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LIAM NEESON WHY I BELIEVE AGAIN ®

Sep/Oct 2013

sorted-magazine.com

FERNANDINHO

KEEPING

JOHNNY

ROLLING

DRINK

THE BALL

VEGAS FAITH? I’LL

TO THAT!

LIAM NEESON TAKEN SERIOUSLY

£3.50

In partnership with

CULTURE | SPORT | CARS | SEX | FITNESS | TECH | HUMOUR | LIFESTYLE


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Vol. 7 | No. 5 | Sep/Oct 2013

www.sorted-magazine.com

74

37 78

48 58

44 ACTION 6

Military Matters with Flt Lt Jonny ‘JP’ Palmer

11

The Bear Facts with Bear Grylls

12

Going Hot Turkey An unusual massage, a drastic haircut and the best kebab of all time

COLUMNISTS 14

Diamond Geezer with Ant Delaney

16

Your Will, Mott Mine with Alex Willmott

19

Compassion with Kate Sharma

FEATURES 37

42

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Johnny Vegas Newfound love and faith change the funny man’s outlook Dietrich Bonhoeffer Dietrich Bonhoeffer shunned a comfortable life in the US to help protect the German Church from the Nazis. Ian Bartlett Ian Bartlett fights to protect the most vulnerable in society from addiction and crime

BUSINESS CULTURE 20

Movies with Martin Leggatt

22

Television with Emily Russell

23

Gaming with Jim Lockey

24

DVD & Blu Ray with Martin Leggatt

26

Books with Mark Anderson

27

Music with Sue Rinaldi

LIFESTYLE 29

Cars with Sam Burnett

33

Six of the Best… Playing with Fire

34

Top Gear Gadgets and gizmos galore

36

Sixty Second Life Coach with Peter Horne

Cover pictures: Matt Baron/BEI/Rex Features and Dave Hogan/Getty Images

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Liam Neeson Liam Neeson on acting, sorrow and a newfound zest for life

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Ian Matthews Mike Stavlund expresses the crushing pain of losing a child

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Christian Single Mix This online dating site helps visitors make friends, build community links and look for love

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Dean Gray A Taliban attack in Afghanistan causes Dean Gray to rethink his future

SPORT

60

We’re in Business with Charles Humphreys

74

Fernandinho A fresh start at Manchester City

61

Making Your Mark with Stuart Rivers

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Aries Merritt On‐track and off‐track hurdles

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Relationology with Matt Bird

HEALTH & FITNESS ADVICE

82

Fitness with Phil Baines

64

Smart Talk

83

Nutrition with Caroline Gerrie

67

Big Questions with Jonathan Sherwin

84

Lifestyle Doc with Dr Chidi

85

Healthy Cooking with Mike Darracott

OPINION 69

Family with Richard Hardy

HUMOUR

70

Faith with Sam Gibb

87

In Vino Veritas with Tony Vino

71

Politics with Lyndon Bowring

88

Lucas Aid with Jeff Lucas

72

Cut to the Chase with Lee and Baz

90

The Last Word with Carl Beech

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STEVE LEGG

Sorted.

Publisher & Editor Steve Legg steve@sorted‐magazine.com Deputy Editor Joy Tibbs joy@sorted‐magazine.com Sports Editor Stuart Weir

Classified Advertising Fiona Hinton fiona@hintonmediaservices.com Design Andy Ashdown Design www.andyashdowndesign.co.uk Print Halcyon www.halcyonline.co.uk Distribution COMAG © Sorted Magazine 2013 Sorted is published by Son Christian Media (SCM) Ltd. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. SCM holds names and addresses on computer for the purpose of mailing in accordance with the terms registered under the Data Protection Act 1984. Sorted is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission.

Contact Sorted Magazine PO Box 3070, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN17 6WX, UK Tel: 01903 732190 E‐mail: steve@sorted‐magazine.com

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Sorted Magazine

Give Me Some Inspiration!

I

’m generally a laidback guy. I’m not normally wound up by much (if you listen carefully you’ll be able to hear my wife snorting in disbelief from somewhere in the background), but something has been on my mind recently. In the week after Andy Murray’s spectacular win at Wimbledon, I was watching the hilarious Mock the Week. In the banter that ensued, one of the comedians made a gag about Andy Murray. I haven’t got a problem with that, but the comedian joked about people calling Murray ‘inspirational’. He went on to explain: “Andy Murray’s not inspirational – he works too hard. If he slept in till 11, had a fry‐up and spent the afternoon at Cineworld every day and then won Wimbledon, that would be inspirational. That would be something I could aspire to.”

I MAY BE OLDFASHIONED, BUT I BELIEVE IN WORKING FOR SUCCESS. Call me a grumpy old man, but something’s gone wrong with the world. I know that this was said in the name of comedy, and that it was a jibe at the comic’s own lack of motivation, but I’ve heard it before. We live in a world that wants instant success; the lucky break or the shooting star. We live in a world that searches for the easy fix, the convenient solution and the quick buck. We live in the world of Big Brother: a programme that nominally began as a social experiment only to rapidly turn into a ray of hope for teenagers who thought they could become rich and famous by exposing their lives to strangers for a few weeks without ever having to lift a finger. We live in a culture that

puts celebrity on a pedestal. Children want to be famous. Not for any particular reason; they just want to be famous. I hate it. I may be old‐fashioned, but I believe in working for success. I am inspired by men like Murray who sacrifice everything to achieve their goals and who dedicate their lives to fulfilling their dreams. And I’m inspired by plumbers who work all hours of the day and night to benefit their customers and provide for their families; by servicemen who put their lives on their line to protect their country and take freedom to the oppressed; and by teachers and youth workers who run themselves into the ground raising a new generation. And I am inspired by children like Sadiq, the little boy I met and now sponsor in India. When I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he told me he wanted to be a doctor. He didn’t want to be famous, he wanted to be a man who could give back to his community. He will have to work hard and sacrifice to fulfil his dreams and I feel honoured to be able to help him in the small way that I can. You may have picked up this magazine because of the celebrity on the front cover. In this world we live in, celebrity sells. We know that. But I’d like to introduce you to the rest of the men in this magazine: real men, living real lives and transforming the world through their sheer hard work and determination. They truly are inspirational. n

ANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images

Marketing & Advertising Rebekah Taylor rebekah@sorted‐magazine.com Duncan Williams Tel: 07960 829615 williamspublishing@yahoo.com

Up Front

Steve Legg PUBLISHER & EDITOR steve@sorted-magazine.com SteveLeggUK

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ACTION

FLT LT JONNY ‘JP’ PALMER

Military Matters

THE ULTIMATE

WARRIOR

BY FLT LT JONNY ‘JP’ PALMER

A

ny bloke who has had the misfortune of staring at the graffiti‐stained door of a public toilet will have no doubt about just how much of a legend Chuck Norris is. This is a man whose name has singlehandedly resuscitated the dying art of one‐liners. A man who is reputed to be able to start a fire by rubbing two ice cubes together, can cut a hot knife with butter, and has counted to infinity – twice. Despite this, Norris would never accolade himself with such titles. In his humility he always considered someone else greater. He produced a 1976 documentary tribute to Bruce Lee, entitled The Warrior Within, and was a pallbearer at the actor’s funeral. An altogether different Warrior – the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) type – came into service in the late 1980s as a replacement for the rather uninspiringly named FV430 Armoured Personnel Carriers. Having spent the last 25 years as the workhorse of British infantry operations around the world, it is immediately apparent that this British‐designed‐and‐built piece of kit is more than just an armour‐plated combat minibus. It is, like Lee, a Warrior in its own right. Unlike its lesser equivalents, the Warrior is purpose‐ built to safely deliver troops and then stay the course of the fight, giving fire support and protection to the soldiers who have just jumped out of its boot. Thus, entering the fray in this IFV is something akin to having your six‐foot mate watching your back in the school playground. And watching your back is something it’s more than capable of, with an array of weaponry that makes it look more like a miniature tank than an armoured car. Its main armament, the 30mm non‐stabilised L21A1 RARDEN cannon, is fitted with an 8x magnification day/night scope and 94mm high‐explosive anti‐tank rockets. This manually loaded beast fires clips of three rounds that can punch through armour up to 1,500 metres away, taking enemy vehicles off the field before they can endanger our boys. It is backed up by the EX‐34 7.62mm coaxial chain gun. Ironically, this 500 round‐ per‐minute weapon system – manufactured by Hughes Helicopters (think Airwolf) – is also the Warrior’s main defence against helicopters. 6

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ACTION

While packing a punch that Chuck would be proud of, the IFV keeps its defences up through its thick, all‐ welded aluminium hull, its ‘wrap two’ appliqué armour, and clusters of visual and infrared screening smoke grenades; shielding itself from even the most high‐tech scopes. In addition, the Warrior’s V8 Condor engine makes this boy run like Forrest Gump, and at top speed it can keep up with the world’s most advanced main battle tanks, regardless of the terrain. Each Warrior IFV carries seven fully equipped field soldiers to war and is operated by a further three‐man crew. These small, tight‐knit units of men can work independently of each other or in companies of up to 14 vehicles, swarming the battle space and overwhelming the enemy. Colonel Andy Smith speaks well of the Warrior and, when asked about how the vehicle performed in a fight, he told Sorted: “It’s a lifesaver. I once had to deploy a

MOD photography used under the Open Government Licence v1.0

ENTERING THE FRAY IN THIS IFV IS SOMETHING AKIN TO HAVING YOUR SIXFOOT MATE WATCHING YOUR BACK IN THE SCHOOL PLAYGROUND.

Company into downtown Basra at no notice to secure and recover a helicopter that had tragically been shot down. Watching the vehicles line up with engines roaring, leaders giving battle orders and men completing their final weapon checks before launching into a very hostile area was humbling. “They had a tough day, with lots of mortar fire and insurgent attacks, so after a long battle and a lot of prayer, to hear the Warriors return with all my guys safe … well, it’s a really good bit of kit.” Despite this ability to take the fight to the enemy, the way of the Warrior is rarely to do so. In fact, it has spent the best part of the last 25 years training for and conducting Peace Support Operations around the globe. The vehicle’s combination firepower, protection and personnel are a perfect mix when you need to keep belligerent parties apart while simultaneously rebuilding infrastructure, relationships and the rule‐of‐law. When Andy was deployed on peacekeeping operations in Kosovo he did just that in Mitrovica. “The Austerlitz Bridge split the city in half with the Kosovar Albanians in the south and the mostly Serb population in the north,” he explains. “Serbs controlled access across the bridge and prevented Kosovar Albanians from using it to access their enclaves north of the Ibar [River]. “The Brits had a reputation for their no‐nonsense approach; they knew how we used the Warrior and f

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MOD photography used under the Open Government Licence v1.0

ACTION that when it turned up we meant business. We joined up with UN and Kosovar Police patrols and the mix proved very effective. The Warrior just gave the edge to push local police authority and we were able to ensure freedom of movement for both Albanians and Serbs.’ Later, when serving in Iraq, Andy helped establish the Reconciliation Initiative in Coalition HQ, Baghdad. “Sadr city was a very deprived area of Baghdad. It covered about 20% of Baghdad and housed almost 80% of the population; a breeding ground for terrorists. Establishing control of Sadr city was vital to bringing Iraqi‐led law and order back to the streets of Baghdad. “Here my faith had a huge impact on my work. At the heart of this initiative was establishing dialogue with the enemy. The Americans had lost a lot of guys fighting for Bagdad and many felt like they were betraying their lost friends by talking to the insurgents.”

“I shared an example from the Bible of what happens when you choose to end dialogue and it seemed to give my US colleagues freedom to enter into talks openly, rather than through gritted teeth.” After lengthy talks, coalition troops entered the most feared area of Bagdad without a single shot fired. “I mean that is a miracle,” Andy says. “We put a lot of prayer into it, and He didn’t let us down.”

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Colonel Smith has spent a great deal of his military career pursuing peace, including five tours in Northern Ireland, two in Kosovo and two in Iraq. He has supported UK efforts in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Ghana, and has just returned from a year of peace and reconciliation work in Jerusalem, demonstrating that, above all, the ‘warrior within’ fights for peace. n Flight Lieutenant Jonny ‘JP’ Palmer has flown the Hercules C‐130 J for the Royal Air Force since 2010. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and three children near RAF Brize Norton. He is a member of the Armed Forces Christian Union and is passionate about making Jesus known in the military.

AHMAD AL‐RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

“THE BRITS HAD A REPUTATION FOR THEIR NO-NONSENSE APPROACH; THEY KNEW HOW WE USED THE WARRIOR AND THAT WHEN IT TURNED UP WE MEANT BUSINESS.”


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ACTION

BEAR GRYLLS

The Bear Facts Be the Most Enthusiastic Person You Know He’s everybody’s favourite explorer and Chief Scout, and it seems Bear Grylls is fast becoming one of the nation’s favourite autobiography writers too. Imagine interviewing a candidate who says they love getting up early and being the first into work, and they love warming up people’s days with a smile and getting their colleagues a cup of tea to cheer them up; that all they want is the chance to show you how hard they can work and how they will always go the extra mile. Wow! You’d be like, right, when are you free? I’d give that person a shot over the candidate with the better A‐ level results any day. So how do you teach it? Well, you reward it and lead by example, for a start. Encouraging enthusiasm is one of the most important things I do in my work with the Scouts. If I can get the message across to kids who might not be doing all that well at school that they can distinguish themselves and get an A‐plus in the game of life by being enthusiastic in all they do – especially when times are tough and others are moaning – I know I can make a critical difference to their future.

In each issue of Sorted we have been treating you to an excerpt from Bear’s latest book, A Survival Guide for Life, and this edition is no different. If you can’t wait for the next instalment, copies are available from all good booksellers.

M

y mum and dad gave me a few bits of great advice as a young boy (along with a fair amount of scolding for being an idiot, but that’s another story!), but there is one thing my late father told me that has affected my outlook and approach to life more than almost anything else, and it was this: If you can be the most enthusiastic person you know, then you won’t go far wrong. It was always said to me with a wry smile, as if I was being told something of infinite power. And he was right. Enthusiasm so often makes the critical difference: it sustains you when times are tough, it encourages those around you, it is totally infectious and it rapidly becomes a habit! In turn, that enthusiasm adds the extra 5% sparkle to everything we do – and life is so often won or lost in that little extra bit that carries us home over the finish line. In fact, I believe enthusiasm can make such a massive and positive difference to people’s lives that it should be taught as part of a school’s curriculum. After all, it’s one of the key attributes that smart employers look for. (It’s certainly something I place huge value on when I’m choosing expedition members.)

ENTHUSIASM ADDS THE EXTRA 5% SPARKLE TO EVERYTHING WE DO. Success almost always follows great attitude; the two attract each other. You may not be the fastest, the fittest, the cleverest or the strongest, but there’s nothing to stop you from being the most enthusiastic person you know. Nothing at all, except your willingness to step up and be a little different from the crowd. So make enthusiasm a daily decision, even when you don’t feel like it. We can all choose our attitude, and one of the best reasons for choosing positive attributes is the alternative – which means if you don’t pick a good attitude, then you’ve got a bad one or, even worse, a lukewarm, insipid, neutral one. If you have to have any type of attitude to tackle each day, you might as well choose to make it a great one and make enthusiasm a driving force for good in your life. People will love you for it and remember you for it. After all, who doesn’t like to work with enthusiastic people? I know I do. n Bear Grylls is an adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is best known for his television series Born Survivor, known as Man Vs Wild in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Bear spent three years in the SAS and is one of the youngest Britons to climb Mount Everest, doing so at the age of 23. In July 2009, he became the youngest ever Chief Scout at the age of 35.

If you want to read on, we strongly recommend investing in a copy. It’s available from all good bookshops and online retailers, and it could just help you make the changes that you need to introduce in order to turn your life around.

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ACTION

Going Hot Turkey Flying out to a country that is experiencing intense civil unrest wasn’t my idea of a holiday, to be honest. But when your editor encourages you to take advantage of a press trip, you know you have little choice.

BY ALEX WILLMOTT

C

hristian organisation Richmond Holidays runs a resort just outside of the coastal city of Bodrum in Turkey. I’d never heard of Bodrum; in fact, I thought it was a mystical land where characters from The Magic Roundabout spent their long weekends… It wasn’t. The resort, which was almost in the Mediterranean Sea, looked as though it had been hand‐painted by a 17th century artist. Instantly I could see myself spending the week propping up the secluded bar while sipping Turkish wine and eating cold meats. However, that would have made for the worst magazine column ever to be written by human hand. So I thought it would be wise to sign up to some of the Richmond Holiday activities, which included daytrips to Ephesus, boat trips, evening activities and excursions to nearby towns and villages.

A MAN IN HIS TWENTIES GOT ME TO LIE ON MY FRONT AND LATHERED ME UP WITH FOAM BEFORE SCRUBBING ME DOWN LIKE AN OLD DOG WITH FLEAS. The first excursion I threw myself at was a Turkish hamam experience in the city. I envisaged lying on a bed, being softly massaged with oils from Istanbul. I was, in fact, led from a scolding sauna into an ice pool and subsequently into what can only be described as a souped‐up marble playroom.

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A man in his twenties got me to lie on my front and lathered me up with foam before scrubbing me down like an old dog with fleas. It was a strange yet enjoyable experience that left me feeling young again. It did get a little weird when I was painted green as part of the face mask process. As my cheekbones and jaw rolled back the years, I soon found myself sipping fresh orange juice while overlooking Bodrum. I’m not sure if I have ever felt quite that relaxed before. If you’re comfortable with the idea of being treated like a newborn baby for a couple of hours, I can thoroughly recommend a hamam. “Can you sail?” Rob, the Richmond pastor, asked me. “I’m from the Valleys mate; I can barely work a lilo.” This did not deter Rob, who led me onto the catamaran trembling and begging for my life. We started off quite slowly and I felt like a fool for displaying so much fear prior to boarding. But moments later I found that my fear was completely justified. When the words ‘about turn’ are shouted, you have to literally jump across a moving boat. We did this seven times. In between those ‘turns’, I was exposed to some of the most stunning views I have ever experienced. Greece could be seen floating beautifully just a few miles away and mountains sheltered the ports like giants guarding their territory. It was truly magnificent. Will I go sailing again, though? Probably not. I’ll just sit on the beach and watch others as they turn about. At the end of each day in Bodrum, an optional Bible discussion and a time of worship was available. I had never experienced this sort of thing while on holiday overseas, but I’m very glad I did. Richmond Holidays prioritises spiritual rest as much as the physical. And as I read the Bible with holidaymakers who were all sharing one beautiful truth in common, I did indeed feel my soul begin to rest.


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ACTION curls; he proceeded to chop away like a maniac regardless. It was the most terrifying haircut I’ve ever had, but arguably the best. In Turkey, a barber doesn’t just take a bit off the top. Oh no. He burns the hair out of your ears, nose and eyebrows. A nice neck massage also comes with the package, which costs about a third of what a British barber would charge. Ten minutes after my image update, I was consuming a kebab. It was incredible. I had never eaten a kebab at two o’clock in the afternoon before. I’d never experienced that particular meal without the company of drunk students singing, “Why, why, why, Delilah”, in fact. The meat was superb, the pita bread incredible and the salad would have fitted in well amid the greenery of Eden. The holiday would have been incomplete without a dip in the Med, so I took myself away from the others at the resort and made my way down to the beach. It wasn’t that I was afraid of being watched trying to swim, but I know how long it takes me to pluck up the courage to jump into cold water. It’s like watching a newborn bird attempting its first flight. I did it in the end, and as I flapped my way through the waves I saw fish swimming beneath me. You don’t get that in Scarborough! I would have to give Bodrum a strong eight out of ten as a holiday destination. I would give Richmond Holidays a stronger nine out of ten for providing such a brilliant holiday experience. But the man who soaped me up like a dog has to receive the full ten out of ten for actually making me look more human. n

Bodrum itself was about half an hour away from the Richmond resort and I headed out there on the fourth day. I had read that the Turkish unrest was starting to filter towards the coastal regions, so I kept my wits about me. After all, I’m a Valley boy familiar with the occasional scrap. However, the city of Bodrum was about as tense as Winchester on a Sunday afternoon. The shops and restaurants were tucked wonderfully into the edge of the Mediterranean. The marketplace bubbled with excited local traders as the Turkish sun lit up the old streets. I walked for hours, keeping the harbour on my left‐hand side. The only reason I walked this way was to ensure that I could find my way back to the bus station. My sense of direction is as effective as my sense of telepathy. But in all honesty, getting lost in Bodrum isn’t the worst idea one could have. I spotted a quiet bar with chairs out on the sand and verandas pretty much hovering above the waves. A couple of local beers later and I was writing romantic poetry. That may sound strange to you now, but in that moment it just felt right. The local bar owner joyfully enquired what I was writing and I couldn’t let my tough Welsh demeanour fall to the compromise of romance, so I replied with: “I’m a journalist reviewing the city”. I felt bad for stretching the truth with Emre, so I left a generous tip. As I meandered up through Bodrum, I was determined to fulfil two travel ambitions. I wanted to have an authentic Turkish barber go at me like an animal and then devour a doner kebab in its country of origin. The barber didn’t even ask what I wanted doing to my Welsh Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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COLUMNISTS

ANT DELANEY

Diamond Geezer

That fits so well with the Bible story of David, because God saw what nobody saw in him. The last person other people would choose turned out to be God’s first choice for greatness. Who does God choose? And who does God use? This story tells us. A prophet called Samuel was sent to find the new king and what he found was a little squirt; a young ginger‐haired boy who had been left out by his family. He found that God does not judge as people judge. He found that God checks the CV. I don’t mean the Curriculum Vitae. What else does CV stand for? Cardiovascular. “Do not consider his appearance or his height…. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

LOOK AT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. MANY ARE LIKE BLOCKS OF STONE THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN DEVELOPED. We can see how people look, but God sees what they are. God sees the heart, thoughts, intents and desires. Potential! What David’s family never saw, God saw. Michelangelo worked on 44 statues in his life. He only completed 14, of which David and Moses are probably the most famous. There is a museum in Italy where you can see all these unfinished works; the unfulfilled potential of a creative genius. Look at the people around you. Many are like blocks of stone that have not yet been developed. We have so much more God‐given potential waiting to be released. God sees in you what everyone else sees, and he also sees what He put inside you: the potential that is waiting to emerge. n

God and Your CV

T

he sea squirt is a tiny aquatic creature with a very small brain. His job is to find the right kind of rock; a rock that he will latch onto and stay with for the rest of his life. No matter what happens, it will stay there. So the first part of his life is just to find that stone, but what happens next? Well, once it has found its place, the sea squirt no longer has any use for his brain. So he eats it! Do you know any men like that? We strive and struggle to reach a certain point (insert your own idea of ‘the ideal life’ here), where we get stuck and fairly satisfied. So why do we need a brain any more? We drive hard then end up in neutral. We settle, rather than running the risk of being all we can be. Rather than discovering, developing and deploying all the gifts God has placed inside of us, we rule ourselves out, or perhaps other people leave us out. 14

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Michelangelo’s most famous statue is that of David. Seventeen feet tall, David is carved from a single piece of marble; a block that had been left exposed to the elements in a courtyard for 25 years because it was classed as a ‘ruined block’. Another sculptor called Rossellino had cut too deep into the block, so everyone thought it was no good. Michelangelo spent four months just looking at the marble and imagining. One day he said to himself: ‘I see David in there. I must bring him out.’ For four months he saw David in his mind, before he ever took a chisel to the block. Then after three years of sculpting he hid the too‐deep cut under David’s left arm; the one carrying the sling. He literally incorporated the flaw. Have you ever been left out or ruled yourself out for being too young, too old, too late, too big or too small? Well Michelangelo ignored all this. He saw what everybody else saw, and what nobody else saw. The potential!

Author and broadcaster Anthony Delaney regularly features on BBC radio. He is strategic leader of Ivy, a movement of new churches that meets in cinemas, a pub, a warehouse, homes and a church building. His book Diamond Geezers has just been released as an audio book and is available direct from www.ivymanchester.org. Follow him on twitter @anthonydelaney.


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RUNNING HEAD COLUMNISTS

ALEX WILLMOTT

Your Will, Mott Mine

You Just Know exchanges with beautiful strangers. And later, in sixth form, some couples embarked on one‐night events that always ended in subsequent emotional outbursts within the confines of a nightclub weeks later. It wasn’t until university that I heard men talking about women as a concept of longevity. It was no longer fleeting embraces in the schoolyard, nor was it brief sex in a bedsit. I heard men genuinely express their desires to ‘spend time’ with another person. During this stage of my life I had rewritten my priorities. They went something like this:

1 2 3 4

M

y thought space was more often than not taken up by football during the first 17 years of my existence. As a Blackburn Rovers fan from Wales, I’m sure you can imagine that my thoughts were rarely joyful. I remember writing down my priorities in life as a teenager, which went something like this:

1 2 3 4

Playing football Watching football Getting served beer with my fake ID Looking for love

Women were always on the periphery for me growing up. For me, the opposite sex was like London; not an imminent adventure, but somewhere I’d obviously visit eventually. My friends at secondary school spoke about women using short‐time descriptive phrases. It was all about kissing back then; fleeting 16

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Faith Playing Football Red wine Looking for love

But the reality for me was that I’d been born with a stretched imagination. As my graduate friends were out wining and dining their fiancées, I was dreaming up plots for my imaginary friend ‘Slammi’. While my new colleagues were drafting wild proposals for their true loves, I was wondering whether I’d be able to sip lager in heaven. Suffice to say, my mind was always elsewhere. Then last summer I couldn’t stop staring at a young woman at my church. I remember thinking that she was beautiful, she was hot… she was fit. She was looking back at me, clearly thinking: ‘Why is that square‐headed guy staring at me like a psycho?’ I wasn’t too deterred by my first error of holding eye contact for about two minutes too long. In fact, I went for broke and asked her out for a drink. To my utter surprise, she said yes. We spent a few months getting to know each other and I was amazed at the stuff I found out. She was Welsh, loved literature, drank red wine… and enjoyed football! So inevitably we started going out. At first I

spoke about her in immediate terms. I said we were taking each day as it came. I explained that we enjoying each other’s company without planning too far ahead. All the clichés fell from my lips like Valley rain in winter.

THE OPPOSITE SEX WAS LIKE LONDON; NOT AN IMMINENT ADVENTURE, BUT SOMEWHERE I’D OBVIOUSLY VISIT EVENTUALLY. And around Christmastime my terminology began to change. Plans were being made for February. Events were being booked for March. And I started to understand the ancient phrase whispered by those sitting on the right side of love: “You just know”. So a month or two ago I rewrote my priorities, which went something like this:

1 Faith 2 Woman

I was astounded. Not at the fact that a woman had flown to the top two of the list, but that, after her, there didn’t seem any point in writing anything else. Everything after her became a mere passion or interest. There only seemed to be two priorities left in my daily life. So, earlier this week, on the roof of our church in York, I asked this woman to marry me. She said yes. I want to encourage any lads who are wondering whether or not to pop the question to consider their priorities. And if your top two looks similar to mine, I’d advise you to crack on mate. n Alex Willmott penned the epic Selah trilogy. Former newspaper journalist, sports fanatic and local football manager, Alex took a vow to live life to the full after reading the book of John in the Bible aged 16. Visit www.alexwillmott.com for more information. Follow Alex on Twitter: @Alexinboxes.


Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615

Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615

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COLUMNISTS

KATE SHARMA

Compassion

Where the Rhetoric Ends

“T

his is it. This is the global target to end poverty,” announced Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank as he scrawled the figure ‘2030’ on a sheet of paper and held it aloft at a press conference in Washington DC in April. Jim Yong Kim and his team of experts had been discussing how to follow the trail blazed by the Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000, to galvanise a global effort to reduce poverty. The MDGs, as they have become known, ranged from gender equality to eradicating hunger, but the flagship target was to halve extreme poverty – classified as the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day – by 2015. At the time, this seemed to be an overly ambitious target and it was met with a good deal of scepticism. After all, figures from 1990 showed that 43% of the world’s population was classified as living ‘below the poverty line’. But in 2010, five years ahead of schedule, the

World Bank announced that the figure had fallen to 21% of the global population. The target had been met. It’s great news, isn’t it! There’s rarely much to celebrate where poverty is concerned but, for the first time in global history – and this is a BIG statement – an end to extreme poverty is within our grasp. But Jim Yong Kim and his buddies at the finance powwow weren’t patting themselves on the back. They were discussing how to make this next audacious goal a reality.

almost 1.2 million, is at least a thousand times smaller than the Church. Churches are located at the heart of communities, have an intimate knowledge of those they serve and can mobilise networks of diversely experienced volunteers at short notice. Combine the ‘ground force’ of a local church with the financial assistance and expertise of the global Church and you have a powerful force for reaching the remaining 1.2 billion living in poverty. Perhaps, like me, you occasionally get those ‘light bulb moments’ when you realise that God actually knew what he was doing with His Church. The Church is God’s plan to bring hope to the world and our responsibility to take action has never been greater. Imagine the impact we can make if we unite as a global body of believers to combine our talents, influence, gifts and resources to answer God’s call to help the poor. This September, Compassion is urging Christians to step up to the plate and take their responsibility to the poor seriously by sponsoring a child. Your support will help Compassion to work with our church partners to identify and care for children who are at the greatest risk in some of the world’s most marginalised communities. Through our worldwide network of more than 6,200 churches, Compassion is mobilising Christians to ensure that vulnerable children have access to education, healthcare, food and clothing, as well as social, spiritual and emotional support; everything they need to live a poverty‐free life. We can discuss global issues until we are blue in the face, but only action truly brings change. For just 70p a day you can be part of the answer to the greatest issue our generation faces. If you need any better reason to get involved, just read the words of Christ in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” n

FOR JUST 70P A DAY YOU CAN BE PART OF THE ANSWER TO THE GREATEST ISSUE OUR GENERATION FACES. A recent article in The Economist was optimistic about their chances of success, but warned that: “When poverty within a country falls to very low levels, the few remaining poor are the hardest to reach. Now it is a problem of identification, targeting and distribution.” And how can we identify the most vulnerable, support them in a targeted way and ensure that resources are distributed in their direction? Perhaps the answer can be found in the Church. Even the largest global corporation, China Petro Chemical, which has a workforce of

Compassion has been working in partnership with churches across the globe to deliver its one‐to‐one child sponsorship programme for more than 60 years. Currently, more than 1.4 million children attend Compassion’s church‐ based projects in 26 countries. To sponsor a child visit www.compassionuk.org.

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CULTURE

MOVIES

With Martin Leggatt

The Inside Track Rush When I was a child growing up in the seventies, the world of motor sport was an arena of playboys, aristocrats and daredevils. One man who pretty much ticked all three boxes was the legendary James Hunt. Hunt’s name was synonymous with devil‐may‐care race driving and off‐ the‐track partying. He did both to excess but, in mitigation, extremely well with a style and panache that has never since been matched. During the 1976 Formula One World Championship, Hunt went head to head with his main rival, the ice‐cool German Nikki Lauder. 20

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Lauder was the antithesis of Hunt: teetotal, utterly professional and super fit. He was pretty much the prototype of the modern race driver, while Hunt seemingly espoused the old world of the public school educated gentleman and amateur racer. However, his hard partying and hedonistic exterior belied a fierce professionalism that had seen ‘Hunt the Shunt’ rise from Formula Three to a position in which he was a serious contender to become the King of Formula One. This biopic seeks to recreate the fierce contest between these two racers over the course of the ’76 season; a season in which Lauder would cheat almost certain death.

Chris Hemsworth puts in a good performance as Hunt that stretches beyond simply having the right hairstyle, with Daniel Brühl becoming a convincing Lauder in this spectacular Ron Howard film that really captures the tension and excitement of the halcyon years of motor racing. This film goes some way to recapturing the thrill and danger of the sport in its heyday. It would be unfair to compare it to the excellent Senna, which set the standard for documentary feature films, but I would go so far as to say that it is better than the classic Grand Prix starring James Garner.

JJJJJ A roaring success that’s not just for petrol heads


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CULTURE

Machete Kills This is the second instalment in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete trilogy, and it feels really wrong to suggest that a film that was spawned from a fictional trailer within a film (Grindhouse) could have been intended as a preconceived trilogy.

The excellent Danny Trejo reprises his role as the Mexican vigilante alongside most of the cast from the first movie minus Lindsay Lohan, with a starring role for Charlie Sheen (credited under his birth name Carlos Estevez) as the US President. In this latest instalment, Machete is recruited by the US government to

track down evil arms dealer Luther Voz (Mel Gibson), who is about to launch a missile into space in order to start a world war. If I wanted to start an insurrection in Mexico, I’d hire a heavily tattooed and indestructible one‐man army! The pace of the film is fast and action‐packed (mirroring the 28 days it took to film), with plenty of trademark Rodriguez action ‘slowmos’. The cast is really superb with Rodriguez stalwart Antonio Banderas reprising his Spy Kids role of Gregorio Cortez, joined by Sofía Vergara, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Zoe Saldana, Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr, Alexa Vega, William Sadler and Lady Gaga. I really like all of Rodriguez’s work – even Once Upon a Time in Mexico – and fans will recognise many crossovers between characters and films from his back catalogue in this adventure.

films that has a deep resonance for any parent: how many of us could honestly say we would stop at nothing to protect our children? I would liken

it to watching Mystic River on a boys’ film night. We all appreciated it as a very well‐made film, but could only sit in silence afterwards.

Millionaire widower Raymond (David Niven, who is as excellent as ever) and his daughter Cecile (Jean Seberg) live a life of louche hedonism, moving from Paris to their idyllic Riviera retreat where they spend their vacations. Raymond and Cecile have an almost incestuous relationship and Cecile has a mild Oedipus complex. Their normal life is thrown into disarray when Anne (Deborah Kerr), an old friend of Raymond’s wife

arrives on the scene. Within a few days, Raymond’s girlfriend Elsa (Mylène Demongeot) is ousted from his affections as he, fully smitten, proposes to Anne. Horror‐stricken, both Cecile and Elsa form an alliance to oust Anne from his affections. Some of the plot and dialogue may seem a little dated as it is very much a product of its time, especially when dealing with the relationship between Raymond and Cecile. But it remains a beautiful piece of cinema and an outstanding example of Preminger’s sublime directorial skills.

JJJJJ Top tongue-in-

cheek fun from Rodriguez

Prisoners Hugh Jackman stars as Keller Dover in this intelligent film about a father who decides to take the law into his own hands when local law enforcement officer Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) fails him. After his six‐ year‐old daughter and her best friend disappear, the evidence appears to point Alex Jones, a local man who is released by the police. He takes matters into his own hands, kidnaps Jones and begins to torture him into divulging the whereabouts of the missing girls. However, the further he goes in his desperate quest to find his daughter, the more he loses a little of himself. This is one of those very challenging

Bonjour Tristesse This Otto Preminger classic from 1958 is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to a digital restoration and limited release by the wonderful people at Park Circus. In a fantastic adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s novel, the story is cleverly contrasted through the alternation of black and white and colour to illustrate the present and past, and also to reflect the mood of the film.

Martin Leggatt is married to Sue and father to Aaron, Sam, Hope and Paige. He’s a self‐ confessed movie geek, although his tastes run to an eclectic assortment of action, thriller, black and white, war and pretentious (as Sue would say) art house films. Martin’s favourite film is Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death.

JJJJJ Well made and very challenging

JJJJJ A beautifully crafted classic

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CULTURE

TELEVISION With Emily Russell

That Community Feeling

“I

discovered at a very early age that if I talked long enough, I could make anything right or wrong. So either I’m God, or truth is relative” (Jeff Winger, Community). A cult sitcom beloved by critics and audiences alike, Community has also become famous for the rocky action taking place behind the scenes. Creator Dan Harmon and actor Chevy Chase had a very public feud, and Harmon was at one point let go by the production team, although he was later brought back on board. Then Chase spoke negatively about the show and wasn’t featured in any season four episodes. Community is set in the strange world of Greendale Community College. It focuses on a study group of oddballs: suspended lawyer Jeff (Joel McHale), who is mainly interested in coasting through as easily as possible; self‐righteous Britta (Gillian Jacobs); gossipy Christian mum Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown); highly strung Annie (Alison Brie); former jock Troy (Donald Glover); pop culture‐ obsessed Abed (Danny Pudi); and the older, self‐important Pierce (Chevy Chase). While studying for classes and naturally beginning to change for the better together, the group deals with a wide range of strange situations; everything from a zombie outbreak to paintball wars.

FOR ALL ITS CLEVER FUN, COMMUNITY HAS A DEFT WAY OF PRESENTING TRUTH, TOO. That’s the bare bones of it, as Community is difficult to classify. It has the structure of a sitcom, where a group of very different personalities are initially forced to spend time together, and they grow as people because of it. But there’s also a great deal of metatextual humour. For example, Abed knows the rules of television so well that he’s able to predict what people will do and say in certain situations. It’s a show that comments on the

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character types it uses and the sitcom genre itself, and its fast and furious dialogue is performed by one of the funniest casts on television. But it’s not just about the laughs and weirdness. For all its clever fun, Community has a deft way of presenting truth, too, and the characters often voice piercing insights. The characters themselves aren’t always entirely likeable; they are flawed, oddly real and relatable. We get to see them change, both willingly and subconsciously, thanks to the unlikely friendships that spring up among the group. We also see them behave selfishly and pettily – they’re all very human after all. And yet they’re still able to be friends, helping and sticking up for each other, and finding comfort and fun in spending time together as well as some frustration and pain. Troy tells a discontented Jeff, who is

always hoping to get his old job back, that: “I don’t know about you, but I know I ended up here because things weren’t that great out there. You should try accepting where you’re at.” Finding your place in life is important, even if that place is a weird community college, where you socialise and connect with people you never expected to have anything in common with in the first place. Community airs regularly on Sony Entertainment Television. The first two series are available on DVD and the third series is due to be released on DVD at the end of September. n Emily Russell has a degree in Media and Film Studies and works part‐time for the University of Southampton. She wrote Culturewatch articles for the Damaris Trust website for eight years and watches far too much science‐fiction and fantasy, crime shows and wrestling. She is married to Anthony. Her film articles can be read at emilyrussellwrites.wordpress.com.


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CULTURE

GAMING With Jim Lockey

The Last of Us (PS3)

I

t feels futile, even hubristic, to attempt to describe The Last of Us in this short column. I also wonder what can be said about it that hasn’t already been expressed. The Last of Us is without question the most accomplished game among Sony’s many exclusive titles and deserves a place on any shortlist of the greatest games of the generation. Its visuals are a natural step up from what Naughty Dog previously achieved with the likewise beautiful Uncharted trilogy, with the lighting and design of the world and its inhabitants deserving special mention.

GAMES HAVE RARELY, IF EVER, DISCUSSED THE THEMES OF LIFE AND DEATH IN SUCH AN UNCOMPROMISING, GROWN-UP AND ARRESTING FASHION. Seeing as the game has been out for a few months, and considering the rapturous acclaim it has garnered from the press and fans alike, let’s take it as read that the graphical, gameplay and other ‘gamey’ elements of The Last of Us are top notch. The Last of Us has a specific story to tell, and it does so unwaveringly and unflinchingly, with a blatant disregard for what

conventional wisdom says games can do and say. I believe that The Last of Us’ greatest achievement lies in its evocation of atmosphere, its story and its thematic consistency. Like a great novel, much of The Last of Us is told through details in the world, rather than by events in the plot. And like a great poem, things that on first play seem to be propositional of a theme become like symbols of the theme once you move on to new game plus and multiplayer. These thematic details point to wider a discussion and a greater argument the more time you spend with the game. It is as close a neighbour of literature, as it is of other games. The Last of Us is particularly close to Cormac McCarthy’s writing style in terms of theme and tone, and was clearly inspired by his work. However, it is more than an imitation. Sony’s game follows the characters of Joel and Ellie as they journey across a post‐apocalyptic America, which is populated by survivor gangs and eerie, half‐human, cordyceps‐ infected monsters. I cannot get into specifics of the story because I don’t want to spoil the game, but The Last of Us immerses the player in a world where there are no heroes, no moral absolutes and no ways of determining the difference between the just and the fallen. There is something of the Bible book of Ecclesiastes in The Last of Us, in that suffering comes to both the just and the unjust, the wise and the foolish, and it is often impossible to

distinguish between the two. What value has life? What does it mean to be human? What does it mean for life to have purpose? These are just some of the questions The Last of Us places before us. And we’re talking about a video game here, not a Pulitzer Prize‐winning novel, nor scripture, but a video game! Games have rarely, if ever, discussed the themes of life and death in such an uncompromising, grown‐up and arresting fashion. One of the ways The Last of Us achieves this feat is that it makes the person with the controls feel the waste of life in every death that occurs in the game. Whether it be a character passing away in a cut scene, the tale of a group of survivors falling to infection told through scrawled notes found in the world, or the death of another survivor killed by the player in order to survive; each time it’s horrible and every time there is a sense of loss and pointlessness. If you come to The Last of Us looking for a fun bit of timewasting then look elsewhere. Like the best books, films and TV, this game has more to offer and more to say, and why shouldn’t a game be able to say it? n Jim is a lifelong gamer and lives in Kent with his wife and children. He is also an artist and curator. His website is www.jimlockey.co.uk and his PSN name is tearfulminotaur.

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CULTURE

DVD & BLU RAY With Martin Leggatt

Behind the Candelabra

Moviestore Collection/Rex Features

Wall Street

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Taking the Michael

W

ith a famous surname, a movie career spanning more than 40 years, a vast personal fortune and a long‐standing marriage to Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas seems to have it all. Fresh from his huge success in a career‐ revitalising role as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra – a role that saw a great departure from his whole career of playing powerful businessmen, presidents and womanisers – his star is again on the rise. However, a few years ago things looked very bleak for Michael when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, which threatened his voice (and career) at best, and his life at worse. To bounce back from such a serious medical condition and just sit back and enjoy life would be a temptation that few of us could resist, but Michael threw himself back into his work in dramatic fashion. The role of Liberace seems far removed from the previous roles the actor has played, which include Gordon Gekko (Wall Street), Jack Colton (Romancing the Stone), William Foster (Falling Down) and President Andrew Shepherd (The American President); all powerful alpha males to varying degrees. However, he truly excels in this new role. In fact, I think it will be a Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

travesty if either he or co‐star Matt Damon fail to secure an Oscar in this biopic of one of the greatest live entertainers of the twentieth century. It all started out very differently for a young Michael Douglas who, despite being the son of the world‐ famous Kirk Douglas (or perhaps in spite of this), struggled to establish himself in his chosen career. His breakthrough came on the small screen in excellent, long‐running police series The Streets of San Francisco, in which he played young Detective Steve Keller.

HE WAS SUDDENLY CAST AS CHARACTERS THAT WERE IN TENSE CONFLICT WITH WOMEN. This role centred on his on and off screen relationship with veteran actor Karl Malden, who was his mentor in real life, as well as his co‐star. Much of the success and longevity of this highly popular series was due in no part to the relationship between the two characters. It’s not surprising that big screen breakthrough followed soon after, and my first selected recommendation is 1978 film The China Syndrome, in which he co‐

starred with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon to play news cameraman Richard Adams, who inadvertently films a near catastrophe in a nuclear power plant. As the plot to cover up this disaster and suppress the potential hazards develops, the extent of the conspiracy to reach the dizzying heights of power is revealed. This film builds on the paranoia and conspiracy elements that were prevalent during the post‐ Watergate seventies and the result is a taut and relatively unpredictable, fast‐paced thriller. For my next film I’ll jump forward to the eighties, and to perhaps one his most successful roles as Jack T Colton in Romancing the Stone. In this romantic comedy he plays an opportunistic adventurer hunting down exotic parrots to sell for profit. He collides, quite literally, with Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), who has travelled to Colombia to rescue her kidnapped sister. The film expands on the Indiana Jones‐type character that had just broken onto the scene, the result being far from a lazy rip‐ off, it is actually a highly entertaining adventure yarn. The most enjoyable parts of the plot involve the razor sharp exchanges of dialogue between not only Douglas and Turner, but Douglas and sharp‐talking New Yorker Ralph (Danny DeVito). The film was a highly enjoyable commercial success, and it was perhaps inevitable that it would spawn a very hasty sequel the following year with The Jewel of the

Romancing the Stone

Falling Down

The American President

The Streets of San Francisco


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CULTURE Nile. Despite being a relatively good film, it really fails to capture the magic of the original. What do the words ‘bunny boiler’ conjure up? Well, that very popular euphemism for a female stalker is entirely due to the well‐made and popular Fatal Attraction, in which Douglas plays a man who, having embarked on an extramarital affair, decides to ditch his lover and return to his wife. Douglas plays the philandering Dan Gallagher, who feels the particularly unique and vengeful scorn of Alex Forrest (Glenn Close). All I can say is, poor bunny. Fatal Attraction heralded in a new phase in Douglas’s career, where he was suddenly cast as characters that were in tense conflict with women. A fine example is the infamous but still very good Basic Instinct, in which he played Detective Nick Curran, a man under investigation by internal affairs and experiencing problems with alcohol and women. Perhaps not the best cop to assign to investigate is Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone), a manipulative and complex character to put it mildly. Douglas followed this with a poor adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Disclosure as computer company executive Tom Sanders, who fights against a wrongful charge of sexual harassment from fellow executive

Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore), only to discover that he may inadvertently have been harassing other colleagues.

ONE OF THE BEST FILMS MADE ABOUT ALL THAT WAS BAD IN THE ‘ME FIRST, LOADS OF MONEY’ CULTURE OF THE EIGHTIES. Sandwiched between these is perhaps his best ever performance as William Foster in Falling Down; it’s certainly my favourite Michael Douglas performance. William is having a very bad day, which, as it progresses, goes from bad to worse and ultimately has tragic consequences. The film charts his unfolding breakdown as he abandons his car in rush hour and walks home across LA, encountering gang violence, a crazy golf course shooting scene, a bizarre encounter with neo‐Nazi surplus store owner Nick (Frederic Forrest in amazing form) and a classic confrontation in a burger franchise. All through this he is doggedly

pursued by downtrodden cop Prendergast (Robert Duvall) on his last day before retirement. The story cleverly parallels both Will and Prendergast’s stories as one follows the other’s trail of mayhem. It seems Will is intent on delivering a birthday present to his daughter at his estranged marital home, while Prendergast is enjoying a surge of energy on his final day of work, having decided to retire to appease his controlling and overbearing wife. The two stories finally converge and the characters collide. As I’ve said, this is by far my favourite Michael Douglas appearance, and it is a performance that was worthy of an Oscar nomination at the very least, which brings me rather neatly on to his Oscar‐winning performance in Wall Street. At the height of eighties excesses, Wall Street tells the story of uber‐ capitalist Gordon Gekko (Douglas) with his ‘greed… is good’ mantra and his exploitative relationship with eager protégé Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen when he could still act). It won Douglas a very well‐deserved Best Actor Oscar as the ruthless and insatiable corporate raider and still remains to this day one of the best films made about all that was bad in the ‘me first, loads of money’ culture of the eighties. n

The China Syndrome

Fatal Attraction

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CULTURE

BOOKS

With Mark Anderson

The Yes/No Book: How to Do Less… and Achieve More Michael Clayton Doing less and achieving more? Surely not! Well, according to Clayton, this can be achieved! I’ve never been one for self‐help books, but this is a gem. Michael highlights the majority of people’s everyday problems with great solutions. If you have trouble balancing your life, this book could be right up your street.

Say “Yes!” to the Yes/No book.

JJJJJ

Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World

Get Yourself Booked In! Race2Recovery: Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary by Stephanie Temple (foreword by Richard Hammond) Stories of courage and valour are my weakness. I am in complete awe of those who are somehow disadvantaged and come out on top, outshining those around them. Race2Recovery is no different. This real‐life story is about a group of injured servicemen who became the first team ever with disabilities to attempt and finish the world‐famous I loved every fascinating Dakar Rally. page turn. If four vehicles, 28 men and 5,500 JJJJJ miles of endless sand dunes in South America don’t draw you in, I don’t know what will. An appetite for cars is not needed; Haynes produced this book in the hope that readers will buy it on its own merit. The photographs are simply amazing, and the heartbreaking stories of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and loss of limbs are outshone by the performance of the team and their sheer will and determination to get them across the finish line. The team appeared on BBC 2’s Top Gear, which created a good bit of interest for their cause in Dakar, although it was not intended to be a recruitment drive. The Race2Recovery team is made up of volunteers from all walks of life, and with that came various challenges. Somehow they overcame all of these, and this book is great testament to their fearless feat. One more plus about Race2Recovery is that when you purchase this book, £2 will be donated to Help for Heroes. If you can, buy one for yourself and one for a brother, father or friend, as it would make a great present and all for a worthy cause.

Mark was born in Belfast and developed a book and football obsession at a young age. He and wife Lisa belong to Fishgate, a church plant in Newtownabbey. Read Mark’s musings at overtakenheart.blogspot.co.uk.

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Mark Miodownik The world is made up of ‘stuff’, simple. Well, not so fast. Stuff Matters explores the unique properties of ten substances that have changed our world forever, ranging from steel to plastic and even chocolate. Deliciously modest, yet intriguingly intelligent, you will start to see everything in a different light. Mark sophistically draws the reader in, and you will find yourself raising your eyebrows with amazement at the world around you.

Stuff definitely matters.

JJJJJ

Spartacus: Rebellion Ben Kane Everyone should know who Spartacus is. No, not Kurt Douglas with a dodgy haircut from the 1950s; the gladiator who led a slave rebellion against the might of Rome. The writing in Ben’s sequel is fast‐paced with powerful monologues revealing pain, suffering and the horror of up‐ close‐and‐personal war. You may already know the ending, but give this one a read.

Blood, guts and snotters.

JJJJJ

Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy Christopher Duggan World War II anniversaries are popping up everywhere. Sometimes we should take time out to research about how evil people took, or were voted into, positions of power, leading countries into despair under the guise of honour. In this shockingly enjoyable account, Christopher Duggan takes us through the history of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy with great detail and analysis.

School may be out for summer, but this is one book you won’t roll your eyes at.

JJJJJ


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CULTURE

MUSIC

Samuel Lane The Fire

With Sue Rinaldi

Daft Punk Random Access Memories

In With the New and Back In with the Old

Atmospheric, impassioned and layered with equal slices of acoustic energy and contemporary folk nuances, this debut solo album from songwriter‐worship leader Samuel Lane is exceptional. Lane is clearly singing from the heart, whether voicing a desire for the presence of God in “Fiery Love” or unravelling what it is to follow Jesus in “Take Me With You” and “Lead Me Home”. Each song rises and falls with the kind of musical dynamic that attracts your attention and carries you along.

Rend Collective Experiment Campfire

Daft Punk Random Access Memories Imagine sunshine as a groove and blue sky as a warming melody, and pretty soon you get the feel of Daft Punk’s first album release in eight years. There is little speculation about the French electronic duo suffering idea drought during that time; they’ve spent it touring, producing, contributing to film soundtracks and lending their name to major brands. The album title may provide insight into the raison d’etre behind this long‐awaited release. Accessing early memories of disco, funk and lounge‐style rock and reinventing them with a futuristic twist of energy and enchantment is establishing Daft Punk as a musical force to be danced to, among a millennial generation of clubbers with no previous recollection of their stature or influence. To young ears, these floor‐filling, gadget‐guzzling songs are pure genius; all smiles and sonic shifts. Big hitter “Lucky You” is a slam‐dunk for bright ‘n’ breezy disco, with a mesmerising chorus that has sung itself into the top ten in more than 28 countries, while “Lose Yourself to Dance” sustains the disco fever with obligatory handclaps and stereophonic robots. Experimental excursions into soul and jazz, an impressive prog‐synth overload in “Contact” and diverse collaborations combine to achieve a runaway success for these electronic pioneers.

Rend Collective Experiment Campfire

Storming Ballyholme Beach in Northern Ireland, these party people have some serious celebration on their minds. Campfire is live and intimate, and Rend Collective’s folk‐ rock, image‐rich songs overflow with winning authenticity. They love community, believe church shouldn’t be hidden behind walls and write songs that are ear‐ tickingly contagious! “Come On (My Soul)” is an impossible invitation to decline, “Build Your Kingdom” identifies holy ambition and “You Bled” kindles enough wonder to light up the night sky.

Rod Stewart Time

Samuel Lane The Fire

Rod Stewart Time

The ‘over‐65‐and‐still‐singing’ club can be a tricky one to be a part of and many artists have failed to hang up their microphones at the right time and call it a ‘take’. However, the voice behind landmark hits “Maggie May” and “Sailing” has managed to stay at the top of his game. Football enthusiast, model railway collector and thyroid cancer survivor Stewart has written 11 of the 12 tracks on his latest studio album and sounds as credible as ever. Yes, Rod, you wear it well. n Sue Rinaldi travels internationally as a concert artist, worship co‐ordinator, speaker and creative consultant. A self‐confessed info junkie and movie enthusiast, her interest in culture, justice, technology and the future fuels her living and writing (www.suerinaldi.net).


Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615

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LIFESTYLE

SAM BURNETT

Cars

CARS Cheaper Thrills Do you have to spend astronomical amounts of money on fancy fast cars to have fun? Sam Burnett takes the road less travelled

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here’s this common misconception that horsepower and torque are the way to driving heaven, but that’s looking at the world through rose‐tinted specs. It’s not just average speed cameras that mean high speeds are a pointless promise of mirth to come. Sartre said that hell

is other people, and I can only imagine that he came up with this thought while stuck at 40mph behind an Austin Maestro on a British country road. Humourless, functional drivers take the fun out of the whole experience for everyone, more so than the faceless Whitehall bureaucrats who take the tube everywhere. So we’ve come up with some cars that are fun

at almost any speed; cars that put the theatre back into your driving and that make the whole experience that little bit more mirthsome than it might otherwise be. We don’t want to put too much pressure on their narrow‐shouldered tyres, but as we face increasing strictures on the simple pleasures of motoring, these cars might just be the way forward. f Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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LIFESTYLE

MAZDA MX5 The Mazda MX5 could be the most overrated car on the whole planet… at least, it is until you drive one and then you suddenly realise why all those insufferable people who go on about them all the time go on about them all the time. The MX5 has consistently flown in the face of all the received motoring wisdom that insists you need fatter, taller, wider, stickier tyres and louder, thirstier, torquier, more powerful engines. It’s quite the opposite. The tyres are skinny and anaemic, and the engine barely has enough energy to get itself out of bed in the morning. journalists (the last word on such matters, obviously) what they drive, and a conservative 70% will tell you they punt about in an MX5.

What Mazda did, though, was sneakily recreate a 1960s roadster of the sort Lotus used to come up with, taking on founder Colin Chapman’s ‘just add lightness’ philosophy and reinterpreting it for the 1980s. I say reinterpreting; its makers just had to add lightness, so there’s not much that could go wrong there. And what with it being a Japanese car, there really isn’t much that could go wrong. British sports cars fall apart if you look at them funny, while their

slightly dull Japanese competitors go on and on. Mazda struck it a bit lucky by creating a bulletproof car with a bit of personality. Ask most motoring

CATERHAM ROADSTER Caterham’s Roadster is another, more direct, homage to Lotus, that pioneering and plucky British effort of a bygone era. Its Seven came in kit or factory-assembled form and set impossible benchmarks for proper cars to match. Even 50 years later, with minimal mod cons and minor improvements, nothing mass-produced can really get close to a Caterham. The most compelling thing about this car is that second-hand prices begin at around £15,000; half the price of that sports car you wanted and about the same price as the shopping trolley you’re probably going to end up with. You can pay more ridiculous money for the offensively quick R500 versions, but I’m still unconvinced that 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds doesn’t cause brain damage. Get yourself an entry-level Roadsport version with a gasping Vauxhall engine in it and you’re really entering into the spirit of things.

It’s a purist, open-topped experience with unparalleled feedback through the wheel, a connection to the road that you rarely experience these days and an endearing character that most designers would kill to have for their own creations. It’s just a shame you have to look like such a girl while you’re driving one.

Caterham sells its little Roadster in kit form, which, if you’re handy with a spanner, adds an extra little frisson once you’ve got everything assembled and can go trundling about the place in a vehicle of your own… well, not creation, but your own ridiculous amount of screwdrivering. I can’t put a sandwich together without it falling apart, so skittering about in a car that I’ve put miserably together in my own back garden fills me with a special sort of terror. It’s far better to leave it to the professionals; that breed of British blokes in dark blue, oil-smeared overalls. I managed to get my hands on a Caterham for a wonderful weekend last summer, and it was one of the best driving experiences of my short, yet action-packed, life. I ached for days afterwards, such was the physicality of the experience. Admittedly, the wet weather kit is a pain to get on, and it’s undignified getting in and out once it’s fitted (like trying to get a goat into a post box), but there are few things so pure, so theatrical and so accessible.


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LIFESTYLE

DACIA SANDERO Dacia is the Romanian brand bought up by Renault back in 1999, well before the phrase ‘doing a Skoda’ ever came into use. Actually, no one really uses it, but Volkswagen’s turnaround of what was once a complete laughing stock is still nothing short of a miracle. And yet, while VW sought to move Skoda upmarket, Renault has completely embraced Dacia’s budget heritage, sharing existing platforms with the company and producing new cars with minimal effort and at the lowest cost. You might think this would be a recipe for disaster, but as it turns out, the cheapest car on the road is also one of the most fun. It’s not because of any particular ability on the Sandero’s part, but because of the joyous freedom that comes from owning a cheap wagon with nothing special to fall off. Own a £5,995 car and it’s like having your own on-call rental number to use and abuse. There’s something rather charming about its steel wheels and black plastic bumpers, even if it has the air of a hard-living runabout that’s ten years younger than it looks. It has a beguiling lack of pretence about it; Dacia won’t even give you a radio until you start moving up the range and you can forget about air-conditioning for a little while. With its basic steering and suspension and its

skinny tyres, the Sandero has no particular sophistication about it, but it’s light enough to be thrown around and solidly engineered to take a beating. It used to be that if you went for an extreme budget car you would basically get what you paid for. I drove a Proton Satria Neo a few years back and cut my finger trying to move the seat forward. The Sandero brings a distinct air of self-respect and decent quality to the sector.

TOYOTA HILUX Perhaps a pickup truck is an odd inclusion, and especially such an expensive one (other brands of massive pickup truck are also available), but the Hilux is the daddy of everything. This is not least because, as Top Gear showed, it is virtually indestructible, but also because of the huge levels of driving fun it can induce at ridiculously low speeds. There’s definitely some science involved. In order to cope with massive amounts of weight in its load bay, the Hilux is very stiffly sprung. Obviously it shows admirable restraint when carrying half a house on its back, but drive around empty and the rear end skips around like a four-year-old girl in a field full of daisies. This stiff suspension equates to miserly amounts of rear traction (the front end is normal as there isn’t a great deal of variance in the forces going through there), especially in the wet. You could quite easily find yourself drifting across a roundabout at 15mph; it’s magic. I also love it for the thought that’s gone into a car designed for people like the UN and terrorists. It’s intended to work across a massive range of conditions. The version I drove had this nifty

button on the dashboard so you could rev the engine at a steadier lick to warm everything up quicker, as well as standard refinements such as the locking diff. This is useful if you’re a Siberian ice cube farmer but, as with a Land Rover or a Ferrari, there’s a certain amount of satisfaction to be had, not from showing what the car can do, but rather knowing what it can do. It’s an automotive version of that ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ thing. No nineyear-old ever gets to the point of arranging an all-

in wrestling competition in the school hall. OK, perhaps aside from the 3.0-litre diesel engine that gets around 30mpg and the tax disc that’ll make your eyes water, the Hilux is all the car you’ll ever need. Perhaps the greatest driver of his generation, Sam Burnett is a London‐based motoring writer, wit and conversationalist. He has previously worked in politics and the third sector, but definitely prefers flying around the world and testing cars. In his spare time he blogs, tweets and does other faddish things before losing interest.

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Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615

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LIFESTYLE

SIX OF THE BEST Playing with Fire

Can you believe we’re talking about Bonfire Night already? Well we really want you to get hold of the best snaps, crackles and pops (we’re taking fireworks, not Coco Pops) out there, so we’ve ‘fused’ together our top six. These little beauties will really put the bang in your bangers and the spark in your sparklers, so get ready to light up the sky!

2 Thunderous Finale

1 Gold Willow This little gem has nothing whatsoever to do with the reluctant dwarf that appears in the eighties classic of that name. In fact, it’s a firework of truly epic proportions, releasing nine blocks of five high-powered shots at a time, littering the sky with a cascade of slow-falling golden stars. Just make sure there are no evil, baby-stealing queens present.

This is the one to save for last: a display that would make even Gandalf’s eyes water. It lasts around 60 seconds and launches 80 shots – four at a time – into the air. These shots break into huge coloured palms like exploding shells to a background symphony of electrifying crackles.

RRP £129.99 (Epic price £64.95)

RRP £79.99 (Epic price £39.95)

5 Momentum

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This amazingly timed piece of sky art offers golden red palms that explode with blue stars and falling strands of red and white glitter, five shots at a time. It’s sure to get things moving along nicely.

Angels vs Demons

RRP £99.99 (Epic price £49.95)

RRP £159.99 (Epic price £79.95)

Predator 500 The Predator isn’t likely to start feeding on you, but it will certainly hold your attention. With a fast-firing array of effects including peonies, bangs, crackles, whistles and an intense finale of large glitter storms, this little beast is a real family favourite.

RRP £129.99 (Epic price £64.95)

You may not have read the book, but this little gem is a work of art in its own right. If spinning golden dragon tails and large brocades with slow-falling golden glitter appeal, you’re in for a treat here. Everyone will get right into the spirit of things if you book this funky firework as part of your display.

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6 Smiley Face Rocket Your adoring crowd will mirror this extraordinary firework when it hits the sky. The purple ring of twin stars surrounding two large green eyes and a red starred smile will evoke happy faces all round. Emoticons will never hold the same charm again, and costing less than £15 it offers a pretty cheap laugh.

RRP £29.99 (Epic price £14.95) All these fireworks and many more are available from Epic Fireworks epicfireworks.com

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LIFESTYLE

TOP GEAR

The greatest gear, gadgets and gizmos we could find

Sorted. TOP BUY

Scruffs Eco Pet Bed

FitBit Flex This clever, integrated accelerometer keeps track of your activity and allows you to log in food goals, calories burned and sheep counted (well, hours slept at least) all in one sleek, stylish, waterproof wristband. Using Bluetooth 4.0, the Fitbit Flex will automatically synch with the iPhone or Android app to help you monitor all of your vital statistics and provide advice and encouragement 24/7.

The Scruffs Eco Donut Dog Bed is the perfect way to do your bit for the environment. Made entirely from recycled materials (both the bed and the cover), the eco dog bed features an extremely soft fleece cover, which is made from re-engineered PET. So now you can provide for your pooch the Eco way!

RRP from £24.99 www.petlovescruffs.com

RRP £79.99 www.firebox.com

Polaris Quantum Jacket As seen on The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge for Children in Need, you won’t be missed in this super-bright, lined cycle jacket made from Hydrovent fabric, a fully waterproof and breathable material. With a rollaway adjustable hood, waterproof front zip and chest pocket, underarm ventilation zips and rear zipped pocket, all you’ll need is a pair of sunglasses to cope with the glare! Also available in black.

RRP £89.99 www.amazon.co.uk

Parrot Minikit Neo At last a portable hands-free kit that enables the driver to accept and reject calls, as well as to send and receive texts and emails vocally. A dedicated app also provides a range of services for the driver, such as vocal alerts to ensure that recommended breaks are taken on long journeys. Don’t leave home without it.

RRP £69.99 www.parrot.com/uk

Sorted. TOP BUY

Kit Emergency Charger Running out of battery always seems to happen at the worst possible times, but with this compact, powerful emergency charger you can rest assured that you’ll never be caught short again. Not only does it have built-in cables, but once fully charged after six hours, it has a massive 780-hour standby time and its micro USB and 30-pin Apple connector can be used simultaneously, so there’s no need to wait when you have two phones to charge.

RRP: £49.99 www.totallygadgets.co.uk 34

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LIFESTYLE

Bacon Toothpaste Heralding a new era in oral hygiene, this revolutionary toothpaste is the ideal way to keep teeth and gums healthy while coating your cakehole with the uniquely mouthwatering flavour of smoky bacon. It makes your breath bacon fresh. No, really! It’s the perfect gift for the baconologist who has it all. That’ll do, pig!

RRP £5.99 www.firebox.com

Sorted. TOP BUY BeepEgg There’s nothing like a nice boiled egg, especially if it’s cooked just the way you like it. Unfortunately, most egg timers are just not entertaining enough to make it into the average chooky-egg-loving gadgetmeister’s kitchen. Enter, with a tuneful flourish, the BeepEgg. If you want soft eggs, remove them from the pan when you hear “Killing Me Softly”. For medium, it’ll be the disco revival of “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”, and for hardboiled, you’ll hear “The Final Countdown”!

RRP £19.99 www.firebox.com

Instant Regret Hot Sauce Made using extract measuring an eye-watering 12 million SHU on the Scoville scale, this is for people with truly tough taste buds. Treat your meat to some serious heat with this tasty, yet terrifying, Instant Regret Hot Sauce. Seriously, it’s monstrously hot. We almost feel bad for the wings, ribs and steaks that will be subjected to it.

MacWet Gloves We’re talking ‘all grip, no slip’, technologically advanced gloves that have become a global sensation here. They are already very well known in the sporting world and are currently being used for 35 different sports. including equestrian, golf, shooting and water sports. With a pair of these beauties you won’t lose your grip whatever the activity.

RRP £9.99 www.firebox.com

Sorted. TOP BUY

RRP £29.99 www.macwet.com

Mighty Mug This new mug is the brainchild of a US-based team of inventors who, having experienced various keyboard tragedies, created a coffee cup that can’t be knocked over and yet can be lifted effortlessly without the need for any gimmicky buttons or levers.

RRP £20 www.onlinekitchenware.co.uk Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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LIFESTYLE

PETER HORNE

60 Second Life Coach

Let the Music Play On

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s I write this column, the spectacle of Glastonbury is about to unfold with a plethora of players from every part of the musical spectrum. This year’s interesting choice to top the bill on Saturday night was the Rolling Stones; veteran rockers who have spanned six decades of popular music and show no signs of giving up yet. While it seems somewhat strange to be singing songs of teenage angst when most of the band members are in their seventies, you have to admire the fact that they are still pursuing their lifelong love of music at such an advanced age. Clearly the guys read the headlines from earlier this year, which suggested that retirement is bad for your health. Professor Ellen Langer sheds some light on this topic. Check out her excellent book Counterclockwise, in which she entertains the idea that we can all do much more than we think, even when we’re well past retirement age. For Langer, the trick is to give your attention to possibilities rather than to accept limitations that don’t necessarily have to apply. I, for one, have no intention of retiring. As I get older I simply plan to shift more and

more of my activities toward the things that I love doing and from which I have enough skill to at least derive a small amount of income.

MUSIC MAY HELP TO CULTIVATE INGENUITY, A USEFUL QUALITY IN TODAY’S ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGING WORLD. Which brings me back to the subject of music making, one of my great passions. According to New Scientist, music can benefit us beyond the notes themselves. The magazine reported that music may help to cultivate ingenuity, a useful quality in today’s economically challenging world. Sohee Park, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, wanted to find out what was different about the brains of people who are good at producing novel ideas (known as ‘divergent thinking’). She recruited 40 people, 20 of whom were students of classical music. She gave each volunteer one or more household objects, such as a toothbrush, 36

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toothpaste or dental floss. She asked them to come up with alternative uses for these items. Interestingly, she found that the musicians were more creative. Brain scans carried out during the task revealed that while the control group primarily used the left frontal cortex of the brain (associated with logical thinking), the musicians also used the right side (associated with creative thinking). One explanation is that musicians are naturally able to access more information, perhaps because by training to use both hands the two sides of their brains have been forced to communicate. So maybe it’s not too late to take up playing the guitar or piano if you want to enhance your creative thinking abilities. And if you happen to bump into my wife when you’re out shopping for your new instrument, please don’t ask her how many guitars I own, as dwelling on it may cause trauma! n Peter Horne is a qualified life coach with a passion for helping people change things in their lives when they feel stuck. He works with individuals and organisations, and can be contacted at enquiries@therealyou.eu. Peter is married with four children and attends St Peter’s Church in Brighton.


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JOHNNY VEGAS

VIVA LAS FAITH The quintessential northern funny man on his beliefs, the afterlife and finding love again. BY FRANK GRICE

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Jameson

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ohnny Vegas has never been one to let negative press leave a lasting impression, but sometimes the prodding and poking of critics is hard to withstand. “I try to ignore it, but comedy will never make everyone laugh, no matter what style or genre it is,” Johnny says. “I’ve had some reviews that are comedic in themselves in the way they’ve described my material. I think sometimes people get me, and [sometimes] people don’t. If they get me that’s funny, and if they don’t get me, that can actually be funnier… for me, anyway.” The 41‐year‐old’s opening gambit is reflective of the brand of humour that has engaged millions over the past decade. He is an entertainer who styles his comedy with a James Joyce‐esque flow of consciousness. It’s as inspiring as it can be frustrating, but inside the mind of Vegas it all makes perfect sense. Johnny’s comedy has also been considerably refined over the year. Near the start, his was a portrayal of a rather gormless pie‐eating, ale‐swilling oaf, but over time that has passed and the routine has found itself increasingly decorated with deeper, more considered strands of thought and philosophy. Away from the comedy circuit, Vegas has also undertaken a number of dramatic roles on both the big and the small screen. True, the image of this rotund, shaggy‐ideas man can alone provoke laughter, but versatility is everything in performance, and he actually makes a surprisingly good actor. The BBC’s productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bleak House, for instance, showcased a gifted performer whose repertoire went well beyond the smoky confines of old school stand‐up. f Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Jameson

JOHNNY VEGAS

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But the comedian, born Michael Pennington, hasn’t forsaken his roots. These days he is best known for the collective irreverence of comedy panel show Shooting Stars, British sitcom Benidorm, comedy drama Ideal and even the PG Tips commercials he has appeared in. So is that such a bad thing? “No, it’s not,” he comes back. “People will always drink tea and we’ll always want to celebrate the talents of our close cousin the monkey. I’ll be around for a while yet, you needn’t fear. I enjoy moving from one style of project to the other. Over the years I’ve been braver in doing that. It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of doing the same stuff, but it doesn’t feed the soul.” Vegas began his stand‐up career way back in the late 1990s, delivering performances that switched from delightful to terrifying, all of them invariably – and uncomfortably – filled with tales from his time at school or at art college. He was born and raised in St Helens, Lancashire, and was the youngest of four children. The comedian once trained in a seminary, but a career as a priest would never have satisfied the garrulous wannabe performer. “There was a vocation there, but I’d never have done it justice,” he says. “I mean, can you imagine it? The drinking man’s preacher. Or just the drinking preacher…” He moved to London to further his potential, although landing initial bar work made for an inconspicuous start. After a number of stand‐up gigs, Vegas’ first proper move into comedy began in 2002, when he starred in Radio 4 sitcom Night Class, co‐written with Tony Burgess and Tony Pitts. In the production, he played a former Butlins redcoat teaching evening classes in pottery. And when the show finished as runner‐up for Best Comedy at the Sony Radio Academy Awards, the comedian caught the

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attention of several producers. “I liked radio,” he continues. “It was unforgiving and, for those watching, inoffensive. It was also scripted – at least, it was meant to be – so I could feel a structure and a process. As much as that was good, it would make me yearn for freedom, for free speech, for spontaneity.” That made his move into live television fairly unsurprising. His peculiar comic gifts seem to sit on screen like a caged beast; the audience always feeling like the catalyst that could set off a reaction. “I divide opinion, but I always have absolute confidence in what I’m doing; that is, when I can remember what I’m meant to be doing,” says Vegas. “I’ve always been able to judge audiences quite well, you see, and you get to know what they expect. You learn to feed off what’s happening. It’s largely a one‐way operation, but you do build genuine rapport, even when no one in the audience is saying anything… even when they’re not laughing, which is extremely rarely, as you can imagine! But acting has been different; acting has been more of a learning curve for me. You’re looking for approval and you don’t always know if it’s genuine.” That chink of humility is comforting. An occasionally brash and always bold character, Vegas sometimes offers an air of nihilism where comedy and, for that matter, performance is concerned. But do not misinterpret the man; contrary to what some may believe, this is someone who cares passionately about his craft. How else would you explain the shift towards drama – and notably his excellence performance as Krook, the rag and bone man in Bleak House? “That was all a bit weird, at first,” he admits. “I didn’t so much feel out of my depth, more just drowning lamely in the shallow end of the pool. You come up against


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JOHNNY VEGAS proper Shakespeare actors and give a little wave… almost like a ‘just passing through’ expression… ‘I’ll be out of your way soon, I promise’. Don’t bite me. “But I grew in confidence and grew into the role. And I do always want to push myself in new directions. My stomach does somersaults and I’m not one to try to hide how I feel, but these productions have good people behind them and they guide you through.” Moving on to other matters, Vegas’ predilection for the amber nectar is well documented. He has rarely hidden this or the fact that, as his stand‐up career soared, so too did his alcohol intake; to the extent that he developed an almost career‐threatening addition. “It had become too easy to be that onstage Johnny Vegas; to have a few drinks and go on mumbling a load of wacky stuff. That’s what put bums on seats, of course, but it was dragging me in. I’ve said before I was finding popularity through a form of self‐destruction. That was great for the audience, but it was killing me. “I guess moving into drama helped keep me away from some of those areas. There are a different set of rules, and those rules helped me a lot.” Having shed a remarkable four stone in recent years, Vegas admits he still likes a drink, but that there is greater moderation at play. And while healthy eating may never be high on the comedian’s agenda, approaching life with a healthier mindset certainly is, and that includes a reinvestment in faith. “I’d lost touch with all that because I think I felt religion had become out of fashion, for me anyway. In a sense, I didn’t need that side of my personality because I was getting all the validation I needed from those who followed my career. “It was when I went over to the States to make a documentary on religion for Channel 4 that something reignited in my mind. It had been there all along, but stuff started to make a bit more sense, and I certainly left with a greater sense of calm and acceptance.”

terms. It’s the perception of religion that we all need to work hard to change, I think. Kids today don’t want to be sat in dusty churches; not that they ever did, come to think of it. “What we do have now is open discussion, and the opportunity to question and challenge what happens. There’s a multicultural society here and it’s essential we talk and build on ideas, because different faiths have different rules and standards and we all have to get on.” Still far from being a regular Sunday church attendee, Vegas at least feels comfortable now with his spiritual connection to God. It helps him deal with thoughts of the afterlife, a subject that often plays on his mind and has come through in his comedy. “It’s one of those things we’ll all have a different perception of, a bit like comedy. Do we know what comes next? Can we really just be extinguished? I don’t see that. I’m exploring the avenue and that way of thinking, and it’s another step on the journey, I guess. Fear not, I’ll report my findings soon, no doubt, although probably not on a PG Tips advert. That would be altogether too weird, even for me.” n

“IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR EVERYDAY FOLK TO LOSE FAITH, THEN TURN AROUND YEARS LATER AND FIND A REAL INTEREST IN REIGNITING ALL OF THE THINGS THEY THOUGHT THEY DIDN’T NEED, AND THAT’S WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME.”

Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage

Vegas’ Catholic upbringing in Lancashire had certainly played an important role in his life, and he admits he felt a sense of guilt in the aftermath of the US trip given his faith lapse. Divorce from wife Kitty Donnelly had shattered even more of the remaining virtues and principles he had left behind when fame arrived, and the comedian admits he was due time to himself in order to win a few back. “Some of those incredible people in the States really helped me back,” he admits. “It’s not uncommon for everyday folk to lose faith, then turn around years later and find a real interest in reigniting all of the things they thought they didn’t need, and that’s what has happened to me. It doesn’t mean I change how I come across or the stuff I talk about in my routines, but there’s a foundation now for the work I do, and that’s a nice feeling.” Faith also seems to have been rekindled through the christening of his son Michael, and through the love of his second wife Maia Dunphy, a producer he met on the set of an Irish television show. “I lost my faith gradually over the years and I’m winning it back under the same

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Sorted Now available throughout the world. Ever wanted to edit and publish your own magazine? Sorted, the world’s most wholesome men’s magazine is now available for very profitable local franchise opportunities. Start your own local magazine business with Son Christian Media. We offer full ongoing support, professional sales training, dynamic content and competitively priced design, printing and distribution packages! If you could do with some serious additional income, want to spend loads of time with your children and would like to be admired in your community because of what you do, then this franchise opportunity is for you. This is a real business that you can run from your own home, in just a few hours a week. It fits in perfectly around caring for your children so that you can be an active parent as well as a key breadwinner in the household.

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DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Photo by Authenticated News/Getty Images

The German Shepherd

BY STEVE BREHM

Y

ou’re at the height of your profession, world‐renowned; so in demand that you leave the shores of Europe to take on a fantastic job in the US. The land of your birth and childhood is in moral decline, fear has gripped its streets and an evil government is imprisoning those who hold your beliefs. The timing could not be better. The prospect of making your mark in the world’s most powerful country is on the brink of realisation. You will be rich, famous and leave a lasting legacy as a force for good. So what does your career plan look like now? What’s the next step? Write an autobiography … Go on a well‐ paid speaking tour … Or chuck it all in and return to your homeland, where you’ll be imprisoned and executed. If you’re Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it’s the latter. So why would a man in his mid‐thirties and at the pinnacle of his career turn his back on the opportunity of a lifetime for the prospect of persecution, captivity and death?

“I HAVE HARDLY EVER SEEN A MAN DIE SO ENTIRELY SUBMISSIVE TO THE WILL OF GOD.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born during the last years of an idyllic Germany in 1906. His childhood was filled with the sort of fun and adventure that forms the backdrop to a good Enid Blyton tale. He excelled academically but, unlike his father and brothers who were at the forefront of scientific advancement, he chose to pursue theology. After obtaining his degree, he preached and taught in churches and universities throughout Europe, as well as undertaking further postgraduate studies in the US for just under a year. These experiences broadened Bonhoeffer’s perspective on the variety of ways that people worship God and how the Church should influence society. 42

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His first experience of America was one of enlightenment and challenge. He was deeply disappointed at the liberal preaching he encountered in the big‐city churches of New York. He was angered by one particular sermon, for which the text wasn’t taken from the Bible, but was based on the speech of a well‐ known historical figure from the 1800s. Conversely, he found that in the black churches there was a real depth to the preaching and the life of their Christian communities. He also saw, and was appalled by, the segregation of black people in American society. This was not the first he would see of state‐approved racism; it was a prelude to the government‐endorsed evil that was just around the corner in Germany. One of the countries that had a profound effect on Bonhoeffer during this period of discovery and travel was the UK. He formed friendships in the many German‐speaking churches of London, but also with key figures in the Church of England. These friendships would prove to be of inestimable worth in communicating to the wider world the truth of what was happening in Germany during the war. Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a heart for teaching people biblical truths that would transform their lives as they applied what they heard. He was particularly taken with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which provided the basis for his most famous theological work: The Cost of Discipleship. One of its key themes of was the difference between what Bonhoeffer referred to as ‘cheap grace’ and ‘costly grace’. He described cheap grace as: “The preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Conversely, he wrote that costly grace: “Confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light’.” Bonhoeffer would go on to become a perfect example of what it means to live a life defined by costly grace through his own persecution, imprisonment and execution. Although he was pleased to teach all people how to apply biblical principles, he had a particular affinity with the young, setting up Sunday schools and youth groups in the churches he visited. He became so popular when covering a pastor’s sabbatical in Barcelona that the minister returned somewhat annoyed at the increased workload Bonhoeffer had created. It was this vision and concern for the young that led him not only to teach at theological colleges, but to establish them. His ability and intellectual prowess brought him recognition across Germany in the early 1930s, but just as his star was rising among the great and the good of Germany’s ecclesiastical circles, a dark cloud spread across that country. In a matter of months, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party had not only gained power, but had succeeded in turning the country into a dictatorship. In a tactic the Nazis would adopt time and time again, they deliberately engineered a disaster and set it up so that the blame would fall on those Hitler wanted to destroy. Elected on January 30, 1933, but with a minority of seats, the Nazis blamed the communists when fire ripped through the government building, the Reichstag,


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DIETRICH BONHOEFFER just four weeks later. This allowed them to ride an anti‐ communist wave of public opinion in taking over the seats the communists held in government, and in suspending civil liberties. The latter was supposedly brought in to ease and hasten the arrest and imprisonment of communists. In reality, suspending civil liberties allowed the Nazis to keep the opposition in check and to prevent them from attending important votes. As a result, they were able to secure a two‐thirds majority to pass the Enabling Act on March 23. This act enabled Hitler to rule by decree, and in less than two months Germany had moved from democracy to dictatorship. One of the first acts of the dictatorship saw Hitler and his henchmen latch onto the harsh measures brought upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War One. They used these as a basis for turning against the Jews, blaming them for the economic difficulties the nation suffered. By mid‐April 1933, a decree was issued that immediately banned Jews from government and civil service positions. At the same time, an official boycott of Jewish stores was introduced, with Nazi sympathisers painting large black and yellow stars on shop fronts. They then stood outside and forcefully turned people away. It wasn’t just the Jews that the Nazi party persecuted. They succeeded in convincing many in the German Church that the Christian faith endorsed such ethnic cleansing, and that Jesus was the pinnacle of the Aryan (Germanic) race. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of a minority group called The Confessing Church, which stood against this from the outset, inviting persecution from the state for opposing government policy. Bonhoeffer wasn’t just someone who supported the Jews from a distance. His twin sister Sabine was married to a Christian who was born a Jew, and was therefore deemed a Jew by the new German government. As the 1930s progressed and life deteriorated into merely surviving under oppression, things finally became too much for Sabine and her family, and Dietrich helped them to escape to Switzerland just days before the borders were shut at the onset of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. The family then made its way to England and settled in London. Having said goodbye to his sister and her family, Bonhoeffer questioned himself repeatedly on what the right course of action was for him. He was offered a role with Union Theological Seminary in New York, and was encouraged by those closest to him to take it. His friends reminded him that in the US he could make people aware of what was really happening in Germany; the truth behind the curtain of Nazi propaganda. More importantly, his friends stressed, he would be protected until a time when rebuilding the church in Germany could take place once the Nazis were ousted. So in the spring of 1939 he set sail for New York City. Away from Nazi oppression, heresy and wickedness, he was free at last. And yet ‘free’ wasn’t the way he felt in his conscience or before God. How could he enjoy the trappings of freedom when his people were suffering at the hands of Hitler’s thugs? How could he take part in the rebuilding of the German Church in the future if he hadn’t stood with it in its time of greatest need? Yes, he could pray for the protection of the Jews and Christians, and for the downfall of Hitler while in the States, but as he prayed he sensed he had to be there in person. He had to help those who were suffering and be part of the resistance movement. In the summer of 1939, just weeks after arriving, Dietrich Bonhoeffer left New York and returned to Germany to take a stand against Nazi oppression. He was no doubt aware of the dangers that awaited, but he could never have guessed the circumstances.

Steve Brehm

One of Dietrich’s older sisters, Christel, married Hans Dohnanyi, a man who served as personal assistant to the Minister of Justice in Berlin. While most Germans were unaware of the horrors going on in their own country, let alone in neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hans was all too aware as he could see what was happening based on the communications that passed through the Ministry of Justice. Hans was able to pass information to Bonhoeffer with an immediacy that very few others enjoyed. One such report was the detail behind the start of the war with Poland. Using the tactic employed in apportioning blame for the burning of the Reichstag, Hitler ordered that ‘non‐Germans’ (alternatively known as ‘those he wanted dead’) be dressed as Polish soldiers to fake provocation and ‘legitimise’ a military response. German troops then proceeded to imprison or shoot the ‘fake’ soldiers while their Panzer divisions rolled into Poland. The evil treatment of Polish civilians so appalled some of the senior German military that they set themselves the task of overthrowing Hitler. Bonhoeffer allied himself with this conspiracy on the basis that not responding in some proactive manner was to be complicit in the increasingly rampant persecution of Jews and others, including anyone with a disability. Bonhoeffer’s part in what was known as Operation Valkyrie was to ensure that when Hitler and his cronies were overthrown, the allied nations would lend support to the re‐establishing of the country rather than merely running it into the ground. Bonhoeffer served as a courier to the friends he had made in London and the pleas of the resistance were passed on to Foreign Minister Anthony Eden. Sadly those pleas were ignored, along with all such approaches from Germany’s resistance movement. The plot culminated in a failed assassination attempt against Hitler on July 20, 1944. Bonhoeffer was arrested and, on April 9, 1945, in Flossenbürg concentration camp, just two weeks before it was liberated by Allied troops, he was executed. The camp doctor who was on duty and witnessed the execution commented on the event later, saying: “In the almost 50 years I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” In writing to a friend regarding that difficult decision in 1939, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said the following: “I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany.” He added: “Christians in Germany face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilisation may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and destroying our civilisation. I know which of these alternatives I must choose.” Which would you choose? n

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IAN BARTLETT

TAKING A GAMBLE ON GOD BY JOY TIBBS

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an Bartlett learnt to gamble at the age of nine under the tutelage of his father. About a year later his dad was gone, never to be seen again. But the habit he had picked up remained with him for around 40 years and almost destroyed his life completely. Gambling became a big part of Ian’s life, and after joining the RAF aged 16 the problem escalated. He started getting into debt and drinking heavily. “Alcohol and gambling go hand in hand,” he explains. And it didn’t stop there; another common companion for gambling is crime. Ian got involved in petty crime, and before he knew it, criminality had become a lifestyle. While working as a caretaker at the University of Oxford, Ian carried out a large number of thefts. Once caught, he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of burglary and asked for another 103 crimes to be taken into consideration. He was handed a five‐year sentence. Between the ages of about 16 and 46, Ian served nearly 18 years in the criminal justice system. “Gambling, drinking and committing crime; that was the only life I really knew,” Ian tells Sorted. “I saw prison as family more than anything.”

Road to recovery Things started to change when he came out of prison, albeit gradually. Ian had to move from Oxford as he was no longer allowed to live there and he was out on licence. “I had a profile as an offender, so the police kept an eye on me,” Ian shares. Shortly after this, he found himself in hospital. He had had tattoo upon tattoo and somehow his blood had been poisoned, which affected his heart. He found himself lying on the operating table, thinking: “I’m a lump of meat; if I die, I die.” He felt completely purposeless and alone, and there was really

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nothing left to live for. “I had a heart of stone because that’s the way my life was,” says Ian. “I had no love, no compassion; I was completely hardened.” While in rehab, he felt increasingly desperate. The miserable plight of the other patients and the constant bleeping of machines got to him and he just wanted to get out of the ward. So when a woman came in and asked if anyone wanted to go downstairs for a church service, Ian was happy to go along with her. The place was almost empty, but Ian got involved in the singing and listened to the sermon.

“I HAVE A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF HOW GAMBLING MAKES YOU FEEL. IT GRIPS YOU.” At the end of the service, the woman leading the service turned to him and said: “Ian, you were brilliant. Everyone enjoyed your singing.” He wondered what she meant as the only other patient was a little old lady in a wheelchair. It was only then that he realised he had been on hospital radio! As the embarrassment sank in, the woman pressed a wooden cross into his hand. “I suddenly felt a sense of comfort and wellbeing. It was something I had never experienced before,” he recalls. Ian held on to that cross, and his journey to faith had begun.

Food for thought Without work or family, Ian relied on food parcels to get by as he was still gambling. He walked to Aylesbury Vineyard church one day as he knew there was a storehouse there, and when he turned up, associate pastor Mark Knight welcomed him. Mark asked Ian if he would like prayer for anything, and he decided he had


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IAN BARTLETT nothing to lose by saying yes. “He could tell there was a sort of anger within me; that no one was giving me a chance,” says Ian. Mark spoke about the God‐filled hole inside Ian and explained that he was looking for fulfilment in the wrong places. “He talked to me about Jesus and it started to make some sense,” Ian recalls. This relationship developed over the weeks and months, and Ian eventually began volunteering at the storehouse. While few people showed any interest in the ex‐con, Mark constantly encouraged and supported him. What had started as a genuine need for food developed into an interest in God and the Christian faith. One night, as Ian was lying in bed, he asked for forgiveness for all he had done in the past and asked God into his life. The next thing he knew, it was was morning and he hadn’t slept. He had just rested in the arms of God as if only a few minutes had passed.

Change for the better The next day everything felt different. “My senses were exploding as I was walking down the street,” says Ian. “I could smell the hedges; I’d never smelt them before. I could hear things magnified. It was as if I was walking on water.” It was Good Friday and he was on his way to Vineyard, where a service was taking place. He remembers bursting in through the doors and exclaiming: “I’ve given my life to Jesus!” He suddenly felt full of joy and love, and he needed to share it. He also felt compassion – a deep desire to help others – and this manifested in several ways. Ian was heavily involved in the storehouse by this point and was feeling a lot fitter because he was loading and unloading furniture. He was offering to pray for people as well as cleaning the church and setting it up for different events. But in his heart of hearts, Ian wanted a paid full‐time job. The church prayed with him about this and Ian is still doing the job that came along three years on. After he started work at the furniture factory, he felt a strong conviction to pray for prosperity in his workplace. “During the recession, lots of factories were going out of business, but our factory went through an unprecedented period of prosperity and expansion,” explains Ian. “We got new machines and employed new people, and we just received a huge order from Centre Parcs. God is providing so much for this business.” He also felt God was telling him to step out and tell others about his faith, and he did just that. Before long he was distributing Bibles and quietly praying for guys who approached him with stiff necks and bad backs; many of whom were healed overnight. He wanted to be there for people who needed someone they could approach and trust.

Turning it around Ian’s history with gambling wasn’t over, though. Although he had stopped gambling for 18 months, he found himself falling for the old temptation once again. He had got himself into debt of about £10,000 and he knew he had to tell his girlfriend what he had been up to. The relationship ended as a result, but Ian feels that he received a real release from gambling at this point. He hasn’t even considered gambling since September 2012. More importantly, Ian suddenly felt he knew what his ‘calling’ in life was. He clearly heard God tell him to step into the breach against gambling. All the negative consequences gambling had had on Ian’s life were about to be used as a force for good. He found some research from Georgia State University that made a direct link between gambling and crime. It also revealed that anti‐gambling programmes are a much more successful, and cheaper, way of dealing with the problem than incarceration. “People will reoffend because there is nothing to help them,” he says. f Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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IAN BARTLETT “It’s one‐sixth of the price and of the first 100 people who went on the course, only one reoffended, and it was a non‐gambling‐related offence.” Ian believes that the root cause of the problem in the UK is the proliferation of betting shops and of TV and internet advertising. “It’s everywhere you look,” he says. “Before, it was done in the local community, now it’s coming right into the home. It’s easily accessible. It’s a lure right in front of you; something for nothing. They say, ‘Here’s £10’, but then you’re on a rocky path. “I gambled for almost 40 years, so I have a deep understanding of how gambling makes you feel. It grips you. Someone can put their money in and win, tripling their money in 20 seconds. It’s easier to do that than go out to work for a week.”

there is no thinking time when the money runs out, so gamblers are no longer forced to head to the bank to get more funds. “People continue playing so there’s no time to think about what they’re doing,” Ian says. “I’m really, really concerned. The Lord has put this so passionately on my heart. Fixed‐odd betting terminals – you can see how quickly the machines can take your money away from you. Young adults are going into betting shops and getting addicted. “It’s a hidden addiction. With alcohol or drugs you can usually hear, smell or see it. A gambler will exhaust all avenues available to him to get money: overdraft, loans, payday loans and from those around him. Gambling affects not only him, but those around him and society.”

“IT’S A HIDDEN ADDICTION. WITH ALCOHOL OR DRUGS YOU CAN USUALLY HEAR, SMELL OR SEE IT.”

Fighting back

Fixed-odds betting The former gambler is particularly concerned by the impact of gambling on the youngest and poorest in society. Not only can people gamble from home more easily without having to be accountable to anyone, he feels that many betting shops are making it too easy. While some are fitted with devices that allow cashiers to turn the screens of the fixed‐odds betting machines off, it is often difficult for busy staff to identify those that are 18 and those that are not. These machines quickly suck away the user’s money, but not before many have become hooked. Furthermore, a new technology that allows gamblers to use their debit cards rather than cash is being introduced. This means there is no £300 limit as there is with an ATM, and that

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In recent months, many new avenues have opened up to Ian in his fight against gambling. He has made contact with the managing director of The Global Draw and the operations director of The Inspired Gaming Group; the two companies that make the majority of gambling machines in the UK. He has built relationships with several influential MPs and a former police chief. And he’s also in touch with operations director at Christian Vision for Men (CVM), Steve Martin, and with Dan Hayes from the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt). Ian’s aim is to unite politicians, law enforcers, charities, churches and men’s groups in the fight against gambling. “I have a voice and I want to use it to advance the kingdom of God,” he says. “I want to protect those who are most vulnerable in society. The Lord has His hand on it.” He is also encouraging Sorted readers to get involved. He advises: “Email MPs in your local constituency. Campaign outside shops. Get local churches in your area together. We need to put measures in place to protect the vulnerable. There should be groups for people who suffer addiction in church. Show love and offer a helping hand.” n


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Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615


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LIAM NEESON

The Man from

Ballymena Liam Neeson talks milestones, mortality and missing out on an Oscar BY STEPHEN MILTON

P

ress engagements factor low on the list of priorities for Liam Neeson. Given that he’s experiencing a period in his almost four‐ decade screen career in which his name alone equals box office gold, the need for promotion has been rendered obsolete. In recent times, films such as Taken and The Grey, in the hands of another, could potentially scream “straight to DVD” dud. With the handsome Irishman attached, however, both movies chalked up staggering eight‐figure receipts, and it seems logical that his current salary has soared to a reported $9 million (£6 million) per movie. And after his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, tragically passed away nearly four years ago in a freak skiing accident, could you really blame the man for shying away from all publicity? In a rare interview granted by the Oscar‐nominated star, would he dare mention her name to a stranger in this dated West London hotel suite? There has been no formal warning but, out of pure respect, how does one approach such a delicate matter? Mid train of thought, Neeson’s burly frame unexpectedly shadows the doorway and with head held low, his demeanour betrays his stature. A faint greeting suggests a difficult manner, but on further inspection, it is leaning towards the apologetic. “I’m sorry for the lateness,” he says in that broguish growl. “Time got away from me and I hate to keep anyone waiting.” A relaxed slouch and steady contact with those wolfish green eyes, and soon he’s cracking jokes, nearly always smiling. And what must be addressed chiefly is his

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startlingly youthful appearance. The Dark Knight Rises star turned 60 last summer, but could pass for a young 44. “Look, I certainly didn’t look in any great shape this morning. It’s amazing what a shower can do,” he says. “But I don’t do anything to preserve myself. I used to do the whole Hollywood fitness regime, all the fads and crazes and a few diets here and there, but you can never keep it up. “And I had the washboard stomach, but I shouldn’t really have to care about that any more… and I don’t! I’ve no idea what I’m doing, but I feel pretty good, so I must be doing something right.” One of Ireland’s first sons to climb the Hollywood ladder, the Ballymena native had several failed starts in teaching and amateur boxing before he found his true calling with the Lyric Players’ Theatre in Belfast. A performance of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in a Dublin theatre caught the eye of director John Boorman, who was looking to cast for Camelot epic Excalibur. “My friend Gabriel Byrne and I were both doing Of Mice and Men and John came to meet us, asking if we’d audition for Excalibur, and it basically went from there,” he explains. “It was an incredibly important film for Irish actors. It gave so many of us a leg up.” Moving to London with then girlfriend Helen Mirren, the actor built up a credible body of work with The Bounty and The Mission before heading to conquer Hollywood. Roles in Suspect, Darkman and Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives boosted his profile, while liaisons with Cher and Julia Roberts didn’t hurt his reputation either. But it was his Academy Award‐nominated role as Oskar Schindler in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List that put Neeson up there with the big boys. f


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LIAM NEESON Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images

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Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images

LIAM NEESON

However, Neeson has been making more fun choices during the latter chunk of his onscreen career. Last year alone Neeson, now in a relationship with former air hostess Freya St Johnston, has been battling Alaskan wolves in The Grey, taken on the role of Zeus in Wrath of the Titans, and played Ra’s Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. And lest we forget, he triumphed in Taken 2 in which, once again, the tall oak singlehandedly took on a band of sketchy Eastern European stereotypes who had kidnapped his rather unfortunate family.

“I WAS AWAKENED BY THE CALL OF THE MUEZZIN. SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENED. I COULDN’T EXPLAIN IT, BUT SUDDENLY SOMETHING TOOK HOLD IN ME, AND THE MUEZZIN PRAYERS FOUND A PLACE DEEP IN MY SOUL. IT WAS A DEEPLY SPIRITUAL MOMENT. SINCE THAT EXPERIENCE, I BELIEVE IN GOD AGAIN.” It was while filming Taken 2 in Istanbul, however, that Neeson had a ponderous period of confliction over his own lapsed Catholic beliefs. “I had a great experience just before Christmas, at the end of 2011,” he recalls. “We were in Istanbul for Taken 2; a fantastic city with culture dripping from its very pores. You can go there and lose yourself in the Muslim faith so quickly, and they are passionate people.

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“The tough part was being awoken by the call of the muezzin [the Muslim call to prayer] in the middle of the night. We were on a tough filming schedule and sleep was a commodity that couldn’t be passed up. “But when you’re in that environment that is so different to your own, you find yourself blending to it. Rather than being annoyed by this wakeup call, I started embracing it. I started to really feel what it was the calling was all about. And for the first time in a lot time I felt myself winning back a type of spirituality that I thought was long gone. I can now say I am a believer again, and it was because of Istanbul.” Growing up in Ballymena in the 1960s, Neeson dutifully followed his family’s staunch religious beliefs. These naturally started to wane once he hit adolescence: “The Irish have a very clear belief and it is passed down again and again. But I think in every new generation there are additional questions being asked, and certainly once you leave Ireland you sense there are arguments that counter everything you have learnt. Are you here as part of a bigger picture, or are you just here for yourself? “Think too about the influences of books and, well, the internet. There are so many different perspectives that just weren’t illuminated in the past. And I’ve always wanted to explore the truth, whatever that is. I love writers like Christopher Hitchens. I think it is always healthy to want to discover more.” It was a near‐death experience that brought the actor somewhat closer to his buried faith. “I had a bad motorcycle accident many years ago,” Neeson animatedly explains. “I was driving along a country road and ran smack into a deer. The deer’s paws were on the handlebars and we were face‐to‐face while I was skidding off into a ditch. What saved me probably is that I didn’t go all the way down and I was able to crawl back onto the road, where a truck passed by and spotted me.


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LIAM NEESON second Oscar nomination after Schindler’s List. “I was doing the first Taken when I was preparing for Lincoln,” he says. “I was fluctuating in weight. I was dropping weight when I thought we were getting close to shooting, and then we weren’t. Then I was putting weight on again. “I called Steven one day and said: ‘Steven, please call Daniel Day‐Lewis if you haven’t already done so.’ Steven made the right choice. And with the awards stuff, it’s not like musical chairs. I wouldn’t automatically get in there. Daniel Day‐Lewis, he’s in another league I think.” With an esteemed thespian lineage that goes back three generations, have Neeson’s teenage sons shown any indication that they may follow their father and late mother’s footsteps into acting? “No, and that’s a relief. It’s a relief for a number of reasons. You know what the industry is like and how harsh and cruel it can be at times. You also know that it’s unrelenting and can really disturb all of those ambitions you have to spend time with your family and see them grow. And on top of that, being the child of an established actor is thankless. You’ll never get the praise you really deserve, and the pressure to get any praise is unfair. “But it’s really the rejection I wouldn’t want my kids to go through. Okay, they’re tough and they could handle it, but why would you want them to go through that in the first place? “At the end of the day, if they’re happy, then so am I, because they deserve to be. All of us do.” n

Photo by Franziska Krug/ Getty Images

“I remember seeing my leg swelling under my jeans and I knew something was pretty bad, so I was lucky that I was able to get transferred to a hospital fairly quickly. I remember how unbearable the pain was becoming and then getting that first shot of morphine. I didn’t know it until later, but it was a life and death situation. The doctors didn’t think I would make it through the night because of the internal bleeding, but I remember the pain and I was hoping to get through it. I don’t remember if I prayed, but I wanted to believe in something.” The need to believe in something was never more evident than when Natasha, the mother of his two sons Michael (17) and Daniel (16), passed away suddenly while holidaying at a ski resort in Canada in early 2009. Neeson has remained understandably quiet on the tragedy and, naturally, it’s a subject one approaches with great sensitivity. “I think about mortality a lot now, about how you’re not going to be here forever,” Neeson sombrely offers. “Those thoughts start creeping into your head and you start thinking about your kids. You get concerned for them because you know you won’t be around at some point. “I’ve had a lot of those thoughts over the past few years; examining mortality, thinking about life and how precious it really is. I just want to be there with my family, have fun with them, laugh with my sons. Keep working because I love to work. And keep working to escape sometimes.” It seems Natasha’s family, particularly her mother Vanessa Redgrave and sister Joely Richardson, remain a very close part of Neeson’s life, forming a tighter bond in the years after her death. “Yes, we’ve stuck together. We’ve had to, but we’ve wanted to as well. We both live out her memory through each other, I guess. Vanessa has come to stay with us many times, usually around filming schedules, and there’s such a bond between us all, even though what comprises that bond is missing. But you can take comfort from that – it’s very strange. It’s like there is always someone else in the room, you know?” Maintaining a home in upstate New York, Neeson is a frequent visitor to his family home in Antrim and admits a longing to work on Irish shores more frequently. “My home is in New York and that won’t change,” he says. “But I get back to see my family at least twice a year. It’s important to me. I want my sons to know where they come from. “The last movie I did there was about three years ago with Jimmy Nesbitt [BBC’s Five Minutes of Heaven], so I try to do work out there every few years or so. I’m actually working on getting a fantastic story up and running about one of the only show bands to ever make it big outside Ireland – The Royal Showband – and hopefully getting Neil Jordan to direct. “It’s semi‐autobiographical, about the band’s highs and lows in Vegas, and I’d play the lead Buck Henry, a Brendan Bowyer type, whose time is coming to an end. It’s a big passion project of mine and Bono’s – it was really his idea. It’s one of those long‐term projects that might take ten years to come to fruition, but it will.” A busy man, Neeson has at least half a dozen other movies in development before he can even fathom taking on a new project. Currently shooting thriller Non‐ Stop with Julianne Moore and Downton Abbey siren Michelle Dockery, he will follow that up with period drama A Walk Among the Tombstones and sci‐fi film Run All Night. There are even vocal duties for Neeson in The Lego Movie, but before all that he’s romancing Mila Kunis and Olivia Wilde in modern noir Third Person. I wondered whether Neeson harbours any ill will towards Daniel Day‐Lewis, who snagged the award‐ winning role of Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s sweeping biopic Lincoln after Liam had to drop out owing to other commitments, missing out on a potential

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Moviestore/Rex Features

LIAM NEESON

Why We’re ‘Taken’ with Liam Neeson BY MARTIN LEGGATT

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Moviestore Collection/Rex Features

T

he rise of Ballymena’s most famous son has been a long and steady road. In fact, it is only now that he’s in his sixties that he has really consistently hit the big time. What’s more amazing is that he is now an unlikely action hero following the phenomenal success of Taken in 2008. It’s been a long journey from his early appearance in Darkman to the stellar success of that famous line in Taken. After a long grounding in the theatre followed by some minor supporting roles in Excalibur and to Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson in The Bounty, he secured his first starring role in Sam Raimi’s dark superhero feature Darkman. Raimi, who had failed in his attempts to bring thirties comic strip avenger The Shadow to the big screen, co‐opted instead to invent his own superhero, Peyton Westlake, who assumes the Darkman alter ego. The film still enjoys a large cult following. However, these humble beginnings soon led to huge things. In the mult‐Oscar‐winning Spielberg epic Schindler’s List, Neeson starred as the titular Oskar Schindler, a role he won at the expense of Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson and Warren Beatty. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, it is a harrowing account of how real‐life businessman Schindler saved literally thousands of Jewish people from certain death in Nazi concentration camps. He was perhaps unlucky that his surefire Oscar‐winning performance happened to coincide with Tom Hanks blowing cinemagoers and the academy away with his performance in Philadelphia the same year. With his star firmly set in the heavens, Liam

quickly followed Schindler with some other large historical roles: firstly Rob Roy and then Michael Collins. Michael Collins, which won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, tells the story of the Irish Revolutionary from the time of the Easter Rising of 1916 through to the signing of the Anglo‐Irish agreement of 1921. Neeson plays Collins very sympathetically as a man torn between his conscience and his beliefs as he

battles not only for independence from the British Government, but also in the deadly power struggle with Éamon de Valera (played with serpentine excellence by Alan Rickman). Along the way, Neeson has been steadily expanding his CV with appearances in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace as Qui‐Gon Jinn, Jedi master and mentor to Obi‐ Wan Kenobi ; co‐starring alongside Harrison Ford as Captain Mikhail Polenin in submarine thriller K‐19: The Widowmaker; and with Daniel Day‐Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, his was the very distinct and gravelly voice of Aslan. All in all, this makes for a very healthy portfolio of work. Then came the surprise hit of 2008, Taken, and that famous ‘I will find you, and I will kill you’ line. A low‐budget French movie scripted by Luc Besson, directed by Pierre Morel and shot almost entirely on location in Paris, Neeson starred as former CIA operative extraordinaire Bryan Mills. After his daughter is abducted by Albanian people traffickers, that famous line follows; one that is destined to go down in cinematic history and, inevitably, to be misquoted in decades to come. Viewers (and the Albanians) get far more than they bargained for as he ruthlessly and violently fulfils his promise. It spawned a very disappointing sequel that, despite a bigger budget, failed to live up to the original. Not content with his roles as vigilante fathers, national heroes and superheroes, Neeson decided to turn his hand to playing a god. His portrayal of Zeus in a quite inferior Clash of the Titans was the only recommending feature. He followed this up with a great turn as Hannibal Smith in a really enjoyable big‐screen version of The A‐Team. One thing is certain: he’s come a long way from driving a forklift at the Guinness factory. n


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Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615


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IAN MATTHEWS

A FORCE

OF WILL BY IAN MATTHEWS

When Mike Stavlund’s four-month-old son suddenly died, a flood of cards, flowers, meals, phone calls and gifts let his family know that they were loved and cared for. Less welcome were the books; in particular the religious books. Often impossibly upbeat, saccharine-sweet, and bearing all kinds of confident promises, they were too painful to read and too offensive to bear. Instead, Mike himself wrote a book, one week at a time, during that first terrible year. A Force of Will explores the stark reality of loss; the alienation from all of life; the feeling of suffocation at the hands of well-meaning people; and the sense of being abandoned by God. Here is an extract.

Journey

W

e are, all of us, on a journey through this world, and into the one that we hope waits beyond it. What we’d like, most of us, is a linear path to follow. One with distinct forks in the trail where we could make binary choices to do right or wrong, or at the very least, to pick between better and worse. And, as long as we’re dreaming, perhaps it could be a temperate path protected from sun and wind, and somehow sheltered from the rain. Oh, and with some nice pavement to keep our feet clean, and with minimal changes in elevation, thank you very much. But when we’re honest with ourselves, we sense that we are instead hiking through a challenging landscape of mixed terrain. Sometimes we press our way through thick brush, or ascend steep rocky paths, or shuffle our feet through hot sand, or weather rainstorms on exposed fields of granite, or hunch our shoulders against the cold. This reality is quite unlike our childhood imaginations of what life would be like, and the unhelpful fantasies that are driven into our brains by the media. No, this thing we call ‘life’ is hard work.

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Yet as difficult as it is, the journey is not without reward. Even as we complain about the hardships along the way, we are frequently stopped short by gorgeous vistas and have our breath stolen by moments of rapture. Times when we forget for a moment just how far we’ve come, and just how far we still have to go. Times when we’re filled with joy and wonder for a second if it is, after all, worth all of the trouble and hardship. Though comprised of both agony and ecstasy, most of the time this monotonous journey consists in our simply putting one foot in front of the other. We walk because we feel we must, moved ahead by some mandate deep inside us. We walk, though the path – in spite of our earnest wishes to the contrary – is not clear. And yet move we must. Once we’ve made our choices, we can only look back and wonder if we’ve done the right thing; if we’ve been true to ourselves and whomever we hope is watching over us. And when our choices are made for us – as when my son’s heart suddenly stopped – we find ourselves walking in a tumultuous world of flashbacks, memories, celebrations and doubts. The world of colour around us shifts to sepia as the bounce leaves our step and we shuffle forward like the walking dead. Indeed, even when we stop and sit down, the landscape continues to come at us in a disorienting mix of fact and imagination, of certainty and doubt. Moving forward requires pulling the levers of our emotional, physical, mental and volitional resources to see which one will propel us forward on a given day. From where I sit, typing on a computer just two months after his death, the memories rush at me in a scattered jumble. Some of them are dark caves of doubt, while others are happy recollections of love. Some of them are new and unexpected, while others have become as familiar as the view out of the living room window; the chaotic and nonlinear recollections of a father who has lost his son, who hopes that he hasn’t completely lost his way, and who is trying to make sense of it all.

Palliative Faith The intricate surgery that my son experienced at three days of life was called palliative; a repair designed to work well enough, and for long enough, to get the patient to the next point in his or her treatment. Palliative repairs are those that come in a series: one repair builds on the one before it and aims to enable the surgery that will follow, which seems unsatisfying. One might wonder why the surgeons can’t just get everything right the first time. Until, that is, one recalls the rate of growth in a newborn. Simple things like stitches and scars would heal and grow with the body’s structures, of course, but the more necessary artificial implements would not be so simple. If the surgeons attached a Gore‐Tex shunt to Will’s walnut‐sized heart, for example, they would install an intentionally oversized piece that wouldn’t actually work well until he grew to a size proportional to the repair. Then, for a matter of days or weeks, the repair would work at optimal efficiency, in fact encouraging the very growth that would make it less effective later on, until it was finally so inefficient that it would need to be replaced. Though many might disagree, I think our faith is palliative, too. Faith needs to work well enough to get us further along, and we are allowed to make adjustments as we go along the journey of life. There was the faith that carried me through my teenage years: a deterministic understanding that if something happened, God must have willed it. I struggled during those years to understand how the world worked, entertaining long internal debates about whether I should pray for success on my many fishing trips, or whether it was fair for me to thank God for my avoidance of an auto accident when that seemed unkind


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IAN MATTHEWS to the person who was actually in the wrecked car. Looking back, I think I was developing a faith that God embraced and accepted at face value, even as I struggled toward greater engagement with God and life and the realities all around me, and as I began to develop a view of the world that didn’t put me at the very centre. This faith was palliative, preparing me for the growth to come. There was a faith that sustained me in college as I took nightly walks during cold Chicago winters to beg God for a girlfriend who would become a wife. Staring up at the stars, I offered my confident assertions that I would be a great husband, arguing that reason and justice required I be given a wife. This faith was shaped when the answers to my prayers came and I found myself as a new husband to a beautiful and wonderful wife, yet with a fresh and painful awareness of my own brokenness and inability to love her as I had imagined I would. This growing faith was tweaked and challenged through several years as a pastor, tested as we joined with some friends to start a church on which we eventually performed a kind of organisational euthanasia and were left feeling orphaned and alone, bereft of community. This faith was stretched during a ten‐year journey through infertility, moving uncertainly up the ladder of increasingly invasive treatments, until we felt the mixture of absolute joy and panic that comes with the news that you’re pregnant… with twins! It was faith that pulled us through the harrowing experience of trying to thwart a miscarriage, of sitting in the worrisome place of a six‐month stretch of bed rest. It was faith that sat with us in the silence of those initial ultrasounds when the room was just very, very quiet and the doctors and technicians were visibly nervous, shuttling into and out of the room with forced smiles. It was faith that gave us hope as we plunged headlong into the world of intensive care and surgery and life support and constant monitoring. And today, it is faith that tries to make sense of a life that is all at once painfully absent of the life of a precious firstborn son, but also full of the life of his engaging and completely healthy twin sister. Our faith ought not to be a faith that chooses belief over practice, and it shouldn’t be selfish or self‐ interested. It ought to be a faith that works for us, yes, but one that benefits those around us even more than ourselves, and that leads us to the ultimate end to which we’re called: a greater capacity to love. If it looks inward, it ought to do so such that it can give outward in ever‐ increasing measure.

small, containable, familiar life. I wanted to go back to using our undersized, weathered, stainless steel French press and its familiar routine of heating water, grinding beans, combining the two, stirring the slurry, filling the rest of the pot, putting the lid on, waiting three minutes and pouring exactly two full cups of coffee; one for me, and one for my wife. What I didn’t want – what I couldn’t handle – was a life that was any larger than that. I didn’t want any family to be around us. I didn’t want houseguests. I didn’t want to extend myself in any gesture of hospitality. I wanted to go back to my smaller life of four people: two adults, two tiny children. That smaller life that had been contained by these four walls and its withering 24‐hour schedule. If that life had been full to the brim of feedings and medications and baths and tests and interventions and surgeries and home visits and terrifying uncertainty, at least it was familiar and approachable and possible. At least it offered some hope at the end of the day. But this new life I was kicking back against was utterly unfamiliar, dark and seemingly without hope. It was a life, but it was a life without Will. That old life was a mirage, if it ever really existed. It was gone from my grasp, impossible to reclaim. I just wanted my old cup of coffee. n

A Force of Will, published by Baker Books, is available from all good booksellers.

Coffeemaker A couple of days before the funeral, I was sitting at the kitchen table, keyboard clattering away as I tried to write myself to clarity about some imponderable idea, tried to come to some acceptance of some unavoidable reality, tried to anaesthetise myself against some overwhelming pain. My dear father‐in‐law walked in with a smile on his face and a package under his arm. He and my mother‐in‐ law had just returned from Target, she with some adorable clothes for her granddaughter, and he with a state‐of‐the‐art coffeemaker, which he promptly displayed to me. I was startled by this act of generosity, and grateful as always for a new toy. And yet I was shocked as I heard my mouth form these words: “Thanks, Dad. That’s perfect. And when you go back home after the funeral, you can just take it with you.” Owing to his generous spirit, he wasn’t offended by my apparent ungratefulness, but hesitated for just a second before he went on with his day. Still, the next day I forced myself to apologise for my rudeness, though I was at a loss to explain it. “I have no idea why I said that! I’m so sorry. We’ll be happy to use the coffeemaker, every day.” But the truth is, it’s still sitting in the back of a closet. I think what I was longing for on that confusing morning was to turn back the clock. I was looking for a

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CHRISTIAN SINGLE MIX Tell us a bit about your background… Chris: I used to be in ladies’ clothing! I owned

a small chain of dress shops. Being from a Greek background it was normally either the ‘rag trade’ or kebabs, so I went for ladies’ clothes. Rod: Before I was a Christian I lived a pretty troubled life. I now work in systems and data analysis and am a husband, dad and granddad.

How did you become a Christian? Chris: I became a Christian while I was in the

marketplace, and the marketplace has never really left me. Although I’m an accredited minister, my heart has always been in the community doing things like starting a daycentre for the homeless and I’m currently launching Essex Healing Rooms on the High Road in Buckhurst Hill, where they do a lot of filming for TOWIE. Rod: My wife prayed for me for seven years. She would often ask me to go to church, which I refused to do. One Sunday morning, she said: “If you come to church with me this morning, I’ll never ask you again.” I thought to myself, ‘That works for me.’ Of course, God had a better plan and I never stopped going. A few months later I invited Jesus into my life.

What made you decide to set up Christian Single Mix? Chris: The decision came through my own experiences as a pastor listening to Christian singles and recognising the need to help create more opportunities for mixing. While some sites are just about matching people with the ‘six‐foot‐two, eyes‐of‐blue’ appearances of their dreams, we wanted something that would reflect a rounded, faith‐based, approach with an emphasis on mixing for fellowship as well as opportunities for dating. The site features online pastoral support, great blogs and resources as well as the opportunity to find that special someone.

It’s a Date! H BY JOY TIBBS

aving recently become single, I admit I was a little horrified when my cousin coerced me into joining an online dating site. It’s not that I have any objection to meeting someone online; it’s more the cringe‐ factor of describing yourself as you might have for a personal statement at school… only with the aim of bagging a wife or husband rather than a job or a university place. Once that was out of the way, I realised that this was actually a great way of broadening my horizons. As a Christian, I want to marry

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someone who shares my faith, but there’s only one ‘eligible’ guy at my church (and he ain’t that eligible!). Online dating allows you to search for someone based on their age, height, faith background or whatever else is important to you. I recently spoke to a couple of guys who have set up their own Christian dating site to help singles like me find that special someone. Chris Kapnisis and Rod Keane set up Christian Single Mix (CSM) in 2012 so that single Christians aged 18 and over could connect with others either in friendship or for more romantic reasons from the comfort of their own homes. They shared with Sorted how they got into the dating game and why CSM is a great way to meet a mate.


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CHRISTIAN SINGLE MIX

Rod: Through my experience in church and

other ministries I recognised that many Christian singles were finding it difficult to find a potential spouse within their own Christian network, with the result being that either they: a) Left church as they started a relationship with someone who wasn’t a Christian b) Stayed true to their faith, but felt lonely and unhappy with their circumstances Also, I discovered that there are many single Christian people who are not looking for a spouse, but who would like to broaden their circle of likeminded single friends. Considering all these issues, we started to look at what was available on the web to meet these needs. Sensing a gap, CSM was born.

Who is it primarily aimed at in terms of age group, geographical location, denomination and so on? Chris: CSM is for all ages and denominations,

and it runs UK‐wide.

Have you had any great success stories from the site? Rod: Members are commenting on discovering

great friendships and spiritual connections, which we believe are the foundations of a great

marriage. Members have also benefited from the ministry support of receiving prophetic words in response to prayer requests.

Do you think it’s more difficult for Christians to find a partner than people of other faith and no faith?

Do you think people’s attitudes have changed when it comes to online dating?

Chris: The bare facts are that opportunities would obviously be more limited for Christians to meet if we took Christ out of the mix, but the word ‘Christian’ without ‘Christ’ would only leave us with ‘Ian’! You aren’t without Christ, and with Him in the mix of Christian Single Mix, we are praying for many, many divine partnerships.

Chris: Yes, there is no longer any stigma. All sorts of great people make use of CSM and doing so means you aren’t a caveman and are actually living in the twenty‐first century.

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of meeting someone online? Rod: CSM offers lots of helpful guidelines so

that site visitors can make the most of meeting people online. Providing you don’t throw your common sense away, it’s all good. You become part of a UK‐wide community that will be supportive, encouraging and fun.

What is the key to setting up an attractive profile? Chris: Be real; be fun. A nice natural picture

helps to create a more authentic bond. Let the love of Jesus come through, and as you bless other members you will be blessed.

What other types of work are you involved in? Rod: I’m a church elder. I started and help run a men’s ministry called Men Utd and I’m also a director of Essex Healing Rooms. Chris: I’m the community pastor of my local church, a director of Essex Healing Rooms and I work with a number of other Christian charities and churches. I am also currently compiling the only UK‐wide directory of ‘singles‐friendly’ churches. n Christian Single Mix has introduced a promotion exclusively for Sorted readers. If you’re single and aged 18 or over, you can enjoy a month’s free access to the site by entering the code ‘ONES’. Visit www.christiansinglemix.com to start connecting with other Christian singles today.

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DEAN GRAY

THE NIGHT THE TALIBAN ATTACKED BY DEAN GRAY

I

t was august 2008, my construction business was failing and the recession was showing signs of hitting the UK. My work was drying up, and at that point my friend told me about a project manager job in Afghanistan, suggesting that I would be ideal for it. Since leaving the army more than eight years earlier, I had always been close to the family and didn’t feel like going away again, but the offer was too good to pass up. It was an opportunity to pay the horrendous bills that I had racked up over the previous three years while I was setting up my own business, so I went for it. The first stop was Singapore to visit the company, sort out insurance and pick up a company laptop, and then on to Afghanistan to start my new position. At first I was based in Kandahar, which was quite safe, considering, but after a month or so I was sent to Lashkar Gah to be the operations manager in that area. Just to clarify, Lashkar Gah is the capital of Helmand Province, and there is only a small base there called the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). I wasn’t living on the base, but in a house down town among the local people, quite near to the governor’s quarters. I was the only Englishman in our house, but I

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also had ten Filipinos and around ten Afghanis working with me. There was a ten‐foot wall surrounding the house with two metal gated entrances off a main road. My job there was to visit the local base and liaise with officials and charitable organisations, and to arrange updates on the construction works that we were doing in that area, such as road construction, water towers and other projects we were bidding for.

I BEGAN TO GUARD THE COMPOUND WITH TWO AFGHAN SECURITY MEN AND PRAYED THROUGHOUT THE THREEHOUR BOMBARDMENT. I was there for around a month and struck up some great friendships with the workforce and with the local Afghan people. I never hid my Christian faith and offered to pray with people on numerous occasions; requests that were accepted very easily. During this time I was told unofficially that the Taliban were going to try to attack Lashkar Gah and try to take it over. As soon as this sort of information got around, the


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DEAN GRAY local bases would shut down and lock up, leaving anyone on the outside to fend for themselves. In our location I had a mini weapons and ammo stash that could help me during difficult times. But my faith was strong and I was at a point where, if my time was up, then that was it; I was heading to a better place. The day was Saturday and the time was around midnight. I had just finished Skyping my wife Shelly. I closed down my computer and was just about to get ready for bed when this almighty bang hit close by and almost broke all the windows in our house. I immediately got bombed up (put my body armour on and loaded the AK47 and a pistol) and headed for the Filipino accommodation to make sure they were safe. I arranged them in one room and, because most of the workers were Catholic, I told them to start praying. I then began to guard the compound with two Afghan security men and prayed throughout the three‐hour bombardment. Those three hours went by so quickly and I thought of many scenarios, but the main thing was that I knew God would protect me and everyone else in the compound and that I wouldn’t have to do anything; I just needed to stand and let God do His work. I can’t explain how ‘at peace’ I was through this whole ordeal, but I was, and it was surreal. After the most spectacular firework display you have ever seen finished, I went straight to bed and had the most amazing sleep ever. The next day was Sunday and I gave everyone a day off because we had to travel through the town and knew that it would be quite sensitive. One thing I didn’t want to do while I was out there was share anything horrible that had happened with Shelly, because I didn’t want to worry her and the children. But this time was different. I prayed about the whole situation and wondered whether being out there was worth all the danger. Not knowing whether I would see my family again, I shared what had happened with Shelly. Although we had numerous debts and I had no job to come back to in England, we decided I should call it a day, leave my role and face the music back home. It was a hard decision, but I knew that God was behind it. At the time the battle was going on, Shelly was up crying all night and she didn’t know why, but she wanted me back home as soon as possible. That confirmed it for us both. I couldn’t get out of the area for another week or so, and the Taliban hadn’t given up. They decided to try again and again, which is when the whole church back home got involved and prayed for our safety. One of the pictures that was shared was of Jesus walking through the streets of Lashkar Gah barefoot, symbolising that there was no debris or shrapnel on the ground from any of the attacks. Jesus prevailed and here I am writing this story. I came back home and had to declare myself bankrupt, which was hard. We nearly lost our house over the whole ordeal, but through these times we became closer to God and to one another. In August 2009 I went back to Afghanistan for another 15 months, but that’s another story for another time. n

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BUSINESS

CHARLES HUMPHREYS

We’re in Business

The Right Person(ality) for the Job

H

ave you ever got to a stage in your life when you wanted a job or career with a little more significance and meaning, but weren’t sure what to do next? If you have, this article is for you. We only need to look at the world in all its huge variety to know that God delights in diversity; not only do our abilities differ radically, our personalities also do. Some of us are outgoing and spontaneous and like to live high‐energy, fast‐paced lives, while at the other end of the spectrum are those who are more reserved and prefer to live more structured, slower‐paced lives. Most of us are a mixture of the above. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says: “All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” (The Message)

Hebrews 13:21 makes it clear that God has given us everything we need to perform His will. If we’re able to discover what sort of personality we have, this will give us some idea about what God wants us to do for a living. An assessment of your personality will not only benefit those seeking life direction, but will also help those who need confirmation that a desire to do something is actually fixed in reality, i.e. will you be able to do the job? When you know ‘what makes you tick’ and the behavioural requirements for certain jobs, you will hopefully begin to make some matches.

Paul: cut out for the job! Paul the evangelist is a great example of someone whose calling matched his abilities and personality. God’s plan for Paul always involved his conversion on the road to Damascus, and He ensured that Paul came equipped with the necessary personality, skillset and experience to take the gospel to the gentile world. As with Paul, God will prepare us so that we have what it takes to perform His will, providing we allow Him to mould us. Here is a list detailing some of the attributes that enabled Paul to be so effective in his ministry: Assertiveness. He was able to tell those in charge when they were in the wrong (Galatians 2:11).

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Adaptability. He was content in times of

plenty and in times of want (Philippians 4:12). Creativity. His use of the ‘unknown’ god (Acts 17:23). Energy and boldness. He initially used this against the early Church, but later used it to excellent effect to spread the gospel (Philippians 3:6). Determination. Disregarding his violent past, he concentrated solely on completing God’s plans for his future (Philippians 3:13). Focus. He would not let others stop him from going to Jerusalem (Acts 21:14). Highly qualified. He received excellent legal and theological training (Acts 22:3). Insightfulness. Paul’s knowledge of God was so deep that he even confused Peter! (2 Peter 3:16).

an individual’s personality or behaviour. It is frequently used in the job interview process, but can equally be used in gaining an understanding of what sort of personalities we have. A large number of personality profiling tests are available, such as the Morrisby Profile and the Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator, but many can cost upwards of £300 for a full report. n Here are some useful websites that offer some very affordable (or free) personality profiling services: www.peoplemaps.com www.myskillsprofile.com www.teamtechnology.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/ mind/surveys/careers/ www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/ mind/surveys/personality/index.shtml

Personality profiling Even though our callings might be different from Paul’s, God has given each of us a distinct personality and abilities to perform a particular task. Our challenge is to accept the way that He has made us and to run with the qualities we have been given. Personality profiling is a means of measuring

Charles is an experienced careers coach and founder of Christian‐based careers coaching service Want2get on? (www.want2geton.co.uk), which offers one‐on‐one careers counselling, workshops and seminars. He wrote The Christian Guide to Jobs and Careers (www.hope4acareer.com), is a busy dad of three young boys and husband to an overworked doctor. He also leads the men’s ministry at Oasis Church in Colliers Wood.


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BUSINESS

STUART RIVERS

Making Your Mark

adding products or services, or even partnering with another company to maximise sales may also be a time‐sensitive decision. And then there’s the ‘point of need’ opportunity. I recently returned from Brazil, having completed seven flights in six days as I visited staff in different cities. On arrival at Heathrow, I discovered that my suitcase had been damaged during the last leg of the trip. While my immediate reaction was one of annoyance, I was soon delighted by the service I received from the British Airways staff in the baggage hall. Within five minutes they had assessed the damage, checked the make, model and size of my suitcase, identified a suitable replacement from their catalogue and ordered the replacement for delivery within three days. Service excellence and a happy traveller. Experiences like this are possible because organisations recognise when others can add value to their own offering. Most interesting is that the suitcase manufacturer had a low‐cost route to market for the product precisely at the point of greatest need.

The right place

Getting it Right

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t often seems like successful businesses just happen to be in the right place at the right time, equipped with the right product or service. So how can you improve your chance of success in a world where everyone else seems to be ahead of you in the game? Let’s work backwards to see how you might improve your ability to succeed in whatever business you’re in.

The right product Having the right product or service does not necessarily mean offering something that no other company offers. In some instances, you may find yourself in this position and be the first to market with a new innovation. But being first does not in and of itself guarantee success. Indeed, it can sometimes be the most costly way to do business. Quite often – perhaps more often than not – new innovations come from adding value to an existing product or service that someone else has tested and succeeded with in the market. This is particularly true for many online offerings providing additional customer benefits that are sometimes just ‘glued’ to the main product or service. In fact, many new innovations are as much about process development or delivery platforms as they are about the product or service. The current trend of software as a service (SAAS) is one such example; allowing you to buy a usage licence rather than making a capital spend on software. Examples include: WhosOff.com, a service for managing staff leave; SalesForce.com for online CRM; and

myriad others. The benefit is low investment, scalable solutions, where the customer benefits from research and development investments made on the back of multiple customers. This kind of crowdsourcing approach to software development is proving popular as more business move to cloud‐based solutions.

BEING FIRST DOES NOT IN AND OF ITSELF GUARANTEE SUCCESS. The same can also be true of physical products, where value‐adding services complement the main offering, such as bolt‐ ons for mobile phone contracts, customisable specifications on computers or even free travel insurance with your bank account. All these basic offerings are competing in crowded marketplaces and strive to differentiate by adding value in ever‐increasing quantity. So think about your existing offering and work out where cost‐effective value can be added. Look for the edge in a crowded market.

There is clearly an element of the right place in this particular example, but I’m thinking more broadly than this. Of course, it’s good to have your product available when and where the need is greatest, but we now operate in a global marketplace. So how do we make sure we’re in the right place? One approach is to follow the competition. While this may not appear particularly beneficial, if you have differentiated yourself through value‐added benefits that the competition does not offer, you may be able to leverage their market. A more targeted approach is to segment the broad market to create niche offerings that are based upon the same central product or service. This approach enables you to achieve economies of scale for the core product, while adding low‐cost niche elements to the package to fit a specific customer group. There really are no rules for niche product development except, perhaps, that you need to research your niche and be very sure that your sales expectations are realistic before making significant investment. In other words, have an intimate relationship with your opportunity before getting married to it! n An entrepreneur with a background in marketing and business development, Stuart was recently appointed chief executive of Sailors’ Society, a Christian charity serving the needs of merchant seafarers. He previously spent 15 years at Ericsson, progressing to the role of commercial director in Sweden, before being appointed executive director of Bible Society in 2009. Stuart is a former Salvation Army officer whose parents are commissioners; his great uncle was private secretary to General William Booth. He is married to Carey and has six children and two grandchildren.

The right time When is the right time? This is a difficult question as, of course, you want to be selling all the time. But there may well be a right time to release a new version or model. There may be a right time to relaunch a product within a new marketing campaign based on what else is happening in the market. You may want to ride on the back of other market trends. Bundling your offering with other value‐ Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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BUSINESS

MATT BIRD

Relationology

Repairing Relationships

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here was one prospective client with whom I had been slowly working towards securing a contract. This client had left his day book at an event I was hosting, so I ended up carrying it around with me for several days. Eventually I decided it wasn’t needed and got fed up carrying it, so I recycled it! Within half an hour my prospective client’s PA was on the phone offering to send a courier to collect the day book because it was very important. Rarely have I felt more culpable than I did at this moment. I immediately telephoned my prospective client to explain what had happened and began repairing the relationship.

Step 1. Heartfelt Recognition The first step towards repairing relationships is heartfelt recognition that you have offended the other person. Somehow you need to find words to genuinely and authentically recognise the offence: “Please tell me how I have offended you.” “I realise I have offended you.” “I have wronged you, please tell me more.” This heartfelt recognition provides the opportunity for the offended party to communicate or ‘vent’ what you did, or didn’t do, and how it impacted them. This is a time to listen intently, to ask questions sensitively and to understand as fully as possible what has gone wrong. Whether you think the other person is justified in being offended, or whether you

think you are innocent is irrelevant. If someone is offended by you, you need to know about it. Heartfelt recognition is the first step in repairing relationships.

Step 2. Taking Responsibility The student common room was hired out for a party. It was now midnight and the music was thumping through every floor of the college. Requests had been made to turn the music down because people were trying to sleep upstairs. When all attempts at reason failed, one of the students flicked off the building’s main power switch and the very disgruntled party revellers headed home in complete darkness. You can imagine what headlined the agenda at that week’s community meeting. The college caretaker kept tropical fish, and due to the lack of electricity supplying the water pump that night, there was a fatality in the fish tank. The game was up and I found myself taking responsibility for flicking the power switch. Whether the offence was intentional or not, as in the tragic case of the tropical fish, there is a need for one or both parties to start taking responsibility. Most offences are not malicious; they are genuine mistakes with unintended consequences. Whatever the intention, taking responsibility is essential: “I was wrong.” “I know I have let you down.” “It was my mistake.” There can be no avoidance, no excuses and no pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. The offence needs to be owned. Taking responsibility is the second critical step on the pathway to repairing relationships that have gone wrong.

Step 3. Expressing Regret Ensuring that the offended party knows of your remorse is fundamental in moving on from the past to the future: “I am sorry.” “I regret what has happened.” “Please forgive me.” There is no way out. If we have upset, hurt or offended someone, nothing less than a sincere and full apology will suffice. Expressing regret is the third step in the process of repairing relationships.

Step 4. Making Restitution Middle age has truly arrived in the Bird family.

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We recently took on the tenancy of an allotment, and the whole family is excited by it. So keen are we that we had rail sleepers delivered so that we could build a raised planting bed for each of the children to call their own. The flatbed lorry dropped off the railway sleepers and headed off, but little did we know that the driver decided to take the long route out of the allotment and got stuck in mud up to its axels. In fact, it was stranded over the weekend until a special recovery lorry vehicle could be dispatched. It wasn’t until the following week that we discovered what had happened. We were mortified and made an apology to the chair of the allotment association. In addition, we headed off with our spades to repair the mud track that had been left, with four big potholes. Words are cheap unless they are accompanied by action. The words “I am sorry, please forgive me” are relatively easy to say, but putting things right is harder to do. Sometimes the most practical act of restitution is obvious, but on other occasions we need to ask: “How can I put things right?” “What can I do to make it better?” “What is the best way to repair the relationship?” A verbal apology may mean swallowing our pride, but acting to repair the relationship or restore the situation is a tougher assignment. The act of putting things right can sometimes lead to greater trust and a stronger relationship. Making restitution is the fourth step in repairing relationships.

Step 5. Offering Reassurance Most of us have habitual behaviours that other people struggle with. These bad habits are particularly difficult for those who are closest to us, because they experience them most frequently. The habitual nature doesn’t take away from the need to offer reassurance to the people we offend: “It won’t happen again.” “I will try my very best not to do that again.” “Will you help me change?”

NOTHING LESS THAN A SINCERE AND FULL APOLOGY WILL SUFFICE. The sobering challenge for all of us is to consider how we can avoid repeatedly offending people and assure them of our positive intentions. A commitment to avoid doing something again by offering reassurance is the final step in repairing relationships. So what happened with the prospective client whose day book I had thrown away? Well, as it turned out, that same telephone call also resulted in him confirming that he would like us to do business together. All the best to you as you practise and master the art of repairing relationships. n Matt Bird, The Relationologist, helps people to build the relationships they need to achieve greater success. If you would like to know more, sign up for his weekly blog at www.relationology.co.uk.


Advertising Sales: Duncan Williams, Tel: 07960 829615

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ADVICE

OUR EXPERTS

SMART TALK

With Ben Sinclair, Jojo Meadows and Richard Taylor Sponsored by Christian Single Mix Ben recently became a father and works as a GP with an interest in men’s health and as an emergency doctor. He also raises awareness through the Optimise Clinic, providing a bespoke mobile medical service for busy working people. www.optimiseclinic.co.uk/ twitter@Menshealthtips

Jojo Meadows is passionate about spreading God’s word in an outside-the-box way. Reaching out to the brokenhearted, she trained as a pregnancy crisis/relationship counsellor and worked within the Solihull community helping to run a crisis centre there. Jojo was headhunted by Connexions, where she developed courses for senior schools. She has been through many life-changing experiences including anorexia, teenage pregnancy, rape and cervical cancer. These became her motivation in helping others who find themselves struggling through difficult circumstances.

Founding pastor of Victory Church in Cwmbran, South Wales, Richard Taylor is a church leader and author. For many years, Richard has been impacting lives with his down-to-earth humour, passion and genuine love for God and people. Along with his wife Jill and their four sons, Richard founded Victory Church in January 2010. Under his inspirational leadership, the church has grown into a vibrant congregation.

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Saying Goodbye My wife lost our baby while six months pregnant and sadly had to deliver the baby. This has been one of the toughest times for us as a couple. My wife is traumatised and always crying. Sometimes she has OK days and others it’s like the day our baby died. I have tried to remain strong for her, but in being strong for her I haven’t had time to grieve. It is now coming out in different ways. I am getting frustrated and angry at her emotions. What can I do to grieve but still be strong for my wife? Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss and the traumatic experiences that you have both had to go through. It is only natural for a build‐up of emotions to eventually blow up. It is important for you to talk this through with your wife, hear her and get the space you both need to grieve. You could involve a third person, someone that you trust to help articulate each other’s heart. Most importantly, she needs a listening ear and you also need time to process what has happened.

RT

JJ

I am so sorry for your loss. It is a very traumatic and

heartbreaking scenario losing a baby. My heart is with you both at this time. I want to acknowledge what an amazing husband you have been but, as you recognise, you also need to

I am married and in a church, and my position is quite high within the church. I have never told anyone about this, and have been seriously considering whether it’s worth telling anyone, but my wife hits me. She hits me quite a lot and it’s unprovoked! I feel unable to tell anyone as it is so embarrassing as a man to have my wife hit me. I have sat down with her and asked her to stop and tried talking rationally. At the time she appears mortified by what she does, but it’s just not stopping. What do I do?

RT This is not an easy situation for

you and I understand your fears. You both need to get to the bottom of why this is happening. Is she angry with you? Does she have unresolved wounds? Is it a chemical imbalance that needs treatment? It would be helpful to find a couple – maybe outside of your church – to

grieve. I want to signpost you to Saying Goodbye (www.sayinggoodbye.org). It’s a charity that holds days and events where all mothers and fathers who have lost babies can go to a church, light a candle and talk it over with counsellors and people in the same position. I hope this helps.

work with you together and ask these questions over a period of time. You are doing the right thing in bringing this out and being open with others; this is a huge step forward.

JJ Whether it is a man hitting a

woman or a woman hitting a man, domestic violence is not acceptable. So it’s absolutely worth you telling someone. I hope you feel better for actually sharing it and exposing the truth. Your wife needs help. I think the first port of call is your GP, who can signpost you to the right organisations. I also think you need to choose someone in the church you can trust and be open with them, and let them help and support you. Here is a site that can help you: www.mensadviceline.org.uk.

BS Men constitute about one‐third

of domestic violence victims in the UK. Due to reporting bias, this is not widely known as most stories traditionally portray men as the aggressor. In recent times we are realising that women suffer from


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ADVICE I am a Christian and have serious concerns about my partner. I believe in marriage and that it is a covenant between two people. My wife on the other hand is telling me she is bored and that she has met someone else, but only wants to have freedom to be herself as with me she feels stifled. How can I woo my wife back and be everything she needs? You are correct, marriage is a covenant between two people and I am so sorry to hear of the problems you’re facing. In light of the covenant aspect of marriage, people often say that marriage is ‘give and take’. I always encourage people that marriage is ‘give and give’. Of course, there are times when the other person simply won’t budge and is determined to go their own way, which makes marriages irreconcilable. I can recommend Every Man’s Marriage by Stephen Arterburn. It’s a great book that helps us men understand the heart of a woman.

RT

JJ Sadly, you cannot woo her back. It seems her mind is set and she is manifesting deep dissatisfaction, but not just from the marriage. Your wife seems a little lost and waylaid in life and just needs some gentle guidance. I suggest you find a good marriage

many problems traditionally associated with men. Often violence is due to frustration or anger issues and experiences of violence in the past. Support, counselling and therapy can help. Choose a trusted Christian brother

counsellor in your area and ask her if you can attend together. Use www.counselling‐ directory.org.uk/marriage.html to find somewhere near you.

BS If your wife is a believer,

she has a worship problem and has taken her eyes off Jesus as the true giver of freedom. You should pray and urge her to seek godly friends and counsel. If she’s not a believer, you can appeal to the marriage vows you said at the beginning. There may be problems under the surface, so signalling that you are willing to do whatever it takes to fix your relationship may help, but ultimately it is up to her whether she responds if you are truly willing to engage with her concerns. You need solid brothers to walk with at this time and it’s worth having a chat with your pastor for support. n

CONTACT US: Got a problem and need an answer? Email: jo@sorted-magazine.com or write to: Smart Talk, Sorted Magazine, PO Box 3070, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 6WX

to share this with. There are a few organisations working with men suffering from domestic violence: www.mankind.org.uk should be your first port of call as the leading charity working with domestic violence against men. n Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

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ADVICE

JONATHAN SHERWIN

Big Questions

Belief in God: Is It Just Wishful Thinking? n Without good reasons for God it’s unreasonable to say that God exists n Therefore God doesn’t exist However, there is a huge jump from premise two to premise three! Since when did the way anyone believes in something amount to any sort of evidence for or against that very thing? Let me offer an analogy. I might believe that aeroplanes are carried magically across the sky by hoards of tiny invisible bats, contrary to all the laws of lift and thrust. I would be completely unreasonable in my belief structure, but that doesn’t mean that aeroplanes don’t exist! It’s entirely possible to do the sums wrong and end up with the right answer.

For and against

“Y

ou only believe in God because you want someone to be there. You want your life to have meaning and purpose; you want the comfort of knowing someone is in control of it all. In short, your faith is simply a psychological crutch.” Have you ever heard something like that? This common objection against faith in God is that many people only believe because they want to believe in God. That is, they do not believe on the grounds of good reason. According to the argument, belief in God typically comes about as a result of experiencing pain, worry or heartache – something negative – to which the person responds by choosing to believe in God to make things better. Psychologist Sigmund Freud described religion as a manmade system of belief invented to cope with the “crushingly superior force of nature”. The believer is said to project a view of God in much the same way, perhaps, that a child believes that good fairies are protecting them from all the nasty goblins and things under the bed while they sleep. It’s

something one believes to be true in order to feel better. Recently I found myself at a talk listening to AC Grayling, a celebrated philosopher and one of the so‐called ‘New Atheists’, whose recent book The God Argument seeks to counter faith in religion with an optimistic view of humanism.

NON-BELIEF IN GOD COULD ALSO BE WISH FULFILMENT. One of the arguments heavily pushed by Grayling in that talk was of this type of ‘wish fulfilment’. In fact, at a few points, Grayling actually likened the argument for the existence of God to an argument for the existence of fairies at the end of the garden. So what does this argument really prove? Grayling offered this argument in support of the idea that there is no God. But wait just a minute… What actually is the argument? It can be laid out like this: n Many people believe in God for psychological reasons n These psychological reasons aren’t reasonable

This same argument could be deployed against those who don’t believe in God. Could we not say that non‐belief in God could also be wish fulfilment? That is, that you don’t want someone to tell you what is right and what is wrong; someone that might interfere with your life. You don’t want a higher power to exist, so you believe and live in such a way that there isn’t? Listen to Thomas Nagel, another philosopher, sharing his thoughts candidly on the matter of belief in God: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well‐informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. The fact of the matter is that the way in which someone believes in God does not speak to the reasonableness of the existence of God. There are many reasonable cases to be made for God, including the historical accounts of Jesus, the evidence of the resurrection, the arguments on design and morality, and so on. Dismissing the existence of God, as Grayling would like to do, because of the way some choose to believe in God, does not make for a compelling case. And on closer inspection, the argument scuttles itself by the very fact that this argument is not reasonable. n Jonathan lives in Oxford where he runs Latimers, a place for people to challenge and investigate the Christian faith. He graduated from the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and now works as an itinerant evangelist, which involves co‐leading CVM’s Demolition Squad. Join the conversation online: www.jonathansherwin.net.

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OPINION

RICHARD HARDY

Family

A Tale of Two Men

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recently met two men in very different places and from very different backgrounds. One had been brought up in a Christian home, the other had not. One was on the way into faith the other was on the way out. One was in the pub, the other in a church. One had no experience of God, the other had had “encounters” he could not explain. Both asked whether Christianity works in the real world. One said no, the other said maybe.

I wonder if you can guess which is which? I asked the one brought up in the Christian home to describe the god he wasn’t sure he believed in any more. He said: “God is always looking to trip me up and catch me out. He’s a distant God. He always makes me feel insignificant, insecure and lacking in self‐ worth. He wants to control my life, narrow my options and stunt my growth. When I feel bad he makes me feel worse. When I am in real need and cry out, he never answers. He seems to favour others, but not me.” I must have looked shocked, because he suddenly looked puzzled. I told him I wasn’t surprised he didn’t want to believe in a god like that, because I wouldn’t want to believe in him either! He answered hesitantly: “But I thought you did believe in him!” I responded by saying that I didn’t recognise the god he was describing, and that it most definitely wasn’t a Christian view of God. He was stunned. “But that’s the god I was brought up to believe in!” he said.

“WHAT I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU I’LL DENY IF YOU TELL ANOTHER LIVING SOUL.” At that moment I realised that before he or anyone could come to know the Christian God, who manifests Himself most fully in Jesus, he was going to have to jettison the false view of ‘god’ that filled his event horizon. It also made me realise that there can be no room in a person’s life for two gods. As Jesus pointed out, you will love the one and hate the other. Or as the first commandment says: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I wonder how many would come to the one true God if it wasn’t for the faulty view of ‘god’ that blocks their way into true relationship. There are those whose view of God is so skewed that it actually amounts to an idol; a poor facsimile of the real thing. So I set about deconstructing this man’s false

god in order to point him the real God. I told him that the God of the Bible was unconditionally loving and at the same time totally and completely just. I described how Jesus voluntarily left heaven and in the process let go of his divine abilities to become fully human. I told him that Jesus did this not simply to reconcile him to God, but also to satisfy the demands of divine love on the one hand and justice on the other. I invited him to turn his back on his false god and embrace the true one. I told him that those who did found freedom, forgiveness, fullness and fruitfulness stretching from this life into the next. With a look of wide‐eyed wonderment, he asked: “Why has no one ever told me this before?” I said: “I’m sure they have, but maybe you just weren’t listening.”

Are you listening? The other man had no background in faith and no benchmark to measure God against. He attended an event I was speaking at, and in a moment of rash honesty he told me he was there under sufferance having been dragged along by his wife. “Quite honestly,” he said, “I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but then you started to speak and – to my surprise – what you said

made sense. In fact, apart from the God thing I realised that what you were teaching would work in my world!” Then he turned to me and said, in a very subversive manner: “What I’m about to tell you I’ll deny if you tell another living soul. I’ve had ‘encounters’ that I cannot explain other than being from God!” I expressed interest and surprise and the conversation moved on to other, more trivial, things. It wasn’t until the next day that we spoke again. He came up to me and said: “I’ve been thinking about those things you said yesterday and I’ve realised that if they work in my world, then maybe God will too!” I assured him that God would and pointed out that the reason God’s words worked in the real world was that they were true. What about you? Is the god you say you don’t believe in the real God? Is He the God that will work in your world? Isn’t it worth checking Him out before you jettison the good with the bad; the true with the false? After all, it would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bath water! n Richard Hardy is a Baptist minister and director of the Entheos Trust, which encourages leaders and enables churches to engage with their communities. Richard has spoken on community engagement, marriage and parenting at many national conferences. He has also written extensively on community and family issues (www.theentheostrust.org).

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OPINION

SAM GIBB

Faith

Let the Bromance Begin

I

permanently bearded Ben Affleck) that I recently came across a mobile app called ‘Bromance: the location‐based network for dudes that do!’, along with the tagline ‘Live, Laugh, Fist Bump’. Not since Private Eye have satire and reality been so difficult to separate. I’ll be honest, even I, practically a spokesperson for bromance incorporate, find this a little odd.

I’D DO ANYTHING FOR THESE BOYS, BUT THEN AGAIN MAYBE I’M JUST A ‘BROMANTIC’ AT HEART. But bromance is hardly a new craze. Some of the finest examples of bromance are found in the Bible, and probably the greatest of them all is the relationship between David and Jonathan. This Old Testament story plays out like an episode of Shameless. Saul, the current king (and Jonboy’s dad) hates David as he recognises that God is going to hand David his kingdom. Using spears, his daughters as bait and (when these don’t work) an army of 3,000 well‐ armed fellas, Saul tries to take David’s life and keep the crown for himself. But Jonathon sees something in David, God’s anointed but not

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yet appointed, king. They develop an incredible friendship that leads to Jonathan’s death and David’s survival, but ultimately to God’s glory as David becomes a great king, leading his people back into relationship with the living God. This is the bromance to trump all bromances; man hugs, fist bumps and all. As we look for bromantic interest in our own lives, is that also our aim? That God might be glorified through out friendships with fellas? That we might find blokes who challenge us when we need it, guys who push us to the limit and who ask us the questions we least want but most need? Chaps who enable us to fulfil God’s will in our lives like King Dave and Jonboy? You see, most of the time I’m like Tom Cruise at a foot spa: completely out of my depth. That’s why the bromances in my life are invaluable. I’ve got mine and wouldn’t lose them for the world, so what about you? It doesn’t take long to type ‘fancy a trip to the pub?’, and who knows, a budding and God‐glorifying bromance could be just one text away. n Sam Gibb is a twenty‐something currently living in London and working at All Souls, Langham Place. His passion is to present the message and teachings of Jesus to men in a way that makes sense to them. He has written a series of Bible studies aimed at lads on topics such as comedy, war and sport. Sam’s heroes are the apostle Paul, Alan Shearer and Garfield, though not necessarily in that order. You can follow him on Twitter at @samggibb.

Photo by Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

just got married. Well, actually I didn’t yet, but by the time you read this I will have. Hopefully. If not, I’ll be hiding in a cave somewhere staying clear from the ‘should‐have‐been’ parents‐in‐law and almost‐but‐not‐quite wife, desperately hoping they’re not reading this! No, I promise, I’m definitely married, and (I’m sure) it’s great. As well as getting married this summer I have also had the privilege of preaching at the weddings of two close friends; lads who I have loved with every ounce of my person. We have grown up and travelled the world together and now we are all getting hitched within a matter of weeks. We’ve watched sunsets in various continents, played heads and volleys in hundreds of parks and run around the village painted blue dressed as Smurfs. Frankly, I’d do anything for these boys, but then again maybe I’m just a ‘bromantic’ at heart. You simply can’t beat a good bromance and whether it’s Batman and Robin, Ross and Chandler or (my current favourite bromance) Max and Paddy, two beards are always better than one. Don’t get me wrong, we love our wives, but I’m unlikely to turn down a couple of pints with the lads for a night in with Downton Abbey (at least once a week!). It seems that, after years in the wilderness, the bromance is finally beginning to rear its unshaven head. In fact, so popular is this current wave of bromancing (advocates include uber‐manly Jason Bourne himself in the guise of Matt Damon with the


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OPINION

LYNDON BOWRING

Politics

Out of Europe

W

e’ll always be part of Europe, even if we were to leave the EU. In a recent YouGov poll, nearly one in five Conservative Party members said they were seriously considering abandoning the Tories, with many turning to the UK Independence Party (UKIP) instead. For some, this is a protest against David Cameron’s determination to redefine marriage, while others feel we are governed too much by Brussels. Feelings are running high over whether or not Britain should stay in Europe, although we can’t actually disconnect ourselves from our continent and opt to join Asia or America instead! So should we withdraw from the European Union or stay put? There are strong arguments on both sides. The press is filled with scare stories about massive waves of immigration, financial ruin, dangerous economic and political isolation; the costs of the Brussels ‘gravy train’, pronouncements on human rights and freedoms, and the plight of poorer nations if stronger states such as the UK withdraw. But behind all the news stories about the EU and the somewhat meteoric rise of Nigel Farage and his party, there is much more going on in European politics. And some of it is really positive, although you may not hear of it from the popular media. From our office next to the European Parliament in Brussels, CARE has been vigilant. The charity is encouraging many countries in Europe that share a measure of Christian heritage and outlook to bring resolutions to the table that protect the most vulnerable and that respect human life. Sometimes we have joined unlikely coalitions of organisations that

may heartily disagree on some matters but are united with us on others. To say that the political institutions of Europe are complicated is an understatement! We are all aware of the European Parliament, which represents the 28 states of the European Union. But what many people do not realise is that alongside this exists the much larger Council of Europe, comprising 47 countries, which was set up to promote democracy and to protect human rights and the rule of law throughout the continent. The 636 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of this council meet in the French city of Strasbourg to debate a wide range of subjects and their recommendations provide important guidelines for others to follow.

SO SHOULD WE WITHDRAW FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION OR STAY PUT? In fact the, the assembly has made several positive proposals that could influence the EU Parliament. A number have been adopted – with overwhelming majorities! These include proposals to: n Consider criminalising the purchase of sex n Fight against the sexual exploitation of children n Defend religious liberty and parents’ rights to have children educated according to their own convictions n Establish proper ethical standards when it comes to developments in science and technology. It will be interesting to see where these

agreements lead. Whatever the UK does about the EU, we will always be part of Europe – those 47 states that make up the Council of Europe – and we must do all we can to influence the laws that are passed in Brussels and Strasbourg for the sake of the generations to come. Find out more at www.careforeurope.org. n Lyndon Bowring was born in Wales and studied at London Bible College. He is an associate minister at Kensington Temple, and has been executive chairman of CARE for more than 25 years. His hobbies include watching rugby, exploring London’s restaurants and developing friendships. He lives in London with his wife Celia, and they have three children.


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OPINION

LEE AND BAZ

Cut to the Chase and after rearranging a few things and driving to an appointment, a big coaching client just didn’t show up. I’d had it. Three days of office work culminating in three big hassles just about finished me off. I was truly fed up. Yes, you heard me right. I was fed up, ready for a break, and ready, at one point, for a new career! Thankfully I’m not the kind of speaker who pretends they never have a bad day. My friend Paul McGee taught me that, and in fact he reminded me of it just the other day. Handy. You see, having a not so good day is quite normal. It’s what we do with it that counts. So I went home grumpily, ate my tea grumpily, and then grumpily went into my man cave for an hour or so. Then, when I was ready, I decided to do something about it. I was ready to change ‘my state’ as some people would say. I put on some good loud music while I emptied and stacked the dishwasher, and then I simply went up to my whiteboard, grabbed a pen and wrote down in columns the three problems, the gig I had the next day, my main to‐do item, and a list of things I was grateful for.

I WAS TRULY FED UP. YES,YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. I WAS FED UP, READY FOR A BREAK, AND READY, AT ONE POINT, FOR A NEW CAREER!

It’s Been a Bad Day BY LEE JACKSON

I

’m sometimes described as a motivational speaker, a job title that I have to use for two reasons. One, people understand it these days; and two, it’s what people Google, and Google sometimes gets me work. But I’ll be honest, it’s not a title I particularly like. It could be worse, I guess: taxman, banker, second‐ hand car salesman, estate agent… The reason I don’t like it is the baggage attached to it. For some it conjures up the image of shiny people in shiny suits and fake teeth shouting “Yee haw! You can do it!” with a painted on smile. Born in the industrial North East of England

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and now living in Yorkshire, that isn’t me; I’m a northern bloke. Basically, I do research and presentations that people say help them at work or in education. I’m happy with that and it’s a privilege to do it. But being a speaker is a strange job. One week you’re really busy and the next week it’s quieter. That’s life, that’s business. I can handle that. This week has been a quieter week and to be honest it hasn’t been the best week. The other day was simply not a good day. Amongst the admin and marketing there were a couple of lighter moments, but not many. But, there were also three really annoying moments. Another speaker caused me some hassle, a good client surprisingly let me down,

I then thought about the problems and asked two of the most powerful questions: Was it my fault? And, did I try my best? None of the three problems was my fault and there’s nothing more I could do to sort them out, so I crossed them off the whiteboard and concentrated on the next day, and also on the good stuff in my life. I’d tried my best and it wasn’t my fault, so I wasn’t going to dwell on the issues. That’s not an easy task for blokes, but it’s a simple one. We do simple. In all the years I’ve been researching real success in education and the workplace I’ve come to this conclusion. The difference between people who make it and those that don’t is this: it’s what they do on their not‐so‐ good days. It’s what they put into practice when they don’t feel like it. That’s what really counts. When have you had a day like this? How did you move on, as Paul McGee would say? The world is complex enough without us making it harder for ourselves. Find the strategy that works for you and put it into practice – often. I do. n Lee’s proper job is professional speaker, PowerPoint surgeon and presentation coach. He can be reached through leejackson.biz . Lee is also one half of ‘Lee and Baz’. Together with his mate Baz Gascoyne he has written a few down‐to‐earth men’s books and spoken at many men’s conferences. He lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and twin daughters.


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FERNANDINHO

SOCCER

AND THE CITY BY STUART WEIR

I

t was a turbulent summer at Manchester City – isn’t it always these days? One major event was the sacking of Roberto Mancini for failing to achieve his targets. In 2011, Mancini guided Manchester City to the FA Cup – the club’s first trophy since the League Cup in 1976 – having been appointed to replace Mark Hughes as manager in December 2009. In 2011‐12, City were League champions for the first time since 1968. Then in 2012‐13 they were runners up in both the Premier League and the FA Cup. If that is failure, then I am sure a lot of other clubs would love to fail. That’s the way Manchester City has been run since it was acquired by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, and new manager Manuel Pellegrini is an unknown quantity. The 59‐year‐old Chilean has coached in Chile, Argentina and most recently in Spain. At Villarreal between 2004 and 2009 he took the team into the Champions League. Then he spent a year at Real Madrid, where he was sacked after the team finished second in the League. He managed Malaga between 2010 and 2013 and again secured them a Champions League place. However, he won no trophies during his ten years in Spain and he has no experience of English football. So will he prove to be a better bet than Mancini? Time will tell. During the summer, Manchester City were seemingly linked with every world‐class player: Radamel Falcao (who ended up at AS Monaco), Edinson Cavani (Paris St‐ Germain) and Wayne Rooney to name but three. One player who did join Manchester City during the close season was 28‐year old Brazilian Fernandinho, or Fernando Luiz Roza to give him his full name. At face value, this is an intriguing signing. While Falcao and Cavani are proven goal scorers and have played at the highest levels in Spain and Italy, respectively, Fernandinho has been playing in Ukraine of all places and has failed to secure a regular place in the Brazil squad. Fernandinho played for Brazil in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. With a win, a draw and a defeat, Brazil scraped into the final where they beat Spain 1‐0. The final brought about an eventful few minutes for Fernandinho. With three minutes to go he scored the winning goal, but he was then shown a red card before the final whistle. Like many Brazilian footballers, he dreamed of playing in Europe. When he was completing his third season with Clube Atlético Paranaense in Brazil, the chance came. It didn’t, however, come from Spain or Italy, but from FC Shakhtar Donetsk. A bid of £7 million was accepted and Fernandinho was on his way to Ukraine. This was a good time to join Shakhtar. They had won the League championship in 2004‐5 and wanted to kick on and make an impact in Europe. Backed by the financial clout of club owner Rinat Akhmetov, the club – based in a city founded by Welsh industrialist John Hughes in the 19th century that is marked by Soviet high‐rises and devoid of architectural beauty – had ambitious plans to develop the team and its stadium. The new Donbass Arena, one of the finest football grounds in Europe, was used as a venue for Euro

2012, hosting England’s win over Ukraine. “To be honest, when I was a 20‐year‐old crossing the ocean to find myself in a completely unknown country I could hardly imagine that I would stay here for more than two or three seasons,” he says. “But it became a rapidly growing club and everything changed quickly for the better. We achieved some significant results and my opinion about Shakhtar and its prospects changed.”

“I WAS DRINKING A LOT, I LOVED PARTIES. I SAID BAD THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE AND MADE LIFE DIFFICULT FOR MY PARENTS.” Fernandinho’s time in Ukraine was one of unqualified success. In his eight seasons, Shakhtar won the league six times, the Ukrainian Cup four times and the Super Cup three times. His record boasted 284 games for Shakhtar, with 53 goals scored. A highlight was winning the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) in 2009, beating Werder Bremen in the final. When he left, the club website paid him this tribute: “FC Shakhtar thank Fernandinho for those eight years spent at the Donetsk club for his goals and commitment. Ferna is not just a high‐class player, but also a wonderful person with a big heart and open soul. Thank you and good luck at the new club!” Another life‐changing event happened while Fernandinho was playing in Ukraine. He takes up the story: “From a young age I tried everything this world can offer. As a 19‐year‐old professional player I had money to buy a house, a car and many other things, but at that age I was not ready for real life. “I was drinking a lot, I loved parties. I said bad things about people and made life difficult for my parents. I will never forget the day when a close friend (we grew up together) gave me the Bible and told me: ‘In this book you can meet a man who can become your best friend for life.’ “For two years I didn’t touch this book and I didn’t read even a single word of it. When I moved to Ukraine from Brazil to play football, I continued to live my normal life. I used to drink, party, cheat and do all the things that God doesn’t like. I reached a point where I felt that my life stopped, that I couldn’t go further or back. Everything was bad then, even my football. “I read from the Bible and thought a lot about it until I was ready to receive Jesus in my life as my saviour. And God started to change me as I studied his Word. I want to tell you that Jesus Christ is my power. Everything I do, I do it in His name. That I was part of the team that won the UEFA Cup is a sign of God’s blessing on my life.” The one major disappointment in Fernandinho’s career has been his failure to establish himself in the Brazil team. First picked in 2011, he has made five appearances for Brazil, but was not included in the 2013 Confederations Cup squad. That is, of course, a reflection of the strength of the Brazilian midfield, with Oscar and Neymar to name just two of their star players. Fernandinho is in good company as 2007 World f

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Player of the Year, Real Madrid’s Kaká, was also omitted from the Confederations Cup squad. So keen was Fernandinho to play in the Premiership that he is reported to have waived his right to around £4 million in bonuses due to him from Shakhtar in order to speed the transfer. He told the City website: “This is a change, a challenge and a chance I have been waiting a long time for. Playing in the Premier League for Manchester City is like a dream. “My ambition in England will be to win all titles. The team here is strong and so is the greatness of the club and the supporters. Professionally this is a spectacular thing. Playing for a huge club in a huge League makes me so happy. The club’s ambition got my attention. This was shown to me as well as the greatness of the club, their supporters and this was fundamental to my decision. “Shakhtar initially said they would not sell me at any price. I said I wanted the chance to play in a higher league than Ukraine. It was a battle, but thank God

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everything worked out. Professionally it’s a spectacular thing. The different between the leagues is huge and I am excited to be at Manchester City. I hope I can repay the club for what they done for me. There is big ambition and [the] team is strong. I believe I will be able to do the same here as I did at Shakhtar and we will compete for every trophy.” As Manchester City strive to regain the Premier League title, Fernandinho will be at the heart of their midfield. Time will tell as to whether he can help City establish the dominance he enjoyed at Shakhtar. n Stuart Weir is passionate about Jesus Christ and about sport, and he spends his life trying to help people make the connection. He has written several books about sport and Christianity and has worked as a sports writer at Olympic, Paralympic and World Championship events. He has been to three football World Cups and was Togo’s Olympic attaché at the 2012 Olympics. Married to Lynne, he has two grown‐up children. He is a member of Kidlington Baptist Church and Frilford Heath Golf Club.


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The Final Hurdle BY STUART WEIR

T

he 110 metres hurdles or ‘high hurdles’ race is a strange event. It’s bad enough having to run 110 metres in 13 seconds, but having to clear 10 hurdles at 1.06 metres (42 inches) as well? It’s tough, but the hurdles race has been part of the Olympic programme since the start of the modern Olympiad in 1896. The first recorded hurdles race in the UK – which featured wooden barriers – was in 1830, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge first competed over hurdles in 1864. Modern hurdles are L‐shaped and are designed to fall forwards to reduce the risk of injury to the hurdler. However, they are sufficiently heavy, so that hitting them causes a significant disadvantage to the hurdler. Part of the appeal of the event for the spectator is that disaster is only a slight misjudgement away even for the elite. It is not uncommon for a runner to trip on a hurdle, crashing to the ground and out of the race. The event is also quite taxing for its administrators. A few years ago at Crystal Palace, a hurdles race ended in chaos when officials placed one of the hurdles in the wrong position, causing the runners to stop. And at the 2012 Manchester City Games, the women’s hurdles race seemed to have passed off satisfactorily until someone noticed that there were only nine hurdles instead of ten. Going into 2012, the favourites for the Olympic title were Cuba’s Dayron Robles and Liu Xiang of China. Robles was the 2008 Olympic champion and he finished first in the 2011 World Championships, but was controversially disqualified for making contact with Xiang’s arm. Xiang was the 2004 Olympic champion and the 2007 world champion, but he withdrew from the race at his home Olympics in 2008 due to a foot injury. In the 2011 World Championships he finished third, but was awarded the silver medal when Robles was disqualified. Then there was Aries Merritt, who served a long apprenticeship in reaching the top. In 2004, aged 19, he won the World Junior Championships in Athletics in 13.56 seconds. It was a promising start, but then nothing much happened. He experienced an unbeaten college season in 2006, then in his first World Championships in 2009 he came 27th. His time of 13.70 was slower than at the World Juniors. In an exclusive interview, he tells Sorted: “One of the reasons it took me such a long time to reach world class was that I had a lot of coaching changes. In 2004, after I won [the] World Juniors, my college coach left to go to a different college and told me I could not pursue him until I finished my collegiate career. So I had to stay in school

and finish up, and after that it took an additional four years to reach the level of fitness that I wanted to reach. “I suffered a lot of injuries as well, so it was setback after setback until eventually I got with a coach who understood my body. It wasn’t easy. It took a bit of figuring out, and eventually I am where I am.” In 2011, he came fifth in the World Championships, but with a time of 13.67. Ironically, his semi‐final time of 13.32 would have got him third place in the final. Then his breakthrough came in 2012. The year started well with a win in the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in the 60 metres hurdles with a time of 7.44. Xiang Liu came in second.

“THE WORLD RECORD IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE YOU NEED MORE THAN A GOOD TRAINING SESSION.YOU NEED CONDITIONS,YOU NEED A FAST TRACK AND YOU NEED COMPETITION.” Aries’ assessment of Istanbul was: “Istanbul was one of my better races, but the race at [the] US nationals – to make the team for Istanbul – was actually better than Istanbul. My start in Istanbul was way better than I expected. My start at trials was poor, but I ran 7.43. “With my start in Istanbul, if I could have [had] the same run as in the trials, I could probably have run 7.30‐ something. But a win is a win. I can’t be greedy and I can’t complain. I did show the world that I had arrived, but I think the entire year of 2012 was my breakthrough; not one particular meet.” Aries adds that his success in 2012 was based on the foundations laid the previous year: “2011 was the first time I was healthy for a big portion of [the] year. I had a good year’s training in 2011 and everything I did carried over to 2012. I made a few changes in my technique to the first hurdle; my diet was another. “I stayed healthy the whole season, so I was able to train without missing many training sessions,” he says. In previous years I would get hurt and miss a month of training. This was the first year I was able to train without injury.” Merritt referred to a change in technique. Top male hurdlers traditionally took eight strides from the starting blocks to the first hurdle, both indoors and outdoors. f

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However, beginning in the 2000s, some hurdles coaches embraced a transition to a faster seven‐step start, teaching male competitors to lengthen their first few strides out of the starting blocks. Dayron Robles set his 2008 world record of 12.87 using a seven‐step start. Liu Xiang won the 2004 Olympics and broke the world record in 2006 utilising an eight‐step approach, but he had switched to seven steps by the 2011 outdoor season. After the 2010 outdoor season, American Jason Richardson switched to a seven‐step start and went on to win the 2011 World Championships. Aries switched from eight to seven in training towards the end of 2011 for implementation in 2012. A world indoor title, an Olympic gold, a world record and eight races in under 13 seconds seemed to vindicate the change. Merritt won the 2012 Olympic final in 12.92, with fellow American Jason Richardson in second and Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment taking the bronze. His time was more spectacular as he was running into a headwind. Liu Xiang only made the first hurdle in his heat before injury ended his Olympics, while Robles made the final but did not finish as a result of injury. Merritt said afterwards: “Everyone has their moment when they’re on fire and just sizzling. This is my time. I’m really pleased the race came to an end with me as the Sorted. Sep/Oct 2013

110 Metres Hurdles 1908 First official world record, Forrest Smithson (15 seconds) 1920 First man under 15 seconds, Earl Thomson (14.8) 1936 First man under 14 seconds, Earl Towns (13.7) 1981 First man under 13 seconds, Renaldo Nehemiah (12.93) 2012 Current world record holder, Aries Merritt (13.8)

‘big dude’, the champion. I know I may never get this opportunity again. I feel blessed.” “We were all disappointed for Liu; he’s an amazing athlete. It’s always an honour to compete against him. It was a tragedy he couldn’t compete here.” A year on, this London 2012 memory hasn’t diminished: “The London Olympics for me was a fairy tale,” he recalls. “I never imagined that I would go to the Olympics the first time and win the gold medal. I was just blessed to be able to go out and run as fast as I did in my first showing. “The London Olympics as a whole was great, the crowds were great. I think the meet was put on well; a well‐run meet. I think the UK should be very proud of the games they hosted.” While it would be easy to say that Merritt’s was a hollow victory because his two main rivals were injured, it was one of eight races in 2012 that he completed in under 13 seconds. And to prove he was a winner on ‘merit’ – come on, I had to say that somewhere – he went out and broke the world record a month after the Olympics, running it in 12.80. He recalled how it happened: “The world record was kind of not planned. I wanted it. I kept saying I was going to break it because I was having really good training sessions. But the world record is one of those things where you need more than a good training session. You need conditions, you need a fast track and you need competition. “In Brussels I had all those things. On top of that, I was just ready to go home. I just wanted to go home. It was my last meet and after it I would get to go home, so I didn’t care what happened. I had really stopped chasing the record as I reckoned I wasn’t going to get it in 2012. When I did it, I couldn’t believe it. ‘Oh my gosh, I got the record. I can’t believe it. Now I get to go home’.” Faith in God has been a constant in Aries’ life. “I grew up in the Church,” he says. “My mom is a Baptist and her mom was a Baptist. I was raised in the Church and went to church every Sunday. Not so much now because I am travelling all the time and I don’t get the opportunity to go to church as often as I should. “I still pray every night and I thank God after every race, because without him none of this would be possible. I have an app on my phone which I read daily and I’m pretty faithful. Having Jesus in my life makes a big difference, because I believe as Christians that we need something to believe in instead of man. We need someone to believe in. I believe in Jesus. He died for us and I believe that wholeheartedly.” Asked at a recent press conference whether he had any plans to try the 100 flat given that he can run it in 10 seconds, he replied that there was a difference between running 10 and running 9.5, adding that he had no plans to switch; “especially not while Usain Bolt was running”. Wise move, Aries. n

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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HEALTH & FITNESS

FITNESS With Phil Baines

keep our bodies strong, to avoid injury and to help us stay fit and healthy. Yet for most of us – and I include myself in this – we stop doing the very exercises that get us to that place as soon as we feel better and stronger. Here is a very simple example. One of my exercises is to stand on one leg for 30 seconds to a minute. I then swap legs and do the same, before repeating the process five times. This is fantastic for leg strengthening and is particularly good for the ankle, which is forced to move to maintain balance. This results in stronger ankles and reduces the risk of twisting them. It is well worth doing this simple exercise, and once it becomes easy, try doing it with your eyes closed. It is amazing how hard the ankles have to work to maintain balance.

MOST OF US DIDN’T SPEND MUCH TIME BUILDING AND TONING OUR MUSCLES.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones The toe bone connected to the foot bone, foot bone connected to the leg bone, leg bone connected to the knee bone… and so on and so forth

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e’ve probably all heard and sung this well‐ known song. Yet the human body is so much more remarkable even than this. The bones themselves are connected by ligaments, and they’re connected to muscles by tendons. The body is so intrinsically made that when one thing goes wrong it will often affect various other parts. 82

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I know this all too well, as I’m currently recovering from an operation on my knee. They took out a large chunk of cartilage that had been floating around for quite a while. We all like being told we’re young, but not when the sentence is: “You need a knee replacement but you’re too young!” I love exercising and, though painful, I’m enjoying gradually building up the muscles in my leg to support the knee. But it has reminded me just how important it is for us to

It is then possible to build up the exercise by introducing five or ten single leg squats as you balance. This can be progressed further by using some light weights and so on. The result and aim is the same: to strengthen the legs, not just for running or sports but for life. This issue is fairly topical at the time of writing. The last week has seen a great deal of debate about sports days and sport in general in our schools. I am not going to comment on the whole competitive side of things, but I honestly believe that we can introduce simple principles regarding exercise to our children that will benefit them for life. I also think this can be done in a very fun way. It’s not just the schools’ responsibility, it should firstly be a family thing. It is such a healthy thing when families exercise together. I am trying to develop this idea at the moment, and it is such a joy to see people from several different age groups all doing the same circuits and all finishing the session absolutely shattered, but buzzing at the same time. Those of you who are the same age as me (early fifties) will know that we hardly ever used to stretch at all, either before or after any form of sport. Most of us didn’t spend much time building and toning our muscles. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything and am so grateful to be able to do what I can at my age. I would just love my children to reach my age without dodgy knees, and I believe this is absolutely possible. n Phil Baines is passionate about fitness and sport. He recently began a venture called Fit 4 The Challenge (www.f4tc.co.uk), which offers a range of physical challenges for diverse abilities. Phil organises each challenge and trains individuals and teams to complete them, either for charity or for personal achievement or both. Phil is married with two teenage sons.


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HEALTH & FITNESS

NUTRITION

CHO/PRO BALANCED BREAKFAST IDEAS:

With Caroline Gerrie

Start Your Day the Smart Way I’m sure you’ve been told, probably by your mother (and your mother is right about so many things) to “eat some breakfast!” These were indeed pearls of wisdom

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reakfast literally means to break the fast. If you think about it, the last meal you ate will have been around 12 hours earlier, so your body is at its lowest point in terms of energy and nutrients first thing in the morning. Choosing the right breakfast foods can help you concentrate, give you strength and even help you maintain a healthy weight. Diet has been shown to be a key element in developing and maintaining a healthy brain, and concentration and memory are important factors in a person’s ability to learn and process information. Specific nutrients that are important for brain development are protein, essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, vitamin A, choline and folate. So the ideal breakfast should contain some of these nutrients. (See box below.) Many studies involving adults and children alike have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. Why? Well one theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day and help people

make better food choices when it comes to other meals. While it might seem that you could save calories by missing breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of ‘breakfast skippers’ and they eat more at lunchtime and also tend to snack on the wrong foods throughout the day.

BREAKFAST EATERS TEND TO WEIGH LESS THAN BREAKFAST SKIPPERS. Another theory behind the breakfast/weight control link implies that eating breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise. It’s worth noting that most studies linking breakfast to weight control looked at a healthy breakfasts containing protein and/or wholegrains rather than meals that are loaded with fat and calories. So what are the optimum foods to kickstart your day?

Cereal with milk or toast and marmalade/jam are typical breakfast choices, which release quick sources of fuel for the body. But as these are simple carbohydrates and have a high sugar loading, your body uses this energy up quickly, causing a blood sugar level drop. In order to raise your energy levels, you are more likely to reach for that tempting cake, packet of crisps or chocolate bar to pep yourself up again! The best way to ensure sharper concentration and to feel fuller for longer is to go for a carbohydrate and protein (CHO/PRO) balance. Simply incorporating a CHO/PRO element with every meal and snack will help you to achieve sustained energy levels throughout the day. So, instead of your usual morning foods, check out some quick CHO/PRO breakfast ideas shown right and see which meals work best for you. Give it a go and start your day the smart way! n Caroline Gerrie is a registered nutritional therapist and runs a clinic in West Sussex. She is also a founder of Trade Aid International. In a world of pressure, both in the workplace and at home, Caroline has a passion to see people ‘fit for purpose’, not only spiritually but physically, too. Caroline is married to David and they have three children.

Poached eggs on wholegrain toast Contains complete protein, choline and fibre.

Porridge oats with milk and mixed berries with crushed flax seeds Contains fibre, vitamins B and E, zinc and protein, plus antioxidants in the berries.

Sugar-free museli with mixed seeds and milk, plus chopped banana and almomds Contains fibre, vitamins B and E, zinc, iron, copper, protein and omega 3/6.

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on wholegrain toast Contains complete protein, choline and omega 3.

Smoked salmon on a wholegrain bagel with a dash of cream cheese Contains fibre, vitamins B and E, zinc, protein and essential fatty acids.

Mixed fruit smoothie and milk, plus chopped banana with mixed seeds and almonds Contains fibre, vitamins B, C and E, zinc, protein and essential fatty acids.


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HEALTH & FITNESS

LIFESTYLE DOC With lifestyle expert Dr Chidi (MBBS, BSc)

Are you angry? TAKE THE ANGER TEST DEVELOPED BY DR DICK TIBBITS:

1 2 3 4

When you go through an express checkout at the supermarket, you: a) Count the number of items in the basket in front of you b) Think about what you’re having for dinner When someone cuts you up while driving, you: a) Get on the horn and give that *@%!!*! driver a peace of your mind b) Are thankful that you gave yourself enough time so that you don’t have to drive like that person When you stub your toe, you: a) Kick the object b) Remind yourself to watch where you walk When you see people you don’t like, you: a) Think of all the bad things they’ve done to you b) Remind yourself that they have their own struggles

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

You are more inclined to think about: a) People who have hurt you b) People who have helped you

Don’t Make Me Mad!

A

re you angry? The average person on an average day would typically answer: “No, of course not”. If, however, I asked you whether you know someone who is angry, I’m sure the answer would be yes. It’s an interesting phenomenon that we all know angry people, but nobody identifies themselves as angry. It’s always, ‘the other guy, not me’. There are many reasons why we may not identify ourselves as angry as it’s considered a negative emotion. We tend to justify our own feelings; we don’t like to admit that we’ve lost control. Despite this, it is important for us to recognise our own anger because…

Anger kills! Dr Redford Williams at Duke University in North Carolina reviewed the anger scores of 225 physicians who had graduated from medical school 25 years earlier. He demonstrated that the medical students with the highest anger scores while training also had 84

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the highest incidence of heart disease and death 25 years later. Soon after this study, the American Heart Association declared anger to be a risk factor for heart disease. With this information, it’s vital that we recognise the anger in ourselves. We are all familiar with vein‐ popping, red‐faced anger, but that is not the most common or the most dangerous form of the emotion. Resentment, that simmering anger that’s kept below the surface, is lethal! This repression of anger, where we hold on to it but never deal with it, leads to a very stressful life. These individuals frequently see their doctors for ailments such as headaches, back pain, stomach problems and hypertension. They also suffer emotionally and spiritually, living lives of hurt, bitterness and lack of purpose. n

When waiting for an elevator, you: a) Count how long it takes on each floor and wish people would hurry up b) Talk to the person next to you When you hit a bad shot in sport, you: a) Curse and hit the ground b) Analyse how you can improve When someone is late, you: a) Think about how inconsiderate they are b) Hope nothing bad has happened When someone makes a joke about you, you: a) Immediately fire back a putdown of your own b) Laugh at the joke When you get angry, you: a) Throw things b) Talk about it You see your parents as: a) Dysfunctional b) Human

HERE’S WHAT THE RESULTS INDICATE: n No ‘a’ scores, you may be in denial about your true feelings.

Dr Chidi is president and founder of the British College of Preventative and Lifestyle Medicine, member and advisor to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and has more than 15 years of experience as a national and international health and motivational speaker. Email him on drchidi@mac.com or follow him on Twitter (@drchidi247).

n Three ‘a’ scores or fewer, you are managing your anger well. n Between four and seven ‘a’ scores, be aware that you may have difficulties on occasion. n Eight ‘a’ scores or more, you have an anger problem. Remember, good health is not always about what you eat; sometimes it’s about what’s eating you.


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HEALTH & FITNESS

HEALTHY COOKING With Chef Mike Darracott

Strawberry and Cherry Rice Crown INGREDIENTS 1 x 190g pot of low-calorie strawberry rice (chilled for 24 hours) 4 small, quartered strawberries 7 stoned and quartered red cherries

METHOD 1

Moisten a 10cm round, 2-3cm deep metal ring with water and spoon your strawberry rice into it and then transfer to a plate. If you don’t have a metal ring, it’s possible to make a circle by simply pouring the rice out of the chilled pot straight onto a plate, and then using a spoon to spread it out into a circle that is 2-3cm deep. 2 Remove the ring gently. Take your quartered strawberries, arrange them around the outside edge of the rice (see picture), making sure the strawberries are held in the rice. 3 Place the quartered cherries into the middle of the rice ring, as pictured. 4 Chill this dessert in the fridge before serving. This is one of my light summer recipes. I hope all Sorted readers enjoy making and eating it.

Michael J Darracott has been an executive chef at various large establishments. He has cooked for more than 200 people at a time, including a number of celebrities, and has published several books. For more information, visit www.chefmikedarracott.com.

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HUMOUR

TONY VINO

In Vino Veritas

Who’s ‘The Man’…?

WHAT ON EARTH IS A ‘METROSEXUAL’? SOMEONE WHO GETS TURNED ON READING FREE NEWSPAPERS?

The truth is, manhood is such an elusive concept that it cannot be defined, nor should it. It’s like dissecting a frog; once you’ve taken it apart, you’ve killed it. So don’t be defined by some false ideal. Simply be yourself and become the person you were created to be. It is all part of you: the warrior and the worrier. We will always struggle with what it is to be a man, to be a human and to truly be oneself. You are not a concept, but a person. If you can keep your head while playing Call of Duty And can hug even when your team hasn’t scored, And don’t consider crying or peach schnapps too fruity, And can watch Twilight without getting bored… …You is the bro, the dude, the mack daddy diamond geezer (innit), And – which is more – you’ll be a modern man my son! n Tony Vino is a professional stand‐up comedian who straddles the worlds of comedy clubs, corporate entertainment, churches and festivals. He co‐hosts a weekly podcast for men with Alex Willmott, which is available on iTunes.

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Photo by Dave Etheridge‐Barnes/Getty Images

This must have been the same model that appeared in the Levi’s 501 advert of the same era and cleaned his soiled trousers at a laundrette. The equally absurd premise of this advert was that he walks in and, without a care in the world, drops his keks and throws them into the washer while a pretty blond stares lasciviously at his gleaming white undies. No man would be so bold as to simply fling his trousers down without first giving a furtive glance to check that the mouse was in the house, whether he was hanging left or right and, most importantly, were there any skid marks? And no bloke ever has boxer shorts that gleaming white; for most it’s more fifty shades of grey. Rudyard Kipling gave the definitive word on manhood in his poem, If… He was a master of verse (and presumably also made exceedingly good cakes):

SO DON’T BE DEFINED BY SOME FALSE IDEAL. SIMPLY BE YOURSELF AND BECOME THE PERSON YOU WERE CREATED TO BE.

Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage

women?” “I couldn’t possibly conceive,” is the reply, “for I do not have a womb.” What is it to be a man; a proper bloke? And what on earth is a ‘metrosexual’? Someone who gets turned on reading free newspapers? The image of modern manhood is confused. Who are our role models? Someone strong and emotionally unavailable; a classic Jean‐ Claude Van Damme type (“Sure luv, I can kick him in the head, but let’s not talk about feelings, OK?”). Or the more sensitive Gok Wan type who likes shoes and stuff? Or both: a Wan Van Damme Man? I grew up in the eighties with the iconic image of manhood encapsulated in a black and white Athena poster featuring a topless male model in jeans holding a naked baby. Having a three‐month‐old baby of my own, I now see how unrealistic this pictorial idyll is. It doesn’t skip to five minutes later when the man jumps up aghast after the bambino has puked over his brand new Levi’s.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch‐and‐toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss… …Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a man, my son! Yours is the earth? Well clearly not, Rudyard, as you have just blown it all like a complete loon on pitch‐and‐toss, whatever that is; presumably an old‐school version of bet365.com. Even Rudyard was confused about what it is to be a man; some kind of closet gambler thinking it’s fine to lose the family inheritance at roulette as long as it’s kept a secret. From Jarvis Cocker to Gillette adverts, there’s a dizzying array of conflicting images defining manhood that leave us men confused, desperately trying to hold on to our manhood (don’t do that in public, you can get arrested).

Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra

“W

hat,” I hear you cry, “is the difference between men and

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HUMOUR

JEFF LUCAS

Lucas Aid

Grace Abusers

everyone would be brimming with gratitude. Upgrading is like the airline giving you a cheque for a couple of thousand pounds, such is the difference between the ticket cost of flying coach and business. And yet, strangely, many people become haughty and aggressive when they discover that they are sitting in a better seat. They become loud, demanding and obnoxious – and some even threaten to report the person who upgraded them! They abuse the grace that has been showered upon them and attack the very people who have shown them kindness.

“GOOD MORNING, MR LUCAS,” SHE SAID. “I HAVE GOOD NEWS. YOU’VE BEEN UPGRADED TO BUSINESS CLASS TODAY.”

I

stood in the airport check‐in line, dark clouds gathering in my heart as I waited. And waited. The prospect of yet another transatlantic flight spent with my legs wrapped around my neck for nine hours filled me with dread; I just wanted to be home. Airports are such lonely places, emotional black holes that are crammed full of people who have no desire to be there at all; they just desperately want to get home/on holiday/to the business meeting. And the notion that air travel is glamorous couldn’t be more flawed. Sitting strapped inside a silver tube with three hundred travellers, most of whom are fighting a losing battle against high‐altitude flatulence is hardly enchanting. I stepped forward to the ticket counter and wished that ‘beam me up Scotty’ was a usable prayer that could just get me home, right now. In a second, the sun came bursting out behind the dark clouds as the check‐in agent spoke. “Good morning, Mr Lucas,” she said. “I have good news. You’ve been upgraded to business class today.” I wanted to kiss her. Indeed, I wanted to kiss everyone in the airport, dance a waltz, sing an excerpt from The Sound of Music and laugh out loud over the airport PA system. Business class! A big, comfy seat all to myself, with champagne and edible food that looks and even tastes like food, and flight attendants who smile and don’t walk up and down the aisle with a cattle prod. This was going to be beautiful. Like a stunned lottery winner, I offered my grateful thanks and 88

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headed for the airport lounge, my heart dancing with heady exhilaration. Suddenly, the airport was a truly beautiful place to be, filled with lovely, friendly people… or so it seemed. The receptionist in the lounge smiled and asked me why I was so happy. Breathlessly, I told her my news: I had been upgraded! I chatted with the receptionist for around 15 minutes, and she told me some strange news; that many passengers react weirdly when they get a free upgrade. One would think that

I wondered if I have been a grace abuser. I have been freely, outrageously forgiven, but how willing am I to pass that grace around to those who irritate and offend me? Through the cross, God has granted me the ultimate upgrade: from a lost forever to an eternity loaded with the genuine luxury of closeness to Jesus. I have encountered too many churches that have been ripped apart by people who know well how to sing Amazing Grace, but they themselves are graceless; emotionally shrivelled and mean. Experts in conflict resolution say that Christians can be the worst at dealing with disagreement. Perhaps that’s because of our insistence that we drag God into every conflict and discord, demanding that He agree with our preference and opinion. Slogans and clichés abound when we fall out. We’re not just irritated with each other, we’re ‘grieved in our spirits’. It’s not just that the music on Sunday wasn’t to our taste, suddenly, God himself must have put His hands over His ears; after all, we didn’t like it, so surely He didn’t. Throw in a bucketload of emotive prophesies and a liberal sprinkling of spiritual superiority and


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HUMOUR you’ve got a recipe for total disaster. The Bible is patently clear about our need to not just enjoy and receive grace, but to pass it around. The forgiven are commanded to forgive. We (who must drive heaven to distraction with our idiotic, bumbling sinfulness) are exhorted to put up with each other’s foibles. We are objects of love; children of a God who is willing to trust us with everything, including the redemption of a planet. That should lead us to run from cynicism and to genuinely believe the best of each other. We will, of course, be disappointed, but far better that than to live a jaundiced existence empty of hope or optimism. Meanwhile, back in the airport lounge, another surprise was in store. Just five minutes before the flight, the friendly receptionist hurried up to me. With a huge smile, she whispered: “I know you’ve already been bumped up to business class, but we need to move another passenger up, so I’m double upgrading you and putting you in first class today. That means you get to sleep in a real bed, and you get the best food available. My jaw almost hit the floor. Grace upon grace! The first class seat would cost ten times the price of my ticket. I asked her why she had done it. “It’s simple. You were nice to me. Have a great flight.” n Jeff Lucas is an international speaker, broadcaster and author of 22 books. He loves to communicate using humour and storytelling. He is a monthly contributor to Christianity magazine and writes daily Bible reading notes, Life Every Day. Jeff holds a teaching position at Timberline Church in Colorado and is married to Kay.

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HUMOUR

CARL BEECH

The Last Word

Unsung Heroes

I

t’s pretty well known by those that read my columns or follow me on Twitter/Facebook that I love motorbikes. In fact, I tend to love anything with a combustion engine in it. However, a combustion engine with two wheels particularly floats my boat. So it was a complete laugh to spend three days recently blasting around Belgium and Northern France with a couple of mates. While we were in Belgium we had the privilege of visiting something called the Menin Gate. Many of you won’t have heard of it, but it’s something you need to know about. During World War I, nearly 900,000 British soldiers and more than 100,000 civilians lost their lives. That’s a staggering and horrific 2.2% of the British population at that time. That doesn’t of course include the wounded (many of whom were severely injured).

I WITNESSED THE LAST POST CEREMONY ITSELF AND IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST MOVING THINGS I HAVE EVER WITNESSED. A third of the total military losses occurred in Ypres (now called Ieper) and more than 90,000 soldiers have no known graves. In 1927 a memorial was opened at the Menin Gate as an expression of gratitude by the Belgian population for the sacrifices that were made for their freedom. When it opened, the Last Post (a bugle call) was played as a sign of respect and honour. Since then, something remarkable has happened that will blow your mind. Every night at 8pm, a small group of men from the local fire brigade close the road and sound the Last Post. Remarkably, they haven’t missed a night since July 28, 1928. In fact, during World War II, when Belgium was occupied, the Last Post ceremony was conducted in Surrey instead. But as soon as Polish forces liberated Ypres during World War II, the ceremony resumed; even though heavy fighting was taking place in other parts of the city. Now that’s honour! I witnessed the Last Post ceremony itself and it was one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed. During the opening ceremony at the Menin Gate in 1927, a general said something to the

grieving families: “Do not grieve. Your son is not missing, he is here!” He was referring to the fact that every soldier’s name is engraved onto the arches. It was also in Ypres that an unassuming Anglican clergyman named Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy could be found. Many know him better as ‘Woodbine Willie’, so called for his habit of dishing out Woodbine cigarettes to the wounded and dying on the battlefield, and for offering prayer and support. One celebrated story tells of him crawling out to a working party putting up wire in front of the trench. A nervous soldier challenged him, asking who he was, and he said: “The Church.” When the soldier asked what the Church was doing out there, he replied: “Its job.” He went on to be awarded the Military Cross at the Battle of Messines for running repeatedly into no man’s land to help the wounded. He died in 1929 and a crowd of more than 2,000 people turned out for his funeral procession, spreading from Worcester Cathedral to his old parish church of St Paul’s. Apparently, those in the crowd tossed packets of Woodbines towards the passing cortege, a gesture the Rev Studdert Kennedy would probably have approved of, having been a heavy smoker himself. Woodbine Willie was prepared to put his own life on the line. Motivated by God’s love and the message of Jesus, he was prepared to lose his life to bring life to others. I’ll admit it, I rode away from Ieper/Ypres with the Menin Gate and the story of Woodbine Willie giving me moist eyes and a lump in my throat. We will remember them. n

Carl is married with two daughters. He heads up Christian Vision for Men (CVM) and founded Codelife. You can follow him on Twitter @carlfbeech and on Facebook.

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SORTED magazine : Sept / Oct 2013  

The men's mag with morals! Launched by the team that brought you the hugely successful and award winning tabloid, The Son newspaper, Sorted...

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