Find what you're looking for

Monday, 31 January 2011

The best medicine.

I've recently decided to take a certain direction with my on stage music, gigs etc, few and far between as they are. Given my limited instrumentation (for those unfamiliar, I'm just a solo act - it's just me singing with my keyboard, no band or backing tracks), I've decided to go with a lot more of my comedy material. As such,  I've been writing a few such songs recently, since I didn't have many down. I'm still going to keep recording my other types of songs, however. I think it should be interesting to see how things turn out.

Continuing on with the same tone, so to speak, I find it interesting how common comedy and comedians are these days. Most people you ask will probably be able to list at least half a dozen different ones. But, conversely, you won't find it as often in your everyday life. Maybe you've got one or two friends who are jokers, or maybe there's one in your family. But how many times do you actually laugh in your day?

Laughter is an amazing thing. The old adage that laughter is the best medicine rings very true, I think. It can do wonderful things for your outlook, your mood - it's a bit hard to be sad or angry when you're laughing. (This is, of course, barring evil genius laughs etc.) And laughter is one of the most infectious forces on this planet. So spread a bit around. Try laughing a bit more. It just might help when things are a bit tough. Try this particular video out here. It's a pretty well known Rowan Atkinson clip, but a great one.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Myths of a Biblical proportion...

Hello, peoples. As was mentioned in the last post, this is actually being written beforehand, and hopefully being uploaded automatically on Monday. If not, I should be able to do it when I get back, but this should work.

Every now and then - not exactly regularly, but when I think it's about time to do another one - I'll attempt to tackle a few myths/concepts that have arisen regarding the Bible/God/Christians. Some of this will probably be a bit controversial, especially when I get a few more people looking at this, rather than just a couple of friends. (NB: Thanks for sticking with me, guys!)

So, for this first one, I'll just take on one misconception that seems to be reasonably common amongst other people, to start off with. Please note: my views do not represent those of every Christian, or even your average Christian. So have a go at me for what I say if you like, but not Christians in general.

Firstly, there seems to be an idea that all Christians don't swear. Period. At all.
This is partly true, partly wrong. Many Christians that you see will try to keep their swearing to a minimum, yes, especially anything that's just an 'add-on' between words, so to speak. But we're just as likely to let go a few choice words when we bang ourselves as you are. In some areas, there really isn't much of a thing against swearing at all. It's just how they talk.
And, in fact, if you look at the Bible, you'll see that Jesus himself said a few things you probably wouldn't want your kids saying. For example, he called the Pharisees (for those unfamiliar with the term, they were religious teachers) 'a brood of vipers'. Vipers are, hopefully evidently, snakes. A brood is the offspring - or in this case, the sons. So he was calling them sons of snakes. The phrase bears a resemblance to a commonly used insult of today, which I'm sure you should be able to figure out without my help. Admittedly, it was probably said in a slightly different manner that it is usually used today; but I wouldn't know, I wasn't there.

So, in conclusion, yes, your average Christian will probably swear less than most people, but it's not exactly a strict taboo across all Christians. We're simply encouraged to 'tame the tongue', or avoid angry outbursts - which is fair enough advice for anyone, really.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Again, again, AGAIN, again? Again!

I wrote on a previous blog entry how there was nothing, so to speak, that was completely new.

On a similar note, it often seems as if people seem to come up with the same sort of thing, over and over again. It's this recurring trend, that seems to pop up all over the place. For example, in the world of music, there's what is known as the 'Four Chords' sequence, made popular by the Axis of Awesome in the '4 Chords Song'. For those not familiar with it, I suggest you have a quick look. Here's the link:

However, if you can't be bothered clicking on that, I shall give a short explanation. The basic idea is that a lot of songs use this 'Four Chords' sequence, which uses chords I, V, vi, IV. That translates to C G Am F, for example, if the song was in C. That's basically it. (There's also various permutations etc on that, but then it gets a bit more long-winded.) The Axis of Awesome basically play these chords continuously, and then sing the lyrics from many different songs over the top. I think there was just over 30 songs in that particular performance in the link above. That probably doesn't sound like too many, for those of you who have hundreds of songs on your iPod.

I did my own version of the song, using other songs that I had heard that used those same chords. I got up to 100 songs, and then stopped because it was getting close to 15 minutes each time I played it. I think, honestly, that if I had included every song that I knew that used those chords, I'd be able to get to 200. Puts things into a bit of perspective, perhaps.

Of course, you can see trends in other places than just music. You see it often in movies as well, when Hollywood gives the same storylines again and again with just different details. You can probably see trends like these in most things.

But does this mean that it makes them bad, just because they're using a certain chord sequence, or storyline, or method that's been used so many times before? Not necessarily. It all depends on how you use it, how you highlight the differences. As a small example, in the title of this blog, the word again is written five times, but each time is written differently. Even within repetition, there can be variation - which can sometimes make the repetition almost unrecognisable. Once, on a CD, there were two songs right next to each other that both used the four chord sequence, one of them almost the whole way through. But chances are, you wouldn't notice it unless you were either looking for it, or good with recognising chords and such.

I suppose my point is simply this: there's nothing wrong with using a tried and tested method. Just make something a bit different, change it up a bit. Sometimes it helps, starting with something that you know works, and works well.

Addendum: Next Monday, I will be away, and in a place with no internet. Hence, next Monday's post will be done beforehand, now that I've figured out how to do that. So hopefully that works, and you'll still see a post up next Monday, even though I'll be gone from this Friday until the next one.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Welcome, welcome, one and all, to my

Hello peoples, since it is (or will shortly be) peoples now, as I am going to let people know that this blog actually exists after I've finished this post. I was waiting until I'd gotten back from Perth to tell people about it, because I didn't want people to be expecting stuff weekly from me when I was in Perth, because I didn't know exactly what was happening. Plus this gave me some time to play around with it a bit.

This one is going to be a bit shorter than I usually do, simply because I'm pressed for time. I could probably come back to it later, but I probably wouldn't be able to put up much more.

Are you familiar with something called Occam's razor? It's not a real, physical razor, it's just an idea. The idea basically says that the best answer is usually the simplest. This seems particularly apt in today's world, with so many complexities and complications. And there is a strange beauty to simplicity, that can't be matched by abundance. Something as simple as a raindrop has stunning beauty, if you can manage to catch it. Or the view from a mountain top. Or a sunflower, with its spirals of seeds. All these simple things have more beauty than money, status or power will ever buy you. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ho, ho, ho, and a merry - *what*mas?

Meant to put this up last Monday, but the Internet went kaput at the house for awhile. Hence, me putting it up this week, even though we're already into the new year.

Over the past - I don't know quite how long, but I'm guessing a decent few years - people have sometimes been writing Xmas, not Christmas. This seems a bit strange. I mean, yeah, I get that some non-Christians aren't too happy with Christian ideas coming into their lives - so they changed AD and BC into CE and BCE, put Santa as the present-giver, put the Easter Bunny as egg-distributor - but Christmas? Surely, we can keep the name at least. Honestly, so much else of it has been taken, in one way or another. Plus, Xmas just sounds weird. It just does, I'm afraid.

Though, thankfully, you don't really see or hear it too often. More often than not, it's simply a shorthand, for those who can't be bothered to write the whole thing. Usually, I don't have a problem with shorthand (as long as there isn't an excessive overuse of obscure acronyms), but in this case, I'd ask that we make the effort to write Christmas. Keep the X out of it.

And a reasonably belated Merry Christmas to you all, as well as a Happy New Year. Welcome to 2011.