So there I was, standing at the restaurant counter in one of the UK’s many Wyevale Garden Centres. I thought I’d asked a sensible question and, presumably, the young bloke behind the counter thought that he’d given me a sensible answer. “Do you have a vegetarian option?” “Yes, we’ve got fish and chips.” For some of the red pill crew, March 2009 was a meat-free month and it opened our eyes to how biased our society is towards carnivores. Read more about our veggie adventures here....
Another average day for redpillboy including: a fair trade banana, a visit to the doctor, an employer’s potentially harmful sickness absence policy, a serious head on road accident, morbid thoughts, a distraught immigrant worker, a visit from the air ambulance, a bizarre interview for Sky TV, the delights of the Accident & Emergency department at Kettering General Hospital, irrational fears about the loss of an iPod adaptor, some legal drugs, and some painful but very boring sleepless nights.
The first in a series looking at songs that have impacted our lives in some way, bringing us joy or pain or maybe a bit of both. Those who know me well would have predicted – forget that, would have put serious money on - my first choice being something by the Jam or Paul Weller. Nobody would have guessed that I’d choose a track by the Communards, a band that had its heyday when Thatcher’s shadow still cast its unwelcome chill across the UK. But this track has been burning itself into my brain recently. So I’d better explain why......
Have you ever tried driving and sticking to the speed limits? At the same time? Have you ever had a go at putting other road users first? It makes for an interesting experiment. Redpillboy - driven by a mixture of desires (minimum environmental damage; maximum road safety; reduced stress; and improved fuel economy) - sets out to see if it can be done – and not just when anyone is watching. In the process, he manages to drive everybody – including himself – just a little bit closer to a roadside breakdown.......
As each year goes by, it feels harder and harder to change the path which it seems life has mapped out for you. If, like me, you’re a middle-class professional with more than a sneaking suspicion that there is actually a God out there, each change can incur the frowns, tuts or shaken heads of people who think you’ve lost your senses. There is plenty of encouragement too, but usually from people who are on a similar journey or thinking about embarking on one shortly. This is a brief summary of one big leap in our ever changing lives.
We’ve just moved house and one of the few pleasures of the moving experience is putting my books back out on the shelves. The pile of books I’ve yet to read seems to grow all the time. One day soon I’ll realise that some of these books will still be lying unread when I shuffle off this mortal coil. I hope someone else will treat them with the respect they deserve! No matter how tempting the new books appear, I’m often drawn back to re-read certain classics. In this article I’m reviewing two more books which have had a powerful impact on me and many other people.
Very occasionally we stumble across a book about following Jesus which makes us come alive. The vast majority have the opposite effect to the man who allegedly inspired them. These books either bore our pants off or load us down with guilt. Particularly bad ones are prone to leaving us both pantless and guilt-laden. Velvet Elvis is one of those refreshing and very welcome exceptions.
The second in a series of articles which will review and recommend a handful of books which have had a positive impact on our lives, causing us to change the way we think, believe and act. Proof positive that the word processor, modern-day challenger to the pen, is still mightier than the sword. Not necessarily recommended for peddlers of certainty, blue pill munchers or people who are squeamish about deaths subsidised by their taxes…..
I always love that bit at the end of episodes of Scooby Doo where the villain is quite literally unmasked. Off comes the remarkably realistic mask of disguise and - quelle surprise! - we find out that it was Old Man Withers who’s been doing the dirty deeds all along. After a few episodes, I’m not sure who to trust any more. Not unlike real life, then?
The first in a series of articles which will review and recommend a couple of books which have had a positive impact on our lives, causing us to change the way we think, believe and act. Not necessarily recommended for peddlers of certainty or blue pill munchers…..
On 12 January 1998, assisted by eleven of his friends, Ramon Sampedro drank a potassium cyanide concoction through a straw, experienced a few moments of pain and then died. He had been paralysed and bedridden since breaking his neck in a diving accident on 23 August 1968, almost 30 years earlier, and for many years he had fought for the right to choose to die. His story provokes me to ask one of the hardest ethical questions. Does anyone have the right to end their own life? Or to put it another way, is it suicide or choosing to die with dignity?
“The problem I have with Christians is that they are so often peddlers of certainty. You are the only Christian in the entirety of my life who has ever told me that they thought they could learn something from me. I’d love to meet you and talk further.” John Diamond’s words are quoted in Steve Chalke’s book The Lost Message of Jesus and when I read them, they shook me to the core. I have lived with them these past few years and they have provoked me on my journey.
Not all revolutionaries carry Kalashnikovs and not all revolutions involve the violent overthrow of oppressive regimes. There is a simpler way to turn the world where you are upside down. I must warn you, however, that it may not seem as sexy as storming a government building while wiping out Fascist oppressors with a semi-automatic weapon and smoking a small cigar which you’ve just lit by striking a match on your 3-day-old stubble…….
It’s unlikely that anyone is going to pick up a book about cancer for a bit of light holiday reading, but C, first published in 1998, is a very different book about the one illness which many of us fear. Its author, John Diamond, managed to write an honest book which blew away many taboos and broke the stereotypical mould.
A friend of ours once travelled up an escalator at a major London tube station during the rush hour with the back of her skirt pinned above her knickers (courtesy of one of her colleagues at work). And all this was years before the introduction of freeview. When some kind soul finally pointed out the situation, she was no doubt mortified but also relieved that the rest of her journey home was slightly less revealing.