Its hard to believe another month has been and gone, and we've now hit winter. So its time for a post about what I've been reading, watching and listening to the past month.
Reading: It has been a quiet month for reading. I only managed to read one book. I finished off 'Finding lost words: the church’s right to lament'. I found it to be a really important book highlighting the place of lament in the both the church and individual believers life. There was a great resource about planning a lament service and a couple of great sermons on Psalm 13 and 88; a few of the lament Psalms in the bible. Really recommend getting a hold of the book and reading it.
The goal for June is to read more than one book. I've just started Susan Carland's book: Fighting Hislam, talking about women in Islam. So far it's been a really interesting read. Telling the story of women fighting for equality in Islam from within.
Watching: Mostly I've been watching the Voice. They are now into the battle rounds, and to me at least there's no one who is really standing out. I suspect its more taste than talent that is making me make that call. The moments of the show for me were ones that didn't come with a chair spin. Boy George paying for a country singer to go to Nashville, and a female duo Mercy and Mia who sung 'You Are My Sunshine'.
I've always thought that the best battle performances are the ones that seem like a duet. This one from season three between Annabelle Eve and Talia Gouge is still my favourite.
Other than The Voice I haven't been watching much, though I'm keen to start Nashville, Suits, 13 Reasons Why and House of Cards.
Listening: Here's a list of the songs that have been on heavy rotation during May. Fair to say some of these songs I'm listening to because of the U2 tour, others because of the season of life I'm walking through.
The Pogues - A Rainy Night in Soho
December - A Sort of Homecoming
Simon & Garfunkel - America (Live)
December - Where the Streets Have No Name
Charles Esten and Sarah Siskind - When Trouble Comes
Katie Herzig - I Want to Make You Proud
U2 - Miss Sarajevo (Live, from Milan 2005)
Casting Crowns - Oh My Soul
Lara Landon - Give me Jesus
Joe Grushecky & Bruce Springsteen - That's What Makes it Great
U2 -The Little Things that Give You Away
The Frames (w/ Holly Throsby) - New Partner (Live from Sydney 2007)
The other music adventures during May were catching the Vivid shows from the Fleet Foxes and Lisa Hannigan. The thing that struck me about both of the shows was how quiet the audience was during the shows. Lisa Hannigan just has one of the more beautiful voices you are ever likely to hear. Her absolute delight in playing the Opera House was infectious.
The striking thing about the Fleet Foxes were the harmonies between the singers. It was a different show as they performed a lot of material from their soon to be released album 'Crack Up' so I didn't know many of the songs. It was a relief they also played some of the better known songs from their earlier albums too.
I've also been following U2's tour of the Joshua Tree. It was really interesting to see what songs they chose to book-end the full performance of the Joshua Tree album, and also the snippets of songs they included. The two that stand out are Simon & Garfunkel's 'America' and the poem The New Colussus (by Emma Lazarus). Both snippets add to the narrative of the show of the two Americas.
In terms of the show, the highlights for me are Red Hill Mining Town, Exit, Miss Sarajevo and the new song The Little Things that Give You Away.
The shows from Lisa Hannigan and the Fleet Foxes are the last ones I have planned unless U2 surprise us all and announce a tour of Australia & New Zealand.
In terms of other music on the horizon it is a year of re-issues - along with U2's Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary reissue, REM are releasing a 25th Anniversary version of Automatic for the People and Radiohead are releasing a boxset for the 20th Anniversary of OK Computer.
Another two highlights for the month of May were going to QandA and Vivid. It was the first time that I had been to QandA. The one I went to was part of the Sydney Writer's Festival so while politics did enter the discussion it wasn't the centre of it.
The panel for the show was Niki Savva, Journalist and author; Lawrence Krauss, Theoretical Physicist & Cosmologist; Mikhail Zygar, Russian journalist and writer; Mona Chalabi, Data editor of The Guardian US; and Paul Beatty, Author, The Sellout.
Lawrence Krauss dislike of religion annoyed me, as did the 'ganging' up on Trump. I'm no fan of President Trump but you do have to wonder what purpose it serves (and whether or not its counter-productive).
Viivid was great. I really enjoyed the installations at the Botanic Gardens, especially the sunflowers and Kiwis and the Zoo was spectacular as usual, I loved the Tigers, the Bilby and the Port Jackson shark you could walk through.