I was taught to reflect and not shine

Staring at the sun

I was reading something this week — I can’t remember what, or where, which is really annoying. I wish I’d bookmarked it — about how our postmodern society doesn’t really encourage people to express their individuality. Instead people are encouraged to conform: by the media, by the entertainment industry (music and film), by our peers. We’re taught to reflect and not shine. People are becoming like our high streets: homogenous, corporate-controlled affairs. And I don’t think that it’s a good thing.

It certainly goes some way to explain the whole worshipping the cult of celebrity thing that seems to have gripped our society. Only the few who are allowed to excel are celebrated. And yet, it seems to me that as soon as someone steps into the celebrity sphere they too are required to conform to a new set of the the same ‘rules’.

Searching Google, I found an interesting article entitled Consequences of Conformity.

Lack of individuality plagues society as a whole. Those who have the courage and confidence to express themselves are the “coolest” people. In a world of conformity made up of black and white, it is good to throw a hint of the rainbow in every once in a while just for kicks and self-esteem.

Quite right!

My dad died in January 1998, I didn’t realise it then but looking back I can now see that my self-confidence took an enormous battering; self-confidence and self-esteem. I didn’t believe in myself, I couldn’t see the point in trying to achieve anything. I found my curacy hard enough, and this certainly didn’t help! My response was that I wanted to blend in to society, to conform, to hide.

Nearly eight years on I’m now regaining my self-esteem and self-belief — which is good timing, just as my current post is coming to an end — and I want to achieve something, to make a difference.

Now … what could it be?

Powerpoint (December 2005)

Looking at the crowd from the stage at the Powerpoint youth event
View from the stage near the end of Friday’s Christian “Powerpoint” youth event. (Photo on Nokia 5140i)

Despite feeling unwell on Friday (I’m still not 100% and tomorrow will call the GP to make an appointment) I still turned up to Powerpoint (the SU Scotland co-ordinated monthy youth event) to play electric guitar.

The experience of worship was incredible. God was most definitely present, and the response from the young people encouraging beyond words. There were around 340 young people there, how incredible is that!

One of my highlights was playing the descant to the Christmas carol O Come, all ye faithful which I’d transcribed during the afternoon, using the excellent Guitar Pro 4 software. You can download it, and use it if you like. It’s the version arranged by NYCGB President Sir David Willcocks

The only disappointment about the evening — apart from feeling utterly exhausted at the end of it — was that I think my amp (Laney GC80A) is needing a serious overhaul. It’s buzzing terribly, and began cutting out while I was playing.

Save the Cameo

Close-up of a movie projector

This is shocking news!

Potentially dark times are looming for the historic Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland. After nearly one hundred years of standing as an authentic forum for the visual arts, as well as being a primary venue for the longest-running film festival in the world (EIFF), the Cameo’s historic screens are in peril.

It would appear that there are plans afoot for the independent, arthouse Cameo Cinema in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh to be closed, to reopen as a bar/restaurant with small private screening capabilities:

The development would include the conversion of the 250-seat Screen 1, currently unaltered from its historic 1914 orientation, into a large bar area with levelled flooring, gallery eating area above the screen and kitchen facilities. The current bar is to be converted into a small, 31-seat venue with screen for “private corporate hire”.

The Edinburgh Evening News reporting this week that actor Ewen Bremner, (Trainspotting, Black Hawk Down) has now also joined the protest campaign

“I really love the cinema, I’ve been coming here all my life. I think it’s a real asset to the city and a big part of its culture.” (Ewen Bremner)

There is a protest website Save the Cameo which, you will not be surprised to learn, is a little cross about the plans:

The proposed conversion of the Cameo would be a great historical, cultural, and artistic loss not only for its local patrons, but, indeed, for the world…

More is at stake in this development than the walls and seats; it would be an attack on an aesthetic and cultural philosophy which, though steadily disappearring from the world at large, was housed safely within the doors of the Cameo.

Join the cause: Save the Cameo.

The development would include the conversion of the 250-seat Screen 1, currently unaltered from its historic 1914 orientation, into a large bar area with levelled flooring, gallery eating area above the screen and kitchen facilities. The current bar is to be converted into a small, 31-seat venue with screen for “private corporate hire”.

Efforts are being taken to convince Historic Scotland that The Cameo deserves historic status, effectively protecting the historic auditorium from these types of changes.

Now, this isn’t an example of a “why does everything have to change?!” rant. I thoroughly agree with those others who’ve complained. In a world that is becoming more and more homogenous, High Streets are become cloned, and corporations are monopolizing the entertainment ‘industry’ genuine, home-grown culture is being destroyed.

I love the Cameo. I don’t go often enough, but I did when I lived in Marchmont (just 15 minutes walk from the Cameo). I love that they screen the kind of films that you wouldn’t be likely to see at your local Odeon, Vue or Cineworld (formerly UGC Cinemas). Tonight, for example they are showing:

I’ve seen some great films there, that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of seeing prior to them going to VHS or DVD. My favourite was Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster — cos that’s the kind of un-arty-film metalhead that I am. Sorry!