The trumpet shall sound

With a flourish, and a snippet from the Messiah, trumpeter extraordinaire Crispian Steele-Perkins made a brilliant impact in the Trumpet & Organ concert at St. John’s.

Crispian Steele-Perkins, Ian le Grice, Alastair Cutting
Crispian Steele-Perkins, Ian le Grice, Alastair Cutting

It was a bit of a journey back, in a way, for Crispian, as he is an ‘old boy’ of Copthorne Prep School; and indeed started his trumpet career at the school (see this photo!). He has done so much session work over the years, you will definitely have heard him play. If nowhere else, on the theme tune to the Antiques Roadshow. With his usual style, incorporating quite a lot of entertaining trumpet history, Crispian played brilliantly.

Concert flyer
Concert flyer

The organ (and piano, and even at one point harpsichord) accompaniment came from Ian le Grice, who having assisted Sir George Thalben-Ball, was later appointed assistant organist at the Temple church, where he still plays. Ian’s subtlety of playing coaxed some delicate sounds out of St. John’s organ, the like of which I have not heard before in over 13 years here. An exquisite combination with the trumpet.

The concert was in church on Pentecost evening; and thinking of God’s Holy Spirit, called Ruach in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, meaning ‘breath’, or ‘wind’, seemed entirely appropriate. That, and the entreaty from the psalmist reminding us to Praise God on the trumpet!

Following Celtic footsteps

In May 2008 I joined a handful of others on 5-day pilgrimage. I had been to Iona several times, but only ever seen LindisfarneHoly Island – from the train window. A year later, reminiscing our little pilgrimage to the North East, I thought I would put some photos etc. up.

Lindisfarne Island from Cuthbert's 'Cuddy' Island
Lindisfarne Island from Cuthbert's 'Cuddys' Island

Today (26 May) may be the feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, but I am reminded of comments by a previous Geordie Bishop of Sheffield, who over 20 years ago spoke to a group of us young curates of the diocese: his faith was built on the foundations laid by the British Christian Saints such as Cuthbert, Aidan, and Hilda, and he had little time for “those Johnny-come-lately Romans such as Augustine”. If memory serves correctly, it was these saints that adorned the stained-glass windows of the Woodlands parish, where I was then curate.

Cuthbert’s base in Lindisfarne became a key launchpad for Celtic Christianity in North-East England in the 7th Century. The island, still cut off from the mainland by the tide twice a day, is traditionally approached by pilgrims wading barefoot across the causeway. (We cheated, went by bus, and then walked the causeway at leisure a day or two later.)

Pilgrims Feet
Pilgrim's Feet

Being on Lindisfarne – in blustery May – was surprisingly idyllic. I can still hear the skylark’s singing in the sky above the meadows near Lindisfarne castle. Far from the physical extremes of weather, distance and austerity that drew Cuthbert and the early settlers there. We were a bit ‘fair-weather’ pilgrims; but the feeling of being in a ‘thin place‘, as the Celtic Christians called such holy places, where heaven and earth are somehow much closer, was still very evident to us. A short, but very inspiring and refreshing and spiritual few days.

Some of the photos from our time are in this online Lindisfarne photo gallery; and we made a short photo journal book, which can be downloded in pdf format from the link below.

Lindisfarne Pilgrimage photobook - click for 16Mb pdf download
Lindisfarne Pilgrimage photobook

Oh, and here’s another panoramic photo, also in my Flickr panoramic set. I probably have way to many photos – it could have beeen more! – per page on this blog, which probably makes it load very slowly; but they are fun…

Lindisfarne Panorama - links to original on Flickr
Lindisfarne Panorama

Panoramas, Hakas and Plinths

The Aotearoa-New Zealand High Commission in London is in a 18-storey tower-block called New Zealand House, a stones-throw from Trafalgar Square. The views from the top are spectacular – it is the tallest building for miles around that part of central London. Not quite as tall or as elegant as Skytower in Auckland, but good none-the-less.

New Zealand House via Wikimedia
Skytower, Auckland, via 'kiwi' on Flickr

Historically, Kiwi citizens were able, on the production of a NZ passport to visit the penthouse suite at the top of the London tower block and appreciate it’s spectacular panoramic views.

For years, Kay had to wait downstairs, as Kiwi friends and visitors had the chance to view London from this unique vantage-point. When she finally got her own kiwi passport (she has dual UK/NZ nationality), and the opportunity to rise to the top floor, threats of terrorism prevented access to the public after all!

Kay has finally discovered a way to get up there though. A number of organisations run events in the penthouse suite, for example KEA, (‘New Zealand’s Global Talent Community’ – never backward in coming forward these Kiwis!) presents Continue reading “Panoramas, Hakas and Plinths”

Jason Carter’s Harp-Guitar

I got to most of Jason Carter‘s Harp-Guitar concert at the National Theatre last week.

Jason Carter and the Harp-Guitar
Jason Carter and the Harp-Guitar

I have known Jason since he was hardly out of his teens, and he came and played for us – both formally and informally – at The Nave a few times. Jason is now, among other things, a Peace Ambassador for Café Diplo (who have the brilliant tag-line Stop the Pain, Start the Music! ). Jason’s Harp-guitar was made by Stephen Sedgwick.

Violin bow on the Harp-Guitar
Violin bow on the Harp-Guitar

You can hear some of Jason’s music here; or follow him on Facebook.

I tried bootlegging a bit of video on my phone, but possibly just as well, it did not work. A much better idea is to see Jason’s video instead:

Jason Carter – Harp Guitar – Rubber Planet from Jason Carter on Vimeo.

Jason's video

If you get a chance, do go to listen to Jason.

Ten Thousand – and One Other

Aside: 10,001 on #OneAndOther .

I promise not to post too many times on the One & Other project on the Fourth Plinth site in Trafalgar Square, but in less than a fortnight over 10,000 people have signed up for an hour on the plinth.

Ten Thousand and One (&) Other
Ten Thousand and One (&) Other

When I first applied (see image on my last post in this thread) I was within the national totals, with a chance of getting in. You can see a regional map of how applications are going on the One & Other site.

You can track One & Other info on Twitter too. I have been logging/twittering the change percentages on there.

In the South East, the current chance of being picked in the ballot is 21.6%, down from 24% and 29% within the last week. The worst chance you stand of getting a place in the ballot is the London area, with over 4,500 people trying for just over 300 places, making only a 6.6% chance of being picked: your best chance remains to live in or move to Northern Ireland, with a 73% chance (currently) of getting picked.

I have had trouble finding the details about the Borsetshire figures, but I am sure that Lynda Snell is making too many waves about the whole project, keeping it all in the public eye, reducing everybody’s chance of getting on in the the so-called interests of maximising publicity and participation. Pah!


Friend is into flight simulators. I think his are computer based simulators like X-Plane, for learning the rudiments of flight, for fun.

Gatwick FlightSim
Gatwick FlightSim

We have other simulators locally, being close to Gatwick, as much training of airline pilots takes place nearby. More than just for fun.

billywells22 and friends landing with a bump at Gatwick!

It got me thinking though about other simulators, perhaps for other jobs. If they can do it for flying aircraft and car driving perhaps they can do it for other professions…

I have occasionally been involved in interviewing people for new positions, and there are times when I wish we could put people on some sort of simulator, to see what they may be like in practice on the job. Will they be any good? I suppose some places do it in some ways – I remember being sent off on Teaching Practice from Westhill College in Birmingham (sadly no more), which is that of a sort job simulation for teachers.

The idea of an apprenticeship has been revived in recent years – and not just by Sir Alan. Working alongside a more experienced colleague, to learn from them, as many trades in Britain and abroad have done, has value. It is also a pattern we see modelled in the Bible, whether it is Moses & Joshua, Elijah & Elisha, or Paul & Timothy. Thinking about it, that is also why after sending people to theological college, after ordination, new clergy work as a curate alongside a senior colleague. I suspect that, as with some other simulators, not everybody qualifying via these various apprenticeships are always great practitioners. But many are, because of it.

“Life is not a rehearsal”, as David Brudnoy would like to remind us. That is often the received wisdom, that we only have one chance at this life, so get on with it; make the best of it.

Gavin Ashenden, however, would beg to differ. On his Sunday morning radio broadcast (26 April 2009, briefly available to listen again), he mooted the idea that for those who believe in a resurrection life, this is indeed the rehearsal. A chance to make mistakes, get things right. Perhaps this is the ultimate simulation.

Please, God…

“Please, God, no more colouring…” is the astute headline on today’s Church Times.

Church Times 1 May 2009
Please, God, no more colouring…

It comes from an article on encouraging spirituality amongst the very young, which unfortunately, if you are not a subscriber, you probably won’t be able to read. Good though.

We try to do good stuff with and for kids, introducing them to Jesus, but I am conscious the we still fall sadly short at times…