The Bible, but not as you know it*

By The Red Witch on 12:40 AM

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Most people think of the Bible as a densely printed book with no pictures, but a version of the scripture that resembles a glossy coffee table magazine aims to change that. It's part of a wave of radical presentations of the Bible, including a manga version and a Lego gospel. But how do Christians feel about these attempts to spread the word?

It's the kind of magazine you might find in a doctor's waiting room next to Cosmopolitan or Reader's Digest. On the front is a pale face heavy with mascara. A flick through throws up striking images: urban flooding, a Nigerian abattoir, a girl eating noodles, a pooch in a limo.

It's only when and if you get round to reading the text that the incongruity strikes you: "Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven." What kind of problem page is this?

Bible Illuminated is the latest attempt to bring the Bible into the modern world. In the format of a 300-page glossy magazine, it contains the whole text of the New Testament in a popular translation, with no chapter or verse numbers.

The images are by turns beautiful, violent, oblique and provocative - much like the book itself.

The text "She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus" is illustrated with a veiled Muslim. One verse has a photo of a pair of knickers draped over high-heeled shoes, sending you back to the passage to find out what it's really about.

The person behind this remarketing of holy writings is Dag Soederberg, a Swedish businessman. And contrary to expectations, he is not a Christian hoping to convert anyone. "I'm not on a mission from God," he explains. "I'm not particularly religious. I'm not telling anyone they should believe."

What he sees in the Bible is a profitable chance for people to look again at their world. "We are all affected by it," he says. "Morals are based on it, rightly or wrongly, government, laws. I'm saying to people: this is your history, read it.

"It's the most sold book in the world, but the least known. I want to take it off the shelves and put it on the coffee table."

It's the kind of thing that might provoke tuts and headshaking in the pews, one imagines. "Some people will feel it's dumbing down," says David Ashford of the Bible Society, an organisation that exists to "make the Bible heard". "How can it be the Bible when it's got Angelina Jolie in it?"

He, however, welcomes it with open arms. "You have to understand that what we think of as the traditional serious-looking leather-bound Bible is actually a relatively new format. In the Middle Ages, picture books - with people in contemporary dress - were the way most people read the Bible.

"At first the Bible was a collection of scrolls, then illustrated handwritten volumes. When printing was invented they were produced in Latin with pictures. Later they were published in plain closely printed text, in the common language, to get them into as many people's hands as cheaply as possible."

So, ironically, Soederberg's attempt to popularise the Bible by getting away from its traditional format is exactly what the people who created that format were doing.

If you're looking for an alternative way into the Bible, there's no shortage of versions to choose from. Here are some of the more unusual:

1. The Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bible

This arresting title is the work of the XXXChurch, an organisation that on the one hand helps people addicted to porn, while on the other hand taking the gospel into the porn industry. They print this Bible to give out free at porn shows and industry conventions, distributing over 15,000 in 2007.

2. The Manga Bible

The British Christian Ajin-bayo Akinsiku, known as Siku, tells the whole story in the form of a graphic novel. Cain says to Abel, "Whassup, bro?" Noah loads animals onto the ark, saying, "That's 11,344 animals? Arggh! I've lost count again. I'm going to have to start from scratch!" Christ strides out of the desert like a Marvel superhero.

It skimps on some of the less bloodthirsty episodes like the sermon on the mount, but Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is a fan, liking the way it conveys "the shock and freshness of the Bible".

3. The Bible in Cockney

The rhyming slang version of the Bible was written by Mike Coles, an RE teacher in Stepney, and started life as stories he told to his classes. In it, Jesus feeds "five thousand geezers" with "five loaves of Uncle Fred and two Lillian Gish". The Lord's Prayer morphs from "For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory" to "You're the Boss, God, and will be for ever, innit?"

This one got the seal of approval of Rowan Williams's predecessor George Carey, who grew up in London's East End, so must have known what he was rabbit and porking about.

4. The Brick Testament

This less-than-reverent online version by Brendan Powell Smith tells stories from the Bible using Lego. It started life in 2001 with stories from Genesis and today contains 391 stories with 4,214 illustrations. Though it is sometimes satirical or tongue-in-cheek, it is often used by churches and Sunday schools, and it's one of the versions that the Bible Society has welcomed as connecting people with the Bible in a new way.

5. Inspired By… The Bible Experience

And for the iPod generation, you can get the whole thing on your MP3 player, read and performed by a Hollywood cast, including Forest Whitaker as Moses, Cuba Gooding Jr as Jonah, and a possibly typecast Samuel L Jackson as God.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this new wave of Bibles is how sympathetic the church is to people messing about with its sacred scriptures, whether in wording or binding, no doubt reasoning that there can be some good in anything that gets people hearing its stories.

But how successful these versions are at doing that is another question. The makers of the Bible Illuminated claim it has increased sales of Bibles by 50% in Sweden - though we are not told over what timescale. A version that could achieve such figures in the UK would be one of the most surprising Bibles yet.

This is an article written by Stephen Tomkins for the BBC News Magazine which I find really interesting.
As a traditionalist,and an orthodox christian,I believe these "modern versions" of the Bible won't have big success in spreading the word to more people.Personally,I prefer the "classic" version :p Why?'Cause it's meant for the format to be serious-looking and respectful-just as much as the content inside.I don't think a "porn version" or an "illuminated" version would reach more people because of the "alternative" way the Bible is presented.As for the iPod version-I don't mind it.After all,we live in the age of technology.So I think some of the more tech-oriented christians will get into it.
What about other sacred books?What about the Koran,for instance?Would you agree to a "modern",more "glossy" version of the Koran?
What do you think about the article,boys and girls? :P

*Article and pictures courtesy of BBC News Magazine

Indie Friday : IMOGEN HEAP

By The Red Witch on 5:23 PM

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Yeah,yeah,I know..There wasn't an Indie Friday column for last Friday-well,if there is anyone out there who is reading this column-I am deeply sorry.You can blame Sofia University.I had lots of things to do at university,and the truth is,I hardly got any time to sleep,let alone write in this blog.If I should describe last week in one word it would be "sleep".Sleep,sleep,sleep!It was all I was craving for.To get some hours of nice long sleep.Well,I did that this week-I overslept three consecutive days and missed lots of lectures at university:/
Since I write Indie Friday mainly for my own pleasure I still hope that someone someday will read this column and get interested in the music I am presenting here.Because it's all about the Music.
And speaking of music-until now I presented only indie rock artists on Indie Friday.Since I wouldn't want to ignore my favorite indie POP artists/bands,I decided that it was only natural that this Friday I should write a bit on indie pop.
The first name that I'd like to introduce you to is Imogen Heap.And before you scroll down to see the info about it,here are a few hints:A 30 years old white female,London,multi-instrumentalist, electronic,synthpop,ambient.

Here is the basic info which comes to fill you in:
Name:Imogen Jennifer Jane Heap
Plays:piano,keyboard,cello,clarinet,guitar,drums,as well as the more exotic array mbira and hang.
Members:she is the only member :Р
Where can you find her on the Internet? Her official website is,you can also find her in Myspace and Last.Fm
Sounds like: very nice pop music that is highly influenced by electronica;high-pitched but very pleasant voice.The use of many different instruments makes Imogen's music multilayered and very interesting.There are some common conceptual features between her music and the music of Moloko's ex lead singer Roisin Murphy.Her lyrics are very good.In short: Imogen is a poetess with guitar/keyboards/piano + a bunch of other instruments!
Associated acts: Frou Frou.Frou Frou is a duo in which Imogen participates alongside Guy Sigsworth.The result of this collaboration is a single album entitled-Details(2002)which I highly recommend to you.

Imogen's story

Imogen Jennifer Jane Heap was born on December 9th 1977 in Rumford,London to an art therapist mother and a construction rock retailer father.Her parents divorce when she is 12.At 13 she starts writing her own songs.She is soon sent to a boarding school where she has a clash with her music teacher.As a form of punishment she has to learn herself sampling and sequencing.She is soon a student in the infamous "BRIT School Of Performing Arts & Technology" in Surrey.There she meets her manager Mark Wood.After a highly successful performance at a concert in Hyde Park in 1996 she manages to impress the critics.Her debut album,entitled iMegaphone(an anagram of "Imogen Heap") comes out in 1998,when Imogen is 21.The critics love it and compare her tracks to the style of P.J. Harvey,Kate Bush and Annie Lennox.Promotion for the album includes a tour in the States and performances in the UK. But the label Almo Sounds,with which she has signed a contract cuts off the budget claiming her songs don't have the potential to become hits.Imogen drops out of the label.Then follows an extremely successful collaboration with the electronic artist/producer Guy Sigsworth-Frou Frou(2002-2003) and the only record this duo has made,entitled Details(2002) increases Imogen's popularity.In 2003 Imogen announces on her official website that she has begun recording a new album which she herself will record,master and publish.She sets herself a deadline of one year to finish the project and re-mortgages her flat to rent a studio and buy instruments.Through her official blog she keeps her fans up-to-date on the project's progress,even seeking their help to write lyrics for the song Daylight Robbery.The record,entitled Speak For Yourself comes out in 2005.Due to bad experience with labels in the past,Imogen decides to start her own label(Megaphonic Records),through which she publishes the record.A fact which adds up to the huge success of the record is that several songs from it are featured in the sitcom the O.C..Soon come many performances at concerts and TV shows and several Grammy nominations in 2005 and 2006.

This year Imogen contributed to the charity album Songs For Tibet:The Art Of Peace which aims to support Tibet,Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso and to underline the human rights situation in Tibet.

These days the talented Londoner is working on her third album which is to be in stores this December.The first single from it,Not now,but soon is already available to the fans through her official website and Myspace page.
Imogen has offered music and vocals to many other artists,her songs have been part of advertisements,movie soundtracks and sitcoms.
And last,but not least,she is very notable for her clothing style.The gal has a terrific fashion sense(just look at the outfit she wore for the Grammy ceremony in 2007! :-) )

The Music

Come Here,Boy -a single from her debut album iMegaphonic

Must Be Dreaming
-a Frou Frou single from the album Details(2002)(a fave song of mine! :) )

It's Good To Be In Love
- another single from Details :-)

Good Night And Go -a single from Speak For Yourself(2005)

and for dessert:a fan video of Not Now,But Soon -the first single from Imogen's third upcoming album :-)

I really hope that the magnificent music this charming lady makes has touched something inside you.She really has a lot to give to Music.

See you next Friday in Indie Friday!

Wear warmer clothes and love each other more-the winter is coming.

*The Red Witch

Stereo MC's LIVE in Sofia -11.11.2008

By The Red Witch on 2:46 PM

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You should have come to Festival Hall in Sofia last night to hear the amazing STEREO MCs!You really should have been there.Because it was a TOTAL BLAST!They shook it up really hard with songs from their latest album DOUBLE BUBBLE,as well as classic hits like CONNECTED,STEP IT UP,DEEP DOWN AND DIRTY,ELEVATE MY MIND,GROUND LEVEL,RUNNING and many more super groovy beats!
Luckily me and my friend Kety made it to the concert.And we've managed to take some pictures to show you just how AWESOME it really was!
In terms of organisation everything was tip-top.The crowd entered the hall at precisely 19:25 Sofia time.Kety and I were among the first ones to enter the hall=>WE WERE IN THE VERY VERY FRONT ROW! :-)
Here's a bunch of pics we took before the concert began:-)

It's unbelievable how only 20 minutes after this picture was taken,the hall was filled huge crowds...

Kety and I gladly posing before the concert has begun :-)

Hooded Kety :-)

The supporting band(too bad I didn't get their name) began playing at about 20:00.What can I say about them?They were playing pretty strange underground instrumental trip-hop,but I for one enjoyed their music.The lead singer was quite a character,with very interesting view on stage presence.A sort of a clown,but a FUNNY one.
Here are some pictures of their performance:

The crowd liked them,but you could feel that everyone in the hall thought the same thing "Come on now,get it over with,so that Stereo MC's can get on the stage!"
In an answer to our prayers,they got on the stage at 21:10.
And the rest,my dear boys and girls,is,as they say,history.History,told in pictures(and 3 very good quality videos,for which I thank users from

Well,that's all,folks.It was certainly one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

End of story.

Now playing: STEREO MC'S - Running
via FoxyTunes

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