Saturday, 2 July 2016

Elevator Music

Elevator Music - music that elevates my heart and soul, and boy have I been in need of a lift since the shock to my system of leaving the EU..

I seem to be making the transition to digital music this year. With my wish-list increasing dramatically over the last couple of years the price of CDs against the download price has been brought into focus. Space is also a consideration.

I’ve been methodically recording my CD collection onto a HDD to use in the car and have filled in a few holes in the collection digitally where a complete album would not have been of interest. Any recommendations tend to get a good Spotify listen before I add them to the wish-list. There will undoubtedly be groups I will always buy everything released on whatever format they are available but with a resurgence in vinyl I have lately been buying the album on that format and getting a download code to add to my HDD. Must get a second HDD to back up the first though!

There may be a fault in my logic here. I would love to continue to support the artists I adore and am happy therefore to always buy my music but I do wonder how much they get of the price I pay, does it differ by format? Buying directly from the band / artist is similarly preferable for me because of that. 

Having catalogued my collection, which I drastically reduced about three years ago, mainly through selling on CD singles, I will have another cull once I have everything on the HDD and backed up. Curiously, I am in two minds about the limited edition CDs I have, the odd shaped cover and the like; are they likely to get me a better price or should I keep them for their uniqueness? Again, with certain artists the question answers itself but if I can fund the wish-list in its entirety that would be very exciting.

Anyway, with the first half of 2016 slipping away here’s my list of the most exhilarating finds this year (in some sort of order):

Breathless - Three Times and Waving
Blonde Redhead - Misery Is A Butterfly 
Poliça - United Crushers
And Also The Trees - Born Into The Waves 
Son Lux - Bones
London Grammar - If You Wait
Desaparecidos - Payola 
Son Lux - Lanterns
Kirk Brandon - Anthology
Killing Joke - What’s This For..? 
Son Lux - Strange Forms E.P. 
Daughter - Not To Disappear
Cuba - Leap of Faith
Kera - 1 by 1
Paul Haig - The Warp of Pure Fun
Metronomy - Love Letters
Lovisa Samuelsson - Main Magma Chamber

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Me and Haruki

So. Am supposed to have proffered some more writing this week for the writing group, Just One Sentence. But have not written anything for months, God, when was the last time I wrote anything? One word would be good, never mind a whole sentence.

It’s this planning thing, structuring it all out, inciting incidents, premises, scene goals; they’re all doing my head in. I print out all the help-sheets in the world and I can follow the logic of the theory and maybe I even believe it all. And then Thursdays come around and I teach it on to new creative writing learners. 

My old career was packed full of processes, practices and pragmatism. And yet, yet, they don’t help me one iota. They completely stymie my ‘creative flow’, as if that concept is something I might have been blessed with. Those aide memoirs for me need to come after the first draft, once I’ve written the story through. I can then analyse every chapter, scene, word until those Appenzeller bovines trip down the hillside, I can hear their clunking bells as I tap tap away.

I need to just sit down somewhere else and hide away and write. Maybe some days at mum’s would be good, although choosing the piccies to support this piece has enflamed my desire to go and write in the north east of Switzerland once more. I know what I have written so far so I need to get on and fill any obvious gaps and start to write more of it out. It’s going to be a long novel this one as I have four characters’ stories to write through.

Each Thursday I tend to have one slide of writing quotes. Last week I read Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage so I chose some quotes from the man. There it sat, my style of writing, When I start to write I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come.

Time to get cracking.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


The house is looking quite spruced after our extensive decorating of the last nine months. As I sit writing Mrs Hora and Jose are painting the kitchen, this will mean the whole of our downstairs has been done up, hurrah! That the stairs, landing and stairs to up, up have also been done is a bonus.

Yesterday I managed to put up a shelf in the hall, above the new hanging area, and today have added one to the stairwell up, up. There are hardbacks in the hall now, Susan Hill, Norman Colins, Jojo Moyes and Samantha Harvey predominantly. Today's shelf is stacked full of poetry, Keats, Coleridge, Owen, Sassoon, Yeats, Thomas, Mew, Cope, Redmond and plenty more. Above the poetry I've hung my signed aatt poster from their first acoustic gig on a Parisian rooftop, happy days!

2016 has begun pretty well for me. I was finally sent on Hounslow's 'Weigh 2 Lose' programme on the 4th Jan. Each week me and approximately fifteen others (only one other male) are given an hour's information on diet followed by an exercise class. Despite my coordination problems the latter is ok. I've managed to lose over one and a half stones so far although this week I seem to be stuck. The course is half way through and I feel confident that over a twelve week period I will get into much better eating habits. It's all about portion size, it's ridiculous how little we actually need to function. I still struggle in the evenings, dinner has been hard to reduce and not help myself to more delicious fare that I've spent some time putting together. Reducing alcohol has undoubtedly helped although I do miss the sensation of losing my mind.

The other side of the equation is exercise and being so incredibly huge has rather knocked my confidence about going swimming. Having lost most of my inhibitions with the gaining of age that wandering around in public area with my gut hanging out has remained a blocker. Another two stones lost and I'll be back in the water methinks. Another couple after that and badminton might become possible again. By that time Basti may be too good for me, tell will tell. In the meantime my fitbit keeps tabs on my steps and the target of 10,000 steps a day is starting to be exceeded with more regularity, I am consciously choosing to walk places I would never have done until recently.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Fifty years old.

For the first time since I was about twelve I celebrated a birthday with parties of a sort. On the Saturday prior I invited seven local friends and their families to join me and remarkably all said yes... there was me with a whole line up of substitutes and none got the call. Now, clearly, if I didn't invite you and you're fairly local then you were eighth on my list, promise.

Anyway, since my sister moved back to the UK we've travelled over numerous times to see her in South Wimbledon / Raynes Park, and driven past Fish! Kingston every time. I love fish, and having looked at the website it was a no-brainer.. top quality fish and chips plus other fishy dishes, mmm. As it was the food was exceptional, even better than I had dreamed! And the company, wow, wonderful, a lovely collection of people that I would spend the rest of my days with, thank you for coming out!

The following Saturday it was back to Suffolk to celebrate with my mum, Cheryl's mum and sister plus two. Tilly's, Halesworth is a 1920's themed tea shop. They recently started serving Friday and Saturday dinners and these were just as incredible. Brilliant grub and it looks like we'll be returning for mum's 80th in the new year: result!

As part of the celebrations I did some drawing:

I also tried to find 50 things I love but went slightly over..

Board Games
Food & Drink
Music (cont.)
The Archbishop’s Children
Woody Allen
Beef Brisket
Apple Mac
Stephen Jones
Alte Lohnhalle
Andean Abyss
S T Coleridge
Luc Besson
‘A User’s Guide’
Jay Jay Johanson
Norman Collins
The Big Blue
Barry Adamson
‘Love My Way’
The Billion Dollar Hotel
Kevin Beattie
And Also The Trees
Billy MacKenzie
Bushey Park
The End of the Affair
Blue Velvet
Blessings Roses
‘As Requested’ / ‘Mean Streak’
‘Making Plans For Nigel’
The Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Richard Ford
Caos Calmo
’Malicious Love’
Frederick Forsyth
Frank Capra
Chick Peas
The Beloved
Stefan Feld
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Double Indemnity
Glass Road
Jean Genet
Broken Family Band
Le Havre
Graham Greene
Foreign Land
The Cure
Conor Oberst
Samantha Harvey
The Hairdresser’s Husband
Fish & Chips
David Hockney
‘Damaged Goods’
The Passage
Le Havre
Susan Hill
Alfred Hitchcock
’Dear Heart’
John Peel
Kiesling & Kramer
Babs Horton
Jim Jarmusch
Jacket Potatoes
Ipswich Town
‘East St O’Neill’
Lewis & Clark
In The Springtime of the Year
Kitchen Stories
Just One Sentence
David Eugene Edwards
Memoir 44
John Keats
Fritz Lang
Lemon Sole
Charles Rennie MacIntosh
Dead Kennedys
Silversun Pickups
Ora & Labora
The Last Letter From Your Lover
Margaret Merrell Roses
Annie Eve
‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others’
Portman Road
Railways of the World
Henning Mankel
My Life As A Dog
Panna Cotta
Claude Monet

‘The Song From Under The Floorboards’
Moscow 2042
August Rodin
Vic Godard
Uwe Rosenberg
Jojo Moyes
Manuel Poirier
Scottish Terriers
‘Headache (for Michelle)’
David Sylvian
Haruki Murakami
Jean Renoir
Alfred Sisley
'Heaven Sent’
Tracey Thorn
Ticket to Ride
Ivan Turgenev
Russian Ark
Rib Eye Steak
Kristen Hersh
Tarn Hows
Tinner’s Trail
Mario Vargas Llosa
Trop Belle Pour Toi
Salice Salentino
‘I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby’
The Unthanks
Tzolk’in, the Mayan Calendar
William Shakespeare
The Villagers
Twilight Struggle
The Wilderness
Young and Innocent
Frans Thijssen
The Incredible Shrinking Dickies
M Ward