Of course, a blog cannot contain all details of everything I do, and I do keep to fairly stringent editorial guidelines as to what I am and am not prepared to say. There have been, however, a couple of things I've been keeping from faithful readers and the time is right, I think, to come clean.
The last time I went to Dar es Salaam Pentecostal Church was the first Sunday I was back from the UK in January, since then I have mainly been going to the Anglican Cathedral, St Alban's, of course I have mentioned going to St Andrew's Magomeni Usalama on the Morogoro Road and Bagamoyo in blog entries before. I continue to stay in touch with some people at the Pentecostal Church and remain of the view that I would like to take every church musician I have ever met there to hear - and see - what they do. These things are never straightforward, the big thing is that at heart I am an Anglican and felt that the time was right to return to my Anglican roots. So, the interchange with the security guards asking me to pray for them which I wrote up in this blog entry was outside the Cathedral.
Actually, have been playing Organ for the last two Sundays which is quite fun - except that the pipes are high up in the balcony, a long way from the console (ie where the Organ is played from) and the whole thing is somewhat underpowered for the building and size of congregation. This, combined with technical issues (absolutely NO couplers at all, almost all pipework duplicated on the Great and Swell) makes it quite 'interesting' to play. It's almost as if you press a note and the Organ has a bit of a think about it before deciding what to do. Would be interested in working with the Choir except that they rehearse several times during the week and I'm really not in a position to be sparing that amount of time. The best bit is playing quietly immediately before and after the service and then during the gaps in the communion, it then sounds fantastic.
And, while in confessional mode, there is one other thing I feel I need to tell you. In collecting sponsorship to have my head shaved, it was indeed the case that this is not something I had done before and so there was an element of sacrifice in the deed. However, what I did not volunteer at the time (but obviously would have said had I been asked a direct question) is that men having their hair very short or shaved off altogether is entirely normal here, so in fact having it done attracted very little attention locally. And having had it done, I found that I rather liked it, so have just had a number one haircut which feels great. General principle - hair is too long if it needs to be combed in the morning. And while I'm on the subject, I'm happy to say in a public place that if I'm ever seen with a comb over then you are perfectly at liberty to shoot me. You might, of course, wish to check the laws of the relevant country first, curiously this may not be grounds for justifiable homicide. I have no intention of hiding the fact that my hairline is receding and that some of the hairs are turning to white. Although not quite ready to be called 'Babu' - ie. a grandfather or man of grandfather age - nor for people to say 'Shikamoo' to me - a highly respectful term of greeting, although I do get it from time to time, particularly from children. The problem here is that children being respectful speak quietly so it's quite easy to miss what it is that they have said, particularly if you're not expecting it. Required reponse is 'Marahaba', the only time that word is ever used, there is a joke that it should be 'Marasaba', 'saba' being 7, ie. a child has to say 'Shikamoo' 7 times before getting the required response.
Anyway, think that's all the confessions for now, will try to keep shorter accounts with you in future.
One final thing: was much amused to be reading the BBC News story, 'The hereditary House of Commons' to discover that when Stanley Johnson, Boris's father, stood for Parliament in 2005, he did so on a platform of 'more talk, less action'. Of course, this may have been a mistake in his election materials, but I like to think it was an honest and accurate appraisal of the lot of politicians. Indeed, if I had the chance to vote for a candidate on this basis I might well take it - politicians tend to do less damage when talking rather than when trying to do things, don't they? Any link with this thought and my previous blog post purely intentional....