Monday, 23 May 2011

Rochester – spirituality, utilitarianism, injunction and rapture


This was supposed to be a pleasant picnic in Kent in the old town of Rochester in a beautiful part of the Medway, with much historical interest.  Lady Jean Bridie had gone to Edinburgh to cover the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr A.V. O’Gadro was very busy with his experiments and entertaining some very high value visitors of regal and presidential status in Ireland.  We had planned a very simple picnic, as you can see here, in the grounds of Rochester Castle.

We were doing the usual gossip, without the aid of Twitter just in case a superinjunction closed the whole thing down.  There was also some rapture rubbish by Harold Camping which verged on hilarious, but was nevertheless very profitable for those who follow the basic proselytise, monetise, valorise and vaporise theories of what happens in the modern day spirituality. 

After having gained entrance to Rochester Castle, courtesy of English Heritage, we passed a wedding party and wondered to ourselves where they had ‘tied the knot’.  It hadn’t been in the Cathedral as when we were there we were able to listen to the choir rehearsing for a performance.  Rochester Cathedral is well-worth a visit, but wedding was there none.

We then went to the Guildhall Museum, which is a place authorised for marriages and civil partnerships, but the wedding wasn’t held there either.  We passed by a shop called Angel Energy Centre, which was full of spiritual accessories such as crystals, mood music, sound of running water but no wedding and strangely enough no welcome either.  (We were warmly received at the Cathedral.)  It appears that the angel shop has some problem with shoplifting, though it could have been a reference to a thief ‘coming in the night’.

After a refreshing pint of Shepherd Neame’s delicious Master Brew and some soft drinks, we past by a Huguenot building known as the La Providence. 

There was still no sign of the wedding, so we went to the Corn Exchange, where we were allowed to view the assembly hall which was being set up for a prize giving function later that evening.  The staff commented that the wedding party we saw had probably gone to the Registrar’s Office.  

This vignette illustrates the ‘fabric’, ancient and modern, and the utilitarianism of life in the public sphere today.  It may perhaps illustrate how fragmented the Big Society may be if in fact Mr Cameron’s Big Society exists at all. 

Meanwhile, back at the Obreption Centre, care was being taken to avoid mentioning any footballers at all, and a contingency outreach programme was planned, care of the Royal Mail and the stunning example of a pillar box of which Rochester is famed.  There are also the red telephone kiosks. Arrangements had been made to receive the Herald, which was to be smuggled into England via the Gretna Green border crossing point facility.  

In the end, the injunction turned out to be technically a busted flush and we reflected on the hulks exhibition at the Rochester Guildhall Museum and the Keep at Rochester Castle itself.  We believe that some brave English journalist could have gone to jail/goal for a stretch.  It is worth noting that in England we suffer repressive laws of censorship, which have been likened to Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

We’ve illustrated by way of modern technology an exciting mix of the old and the new in terms of civic life, spiritual life and penitence.


  1. Love the pics - shame you couldn't get any of this mysterious wedding party! You should have followed them to see where they ended up.

  2. I've been trying to post, but there has been a problem with blogger. You seem to be quite good at forecasting something with the Big Society. Were you aware that Lord Wei appears to have quit the Big Society and move to pastures new?

    PM's Big Society tsar stands down

  3. Looks like blogger is up the creek - can't login, so posting this as anonymous...

    I see you're still going on about private and public spheres. I know this might sound like a load of old balls, but you're also pretty prescient about FIFA, most recently in your post by Lady Jean Bridie. Can you indicate if her blog is accessible?

  4. I notice your comment in the Guardian/Observor blog. I thought I'd copy & paste it here in case others missed it!

    It's obvious from the stopping off points on the tour that Obama was trying to garner parts of the American vote. Not sure if I would rather be president of FIFA and all that it entails. The Cameron-Obama relationship reminds me of the FIFA bid for the World Cup and the ingratiating signals it sent out. I wonder when the President of FIFA will address us all from Westminster Hall?

    Someone has made a comment about an uncanny knack of predicting. In your remarks in the Guardian were you discussing FIFA's acquisition of state power in the form of being a territory with international recognition, diplomacy and seats at the top table?

  5. I've been going through some of your posts recently and you seem to be making a point of defining sovereignty and the recognition of a state. In following your Scottish logic regarding Scotland to be treated as a nation, with all the attributions of statehood, shouldn't you be considering in full detail the status of FIFA. After all, it probably has more followers and possibly more revenue than the Vatican, though I hear from Italian colleagues in banking circles that some money has been unfrozen. Could we expect more trappings of statehood now that Mr Blatter or President Blatter has another term?