Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lenny Loves Music

It's always good to have live music during your wedding, but no party is complete without a great DJ. May I introduce Lenny Love, aka Doctor Love, aka, the Love God, aka Dino Martini from Scotland's favourite club, Vegas.

Lenny's career in the music industry has been long and illustrious. A former A&R man at Island Records, he launched his own label Sensible Records, managed Art School punk legends, The Rezillos and tour managed Simple Minds, before going onto work as a SONY award winning DJ on various stations including Edinburgh's Radio Forth. He now DJ's for various clubs across the world, from Adelaide to Barcelona and is available for your wedding.

His record collection is vast, his judgement impeccable, his fee modest, and his taste catholic. As he says, he likes everything from the '30s to the present day, country to crooners, disco to divas, easy to cheesy, funk to punk, hip-hop to be-bop, jazz to jive, latin to lounge, pop to rock, blues, soul, R & B, swing, as well as music from movies and TV.

You can find him here on Twitter, and any minute now, he'll be launching his own website, Lenny Loves Music where you'll be able to get an idea of how he gets the dancefloor moving and grooving, pumping and jumping, and generally having a funky good time...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Adele & Paul's Humanist Wedding at Dalhousie Castle

Messages like this one  from Adele and Paul just remind me how fortunate I am to be doing what I do.

Words cannot express how happy we were with the ceremony and all the guests were very complimentary.  One is a regular churchgoer (of the Catholic persuasion), and she was just blown away with how open, honest and personal the ceremony was and said she wished Christian weddings were the same. 

My Dad even mentioned it in his speech (which I suspect he made up on the spot!)  The overall consensus was that no one had enjoyed a wedding so much; they were kept engaged the whole time and enjoyed hearing our story.  

In true patriarchal fashion I think they all thought you wrote the ceremony and they were surprised that we scripted the whole thing.  That is what made it so special for us.  We were the drivers, rather than the passengers.  We love your methods and are grateful for the ceremonies others were willing to share that helped us devise our own.  Of course we wouldn't and couldn't have written such a great ceremony without your guidance and are happy we found you.  

As I was to meet you too, Adele & Paul - thank you again!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Good Without God

When the Pope's visit was announced some time ago, the HSS debated long and hard about how we should respond, and eventually decided that while we agree with all the arguments put forward by the Protest the Pope campaign, because of where we live and Scotland's sectarian history, we'd have to do something different.

So last week we put up a poster in Glasgow, and launched a web site that attracted almost 20,000 hits on the day of the Pope's visit to Scotland.

I and my colleagues on the Board of Trustees spent a large part of the week talking to the media from all over the world, and yesterday I wrote an article for the Sunday Mail that sums up what I wanted to say on the subject, but that you won't find on the web because they don't post everything they print. I hope you like it.

Before his visit to Scotland, the Pope was urged by his Scottish advisers to avoid making comments that could be seen as provocative.  He obviously chose to ignore them, because he was hardly off the plane before he was attacking “aggressive secularism” and drawing unfortunate comparisons between atheists and the Nazis.  You’d have thought that by his age, Pope Benedict would have learned that you don’t make friends and influence people by calling them nasty names.

The Humanist Society of Scotland didn’t burn any bibles, or stand on the streets shouting abuse; Scotland has a long and nasty tradition of sectarianism, and we deplore it, just as we deplore the Vatican’s stance on the rights of women, and gay people and its abject failure to deal with the long-running scandal of child abuse.

Instead, we put up a poster in Glasgow that points out, very politely, that at least 2 million Scots believe they are good without God. Or in other words, that 40% of the population think it’s perfectly possible to lead a good and worthwhile life guided by reason & compassion alone.

The Pope is confusing secularism - which means that people should have the freedom to practice their religion but be free from the domination of religion - with selfish materialism and consumerism. And as he’s an intellectual, I think it’s reasonable to believe that he’s using words like militant, and aggressive, and Nazi deliberately.

The pope’s trying to suggest that our liberal, democratic society lacks morality, but what he really wants is that religious people should be free to discriminate in areas like employment, and education rather than abide by the equality laws that protect the rights and freedoms of us all.

Actually secular societies are more moral than religious ones. Sweden, the most secular country in the world, gives the highest proportion of its gross domestic product in aid. Secularists don’t stone women to death for adultery, as they do in Iran, or murder people for teaching girls to read and write, as they do in Afghanistan, and I’ll be very surprised if we learn that the five Algerian men arrested in London on suspicion of plotting to assassinate him turn out to be secularists.

Why’s he attacking secularism? It’s simple: the pope’s rattled. Only 12% of the population is Catholic, and every time he opens his mouth, more and more people turn away from religion. In fact Pope Benedict is the poster boy for secularism.

And it’s ironic, because if our statistics are correct, 2010 is the year that humanist weddings in Scotland will become more popular than Catholic ones. What that means is that people are voting with their feet. More and more of them are thinking for themselves and identifying with humanist values.

You can visit the Good Without God web site here - please join our campaign, and remember when the 2011 census comes around, we'll remind you to put a big tick in the "no religion" box.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Let Me Choose

I've been a bit busy this week; not so much with ceremonies as with my volunteer job as Media Officer for the HSS. It's taken us quite a while to get round to campaigning again, but as luck would have it we have not one but two new campaigns - Let Me Choose being the one that launched today.

We were with MSP Margo MacDonald at the Scottish Parliament this morning, supporting her End of Life Assistance Bill.

With us were Julie and Andrew Johnston. Like Margo, Julie has Parkinson's disease, and they both spoke very movingly about their wish to have a choice about the way in which they end their lives.

Our secretary, John Bishop, who's also a celebrant explained that most people in the UK and Europe actually support the idea of Physician Assisted Suicide (with suitable safeguards)

And our convenor, Juliet Wilson talked about the reasons we hope the public will get behind the campaign.

You can read some of them here - I hope you'll take a moment to visit the site, sign the petition to the Scottish Parliament and if you live here, write to your MSPs.

It's a serious issue, but Julie and Margo took it lightly and they were an inspiration to us all.

I'm delighted by Vicky Allan's article about 'WE DO!' in today's Sunday Herald ! My thanks to all the couples who ...