lyef & thymes

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Jolly ole Blightly

I have made it safely to England...eventually.

Flying with Thomas Cook and a travel agent called "Canadian Affairs" I found myself delayed in Halifax for tuesday night. I had arrived with plenty of time according to my itinerary, only to be told that my plane had LEFT ALREADY. It seems "Canadian Affair" sent me bad information, and then couldn't do anything about getting me to Manchester without flying me to Toronto (the wrong direction) the next day. Instead of arriving on Wednesday morning as scheduled, after a 5.5 hour flight, I arrived Thursday morning, 28 hours late, after 9.5 hours flying. SUCKY!!!!

All the same, I did eventually arrive safe, albeit not so sound, and met up with Mark. Played a gig that very night, and it went pretty well. Got big cheers, lots of "sociables" and was given two free pints of lager. A pretty successful night. Mark's band was good. Much much better than I expected. They are usually quite silly, but now they seem to take being silly very seriously. It works.

Friday I slept until 1:30 p.m.. Only after a travel experience like I had can you say 13 hours of sleep is just right. And now it is saturday and we are heading to Worksop and eventually Wales for a football match. This is quite obviously an update post, and something deeper with substance will come soon, when I am bored probably.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Usher in a new week.

I have had the best weekend I can remember having in quite some time. Went to Halifax in order to attend a bass playing seminar from Tony Levin who is easily my favorite bassist in the world. It's a great city to visit, and it just so happens that my good friend Tina lived there for a time, so I invited her to come along. She accepted, and we drove away early friday morning.

The bass workshop was spectacular. I arrived at the ticket office and was told that they were sold out. I asked if they were selling at the door and the lady said that they were, but the line was very long, and it didn't look good. I said "I drove five hours to be here, I'm going to see Tony Levin one way or another, so I guess I'll go line up." She reached into her pocket and handed me a ticket that had just been returned saying "gee whiz, if you came that far you deserve this." And voila, I had a ticket.

Following that incident I walked over to the hall where the event was going to take place and found a very long line indeed. A man was shouting directions to folks and I couldn't hear him, so I left the line and walked up to the front of the line, a bit to the left. At this point the man says "And if you already HAVE a ticket, line up over here, behind THIS guy!" And he pointed to me. So I was suddenly at the front of the line. I sat front, and centre, and absorbed everything the man (tony) had to say. It was unbelievably awesome.

Then Tina and I attended a David Usher concert, with Andy Stochansky opening. It was such a great show, right after such a great workshop. I couldn't believe how great the whole weekend was. Am I making anyone sick yet? I had better stop soon. Or right now.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dearly beloved, we are gathered to say our goodbyes...

Some thoughts I have been working through concerning post-modern literary theory and Jesus Christ.

In his essay “The Death of the Author”, Roland Barthes, when discuss the voicing of a line from a Balzac story, said that “No one, no ‘person’, says it: its source, its voice, is not the true place of the writing, which is reading.” The phraseology used by Balzac didn’t seem to be voiced as the main character, and didn’t seem to be placed as the author either, so Barthes had a revolutionary thought. He saw the emphasis, the voice behind these words as belonging to the reader. He said that the purpose of the author is to reach that point where only language acts, ‘performs’, and not ‘me’.
Thus he saw a connection between the writing of language (text) and dying. The author’s role diminished as the words found their way onto the page, and the reader’s role increased. In the same way creation was "written" from the imagination of God, and God intends for his creation to reach its fullest potential, the true author writes in the hope of using language to its fullest.

If a book is never read it is nothing more than black ink on white paper; the words themselves have no power. But when they are read the reader’s mind conjures images and the words become signifiers of some concept or idea that the reader brings into the moment. If you read this sentence and I begin to discuss a boat, you the reader can begin to envision the concept “boat”. But the reader has their own concept of “boat” before I encouraged any thought of a boat.

Barthes then proposes that the author dies when the writing process begins, or else the language itself has not been used to its fullest potential. Any of the author that persists in the writing, any thought to his/her own purpose for writing, should be preempted by the author’s desire to empower the reader, to empower the language.

In the world of Roland Barthes the "Author" and "God" hold the same place. In denying the existence of the author, Barthes believes that he is denying the authority of the idea of God, and presupposes human authority over life, creation, and essentially all things. Again, in relation to the author he says that As soon as a fact is narrated no longer with a view to acting directly on reality but intransitively, that is to say, finally outside of any function other than that of the very practice of the symbol itself, this disconnection occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins.

I think that Barthes has missed a necessary connection between the death of the author, and the death of God. When Nietzsche said that God is dead he meant that the human need for a greater authority than the self was no longer regarded as necessary by contemporary modern European society. I think this thought has become annulled by a number of great blows to secular humanism, like the great war, WWII and many philosophical streams of thought that have come along since. God did in fact die, but not how Nietzsche meant it. Jesus submitted to death on a cross, sacrificing himself in order to restore meaning to each of us.

Barthes’ ‘death of the author’ brings new thought and potential to the understanding of the death of Jesus. God is in fact the ultimate author, who spoke and everything came into being. He gave authority to his creation, giving mankind dominion over the earth, and all that was in it. He literally died in the person of Jesus Christ, giving up his authority as fully God so that redemption and the law could be fulfilled, essential subjugating himself to a Law that he wrote himself.

Jesus is the word made flesh, the one who wrote the Law that governs creation, heaven and earth, the angels and arch-angels, satan, you and me. Jesus made all of this, and in doing so gave great authority to the creation. The author dies as the text is written, or else the text does not meet its potential. The reader does not receive all the fullness of the written word. Jesus died so that creation could receive all of the fullness of the great Author himself.

Christian Humour: an Oxy-moron?

A Catholic priest goes into a local barber shop and gets a shave and a haircut. Afterwards when trying to pay the man, the Barber says "no father, my parents always told me not to take money from clergy. Your haircut is on the house.
The next morning when the barber first stepped outside waiting for him on the porch
he found two loaves of freshly baked bread.
Not long afterwards a Baptist minister happened to come through the town, and he stopped for a shave and a haircut, and the barber told him the same thing. The next day the barber went out his front door and waiting for him on the porch he found two blueberry pies freshly baked.
Then a Charismatic pastor came through town, and stopped in for a shave and a haircut. When he tried to pay the man, the Barber told him "no pastor, my parents always told me never to charge church leaders. Your haircut is on the house."
The next morning as the barber stepped out his front door, waiting for him on the porch he found ten more Charismatic Pastors.

Tee-hee. Well, I liked it anyway.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Two and a half men (go see a romantic comedy)

To begin with, my previous post, about how all of my friends are plebian (plebeian for those who spell correctly) was a straight up joke. I was poking a bit of fun at a good friend, and also wondered how all my other good friends would react, and the answer was not surprising. You have responded with style.

I (a single guy) went to the movies with my friend Jeremy, a married guy, and we saw Fever Pitch, a romantic comedy surrounding the Red Sox. Understandably, Jeremy enjoyed the jokes, and the comedy, and I was a little more into the other aspect of the genre. It was a pretty good movie, highly predictable, but in the "oh I hope this happens next" and then it does, sort of way.
What I enjoyed about this movie was that the storyline demands change in the protagonists in order for things to progress. I think of a few other rom/com's that were less enjoyable, like...well I won't list any because then someone who liked that movie will disregard my point.
The regular formula for these is that the people are perfect for each other, and then a misunderstanding causes division, and then they figure it out, and all is well. In this movie the main characters are challenged at a higher level to give of themselves for the other.
If I were planning out life from the beginning, I would include someone in that life who challenges me in a deep way to give more of myself, and who I would in turn challenge in this way. I suspect that this idea was born in God's heart, that when he saw Adam and Eve together (or when he imagines any one of us with a companion) he knows that it will cause us to grow and become more fully ourselves, while encouraging another to do the same. It's a mystery, but I think that's how this goes.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Shoot for the lowest common denominator.

It has been suggested that I should write shorter posts, and start new paragraphs more often. Until now it had not occurred to me that I should abandon proper literary etiquette in order to reach my readership, but perhaps I must. While the average blog is a quick peek into someone's day, like a half hour television sitcom, I tend to write about things that I find important, similar to a history channel documentary. I think of something my friend Nicole said: "I think the problem I have with relating to people is that I don't enjoy small talk. I prefer big talk."

C'est la vie, je pense. I suppose that I do need to break up paragraphs more, because I can imagine incredibly busy people taking the time to start reading my posts, getting distracted, and not really knowing where they left off. But shorter posts? That's more difficult for me to agree with. I write in a similar vein to the way I think. First comes the topic, or event, and next come many many thoughts about what I think that might mean, or how my life may be changed by some random thing that has happened to me that day.

Basically, I think that if my posts seem too lengthy for you, you probably aren't going to comprehend what I have to say anyway. I suppose I am still learning how to effectively communicate with the plebian sector. Worse still, I am almost certain that Mark Hardy will be the only one who reads this and knows what plebian means. Okay, and probably Andrew Gazaneo. All the same, if you got this far in the post you are probably smart enough to have realized that the entire thing is rife with facetious jocularity, and hopefully I won't have to apologize to that many of you. And if you didn't read this far, any apology would be redundant, because you wouldn't be reading it, now would you? Hope this made at least one of you laugh. (I'm talking about YOU, tandy.)