Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What I've been into ...

Over the past few stays at hospital I’ve been able to discover a bit more music, books and a little television. So I thought that I’d take the time to share a few of these.  

Musically speaking – while I often have found U2 to be the soundtrack to my life and I certainly listened to Songs of Experience a lot while I was in hospital - I tried to listen to music from new artists too. 

I used Under the Radar to help. Under the Radar Media is an American based, independent Christian Music website. UTR had coincidentally just put together a playlist on Spotify, so I listened to that; exploring albums from artists I liked the sound of as I went through the playlist.

Some recent discoveries were Drakeford (a folk duo), Jillian Jones (probably folk as well).  The playlist included recent songs from long-term favourite artists of mine like Andrew Osenga, Andrew Peterson, Taylor Leonhardt and Christa Wells to name a few.

Another artist I listened to while I was in hospital was Shane & Shane – I really enjoyed hearing them sing some of the Psalms. The Psalms are a book of the bible I’ve found myself coming back to a bit over the last little while.

Bottom line – if you’re looking for more music, especially Christian music, and don’t know where to start I’ll totally recommend the Under the Radar playlist on Spotify. If you do like what you find – visit the artists website and buy their albums.

Onto books – the last few I finished were Father Rod Bower’s ‘Outspoken’, Behrouz Boochani’s ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ and Kon Karapanagiotidis’ ‘Power of Hope’. Each of which are powerful works, challenging reminders of the times we are living in and in their own way each provoked me to think about the person I am and the life I'm living. 

Boochani is a detainee on Manus Island and writes an account from the prison. His book is a reminder to me that the Australian government and opposition have lost their moral compass. It certainly is a difficult read. It is hard to read it and not be moved by it - moved to action, moved to dismay that our political leadership sees Manus Island and what it represents as how to best deal with refugees. 

Father Bower currently serves at Gosford Anglican Church and came to prominence through some of the messages he has put up on the churches sign board. The church speaks with a compelling voice for social justice. The book is autobiographical and details Rob’s life and ministry, but at the same time offers a challenge to Christians in terms of how they live out and let their faith impact their life.

Kon’s book the Power of Hope is not only autobiographical but details an Australia we could be prouder of, in terms of how the country treats our first peoples, refugees and women. 

Implicit in all three books is the challenge we face to help make Australia better than it is, and to make our world a better place. I know that I’ll be re-reading the books by Kon Karapanagiotidis and Father Bower, primarily to think more about their manifesto for change in themselves.

Currently on my to read list is Dr Kirstin Ferguson's 'Womenkind' which recaps her Celebrating Women project from last year; Leigh Sales new book 'Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life' and Gillian Triggs' autobiography 'Speaking Up'.

Before leaving books, if anyone has any recommendations for some funny stories to read I’d love to get them, would make a change from the serious and challenging books I tend to read. 

On the TV front – I started to watch Suits. Started to watch might be slightly kind – I slept through some of it. But I plan to revisit it.

Last Monday night’s Australian Story, Four Corners and QandA were all quite exceptional.  The discussion on QandA was really fascinating, and I enjoyed listening to Germaine Greer more than I thought I would.  It has been a while since I really watched QandA and the episode seemed to do better than most at showing how good the show can be. I’m a big fan of the addition of the ‘People’s panellist’ who’s designed to represent the average punter.

Four Corners was a slightly depressing view about the state of aged care facilities in this country. It certainly will be interesting to see what is uncovered by the Royal Commission and what is done especially seeing as along with a Federal Election, elections in New South Wales and Victoria are imminent. I know that the picture of what Aged Care centres look like in Australia is more complicated than shown in the television show and there are some great homes out there, but that the incidents could happen at all is concerning.

Australian Story focused on the story of Emma Watkin (aka Emma Wiggle). Detailing how she became a ‘Wiggle’, her health battles and her relationship with ‘Lachy’ (the purple Wiggle). I certainly admire her openness about both her health and relationship with Lachy.

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