top ten albums

Top ten albums on facebook. No reason sharing just doing it for fun.

1. Very – Pet Shop Boys

My gorgeous friend Jeremy has asked me to post 10 favourite albums in 10 days. My first album is very poignant as I took it to a Christmas party in Oxford at one our lecturers houses and Jeremy was there in ‘94. So every time I hear about the album and songs I remember the Christmas party.

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2. Stronger – Cliff Richard

I have a history of not caring what people think about my music collection. From Bros to Kids from Fame Madama Butterly to Choral Evensong. Cliff has been a big part of my music. I got this album on vinyl in ‘89. A prolific turning point in my life. This is a time when Stock Aiken and Waterman were riding high in the charts with Kylie and various other artists. Cliff want some of that sound and here in this album. Features one of my ALL time favourite songs “Lean on you”.

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3. Nothing like the Sun – Sting

I got this album when it was released in 1987. I can’t remember why I bought it as it was my first album by Sting. Wasn’t that much a fan of the Police and previous albums. But this album is amazing. It was nothing like I heard before. Sister Moon a great song.

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4. Communion – Years and Years

To a more recent album and I became a fan of this group by watching a documentary about homophobia present by the singer. It’s electro pop and I love it. Camp and fun.

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5. An Aching and a Longing – Martyn Joseph

This album rounded off a wonderful year 1989. It was a live album but very unique in that it captured the essence of a live performance.

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6. Go West Young Man – Michael W. Smith

I played and played this album in 1990. It’s unique as it comes from a Christian Rock genre which is generally hated in the UK. I loved it as it was a crossover album into mainstream. Contains one of my top 10 songs – Place in this World.

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7. Press to Play – Paul McCartney

I was desperately in love with someone who would never love me back. I played and played this album. It was the music that provided a soundtrack for a lovesick teenager.

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8. Purpose – Justin Bieber – making the transition from annoying bratty kid singer to adult star isn’t easy. It’s having everyone watching you grow up and seeing every mistake you do. This album is great. Its growing up but being decent pop.

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9. Dangerous – Michael Jackson

You can tell he spent a lot of money in the production of this album. I remember when Black or White was released and it had its showing on Top of the Pops. He couldn’t better this album.

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10. Older – George Michael

This album got me through a tough time in the years following its release. Only after a new of years did you realise that George was in mourning for a loved one. The song track Jesus to Child in 2018 still helps me through powerful emotions realising you can love and with in the blink of an eye that which you though would be with your forever has gone.

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honourable mentions

I predict 1990 – Steve Taylor

Got the Christian communities knickers in a twist with this album from 1987. Theological College didn’t like me playing it. Tough. Look into it’s theme and subjects.

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Madonna – Confessions on a dance floor

Fantastic pop album from the queen of pop.

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My experiences in teaching – 1

Never really talked about my time in teaching at great length. The experiences were partly good others you wouldn’t actually believe. 

The first week was one of the most remarkable in my life. I was fresh out of university and ready to take on the world. Although the world wasn’t quite what I was prepared. I wasn’t given any training for what I was about to face.

Setting up the lesson and getting all the resources in place. Ready to accept the year 11s (the oldest pupils in the school – 15-16-year-olds) I had some good lessons with some other pupils in the school although this was going to be like any other.

It was like a whirlwind. Two people fighting each other, screaming obscenities, before I could even open my mouth one violently pushed another through a glass door. The screaming continued and I sent for other members of staff to calm the situation. It was at least on a par with bedlam.

These pupils had never met me before. Never set foot in my classroom. It was my first introduction. They soon calmed down once the room had been flooded with staff and both of the pupils taken away.

How do you plan for something like that? How do you anticipate that there is going to be trouble? The technique of discerning and defusing I had to learn pretty sharpish in this school. Not something I had ever trained or professionally prepared.

I could continue. Out of the ten years in education, this would not be the most ridiculous life-threatening situation to experience.

 

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So I didn’t get the job I wanted. So what now? What do I do?

I am only ever angry at one person and that’s myself. If something is wrong I will try and put it right. I think that’s a good way of working and trying to see what could be setbacks as learning curves/processes and all that speak.

So after the last interview, I took on board to do more research about the company I was potentially going to employed. I took on board their feedback. Turns out the feedback that I had put in place was utterly useless and futile – a waste of time and not needed. So what do I do next? Take on board that I get from THIS interview and then fail again?

One piece feedback I did receive was: “Why not try read blogs or start one of your own” It made me a laugh a lot. How about teaching your mother’s mother to suck on an egg?

Holy Week – Easter Day

The most important day in the Christian calendar is here. Jesus has risen from the dead.

I remember a number of years ago I went to watch the sun rise over the northeast sea at South Shields and it was stunningly beautiful. If there is ever a thing that should be placed on your ‘to do list’ I highly recommend watching the sunrise.

For some Christians, they too will get up on Easter morning very early and watch the sunrise to remember the resurrection of Jesus.

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The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus is the focal point of their religious belief. Life has meaning. God has raised up Jesus so death has been conquered and people will again be joined with him in heaven.

Our cynical world doesn’t believe in miracles or events that really have no explanation. But for the Christian believer, it is putting their trust and faith in God which is the vital part of Christianity. It is not about having all the answers to every question but trusting that God has a plan for everyone and if you trust in him.

 

Holy Week – Easter Sunday

There seems a tradition now where people go about there business and don’t regard easter Saturday of any importance. 

In the Anglican (Church of England) tradition according to the Book of Common Prayer, Saturday before Easter day is called Easter Even. It is a time in some Christian traditions where they remember when Jesus descended into hell. Jesus pardons those who are righteous and raises them up to the heavens. It was distinguished in some thought from the hell of the damned. Those who do not have salvation.

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This is named as a limbo or a place where people wait for the time when they judged. It is a solemn time for Christians as they remember that Jesus has died. He has been placed in a tomb.

Jesus was wrapped in a burial cloth and it’s no coincidence that he was wrapped with incense and myrrh. If we think back to the gifts to Jesus at his birth in the nativity – gold, frankincense and myrrh it is a referral to this time where he has been put to death and laid in a tomb.

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Jesus has given his life for others.

John 15:13 ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

Holy Week – Good Friday

Also known as Great Friday, Black Friday and Holy Friday. We have reached the most crucial part of the week.

We look at the accounts in the gospels and they speak of Jesus being arrested. Judas has carried out his final act and has told the Romans and the priests where to find Jesus. He has been paid. Later in the book of Matthew, we learn that Judas returns the money to the priests and then hangs himself.

Judas must have known as Jesus was taken away what would happen to Jesus his overwhelming guilt and betrayal cause him to commit what some Christian’s say is a sinful act.

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There is no doubt that in the lead up to Jesus crucifixion that there was terrible suffering. Jesus had prayed to his father that if he could be spared this sacrifice let it be done but this was not too happen and Jesus would die.

Jesus was brought before the priests and he was found guilty of blasphemy by claiming to be the son of god. He was sentenced to be crucified. The Romans were a pretty ruthless bunch of people and believed that by publically flogging someone and nailing them to wood it would deter would-be thieves and murderers from committing any crimes.

Jesus death Christian’s believe is a sacrifice for all bad things people have done. Taking on the sins of the world people can have a relationship with their creator.

Holy Week – Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is now here and it reminds Christians of a time when Jesus gives his ultimate commandment.

Most Theologians and believers point to the fact that the word ‘Maundy’ comes from the middle English and old French mandé – from the Latin mandate which we get the word ‘mandate’. It’s definition is an official order or a commision to do something.

“A new command I give unto you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV)

When someone faces death they want to know that people who are left behind are safe and happy. Jesus knew his fate and that those disciples would now go out and give the message of the gospel to the rest of the world.

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It seems now that more than ever that commandment is relevant to a world that often seems lacking in love and compassion.

Christians are reminded of the Last Supper. The time that Jesus spends with his disciples eating and drinking in his presence. He reminds them that each time that they do eat and drink they remember him. They should give thanks for his life and the sacrifice that he is about to make.

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My thoughts turn to the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria his work is seen as one of those most prominent in the counter-reformation. An accomplished organist and Catholic priest his music for my bring an auditory musical side to Easter we are often denied when swamped with adverts for boxed chocolate eggs and synthetic families smiling and laughing over the Easter Sunday meal table.

Have a listen. Take time. Reflect. Even if you aren’t a Christian or have no religion. Just taking time out of your day over the next few days.