The news coming out of Gaza isn't good. The indiscriminate loss of life on both sides is nothing short of heartbreaking. And what are they fighting for? Religion? Land? Territory? Power? Who knows. As long as I continue to draw breath I have no earthly understanding as to why anyone would chose to pick up a weapon and kill his fellow man. I'm currently watching Once Upon Time in Northern Ireland and to see the deep rooted hatred that fuelled Catholics and Protestants alike over 50 years ago (and, in some cases, still fuelling them now) defies comprehension. What would the big man upstairs have to say if we were to put a call in?
The Chi-Lites - There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God is Seated at the Conference Table*) - 1974
Speaking of God. I was at a rather lovely beer festival yesterday (yes, I know, all beer festivals are lovely). But this one was being held in a rather spectacular church. An imaginative way of utilising a building that probably lies dormant six days of the week. And if I felt in any way uneasy about strapping a few on in the House of the Lord (which I didn't, but let's for argument's sake say that I did) then this note in the front of yesterday's Festival Programme written by the Parish Priest, would certainly have allayed any fears I may have had:
"So why allow beer in church? Well, the church has had a long history in the creation of beer, and some of the finest beers in the world are still brewed in monasteries, and so we always start our festival by blessing the beer -
'Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast designed to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.'"
Amen, indeed. I'll drink to that. And, indeed, I did.
You may or may not be interested to learn that I have a new collection of photographs published this week. It brings together for the first time many of my favourite images; from Art Deco buildings in Dublin to palm trees in Los Angeles. It's called Battersea & Beyond and can be ordered directly from yours truly for £9.99 + shipping. (PayPal or Postal Order!)
Ping me an email - email@example.com - if you'd like a copy. I'll even sign it if you so desire.
* I very nearly went with Nick Lowe's version; stripped down and stark. As you'd expect.