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January 27, 2014


Notes from watching the video. Keeping my hand in, you might say.

The church more or less in shadow; the overhanging temple to Mammon almost entirely in light. You're suffering from an overwhelming metaphor.

Pre-service introduction: The prophet of ecumenicism, smiling nervously, runs out of spit before the end.

And you're in the front row, looking guardedly at the camera. I've sung that hymn tune but can't remember the words - unusual for me. Words come back, a refrain: "One church, one faith, one love" - something like that. I'll cheat and Google the tune under its French first line, O Dieu, ta main nous guide. See if I can get back to the words in English. (Later: Got it: it's not love but Lord. Oh Lord Thy Hand Has Guided. Why am I telling you? You knew. You sang it.)

Aha, a bit of descant. Quite thrilling at the end. But you're off camera. For shame.

Oh, it's the guy in the strange shirt, doing the pagan bit. Mentions Jesus but adds "The spirits awake..." Just which spirits?

You're on with RVW - dickeyless as far as I can see. A close-up pan which ends before it reaches you. Discrimination! I would have liked more voices. The version you made available earlier must have had three times as many.

But now you're briefly in three-quarter front profile. One and half eyes sternly on the score; half an eye for the beat. Is the bald guy conducting, Patrick? I had him smaller, looking harassed

"Forgive our sins of mediocrity" That's the RC bit surely; mediocrity is only a halfway house when it comes to sin. Four Hail Marys and one's off the hook. Can't be the RC bit because now we have a cardinal in spiffing red. So who was the other chap (in black, fingering a golden stole)

Is your Normand the bald tenor? OK, but the music doesn't test him. The solo soprano; was she thin toned or singing top end? I'm getting confused, darting back and forwards finishing off half-done sentences. No, I'm being unfair; she was good and clear. My confusion grows because I'm writing this distracted by the large choir in orange surplices singing something repetitive but distinctly rhythmic. Sort of. Phew I'm all caught up. Time to go back and tidy up the punctuation.

Different churches now contributing prayers; French very variable. Lots of stumbles. The Sally Army does well: requesting cancellation of debt in poorer countries. Right on. Ah we've reached Don de Dieu - participation always used to worry me. The British cleric returns; I take it he's your (Episcopelian?) guy.

No doubt about it - the cameraman is devoting an unfair amount of time to your colleague two steps to your left. Isn't he aware of your achievements?

Another very familiar tune: The Church's One Foundation. J Betjeman wrote an affectionate parody... Must break off - you and your mates are descanting. I'd forgotten the sheer pleasure, revelling in something that - it turned out - was only mine on loan. Remembered now and sorely missed.

Didn't think I'd last the full hour but pleased I did.

PS The still at the end of the video centres on your front row. With more time I am able to identify the dickey. Yours is perfectly arranged; others less so.

I needed this hour of soothingness this morning after waking from 3 disturbing dreams. Wonderful how some gifts arrive at the right time. Thank you for this, Beth.

Thank you,Beth. Your insights on this event show its difficulties and rewards. Communal voluntary events such as this one remain important while being more and more difficult to stage,so it is lucky that you are getting the media coverage. The church is lovely. Must watch the last section today and then may have more to say.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.