Good tidings from Hope and Social...

Hope and Social's Seasonal and mellifluous contribution to the Leeds based charity for the homeless 'Simon On The Streets'. This is part of a Christmas compilation of 14 other festive songs which can be purchased for a 'pay what you like' contribution from

Happy Christmas everyone!


Remembering Joe Strummer through Marley...

Bob Marley's Redemption Song sung by Joe Strummer in one of his collaborations after the heady days of The Clash. H/T to Billy Bragg for reminding us of Joe's untimely passing 10 years ago. In The Progressive Patriot Billy explains how The Clash changed his life at the 1978 Rock Against Racism (RAR) concert in Hackney:
The Clash taught me a valuable lesson that day, which I have in the back of my mind every time I write a song or step out on to a stage: although you can’t change the world by singing songs and doing gigs, the things you say and the actions you take can change the perceptions of members of the audience...

Sensing the Divine in engineering...

Have been a fascinated viewer of the Extreme Railways series on Channel 5 presented by Chris Tarrant. This week's edition featured the Konkan Railway which runs down the West coast, covering mountainous and marshy terrain thought by the British to be totally unsuitable for a permanent way. Built over 8 years between 1990 and 1997 by a wonderfully enthusiastic team who overcame some incredible obstacles despite a heavy price paid in life and limb. The highlight for me was hearing the Chief Engineer Rajaram Bojji proudly escorting Mr T to a vantage point to witness the incredible Panval Viaduct, at 210 feet the third highest bridge in the whole of Asia:
It never stops amazing me, it fills my heart with such a happiness I'm telling you. There must me some kind of ultimately divine spirit which makes humans to think and do things which look apparently impossible.

That Nativity Factor...

Yep, would you Adam and Eve it, there's been a competition to find a short 3 minute film about the Nativity. You can check out all the entries on The Nativity Factor website and although, in my not always very 'umble opinion, I think some of the entries are a bit naff, I can understand why they picked the winner. However, prompted by His Opinionated Vicar(age), I tracked back the link to the original slightly longer version of the runner up, The Christmas C(h)ord, and also concur with David Keen's view that this one is a bit good! I definitely prefer this longer version, all credit due to the Going Public Theatre Co., written and performed by Dai Woolridge, flmed and edited by Andy Toovey.

Of course, there is a very strong link to another theme from our book, The Secret Chord, it would be wrong not to mention it ;-) In fact, we researched a section about the link between the word 'cord and 'chord' which was edited out, maybe in the next mini-tome?

And now for something completely different, this stunning film has so much context, clarity and authenticity it would be even more wrong not to include it:

First spotted on my buddy Phil Ritchie's blog