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Saturday 7th September 2013

We had a good night's sleep without interruption from the electric bird slaves. I don't want to speak too soon, but I think their reign of terror might be over.

More relaxing and reading by the pool, but when the wind picked up I closed the killer umbrellas. One day they will take a victim, but not today. I was reading "The Fry Chronicles" by Stephen Fry, which I had only got part way through before my interview with him and then, when searching my kindle for another book he mentioned I chanced across "Jesus the Zealot" by Reza Aslan, which I've been meaning to get hold of ever since I saw this astonishing interview with him on Fox. At the time I was pretty convinced he'd done himself a world of good in the way he dealt with the interviewers idiotic approach (rather than questioning how a Muslim could write fairly about the historical Jesus, she should surely have wondered if a practising Christian would be able to look at the subject objectively - or just accepted the obvious truth that it's possible for an academic to write dispassionately) and was sure lots of people would buy his book as a result. And I did today, thus proving myself correct (apparently they printed an additional 180,000 copies after the clip went viral).

It's a subject that I have researched quite heavily over the last couple of decades myself, notably for my show Christ on a Bike (why couldn't my PR people have got me on to Fox for that?!), so I was familiar with quite a bit of what Aslan has to say, but he neatly puts Jesus and the various other messiniac figures of that time into historical context and argues quite persuasively that Jesus was not a man who saw himself as the son as God, attempting to welcome us to his holy kingdom, but  Jew who was determined to expel the Romans and the corrupt priesthood out of Palestine. The Kingdom that he predicted would appear within the lifetime of some of those people listening to him, was perhaps an earthly one and certainly a Jewish one. But the seditious side of the story was played down by the gospel writers who pretty much all wrote the story down after the Romans had raised Jerusalem to the ground. It's pretty tricky to get to grips with the historical Jesus, but the one fact that is pretty much accepted by all, that Jesus was crucified, does pretty much prove that the Romans saw him as someone trying to overthrow the social order, as this is what the punishment was reserved for. Coming hard on finishing MaddAdam by Margaret Atwood, which is all about how myths and oral histories are created and facts changed to suit the story, it's really interesting to witness all of this in action. And if Aslan is right and Jesus was principally concerned with overthrowing Rome and the corruptions of organised religion, how freaked out would he be to see what has happened subsequently in his name.

I had written a couple of Metro columns in advance to fill the weeks where I am away on holiday and the one that is coming out next Friday is about the time I accidentally broke into Buckingham Palace. So was surprised to see that this has become a topical story today with the news that burglars have been apprehended in the palace. I had wondered when I was writing it if I should save it for a time when something like that happened, but then it happened anyway. Proving that I am God and I write the world.

As I worked at my laptop this evening I saw the printer icon at the bottom of the screen, with a little yellow triangle on it, presumably indicating that the computer is unable to connect with the hardware. I wondered idly whether the printer misses the laptop when it is away. They have a spiritual connection (never physical in this day and age) and are usually paired up (if slightly unreliably) by my wireless network. Does the printer pine when it can't find the connection? Does it think that the laptop has deserted it? Does it mourn? I feel like the laptop doesn't care about the loss and is relishing its time away, hoping to hook up with whatever foreign device it can make a temporary connection with. But the printer rarely leaves my house (it did come to Edinburgh with us) and I feel sad thinking of it sitting in my office, alone and without its unfaithful computer. But maybe it's just me.

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