Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My books of the year

Easy choice:

Brian Mclaren: a generous orthdoxy
Lesslie Newbiggin: The open secret
Lesslie Newbiggin: The gospel in a pluralist society

Evangelicalism can easily decay into Phariseeism: all about personal conversion, nothing about the world at large and as a whole. These books are the remedy.

That would be the Librivox recording of
William Makepeace Thackery: Vanity Fair

which I listened to by a swimming pool in Nice, during rainstorms in the Soul Survivor Christian festival (which was mostly rainstorms) and through many long insomniac nights.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sinclair C5 spotted!

I spotted a Sinclair C5 on the road today -- that Cambridge-designed battery-powered personal transportation device that flopped in the 1980s. Like many of Sir Clive Sinclair's ideas, it was both way ahead of its time and of a slightly dodgy build quality.

It looked as vulnerable on the open road as it ever did in the 1980s. But it also looked absolutely perfect for a cycle path. I think the last 20 years in the UK has seen a huge expansion of cycle paths, and I couldn't help thinking of the parallel with the Internet.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (whom I heard speak two days ago, incidentally), built a wonderful open infrastructure and a whole exotic ecosystem of products developed to run on it -- google and amazon and ebay and all the rest. Surely if we really systematically built a network of cycle paths in this country, that linked everything up, a similar exotic ecosystem would also arise: electric bikes and Segways and those wierd things Honda are making. And maybe some veteran C5s, rescued from garages, chugging along with their lead-acid batteries to the railway station, just as Sir Clive originally dreamt.