Friday, 13 January 2012

Cover-Ups and Cancer Bats

This is the first post of 2012 and I will start it off much like I did the first post of 2011 and give a customary new year’s greeting. I hope anyone that opted to celebrate the changing of the year had a good time doing so. I did what I did last time around with the addition of a Jim Jefferies DVD – all in all it was a nice relaxed evening. I opted not to set any fixed new year’s resolutions as I feel that is just setting me up for a fall. There a number of things I would like to achieve and little by little but I’m not setting resolutions to do them. The overall aim is to be in a better life place by the end of the year. There are a number of ways that can be achieved which is good. At the beginning of last year, I was introduced to the 365 project (1 photo for every day of the week) and dropped the ball with it and thought “maybe next year” – well that time is now and I’m not doing it. Oh well.

Almost every post to this blog is about live music as of late and that will be something which no doubt will continue. The only live music discussion for this post will be about Cancer Bats and their planned UK Tour of London. Traditionally, when a band plays a gig, they play one show in the evening. Every now and then, a band will do a matinee show and do a gig early in the afternoon as well as one in the evening (one such example that springs to mind is Fozzy in 2010 on FA Cup Final day). It has to be said though that this is a rare occurrence. I heard mumblings about a Cancer Bats tour and hoped that a date nearby me would happen. I saw them in 2009 at the Wedgewood Rooms and they were superb. The mumblings then changed from UK tour to London residency. Now, I thought that was a shame but going to London is do-able. When I heard this rumour, I assumed they might do a number of evening shows over the space of a week/fortnight in one venue. About a week before this announcement, a gig in the little venue upstairs at The Garage got put on sale and taken down quite quickly. What got announced I think caught everyone by surprise...

They are going to play 6 shows in one day?! That is unbelievable - 6 gigs in 5 really small venues. I mentioned the upstairs room of the Garage – that holds 125 people. That is just smaller than the Joiners in Southampton (which I am struggling to comprehend). I booked tickets for the Garage gig, as well as the ones taking place at The Old Blue Last (11.30am – 100 capacity) and the Notting Hill Arts Club (2.30pm – 220 capacity). Seeing a band like this in an intimate venue is a chance which should not be missed. The fact that I will be seeing them in very intimate surroundings 3 times on that day, well that’s just awesome! The travelling in between the gigs won’t be too much fun, but I’m sure if the band can do it, I’ll cope somehow.

Right, subject change! Over the Christmas period, I went to Twickenham to watch the LV Big Game, which was Harlequins v Saracens. I didn’t realise this was being treated as a Harlequins home game, but looking back on it now, it makes sense as they play their home games at the Twickenham Stoop. Anyway, there were 82000 people there for what was going to be a superb game between these two rival teams. Quins were undefeated in the Aviva Premiership all season and only had one team left to beat in order to have beaten every team this season and that was Saracens. On this occasion they did not get the job done. They were clearly 2nd best in the first half, and didn’t quite do enough in the 2nd to overturn the Saracens dominance. The return game is taking place at Wembley Stadium in March and due to an early bird ticket offer, I have a fantastic seat for the game which cost me £19. If the return game is even a patch on the first contest, then me, and everyone else going to Wembley will be in for a really good day. At Twickenham, they had X Factor finalists, a Queen Tribute band and an opera singer for the pre match/half time entertainment. I saw the opera singer. I was not interested in the slightest in the X Factor stuff and the Queen Tribute band were on before the X Factor girls, so I ended up missing them. It is slightly more high profile for the Wembley match as it is McFly. I’m not a fan of theirs but I can guarantee it will be 69.7x better than the X Factor tripe! The return game is on the 31st March. In between now and then, I will be going to 5 Bath games at The Rec. The next one is a week on Saturday against Glasgow. I’m fairly certain that we are out of Europe this season but I am hoping for a strong showing regardless. After that, it is Northampton Saints in the LV Cup. On Xmas Eve, Bath got torn apart by Northampton at their ground so I am nervous about this one, but a win should see us into the semi finals of the LV Cup which would be excellent. After that it is Newcastle Falcons, Gloucester and Worcester Warriors. With any luck, I will see Bath win at least twice, but hopefully more. Winning all 5 would be very nice indeed! Including the Aviva Premiership final, I will be at 7 more games of rugby before the season ends and that is good news.

To close this blog off, I just wanted to share some thoughts about the Pope and what he said on Monday in a New Year address. Now, before I start talking about it, I should remind y’all that I am an atheist so my point of view will be biased. However, I am not a Dawkings atheist who believes that all religious people are stupid. People have every right to practice religion and believe in God, as much as I have the right to not believe, Thinking about it earlier when trying to find the right words to put down on this post, I still am of the same view that to me, the idea of a greater power/creator is preposterous. I know it isn’t for some people but I am giving you my view. If I were to be a Christian though, there is no way I could be Catholic. Not only is it fact that the Church tried to protect some of their priests and cover up child molestation and sex abuse, but the current Pope went to Africa and said that condoms are causing the spread of AIDS. Those things alone would really cause me to question my faith. It occurs to me that anyone with common sense could apply the message of the Bible, and even of your own strand of Christianity to 21st century society. So with one example I just used, maybe the Catholic Church gets behind the idea that condom use isn’t evil. Yes, it may lead to intercourse which is not for procreation means, but it would certainly help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in areas where the people believe every word that comes from the Pope’s mouth is the truth. Anyway, this post isn’t about Catholics and condom usage. The Pope gave a new year’s address. The following is a series of quotes from the Reuters article on this address.

Pope Benedict said Monday that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined "the future of humanity itself." The pope made some of his strongest comments against gay marriage in a new year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican in which he touched on some economic and social issues facing the world today.
He told diplomats from nearly 180 countries that the education of children needed proper "settings" and that "pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman."
"This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself," he said.
The Roman Catholic Church, which has some 1.3 billion members worldwide, teaches that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are, and that children should grow up in a traditional family with a mother and a father.

From a strictly scientific sense (which I will guess that the Pope wasn’t thinking of) and say that if everyone suddenly went gay and wanted to get married – then the future of humanity would be in doubt. I somehow feel that is unlikely though. Given the current state of the world, I would estimate that there are more heterosexual people than homosexual. Considering that what I just said is probably fact, how is gay marriage threatening human dignity and the future of humanity itself? Let’s stick with the science theme. I think it is a fair statement to say that most homosexual couples are not going to reproduce. Some may try to reproduce via test-tube babies, surrogate mothers etc but I would guess that if a homosexual couple wishes to raise a child, they will more than likely adopt. There is no fact behind that guesswork; it is pure assumption to lead to my next point. Homosexual people aren’t likely to reproduce anyway – so what does it matter if they are married or not? And if they are married and they reproduce or not, how is this threatening human dignity and the future of humanity itself? The point he is making doesn’t make a great deal of sense. In the 21st century (in most Western countries at least) – homosexual couples can reproduce so how is humanity threatened? How is humanity threatened by two people wanting to express their love for one another, regardless of sex?

The Pope talked about the traditional family being a man, a woman and child/children. This cannot be argued because that is the traditional image of the family. That doesn’t mean that every family is traditional. It also doesn’t mean that just because a family isn’t traditional, they are somehow worse than any other family. I feel that a loving family environment is more important to a child’s development into adulthood than whether there is a man and a woman present. If the man and the woman don’t love each other but are together for the sake of the child; that is not healthy. Here is a hypothetical scenario.
• Family A – Man, Woman, Child. The man and the woman constantly argue as they don’t love/like each other anymore but are together for the sake of the child.
• Family B – Homosexual Couple, Child. The child is raised in a loving family home.
I think anyone would agree that for the benefit of the hypothetical child in question that Family B is the better option. Unless of course if you are in the Catholic Church. Now, I’m not saying the scenario above is always the case. The point I was making via the scenario was that a homosexual couple have the ability to provide a stable environment for a child, in some cases more than a “traditional” family could. Now, this is where the atheism kicks in as the Catholic Church teaches that while homosexual urges are not sinful, homosexual acts are. Well, I disagree that anything really is “sinful”. There are things that are wrong, and homosexuality is not one of those things.

But let’s focus on this teaching for one second. Homosexual thoughts are ok, but homosexual acts are not. Now, I hate to go down the route which is usually exploited for comedy, but I’m going to. How many cases of sex abuse involving under age boys have been reported against Catholic Priests? How many cases of sex abuse involving under age boys have the Catholic Church actively tried to cover up? The sheer fact the head of the Church can publicly say two homosexuals in love wanting to be married is a threat to human dignity and the future of humanity while actively covering up sex abuse by his own priests blows my mind. How about before attacking someone else’s way of life, you sort your own out yeah? How can you actively preach that two people of the same sex who love each other (or even if they don’t) having sex is sinful, while actively covering up your priests engaging in the same activity WITH UNDER AGE BOYS! It blows my mind it really does.

I didn’t decide to talk about this issue because I am gay and I feel offended. That is not the case. I am saying it because it is 2012, and homophobia like this shouldn’t happen. It saddens me that this message will reach the 1.3 billion people who call themselves Catholics and most of them I imagine will agree with it. The Pope has a unique platform in that he can speak to 1/6th of the world’s population and shape their thought process somewhat. He could make a real difference to the world and instead he uses this platform to peddle outdated hate speech. There are many reasons why I am not religious. Even if I was, I could not believe in a corrupt church that covers up sex abuse and peddles homophobia to the masses that eat up his words.

That is all I have for this post. Happy New Year again, and I hope that even though it is early doors, you are having a good one.

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