Violence – Editors

The moment I heard the line “mollycoddled and sincere” come from the unique voice of Tom Smith I knew a fair amount of what I’d get from Editors latest offering Violence.  Smith’s voice is one of the more unique in contemporary music – if you’ve never heard his Christmas tune (in collaboration with Razorlight’s Andy Burrows) “When the Thames Froze” do give it a listen and you’ll know what I mean.

Violence is a 9 track new album and the sixth in their collection.  It marks a continued step in their move from guitar driven indie band to one relying evermore heavily on an electro-indie-pop and synth feel.  Infact there are moments where I’m transported to bands like Simple Minds and Depeche Mode as well as the usual comparisons to New Order.  There is as a result a really strong 80’s vibe to Violence. Continue reading “Violence – Editors”

Long Read #1 – Contemplative Prayer as Theological Reflection

One of the things that brings the Arts and Contemplative prayer into conversation is their similar ability to surprise and create new avenues of imagination.

Laurie Green is one of many writers who recognise that their models of theological reflection can learn from those “who concentrate on the inner journey of the soul in meditation, and we may wish to build more personal prayer into our work” (Green 2009 pg. 154.)

Continue reading “Long Read #1 – Contemplative Prayer as Theological Reflection”

Tom Hanks: Uncommon Type

Some things in writing are quite hard.

I’ve always felt for writers who have a prior reputation.  Will people like your work?  Is it about fame or talent?  How do you deal with the hype.  Fame is a good problem to have I guess, but as a writer of little status I value the anonymity.

I’ve also always felt for short story writers.  This is a hard job.  Engage the reader, establish characters, bring stories to conclusions and do it quickly.  This isn’t easy at all.  The names of those considered great short story writers can be somewhat intimidating too – Kipling, Christie, Wilde, O’Connor, Dahl, Hemingway?  Its a tough field. Continue reading “Tom Hanks: Uncommon Type”

Star Trek: Discovery

Some things are tricky to meddle with.  Taking a famous, tried and tested formula and playing with it can be akin to playing with the live rail on a train track.  Think of the remakes that for some reason haven’t quite worked.  The spin-offs that simply span away.

Star Trek on that front has been largely lucky. The various iterations of its journeys, the film franchises – first with original cast then in JJ Abrams remake.  So far, so good.  I’ve never been a massive Trek fan but from those who appreciate the franchise all felt well. Continue reading “Star Trek: Discovery”

Nils Frahm: All Melody

Last week saw the release of the new album from Nils Frahm called All Melody.

The album is a product of Frahm’s new studio in Berlin which he’s been designing and building for the past two years.  The studio is based in Saal 3, part of the historical 1950s East German Funkhaus building beside the River Spree. According to Erased Tapes Frahm has spent much of the last two years “deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch with the help of his friends. This is somewhere music can be nurtured and not neglected, and where he can somewhat fulfil his pursuit of presenting music to the world as close to his imagination as possible.” Continue reading “Nils Frahm: All Melody”

William Blake at the Graves Gallery Sheffield

William Blake (1757-1827) made a unique impression with both word and image.  He was a pioneer in printing, using new techniques and revolutionising his art.  He was a pioneer poet, receiving mystic religious visions which turned into challenging, beautiful and moving poems.

Damrosch called him “a countercultural prophet who art still challenges us to think afresh about almost every aspect of experience.” Continue reading “William Blake at the Graves Gallery Sheffield”

Courageous Pioneering

What do we do with the times that we are in?   As John O’Donohue put it “our trust in the future has lost its innocence.  We know now that anything can happen”  (O’Donohue ‘Beauty:TheInvisible Embrace 2003.)

We live in a time when so much of what generations have relied upon is changing or crumbling.  Institutions such as the Royal Family or the Banking system are now viewed with post-modern eyes of questioning or suspicion.  We seem no longer able to rely on Government or the choices of leaders with certainly – just look Stateside for evidence of that.  In business so many changes are taking place from Brexit to new markets and new technologies that it’s hard to keep up. Continue reading “Courageous Pioneering”

Post-Secular Times

What lies behind the creation of a blog like this or even the ideas behind Space to Breathe finding spiritual solutions in everyday settings?

Much talk has been made of the demise of faith and often such simple initiatives can be seen as shots in the dark or desperate ideas to try and catch attention.  I’ve often had people ask (very politely of course) why spirituality is important to me or what impact I think its likely to have.  But the thing is times are changing. Continue reading “Post-Secular Times”