Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Group Dance

I can't imagine that I've got through two and a half years of blogging without mentioning The Group Dance but that doesn't mean it isn't worth mentioning again...
I think life would be vastly improved if it were like a Disney film... When any major decision faces you, when any marvellous (or dreadful) thing occurs, you start to sing and a chorus suddenly appears behind you, knowing all the moves and helping the song along.
A couple of advertisers seem to have caught on of late that this is a deep seated desire in many people's (women's?) hearts.
The first is the Berrocca ad...You but on a really good day...where the four people "dance" on treadmills. I love it. Especially the bit with the two "skating" across the treadmills sideways. It's a group dance. People passing by are suddenly united by this desire to dance...
The rest of the ads are by some mobile broadband provider or other and they are even better. I assume they are based on the event about a year ago when Rick-Rolling ("attacking" people with Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up) was "all the rage" and there was a planned singing at something like 6pm at Liverpool Street Station...suddenly heaps of people burst into song all around the place, not knowing if they'd be joined - but they were. Anyway, these ads are all in train stations and all involve lots of people singing and dancing together...and I just want to be there!
I think it is part of the whole loss of community thing as well, there is something about The Group Dance that makes you feel like you belong to something larger, a bunch of people beyond those you know personally.
I think I've mentioned before about various national radio DJs that create this sense of community despite the fact that the listeners have no geographical proximity. One of the best examples is Chris Evans on Drivetime on Fridays...he plays the same song at about 6.20 every week (it used to be Delilah which was brilliant, now it's The Wonder of You which is so-so) and that is the start of the weekend - you sing along and then text in where you did the D-Spot (as it was) or the E-Spot (as it is).
Another of my preferred examples is that of Steven-ing or Steven-age from Adam & Joe on Radio 6 on Saturday mornings. If you don't listen to Adam & Joe, umm, basically, if you ever here someone in a public place shouting "Ste-ven!" and others responding "Just coming!" then it wasn't someone shouting to their friends, it was strangers connecting... Husbink wanted to try out some Stevenage when we went to see Lenny Henry in Othello at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last month but I wasn't sure the audience was right...
Back to The Group Dance... The streets in this town are so busy so much of the time with all the tourists that it would be so "easy" for a group dance to form, perhaps I should just start one day and see if anyone joins in...

Friday, April 17, 2009

So tired...

...but want to post!
I've had a nice day today, doing nice things but actually I think it is the one hour of work (seeing one of my students) that has been the best part of the day.
I've seen this student twice a week almost every week since October. She's a lovely bubbly girl, very easy to talk to and teach (in terms of responsiveness) but she does struggle with the subject more than anyone I've taught before.
It is a month tomorrow until her first GCSE exam. I have been very worried about her abilities and whether I have earned all the money her parents have been giving me over the past six months.
On Wednesday I saw her and she proved to me that things have changed in the past few months. Her mental arithmetic was fantastic. I was very impressed and relieved.
Today, everything seemed to be working. There were still bits that she needed help with (otherwise I would really have been stealing my fee) but it seemed that suddenly things were clicking. There will be plenty more moments in the next month when I'm concerned about the exams again but for now I'm really pleased that there is a good chance of the necessary grade afterall! Hurrah!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making Mistakes on the Internet

This post is going to be hard to write without adding to the things that are on the internet that shouldn't be. I will be intentionally vague. I hope you can still keep up.

Someone I know has made a bit of a hideous mistake and put something on the internet that really should not have been there. They are going to lose their job. Which seems to be an increasingly common issue with the internet and email doesn't it? There was something or other on the news this morning about people being fired because of Facebook comments/posts/pictures/whatever. I didn't listen too much but you'd have thought people would start to learn some time soon, wouldn't you?

Anyway, as I said, this post isn't really about that, that is just the scene setter. What this post is about is gossip. You see, I knew a little about this particular issue before today. I should not have done. I mostly wished I didn't. But I didn't do anything with my knowledge and I didn't stop the conversations.
Today has been a free for all on the "victim" amongst mutual acquaintances. It has been discussed from all angles - the funny side (there is one, albeit a rather cruel one), the stupid side (which could also be the disbelieving side) and the wider implication side.
I do not know how to extract myself from conversations of this nature but I don't really want to be part of them either. Correction - I would like to not want to be part of them. I feel uncomfortable with them but I still want to know what is said, enjoy the chewing over that such discussions have.
This is something that I go through on a fairly regular basis. How to extract myself from conversations I do not wish to participate in...but equally don't want to be left out of.
There are bitchy conversations, complaining about one person or another.
There are cyclical, depressing conversations that just get people lower and lower.
There are conversations where I simply don't want to know.
I didn't think I did well at all at distancing myself but someone did tell me last week that they were amazed by my patience because I never seemed to join in one particular string of bitching session. This has given me a little bit of hope for keeping going with the attempt. Any wise thoughts, little tips or evergreen conversation turners?!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Right then.

I was going to blog about some of the serious stuff from New Word Alive wasn't I? Hmm...once again the week has stolen the blogging mojo from me and I'm now at the weekend (feeling very sleepy) and wondering what it was I was going to say...
So I suppose a summary is the best I can hope for at the moment so it goes like this...
I had a very good time at New Word Alive (for those confused by the "new", I was too, I'm still not sure I can explain the ins and outs properly but what used to just be Word Alive has now split from Spring Harvest for various theological issues). There were bits that were not good, I felt a little bit of an outsider at first but by the end it all came together.
The organisers put quite a big stress on the need to have a holiday as well as go to sessions and stuff. This was quite a change from when I'd previously been and it was very easy to overload yourself with knowledge during the week and feel like popping at the weekend. Instead this time, I mostly went to one morning, one afternoon and one evening thing. Sometimes though I stayed in the caravan and watched the morning or evening session on the telly. Otherwise, I slept, I played Adventure Golf (superior in many ways to just your average crazy golf, if for no other reason than fitting in with the theme of this blog), I debated ways for one of our group to ensnare a "famous" single Christian speaker... And of course, the goat came out from time to time when everyone was getting too sensible.
All the sessions I attended were good, wholesome stuff. They gave me things to think about and things to change. They did not answer big questions (like which church?) they did not make me think I should change my life forever. But that is ok, or perhaps even good.
When younger, I used to experience the highs and lows of these kind of big Christian events. While there, everything was possible, everything would change, the world would never be the same... Then home... The highs never lasted and rarely changed anything. To have a more consistent sort of experience where I can learn and come away with a few small nuggets that can make a difference in my life is a much more valuable thing.
Apologies. I'm really sleepy. I doubt this is making sense... Giving up now... Sozzo!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Too Much to Say

I've just been away for a week at New Word Alive, a Christian, umm...well, some people call it a conference but that sounds too dull, some call it a convention but that sounds too sci-fi...
Anyway, whatever you call it, it was very refreshing and just what was needed.
I first went to Word Alive in 1994 when it was part of Spring Harvest (I only gathered on the way there that it was no longer part of Spring Harvest. To do with some fairly significant differences of opinion that I don't think I have fully grasped yet so will not try to explain.) but I hadn't been since 2004, just before getting married. This year I went again without Husbink and without many people I knew in the group as two of the stalwarts were busy at home with their very new and gorgeous little girl.
So anyway, there is plenty to be digested and spat out (hmm, I eant that in a positive way, perhaps not the best choice of phrase!) over the next few days and weeks but for now I will tell you a very silly thing from the week...
I went to stay at my lovely friend's house on Sunday night to make the long journey on Monday a little less long. Her best friend who I know reasonably well by now was also there. Anyway.
Monday morning, we were all sitting on my friend's bed having cups of tea when she declared she had a present for me.
Knowing how lousy I've felt over the past six months or so, when a certain item came into her work place with the book people, she felt compelled to buy it for me.
It's cuddly. It's a hand puppet. It's a goat. It sings. In a bizarre voice. The Lonely Goatherd. Sadly, only one verse!
So much fun. Husbink, clearly, hates it. Well, actually, I don't think he hates it quite as much as the bravado shows. Or so I will keep telling myself.
Should you wish to witness it, YouTube has more than one clip showing it but you can see one here.
It is very good to have very silly friends :)
More of the serious stuff soon.