Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Barry Jones – a bit of a pedant? But delightful.

On Monday the eleventh (the Queen’s Birthday holiday) I went to hear Barry Jones speak at the Woodend Winter Arts Festival. The wonderful Nicole Lourensz had given me his autobiography, A Thinking Reed, as a ‘beginning of ministry’ gift, with the note: “Because we minister to a world that is wider than the gathered church”. So I took my copy with me to get it signed.

I arrived a little late, and got into the Cafe Colenso just as Barry Jones was being introduced. The session was sold out, and more tickets had been sold than the cafe had chairs, so I snuck in and perched cross-legged on a table. (I think I’ve got another five years of being able to physically do things like this.) From there I couldn’t see Barry, but I could hear him and that was all that mattered. There was another person sitting on the table, someone who looked so familiar that I was about to ask him where I’d met him (since I moved up here I’ve met hundreds of people and they’re all jumbled up in my brain) until I realised that he was Michael Gurr and I knew him because he’d been speaking on a panel that day before, where I’d bought his book Days Like These and had him sign it for me. Near extremely embarrassing moment.

A Thinking Reed   Title page of A Thinking Reed

Barry spoke extremely well and A Thinking Reed has now moved several places up my “To be read” pile. But what amused and impressed me most was that when the talk was finished and we all lined up for his signature he insisted not only on signing our books but on correcting them. So there we stood, perfectly content to wait as our copies were edited. For those of you who haven’t had your copies individually corrected, the corrections I’ve found are (in bold):

Corrected page 160

p. 160 “…our low primary vote in 1955 indicated that the seat was unwinnable. We arranged a meeting at the St Kilda Town Hall …”

p. 274 “Départ dans l’affection …”

p. 527 “Hier ist kein Warum.”

There was one other correction that Barry made, but I haven’t found it yet. I presume I’ll discover it as I read.

So, there you go. I like living in the Macedon Ranges and going to local festivals like this one.


June 15, 2007 - Posted by | Slightly Higher Culture


  1. How wonderfully Barry! An author friend of mine said to me today, “If I were a member of the public, I wouldn’t have bought either of the first two editions of my book, but the third will be all right.” (Lucky him to have a 3rd edition.)

    I believe “Days Like These” is wonderful.

    Speaking of autobiographical writing, I’ve just finished “Eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (thank you Jenni) and am now enjoying “Three Gates to Paradise” by Clare Boyd-Macrae (thank you Karen & Leonie). Both wonderful.

    Comment by Olivia | June 15, 2007 | Reply

  2. Oh dear, I suppose I am going to have to read the rest of the Jones book, now, rather than just those few chapters I had read before I gave you your copy.
    In a quite different direction, I finally got around to “Female Chauvenist Pigs” by Ariel Levy. Not quite the read for all women in the church, but an interesting hypothesis (and I love a shocking pink cover on a book).
    Sweet comment, totally unnecessary and untrue, but thanks anyway 🙂

    Comment by Nicole | June 18, 2007 | Reply

  3. On p. 160, the highlighted verb should be ‘organized’ not ‘arranged’. I think this is clear enough on the reproduction of the page.

    On p. 135 I corrected the name of the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolokowski.

    I recommend that you actually read ‘A Thinking Reed’.

    Comment by Barry Jones | July 3, 2007 | Reply

  4. Oh, how embarrassing! As bad as almost asking Michael Gurr where I knew him from. Writing about someone in a blog does leave one open to the possibility of that person reading about themselves.

    I will read “A Thinking Reed” soon. It is very high on my ‘to be read’ list. But at the moment it comes after a biography of William Wilberforce and a book called “Abolition!: The Struggle to Abolish Slavery in the British Colonies”, that I’m reading so I can lead discussions about slavery ancient and modern after the congregations see the film “Amazing Grace”. But soon, very, very soon!

    Comment by avrilhj | July 4, 2007 | Reply

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