Are you comfortably numb?

Friday, September 30, 2005

A rocking Moss shouldn't be stoned

So, Kate Moss does coke. Fetch the smelling salts. Moss has lost at least £4m worth of contracts in the last two weeks following these shock horror revelations. However, this ‘scoop’ is merely evidence of what we all suspected – and, accepted – before.

Drugs have always been an integral part of celebsville. Googling ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ gives 2,590,000 results. There aren’t so many for ‘sex, tea and rock ‘n’ roll’. Sid Vicious, Clapton, Hendrix… being rock ‘n’ roll means doing drugs. EMI probably have a form for signings: ‘Please tick which drug use applies to you’. Sellability points: heroin, 10; crack, 8; coke, 6; speed, 4; E, 2; and cannabis doesn’t even register because even my mate’s granny is doing that now.

That’s the point: everyone does drugs. Not only are the famous somebodies chopping up lines of coke, the boring nobodies are doing it too, slipping into the club loos on a Friday night and getting stoned in between college classes. Ours is a nation of hedonistic drug addicts. So it’s fairly unimpressive when Kate Moss, whose career was built in an industry that invented ‘heroin chic’, is proven to do drugs.

You can practically hear the tabloids and magazines cackling gleefully: finally, she’s been caught! Moss has been turned from the girl everyone wants to be to the girl everyone wants to hate. But why do we care whether someone we’ve never met is doing drugs? Why do we care whether Sienna Miller was seen picking her nose? Or whether Jamie Oliver crossed the road? Such is the content of magazines like heat, which boasts a 500,000 circulation. The answer: we care because we are jealous, insecure and boring.

We’re jealous and insecure because we want to be them. We want to have the £15,000 pink diamond ring. Because we can’t, we choose to vilify those we idolise. Seeing Abi Titmuss falling out of a bikini with a red arrow pointing out her cellulite makes us feel less inferior. Slagging others off makes us feel temporarily better: in the playground; the office; when we read about celebrities.

We’re boring because we ignore the wealth of information at our fingertips. We have access to several good daily newspapers but, shamefully, people care more about Jade Goody’s love life than the situation in Iraq. Trashy mags are junk food; they seem tasty but leave you empty and only harm you. Gossip, read or spoken, cultivates our selfish, unpleasant nature.

Kate Moss had to look stick thin and gaunt to keep her job; in fact, she had to look like a drug user. The primary reason she was sacked from H+M was because the executive chairman helped found a charity devoted to fighting drugs. Whether Moss pops pills with her cornflakes is irrelevant. She is a model, not a role model. One does not need a qualification in moral behaviour to pout in front of a camera.

Conclusion: let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

So, there it is. I know the title is a bit stupid but it's all I could think of - I'm expecting them to change it! It was also nearly double the length when I first wrote it so I had to chop out a lot, but such is life...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kate Moss: the great celebrity debate

Today, I got myself my first newspaper article. There were several news stories up for grabs, and two comments. Being me (lazy and entertaining the illusion that it's possible to work for a newspaper by just sitting in a chair mouthing off about what I think, rather than running around campus with a notepad chasing stories), I went for a comment. The first was on politics - they wanted something about the conferences this week and, more specifically, on how soon Blair should stand down (I think the phrase is ASAP). Unfortunately, some other girl bagged that one, but I had learnt probably the quickest lesson of my life so bolshily asked if I could do the Kate Moss one next (much to the detriment of others, but I knew how they felt). So, I found myself with the job of writing a savvy, opinionated comment on the media coverage of Kate Moss' recent exploits and celebrity gossip in general.

So, although I already have a few foetal ideas forming in my brain (good thing I've kept on top of the Moss story thanks to the steadily mounting pile of trashy mags growing on the communal kitchen table in our flat), I would value any mouthings off you lot have to share. So please use the comments option so post whatever you think about the topic of celebrity gossip, and specifically, Kate Moss. GO!

Sean Paul

...deserves to have a sock, preferably a slipper sock with those rubber grips, stuffed firmly into his mouth, thus preventing him from ever opening his irritating mouth again.

That is all.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Science vs Faith: The Galileo Affair

...this being the title of my Modern History research seminar. I'm sure God chose this seminar for me, as when I first looked at the list of 25-odd topics, from which I had to choose one, this was the one I least liked the look of. However, that was mainly because I was shying away from the idea of uncomfortable debates about science, religion and all that. Then I realised I was just being embarrassed about my faith and that I was trying to avoid standing out. So, I ended up choosing it... although it's not really the kind of topic I expected to be studying!

Anyway, we had our introductory seminar today, and it started me thinking. We didn't really cover anything that meaty, but Dr Lukowski (!) did throw a few questions into the arena, such as 'What is science?', which brings me to the point of this post. One girl said something along the lines of:

"Isn't science the opposite of religion? I mean, science is based on facts and finding out definite answers, whereas religion is based on..."

I can't remember the rest of her answer word for word, because my mind had gone into [indignant yet trying to work out a cogent answer that didn't sound how I felt] mode. I replied, saying that I was a Christian and my beliefs were based on historical facts, rather than any myths I had made up. I also said I believed science and religion did not necessary conflict, depending on what religion you believed! Someone else commented and said she agreed with me, which was encouraging, and I heard a boy behind me say 'mm' in a positive manner while I was talking. I think I am the only Christian in the group but at least they know where I stand now.

Anyway, it just made me think about science, religion and the popular perception of how they are linked (or not). Maybe the girl who made that comment thought the teacher expected her to say something of that nature. Maybe she genuinely believes it. Maybe it's just the product of a secular upbringing which dictates that any religious beliefs are the product of an over-fertile, needy imagination. It's the latter option that bothers me. We now live in a society where the vast majority of people, at least of my age, think that science and Christianity are completely divorced from each other, and what's more, very messily divorced. This is disturbing not only because it proves a very effective barrier - or, as I prefer to call it, excuse - between them and the Gospel; it signifies the 'dumbing down' of society because this misguided opinion is based on nothing but prejudice. People may claim that Christians are brainwashed by wacky Creationists, but I think that they themselves win by a good mile in the brainwashing stakes.

For instance, it is remarkable the number of people I have encountered in my lifetime, who produce the following argument as a trump card when discussing my beliefs: "Yeah, but what about dinosaurs?" (said in a 'haha, I've got you there!' tone). Since when did dinosaurs suddenly become pariahs of Christianity? Who was it who decided that Christianity was famous for declaring that dinosaurs never existed? Far from denouncing the fact that dinosaurs lived, breathed and walked on this earth, there are even passages in the Bible that mention extremely dinosaur-like animals (see Job).

I don't have enough time to explore all the issues involved with people's irrational prejudices against Christianity in terms of its relation to Science; suffice to say that there is an overwhelming position in contemporary society that states that anyone who belives that it is possible to believe in God and still take science seriously (or vice versa) is either a lunatic, insane or mad. This only serves to accentuate the notion that Christianity is a crutch for the weak, invented hundreds of years ago because we had no other way of explaining the universe. Well, science may explain HOW the universe works, but it does not explain WHY it works, as Steven Hawking has himself admitted. What has happened is a confusion of the two questions themselves. Christianity does not attempt to explain how the universe works. What it does is explain who works the universe. The idea of rubbishing God's existence because we know some of the laws of physics is as stupid as rubbishing the artist's existence because we know the brushstrokes used on the canvas.

The fact that people flee to scientific theories to do away with a universal need for God reflects the nature of sin. The essence of sin is wanting to believe that we can stand alone, fend for ourselves, be entirely self-sufficient and control our own lives and destinies. As with every heretical theology, it comes down to a natural tendency to rebel against God's total sovereignty and be man-centred. Praise God that he has delivered us from sin's grasp and transformed us by the renewing of our minds, to enable us to let go of our selfish tendencies and enjoy the knowledge that yes, God is in control, and he is good, and does all things well for the good of those who love him.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The eagle has landed

Well hello!

Here I am in Birmingham. The floor of my room is completely visible, there are posters on the wall and the photos are adorning the windowsill and the desk. But, most important of all, the internet is up and running! Woohoo! I no longer have to ever leave my flat ever again... forget getting to know people... I can just talk to other human beings through the power of the interweb...

Well, I guess you all want some serious news. I got here on Wednesday afternoon and headed straight for a riveting Joint Honours Modern History meeting. Since then I have met many a person. Everyone (minus a very small minority) is really friendly, and it's cool just being able to knock on people's doors at random and chat to them.

I have had my moments of hating it, feeling crap and wondering why I'm here, thinking I just want to go back home, but that was only really in the first 24 hours. It seems to be getting easier, although I'm sure there will be times when I get down and homesick. For now though, there is so much going on that it's easy not to feel low.

I'm really looking forward to doing my course: the introductory meetings have whetted my appetite. I am hopefully going to join Redbrick, the Uni newspaper - there's a meeting on Monday afternoon. I saw the last edition of it from the summer and it was really well produced and written - far better than the one they sent all the Freshers in the post the other week! (I may have mentioned it on here.)

It's our Freshers' Ball tonight, and Colin Murray and Spoony from Radio 1 are coming, which sadly I am very excited about. So far I have met one Christian in my halls, at random last night (we were in a Jewish flat and he was having a conversation with a couple of the girls about Judaism and Christianity!), and he says he's met 4 others just in our halls! Navs run hallgroups here so hopefully I'll go to that next week, if I can find out when and where it is. The CU runs on a Wednesday and Thursday as well so all in all I'm feeling really positive about everything!

Anyway, that's enough boring information for you. Please continue praying for me - I need it.

Much love to everyone


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Me

Yes, it's official. I am no longer a teenager. Halfway to 40 and all that, as some keep reminding me. The purpose of this post, however, is not to bemoan my entrance into alleged maturity, but to bid you farewell from the posting spot I am currently most familiar with. As of tomorrow, my residence will be in Edgbaston (at least during term-time). So, so long, farewell, adieu and all the rest of it. I'm sure I'll carry on posting while I'm in Birmingham, but of course I'll have a really busy social life and everything...

See you in Brum. xxx

Friday, September 16, 2005

Chemical Brothers rule all

Guess who's back, back again...
Well, 5 days to go. And 4 days to go till I'm not a teenager anymore. I won't go off on a massive spiel about the passing of time, the poignancy of growing up and all that rubbish because I would never be one to sentimentalise (ahem).
So, looks like these last few days are turning out to be a bit of a whirlwind. Off to a family wedding (as some would say, a jolly up), tomorrow, and staying there till Sunday because it is taking place in Swindon, Swinedon, land of the pigs - and incidentally, land of my father's birth. No, there isn't a blue plaque.
I've been bombarded with student 'literature' over the last few days, from UCAS and Birmingham Uni. I have to say, I'm unimpressed with the look of the 'Redbrick', the Brum Uni newspaper. Someone needs to introduce them to a friend in a high place: the semicolon. The rest of the leaflets, brochures, magazines etc seem to focus mainly on cheap alcohol and 'tips' on student living. They helpfully tell you that it makes plates easier to wash up if you leave them to soak in hot soapy water. I would say about 90% of the contents of these things is entirely about socialising. I hate to sound like a grumpy old woman already but surely with student finances in the state they are these days that's not helpful. Okay, to be fair, they spend a lot of time telling you about cheap deals on drinks, but isn't it obvious that just not getting drunk/drinking in moderation would actually be cheaper than getting drunk more cheaply than you can normally? And then they have another set of articles dedicated to warning you off the perils of alcohol - 'Beware of the pull of a pint'.
Anyway. I'm looking forward to it really. Just couldn't think of anything else to write about because I haven't even looked at the news for several days (apart from to gaze lovingly at the faces of the English cricket team). Ooh, I could have written about that. Oh well, too late now.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Come on you England (I love you Harmy)

That is all I have to say at this juncture. I am glued to the telly so will be unable to post for a while (it's lunch right now). In other news, how good's the weather?!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Long time no post

I will attempt to summarise various areas of my life quickly, if that is possible.

...was fantastic. We had a great time with our friends (the Runcimans, who we know from Carey). The scenery was amazing as well - I'd hardly been to South Wales before, having been mountain climbing in Snowdonia several times, but it was gorgeous. Went on a few short walks and visited a castle, amongst other things (such as aerobics on the landing and loads of games of sardines, not to mention the infamous poetry consequences...)

Birmingham Church Weekend
...was fantastic. I was a bit nervous beforehand, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming. The teaching was really good, by Bernard and Linda Lewis. God really spoke to me. It was good to get to know the Lewises too (they are from our mission and work in Papua New Guinea). All in all the weekend made me look forward to uni, and reassured me that I will be looked after, but I also found it quite scary because it made it really real that I'm actually going. Which brings us on to...

...I am leaving in 2 weeks and 1 day (September 21st). I had to choose my course options yesterday and have had loads of post from them about everything from timetables to how much drinks cost. I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed and scared about it, but I have to keep thinking that God is in control and he will look after me. Plus, I am actually really excited. I kind of just want to get there now, rather than waiting and wondering. My course still looks really interesting. I had to choose from over 20 modules for my first History research option this term. My number one choice eventually ended up being research into how Theology and Science diverged, with Galileo as a case study. Studies on Jack the Ripper and outlaws and bandits, not to mention the French Revolution, also appealed... isn't History great!

So there you go - that's a quick update. No time for random ramblings today I'm afraid, but I'm sure the fancy will take me again soon.

P.S. Just re-read this and realised that Theology and Science never actually diverged, people just think they did. What I meant was how the church and science diverged, as Theology used to be seen as 'The Queen of Sciences' but is clearly no longer. Also, the poster below is something I did today - I really enjoyed it, just thought I would post it on here because I have nothing better to do. I'm just practicing for being a student, you see.

CU Poster I made today for local Secondary School CU!

Friday, September 02, 2005

So long, farewell

I am back from Wales (had a great time, thanks for asking), but am going away again today to the Birmingham church weekend. So yet again you will have to suffer a prolonged period without me posting... however will you cope!

Hope you're all well and having fun