Sunday, December 18, 2005

The weekend arrives

Party time
After the Friday lunchtime Eucharist, a quick bike ride up to the University Catholic Chaplaincy, in response to an invitation from the ecumenical chaplaincy team to attend a Christmas drinks party, good opportunity to touch base with a number of colleagues. Then home for a couple of hours to catch up on office work before returning to town to start up the computer and projector, before popping around the corner to CafĂ© Jazz for the City Centre Retail Partnership’s Christmas party, bring together arcade and store managers, the city centre management staff, Inspector Tony Bishop from the police and myself. The place was full of office groups eating together and drinking. As well as being a good and gentle policeman, Tony is a bit of an anthropologist, I suspect. He observed the clientele were well groomed and some were in party clothes. “Next week” he said you’ll see the difference, when all the manual workers come in for their Christmas parties, straight from work, and dressed accordingly.” Now, that’s something I wouldn’t have noticed.
I left after an hour, and made for home through streets crowded with noisy partygoers. Quite a number were out in fancy dress, guys dressed as nuns, girls in sexy Santa outfits, with the shortest of skirts revealing acres of bare thigh. The sight astonishes me, not because I haven’t seen it all before many times, but because the temperature is just above zero. I am equally astonished by the guys, not in fancy dress, wandering around in shirtsleeves without top coat or jacket. How do they all succeed in avoiding hypothermia? I’m sure I wore more clothes when I was their age – and this is the generation raised on universal central heating! Je ne comprend pas.

Salute the Beeb
No appointments or engagements on Saturday, apart from going in to switch the computer and video display on and off, and make sure it was working properly, no energy to get out and go somewhere different for a break, no energy for shopping, but good to have a day when there aren’t any serious demands on energy and creativity. For a change, a Saturday without sermon preparation, followed by a Sunday without having to preach. Time to mooch, time to catch up on writing this record. No pressure, and to make every moment a pleasure, BBC Radio Three is broadcasting the entire canon of the works of J.S.Bach in the ten days leading up to Christmas. Music, commentary, historical documentary, there can be nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Marvellous! Sometimes it's hard to go to bed as the music is so captivating. The BBC license fee has been raised by another £5.50 this year to £126.50. It’s impossible to resent this, given the extraordinary quality and diversity of broadcasting and internet services provided by the Beeb. The Web news feeds and Radio Three alone are worth the cost.

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