Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Return of Disobedient Boy

As you can see, I've been away a while. I don't think there was one big, obvious, reason for the absence (no, I haven't been in prison). To be sure, there have been a few negative events in my life during the last eighteen months - including bankruptcy, bereavement, and (perhaps inevitably, the fate of every Disobedient Boy) loss of employment.

But, I've survived. I'm still here. I have a new job, and on the whole, I'm still enjoying life.

So for now, I'm back.


Monday, 31 January 2011

John Barry 1933 - 2011

A sad news day. The renowned film composer John Barry has passed away, aged 77. I have been listening to his music since I was about seven years old (thanks, Dad).

Just this weekend, I was pottering around in the kitchen and (as is my wont) I thought about grabbing a CD and popping it into my wife's CD player. I had more or less decided to play On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but I got distracted and the moment was lost. Not before the odd thought, John Barry... I wonder...? passed through my head, though. Saturday afternoon. How weird is that?

On reflection, I'm not really given to belief in premonitions - I think I heard, We Have All The Time in the World played on the radio whilst at work earlier in the week, and that's probably what triggered my subconscious into that particular train of thought. Otherwise, I'd be trying to predict next week's Lotto numbers right now, instead of posting here. But, when I arrived at work this morning and heard a medley of John Barry's music playing on the same radio, it was a peculiar feeling when the penny dropped. I said to a colleague, "Either he's died, or been given a knighthood", hoping for the latter but certain it was the former...

This evening, I will take out Playing by Heart and give it a spin. A Game of Hide and Seek is, for me, one of his most beautiful cues...


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Confessions of a Church-Going Atheist

Here's the thing: I still regularly attend church, even though I no longer believe. I could say, my name is Disobedient Boy, and I'm a recovering Christian (okay, I just did), but you might draw an inference from that (rather flip) statement that isn't intended.

I'm actually quite fond of the Anglican Church. Isn't that ridiculous? I suppose I'm old-fashioned enough to think that it's still an important part of our cultural heritage. For me, it's the acceptable face of Christianity, and a whole lot less scary than Roman Catholicism, Southern Baptists, and other more fundamentalist denominations. I often find myself thinking, Christianity would be just fine as a basic moral philosophy if it wasn't for all the medieval supernatural stuff you have to stand up and say you believe in, every week.

I think my loss of faith has been quite gradual, over time. One Sunday, a couple of years ago, we went off to a different church than usual as my son was taking part in a flag parade with the local cub scouts. The service was of the type most usually categorised as "happy clappy" - but what struck me was how much of the happy-clappiness corresponded almost exactly with motivational Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques. If I understand what I've read on the subject, the more you hear yourself reciting a statement of belief (or a creed, or a prayer), the more that belief is ingrained and strengthened. The thing is, when you know it's just a psychological trick, it becomes easier to see things more objectively. Later, I read Dawkins' The God Delusion (a good read, although I sometimes find Dawkins a tad too gleeful in his demolitions of other people's belief systems) and then I was well on the road to apostasy.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

What You Get When You Give a Dog a Bad Name

I suppose I ought to kick off with a couple of acknowledgements, and an explanation. I'm afraid I can't claim the title as one of my own - I'm not entirely sure of the provenance, but I seem to remember Business, As Usual, During Altercations being used by the late James Blish as a story title in an old Star Trek anthology. I've always thought it was rather clever, and so I've dusted it off for use here.

"Disobedient Boy" came from J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun - or, so I thought. When I checked my tatty old paperback copy (Grafton, 1985), it turns out I had remembered incorrectly - on page 200 (Chapter 24, The Hospital), Sergeant Nagata calls Jim, "Difficult boy". "Disobedient Boy" fits me better, though. I think I'll stick with it, for now.