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It’s not over yet!

February 18th, 2015

Well, it’s been a good run. I’ve enjoyed posting to Sticks and Stones, with my random musings, photos, videos, and whatever else I felt like. And rest assured, I will continue to post here (I hear in my head the audible sighs of relief from across the nation, and indeed, the world. Jokes.).

However, the time has come for a separate site, which will contain a portfolio, as well as a blog that is focused on helping churches to communicate better.

The Sticks and Stones Facebook page will be updated to reflect this, and the Sticks and Stones twitter account will soon close. Sticks and Stones updates will continue to be posted on the Facebook page, as well as my personal twitter account.

Feel free to head on over to www.joegallant.co.uk now to check it out.

Thanks for reading Sticks and Stones for the last couple of years. I hope it has been, and continues to be an enjoyable visit, when the opportunity arises. As a special celebratory treat, here’s a link to something from the archive, my music video for the Klaxons, ‘Not Over Yet’. Enjoy.

Productivity

June 30th, 2014

This week has been a productive week. Having recently started using Lightroom to process my photos I’ve had to work out and adapt to a new workflow, which has obviously taken a bit of time, as well as trying to work through an ever-increasing backlog of photos.

This is no bad thing – just after the wedding I purchased a second camera, going for something much smaller than my DSLR so that I can carry it with me more often. This means lots more photos, so somehow I need to find the time to get through them!

Nevertheless, as I said, this week has been productive, and I have managed to get through a bunch. Head over to my flickr if you want to get a sneak preview, but I will, of course, be posting them here in due course. For now, here are a couple!

Distracted

May 30th, 2014

Yes, it’s been a quiet few months on Sticks and Stones, ain’t nobody denying that.

In my defense, I am now married…

On 10 May I married my lovely wife Naomi – we had a fantastic day followed by a very relaxing honeymoon in Egypt.



In other news (because you’re so interested in my life), here is a little taste of what’s coming on the site – albeit dependent on the amount of time I have to process it all…



Keep an eye out – or open, at least, because out sounds painful.

P.S. A massive thank you to Olly Knight for our photography, I’m sure you’ll see a little more soon!

Worship God UK 2014

March 14th, 2014

Last week I attended the first annual (hopefully!) Worship God UK conference in Bath, run by Sovereign Grace and hosted by Grace Church Bristol.

It was a really great time, meeting lots of new people, most of them faithfully serving their churches in worship teams. The main theme of the conference was ‘Called to be Faithful’ with great teaching on being faithful in different ways. A standout talk was ‘Faithful to Receive’, which highlighted how a key part of our identity as Christians is that we are those who have ‘received’ and therefore anything we give, or do is very much a response to what God has first done for us, primarily in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So there was a lot of great biblical teaching on worship, but there was also some great practical teaching too. There was a great seminar on acoustic guitar skills with Patrick Anderson, a songwriting workshop with Stuart Townend and Steve and Vicci Cook, and a session on musical arrangement led by Devon Kauflin and his band. The standout seminar for myself was ‘Making room for the Spirit in leading worship’ which was very practical, but also very moving. Bob Kauflin led us in an improvised musical response to scripture, sung meditation on Psalm 100.

The times of sung worship were great, with different groups leading the music each day, and doing so in a way which was not only a pleasure to be a part of in terms of musical quality, but also so helpful in encouraging real, heartfelt response to God’s truth, in worshipping Him with mind, heart and body.

So much more that could be said, but I’ll leave it there for now. Below are a couple of photos from the conference, there are more on my flickr (click to view). The other bonus from the conference is that it was held in such a beautiful city, and I’ll be posting some of the photos that I took around Bath in the coming weeks.

One of the music teams at #wguk14

Bob Kauflin about to giveaway one of many books

Stuart Townend reading from the Bible during a time of sung worship

The Bath Forum, this year’s venue

Matt Searle with Megan Baird

Bob interviewing another showcased songwriter, Simon Brading, with Lou Fellingham

The speakers’ q&a panel at the end of the conference


School of Rock 10 Year Reunion

January 6th, 2014

This is one of my favourite ever youtube videos as of right now. Loved the original film when it came out, and this just warms my heart :)

Praise because because

January 3rd, 2014

I often praise God when I’m praying. I do this knowing He is worthy of my praise, and I think of reasons I want to praise Him.

Last night I read Psalm 150 out loud. I don’t know why I chose that passage, but I just felt that I needed to read something before I went to sleep as I felt a bit stressed, a little low.

I read it out loud knowing before I read it that it is true, and it is good to speak truth. It starts and ends by saying “Praise The Lord.”

I then did the same thing with Psalm 149, followed by Psalm 148. The word praise is used a lot. When I get a moment I’ll go back and count them all. But whilst these chapters do give reasons for praising God, similar to what I wrote above, these aren’t what stood out to me.

These Psalms praise God because.
They praise God because God.
They praise God because praise God.

In a culture ruled by rationalism and objective proof this swallows like poison. But this is what the Psalm writer(s) so often do, and hopefully we do as well in our worship: we praise God in response to the truth, not getting tangled up in the (or our) reasons for doing so, though they are myriad.

Also, God has a sense of humour; whilst the beginning of Psalm 149 tells of singing and dancing, I inow God had me, last night, in mind when He caused the psalmist to write verse 5:

Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. (Psalm 149:5 NIV)

Top Blog Posts of 2013

December 26th, 2013

It seems to me that now is the right kind of time to do a ‘Top Posts’ post for this year. Probably wise given that the year’s almost up.

Therefore it gives me great pleasure to announce the Top 10 Sticks and Stones blog posts for 2013 in descending order:


Note: It’s a little difficult to accurately judge numbers, because there were some days where views peaked but not necessarily related to an individual post.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

December 9th, 2013

Whilst there are many things I need to get around to uploading here, and many unwatched films on my “play next” list, tonight it’s all about The Hobbit (although we did watch The Muppets’ Christmas Carol first)

Due to our practices last year (evenings of rustic food and The Hobbit being read aloud in anticipation of the first film, An Unexpected Journey) there are now few things that get me feeling more festive than some early Tolkien. And recent production videos (see my previous post about this if you don’t know what they are – although the name does kind of spell it out) all point to the conclusion that this next film will be just as gorgeous.

#nofilter? The Hobbit's eagles fly at sunset

Few shots move me as much as this one. #nofilter?


I’ve talked before about the mixed feelings of awe and frustration that these brilliant films give me, so I won’t waste space here whining about it, but I’d compare it, in a way, to a minor form of the ‘Pandora blues‘ – the frustration of seeing something beautiful but knowing it just doesn’t exist like that in real life. Even small things like the vivid, oversaturated colour pallettes. Kinda makes me want to travel and see what beauty really is out there.

This musing started with an aim. It may have got lost somewhere along the way. Potentially as a result of my tendency to only write blog posts after 11pm.

A summary: I’m really, really looking forward to seeing The Desolation of Smaug this weekend. Let’s hope it inspires me enough to write a review after, although I think I made my views on film-review blogs clear in my last review of The World’s End.

On another note, I hope to use some time this week to upload a huuuuuge stack of pictures to my Flickr, with the aim of some of them sauntering their way over to the photos page in the near future!

First Edition Dust Cover for The Hobbit
PS: Just started watching the film in what I assume is Chinese, just to have something in the background. Brilliant.

Know your Onions

December 8th, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a graphic design book called, “Know Your Onions:Graphic Design“. It’s about graphic design.
Last week I read it.

It was a really good read, written with a refreshing sense of humour – very relatable. It lives up to its aim of trying to save the reader 25 years of experience in the design business – well maybe – but honestly, it’s already proved very useful in helping me to approach my design work in a different way. For anyone who does any sort of design work I’d go as far as to say it’s a ‘must-read’.


I visited the book’s website (which is unsurprisingly well put together, and extremely well-equipped with lots of download-able goodies) and couldn’t resist a quick tweet:

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I’m now proof-reading the new Know Your Onions book, “Know Your Onions: Web Design“. Pretty cool, huh?

So far it’s a great read, so go ahead and buy it when it’s released, and don’t forget to check out the original.

Book series’ website: Know Your Onions.
Buy “Know Your Onions: Graphic Design”: Amazon.
Buy “Know Your Onions: Web Design”: Amazon.

Fly on the… Drum

November 25th, 2013

Had a charming photoshoot this evening, with an extremely well-behaved model: a dead fly. Artificial lighting isn’t something I’ve spent much time experimenting with, so this simple thing made a nice change to my normal habits. I’ll think about posting some more photos at some point, more as a study in different angles and lighting than anything else, but for now, here’s my personal pick of the bunch. Click the photo for the full size version, it’s nice and sharp thanks to my sexy Sigma (see below <3).