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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chapter 19 (Part 1) - A story about Deepend and the pitfalls of Strepsils


Ok, so it’s been close to a month since Chapter 18. But what a few weeks it has been. The album has now been released (please buy it – and as a little incentive – if you buy it from the link on this page you’ll get something else as well), I’ve had an amazing week with my band at Deepend, I’ve taken a massive step towards completing one of the 10 Resolutions and we’ve made a decision that could potentially have a rather large impact on my life (and in turn Cass’s). I’ve experienced a pure cocktail of emotions (and not all good ones) – and if I’m being completely honest about it, the one which I’m kind of lingering on at the moment is overwhelmed. That’s not a bad thing – I just have times when I process an awful lot of stuff at once and this is one of those times. They are generally quite exciting periods though – so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens – whatever it may be! I get the idea that this is a new season of life (and that’s not just me panicking because I’m about to hit 20 {+10} years old). It feels like I’m at a bit of crossroads, but I also feel pretty blind going into it – because I don’t really have any idea what lies in each direction. It’s scary – but exciting. 

But after a long gap since the last chapter, quite a few questions have been building up, so I thought I’d tackle a couple of them now, and then take on a couple more in the 2nd half of this chapter next week.

Q. What was your favourite cartoon when you were growing up?
My folks might remember something different – but probably Thundercats. I loved Thundercats – and was gutted when the new version was cancelled (as it was actually quite good). From memory – I used to thing that Cheetara was quite hot as well….. I also loved He-Man, and even the later version of He-Man when he was in the future and there were spaceships and stuff. Ooohhh and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. and MASK and Bravestarr. I loved cartoons. The truth is that I still do (I love Transformers Prime).


Q. What is the worst film that you have ever seen at the cinema?
I’ll be honest here and say that I’ve seen loads of bad films at the cinema. I’ve made some bad choices. At the time, I really liked the Phantom Menace – but then I watched it again and it was so bad that it made me want to projectile vomit over George Lucas’s face (how can 1 film made so long after the previous ones look so much worse?). Ja Ja Binks is one of the most annoying characters that has ever been committed to film. But that wasn’t the worst film that I’ve seen. Oh no. Ghost rider: Spirit of Vengeance must be up there…but I’m fairly sure that the worst film (or series of films) that I have ever seen at the cinema was the girly arse that was Twilight. Awfully acted, cardboard script, special effects that could have been created on an Acorn Electron and the least believable love story (between the characters and actors) that I have ever come across (something that is even more ironic knowing that two of them were together in real life for the majority of films). An absolute heap of arse. Forget Team Jacob, or Team Bella or Team sparkly man (that for some reason no one AT A SCHOOL realises that he is glistening like a diamond). I was in Team I want them all to die – and briefly in the last film I thought I had my wish. But ohhhhh no. Awful awful awful. That probably isn’t the worst – but it’s just sprung into my mind because all of the film companies are looking for the new Twilight series and the latest is the critically panned Mortal Instruments (which I actually thought was substantially better than Twilight). 

The night of (not) bowling and fried goods
Sophie Spiers (Hiya) 

Sophie’s nickname is Hiya for a very good and very simple reason. The first time I met her – the only thing that she would say to me was “Hiya”. So that then became her name. Sophie has a bouncy personality and at times it can seem like someone has given her far too many cans of Red Bull (that she has then directly inhaled into her bloodstream). I have never met anyone with so much energy and I have never met anyone who is as capable of making anyone smile as Hiya. Bright, bouncy, compassionate and in possession of a lovely personality (that isn’t dissimilar to a human version of Tigger); Hiya has the amazing ability to light up a room through simply being around (despite being one of the smallest people I have ever met). Good things come in small packages they say – and never has this been more true than in the case of Hiya (Just tell her to be ½ an hour earlier than the time she actually needs to be somewhere).

Leon Rook
Already doing the press shots for his TV show...
Leon is Hiya’s bloke and I met him a couple of years ago at my birthday party. He’s from Manchester but is an Arsenal fan and is also an amazing chef (Michelin star here we come kind of level).  He is also someone who loves to laugh and is one of the most instantly likeable people that I have ever come across. Leon wears his heart on his sleeve (- whether he wants to or not is a different matter) and I love that about him. I love hanging out with Leon (and Hiya) and he is just one of those people that you relax and be yourself around. 

The day before my band arrived for practises and hanging out time before Rivercamp (or GODCAMP as it’s referred to by some colleagues) Wifey and I went bowling (or at least to the place where bowling takes place) with Leon and Hiya – and just spent some time playing Pool, laughing at my feet in clown shoes, drinking beer and eating a platter of fried goods (some of which may or may not have been horse and some of which may or may not have given Hiya food poisoning). The evening ended a bit abruptly as Hiya started feeling sick – but it didn’t stop me from realising that the line of Pool playing potential being at its best when drinking is a very thin and narrow line. I went from world class (in my mind obviously) to a complete reject in the space of about half a pint. It doesn’t matter though, because we still got to hang out with two amazing people (and I could speak to Leon for ages about Arsenal!).

And off we go….camping for Jesus (yes – I cringed at this title as well)

Jason Smith
I’ve known Jason now for 6 or 7 years, and he was partly (yet indirectly) responsible for Danny falling off his bike into a bush and me falling off my chair on the night of our house warming a number of years ago. Joking aside though, I am so proud to be able to call Jason a friend. He’s loyal, supportive, funny (or thinks he is) and will go completely and utterly beyond the call of duty each and every time to help you out. He’s an amazing guy and I genuinely feel privileged to have him as part of my band.

Thomas Glasson (Tom Tom)
Fiancé to the lovely Mel, a fantastic musician and an amazing ability to fall asleep just about anywhere; Tom may well be quiet for the majority of the time that he spends in groups, but in my experience that simply means he is preparing to say something incredibly wise (or quite random). He also has a brilliantly dry sense of humour and a heart that shows massive integrity. But most importantly I think for me is the fact that Tom has an ability to break me down and to just speak into my life. Those of you who know me well will know that I can be quite guarded and it can be quite hard to get through my initial layer. Tom does it effortlessly and can break me down and speak truth to me in a matter moments. Tom is someone that I both listen to and respect – and he is going to make an amazing husband for someone that means an awful lot to me (and that I’m ridiculously protective of) in Mel. 

Nick Moore
In the grand scheme of things I’ve only just met Nick. Well, sort of. We know loads of people in common and when I was looking for a drummer this year – I spoke to some people who knew drummers and asked who they recommended. Nick came very highly rated. So we’ve been speaking all year – and when I asked him about coming to drum for me at Rivercamp he was in, straight away. And that for me was a massive encouragement. But what can I tell you about Nick? Well obviously he is an amazing drummer and can put up tents - but for reasons that I won’t go into he is also one of the strongest people that I have ever met (and I don’t mean physically). He’s passionate, a bit of a joker, a fighter (although not literally) and I can say without hesitation that I have become a better man because of spending time with Nick. I went looking for a drummer and found a friend as well. And that my friends - is pretty cool. 

Kev Wakefield
Kev is the “most capped” member of my current band and I consider it a massive honour to have him as part of it. More than anyone else - I have seen Kev grow this year. It sounds like an odd thing to say but it’s a bit like someone has laid down the gauntlet to him and said “I dare you” – and then Kev has taken that dare and run with it. His heart has changed, his faith has grown, his humility has increased and he has become even more of an amazing man. And along the way, he has also become a really good friend (just don’t get in the way of him and coffee). Kev is an amazingly gifted guitar player - but there is a difference between being an amazing guitar player and being someone who is not only talented, but also inspires others – and Kev is without any question the latter.  Kev inspires through the way that he plays – and that is a gift in itself. He’s a lovely guy and on reflection I probably don’t tell him that enough.

Rebecca Turner (BT)
Rebecca Turner is the “smiliest” person I have ever met. She is always smiling, always laughing and is a complete and utter bundle of joy – and is just the sort of person that you want to have around. If you are ever in need of a cheering up, BT is the person to see as she will have you smiling in seconds. She is also incredibly wise for someone so young and quite possibly the friendliest and most upbeat person ever (and I mean ever).But the thing I love most about BT is the fact that she is an encourager - and she doesn’t do it because she has to, she does it because she wants to. Oh – and did I mention that she also has a fantastic voice? 

Amy Lewis
Amy Lewis is in possession of the most beautiful, caring heart that I have ever come across. That sounds like a really bold statement - but as I know Amy, it really isn't - as it is completely true. Amy will laugh with you and she will cry alongside you. She has the ability to feel the emotions that you are feeling and it's only as I'm writing this that I realise how hard that must be for her at times. By looking at Amy you would think that she could be fragile (not physically), but inside her is a warrior that is amazingly passionate about those around her. Amy sets an amazing example with the way that she loves others and she does this despite having been hurt in the past. She is completely selfless and as you can probably tell - I'm so proud of her.

Now, these aren’t the only people to mention (or that I’d like to introduce you to from Rivercamp) – but they will all emerge at other points in the futures – so you’ll meet them soon….

But anyway - after months of preparation, mocking me over set lists, three days worth of practises / leading and arranging the logistics (and adapting them) of getting 10 people to a conference centre in the deepest, darkest countryside - Rivercamp began. To explain a bit about Rivercamp I’ll talk you through my first day at the conference four years ago. Simon Padley asked me to come and lead worship at Rivercamp in a venue called Deepend. I turned up on the Wednesday morning and went to the venue – only to discover that it was in the process of being rebuilt AFTER BLOWING AWAY (no joke) the night before. To top it off, shortly after discovering that the marquee venue was actually just a marquee – the heavens opened with apocalyptic rain (which didn’t stop for two days and actually broke my tent). Despite all of this though – I fell in love with Rivercamp and even more so with Deepend. The team were amazing, as were the guys in the venue. And four years later, I still feel really privileged and massively honoured to be part of it – and I was so proud of all of the team and blown away by some of the stuff that happened in the venue. I saw people for the first time realise that they are loved, I saw people healed from addictions and physical problems, I saw the pain from broken lives and broken hearts disappear and I saw a group of people (and leaders) discover that breakthroughs are completely possible and that we are only limited by our own expectations. Some of this might sound impossible to some of you I know – but it isn’t – believe me. It was an amazing week.



At this point, I realise that once again I haven’t really spoken about the stuff that I started this chapter with – like how I’ve reached a crossroads, or which resolution I’ve come close to crossing off. I haven’t even mentioned the football or what the decision is that we have made. But at this point it doesn’t matter – for this is just the first half of chapter 19 and the 2nd half has the potential to be quite revealing (and no, I’m not going to start twerking). So keep smiling, keep your head up and as we approach winter…remember that health and safety (ESPECIALLY with Gas / students involved) is important……


Oh - I have just realised thought that I haven't explained why Strepsils are in the title. Well, at Deepend, I sing and use my voice a lot. Because of this, Strepsils come in handy. But have you ever noticed that one doesn't seem to have that much impact? Well Amy Lewis brought me some Strepsils for my sore throat and despite her advice I decided that more Strepsils at once would be more productive than just one. The packet said that there could be side effects...but well, who cares. All was going well and my voice was improving. Until I started to need the toilet. I can now safely reveal that the reason Strepsils shouldn't be overused is because your stomach turns into a machine gun and this is then replicated in your bowel movements. 
10 Resolutions - conducting the experiments  that you really wanted to know about........

Please keep your questions coming in via the facebook page, over email and via the twitter and I'll try and answer some of them in the next few weeks......
Until next time

God Bless


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