Thursday, 10 March 2011

Oh God!

I nearly died when I read that in a poll by the Metro newspaper, 70% of Londoners had voted Leona Lewis the most influential Londoner of the last century. WTF? Two days later I still haven't got over it. I know the Metro is published by the same people as the Daily Mail, but that doesn't excuse it does it? The poll was to celebrate international women's day. All I can say to all those 10,000 loyal Leona Lewis fans is..."You shot yourself in the foot there didn't you?". Maggie Thatcher came a distant second with 5%. I should point out it was about being 'influential' rather than good or bad so I guess she should be right up there...her influence is still shaping our lives and will for some considerable time into the future.

I'm not a religious man, although I have been known to head to the church on Christmas Eve and when I was young I was an occasional alter boy (I struggled to get up for the early morning service). In general I'm of the opinion that organised religion is at the root of all evil, but that doesn't mean I don't think God is a good thing.

I'm not fussed which brand of religion it is when I head to the church doors, just so long as there's a rousing sermon and a good sing song. I'm sure that God by whatever name would agree. But last night we went to a debate and discussion about the King James Bible. It's four hundred years old you know. Well you would if you listened to Radio 4. I don't but I guess The Cat's Mother does. Or at least knows someone that does. Q radio for me.

Anyway, the importance of the KJB (as we in the know say) is that it, alongside Shakespeare, invented the very words we speak and write. So in a sense this blog is the bastard offspring of a very worthy work.

Anyway, it amused me that it was chaired by someone who almost certainly wasn't Christian. I may be wrong and I apologise if I am. There were were two academics. One Canadian working in America, and one who was at least 50% American but a professor in Oxford. I'm not sure why we couldn't have found an English Don for this. It is our language after all, although those compute companies keep making me to download En(US) versions. There was a playwright. And a vicar.

So the Canadian American, knowing that the event was sponsored by the RSC, put on a performance and a half. Completely unintelligible. But it was a performance worthy of any Shakespearean stage. The 50/50 Prof explained the basics to the idiots in the audience. That helped me a lot. The playwright must have said something of note, but I can't remember what. And the Rev (actually he was a Cannon Dr or a Doctor one seemed sure and is deputy head honcho at St Paul's) noted he didn't much care for it, preferring the William Tyndale version, which was mainly burnt in St Paul's Cathedral, and which he read under the duvet with a torch. He also looked as though he was going to top himself if he had to listen to anymore of the Canadian's rantings.

What I did learn is that it was mostly writing by committee - how devastating that our finest text was written by a bunch of bureaucrats, and all the best bits were actually filched from earlier versions. Most importantly, the French are at fault yet again. It was they that came up with the idea of numbered chapters and verses so now any extremist can take a line or two out of context, wave it around and then claim to be quoting God's word. As I said organised religion is the root of all evil. Or may be it's the French.

Stationers Hall...the scene of last night's event and also where the KJB was written. At least in part.