Gallycat’s Karaoke Palace

Oh, what the hell. This is me singing John Prine’s “Angel of Montgomery,” which you may know as a Bonnie Raitt tune.


sticking my neck out

Wah. I am starting to sound like a one-note flute sometimes, I guess, when I defend the fringes. But there is one place I’m hard and fast on when it comes to tradition, and that’s church music.

I love hymns and anthems, and I really should be in the choir, but EfM takes precedence right now and I’ve been too peripatetic in the past. I have a good chunk of the 1940 hymnal memorized because most of my churchness was before 1982. When your mom is the choir director, it becomes second nature.

But I find myself just… totally, BLEAH over so-called praise music. I love gospel music, stained-glass bluegrass, orchestral music, international songs of faith, spirituals, secular-music-brought-over, and, most of all, traditional hymns from the 18th and 19th century.

But I went to a church service not too long ago with a creative liturgy, adapted from the one we all know and love, and really enjoyed it. Except for the praise music.

Just wanted to let all my traditionalist friends-in-faith know that I’m not completely outside the box.

Where the music takes me

There’s a song by a Scandinavian band called Covenant called “Like Tears in Rain.” It’s named after a line in Blade Runner. But the song itself, with lyrics that read like a post-apocalyptic Good Friday, always makes me want to write stories where passion beats down vicissitude, where determination conquers despair, where a flower blooms amid the grime and soot of industrial waste and rot.

The book I’m writing, which doesn’t have a title yet, is about a woman who has to unite the powers of good because there is a darker flood coming. And the powers of good don’t want to be united. They’d rather scowl across the aisle at one another and point their fingers at the black and white that each side sees.

Cept, it’s not black and white for these two groups. It’s blue and red. (I swear, when I dreamt this, I wasn’t thinking about politics. The colors are magic, and black magic and white magic implied good and evil, and both alignments are good.)

The book is becoming bigger than me, and every time i sit down to it when there’s no one around and a new wave soundtrack pulsing little gothy synthy beats at me, it gets a little more real.

I’m finally writing what I want to write.

(Okay, maybe the Skinny Puppy is a little too much.)


I am brainstorming a faith-related comic with my DFH. Trying to think of a catchy title, I pondered cribbing the title of a famous Depeche Mode song, Blasphemous Rumors. Poking around the internet to see if anyone else has cribbed it, I found this:

Click the file for “Gregorian.” This is a haunting song about the crisis of faith that everyone has when they are punched in the face by “bad things happening to good people.” It’s the anthem of my teen years, and even though I’d be redeemed from that despair, it took a long time, and I still understand the haunt. This version reanimates it in an inchoate call to reflection.


This is only loosely related to this week’s Friday Five, but everytime my dishwasher runs, I get “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” stuck in my head. I’ve realized it’s because you can sing the song along with the rhythm of the dern contraption.

I don’t watch TV, so I didn’t get to critique “The Book of Daniel,” but next on my to-read list is _In the Bleak Midwinter_, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Probably old news to most of you in the ring, but I swear I’m astonished by the number of Episcopal protagonists in mystery series, to say nothing of Karon. Does our denomination attract an unusually large number of writers, and what on earth will people think when I introduce my Episcopalian vampire?

Just kidding. 🙂

Or am I…

Radio Helbrain

Arcade Fire's Rebellion (Lies) reminds me of OMD's Locomotion, but with jingly guitars instead of goofy synths.

ETA: There's more goth in indie rock than there is in current goth scene. I'm really wanting to spin again, for no other reason than all the cool shit I've heard on itunes radio stations today.

strange and random

[I posted this via email last night, but it didn't go through.]

I just had this weird notion. See, I'm a DJ. Or I have been, at least. It's been a while, but I really enjoy it. I also like sneaking Christian rave music into a thumpthump set. Yes, there is such a thing, and I've been inflicting it on my audiences since before I went back. Oh, don't look so shocked. You liked Apop at some point. Or Evanescence.

Anyhow, I was driving home from Shelby+'s ordination tonight in the pouring rain, and got to thinking about stuff. She thanked me tonight for coming up with the idea to have a film night for the youth group to go see Narnia and have a discussion about it afterward. I mean, all the thumpies are doing it too, so why not have a discussion about it from the progfish?

I'm beginning to think I'm going to need a userguide to helenspeak on this journal. Most of it's intuitive but… ok. I'm totally rambling tonight.

My friends have this deliriously funny habit of calling the loudest right-wing evangelists “asshats.” It's probably patently offensive to some, but I just think it's hilarious. But to distinguish them from the other practitioners of assmillinery, such as beltway drivers who don't signal lane changes and the people upstairs who wear lead boots and jump up and down a lot, I call them assha†s. I know and love many conservative Christians as well, but they all gravitate toward the Gospel, living like Christ, and advocating social justice. (Some of them like to say, “Jesus is my boyfriend!” And some of them like to say things in strange unknown languages, but I was a Classics major during my first college try, so I can relate.) So understand that when I talk about right-wing evangelists, I mean they evangelize right-wing ideology.

Thumpies are those who have been brainwashed by this ideology and mistake it for the Beatitudes.

Progfish are those Christians, such as myself, who find themselves stuck between thumpers, who profess themselves Christian, and secular fundementalists, who profess themselves the radical left.

Okay, that key aside, I can get on with my original ramble (distinct from my revgal-pinged rant, below).

How weird would it be if I continued to DJ and integrated it into my vocation?

I say this because elsewhere I was talking about using pen-names (as I do) and was asking for suggestions for a project I'm working on, largely to stop being mixed up with that Helen Thomas person, and one of them came up with “DJ Progressilicious.”

which is hilariously hipster,

Hipster, DJ, faith-based activist, good Lord almighty, what are you calling me to be?

Then this weird notion continues to grow as I realized that I would be happier DJing my own wedding.

:/ Yes, weird.