Thursday, 18 December 2008

My Fair Ridley

Sadly my camera let me down this year so no Youtube, but here by popular (!) request are the lyrics to the Parsons/Edwards mini-musical, with apologies to Messrs Lerner and Loewe...

If you don't know 'My Fair Lady' then you should. Buy it! Or search on Youtube and you'll find the originals of these songs by various worthies. Or just try the links I've put in for you.

The scene opens to a slightly bewildered-looking person who has just received some news...

I Could Have Failed My BAP ("I Could Have Danced All Night")
[BAP=Bishops' Advisory Panel, three days away leading to advice to your Bishop whether you should be recommended for training to ordained ministry in the Church of England]
BAP, BAP, I could have failed my BAP
I could have called the Bishop 'Dodgy Dick'
Job, job, I could have kept my job
But now I've got to train to be a vic

I could have failed my BAP
I could have failed my BAP
What made me such a fool?
I could have run away
Gone off on holiday
But no, it's back to school
I'll never know what made me so convincing
I'm like a crab caught in a trap
I only hope the rest were smart and flunked the test
I could have failed, failed, failed my BAP

[Job's comforters appear on cue]
I understand, friend - but it's all planned, friend
Don't cry for milk that's spilled

You didn't fail your BAP
Now there's no turning back
It's time for you to go
Where would you like to train?
We want to fill your brain
With stuff you don't yet know

And now I know what makes it so, so frightening
I'm off to vicar factory
At least I get to choose
What have I got to lose?
Because I passed, passed, passed my BAP

BAP passed, it's time to visit theological colleges. So many to choose from. It's a gamble. Will luck be a lady? Hmmm, I should have written this as Guys and Dolls, shouldn't I?

Wouldn't it be Rid-er-ley ("Wouldn't It Be Loverley")
All I want is a room somewhere
Small and dark and I have to share
One good and one duff chair
Oh, wouldn't it be Rid-er-ley

Lots of chocolates and all fair trade
Lots of lunches just like home made
And I'd be poorly paid
Oh, wouldn't it be Rid-er-ley

Oh, so loverly readin' lots of that theo-lo-gee
I'd be happy I'm on B, C, E, F or even G ("What about H?" "Nah, miserable bunch")

[Assorted Ridlebeests are espied about their joyous daily routine]
"Someone said morning prayer all wrong"
"Must we learn yet another song"
"The basement showers all pong"
Oh wouldn't it be Rid-er-ley (Rid-er-ley)
Rid-er-ley (Rid-er-ley)
Wouldn't it be Rid-er-ley

Cut to a few months later. Student life has begun, and bewilderment has increased. Still, there's plenty of time for reflection afforded by the journey between the Cambridge Theological Federation colleges' rooms, conveniently strung out around the Inner Ring Road. As the sun twinkles romatically off the juggernaut that just tried to run you down at Westminster College roundabout, oh! what a beautiful morning it is. (Oklahoma!, that's what I meant to rip off I mean pay homage to.)

Off Round The Ring Road Again ("On The Street Where You Live")

I have often walked down this street before
I am tired and I am grumpy and my feet are sore
It's compulsory to do an SCP
So I'm off round the ring road again

A contemporary church, that's what we all seek
We've got Books of Common Prayer and we are learning Greek
And it's very odd, there's no time for God
'Cos it's off round the ring road again

And oh, the wonderful feeling
Just to know he's somewhere, not far
But now my poor head is reeling
No-one told me Ridley doesn't have a bar!

Once I thought I knew all that I believed
But a lecturer has told me that I was deceived
I'm going round the bend: Jesus was my friend
Now I'm off round the ring road again

And oh, the wonderful feeling
When we come together to praise
I know when I am kneeling
That he's chosen me to serve him all my days

I've been broken down: that don't bother me
If they laughed at the Messiah then they'll laugh at me
Now this lecture's done, and it's ten to one
So I'm off round the ring road again

[SCP=Social Context Placement, time spent outside study in an unfamiliar environment]

All good things come to an end... If you don't blot your copybook too badly, you'll be ordained, somewhere. Your sending diocese may have something for you, or you could be 'exported.' In regular life, companies export things people want. The Church, of course, works differently: dioceses export unwanted ordinands to seek their fortune elsewhere... Hmmm, perhaps I should have written this as panto, not Eliza Doolittle but Dick Whittington?

I’m Getting Deaconed in the Summer ("I'm Getting Married In The Morning")
I'm getting deaconed in the summer
If someone wants to ordain me
I've been exported
Must get it sorted
Get me to a curacy

I've got to clear off in the summer
"Where?" Well, you'll have to wait and see
Profiles I'm reading
Mostly misleading
Help! I need a curacy

What can I handle? Will I be go... up the candle or snakebelly low?

I'm a Leaver - leaving in the summer
What have I learnt? What will I be?
Rural team cleric?
Urban evangelic?
How do you choose a curacy?

I need to buy some medieval kit
There's an allowance - don't spend every bit
(Save some for the bubbly)

[Majestic finish]
I'm getting deaconed in the summer
This ship is searching for a See
Ridley's done my brain in
Three years more training
Are waiting when I start
Are waiting when I start
Are waiting when I start my curacy

So, friends, it's been a low trick. Three years, or two years, or one year of training leads to... three or four years of training. Bah! Humbug! I knew I should have written this as A Christmas Carol. Sigh. As Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one.