A PRAYER JOURNAL by Flannery O’Connor (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2013)
My favorite joke about praying is by the surreal American comic Emo Philips (although it’s also been attributed to Al Pacino) and goes: “I asked God for a bike but I realized it doesn’t work that way, so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness”.
I think the Southern Gothic novelist Flannery O’Connor would have appreciated this witticism. She was a staunch Catholic but she also had an eagle eye for life’s absurdities.
As an atheist I am biased, but surely even believers can recognise that praying ought to consist of more that than reeling off a wish list to some kind of celestial Santa. Continue reading
Cover to Imaginary Walls Collapse
Y’all Is Fantasy Island is not a name that rolls off the tongue easily and when this Indie band from Falkirk, Scotland split in 2010 few grieved and many, myself included, didn’t even know they existed.
I came across them while reviewing the excellent new album by Adam Stafford who was the band’s lead singer and driving force.
Stafford has his own record label Wise Blood Industries (which I like to think was named after Flannery O’Connor’s sublime novel) and if you go to the label website you will find a link to a zipped file containing the complete works of Y’all Is Fantasy Island – 55 songs and 5 albums.
The cynic in me thought that if he was now giving all these away tracks they must have been crap so I was, to coin an overused phrase, blown away by how good they are/were. An album called No Ceremony is particularly impressive.
Sure, it is derivative (what isn’t?) but they have processed their influences in a way that sounds pretty dynamic to my ears. You can tell they had fully absorbed their albums of gothic alt.country like Songs:Ohio and Will Oldham’s various incarnations of Palace together with a healthy diet of Grunge. It will cost you nothing to take a listen for yourself.
And while you’re about it you really must near the aforementioned Adam Stafford solo album called Imaginary Walls Collapse and is out now on Song, By Toad Records. Continue reading
According to Wikipedia, Colorado has an above average proportion of citizens who claim no religion – David Eugene Edwards is not among them.
Born in the city of Eaglewood in 1968, he makes no secret of the fact that he is a committed Christian who literally believes every word of the Bible. He spent many of his formative years accompanying his grandfather, a Nazarene preacher, as he travelled through small towns to spread the word of the gospel.
In touring as leader of Alt.Country band 16 Horsepower, and now of Wovenhand, Edwards is a type of modern-day roving preacher-man delivering his sermons in the form of mostly very bleak songs.
He leaves the listener in no doubt that the wages of sin signify death and the prospect of eternal life in Christ doesn’t seem to provide much in the way of consolation or joy. Continue reading
“I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s, but behind all of them there’s only one truth and that is that there’s no truth ….no truth behind all truths is what I and this church preach! Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is the place to be? No place”
Hazel Motes preaches for the Church Without Christ in the novel Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor