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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Let me start by stating this not very well known fact from BBC news.

In Britain, each Catholic diocese has an exorcist, but they are forbidden to speak publicly about the ritual and are rarely identified.

Now not to belittle a major religion, disagree with irrefutable logic the Catholic Church is so reputed for or sound like I’m overreacting to this, but is it just me or does that not scare the living shit out of you?

To know that the Catholic Church has an exorcist at disposal anywhere in the country?!

Now the Church states that it’s priests are encouraged to work closely with medical professionals to distinguish between demonic influence and mental illness and if the latter can be ruled out, fire ahead with battle for the soul !

In this day and age I think the majority have accepted that this type of stuff can be expected from Catholicism, however I took a different look at this fact. That means that in this country we have medical professionals, who have undergone all their education and are in a career where their position is to treat ill patients and they are the ones who can rule out mental illness and give a thumbs up to Satan secretly hiding within. How fucked are you when even your doctor suggests you are possessed?

It is said that most exorcisms performed do in fact turn out to be some form of mental problem as opposed to demons. There are priests all over the world performing extreme exorcisms on ill people and turning round afterwards and saying “oops…looks like he was just coming down”

Which brings me to Father Gabriele Amorth. The deaths of Alois Estermann and family in 1998, church sex abuse scandals, the attempt on Pope John Paul II’s life in 1981 and the woman who lunged at Pope Benedictine XVI at Midnight Mass…apparently all demonic influence. For how could these good god loving men who sexually abuse children be condemned? Of course they are lovely harmless old men, it is the devil at work; when you look at it that way it all makes sense now ! Bull. Shit.

He claims that when performing exorcisms his ‘patients?’ sometimes need be heavily restrained and that they tend to throw up exotic materials:

"Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals."

Right…why isn’t this guy in jail ?!

The Roman Ritual of Exorcism states the following criteria as signs of being possessed:

  • Victim speaks or understands unknown languages without ever studying the language being spoken or heard
  • Victim clearly knows things that are distant or hidden
  • Victim can predict future events (sometimes through dreams)
  • Victim has an intense hatred for holy things
  • Victim shows a physical strength far above his age or normal condition

I’ll start with the first point by adding that this is not to be mistaken with talking in tongues, which is a sign of religious ecstasy. So speaking literately in a foreign language – bad, demon ! Speaking absolute fucking jibberish – good, god !

The point I find fascinating is the 4th one, about an intense hatred for holy things. Ehm… does that make me possessed? I think there are quite a lot of people who fall under that category. That’s sort of saying “Ok you either agree with our religion, or you are possessed by the devil ?”

I should watch what I’m saying, since half of my family are all Catholics and all attend cult institutional education and so there’s a chance I might walk in one day to find my family standing there with a priest…time for my exorcism intervention. Although if I did walk in and see a priest standing next to my bed holding restraints, I’d get on my knees and pray to god that it was just an exorcism I was getting….

11:40 pm - 0 comments - 2 Kudos
Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I like the coffee and when I am there I get a Hazelnut Americano, which is essentially just a black coffee with a hazelnut shot in it. Starbucks don't do just a 'coffee' - the equivalent is the Americano, so named because the Americans in Europe in WW2 would pour hot water into their espresso for coffee.

The reason I started drinking this is because when I worked at a local guitar store 5 years ago, I always came in with just an Americano. One of the guys I worked with always came in with a Hazelnut Americano - which smelled amazing. So I went and asked for one and it tasted as good as it smelled. To me - this is a normal drink.

Now for my point - I can't stand people who go into Starbucks and order really fancy drinks. It's those people who work in an office and decide to have 'coffee meetings' and come in on their lunch to look cultured and order really long complicated drinks which just makes them look pretentious and ridiculous. Either that or students who, also, are pretentious twats.

I've been studying a lot recently and I was in Starbucks the other day and the woman who was behind me in the queue ordered an extra wet triple shot grande skinny latte. No joke.

In my relatively greater than average knowledge of coffee, I will write what I take this drink to be:

Extra wet - No idea. I think it is with regards to the amount (or lack of) foam in the drink?

Triple shot - 3 times the espresso shot, ie. stronger.

Grande - Medium sized.

Skinny - Skimmed milk?

Latte - A common drink made with a wee bit of coffee and mainly steamed milk.

S0, what she ordered was a stronger milk based coffee with skimmed milk. To me, the weakness of the latte is compensated for by the triple shot to make it..well, a coffee and in essence, the ostentatious woman behind me asked for a skimmed coffee.

What. An. Asshole.

11:33 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, December 24, 2011

Classical Music Today

It's funny how classical music performance has changed?

It's far from commercial - and appeals to a select audience of people.  It does not fall under the 'current canon' of music and concerts are usually largely subsidised by public bodies.

Classical concerts in modern day are usually in celebration to the composers of the pieces - take a look through any concert hall's listings and you will see it as "Violinist X in an evening of BACH!" Very rarely do we get to experience the music as it was originally written for - it seems the whole fuel behind the genre has shifted from celebration to restoration.

Taking Bach, for example; Bach's job, as a composer, was to write music which could be played at church that Sunday. He would be commissioned, by the church, to write a cantata during the week and then perform it to the congregation that Sunday - and then the next week, the same again. This was composition with purpose - as the music was to fit an event. Even if it was not for a specific event (Most notable composers were commissioned by bodies to write for events) - they still wrote their own ideas and generated audiences of spectators who would come to experience that composer's work.

Therefore, for the most part, Classical Concerts didn't need elaborate marketing and advertising strategies or Public Relations companies - the audience would have either been attending the event for an another reason (such as a wedding, a birthday, a church congregation) or the reputation of the composer had drawn the spectators from all over to witness their latest pieces being performed.

This is composition - the art. Now it seems that classical composition is dying - and we are more focused on appreciation, as if the ability to compose for orchestras is in extinction.

Personally, I don't know too many modern day composers. Certainly I wouldn't rush to my nearest theatre or concert hall to witness their latest symphony - because their reputations don't speak for themselves. What is it that draws crowds in classical music? It's performances of critical pieces - Toccata & Fugue in Dm, Beethoven's 5th, Profokiev's 1st - these are all well known, historical pieces which, should they be played, would generate enough interest for an audience. The performance is an appreciation, and adaptation, of the popular works by the great composers.

What if I wanted to write a symphony - we'll call it Josh's 1st Symphony? Would I have the opportunity to approach an orchestra and ask that they play it for me? Probably not, the orchestra have salaries and therefore need to generate income and as such can't afford to waste time 'trialling out' new pieces - because they have to stick with what they know to be secure pieces; ones guaranteed to get an audience.

But even if I was fortunate enough to complete an entire symphony and hear it being played by a generous orchestra - then what? Would radio stations be throwing royalties at me like they do to the likes of Lady Gaga or whoever the next generation Madonna is? Of course they wouldn't.

Because there is no demand for the music. Classical composition has been completely stifled by the fact that its futile should somebody wish to make something from it. I don't doubt there are many people sitting in their bedrooms composing pieces for their own satisfaction - I myself am one of them - but to actually have that piece propel into the world and become something; the chances are very slim.

Classical music doesn't sell products to mass markets. The ferocious finale of Shostakovich's 5th isn't exactly going to make me want to rush out and by a Coke - however, show some reality talent show contestant drinking a can with their perfect air-brushed smile and perfectly auto-tuned voice and watch as hundreds of thousands of teenage girls flock to drink Coke.

So what is the solution? Burn all hymnbooks and have the Church go back to a grassroots approach and employ local composers to write weekly pieces? Make Her majesty appoint composers to write pieces for all her monarchical events? Make all the princes and princesses and earls and dukes do the same? Rid TV of these horrid 'talent shows' which unite the worlds of music and advertising to an increasing Siamese state and instead use the money to inspire people to write, perform and aim high?

Ideally: yes. But realistically: no.

I honestly don't know the solution. But I do believe it is a necessity that more encouragement should be placed on people, specifically still in the years of education, to become involved in writing music. Most kids, at some point, try out an instrument whether it be at home or in school. When I was in school, we had an abundance of electric guitarists in metal bands, yet I was the only person, I was aware of, that composed music.

We need emphasis on the importance of composing music, we need people to realise the beauty of it and the rewarding feeling whether its the power to control an entire 100 piece orchestra or move people to tears with just one classical guitar.
1:53 am - 1 comments - 0 Kudos