Sunday, December 01, 2013

A few of my favourite things

Inspired by Tanya Marlows post on the same topic (and with a bit of overlap) here are some of my favourite things. I'll probably think of more as soon as this is posted:

Books - fiction
  • Jostein Gaarder - The Solitaire Mystery. All his stuff is superb, love the story within a story format.
  • JK Rowling - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Especially the last 2-3 chapters. 
  • Jon MacGregor - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. Poetic. 'If you listen, you can hear it. The city, it sings'
  • Douglas Coupland - Jpod. Well, everything by Coupland.
  • Agatha Christie - devoured these as a teenager, think I read every single one.
  • Simon Parke - Desert Child. Read this on a particularly awful retreat and it was spot on.

  • The Choir - US Christian alternative rock outfit. Still producing superb music after 25 years. Like this
  • Shriekback - bit of teenage oddness in the 80s, unique sound.
  • The Smiths - musically and lyrically brilliant, marmite band
  • Coldplay - also great to play on piano, which is a bonus.
  • U2 - maddeningly inconsistent, usually 2-3 standout tracks on each album, and 2 or 3 they really should have left off. Joshua Tree probably the exception.
  • Evanescence - purely for Fallen, packed with epic tracks. Bring Me To Life is spine-tingling.
  • Jean Michel Jarre - love his early stuff
  • Steve Taylor - razor sharp lyrics, great tunes, bags of energy. 
  • Newsboys - see Steve Taylor
  • New Order/Electronic - bags of classic tunes, quirky, and a bass line to die for.
TV programmes
  • Gigglebiz - kids sketch show with the multi-talented Justin Fletcher
  • Have I Got News for You
  • Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes. Brilliant ending.
  • House of Cards. You might very well think that, I couldn't possibly comment.
  • The Goodies - haven't seen it since I was small, but usually ended up comatose with laughter on the carpet
  • The Choir: Boys Don't Sing. A masterclass in discipleship, and inspiring others.
  • Live Cricket. You'd never realise, but we used to get it on terrestrial TV. Spent hours glued to BBC2 every summer as a kid.
  • Election night results shows. Can't beat a good all-nighter with the Swingometer.
  • Sherlock. Loved it. Can't wait for the new series.
  • Airplane!  - Watched it 5 times at the cinema alone. 'A hospital? why what is it?'
  • The Usual Suspects -  The twist to end all twists.
  • Shawshank Redemption -  Of course. Brilliant central characters
  • Memento -  incredibly clever film, recreating in the viewer what it's like to have amnesia. But I find it really hard to watch as well, there's so little redemption at work.
  • Spiderman 3 -  Packed with spiritual themes, and does the standard postmodern hero deconstruction thing without having to go all Batman.
  • Up - Brilliant opening 2 minutes, and stays brilliant. 
  • The Incredibles -  Love the interplay of family dynamics and superheroes.
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales - I find that I dislike everything that Clint movies stand for (revenge, individualism, redemptive violence) but find them compelling anyway.
  • Lord of the Rings - can't think of many fantasy books that haven't been ruined by movie adaptations (Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, the Hobbit), but apart from the daft Elf love triangle, LOTR is great. Aragorn rocks. So does Sam.
  • The Full Monty/Brassed Off - having grown up in Sheffield, anything that gives the old city a starring role has to be good. Great stories, and some devastating pictures of the vulnerable male psyche. 'Nobody wants to see this dance'.
  • Shrek. Inventive and hugely quotable.
  • The Matrix. There's a bit of Neo in all of us. Well, blokes anyway.
  • Pay It Forward. Great cast, inspiring story.
John Simm, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Emma Thomson, Hattie Morahan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Judi Dench, Leslie Nielsen, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Christopher Ecclestone.

  • Top of Dale Head in the Lake district, looking down the Newlands Valley
  • The moors around Fox House near Sheffield
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • St. Johns College Nottingham, especially the quiet room.
  • Mill House retreats in Devon
  • a cricket pitch, as long as it's not cold or raining
  • round the meal table with my family
  • the waterfalls walk around Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales
Books that have helped me most on my journey with God
Richard Foster - Celebration of Discipline
Gordon MacDonald - Ordering Your Private World
Bill Hybels - Courageous Leadership
Nicky Cruz - Run Baby Run (part of my journey to faith)
Francis Schaeffer - The God Who Is There.

'God's Grandeur' - poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thai Green Curry, cross country running, real ale, alternative worship, politics, the chocolate cake served in Vennels cafe in Durham, cheesy Doritos, old friends, reading to the kids, discovering an 80's track on Spotify that I used to love at school, Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, the Ethiopian orthodox chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, people smiling, the moment in a wedding service where I pronounce them husband and wife.

To see the original list that kicked this off, go to JK Rowborys blog. It's a list that took several months to compose, and when you read the intro you'll understand why.

Your turn!

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