The Book of Jonah

by David Benjamin Blower

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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • CD with printed Printed Book of Jonah (KJV)
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    A radiophonic production of The Book of Jonah, narrated by Professor N. T. Wright, starring Professor Alastair McIntosh as Jonah, Sound and song by David Benjamin Blower. The physical copy comes with hand printed artwork and a booklet containing the actual book of Jonah from ye olde King James Version.

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Book of Jonah via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Sympathy for Jonah

    DBB's book published 2016 about the awful journey of terror, meltdown, and whale ingestion that began as he worked on songs for his record The Book of Jonah.

    “David Blower has written a marvelous reflection on what may be the Bible’s most subversive and misunderstood story. Not only are his insights incisive and needed, his writing is a delight to read.” —Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist

    This is The Gospel According To Jonah for today.” —Dave Andrews, author of Plan Be, and Christi-Anarchy

    “Identifying the empire—not the big fish—as the real beast in the book, this powerful and poetic re-telling of the Jonah story brings a familiar tale to life in fresh ways, and invites readers to face the challenge of engaging creatively and vulnerably with the powers that be.” —Stuart Murray Williams, author of The Naked Anabaptist, Multi-Voiced Church and Church After Christendom

    “Here he is again, ready for round two. His latest is about as unsettling as it gets. I’ve been following David’s work for some time now. I know how he operates, but he still catches me off guard. So put down whatever you’re reading, pick up this book, and brace yourself!” —Tim Nash, Nomad Podcast

    “David Benjamin Blower brings us a renewed song of hope—in the shape of Jonah wrapped up in a whale. This is a work of imagination and erudition as well as an elegy that speaks of a way of being that for so long has eluded concerned Christians. At last God has given us a prophet who dares to tell us like it is. Listen up—let Jonah help us to see our task as Christians in troubled times. Read and listen to David Benjamin Blower if you dare—but with assurance that grace is so much in abundance our fretfulness will be transformed into passion.” —Ann Morisy, author of Beyond the Good Samaritan and Journeying Out
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1.
Curtain 00:20
2.
3.
Nineveh 03:03
A hundred leagues from the coast, there are demons, there are ghosts In Nineveh Where the evil Assyrian Emperor gloats In Nineveh They kill women, they kill children, and dogs and fleas They make towers with the heads of their enemies If ever there’s a place ye don’t want to be It’s Nineveh La la la la la… The women wash their clothes in a river full of bones In Nineveh The moat’s full of blood, and when they go to war it floods In Nineveh The walls are crowned with a barb wire fence Every man is a monster, every woman is a wench I pray your hands are never sullied by the stench Of Nineveh La la la la la… It’s all tanks and banners, and goose-stepping rallies In Nineveh And there ain’t nobody with a sense of humour In Nineveh They’re all fundamentalists. They’re all right-wing pigs They’re all fascists with moustaches who hate everything There is no freedom or liberty In Nineveh La la la la la…
4.
Now 00:31
5.
The Ocean 02:45
I stood there and smoked Over the edge of the boat Watched the clouds come go And the seagulls flying low And the sailors with their knives All stood there dreaming of their wives And they were kindly in the eyes As though familiar with my kind And the ocean says nothing to me O the ocean says nothing to me The ocean says nothing to me O the ocean says nothing to me But I take solace in the sight And the romance of my plight The ballad of the travelling man is Vanity, I know, but it’s mine And the crew know very well That they who say they travel to find themselves Are self-deluded every one It’s our selves we’re running from And the ocean says nothing to me O the ocean says nothing to me The ocean says nothing to me O the ocean says nothing to me Well I’m tired of my work And I’d like to sleep through all the hurt The ocean’s vast and sad I’ll sleep through good weather and bad I want to sleep
6.
A Great Wind 00:25
7.
Yo Ho 02:19
Buckets of grain and bags of rice Bottles of wine from the Israelites Jars of Etheopian spice And Babylonian lapislazuli Timber of cedar and cypress trees Floating as far as the eye can see Hammers and nails, buckets and pails Lost forever at the bottom of the sea (sea, sea, sea, sea) Yo-ho! Over it goes! Kiss your precious load goodbye Hey hey! The wind and the waves! Pray to your gods or tonight we die Elephant tusks and dinosaur bones Carved into gods for middle-class homes Spanish Gold. It’ll never be sold Send it down to Davey Jones Grecian Statues: 1, 2, 3.. Over they go and dead they be Roman marble: 2, 3, 4.. Send them down to the ocean floor (floor, floor, floor, floor) Yo-ho! Over it goes! Kiss your precious load goodbye Hey hey! The wind and the waves! Pray to your gods or tonight we die Fancy linen and purple dyes Never to spread on a bed of lies Ashera poles and raisin cakes Send them down to the old sea snakes Rings for your nose, varnish for your toes Lace for your underwear and buttons for your clothes Rusty chests full of precious stones Send them down to the watery ghosts (ghosts, ghosts, ghosts, ghosts) Yo-ho! Over it goes! Kiss your precious load goodbye Hey hey! The wind and the waves! Pray to your gods or tonight we die God of the ocean, as cold as ice Accept these mariners’ sacifice of imperial wares and frivolous cares Lest we die for the empire’s lies What profit be it to any man To hold to his gold as the ship goes down? And down therein, with a skeleton’s grin to rust into dust for the empire’s sins (sin, sin, sin, sin) Yo-ho! Over it goes! Kiss your precious load goodbye Hey hey! The wind and the waves! Pray to your gods or tonight we die (x2)
8.
The Storm 01:45
9.
Sailors Vows 03:18
Kneel and pray thy prayers to the Imageless Be thou wordless and dumb before The Namelessness He will not be shown, till He shows himself He will not be known, until He makes Himself He will not be carved into wood and stone He will not be cast into bronze and gold He will not be bought, and He won’t be sold He will not be taught, and He won’t be told Kneel and pray thy prayers to the Imageless God of wind and rain and they hear His voice Monsters of the waves, come when He calls Every creature stays, when He says “be still”
10.
A Great Fish 00:33
11.
“I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”
12.
13.
And as the waves washed o’er my toes My hair was sprawled across the coast And in the sea I saw the ghost O’ the monster over yonder And as he spouted in the sky I saw the apple of his eye Look across the way at I Out of the bay he did meander And as I stank there on the beach I stank of bile and rotten fish Lost in barnacles and weeds My clothes a-shredded all around me And as I burned under the sun My lips a-cracking all and one My skin was peeling and was burning And a feeling did surround me (Whistle) And over yonder I saw the birds There up above me making turns Against the heavens which were Deafening with brightness and with holiness Down in the belly of the beast I swear I scarcely didst believe That I would ever see your feathers ‘Gainst the endless weary sky again But they called back down to I Said, “If you really are alive Best crawl back into the ocean Than be going where you’re going my friend Up from the gullet of the deeps Over to demons and to thieves To what end do you believe You are delivered by His gracious hand?” (Whistle) And as I rose up pale and thin Their taunts were ringing in the wind And I stumbled through the jungle To the highway that would bear me so And if the ocean there below Spat me back upon this road Then there is nowhere to be going ‘Cept the place where I don’t want to go SONG: IT’S A LONG WALK TO HELL I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is I don’t think I’ll coming home again I don’t think I’ll coming home again My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me I don’t think I’ll coming home again
14.
I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me I guess I pulled the short straw, yes I did It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me It’s a long old walk to hell, o yes it is I don’t think I’ll coming home again I don’t think I’ll coming home again My friends and my family I hope you’re thinking of me I don’t think I’ll coming home again
15.
Eyes froze like a trout Heart in my mouth Sweat on my face Soldiers either side As quietly I Walk through the gates Hags a hollering Men bartering beasts making way Women wash their clothes Down by their toes And children play And I walked around the city all day And I’m wondering what the hell I’m going to say Soldiers on parade Heat of the day feet marching by Fists wrapped round their spears Their wicked beards Their painted eyes O my wide eyed glare As I wondered where They’re going to fight And all the people who they’re marching to devour alive And I walked around the city all day And I’m wondering what the hell I’m going to say Looking south and west Though I don’t guess I’ll get back home O my hands are cold My bones feel old My heart is stone I’ll give it ten heartbeats From when I speak Till they cut my throat B‘cause there ain’t no sympathy here For Jewish seers Who’re rocking the boat And I walked around the city all day And I’m wondering what the hell I’m going to say
16.
O! for all the wastelands West and South And all their wealth is ashes in my mouth O! for all the homes that we have raized And all the wandering peoples we’ve displaced La la la la la… O! for all the places East and North Mud beneath the hooves of my proud horse To keep the wine and grain within our halls The world cut up with borders, wire and walls All their teeth a-bared in silent screams No way to scrape their blood back into their skins La la la la la…
17.
18.
Angry 02:45
Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Well I gave You everything and You fed me to the fish But as for these hateful beasts? You’re desperate to forgive Well even You can’t be merciful and just at once So You give mercy to them and You give justice to us Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Tell me what kind of light are we supposed to be When you’re standing on the land with Your plan as we’re thrown into the sea? But these here beasts with their blood iron fists Are acquitted as their wickedness is pissing on everything that You did Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Well we looked to the hills and where has our help gone? We clawed at the door but nobody, nobody opened If I’ve given up on this place, and You’re still hanging on It’s because I’ve been here this whole time that You’ve been gone… Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am Angry? Yes I am
19.
The Gourd 01:47
20.
The Cattle 00:28
21.

about

A radiophonic production of The Book of Jonah, narrated by Professor N. T. Wright, and starring Professor Alastair McIntosh, as Jonah. With Sound and song by David Benjamin Blower

credits

released March 13, 2017

Sound and Song written and produced by DBB

Narrated by Professor N. T. Wright.

Starring Professor Alastair McIntosh, as Jonah.

Extra production by Chris Donald as well as the string and brass arrangements and a great many other magic touches. Percussion and extra vocals by Mercy Levett. Djembe by Mike Peart. Martin Brookes plays the Shipmaster and other drunken sailors. Violins by Joanna Karselis. Harmonica by Douglas Garry.

Special thanks to Tim Nash and Dave Ward for their inestimable contribution.

Thanks also to Miasto Dzwiekow for use of his ambient recording: the Baltic seagulls_15022014, kindly made available under creative commons at www.freesound.org/people/miastodzwiekow/sounds/219380/

You may find further reflections on terror, humiliation and the politics of enemy-love in the book that accompanies this record: Sympathy for Jonah, also by David Benjamin Blower. It's in the march section, as well as elsewhere.

May the whale deliver us all to the Terrible Other, in love.

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David Benjamin Blower Birmingham, UK

David Benjamin Blower: 6-string writer, poet, theologian and podcaster from Birmingham in the UK.

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