Saturday 30 January 2021

Charles: King and Martyr

Archdruid: Today we remember Charles, King and Spaniel.

All: Martyr.

Archdruid: You sure about that? 

All: Yes. We keep telling you.

Archdruid: Okey Dokey. Charles, King and Martyr. Not Spaniel.

All: Patron Saint of Losers.

Archdruid: You just made that up. 

All: You started it with the Spaniel.

Archdruid: So today we remember Charles, King and Martyr

All: Who should never have trusted in Ruperts

Archdruid: Who was cavalier with his reign

All: And believed in a divine, God-given right to rule.

Archdruid: Can't see what's wrong with that, mind?

All: Wouldn't you rather have democracy?

Archdruid: Let's put it this way. Democracy is what gives you lot the vote.

All: Good point. We think.

Archdruid: But at this time of remembering King Charles let us also accept there were good people on both sides.

All: More like good people on neither...

Archdruid: And let us give thanks that never since has this country been rent asunder by two groups, nearly balanced in number, and equally devoted to their ideaologies, with ruinous affects on our security and prosperity and.... oh yeah, it just did didn't it?

All: And Boris Johnson even cancelled Christmas.

Boris Johnson: Not enough, as it turned out.


Archdruid: Go into all the world in two vests.

All: Cos it's pretty parky out there. 

Thursday 28 January 2021

Zorb Worship

We're pretty sure we're good with this one, so this may now be the future of Lockdown Worship.

As we know, the Government has made an exception for churches and other religious organisations to continue to worship. Subject to the "Covid Secure" regulations. Which, as we know, aren't that Covid secure but it used to be Boris Johnson's catchphrase at some point between "Stay Home" and "I'm so Sorry". Just before "Celebrate Xmas but it's own your fault if you die", I think.

So naturally we've been very nervous. Our strict limits in on-premise worship do pretty much ensure security. But leading services for one family at a time can be very tiring, by the time I've got through the whole Community.

And so we're proud to announce the Beaker Folk are trialling "Zorb Worship". With each Beaker Person safely sealed into a high-density bubble, we have worship that is totally safe, socially distanced, and yet still enables us to exchange greetings with those around us, to sing as loudly as we like, and even to take this new, safer form of worship outdoors.

Young Keith has fitted each Zorb with a CO2 level warning device. So you know when it's time to leave the worship space and get a refill before you pass out. 

Just had the one issue with the trial run. We'd so been looking forward to the first full-immersion baptism since last February. But of course, with Flagstone encased in a massive plastic bubble, it was impossible to push him down.

Teenager in Zorb in pool

Think we might have to put that one on hold. 

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Liturgy of Being Sorry About Covid

Ritual of Sorrow

 Boris Johnson: I'm sorry.

All: He's sorry.

Boris Johnson: So sorry.

All: He's sorry.

Boris Johnson: I'm sorry.

All: He's sorry.

Boris Johnson: So very sorry.

All: He's sorry.

Ritual of Mitigation

Boris Johnson: I did everything I could.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Except close the borders.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or protect care homes.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or get enough PPE from people who weren't my friends.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or get a working Test, Track and Trace app.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or get a competent organisation to run the Test, Track and Trace process.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or keep the dangerous half-wits who want to open everything up under control.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or stop everyone rushing to restaurants for half-price meals in the summer.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or take spread in schools seriously.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or tell people not to go into work when it wasn't necessary.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: Or be brave and say people shouldn't get together for Christmas.

All: Everything.

 Boris Johnson: But at least I shook everyone's hands in the hospital.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: And I did a lot of wishful thinking.

All: Everything.

Boris Johnson: And I took a lot of working holidays.

All: Everything.

Ritual of Absolution

Boris Johnson: So I take full responsibility.

All: By resigning?

Boris Johnson: Oh no. I reckon I did all right, all told.

All: By closing the borders properly? 

Boris Johnson: Oh no. We didn't take control of our borders just so we could control our borders.

All: By learning lessons?

Boris Johnson: Oh no. I never do that. That's for common people who make mistakes.

All: But are you sorry?

Boris Johnson: Oh yes. I'm sorry.

All: He's sorry.





Tuesday 26 January 2021

Nativity of Paul the Octopus

 Hymn: Bobbing along at the bottom of the beautiful briny sea

Paul (actually Hnaef with an octopus head and gold nail varnish): Blibble blibble blobble blubble!

All: Plibble pibble blobble bubble!

Paul the Octopus

Paul: Bobble bibble pibble.

All: And also with yobble.

Paul: Flibble bibble bobble!

Charlii: Hang on, what is going on?

Young Keith: Bobble flibble flibble.

Charlii: Stop this! This is clearly cultural appropriation.

Archdruid: Whabble?

Charlii: You have cherry-picked the Octopus culture to enliven your cosy, middle-class, consumerist religion. You cannot just go about saying nonsense to give yourself a fake feeling of spiritual depth.

Archdruid: Oh well, that's the Celtic Twilight Service gone as well then.

Hnaef: Let us join in the Leggy Lament.

All: Oh Paul the Octopus, we wish you were with us now. 
As with an 85% prediction accuracy
You'd have more chance of forecasting the course of this pandemic than the Prime Minister.
In fact, if you weren't dead
Dominic Cummings would probably have hired you.

Hymn: Living in a Box

Paul the Octopus picture from Wikimedia Commons

Monday 25 January 2021

Lament for the Death of Snow Days

 Archdruid: The snow lieth deep and crisp and even.

A Snowy Path through the Woods

All: Like unto that Wesley's Lass saw on the Feast of Stephen.

Archdruid: Don't you mean Wenceslas?

All: Ah, yes. As you were.

Archdruid: The snow lieth as during the Winter of Discontent.

All: When the only dead thing was Jim Callaghan's career. And bags of Labour policies went uncollected in the streets.

Archdruid: And the ice overnight was as cold as Priti Patel's heart.

All: And as white as Nigel Farage's fantasies.

Archdruid: And though the M1 is clear, and the main roads are flowing

All: Yet we can't get our cars off the drive.

Archdruid: Not unless you have a 4x4.

All: And the Community Tractor won't get us to work on time.

Archdruid: And so I declare a Snow Day! 

All: Best get to work then.

Archdruid: My heart leaps in me as I remember the snow days of old. We would toast the cheese sandwiches we'd made for school, and head out to throw snowballs until our hands froze.

All: Zoom scrum at 8.30.

Archdruid: Or even as an adult. When snow stopped me driving to the office and I would walk through snow to the pub.

Little Pebbles: Zoom School at 9.

Archdruid: And the youths would compete for who could build the biggest snow man.

Youths: Zoom apprentice study all day.

Archdruid: And, at Oxford, when the snow lay like a white shawl on Brasenose's Old Quad and we skipped lectures and encased the Senior Dean in ice - a tradition going back to 1642.

Students: Zoom lectures.

Archdruid: So let snow and ice praise God from whom all blessings fall. And rush into the outside world and... just me?

All: We'll watch it melt from behind our screens.

Archdruid: Ah, nostalgia ain't as good as it used to be.

All: It never was.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Calling QAnon

I realise that some followers of QAnon will be feeling let down now.

They had pinned their hopes on secret "messages" which led them to believe that the USA was really run by a bunch of child-trafficking, pizza-eating traitors. And that Donald Trump would lead an uprising to arrest all the liberals, execute Mike Pence, and install himself as President for Life. Or something. Sounds a bit unlikely when you put it like that, but I'm sure if you were inside it, it all made sense.

A word to the wise.

A lot of this kind of thing has roots in apocalyptic, fundamentalist Christian circles. Where the expected return of Jesus is always imminent. But every time you put a date to it - it doesn't happen.

When this happens, you don't give up. You regather. You realise you misread the clues. You do some more calculations. You continue to have faith.

And then it doesn't happen again.

Honestly, it never does. Well, it might do one day. But you wouldn't catch me trying to decide which prediction was wrong. Except the next one. That's always wrong.

Now, if you belong to QAnon, you may be feeling a bit stupid now. You may have lost all your friends. Wasted thousands of hours of your life when you could have been watching "Last of the Summer Wine" or maybe doing a genuinely Christian thing like feeding the hungry, or giving to the poor, or doing some shopping for someone, or wearing a mask so you don't infect a vulnerable person with a deadly virus. 
Maybe you were arrested for invading the Capitol while wearing buffalo horns.

Maybe it's time to grow up and move on. 

But, if not - I have some secrets I can share with you about how the Pope is running a secretive cabal of guinea-pig restaurateurs and will soon declare Moldova independent. Just send a check for 50 dollars to Archdruid Eileen, c/o The Big House, Husborne Crawley - and I'll let you know more. 

Monday 18 January 2021

Liturgy for Blue Monday

 Hymn:Blue Moon

Archdruid: How does it feel? 

All: Not so bad.

Archdruid: How's the bank balance?

All: In the black, actually. Given we're all middle class, and can work from home, we're saving a fortune in petrol.

Archdruid: So this Monday's not so blue?

All: Just like any other Monday in the last 10 months.

Archdruid: So pretty blue.

All: Mustn't grumble. Been getting a workout in every morning, and we're finished work in time for "Pointless".

Archdruid: Don't you know it's Blue Monday?!

All: Yeah, but known worse.

Hymn: I Wish it Could be Blue Monday every Day

Monday 11 January 2021

Death of Thomas Hardy (1928)

Leaning over a gate

Thomas Hardy

1st Yokel: I see that Thomas Hardy's dead and gone still.

2nd Yokel: Ay, as we all shall be.

1Y: Hast seen that Tess Durbeyfield lately?

2Y: No, er's dead an' all.

1Y: Thought 'twere quiet.

2Y: Ay.

1Y: Shall we to Peter's Finger in Mixen Lane to wet our tnroats?

2Y: Nay. It's closed for cholera.

1Y: Then shall we to Tranter's house? I hear he's got a pretty drop of tipple in.

2Y: Stubbards, Redstreaks, Chesils and Dabs?

1Y: Magners. It's on offer at Tesco in Casterbridge.

2Y: Times do change.

Saturday 9 January 2021

The Beaker Folk ban Donald Trump

 In the light that Facebook and Twitter have banned Donald Trump, I would like to announce that he is also banned from posting on the Beaker Folk blog.

He hasn't actually asked if he can. But just in case, I'm banning him now. This will, I reckon, make all the right people very happy. All the wrong people very angry. And people who confuse free speech with the right to encourage other people to conduct coups d'état will no doubt write long Twitter threads explaining why I'm wrong. Or, at least, criticising my French. 

Well, I don't care. It's done. Trump is no longer allowed to post on the Beaker Folk blog. And if we catch him playing golf at Woburn, we will tutt very loudly in his direction.

Just as long as he doesn't set an Osprey onto us. They're terrifying.

An Osprey aircraft in flight

Friday 8 January 2021

LIturgy for the Nativity of David Bowie


Archdruid: Modern Love

All: Gets me to the Church on Time

Archdruid: Ziggy played guitar.

All: But he only knew three chords so we only let him do the youth praise.


Reflection of our smallness in God's universe

Archdruid: Planet Earth is blue

All: And there's nothing I can do.



Archdruid: Sailors fighting in the dance hall 

Oh man! Look at those cavemen go 
It's the freakiest show

All: Is there life on Mars?


Inspiring Thought, brought down to earth by reality

Archdruid I'm gonna make it to heaven
All: Light up the sky like a flame
Archdruid: We, we could be heroes.

All: Just for one day.


There's a starman waiting in the sky 

He'd like to come and meet us but he thinks he'd blow our minds 

There's a starman waiting in the sky 

He's told us not to blow it 'cause he knows it's all worthwhile


Reflection on the nature of the Holy Spirit

Wild is the wind
Wild is the wind

Wild is the wind


Remembrance that David Bowie is no longer with us

Archdruid: Ashes to ashes.

All: Funk to funky.  


Liturgical Dance

Archdruid: Let's Liturgical dance

All: Put on your sensible shoes and dance the blues

Archdruid: Let's Liturgical dance

All: To the sound they're playing on the clavinova

Archdruid: Godly play

All: While stained glass lights up your face

Archdruid: Godly play

All: Currently church is an empty place.


Dismissal and Hope for the Future

Archdruid Some of these days, and it won't be long 

All: Gonna drive back down where you once belonged



Thursday 7 January 2021

What Happens When You Eat Turmeric Every Day May Surprise You

It's the information that Big Pharma are trying to keep from you. 

What Happens When You Eat Turmeric Every Day May Surprise You....... 

Turmeric root, three slices and a pile of grated.
Doesn't this look like a bloke with 3 frisbees has fallen over next to a small sand dune?

Your insides go yellow.

And you spend a load of money on turmeric.

Turmeric man picture by Simon Eugster via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Andrea Leadsom does it all

 Andrea Leadsom has announced she would like to challenge Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty's understanding of epidemiology.  I think this is a brilliant idea.

After she's won that one, she's going to prove Brian Cox is wrong on astrophysics. Take part in a rap battle challenge with Stormzy. Race Lewis Hamilton round Silverstone. Compete on the Chase against Jenny "Vixen" Ryan. And then finish off by taking Dina Asher-Smith on for a quick run round the block. 

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Christmas Extension

Given the overall feeling of gloom and despondency around the place, some have suggested extending Christmas to Candlemass. Apparently a tradition (albeit one nobody knew about until recently).

Which is, obviously, a good idea. But that's not the Beaker way. Instead, we are now transferring to the Orthodox calendar. Which means Thursday is Christmas Day. And then  we're going to keep celebrating till Orthodox Candlemass. I'm not sure if that's a thing, but it gives us a valid reason to leave the lights up till mid-Feb at the least.

Anybody know any Christian denominations that use a lunar calendar? It's gonna be a long winter.

Litany of Covidian Wrongness

 Archdruid: It's just like flu.

All: It's only in China.

Archdruid: It's just a few cases.

All: Take it on the chin.

Archdruid: Maybe we could let it pass through the population?

All: Isolate all 20 million vulnerable and 20 million over 60s.

Archdruid: Lockdowns don't work.

All: Drink lots of fluids.

Archdruid: Pour hot water up your nose.

All: Put some kind of light into your body?

Archdruid: It fizzled out in the summer.

All: Normal by the autumn.

Archdruid: Kids don't get it.

All: Smokers don't get it.

Archdruid: We're all already immune.

All: Everyone in London's had it already.

Archdruid: Sunetra Gupta says it's not going to spread.

All: Telegraph says get back to work.

Archdruid: Toby Young says it's not as bad as you think.

All: My friend Andii on the Internet says her sister knows a nurse at the UCL and all they're doing is playing cards and Tik-Tok videos. And they all know it's a hoax.

Archdruid: It's just the flu.

All: Didn't you do that one?

Archdruid: You mean I can't be wrong twice?

All: Pubs are safe.

Archdruid: Normal by Easter.

All: Subsidise bus travel for Christmas.

Archdruid: Sweden's got the right idea.

All: Masks don't work.

Archdruid: It'll evolve to get weaker.

All: It's a Big Pharma conspiracy.

Archdruid: There won't be a second wave.

All: There won't be a third wave.

Archdruid: People still went to church in 1919.

All: People still went to church during the Black Death.

Archdruid: Schoolteachers are slackers.

All: If you didn't test people they wouldn't die so much.

Archdruid: My mate killed himself by dropping a washing machine on his head.

All: Death certificate still said Covid.

Archdruid: James Delingpole should wear a mask.

All: To prevent infection?

Archdruid: That and I just don't like his face.

All: That Allison Pearson has some good ideas.

Archdruid: It's 5G causing it.

All: It was invented in a lab.

Archdruid: Vaccines contain microchips.

All: Isn't that McCains?

Archdruid: My friend Archie says he had it Christmas before last. Go figure.

All: My mate works in Specsavers in Bishop's Auckland as it goes. Says he never saw Dominic Cummings all spring.

Archdruid: Christopher Whitty should resign for wanting lockdowns.

All: Christopher Whitty should resign for not wanting lockdowns.

Archdruid: It's a police state.

All: It's a global conspiracy.

Archdruid: People of faith won't get it in church.

All: Does that mean liberals are at more risk than evangelicals?


Archdruid: Go out into the world....

All: Don't think so.

Monday 4 January 2021

Liturgy for a Boris Johnson Address to the Nation in the Time of Covid

Dies Irae

Archdruid: Alas

All: Alas

Archdruid: And thrice alas.

All: And alack.

Ritual of the Heavy Heart

Archdruid: It is with a heavy heart. 

All: A heavy, heavy heart. 

Archdruid: Nobody knows what a heavy heart I have. 

All: Nobody knows but Jesus.

Archdruid: Were our hearts to be weighed on the scales, like unto that Egyptian thing in the Book of the Dead,

All: They'd be heavy.

Archdruid: Really heavy.

Neil from the Young Ones: Heavier than that.


Archdruid: None of this is my fault.

All: Nor our fault.

Archdruid: It's all other people's faults.

All: Not our fault at all. Is it your fault?

Archdruid: Not my fault.

All: Nor ours.

Archdruid: I blame the teenagers.

All: And we blame the old people.

Archdruid: And the teachers.

All: And the NHS. Caring for the sick, what do they know? 

The Upbeat Conclusion

Archdruid: It'll all be normal by Easter

All: Or Pentecost.

Archdruid: Michaelmas

All: Or maybe Christmas.

Rishi Sunak: Don't forget - Eat Out to help Out!

Archdruid: Some of you are going to die.

Johnson: Martyrs, of course, to the indecision I will provide. 

All: We're only wanting freedom. We're only wanting freedom.

Michael Gove: And get into the office or your job will be stolen by a Belgian.

Boris Johnson: Actually, that's probably already happened. Still! All the Bloaters you can eat! Phwah!

And All the People Said - A-what?

 Great excitement among the more radical theological thinkers of the Beaker Folk, after Emanuel Cleaver said the opening prayer at the US Congress.

 Some Beaker People are concerned that he referred to the name of the "monotheistic God". Which,while trying to be inclusive, excludes atheists, Bhuddists, many Pagans and tritheists. And by including just "Brahma" alongside the monotheistic God, probably confuses Hindus while he's at it.

But others were more excited that he concluded the prayer with "Amen and Awoman". Presumably in an attempt to be inclusive. What, asks some of the Beaker Folk, about those that identify in other ways? What about Eddie Izzard? Some of the more Biblically literate Fol ask - what about the fact that "Amen"is not gendered, any more than ramen noodles are. It's a Hebrew word meaning "too right", "agreed", or "yes Lord we just want to ask you that it just be so".

But, inspired, we looked for the ideal Beaker term to replace Amen. We toyed with "A-people" as having no gendered connotations. But Hnaef pointed to the Sydney Carter song, "Every star shall sing a carol". Surely we should be inclusive of aliens in our prayers? For they too may be made in the image of God's image. Though hopefully not the Daleks, obviously. 

So what about "A-lifeforms" we asked ourselves.

Exludes inorganic matter, we decided - which is, after all, most matter. If even the rocks can cry out God's praises, we ought to allow them to be included in our prayers.

So from now on, until we decide it's too silly and go back where we came from - all Beaker liturgies are to conclude with "A-stuff". Please download the latest version of the Beaker Common Prayer from the BeakerNet. They will not be required for a while.


Sunday 3 January 2021

Liturgy for the Death of Gerry "Pacemakers" Marsden as He Takes the Final Ferry

 Archdruid: Life goes on day after day.

All: And then it doesn't.

Archdruid: But at the end of the storm there's a golden sky.

All: And the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Archdruid: You'll never walk alone.

Archdruid: You'll never walk alone.