Today part 2 of my 2 part series on religious music. Yesterday I listed my six favourite religiously inspired musical compositions, today it’s all about holding up a critical mirror to that very same religion[1]. To qualify for this listing, a piece has to be musically up to snuff, funny or ironic rather than serious or angry and focus on either religious dogma or religious practice.

From funniest to somewhat less funniest:

1. Always look on the bright side of life by Monty Python. Composed by Eric Idle. Nothing quite sticks in your head like this brilliant ending to this brilliant film.

2. The Spanish Inquisition composed by Mel Brooks. “Torquemada; do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada; do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada; do not ask him for mercy. Let’s face it, you can’t torquemada anything!” (I linked a high quality version of the video which unfortunately lacks the non-musical introduction).

3. The Vatican Rag composed by Tom Lehrer. Mathematician and musician and satirist, what more can you ask for?

4. Creation Science 101 composed by Roy Zimmerman, modern master of the clever rhyme.. “… and you are just beginning to, educate yourself when you, shun, evolution.” Definitely check out his other stuff too.

5. The Good Book composed by Tim Minchin. Not his best work, but his other stuff either reflects on Islam or is angry (neither of those links safe for work).

6. Herod’s Song composed by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The sceptics anthem… “Prove to me that you’re divine, turn my water into wine. That’s all you need do, then I’ll know it’s all true.” I’ve long since had a soft spot for Jesus Christ Super Star, it seems to me to be a very human scale version of the Biblical accounts, where nobody is totally good or totally evil, but rather everyone has decent motivations which lead them to immoral acts in the face of an imperfect world. Plus the music and the dancing in the 1973 version is totally awesome.

[1] Again, I’m going to limit myself to Christianity.

I’m in Seattle at RMA headquarters for three weeks discussing the future of Grasshopper (don’t worry, not whether there is a future, but what it might look like). Although there is a great apartment for me to stay in, I’m separated from my books and my music. I don’t hold with Kindle or some such nonsense —paper for me thank you very much— and my laptop speakers can theoretically play my music but what they mostly do is repeatedly stab it in the kidneys until it’s lying as a bleeding and broken corpse on the floor.

However it did get me thinking about music categorization and I thought it would be fun to put up two blog posts with the best humanity has to offer from two opposing groups. Today, my six favourite religiously[1] inspired masterpieces, tomorrow my six favourite pieces making light of religion.

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October 10, 2013

Nearly four-and-a-half months after moving to Austria it seems we’re finally all settled. Well, legally settled, we’re still lacking a lot of lamps and storage space in the house itself. Car import tax, car validation, car registration, ÖAMTC membership, finding an insurance advisor, getting car insurance and license plates, electric/water registration, house insurance, recycle-centre card, private bank account, finding an accountant/tax-advisor, finding a vet, getting a work-license, getting a VAT/tax id number, opening a business bank account,  health-care insurance, social insurance, retirement payments, Austrian ID card and pet-cat registration in the national database. All done as of noon today.

It seems a lot more complex here than in Slovakia…

Still, all the legal hassle aside, this is an absolutely beautiful place to live. We can cycle to and swim in Plansee in about 20 minutes. Walk to Heiterwanger See in 30. There is a fantastic bike route along the Lech river. Füssen and Alpsee in Germany are only about an hour cycling from here. Garmisch-Partenkirchen and back is a lovely bike-ride that’ll take less than half a day. There’s four castle ruins within walking distance of the house in various stages of (dis)repair and it’s wonderfully, exquisitely, magnificently, sensationally quiet here.

Fields directly behind the house

Fields directly behind the house

For about two weeks we had a herd of sheep and goats in the fields next to the house. They got into the garden a few times so we’ll need to build a better fence next year. Still, they are rather cute.

The Gehren Spitze as it appears from our terrace.

The Gehren Spitze as it appears from our terrace.

There have been some buck fights around the house this month, it appears to be deer mating season. Usually they do their stuff at night but we’ve seen a few deer and bucks up close (20 meters from the house and I once nearly biked into one on the road to Rieden).

The village of Lähn with the Ehrenberg castle ruins in the background

The village of Lähn with the Ehrenberg castle ruins in the background

Edit: Suddenly snow!

Edit 2: Yup…

The Morning After view.

The Morning After view.