Beer

Livin on a Prayer

What did you do Saturday morning?

Me I went to the centre of my village to get cash out, then into our equivalent of a 7-11 to get a few bits of shopping. Glamorous eh. Oh I missed out something, I got given a second hand necktie then I got prayed for and “blessed” twice.

As a practising atheist, praying as about as useful to me as a bacon sandwich is to a vegan. A man approached me as I walked, with my crutches, towards the cashpoint.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m from the local Christian church and we are doing a treasure hunt, and we needed someone on crutches.”
Strange treasure hunt, I think still walking.
He continues “Is there anything you would like praying for?”
“No not really” I politely reply. “But if you want to knock yourself out”
On I go to get my cash out, smiling to myself, thinking briefly of Anneka Rice and her Treasure Hunt. That was a good show.

Into the shop.

There is a woman in the way preventing me reaching the bread. I wait patiently, no rush there is plenty of bread. A mousey middle aged woman with a squint approaches me.
“This might seem very strange.” She says “But I saw you and felt I must go in the shop next door and buy you this.”
She was right it did seem strange.
She has in her hand a purple necktie. She continues “This is to show you are very much welcome into the kingdom of God.”

I take the tie, it would be rude not to. She blesses me and leaves the shop. I get my bread.

Regular readers (if I have those) will know that I am pretty much live and let live. If you wanna believe there is a man in the sky, fantastic. Just don’t expect or demand me to agree with you. It ain’t happening. Some of you will say, where is the harm in blessing and praying. Hell you got a free tie. Well did either of those people ask what I wanted? Offer me some actual assistance, carry my shopping to the car for instance. Surely this is far more “Christian” than mumbling a few words in the hope that God will hear.

It only occurred to me when I was home. These acts of religious “saving” or “blessing” isn’t for the benefit of the subject. It’s an entirely selfish act, a completely empty gesture. The equivalent of me going up to a stranger and asking them to watch me play with myself.

If you are religious and want to make a difference, pray if you want, but actually do something to help, volunteer, if you don’t have time send money, ask people what they need. If you think your God will help, great but you can help too. If you can’t bring yourself to actually help, go away and leave me to enjoy my Saturday.

Rev James, the only religious thing I've enjoyed recently.

Rev James, the only religious thing I’ve enjoyed recently. For good beer follow @goodbeertweet on twitter

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Birthdays: Women and Children only

If it’s your birthday today, Happy Birthday from all of us here at SudoOne. (Just me then) I hope you get all the gifts you want and a cake especially for you. Unless you are a male over the age of 18. In which case, happy birthday mate. I haven’t got you anything because I’m not your Mum. If you are lucky I might buy you a pint. Men don’t do birthdays.

Embed from Getty Images

The male arrangement for birthdays.

I buy a beer, pie or coffee, if birthdays are mentioned at all. If not, all the men I know carry on as if their birthday was nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to work on my birthday. But this has more to do with me disliking work than anything else. Today is a work colleagues birthday. He is way over 18. He spent £50 feeding people who aren’t his friends, some of them hate him and yet will eat the free food (I didn’t). He works on phones, spent the majority of the morning telling customers it was his birthday. Now I know you have to build a rapport with the great unwashed but when your customer wants to do what he needs to do and hang up (Sounds like I work on a Sex line) your ‘special day’ matters diddly squat and mentioning it can come across as unprofessional.

Food rituals in the workplace are bullshit too. Its a unwritten rule that you have to bring stuff for your birthday, and you are judged on the quality of food you get, catering for all allergies in the office and watching out for those arseholes who will double dip the breadsticks. You are therefore a mixture of You, Jamie Oliver and Robocop.

I like other peoples birthdays. It gives me an opportunity to show the women and children in my life how much they mean to me. Really thats a grand total of three or so gifts (Daughter, Mother and the official photographer of the New York Yankees etc) But those are people I care about and people who I know appreciate what I got them. Not some people I happen to sit in a building with. Birthdays should be banned from the workplace. Which brings me to Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure protegiendo el balon

Yaya Toure (centre) during a previous spell at Barca. Birthday Cake (not pictured)

I know this is a ruse. Yaya even tried to point it out himself. But for those who don’t know, Toure plays for Manchester City FC and his agent is saying that he will leave because they didn’t wish him Happy Birthday. In all reality he wants to leave because he can get a big bundle of cash from Barcelona. Thats fine with me. (Man doing job wants more money for working). However he does need to sack his agent for the “Birthday” plan because Yaya now looks like a bit of a dick. I hope he stays at Man City just for all the Birthday related chants he’ll get.

My birthday is in June by the way. Hint..

Trains, Delays and Ben Folds Plays: Bristol Academy 23/11/2012

Strange day. Strange decisions. If you have read my pieces about music before you will know I like to know details of the bands I like. I research musical influences, old stuff, new stuff, producers. I like Ben Folds. This like is strange for me because the interest was started by a Tim Minchin song lyric:

“He likes Ben Folds and the Jackson 5…” From Rock n Roll Nerd.

I got several albums. Liked those so when I heard he was touring small(ish) venues in England I thought it would be nice to see him. I knew of the Ben Folds Five, but had not researched in the slightest. In hindsight this was probably a bad idea, the first of many.

Mr Folds had decided to play in two viable venues for me. The Bristol O2 Academy or the Brixton Academy London. I’ve been to the latter before and hated it, so Bristol it was. Second bad idea. Around the time I booked the tickets I had been to the Bristol Hi-Fi show and travelled by train. So I thought it would be good to go by train for the gig. Third bad idea.

Due to a worrying waste of time meeting at work earlier in the week, the gig crept up on me. Train tickets not brought in advance, money! Floods in-between Reading and Bristol a concern. Also upon checking the timetables last train to Reading was due at 10:35pm meaning we would have to leave the gig early! Yet gig tickets were brought so we went for it. Half of our touring party wanted to visit Bristol Zoo so they left earlier than I.

Train from home to Bristol went fine. Was busy for a Friday afternoon but even managed to find a seat. The plan was to get the bus to the venue from the station. However I decided to use my Bus App which unhelpfully highlighted every Park and Ride only bus. So we walked, bewildered and slightly unsure of where we were headed, round in circles for the best part of 45 mins. My ankle shouting so many expletives at me even the local drunks off of Church Lane were embarrassed.

Halfway through our trek, losing hope of finding the venue. In the distance appeared a wondrous sight. My traveling companion and I thought it may have been a mirage. The glass fronted Brew Dog bar. My heart be still, my tired legs rejoice flavourful beer was in reach. We stepped inside the warm welcoming place, my glasses steaming up. We were guided through the choices of draft beers by knowledgeable and friendly staff. A good pint was had, I had very little time to realise that the place was filling up. This seemed like a good meeting point for our zoo visitor friends, so contact was made.

Upon our successful rendezvous we embarked on the second leg of the journey, to find the venue and collect tickets. Due to my sociable smoker friend, we had inside knowledge and found the venue in relative ease, tucked behind the Bristol Hippodrome. It looked like an industrial factory. Tickets collected we headed in with a few minutes to spare. The venue is standing only, so I had arranged seats (sounds silly that doesn’t it) up on a platform for our party. We we led through the bowels of the Academy to the platform. The security staff were again friendly. However this was my view of the stage.

Not good. The people in front of me were in wheelchairs, they had to kneel up in those chairs to see over the pictured metal bar. This had the offshoot of me only being able to see the bassist for 90% of the gig. As I am admirer of Ben Folds musical ability on the piano not being able to see this was a huge disappointment. The gig started slowly, with technical issues effecting the performance. My audiophile friend seemed to pick up that one of the speakers on the PA was blown, thus effecting the quality of the sound. That coupled with my lack of view and unfamiliarity with the work of the Ben Folds Five meant that this was not the best gig experience.

I have never been to a gig where I could hear so many people talking, for the first 5 or 6 songs there was a constant hum of conversation. Mid set the Five (surprised me that they are a 3 piece band) hit the speed and showed that they could indeed play, with loose form jams about toilets. However by this point my focus was on the clock.

I had it in my mind that I must leave at 9:50pm at the latest. To make sure we didn’t miss the poorly thought out last train home. Much to annoyance of my friends, we missed the encore. We found a taxi, and headed back to Bristol Temple Meads. Only to find out the train had been delayed. 22:35 became 22:50, 23:12, 23:20. We could have seen the 1st encore and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Damn it!

We sat in the cold. Discussing the merits of a Cheese and Chicken Tikka crepe. The train got later and later. My home town had never felt so welcoming. My bed seemed like the greatest place ever. As the expected arrival time of our train came closer we moved to the platform. Only for them to move it. At this point I was ready to kill anyone with even the vagest connection to the railway. Yes in my head I plotted to kill Thomas the Tank Engine. 23:40 train arrived. We boarded it and 10 mins later we were on the way home.

At some point in the journey, we were treated to a drunken American explaining the virtues of Mitt Romney to a follow passenger, at great volume and at great repetitive length. Also the train driver sounded on his announcements that he was either drunk or high!

Moral of the story. Never travel by train to see a band that you have very little clue about. Even if there is nice beer involved.