1-2, 1-2: A story and a question

I’ve been thinking about microphones! This is not as odd as it sounds, I’m not saying I was just randomly thinking about them and say, idly contemplating the merits of the SM58 for preaching (although thoughts on this would be welcome). It’s just that every event I speak at creates some sort of microphone/sound system conundrum or learning experience. For instance, I now carry a spare 9v battery with me as I’ve spoken at several churches where the radio mic’ battery hasn’t been changed since 1994 and I sound like a Dalek with a stutter (mind you I’m now thinking this particular vocal mode does carry both Authority and Humility!).
mic sm fifty eight.jpg
Last night I had the choice of a hand held mic or a lapel mic? (went with the hand held!)
The mic/sound system challenge last night though was quite a common one, no fold-back speaker! I find this really difficult as I can’t get a sense of how things are sounding to the congregation …. volume, tone etc! This is the serious bit of the blog post, has anyone got any advice on how best to work in that circumstance?
Now a funny story: I came across a church ‘sound team’ that were fed up with the preachers turning off the radio-mic then looking at the sound-desk like it was the technicians fault when the mic didn’t work. Their solution was elegant and brilliant, they re-wired the mic’ so the switch merely turned the little red light on the mic on and off but the radio mic was actually permenantly on until the tech guys got it back at the end of the service. genius!

Win an I-pod

It’s not often there is the potential of something free on YOUTHBLOG beyond ‘speech’ but here it is. Drum roll …. CPAS want to know stuff about you and residential holidays and you may* (just may) win an i-pod! Give it a whirl

* Entry is no guarantee of success, other competitions and holiday companies may be available. Remember you investment may decrease not increase, that your home may be at risk if a loan is secured against it and the BBC would like to apologise if they have misled anyone ever

Pond crisis

ranafrog small pic.jpgOur whole garden is a slope and I have been digging into the hill to make a level area for a patio and a pond. The irony is that as fast as I dig the space that would include a pond, it fills itself with water thus creating a muddy temporary pond that makes it impossible to build a proper one. In the midst of this a couple of amorous frogs have spawned much …. well, spawn.
I now have a problem, as when the weather dries up, so will the pond and the froglets will all croak* (or fail to, if you see what I mean).
So, I now need to build an emergency temporary pond to house the frogs and froglets currently residing in the non-pond in order that I can build a proper pond.
*one of several thosuand English euphamisms for dying

Defending Youth work

You should read this piece (and the linked Word document) that aims to raise debate/campaign on the values and drivers of historic youth work as opposed to the Government, outcome and target driven, agenda.

You have the opportunity to sign up and/or debate the thinking therein.

As an aside, it’s also well worth a read for its’ great phraseology, I really liked this:

“The essential significance of the youth worker themselves, whose outlook, integrity and autonomy is at the heart of fashioning a serious yet humorous, improvisatory yet rehearsed educational practice with young people”
ht to Dot


For on-line music I was a big fan of Pandora before the plug was pulled for European subscribers. I discovered a whole heap of new (to me) artists from the streamed recommendations that Pandora ‘radio’ played and loved the instant-mellow-evening-of music-old-and-new vibe that it excelled at. The ability to pick by genre, artist, suggestions or to be able to mix it up was (still is if you are in the U.S) unbelievably excellent!
Of late I’ve been using Last.Fm a bit but it feels like a pseudo Pandora and I haven’t got into it in the same way, although it is really good.
spotify.pngBut I’ve been playing big time with the new kid of the block, Spotify! I’m by no means an early-adopter, I’ve got into it at the same point as the entire blogosphere it seems, but nevertheless it warrants a mention especially if you’ve not given it a spin yet. You can do the genre radio stream, you can assemble play-lists BUT it’s biggest plus is that whenever you are online it’s like having access to the biggest i-pod (adopting Clarkson voice here) “In the world!”
The free version involves the ocassional advert but these tend to be for music it seems rather than the very cheesy, corny, ‘singing’ double-glazing-pitch beloved of l-o-c-a-l Raadiiio! Spotify also contains a wealth of artist info … and the sound quality is spot-on.
What’s not to love?
I’m currently listening to a whole heap of Natalie Merchant, her solo stuff and the entire 10,000 maniacs back catalogue, nice!

A glazed expression

I’ve been to all sorts of venues for Youth Events but the one on saturday was a new one on me. Saturday night saw me in a Double Glazing factory, specifically ….. in the conservatory show room! Weird as that sounds, it was brilliant. The Churches in Wokingham put on a monthly youth event and are generously given permission to use the building on the industrial estate as a venue. Each Church hosts an activity/opportunity in their allocated conservatory, with the central plaza being a place to mix and to listen to music and bands.
This is what the venue looks like before it’s turned into the Warehouse event
Hi and thanks to everyone I met there! (Kat, thanks for the invite)
And — if anyone has a more unusual venue for a youth event, let me know eh!