Sunday, January 28, 2007

Take Me To The River

I`ve always wanted to be deep. How many girls did I regale with buckets of whimsy and insight only to asked “Who is your friend …the quiet one.” Its enough to sap your faith in the Protestant work ethic.
Speaking of which, in what was probably largely an attempt to dab a little profundity behind the ears,the Newmans returned to Church . Starving people ,I `ve read,wait in the food queue when they know nothing has been delivered and I seem similarly unable to learn from experience.
Anyway, for whatever mixed and ignoble reasons,along we went,Marian and I had been arguing all week so chit chat was minimal.The trundle of Elliot’s push chair accompanied our grim silent simmering plod .Soon we were within sight of the spire, nestled in the crook of an ferociously busy arterial road in the picturesque Hamlet of London .My first “Damien in the car”, moment came when I saw the of the Alpha Course banner.
“Oh fuck a duck ,” ..“this lot are really full on”….
“Don`t you want to go?”
“ I said we’d go didn’t I..Jesus..”….

Smiles fixed, we charged the door,it has been over twenty years, barring the Christmas sing-along .I peered like curious Alice around a stone pillar into the gloom , while Marian,who knew someone from toddler group, gabbed enthusiastically.I was left with devout hubbie,a man of about 13 in M and S smart casual .At 43 I retain the black leather and jeans uniform .A Classic I like to think.
“ So first time ?” ..
“ Uh sort of .. I did loads of god bothering as a child though”
…a wifely eyebeam slashed across my forehead,and I was back on message.” I mean I was in a choir and things I ..we live nearby , We thought we`d come along you know “. Fortunately Elliot , at sixteen months is getting a handful to hold and my intermittent wrestling gave me useful cover for a strategic retreat.
We found some seats ,but by this time the venue was hopping with even standing room under pressure Marian was still smiling like the bloody Joker and a couple of crazed notices later we launch into the first number. I soon discovered that the bums on pews strategy here, revolves around never being more than a minute from a song. They know the business called show …oh yes.
Unfortunately I like music and , damned though I may be , I very much like Hymns. This was something else ,a new sort of experience I would call…torture.
The ensemble was guitar, violin ,Cello ,drum`n`bass and backing singers .No more than three chords were involved and as we munched laboriously through about eight of them I grasped the formula .
You start with a simple repetition.
“Jesus loves me “.. eyes begin to close in rapture “Jesus loves me”
Then some explanatory notes concerning time and place”
“ He loves me in the morning as a make a cup of tea
Even when I comb my hair ..he loves me “
And so we proceed to the crucial moment when the drummer ,who had been snare tapping,exploded into action ,up a fourth ,and the righteousness starts to blow your hair back
“ HE`S MY LORD..” now they are swaying and oddly holding a hand aloft “HE`S MY LORD”
Numerous sticky moments followed in a service of which I recognised not a syllable. Clasping complete strangers was tense . Directly communing with the spirit of the Lord in a terrifying five minute period of “Bearing witness”.. …. was another highlight
Elliot’s voluble complaints required my frequent absence and , trotting to and fro ,I noticed a softening in Marian ,who in prime form can maintain frosty mode for months . After about an hour of unremitting “Joy” , we simultaneously realised we were only at half time .I look at her in speechless conspiratorial despair and .. her lips form the silent word “Help!”. We were once more ,the only two sane people in the world .
We will not be returning but ,for all I know ,god has a sense of humour. His flock helped me to a most enjoyable Sunday afternoon . Besides which,if I can locate a church in which doubt is tolerated , and the Book of Common prayer an occasional guest, I may have another go. As I say , I`ve always wanted to be deep. “Why?” impresses people so much more than ”why not? “.


Croydonian said...

You paint a very vivid picture... What the world needs is some sort of website that informs as to how low or high church Anglican churches are, whether they go in for incense and Anglo-Catholicism etc, or if it is all 'Shine Jesus Shine' and tambourines.
I suspect that we share an expectation of Anglican churches to be rather stark stone buildings with vicars in dark suit, readings from the King James, hymns from Ancient & Modern and the sole music being a choir and an organ. The God I cannot believe in wants to be worshipped thus... Mind you, excluding weddings, baptisms and funerals the last time I was in a church for 'voluntary' purposes was St Pauls in 1980 to celebrate my school’s tercentenary, and that included 'ecumenical dancers'. Yes, really.

I hope you were spared the kiss of peace.

Newmania said...

C-I have never quite worked out what bizarre set of inadequacies have lead to god requiring worship at all.
I just like poetry and dislike childish bawling

Anonymous said...

I knew there was a reason not to got.

I am a member of Church - we worship a House Plant in America - theres a link on my blog to it!

nick drew said...

Mr Mania, I detect a strong priestly strand in your own variegated persona.

Were there not already a moratorium on use of the words 'journey' and 'quest', I would express my hope that you keep us periodically updated on your spiritual, erm, journey.

Tejus Ramakrishnan said...

agree with C.. kind of atleast.. regarding the sterotype about the appearance..

newmania said...

We`ll see Nick, Tejus something you have written was mentioned on Cranmer the other day . Itwas about homosexual Priests and got a strong response

I think it was you anyway , is there another Tejus likely to crop up in such circumstances)

Peter Hitchens said...

Fucking hell
first Cameron now Jesus , Mr Mania will be telling us that he belives in Santa claus next.

Peter Hitchens said...

Nick drew
When I first saw Mr mania photo the first thing that leapt into my head was "trendy vicar"
same with Cameron.

newmania said...

Blessings be upon you PHITCH and know that no matter how much you may disagree with me and abuse me I LOVE YOU...

Go in peace my poor misguided sheep .

CityUnslicker said...

perhaps a future venture out of Islington is in order. Perhaps a trip to a neighbouring parish such as Dalston will reveal some better ecumenical entertainment for the Newman family.

I forsee many Sunday's of blogging updates for you.

Philipa said...

Another fantastic post Newmania - you are so on form right now. I spent xmas at such a church (visiting family) and sadly my children didn't like it. It does kind of assault the senses I suppose. Our own Church looks like Mr Elton could walk out any moment. We're just old-fashioned I guess.

Newmania said...

CU- Whilst at the local church oneof the brethren told us ho he travelled from Highgate because it was stayed , middle class and traditional . Gosh that sounds awful I said . Where excatly .....?

Lucky you P.I fear I would lose my urban edge if I were in such lovely surroundings. I love it that we both like Jane Austen so much...of course PHITCH would call it Gay...shocking barbarian that he is .

Anonymous said...

When you are Archbishop of Canterbury I trust you will remember your old friens...

Philipa said...

When you are Archbishop of Canterbury I hope you will distract the congregation while I smack the Rev. Peter Mullen really hard in the face, then turn the other cheek and slap that one too.

I wouldn't smack him one whilst he's wearing uniform obviously. One has to remember though that out of uniform he's just a bloke. Git. Can we strap him down afterwards and get the congregation of that church you attended to offer a healing 24hr marathon of kumbaya do you think?

Newmania said...

Rev. Peter Mullen really hard

Then he would really annoy you by continuing to love you or some such muck.

No Mut I will not bother with the little people when I ascend to celebrity. I will laugh about them with my new posh succesful friends.

Ha ha hoo hoo tee hee

Philipa said...

No he's far too arrogant to love me Newmania - the Rev. Peter Mullen is so arrogant he would ridicule contemptuously and make out our attempts at worshiping God are in fact inferior and thus blasphemous because they don't come up to scratch. He's too arrogant to pity the poor, he leaves that to the Archbishop of Cantebury.

Don't laugh at us poor folk Newmania, pity those who look up to you.

David Allen said...

N _ "I have never quite worked out what bizarre set of inadequacies have lead to god requiring worship at all."
You have hit the nail on the head: If God is everything He is cracked up to be, then he is certainly DESERVING of worship. BUT, any god that is so vain, egocentric as to DEMAND it isn't much of a god _ certainly not perfect enough to be called 'God'.
As for those Anglican churches which have fallen victim to the shiny, happy people and the Alpha Course _ well, yes, they do make one want to puke. I think the nice, staid, trad' Anglican church the shinyhappyperson referred to was St Augustine's in the Archway Road. Normal Anglicans seem to go THERE, while SHPs down our way go to At St. James's, Muswell Hill (where, I believe, Tim Montgomery is still one of the congregation _ he certainly used to be).

eliza said...


I can see the sweat on his forehead
The embers glow over his stuble blue...

I can feel the heat rising
From the forest of his arms' hairs
And his hissing snake*
Under my loving touch...

I can feel the warm soil
In his torso's fields-
Rippling valleys across and wide
Upon where my head rests now...

Eliza, 28 January 2007
for Pee xxx

* Pee's hissing snake is 9'' long.

Ellee said...

Fabulous stuff, is this a normal Mania day out? I imagine you as a younger version of Victor Meldrew, you should write sitcoms.

Philipa said...

David Allen said "Tim Montgomery is still one of the congregation" - ooh well Dave we must flock there then, it's not about worship it's about networking!

Eliza - we're not worthy but F***! 9"? Newmania! Baby!

ellee - be nice. A young Victor Meldrew? My dear not so, I have a witness, in the person of the very fragrant melissa who assures me that Newmania is a delight.

Ellee said...

Lucky Melissa, I'm sure she treasures those moments too.

Are you able to access 18 Doughty Street to see Croydonian and Dizzy et al in action, the screen keeps buffering my end.

Philipa said...

ellee - I'm sure she does and I'm completely jealous to have missed out on the event. Apparently much delight was had by all.

I've never been able to get Doughty St more than once. Oh well.

Ellee said...

Success. I am watching Croydonian now as we speak. They are having a discussion about climate change.

Now why didn't Mania introduce the lovely Melissa to Croydonian?

nick drew said...

Well there you are, Mr Mania, your fortune is secure, Dale has defamed you on his programme (in the face of Mr C's protestations, I note), can your writ be far behind?

Oh no, wait a minute, he said you were mad...

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you do not know any Satanists.

newmania said...

Really , I wish I`d known. I wonder if the choice of name was a teensy mistake . On the ther hand I think . Bollocks

istanbultory said...

Have you been paying a visit too many to His Grace's site? I'd always had you down as a closet Mohammedan...

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