driving drum beat...or maybe not! Radio One's Huw Stephens does it much better:

"infuses the energy of drum n’ bass and the brooding, sinister vibes of dubstep, with the beautiful intricate nature of post-rock melodies"

Of course it is! Perhaps it's about time I got off my arse and went to see the lads perform.

Capac have an EP out now so why not check them out? More info and downloads are available on their website: