Ellen Loudon

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the death of popular culture

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I have had a bit of a bonkers 10 days – full of Christmas cheer, popular culture and a viva that nearly tipped me over the edge.

I missed a lot of the run up to Christmas last year because I was caught up in jury service but this year I am getting the full hit of being a priest at Christmas-time. There is so much to do – and advent has been a lively spiritual challenge for me. I am loving the waiting for Christmas and all the lead up to it. That said there have been a few things that have been quite disturbing – The X-Factor for one. I am not sure I can express my disdain for it without rude words but I will have a go. I once thought it was as innocuous as karaoke but now think it is destructive. You know, dear reader, that I love popular culture and can usually find some worth in nearly any of it (even Miley Cyrus has her good points) but xfactor is a cruel twisted popular culture that is sucking the life out of everything that is good about music. It is a vampire draining the life-blood from young people’s talent and leaving them with nice teeth, lovely hair, shining legs and a look of vanity. I want it to stop – with all my of my heart I want it to stop. I want our young people to come back and stop following the nasty child catchers into the little box. I want them to run free and make pop music that is about them and not about a strange middle aged man who likes everything to be pretty. So there…

I am a bit tense at the moment (can you tell). I had my PhD thesis viva last Friday and whilst I am not knocking my achievements I still have some more work to do on it…work that I am disappointed about really. They are asking me to shift my work away from my practice and more toward the theory that underpins it. Of course my theory is completely sound and the work they are asking me to do is perfectly reasonable but I am gutted that I didn’t express the worth of the practice clearly enough to validate it. It’s not the end of the world but I do have to spend some time digesting their comments and working out what my response will be in terms of the work. It shouldn’t take me too long to sort it out but at the moment I am not sure where the time will come from. Some reflection and careful prayer about time management, stress and workloads will also need to be done.

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying advent and that your Christmas preparations are bringing you joy. Remember Jesus isn’t just for Christmas and that when the heavens and the earth are reunited there will be salvation from xfactor and all bad things. Until then it is up to us to make this world a better place and fight against injustice (wherever we find it) and seek the Lord in all things good and worthy. Lets get to it.


Written by ellenloudon

December 14, 2009 at 9:48 am

draft thesis to the proof reader

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I have deposited a copy of the latest draft of my thesis with the proof reader today…and feel quite pleased with myself. I celebrated with a little visit to Waitrose and the hardware store in Formby and am considering a drink of nice white wine. But, just so you can enjoy the music hall moment with me I will post (again) this little film of Gus Elen singing ‘It’s a Great Big Shame’…enjoy (and don’t forget to join in the chorus).

Written by ellenloudon

August 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Posted in music hall, PhD

PhD – update

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I am now on the home stretch…well, almost. I have to submit on the 6th October so, having completed a second draft and had it commented on by both internal examiners, I am now working on the final draft with my supervisor – chapter by chapter. We are having weekly meetings and I am workign to quite strict deadlines. It seems my content is ‘very well researched’ and I don’t need to add anything to my argument. The outstanding issues are structural. Also, it seems I need to ‘be a bit more boring’! So, I am working on that…stating arguments, flagging up methodologies, being more obvious about my questions and using some less racey terminology.

The current title is:
Performing The Popular: The Context, Composition and Creation of Liverpool Music Hall.

So, that’s the update. I am struggling to keep my dyslexic symptoms under control (my brain is under strict instructions to ‘just keep going for 2 more months). But, this is of particular concern so please do continue to pray, send chocolate, pass on special good writing vibes, etc.

Written by ellenloudon

August 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Liverpool, music hall, PhD

wilson keppel and betty

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I needed a bit of cheering up and Ravi reminded me that music hall is always a good cure for..well almost anything. So I have been searching youtube for music hall act. I am not using this act as part of my PhD nevertheless they are very good. Are they a dance act? A comedy trio? A foreign turn? I never really know where to place WK&B. But they always make me laugh and confuse me. So, if you haven’t already had the pleasure – Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Wilson Keppel and Betty:

Written by ellenloudon

June 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Posted in music hall


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I am in Liverpool doing some work…I am leading an arts project in June with ZHO theatre. The project is about a building on Mill Street (the Park Palace) which used to be a music hall and a cinema. I am planning the project which will work with children in Mill Street looking at the history and trying to rebuild the theatre as it was in 1904 (by making a model of the theatre). WE will be telling stories, making backdrops, theatre bills, etc etc. The project will last a week and will culminate in an exhibition and presentation at the building.

Anyway, I am here to do some research and meet with the leaders and company. Today I have been in the Central library finding out what is available there. I like to use the stuff that is available in the public domain so that anyone can access it at anytime. There was a surprising amount to stuff there. Pictures, playbills, newspapers maps etc etc. So, plenty to go on. It was hard work though. Usually I like to do this sort of trawling slowly and methodically but seeing as I only had one day I had to rush at it and it is going to take a while to make sense of all the info I have found.

I think I have an idea for a story and a way into the drama. Just got to have a bit of a think. Not now though because my brain has stopped and I need some food. I think Andrea and I are going to find something to eat and see a film. Sorry that I haven’t been in touch with anyone else. This flying visit has been very much focused on this project and I haven’t had a chance to roam beyond it. Next time – and we will be back very very soon.

Written by ellenloudon

April 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Liverpool, music hall