My Favourite Day (Ahem!!!)

So it’s that time of year again … Tomorrow is Valentines Day or as I think it should be re-named “Bring-me-a-bucket-I’m going-to-be-sick” Day. The cynic will say that my hatred of this day has more to do with my perpetual singleness than my objection to cutesy -wutesy commercialism. That may well be true. But it’s still no excuse for the awful display stands of complete tripe in most shops at the moment – Cuddly bears and all …

As a society we seem to be happy to channel our spending into these carefully marketed festivals of consumerism. And woe to anyone who dares question it – if you do it at Christmas then you’re a Scrooge (completely missing the point of Scrooge if you ask me) , if you do it at Valentines Day then you have no sense of romance, if you do it at Halloween then you’re a puritanical fundamentalist, if you do it at Easter then maybe you’re a bunny hater – I don’t really know. Each time we fall for the lie that our love for our friends/ family/”special person” will be most clearly demonstrated with something expensive. I couldn’t believe it when a major UK Supermarket was encouraging a £300 games console as a normal Christmas present for a young child – do they not realise the pressure this puts on parents? Of course they realise – that’s why they do it! But how irresponsible in a country whose citizens are more and more being encouraged to live way beyond their means – the figures of personal debt for a wealthy developed Western nation are staggering and some seem to be suggesting that this situation will plunge us into the kinds of back-breaking debts suffered by many people in developing nations.

When will we learn that happiness does not come from what we own? The National Lottery, the cult of celebrity, the driving ambitiousness, the entire world of business seems to be based on the idea that everything is about making money, spending it on things and then we will have a great life. The trouble is, for many people, this aspiration is but a dream and yet there is never a shortage of Financial institutions ready to “help”. The sheer number of Personal Loan adverts on TV seem to show the number of people who are in desperate trouble financially – and yet the solution is always another loan, another debt to be paid. (That said there are a number of excellent Debt Solution organisations who help to provide a real way out of personal debt.)

Yet our society is hooked on this idea that to show love, it means digging into your pocket around certain times of the year and getting something special (and expensive). Should our kindness/generosity be limited to those times of the year? Should the corporate powers dictate when and how we show our love for those around us? I’m no expert, but surely a surprise expression of love that has maybe taken more personal effort than money is far better than a cuddly giraffe with the words “I wuv you” on them …

Anyway, other than dreading February 14th (and I realise my last few posts haven’t really had any news in them!) I have had an interesting few weeks. I got offered the temporary job I’ve been doing at Man Met Uni – it means much better pay and benefits. However, I’ve now been moved to another part of the Uni to cover another vacant position which is more senior and more responsible – and so I may end up applying for that as well!

I spent a week and a half realising what life must be like for Bob (cough) Fleming (cough) of (cough cough) Badger (cough) Watch (cough cough cough) with a nasty bout of viral flu – I can tell you – you don’t want any part of it! It meant a pretty miserable week off work and very little sleep. Not the most fun week of my life! (By the way, Bob Fleming is a character from the BBC’s Fast Show!)

I’ve done some song-writing too, only making minimal progress on my half-finished “Mighty God” – I seem to have hit a creative brick wall at the end of the verse and nothing else is happening at the moment! However, I’ve written an alternative tune for “And Can It Be” which is quite different to the classic one. I absolutely love the original tune – this is not meant to be a replacement, just trying to do something different with it, try taking the song in a different direction. On Sunday, a friend from church who is studying Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, he came round and helped me get it written down and start working on a Bridge section. He also helped me look a bit more critically at some of my other songs and make some changes – some excellent improvements!

I’ve still not managed to meet up with my contact at Jubilate Hymns to get some more feedback and maybe even look at the possibility of getting some songs published – but I’m sure to post if and when there is any progress there.

Finally, I have completely lost track of who I have told about this and who I haven’t – I’ve been expecting to have an operation to repair a hernia for a few months now and after various appointments with various people, today I had my pre-operation check-up to make sure I’m ok for the surgery. I still don’t have a date for the operation itself but I’m expecting it to be mid-late March. I will post here when I have a definite date for it and I’d appreciate prayers. It’s a reasonably simple & straight-forward proceedure with a minimal risk of serious complications, but please pray for safety and swift recovery anyway!

Peace out y’all


2 Responses to “My Favourite Day (Ahem!!!)”

  1. 1 Phill February 14, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Hi Joe,

    You’re absolutely right about the debt thing. I have a Barclaycard because it’s handy sometimes to be able to pay for something, and then pay the Barclaycard off with money from a savings account (rather than directly from a current account). I was looking on the website the other day, and you can apply to increase your credit limit. There are a whole load of reasons you can choose from a drop down box such as “Wedding”, “Car” etc… this kind of mentality is just encouraging people (like you say) to get into more and more debt without considering the implications. I don’t think student loans really help, it sets people off on the wrong foot from day one (if you have a student loan).

    Oh, sorry, I can’t resist:

    Re: “I Wuv You”

    “Surely you mean, ‘Luv’?”

    “No, w-u-v, ‘wuv'”

    “What is this concept of ‘Wuv’? This concept of ‘Wuv’ confuses and infuriates us! Raaarrrrr!”

    And to finish off my comment – you have a friend studying Composition? Nice!

  2. 2 Megan H. February 19, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    So sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery. Even sorrier to hear that the ridiculous NHS has kept you waiting for MONTHS! But then again we don’t have health care answers in the states – we just go into more debt 😉

    Let us know how it goes, will you? I’ll be praying!

    Great to catch up on your posts 🙂

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