New Year’s Eve can be quite a major deal here. People go out to friends, getting invited, dependent on who is doing the cooking. Ah. It would seem we are eight, sorry, nine for dinner tonight, rising to thirteen or more for dessert. Provisional menu herewith, written out by hand by chef for the purpose of instructing various minions, but, things change on a whim. The saucisson brioche has been made from The Porcine Beast of Which We Do Not Speak (no, best not ask…) and tastes rich and muscular. Those who pray might like to offer something powerful to the gods who control whether or not dishwashers malfunction at crucial moments. As the year closes, I find myself asking if the (pseudo)scientific Mayan folklore detailing the end of b’akt’un 13, or, if you like, the final wrap about a year from now will be heralded by voice recognition software (the next big thing – SIRI is light years ahead so far for those with an iPhone 4s) or if we’ll all still be eating potatoes in duck fat, just like tonight.
The last twenty four hours have been catchup. Apart from a Skype call to NZ, (ain’t Skype wonderful, especially when it’s legal), an old friend from the Friends was in town in transit to San Francisco and we snatched a fast cafe or two together in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower before I headed for Bobino and he for Brussels.
The new churches don’t often do Christmas very well. Anglicans – especially Anglo-Catholics can get into the groove of welcoming the annual churchgoer who shows up at Christmastime. They get to sing a few carols while sober and listen to Nine Lessons which is as efficient a way of evangelising the heathen as any, I suppose, since they get the whole panorama of prophecy and fulfilment in a few easily digestible bitesize chunks, accompanied by choirs, candles and christingles. OK then. What about the New Churches? For them, doing stuff out of the book is a bit like asking Herod to babysit. It doesn’t sit comfortably with them, since carol singing is quite a traditional art form and that’s usually the last item on their agenda. Fetching up at Bobino earlier than usual, the sight of a full orchestra – with a drummer – playing the old faves, came as something of a surprise. The meeting started proper half an hour earlier than normal, miraculously on time and was billed as the Christmas Service. For once, I didn’t feel like the Oldest Member – some of the congregation had brought parents with them, I suppose. It was instructive to listen to what a group of creative people can do with some quite traditional music. ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful” rebranded as “O Come Let Us Adore Him” was, to be honest, quite breathtaking. Have a listen…Search on the site for the track. Yeah, OK, I bought the album. new this year, called ‘Born To Be King”. Brendan White was on fire and the crowd loved it. Including me. The place was tricked out with fake snow and big polystyrene snowflakes which surprisingly enough didn’t look at all tacky. The final set finished off with a group of clearly professional dancers, topped out by a Billy Elliott type with some spectacular classical ballet moves. As Christmas services go, this one was right up there…Lovely.
Those who follow this blog know that from time to time I like to think a bit about physics, so it comes as no surprise that I make comment today on that faint aroma, that cloud the size of a man’s fingernail, that shrug of eternity, the Higgs. Few of us, myself included, have an intimate working knowledge of that ultimate racetrack-cum-wrecking-ball , the Large Hadron Collider about which I have written elsewhere, the worker bees who drive it yesterday announced that they “might have found something”. So far, it’s nothing more than a twinkle in the eye of God, but we live, as always, in hope.
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