look! shiny sparkly things over there

Random thoughts in the absence of cohesion

I don’t read many church blogs, but it seems there’s a bit of a theme going around that people are stopping blogging for a while, and becoming a little jaded with social networking. Someone asked whether the sporadic posting here meant i was stopping blogging. I have no plans to stop blogging, but i don’t blog to network or be part of a conversation [I know, I really haven’t caught the spirit of blogging at all. And these posts? Way too long for a blog] – i do it to archive, to remind myself what i think, and because it’s an easy way to get resources out to people who might be interested. And besides, we’re getting towards the end of a lovely re-design that i need to show off…

But given the nature of the days and the work at the moment, things will be sporadic for the next little bit. If you are looking for something to read, go read Jonny Baker’s blogposts about curation. His last one is here, and there are links to the earlier posts there. I’m loving them. It makes what we are trying to do here, randomly and non-strategically, feel much less random and a little more strategic… I love this line that jonny quotes in his last post: ‘a museum director’s first task is to create a public – not just to do great shows, but to create an audience that trusts the institution’ [pontus hultén]. That’s been bouncing round my head all week as i think about the responsibility of what we’re doing with our spaces, and whether we’re living up to it…

We are heading to Greenbelt and the UK in just over two months… Nic and I are organising two groups again this year, each with a slightly different focus. My group will be heading to Telford [we love Telford!], then Liverpool [a first for me], to meet with Dream, and then on to Brighton to meet with the Garden and Beyond, before heading to London to meet with Jonny. It’s a different trip to last year, mostly due to the transient realities of the communities that we visit… I realised last night that I have only scheduled one day off… here’s hoping my group are as resilient and tough as i think they are… Nic is organising the group that will be meeting with church / diocesan strategic thinkers and leaders. I’m staying on for a week or so after, in order to do some research for next year’s trip, which will be focussing on culture / art / spirituality – more of a curation focus than a community focus. i can’t wait.

(Do you think all the good names for groups have been taken? We don’t have a cool name for the basement spaces. We just call what we do ‘the basement’ by default. Perhaps we’ll keep doing that. All these other names seem to evoke landscape and vision and far horizons… which seems a little incongruous when you’re suspending projectors from sewage pipes, and kicking the rat poison out of sight in order to put a slide projector in its place… while hoping the rats don’t seize the opportunity to gnaw on the cord instead of the poison… [reminder to self: buy bleach to get rid of the urine smell at the doorway for next weekend…]. I quite often get told that what we’re doing is pretentious and dressed up. I so wish people would see the reality.)

And just to finish a blog post that’s all over the shop… Do you ever have one of those weeks [years] where everything is too big to write about? writing a blog post or an article feels like you’ve got an elephant to describe, but only the words to speak about the front left leg, and that does no justice to the elephant at all, and in fact the leg makes no sense without the rest of the elephant, but to start on the whole elephant is impossible and unrealistic, and downright silly, because the words haven’t been created yet to make sense of it? I’m in one of those years, i think. Maybe I’m also really aware that when i start to describe the elephant, i’m going to disappoint a lot of people, and they’re all people i quite like, and don’t want to do that to. Who knows. It’s not an angsty thing. Silence is good.

I started studying at the beginning of the year – professional writing and editing. Somewhat ironically, since i started studying writing I’ve stopped writing. It’s not that i haven’t had time, it’s that I’ve become aware of the bigger picture… spending every wednesday night looking around at a lecture theatre of incredibly talented people, who are all so confident and articulate, thinking that we’re fighting for the same column space in the newspaper, metaphorically speaking, and that they’ve all got something brilliant to say that i want to hear… Where do they get that confidence from? So the only possible response to that is to quit study, which i have just done. I don’t like quitting, and normally i stick something out to the bitter end out of stubbornness. But this time? It’s pure liberation. And here’s hoping imagination is born from liberation [which sounds like something brueggemann would say, kind of, although he’d say it more poetically]…

Must get back to working on the budget – which is, of course, just another expression of vivid imagination…


  1. mike

    I hear Duke Special are at GB this year. Too too cool…

  2. i like the name ‘the basement’… though i guess it might not be so good if you moved elsewhere?!

  3. I do hope that you post on your return. There seem to be quite a few Aussies heading to Greenbelt – needless to say I’m green with envy (yes I know it is a sin but that doesn’t stop me). Your other visits sound amazing. I hope it is just a totally brilliant time. or if not totally – a fully rewarding time. I have found Padding UC in Sydney which is a breath of fresh air.

  4. Sounds like quitting study was the right thing to do. You are a wonderful writer, poignant, pertinent, and you have a great way of phrasing questions most of us wonder but don’t feel like we can utter them out loud. Some things can’t be learned.

  5. Selby

    “I quite often get told that what we’re doing is pretentious and dressed up. I so wish people would see the reality.)”

    they do duckie…its called sour grapes : ) if you havent raised objectors your just not doing it right …i remeber this guy a 30 something chippie and he upset quite a lot of peeps in the establishment.

    chin up

  6. Rob Thomson

    I am (now) also heading over to the UK and Greenbelt. Will you have an Aussie meet up point at some stage over the weekend? I’m an old(er) bugger (54) but I keep young hanging out with young people and I happen to like a lot of their music. I hope to catch up somewhere sometime someplace over the weekend but if not all the best for your trip. I am also hoping to catch up with some people over there and get some ideas to bring back and adapt to here.


  7. hi Rob… we normally have a time each day when those who want to from the group [and anyone else] can get together for a meal or a drink – we haven’t done anything more formal than that until now. but i’ll email you my mobile number and if you send me yours i can text with details of that… it’s great that you’re going!

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