19 August 2010

Thursday roundup

I know my custom of late has been to post a Monday roundup, but on Monday I didn't have anything of interest to warrant it. Today, however, I'm bursting with interesting thoughts.

A night at the opera - Until Monday I had never been to an opera, so when the opportunity presented itself I was keen to explore. Heritage Opera were touring with a performance of Puccini's Madame Butterfly, and a number of folk from the postgrad group went along for a bit of 'culture'. Like many, I have been put off opera for a number of reasons: language, musical style, class association... Despite my prejudices, I really enjoyed it (the subtitles helped). The production was hardly lavish, with much evidence of Gaffer tape and improvised props, but I was impressed by the way in which the cast coped with the very limited performance area. The venue was Lancaster Castle, in an actual Court room - Shire Hall. The 'stage' was assembled over the desks where the clerks would sit in a court case (I think), and due to the imposing nature of the Gillow furniture, the space they had was sparse. In the end, the success of the performance hinged on the skill and talent of the performers, and I was blown away by the quality of the singing! I know Madame Butterfly is not hardcore opera, but I do feel like my prejudices have been successfully challenged by my night at the opera.

The ban is ended - Not that a hosepipe ban has made a lot of difference to folk during a very wet August in Lancashire. When the rain comes down like it has recently, there is certainly no need to water the garden. Anyway, it's good that the stocks are back up to normal levels.

The end of a winning run? - Matt Prior and Stuart Broad came to the rescue yesterday to avoid an embarassing collapse at the Oval. England have now gone a long time without suffering a Test defeat, and I did think we were going to see an end to this run until Prior came to the crease. What we need now are favourable seam bowling conditions and a repeat of the recent successes of the fast bowling attack. Either that or Swann will have to work some magic towards the end of the match. This is the kind of situation England need to come through if they are to have any hope of retaining the Ashes in Australia.

Changing times, changing Church? - Bosco Peters posts about a wedding he went to where the rite included promises between one of the spouses and the child of the other spouse. This made me think that we really need to look at our rites and liturgies in light of the situations we actually encounter in the Church, rather than naively clinging to an ill-remembered image of how it used to be. It makes perfect sense to me to add something like this to a marriage ceremony where one or other party already has children; it reinforces the value and importance of 'the family' in the Church and wider society, and it reassures people that the Church is not blind to the changes in society.

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