The Spotify Playlist:
Twenty Years of Feeling Listless

Music  A few weeks ago, after seeing one of those prompt tweets which asks the user to post the song which was number one on my nth birthday, I decided to create a Spotify playlist which lists all of the songs which were number one on all my birthdays.  The results are here and veer wildly in quality, although there are some real classics in there and it's a pretty listenable as a sequence and certainly works as a snapshot of music over the past forty-odd (ahem) years.

But what would a similar exercise look like for the life of this blog?  Here we go.  Instead of simply listing the top song, which honestly is almost always rubbish, I decided instead to select my favourite song of that week's top ten.  Even then, especially in later years, that meant choosing something which I'm not familiar with so I've intermixed this with the music I was really listening to, either from memory or by checking what was scrobbled that year to

Clearly you can see, over time, that my own taste has become mostly at variance with the pop charts, which is only to be expected.  But a lot of the choices are simply because they've been thrumming away in the background of the blog and life in general.  You'll see I've managed to include something to cover all of the blog's key themes with the only big omission being the London Olympics 2012 theme which isn't on Spotify in anything other than rubbish cover versions.  See above instead.

A Penguin Paragraph:
The Apocryphal Gospels.

Books  More orthodox than expected.  Until now, these books seemed the stuff of sensationalist imported documentaries broadcast on Channel 5 around Easter time, featuring fringe talking heads spliced with trailer footage from a Dan Brown adaptation.  Instead, as the introduction explains, these are rarely "subversive texts” offering a dramatically different account to the sacred gospels.  If anything they evoke modern web culture with most of the writing so reliant on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John they’re practically fan fiction and in the likes of The Questions of Bartholomew, with a Mary Sue figure.  The ancient church leaders were literal gatekeepers, choosing how God should be worshipped.  The aphorisms in the Lots of Mary read like an inspirational Instagram account.  The so-called Jewish Anti-Gospel is essentially a Cinema Sins for the Bible.  Oh and yes, there is pr0n, Epiphanius’ quotation from the Questions in the Greater Questions of Mary sees to that.