Relocating - please follow the link for new content

This archive will stay here - but you can find new posts (as well as this archive) at my new website which is at It's the new home for Stuart Eglin Online - including the blog, musings, and details of the publications and services which I have available. Take a look - it's worth a visit!

Monday, 19 December 2005

All the great bands

There are so many bands around at the moment who are making great music. It feels like being a teenager all over again. The influences are straight from that time for me – Joy Division, Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Patti Smith, Talking Heads.

I have been really impressed with albums by Doves (‘Some Cities’ and ‘The Last Broadcast’), The Editors (‘The Back Room’), The Open (‘The Silent Hours’) and Kasabian (‘Kasabian’) and The Arcade Fire (‘Funeral’). There is nothing pretentious about this music – just great guitar band music. I saw The Editors recently playing support to Franz Ferdinand, and thought they were really good. This music restores faith in the direction of music again.

Looking back over the last few decades, music seems to go through cycles. Just as we are enjoying music like the current scene, it won’t be long before the focus shifts to dance-oriented and manufactured music again. So we might as well enjoy it whilst it is here.

Saturday, 17 December 2005

What's he building in there?

What’s he building in there?

Apologies for the prolonged break in transmission. There is an immutable law in this process which says that the longer you leave it before posting, the harder it is to get back to. This is because the expectation I place on myself that the return post should be fantastic increases the pressure. So the gap grows and the expectation rises.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to just get on with it. So here I am. What have I been building? Well, I have been putting a lot of time and effort into the world of work, the world of music, and the world of Buddhism and Reiki. Although the last pair in that list would benefit from a lot more focus than I have given of late.

I have been writing up entries in the other journal I keep – the one with a rubber band round it, which I carry most places with me, and which I keep private thoughts in. This is where I play and test out ideas. Some of them find their way onto this blog. Some don’t.

Well, the posting resumes – I am a few days away from a break, and with it will come an increase in posts to the blog…

The title of this post – “What’s he building in there?” – follow the link for the song it comes from.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Sounds that need time

Here are some CDs that have appeared in my collection over recent months and are just shouting out for more time to listen. I have so much wonderful music at my fingertips that sounds better the more it is played:

  1. Iarla O’Lionaird – Invisible Fields

  2. Nine Horses – Snow Borne Sorrow

  3. Kate Bush – Aerial

  4. Jon Hassell – Maarifa Street

  5. Brian Eno – Another Day on Earth

  6. Afro Celt Sound System – Anatomic

  7. Jackson Browne – Solo Acoustic Vol. 1

  8. Nitin Sawhney – Prophesy

  9. Nitin Sawhney – Human

  10. Keith Jarrett – Radiance

  11. Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins – Which way is East

  12. Charles Lloyd – Lift Every Voice

… and in most cases – the better for listening through headphones.

Monday, 14 November 2005

but she's a girl... Kate Bush - Aerial

I was going to post a review of the new Kate Bush album. 'Aerial' is her first album since 1993, and I approached the first listen with a little trepidation. When expectations are so high it is easy to be disappointed. The album is a slow grower - and I like it that way. The albums that stay in my playlist the longest are the ones that take a time to get under my skin.

Well, I won't post a full review, because I read a brilliant review last night. The "but she's a girl" blog has a really good post about the album which says exactly what I would have wanted to say. So why repeat, when you can link!

Thursday, 3 November 2005

Sonic Turtle -- Adham Shaikh

Sonic Turtle -- Adham Shaikh

I am a regular reader of the 'nervenet' mailing list, which is a list for comment on Brian Eno's music and all things related.

Over the last couple of days there has been reference to the work of Adham Shaikh. I had never heard of him, so followed the link to the Sonic Turtle website. There are a handful of mp3 files to download there. His music is stunning - a mix of ambient, world beat and electronica. I am very impressed. Time to go hunting for albums by him I think.

Monday, 31 October 2005

County Kerry - Glenbeigh

Back from a few days away in Ireland. Visiting friends, and marvelling at the constant rain! We spent a few days in Kerry, in a small village called Glenbeigh which is beautiful. We had all day views of the Dingle Peninsula, which changed by the minute with the change of light.

Plans to go whale and dolphin watching were cancelled due to bad weather, but that didn't take away from the experience.

I'll post some photos over the coming days - if any of them were worth looking at.

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Monetisation versus Open Source

There is an interesting tension building on the internet between the whole principle that anyone who blogs or podcasts might want to get to the situation where they can monetise what they do (an Americanism for "Make Money out of!") – and the concept that the web is the means by which to provide vast amounts of content in an Open Source way.

For an example of the monetisation concept, I look to the work being done by Adam Curry in the podcasting world – he is mindful of the free-at-source roots of podcasting but can see the opportunities too, and is looking to monetise this sector. I'm not critical of this. There are loads of podcasters producing content for reasons of passion and obsession rather than for commerical gain. But there are many people who want to generate income. Adam Curry is working ingeniously to deliver business models which make that possible.

Around the issue of Open Source I think the approaches of Tom Peters and Seth Godin are really interesting. Both of them have a growing store of freely downloadable material for people to read. I guess they figure that they make plenty of money and the issue is about getting readership.

Although they presumably also realise that giving away free electronic content does convert into sales in a world where people still prefer the real printed page to browse and stick on their shelf. And it is this translation of free to purchase that leads to something else.

There is actually a 3rd way in all of this – something at the interface between monetisation and open source. I guess in software terms it would be shareware. But that isn’t quite what I mean. I’m talking about the way in which it is possible to build market share (something Amazon did in the early stages of its business where it lost warehouses full of cash selling at ridiculously low prices to get customers), build readership (Godin & Peters) and develop a meme-like interest through the ‘give it away for free’ approach. I guess this idea needs more work, but I am sure that we are on the brink of some new business models, and exciting new ideas.

I have written before about the 'Creative Commons' idea - this weblog has a creative commons license. This is another aspect of this wider picture. The challenge which faces web publishers (bloggers?), podcasters and other net-entrepreneurs is to work out how to weave through all of this and get out of the net what we want to, whilst ensuring that we give the reader / surfer what they want too.

There is a lot of talk at the moment about Web 2.0 which will take us into the next era of the web, beyond the market place which it has become of late. Exciting times are ahead - more thought is needed about the collision of monetisation, open source and creative commons to create new ways of doing things.

Friday, 21 October 2005

Earthquakes and poetry

I keep a regular track of the visitors to the series of weblogs which I host using sitemeter. This helps me to see how many visitors are looking at the site, how they get there, and a rough idea of where they are located.

Yesterday someone did a search on MSN Search looking for 'poems on earthquake' and found my weblog for the poetry press which I run. There is a book of poetry which I wrote a few years ago called 'Umbrian Images' which includes a poem about the earthquake in Assisi in 1997. The site visitor was in Pakistan and was therefore presumably looking for poetry about the Pakistan earthquake.

Well, as a response to this, I thought I should do two things. First, post the poem about Assisi - I think it brings into focus the difference between these two disasters. This year has been filled with disasters of immense scale and suffering. It is easy to become numb to it all. But I think we just need to keep responding, doing what we can. The world of global media is a two-edged sword which offers us information on an unprecedented scale and immediacy - but it does give an armageddon quality to all of this. Our reaction and support is vital. (There's a useful post about the impact of the internet on our view of disasters by Seth Godin here.) Which brings me to the second thing I can do as a response. Follow the link to the Disasters Emergency Committee to donate to the Appeal for the Asian Earthquake. Please help.

Assisi Earthquake
(some words taken from a Daily Telegraph article)

On the western edge of town
firemen fear the roof of the upper basilica
might not withstand
heavy rainfall.

The magnificent campanile’s bells
which sound when St Francis’s birds flock
have been eerily silenced as if
their tolling might be enough
to bring the tower crashing down.

The restorer says
“I know the fresco which included this detail.
I’ve restored it twice before,
to see it like this makes my heart sink.”

One local says of the monks,
“I don’t see any of them
rolling up their sleeves
and getting to work with a spade.”

twenty five thousand people
have no homes.

we look at moments of time
without the context of history
and emphasis becomes distorted.


Thursday, 20 October 2005

Svarte Greiner's music mixes

Type Records has a podcast feed where you can download mp3 files of music mixes. There are about 20 different downloads there - each is about an hour long. The link - - is badged as a 'radio' page. I like the idea of this. The music mixes are eclectic, mostly a mixture of ambient / jazz / modern classical. There's a lot of music from the Rune Grammafon label, and plenty of Arvo Part, Dead Can Dance etc.

My favourite so far is a mix called 'under the leaves' by Svarte Greiner (aka Deaf Center's Erik Skodvin) - music from Arvo Part, Arve Henriksen, Julie London, Aphex Twin, Max Richter (a beautiful highlight), Biosphere and Cliff Martinez combine to make an hour of stunning sound. Download it and enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

M Scott Peck dies

I just found out today that M Scott Peck died at the end of September. He was 69. There is a full obituary in the Telegraph, a UK paper, which ends rather grudglingly and rudely in my view. Scott Peck wrote some fantastic books - to comment on his inability to write great songs seems like a mean-spirited sort of comment to me.

I read 'The Road Less Travelled' in the early 90s and was hugely influenced by it. The beginning 'Life is difficult' must be one of those great one-liners that helps with the process of growing up. It sits alongside 'life isn't meant to be fair' as one of those things that moved me forward in life.

I read several of his other books too - 'The Different Drum' is a wonderful book about building communities. My favourite book is 'In Search of Stones: A Pilgrimage of Faith, Reason and Discovery' which describes a journey which he made through Britain looking at ancient sites with standing stones. It's a spiritual read, and an enjoyable one too.

I was sad to hear that Scott Peck had left this life.

For a more recent post on this subject please click here

Wednesday, 5 October 2005

Borders - too many people

I went to our local Borders last weekend for a couple of hours. This should have been fun - books, CDs and Starbucks. Unfortunately each time I go to this store it becomes more and more popular.

Why do car park designers have no idea how to design them in ways that avoid gridlock. I was gridlocked getting into the car park - and then again trying to get out. Then there was the human equivalent of a traffic jam at Starbucks - too many people with not enough seats and tables. It was chaos. There was nowhere to sit and browse, which is the whole point of the ambience of these places.

The whole experience showed me that the success of a place can become its failing too. Very zen!

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Favourites - going going gone

I spent some time last night checking through my favourites on Internet Explorer, looking to see what has happened to some of the many sites I have flagged over the last few years. It was a process that really showed me how ephemeral the internet can be. About 75% of all the links either didn't work at all, or were to temporary pages redirecting to another site. It's incredible to see how quickly things disappear on the net.

This makes it only too clear that publishing on the net doesn't necessarily mean that something is always out there. So many great sites have bitten the dust for one reason or another.

There are services set up to archive the internet - so I guess that archive pages of some of these sites will be sitting on some server somewhere - out in the deeper internet. But they are as good as lost to the casual browser.

All those billions of pages appearing and then disappearing - all that effort being wiped away in the blink of a computer screen.

Monday, 3 October 2005

E F Schumacher - Small is beautiful

I am a few pages from the end of "Small is beautiful" by EF Schumacher. This is the first time I have read a book about Economics since I was at school. Although it is actually about a lot more than just Economics.

It was written over 30 years ago, and yet its preoccupations with ecology, the distinction between consumables and resources that we can't replace (fossil fuels!), issues of scale in the workplace, and the impact of technology on people's work - are as relevant today as they were when he was writing.

Schumacher talks about Third World aid, stressing that simply giving money doesn't help. We need to work with bankrupt economies to ensure that they build in capacity - ensure that through the use 'Intermediate Technologies' we are bridging the widening gap between our economies and theirs.

The main thing that has changed since Schumacher was writing, is that the gap has widened, probably to a greater extent than he could have imagined. The use of Aid is still a cynical and exploitative process by Western governments. Live 8 has come and gone, and the media has moved on to the next issue. The euphoria around that event has been replaced with the realisation that this is a long haul, not an issue that can be resolved in a few weeks of media frenzy.

Schumacher's book is an interesting read, because it helps with understanding the origins of the ecological movement. It gives a key historical perspective to the changes that we are seeing in the world. It is unnerving to realise that the issue of global warming and the limit to the world's resources was being raised as an issue 30 years ago, and being largely ignored then.

I also found it really interesting to read Schumacher's views on nationalised industry and issues of ownership - views that are very much out of fashion at the moment. It is refreshing to read them and realise that the arguments are robust and could be argued into the political debate to give some freshness to a world where there always seems to be only one right way to look at things.

All-in-all it is a book well worth ploughing through to open your mind to some of the big issues that stretch beyond the latest fad of our media-driven society.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

David Hykes on WNYC - overtone singing

WNYC - Soundcheck: Harmonic Universe (March 31, 2005)

Some weeks ago, someone posted a comment on this blog, in response to my comments about the overtone singing of Okna Tsahan Zam. The link above was posted by that person. It points to a US radio website with a link to a radio broadcast that you can hear with an interview with David Hykes who uses overtone singing. To quote from the site:

"Composer and educator David Hykes David and his ensemble The Harmonic Choir are celebrating their 30th year of creating enlightenment-dedicated music. Hykes has mastered overtone singing known as Harmonic Chant, the skill developed by Tibetan monk and Mongolian nomads that allows them to sing low and high notes simultaneously. Hykes and his Harmonic Choir explore the normally untapped resonances of the human voice."

It's worth a listen - the sound is more like the Hilliard Ensemble than throat singing to my ears. But I really like the ambience it creates. David Hykes actually demonstrates overtone singing to the interviewer which is fascinating to hear. David has his own website here.

Saturday, 1 October 2005

BBC - collective - sigur ros 'takk' - listening post

BBC - collective - sigur ros 'takk' - listening post

I haven't bought the new album by Sigur Ros yet. I plan to buy it in the next few days. In the meantime, there is a complete stream of it in Real Audio format, hosted by the BBC at the link above. Enjoy!

If you want to immerse yourself in a complete online experience before buying, go to the Sigur Ros site and look at lyrics, a documentary and a pile of other stuff. I really like the way that Sigur Ros have figured out that using the internet through downloading and streaming it is possible to build a fan-base. I first heard their music through the enormous stack of downloads on their website - that prompted me to go out and buy their albums.

Hearing the new album also helps me to decide to go and buy, in spite of the somewhat negative review in the latest issue of 'The Wire' magazine.

Friday, 30 September 2005

Playlist September 05

Been listening to these CDs over last couple of weeks:

1. David Sylvian - The Good Son vs The Only Daughter

Remixes of the 'blemish' album - remarkably coherent, total retakes on some tracks, warmth brought to some of the more stark pieces from the original album.

2. Porcupine Tree - Stars Die

A 2-CD retrospective.

3. Harold Budd - Avalon Sutra

Double album - been on my playlist for a while now. Keeps haunting me.

4. Harold Budd - The Pavilion of Dreams

The first album I heard by Budd - still love it after all these years.

5. Brian Eno - Another Day on Earth

Eno does voices after so long - great depth that keeps coming through on each listen.

6. Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars

Great for easing those tensions...

7. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

I just love listening to someone push the boundaries, and those melodies, hooks, riffs!

8. Iarla O'Lionnaird - Invisible Fields

The singer from Afro Celts. Third solo album - a work of great late night beauty.

9. Jonny Greenwood - Bodysong

I love the jazz blasts on this - and the classical pieces - incredibly diverse.

10. Tom Waits - Alice: the complete demos

Great to hear this alongside the original album - the 'interlude' pieces are intriguing, and the singing is fantastic, often very funny.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

Stasisfield mp3 releases : New Release : Preview EP : Fessenden : Stasisfield mp3 releases : Current Releases : Preview EP : Fessenden

I can't remember whether I have mentioned Stasisfield before. John Kannenberg runs this web-based music and images site from Chicago. All mp3s on the site are available for free download. You can also buy mp3 CDs of the back-catalogue if downloading masses of music is difficult through your internet connection. The music is ambient, minimalist soundscapes. I really like the very distinctive sound and look that is created for Stasisfield. John is a sound and image artist who produces all the artwork for the label, which I really like.

The latest release, an EP by Fessenden, called 'Preview' came out recently. I gave it a quick listen last night and was really impressed. This is one that I'll be working with over the next few weeks.

A recent innovation from John's site is an RSS feed, so it is now possible to sign up and get new releases as they become available in podcast form. This is a great idea, and makes the whole process so much easier.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Nine Horses

If you have read more than a handful of posts here, you will know that I am a big fan of the work of David Sylvian. I have been listening to his music since his band Japan produced the album 'Quiet Life' back in 1980. It is more than a passing interest - I have some 35 albums of his work - ranging from stuff with Japan, to solo and collaborative projects and unofficial live albums.

His work over the last 6 years, after a long break, has been really fascinating. From the uneven album 'Dead Bees on a Cake' in 1999 to the stunning experimental work of 'blemish' which featured Christian Fennesz and Derek Bailey - his work has charted new areas, and pulled in the broadest range of influences. The highlight of this album was the closing track 'Fire in the Forest' with Fennesz which is a truly beautiful piece of music, bringing an album about pain to a stunning resolution.

There's a new album due out on 17th October. It's a collaboration with his brother Steve Jansen and the electronic artist Burnt Friedman under the name Nine Horses. The album is called 'Snow Borne Sorrow' and the clips I have heard sound really intriguing. Can't wait to hear the whole thing when it comes out. On the Sylvian

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

When the brain starts to work again

Over the last couple of days, it has felt as though my brain has come back from an extended period of holiday. I'm beginning to understand patterns again. Things are pulling together into a bigger coherent picture.

It feels like the clearing of a heavy fog. As a result the state of stasis is easing. Writing has begun again, and the creative energies are flowing. You will see more here too.....

Sunday, 25 September 2005

bright by echo of bright recall

bright by echo of bright recall
there is nothing more

only the neatness brought about when we tidy as we go along
turning everything into some sort of song

then there is the won mind-set
no idea why!

then there was the loss of a consonant in a clever
smug sort of whatever

and finally we let it all go
pretend that nothing has happened

seal the secrets in a small envelope,
light a candle,

hold the secret over it
until it ignites, then let go and

watch the paper turn to blackened feather
light, and fragment, into the air

gone forever, burnt out of existence.

Saturday, 24 September 2005

The words begin

The words begin

Like something that slips down the page - not sure

And an image
that is all that poetry is
something that we can picture in our mind

like the arrival of god
at a party when he hasn't been invited
and the host is busy pouring drinks
nobody knows the way to speak

so the first person to open the door, says
"sorry, I know we must have met, at some point that is,
but I have no idea who you are, and you’re not coming in here!"

The door slammed shut…and then silence
nothing to say
the music dies away as the guests wonder whether
they have missed something really important
of consequence.

for it is all of consequences
within the chaos of complex adaptive systems
we all try to make some sense.

seek out a god
and then when we find one,
we shut the door, refuse to recognise
ignore the voice in our head
and strike him off the guest list

safe in the company of those we know.

Friday, 23 September 2005

train fragment

…travelling through the country from London to the North West of England on a train. Looking out of the window, there are huge formations of clouds hanging in an otherwise blue sky. It is the end of an exhausting working week…

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Blogger suggestions

Another day, another dollar. Blogging with Microsoft Word does make this whole process easier. The new facility, here, is a really good development. But what about Categories for Blogger? When are we going to see that development appear?

Blogger did a user survey recently – when are we going to get feedback, and what are they doing with the suggestions that were made in the survey?

Another thing that Blogger could provide, would be the facility to post a number of drafts and then have them automatically post to the site so that there is always a post from the backlog when there is nothing new. Other blogging tools can do this – why not Blogger? Is it just me, or do Google seem to be resting the whole development of Blogger since they bought it?

OK, whinge over!

I’m very blog-light at the moment as I rush about with the day job, and try to realign my life after a stack of changes. Things should pick up soon – promises, promises…

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Escaping writer's block

New words
New creations
New intimations of creativity
Old spaces
Seen before spoken
Somewhere we have been before
Law taken over
Wondering whether there is more in the dust
Specks that have recovered
Speeches that have been replayed

Once the lines have opened
There is not much left to the sands of timeliness
Such as the scan of a mission best replayed

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

U B U W E B :: Glenn Gould

I've been a big fan of Ubuweb for a while now. The site hosts all manner of avant garde and dadaist media, including texts, mp3's and videos / films. There has been a feast of fascinating material on the site for some time now.

After a summer overhaul, there is now a lot of new material on the site. Follow the link to find three sound files of radio programmes created by Glenn Gould back in the 60s and 70s. I first heard these on UK's BBC Radio 3 which hosted a tribute evening to the pianist a few years ago, and broadcast the programmes which were originally heard on Canadian radio. They are bold adventures in radio, Gould literally using the studio as a composing instrument. Well worth a listen.

U B U W E B :: Glenn Gould

Thursday, 1 September 2005

taking words apart

Opening all out
Splitting a cloud like candy floss
Breaking air apart
An atom-smasher

Other words
But do not understand the flow
Through all connections
No rejections
No sorry.

Not part
Not apart
Not even one strong sense of innocence
Would be enough
To split sides
Make asides
Not see.

Even when
The words are spent
The spoken sounds are louder than the heard
The things I say
Are not the same
As yours.

Wednesday, 31 August 2005

On returning

…and so another holiday comes to an end. We spent this one in the south of France, soaking up sunshine, wine and food.

Whilst away I read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown. Yes, I know, I must be the last person to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was in a completely different genre to the sort of things I would normally read, and that made the enjoyment even greater.

Poetry is about to step back into the foreground as I begin work on the second intense phase of creativity of this year.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Life in the maelstrom

Sometimes life just gets in the sights, and the time for communicating beyond the face to face shrinks away so that there is nothing left. No blogging for a couple of weeks now. I read in many places that bloggers shouldn't apologise for not blogging. It's like starting a speech with "unaccustomed as I am to public speaking"!

But then all rules are set to be broken! And it is worth an apology for the low frequency of posts. It is unlikely to change until September now.

I am reading "In Search of the Miraculous" by P D Ouspensky and feeling bewildered by a lot of it. He puts across the theories of Gurdjieff really clearly - it is the theories themselves that are so baffling. The man-machine idea is fascinating. Does this have anything to do with where Kraftwerk got the name from? Man sleepwalking through life. More on this book in a later post...

Friday, 22 July 2005

Four-Fold Way

Four-Fold Way

I was pointed to this site from Dave Pollard's blog (How to save the world - see the list of sites to the right). Angeles Arrien has developed the Four-Fold Way. It sets out four ways - the way of the warrior, the way of the healer, the way of the teacher and the way of the visionary.

Well worth a visit!

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Blogsome - is it better than blogger?

I stumbled across this weblog host, based in Ireland. The system is based on Wordpress technology. I use blogger at the moment and have done for over 2 years now. I like what blogger does. There is just one key thing which blogger can't do. It doesn't have the facility to sort posts into categories so that readers can select all posts in a certain category and browse through them. I think this is really important. I emailed blogger about it some months ago and got a bland response saying they were working on it. Well, I emailed them again earlier today to ask when they are planning to introduce it. If it isn't soon, I may consider switching to Blogsome. It has categories!

Thursday, 14 July 2005

That poetry reading

I mentioned recently that I was due to give a reading at our local poetry group on the first Thursday in July. There were about 60 people gathered for the evening. It was the same day as the bombings in London, so there was an air of sadness and shock hanging over the audience. Earlier in the evening I had begun to wonder whether reading poetry felt like the right thing to do in the circumstances. In the end, like many people that day, carrying on as normal felt like totally the right thing.

I read 8 poems, including a number of poems included on this site recently. They were all taken from the "28 poems in 28 days" cycle which I wrote earlier this evening. I find that reading poetry to an audience changes my relationship to the poem. I hear it differently. In this reading I heard some lines as really strong, which I had not noticed before. I heard rhythms which worked, and some that didn't. Overall I was really pleased with the material - I was taken by its intensity. And I felt that I had rediscovered some of the playful side of using language again.

What did the audience make of the reading? It is always difficult to tell at a poetry reading. Unlike a live music concert, it does not conclude with booing or frantic cheering. Poetry readings are an altogether more polite affair - at least where I come from they are.

I felt an empathy from the audience. As I looked around whilst reading there was an attentiveness which is always helpful. And there was a good level of applause at the end too. The highlight for me was after the event, when one of the organisers came up to me and said "that was fascinating. Thank you."

The rest of the evening was excellent too - there was live music from a duo playing accordion and bagpipes, another poet reading, a poem of the month, and a talk about the poetry of Edward Thomas.

One good outcome from the evening was a resolve on my part to travel further afield and do poetry readings. Further reports here as they happen.

Monday, 11 July 2005

The day job tyranny

A change in job circumstances is having an impact on my usual habits and patterns. Regular posting will resume once I have some rhythms and timings sorted out.

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

John Cale - Five Tracks

Yes, I know that this is a 2 year old piece of music. Sometimes CDs sit in my collection for a while - I think they are good and enjoy them, but don't really rave about them because I haven't had the time to listen to them for long enough to draw out what is going on.

'Five tracks' was an EP released ahead of the 'Hobosapien' album - it contains the most beautiful music filled with contradictions. Each track has a menacing air to it, tinged with soft girl choruses. The lyrics meander around all sorts of things including September 11th New York, the reputation of Ezra Pound - one of the tracks ('Wilderness Approaching') is taken from a film. 'E is missing' has an eerie voice singing 'Nowhere .... was not here / nowhere's not there / nowhere is nowhere' to the tune of an almost Christmas carol. I love it!

Why did I put this CD on after a couple of years? I was watching 'Later with Jools Holland' at the end of last week. This is a fantastic music programme on the UK BBC. The series finished recently, and is now being supplemented with a few programmes taking best bits on different themes. It was 'loud music' last week. John Cale was on playing a version of the Velvet Underground track 'Venus in Furs' - it was an incredible performance, and has stayed with me over the last few days.

As a result, the EP has reached my play list. What now? Well I also have another album by Cale, which I haven't explored much - called 'The Academy of Peril' - a strange album with full orchestra.

I should have realised that John Cale takes time to understand. Years ago (about 30 years, I think!) I bought a second hand copy of 'Vintage Violence' on vinyl, listened to it and was bewildered. Over time it became one of my favourite records.

John Cale, a welsh viola playing genius, with one of those rock voices that waivers on the edge of tuning in an unnerving way.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

inside the bones of my skull

I am due to give a poetry reading at a local poetry group at the end of next week, so I am busy choosing poems to fill the 10 minute slot which I have available. I'm going to take the selection from "avenues of in between". Here is one which I intend to use:

I am the reaper, the big repeater
Spinning out the lines, the ones I’ve heard before
Echoing and etching everything I find
The craftsman at his task
Needing only to serve words to myself –
Or to anyone that will listen.

Having something meaningful to say
Screwing up pieces of paper, pieces of all
That I throw away, of the words that I hold on to
The turning wheel, the replay, and the play back
Finding my way to the something
That is new.

Inside the bones of my skull
A good tune, a few words that are useful
A speech, a list of things that I keep
Special delivery and a knock at the door
Searching the feelings just beyond reach
Opening out the corpse to examination.

Obsessive seeking, needing one more splice
A few moments in the recess of the day
A replay, then separate times that have not played before
Long tunnels under roads, scary times
Crazy instances of the books that I long to write,
The speckled memories of a few cheap rhymes.

Monday, 27 June 2005

British Library Treasures in full

Treasures in full: Shakespeare's plays, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Gutenberg's Bible

This is well worth a visit. I have to confess to being a bit of a library geek. I love looking at books. When I was a student (many years ago!) I used to spend hours in the special collection in the University Library looking at rare and old books. I was particularly impressed with very old manuscripts of books by Aubrey Beardsley.

The link takes you to the British Library website where you can find digital images of the pages of various editions of Shakespeare's plays, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Gutenberg's Bible. The Quartos of Shakespeare's plays were published towards the end of his life - books that are 400 years old. The site enables you to compare different versions of the same play, which is great if you are into that sort of thing.

For me, the main attraction is the ability to actually browse through the pages of these incredibly rare manuscripts. Thank you, British Library!

Sunday, 26 June 2005


We went for a walk on the common near to where we live. In the middle is a cluster of rocks called Thor's Rock - it is a stunning piece of sandstone. Or at least it was until the local population felt the need to carve their names on every inch of it.

Saturday, 25 June 2005

Current playlist

I love looking at other people's playlists, so I thought I would post another one of mine. There are a few CDs that are really making a mark on me at the moment, so I thought they were worth a mention:

1. Jon Hassell - Maarifa Street

I bought this a few weeks ago, and it has been on the player regularly since. It seeps into your consciousness. This is his best album in years - I love the reconstruction of live and studio sounds. Different things lurk up out of the mix each time I listen.

2. John Foxx / Harold Budd - Translucence / Drift Music

This one has been a regular play each time I sit down to work. The best ambient piano-based music I have heard in a long time. The second CD has fantastic blurred sound passages.

3. Brian Eno - Glitterbug

The album that was never released, because Eno sent the tapes to Jah Wobble who made 'Spinner'. I like both albums for different reasons. This one was a soundtrack to a Derek Jarman movie.

4. Jon Hassell - Live in Nice 1997

Taken from a radio broadcast - fantastic music. Hassell live is every bit as exciting as Hassell in the studio.

5. The Coral - The Invisible Invasion

A local band - got the album for Father's Day last weekend. A great mix of 60s beat, Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen. Really catchy hooks in each song, and a heap of unusual endings.

Friday, 24 June 2005

Gurdjieff Two

One of the key things about Gurdjieff (I posted about him a couple of days ago, here) is that at the core of his writings is esoteric knowledge. Is it any wonder then, that I should be sitting at breakfast the next morning reading, and came across an interesting fact? I was browsing through an article about Van Morrison in the latest issue of Uncut media magazine. It transpires that Van Morrison experimented with Christian Mysticism, Buddhism, Scientology, Hinduism and Gurdjieff. That would help to explain some of the mystical qualities of his music when he slips into the zone. So, I am aware of the influence of Gurdjieff on Keith Jarrett, Van Morrison, Robert Fripp and, I think, David Sylvian. Is it significant that most of these are prolifically creative?

Do you know of any other artists who are influenced by the work of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Bennett?

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Triplux :: 101 Things in 1001 Days

Triplux :: 101 Things in 1001 Days

I was referred to this meme by Clare at Eclectic Artisan. It's a great idea - basically you draw up a list of 101 things that you want to complete in 1001 days. There are many sites out there with versions of this. This one has a great list, partly completed.It's interesting to see which ones he has done so far. The first ten are:

1 Learn enough French to watch Amelie without subtitles
2 Learn to juggle 4 balls
3 Visit Stewart Island
4 Stop eating meat for a week
5 Win at least $10 on an Instant Kiwi lottery ticket
6 Read 10 books on the Modern Library (Random House) top 100 list
7 Release a message in a bottle containing this web address
8 Publish this list on the web
9 To have seen all IMDB top 250 movies
10 To have seen all AFI top 100 movies

I like the idea of this - it's an alternative to New Year Pledges. The idea of 1001 days is that it is a more realistic time frame to work with than a year. I'm going to have a go with this. I already have a heap of goals which I could put into the list. I need to remember the following basics:

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Best Tool For the Job

Best Tool For the Job

This is a site that I found for the first time today. It has a great post called "Ten Things You Can Do Today to Jump-start Success". It is well worth a visit to read the detail, but the headlines are:

1. Read or listen to something that motivates you every single day.

2. Keep a journal of your daily progress and carry it with you wherever you go.

3. Make goals and re-write them every day.

4. Keep track of every person you meet.

5. Begin investing a portion of your income today.

6. Begin looking for opportunities to build passive income (money that you don’t have to work for once you’ve done the initial work) and write down or begin working on your ideas.

7. Only sleep as much as you need to.

8. Look for opportunities to serve.

9. Keep track of every penny that you spend or save.

10. Stop being a victim. Focus on what YOU can DO.

You really need to read the extra detail on Marcus' website to apply these - I thought they were a great set of things to work on.

Tuesday, 21 June 2005


I have been interested in the work of G I Gurdjieff for a few years now. I first came across the name when reading the biography of Robert Fripp written by Eric Tamm (available for free download here - well worth reading). I then discovered that Keith Jarrett was also heavily influenced by Gurjieff's work. Jarrett has recorded an album of the music of Gurdjieff. In search of more information, I read 'Views from the Real World' and also "Talks with a Devil" by P D Ouspenky
The core message of Gurdjieff's work - that we are all sleepwalking through life, and that we need to come into the moment and be totally alert to all that is going on around us - resonated with me. It had strong links to the buddhist notion of being in the moment.

I bought Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" - a book which many describe as the best account of Gurdjieff's work by one of his pupils. It has sat on my bookshelf now for 3 years, waiting for the right moment. And that moment has just arrived - I am now beginning to read it. The time feels right - summer solstice 2005.

Other books being read:

Getting Things Done - David Allen
Full Catastrophe Living - John Kabat Zinn
Eight Steps to Happiness - Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Plus a stack of articles about the work of Gurdjieff by Jacob Needleman, J G Bennett (a big influence on Robert Fripp), George Baker and Walter Driscoll.

Monday, 20 June 2005



In the interests of exploration I have just ventured into a site which is new to me. It is at and is an amazing repository of articles, interviews and comment – it describes itself:

“Edge Foundation, Inc., was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of a group known as The Reality Club. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world. The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society.”

It’s full of amazing ideas and information from people like Stewart Brand (Clock of the Long Now), Dave Winer (podcasting) and scientists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Stephen Pinker. There is also an interview with and set of commentary on Brian Eno, on the subject of Big Culture. The only down-side to a website like this is that it is one huge time-sink. One can get lost in there for hours at a time, and come out the other side trying desperately to remember what the reason was for going onto the net in the first place.

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Where do old websites go to die?

I set up a website a few years ago at geocities. It is one of those free sites which has a banner advert strip down the right-hand side. It was a good way for me to learn how to create a website. It contains pages of my poetry, my interests in organisational psychology, and music too. I haven't done anything with it in more than a year, since blogging is so much easier to do. I have, however, been wondering what to do with it - whether to do an upgrade, cannibalise materials for this blog, or what? I have also been contemplating bringing my 6 weblogs and that site together under one domain. I'm not sure which way to go with this - has anyone got any ideas?

In the meantime, as part of a cannibalising process, here is the text on the main page about music:

"I am a complete music obsessive. One of life's great journeys is the journey of musical discovery. There is a vast world out there of music that strikes to the soul, to the heart, the guts and sometimes the raging innards. Wherever it reaches us, music is something that has meant so much to me over the years.
From those early experiences back in the seventies when I listened to late night radio through headphones and first experienced the progress of music from the over-stretched progressive music to punk, new wave and new romantic.
Along the way I found roots, reggae and much besides. I have also developed a passion for jazz music, folk, world and classical music. Genre is not as important as the message - no area of music is immune from the ability to move the listener. "

Saturday, 18 June 2005

Using music in podcasts legally

[There's an update to this article for March 2007 - follow the link]

Hopes for legal music podcasts rise Tech News on ZDNet

Follow the link for an article about the potential for licensing of music for podcasts. The whole podcast world is going through enormous growth at the moment. Over the last 12 months it has moved through the tipping point into something of a phenomenon. Many podcasts are spoken word, and avoid using music. Some use music, but only use small clips and talk over it to avoid being sued for use of copyright material. A few seek permission for each item they use - but this can take too much time, and is often a nightmare - who owns the copyright on a particular piece of music? Who do you ask? And some use podcast-safe music - music where a license is granted. There is not a lot of this, and it tends to be mainly fringe, left-field music.

The legal issue focuses around the fact that podcasts are essentially downloadable mp3 files. A radio-type license is not appropriate for this type of medium.

The article argues that the recording industry needs to move faster to get this whole thing sorted. Of course, as ever, the industry seems to be only interested in the "fast buck" it can get from podcasting. There is scope for seeing the long view with the podcasting phenomenon. Doubtless it will change the face of broadcasting and narrowcasting. Things will look very different in a couple of years. The scope for podcasting to work as a marketing medium for an increasingly diverse and crowded music scene is immense. Asking amateur podcasters to pay huge license fees for something which they do as a hobby is a non-starter. There need to be licenses at different levels that reflect whether the podcast is amateur or professional, free or subscription, takes adverts or sponsorship or not, and perhaps also the quality of the mp3 file (in other words, can the music be extracted, or is it low grade for a one-time listen only.)

These issues need resolving urgently. If the industry doesn't work fast to resolve it, then the podcast revolution will surge ahead regardless. Industry will winge about the impact on its revenues, and the long-term effect will be as damaging as downloading has been for the industry. Message for the recording industry - embrace new ideas instead of burying the head in the sand and hoping they will go away. Look at ways in which you can facilitate and help the music fan, rather than litigating against them.

[There's an update to this article for March 2007 - follow the link]

Friday, 17 June 2005

David Gurteen's Knowledge Letter

GURTEEN View: Gurteen Knowledge Letter

I have been a member of David Gurteen's on-line Knowledge Community for about a year now. His website is a tremendous resource comprising web links, book details, people profiles and event summaries. It is well worth a look. I also subscribed to David's newsletter. There are a lot of sites offering regular newsletters, many of them are a bit feeble. David's newsletter is full of great information and links. As a rough guide, I usually spend anything up to an hour exploring the various links and sources of information which he cites in each issue. The link takes you to the archive of newsletters - why don't you sign up to the newsletter too? It goes to over 12,000 people in over 130 countries. David sees himself as a knowledge management specialist, but you don't have to be into KM to find his information useful.

On the subject of newsletters, I'm experimenting with the idea of a newsletter. I have put together a pilot issue for June. It would contain the blog entries for the previous month and any other internet stuff that I thought might be interesting. I'm aware that not everyone wants to check a blog regularly (although you can use useful services like Bloglines to make it easier - see subscribe button to the right). So I thought a newsletter might help. Comments welcome on this.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

WikidPad - wiki notebook/outliner for windows

WikidPad - wiki notebook/outliner for windows

I've spent some time over the last few days experimenting with a new piece of Open Source software called wikidPad. It's an amazing piece of software based on wiki technology. I think it might be really useful for managing to do lists in a more flexible way than mainstream software like Microsoft Outlook. There is also a really helpful discussion group to support the software. It has recently become open source so I guess there will be a lot of development from the group over coming months.

It also looks like a really good outliner, and space for keeping notes. I've copied the book manuscript over to it, so that I can try it out. It has the ability to create hyperlinks between pages 'on the fly'. You just type in a WikiWord, which is a word with capitals in the middle, like WikkiWord itself.

Another great thing which it can do, is to export the wiki as html, so it is possible to put together a series of linked pages and then export it as webpages, all without the need to know any html.

One to explore some more.

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Current listening

After a huge influx of new music, the following have bubbled to the top:

1. Jon Hassell - Maarifa Street (Miles Davis meets the 21st Century with 4th world sensbilities)
2. Coldplay - X&Y (played it twice, rationed to avoid overplay, think it is beautiful)
3. Keith Jarrett - Radiance (double CD of solo concert performances, completely improvised, a musician back in the zone)
4. Charles Lloyd / Billy Higgins - Which way is East (two musicians, a heap of instruments, inspiration flooding across another double CD)
5. Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - The Equatorial Stars (celestial music that eases the mind into a workful state)
6. Porcupine Tree - Deadwing (prog rock meets its contemporary match)
7. Van Morrison - Magic Time (makes you want to dance, sing and swing)
8. Thomas Dolby - Astronauts and Heretics (is it true the earth is flat?)
9. Brian Eno - Textures (rare album of early workings and ideas, serene and troubling by turns)
10. David Sylvian - Alchemy / An Index of Possibilities (instrumental bliss)

Has anyone heard Brian Eno's new album - the man is singing again! It is getting good reviews too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Coming through Change

I promised recently that I would post some information about the book which I am writing. It is a book about change, particularly about the whole issue of surviving organisational change. A lot of the techniques and tools that I set out in the book are applicable to change in whatever context we encounter it.

I cover issues like:

o networking
o using a network map
o objective setting
o biography working
o self-actualisation
o archetypal casting (a concept I developed as part of my PhD thesis)
o energy mapping
o applying creativity
o journaling
o channelling synchronicity

As the manuscript develops, I may post extracts here if there is sufficient interest. It will be useful to get feedback as the ideas fuse together.

Monday, 13 June 2005

New book by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Mahamudra Tantra

Mahamudra Tantra: The supreme heart jewel nectar
An Introduction to Meditation on Tantra

This is a new book written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the Spiritual Leader of the New Tradition of Kadampa Buddhism. He is based at the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Ulverston, Cumbria UK. I attended a weekend meditation course there a few years ago, which was amazing. The centre is located on the shores of Morecambe Bay, and has a beautiful Buddhist Temple built in its grounds. It is well worth a visit. The books I have read by Kelsang Gyatso are beautifully written, in a clear prose and take you through the principles of buddhism in a succinct way. This new book, which I haven't got hold of yet, looks at meditation on the tantra. From the website:

"This exciting book introduces a new world of meditation.
It explains how we can use our imagination as a powerful tool in our spiritual practice
Mahamudra is a Sanskrit word that means union of bliss and emptiness, the very essence of Buddhist Tantric meditation.
Mahamudra Tantra is a practical manual for gaining deep experience of meditation and discovering the peace and happiness that lies within."

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Ewloe Castle - Wales

Ewloe Castle - Wales
Originally uploaded by Stuart Eglin.

I took the boys to Ewloe Castle in Wales this weekend. It's a crumbling remains within woods overlooking a river valley. I was moved to photograph this window, built in the 1200s, look at the stone work in this construction, and look at the harmony of the shape, the window on the universe beyond.

The castle was built by Llywelyn. There are enough remains to make out two circular towers, one of which it is possible to climb up and stand on the top of. There is a ditch which would have been a moat, and a low wall running around the two towers.

I last visited this castle a few years ago. I was impressed this time to find that the whole area of woodland has been turned into a nature reserve.

If you want to see more photos of the castle, and an excellent impression of what the castle would have looked like when it was intact, go to the following website
It's full of photos and details of history.

Friday, 10 June 2005

Mike Snider cleans his closet!

Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium

The link above takes you to Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium, a place I visit regularly to read his comments, poems etc. It seems that Mike has been doing a little late spring cleaning, and come across some poetry booklets which I sent him a while back. I still have a stack of his sonnets to read too - looking forward to doing this. I will post some comments when I have read them.

I can relate to the whole issue of spring cleaning as I look with dismay at the chaos around my desk, on my desk, under my desk and everywhere around the house. I am on the brink of a change of jobs, so need to get the paper chaos under control as soon as I can.

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Bob Dylan - Chronicles Volume One

I've been reading Bob Dylan's first volume of autobiography recently. I have just a few pages to go. Dylan is an artist who I have better understood as I got older. I remember first hearing so many songs that I thought were preferable as cover versions by other people - 'All Along the Watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix for example.

I had read a couple of reviews of this book, which encouraged me to read it. It was rated as top book to read by Mojo magazine at the end of last year.

Well I agree with the comments that the style of prose is good. Dylan's style is unusual, reminds me a bit of the Beat writers. It takes a few pages to feel comfortable with it, and the narrative technique he uses is unusual too. Unlike many autobiographies by stars there is very little detail of dates, times, contexts etc. I'm not a huge fan of Dylan, so a lot of the subtle references were probably lost on me. As a result I often felt like the text jumped from one time to another without any clues to orientate the reader.

I did enjoy reading the book - it had a lot of interesting facts in it and some great anecdotes. I particularly liked the bit about Woody Guthrie, where Dylan visits him in the mental hospital for the last time, is offered some songs that Guthrie wrote if he goes to the family house. Dylan goes in search of the songs, but is unsuccessful. As an almost throwaway comment, he points out that these were the songs which would later be recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco. What an amazing story!

But I wouldn't rate this book at the top of my list, because it was just too confusing. It felt like it needed a good editing job from someone with the nerve to say to Dylan 'this is great stuff, but it needs to be put into context so that the reader can follow where you are going'.

Ultimately the problems might be down to my lack of knowledge of the subject. I'd be really interested to hear what real Dylan fans made of the book. Feel free to post a comment and let me know.

I suppose the final test rests with the fact that I will still be keen to read the next volume when it comes out.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

What is a blog when it is silent?

A blog is only as good as its frequency of posts. I have not been very active over recent weeks - so the hit rate has fallen on this site. It's a case of the rest of my life filling the spaces.

I've been reading some interesting articles on Steve Pavlina's weblog about self-discipline which are really inspiring. I'm going to try some of the techniques and see whether I can get the flow moving again here.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Busy writing a book

The frequency of posts to the weblog has fallen away over the last few weeks. The explanation - I have been pouring my energies into the planning of a book. The book, working title "Coming through Change", is about organisational change. Its subtitle is "A practical guidebook for personal survival and success during times of organisational change". I have nearly finished putting together the outline and am about to move to the writing stage. I will post extracts and thought-pieces here to keep it alive, and to keep this blog from freezing to a standstill.
Comments, observations, ideas and feedback are welcome.

Friday, 13 May 2005

Maarifa Street - Translucence / Drift Music

Typing away on the computer, 'Carolyn's Fingers' by the Cocteau Twins gently warbling in the background. The UK is caught in an atypical spell of hot sunny weather.

I bought two great albums earlier this week - the new album by Jon Hassell "Maarifa Street: magic realism 2" and Harold Budd & John Foxx's "Translucence / Drift Music". First impressions - Jon Hassell's new album builds the ideas and theories of his work over the last few decades to produce an album which blends live and studio sounds, electronic and acoustic, west and east. The result is a beautiful work - one that melts over you, offers up new turns at each listen. I am very impressed. The album by Budd & Eno which was released in 2003 is a marvellous double album of ambience. Mesmerising. It is one of those albums to play when I need deep thought for some extended writing.

I have been struggling to write regularly here for a couple of weeks now, as I work away outside the world of the web, to ensure that I have meaningful employment to pay the bills. A resolution is nearly in sight.

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

... and then there was a blog post

There's a natural law at work here. If a few days pass without an entry to the blog, it gets harder and harder to break the pause. It's like trying to resume anything after taking a break. The longer the break the more effort is needed to break through the barrier.

I find this with physical exercise too. If I miss a couple of sessions of exercise, getting back to it gets harder and harder.

Once I break through the hiatus and get moving again - whether posting to the blog or running a few miles - it feels easier than I thought it would. And the flow begins again.

Helpful points to remember:

- the barrier is never as enormous as it feels
- it is OK to have a break and get back to it, the flow soon returns

So ... I'm back.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

New listening

Over recent weeks I have been collecting a new heap of music to listen to. Here's a list of ten:

1. U2 - How to dismantle an atomic bomb
2. Talking Heads - The Best of
3. Porcupine Tree - Deadwing
4. Rufus Wainwright - Want Two
5. Gomez - Split the Difference
6. Can - Tago Mago
7. Bjork - Medulla
8. Brian Eno - Apollo
9. Led Zeppelin - Presence
10. Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves

Comments on some of these to follow soon. And I'll be posting more book reviews too. Promises promises!

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Google's AdSense

I set up AdSense a few days ago. The change that regular readers will notice, is that adverts appear at the top of the page. I'd appreciate feedback on this. I'm not sure that I have tweaked the template for the page correctly. Does this affect your ability to read the posts on the weblog? Let me know. If it needs adjusting - and you know how to do it - please let me know.

AdSense looks like a good scheme. Apparently readers who click adverts generate revenue for the blogger. An interesting idea. I'm intrigued to see how this develops.

Monday, 11 April 2005

US Court secures classical copyright

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Court secures classical copyright: "A major change to US music copyright practices could be in the offing after a court ruled a record label broke the law by reissuing old recordings. New York's highest court said Naxos was wrong to release classical recordings by Yehudi Menuhin and others - even though they were out of copyright. The court said such recordings were still covered by common law. The victorious Capitol label, which owns the rights, said the decision had 'enormous importance'. "

Regular readers will know that I am really interested in the whole issue of copyright, and the importance of balancing the rights of the artist with those of the wider creative process and the public. I'm a big fan of Naxos records - they have reworked the world of the classical music labels. They have also re-worked the whole idea of a budget label, producing work of a high standard, and often producing world premieres. They also release difficult music, not just keeping to the safety of popular classics.

It is astounding that the US courts are undermining the fundamental principle that copyright has a time limit to it. This is really important if we are to see work coming into the public domain for wider dissemination, and for broader use by the creative community.

The article which I quote above, also points out that the early recordings for the pop and rock scene are approaching the 50 year threshhold for copyright - there are implications in this ruling for the work of The Beatles and others.

Let's not forget that court actions like this one were not taken to protect the work of an artist and their family. This is about large corporations protecting what they see as their property. It is important that the legal system sets a clear time-limit to this, so that the public domain can work as it should. For a great example of the public domain, and the power of the internet, take a look at the growing archive of early movies which are now out of copyright at the internet archive.

Sunday, 10 April 2005

Successor to Easytree

Just a really quick note about Easytree. I posted a few days ago to say that it had closed for business. A successor is up and running - you can find it at . As with Easytree membership is restricted to 100,000 - so if you are interested in joining it may take a few goes to get in...

Friday, 8 April 2005

Recover from crashes with Blogger

This is a bit of a silly post, I know. Blogs posts about blogging are a bit too introspective usually. But I have been complaining a lot lately about the fact that my host, Blogger, frequently crashes. This usually happens just as I am trying to post something which I have just written and not saved anywhere else. It is really infuriating.

Well, today Blogger announced that it has a "Recover post" feature to deal with this problem. It is supposed to save the post as you type it, to your computer, so that you can recover what you typed if the browser crashes. Sounds great. Just need to get Blogger to crash now so that I can try it out!

After feeling a bit fed up with Blogger for a while now, since there have been no new features in so long. And particularly because they don't seem to be addressing the problem of categories for blog posts. Who knows - maybe that will be the next fix! That would be excellent.

P.S. Guess what - I just tried to post this and the browser crashed. I tried the new feature, and it worked! That's weird. now Blogger need to reduce the number of crashes...

Thursday, 7 April 2005

Largehearted Boy weblog & Easytree

Largehearted Boy: Bittorrent Brunch:

More about the demise of Easytree. A great weblog, Largehearted Boy, suggests some alternatives. It's amazing that the legal community don't realise that as fast as they track and close down these sites, others open up to replace them. Better surely to think about ways to create authorised environments for sharing live music and concerts off FM radio. Some bands do this themselves through their websites. There are far more creative ways to tackle this, rather than suing people. This then is Largehearted Boy's comment...

"Easytree is officially gone. The successor (in my heart, at least) to Sharing The Groove now passes the baton to... who? I've been most impressed with The Traders' Den, which has a Sharing The Groove feel to it, as well as a varied selection of genres and generous helping of live DVD's.
Other bittorrent lossless live performance trackers I recommend (feel free to add more in the comments):

Digital Panic
Via Chicago (Wilco and related)
Pearl Jam"

UPDATE: I've posted about this again, on 10th April (link here). If you have come here looking for Easytree's successor. Follow this link to Dimeadozen.

Easytree closed for business

Thanks to somebody who anonymously posted this comment earlier today:

Anonymous said...

"Alas is no more. Another casulty of the foolish multi-national media giants and their legions of lawyers.
Does anyone know of another site with similar offerings?"

My response:

"Yes, the Easytree site was closed yesterday at 16:00 UK time due to threats from lawyers. Given that this site took great lengths to ensure that it did not distribute officially available material, I think this is a great pity.

"There are still other torrent sites available of course. But in my view, Easytree was the best! In my view, the greed of the multi-national media industry, driven by profits and share prices, will hound customers away. Instead of attacking the internet and file sharing, they should be embracing it as a way to increase the number of ways to access a band's music. Real fans buy the official music, and then hunt out unofficial recordings to understand the whole creative process."

I'll post more about this to the weblog later...

Sunday, 3 April 2005

The magic of metaphor

I am reading a book by Nick Owen called "The magic of metaphor".

magic of metaphor
It is a collection of stories designed to engage, inspire and transform the listener and the reader. He looks at the whole idea of story-telling and pulls out the power of the story-teller when giving a story from memory rather than reading it out.

I found this great quote last night:

“When we begin to understand the patterns and structures of our thinking, we can start to liberate ourselves from enslavement to our limitations.”

It is one of those sentences that rattles around in your head if you let it. Give it a little time to set off sparks.

Saturday, 2 April 2005

Just to lift the spirits

Just to lift the spirits

This is a photo taken from the chair-lift whilst skiing in Kaprun, Austria back in February. I thought I would post it just to remember the beauty, the grace and the spectacle of the place.

Friday, 1 April 2005

iRiver - so many functions

For my birthday I got an iRiver H340. This is a wonderful machine. It's known in the market as an mp3 player. But it does so much more. It can store 40 GBs of data - that can be mp3s, photos, text (eBooks), data and even videos. It has a colour screen so that you can watch videos. It took a few days to figure out how to do this - once you get there it is fantastic!

It also has an FM radio in it, which you can record from as an mp3 file. And you can record through either an internal microphone or an external clip microphone. All of which means that I am getting closer to producing my first podcast. The storage capacity of this machine is breath-taking.

The official site is here. I have to say that the machine itself may be fantastic, but the manual and accompanying information is useless. The first 24 hours of trying to figure out how everything worked was incredibly frustrating. Nothing seemed to make any sense. This was only rescued by an amazing online forum where iRiver users post questions and answers. It is called misticriver. There are some incredibly informed users on this site. It was here that I learnt how to get video working on the machine. I also learnt some of the basic functions of the machine which the manual should have told me.

So, it is a fantastic machine, which makes the iPod look like a lame fashion icon. But the iRiver out of the box lacks user-friendliness. You need a willingness to become a bit of a geek to understand the real capacity of the iRiver. It's worth the learning curve though for the sheer range of things that this small gadget can deliver!

Thursday, 31 March 2005

NLP - Five Key Questions

These five key questions were suggested to me by Ben Shoshan, who is a mind set / executive coach working for Si Group. They are meant to be used when something negative happens, to reframe the situation, and change the usual reaction:

1. What could be good about this?
2. What's not perfect, yet?
3. Who can help?
4. How can I have some fun with this?
5. What can be learnt from the whole thing?

This approach is really powerful. It draws on the learning to be found in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I'm reading a fascinating book about this at the moment called "NLP Solutions" by Sue Knight.

I have tried it a couple of times. Taking each question in turn, and in order, I found that they create real actions that lift me out of the tendency to become negative.

Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Brainwashed Podcasts

As regular readers will know I have discovered podcasts over the last few weeks. I have already mentioned some of the podcasts I have been listening to. My top three at the moment are Richard Vobes, Podcast Paul and Adam Curry's Daily Source Code.

One that I have really enjoyed listening to whilst working is a music one called Brainwashed. You can link to it here. Each episode is about an hour long, and comes out weekly. Music featured is on the fringes of music - one week they featured industrial music of the early 90s - Cabaret Voltaire, Thomas Leer etc. The latest issue features music from United Dairies - home of Nurse with Wound amongst others. If this sort of music is your thing, it's well worth a listen. Readers of The Wire magazine would really like it.

Monday, 28 March 2005

A poem to Desmond Swords

A few days ago someone posted a poem as a comment to this post . I say, someone, because I followed the link to their own blogger profile and found a host of names and aliases. I think he is Desmond Swords - but not for certain! He is also Scalljah, Sloppy Bob, and Jan Manzwotz. The writer behind these names has series of blogs here, here and here. As well as being part of a group poetry blog here.

I thought I would return the compliment and post a poem to the Desmond Sword blog as a comment. I've copied it here too:

Yes is an s

blue light
water shine
flickers on down inside
the right-sided find
when the green blade

which rasps loudly

has passed downto beyond where
all that has clasped
has grasped
and let go

yes is an s
an expression

the menace of a huge open space
repressed and defaced
will open and re-appear
no fear

put it down
don’t let it in
shed some light now
fight now
just for spite now

playful but bitter
couldn’t tell who hit her
or when the game is ended
erased like
the reaction hoped and

a piece of the action.

Sunday, 27 March 2005

Reflection on a birthday

Reflection on a birthday

For my birthday, a photo reflecting on things....

44 today.

Friday, 25 March 2005

Characters in Reiki

A few months ago I took my Reiki Second Degree, and have been working with the skills since. Over the months since I did the First Degree (nearly a year ago now), I have encountered a growing number of characters during reiki treatments. Some of these will be guides and characters from the past. It's strange to come across these characters.

Sometimes they are just a feeling of presence within the room - at other times they are a vivid person who I can actually see. Often they come to me with a message or suggestion.

I enjoy receiving these intuitions, and look forward to receiving more. I am contemplating moving forwards to reiki master some point soon. We shall see.

It is part of the inner working, trying to understand the meaning beneath everything. The biggest journey we take in our lives is the journey within...

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

from the viewpoint

from the viewpoint

from the viewpoint

you get a view of the estuary
for a penny in the slot of this telescope

light draws pencils in the landscape
and pokes the sun in the eye

it escapes into another moment of uncertainty
where lines of edges have scolded me

blue light reflects my eyes within a glance
a second's image focused then lost

edges cut through moist thickened air
watching coastline like a novel with no ending

it is a sense where trees in sand look like
something from another time another climate

and being part of changing elements is being
someone else's clothes turning inside out

but then land and sea never could agree
choosing erosion, not combination.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Freud's da Vinci

Stefan Beyst has been in contact with me. He has a webpage which sets out some of the shortcomings of Freud's work on Leonardo da Vinci. It is a beautiful page, with lovely illustrations, and a well-argued set of points.

Stefan is one of a large number of people who have been looking at this weblog because they were searching for information about Freud and da Vinci. I seem to have come up high in the google search ratings on this one, thanks to the earlier post which I made when I read the book.

Friday, 18 March 2005

Look at me tree

Re: Flickr magic email
Originally uploaded by Stuart Eglin.

Here is a photo I took a couple of months ago. It was taken in some wild terrain near where I live. It's a tree in mid-winter - and the bark just looks like an eye!

I'm experimenting with Flickr. If it's as easy as it seems to be, there'll be a lot more images on this weblog soon.

Thursday, 17 March 2005

Sleep Wanted

Sometimes sleep deprivation just creeps up and whacks you on the back of the head. Today is one of those days. Wow!

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Soundtrack for an imaginary day

Lifting, climbing, but doing so very very slowly.

From a period of pain, stasis and freezing.

Music accumulating, gathering for listening. Music for inspiration.

A choice for a working: for a certain mood or mode -

1) David Sylvian - Blemish

[a soundtrack from the beyond the realms of pain and falling apart. Still difficult to listen to after so many plays, but compulsive all the same.]

2) David Sylvian - The Good Son vs The Only Daughter

[remixes of the 'blemish' album. A heap of remixers take the basic materials and do something diverse and splendid with it. New stuff, new thoughts, new sounds and ideas.]

3) Sigur Ros - Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do

[an EP from this Icelandic band, the soundtrack to work by the choreographer Merce Cunningham. Three pieces with sounds from everywhere, even a music box. A journey of uncertainty.]

4) Terje Rypdal - Varder: Live at Molde Festival 2004

[avant jazz guitarist meets heavy metal. Rypdal makes yet another trip into classical music and comes back with something huge. Not heard this yet - looking forward to it.]

5) Robert Fripp String Quintet - Kan-non Power

[prog rock meets baroque! From soundscapes for the yearning of the soul, to the precision of Bach.]

6) John Paul Jones - Steel your thunder

[live album from former bass player with Led Zeppelin, taking in ambient and soundscape. Is the guitarist Fripp?]

7) Bjork - Medulla

[back to Iceland for new adventures in low fi and voice. Human Beatbox for the 21st century. Robert Wyatt brings sensibility and melody, Bjork finds her soul resonating. No-one anywhere near where she is.]

8) Matching Mole - Matching Mole

[early Robert Wyatt, post-Soft Machine. Out of work jazz musician does pop music. Is 'O Caroline' the most beautiful love song you ever heard?]

9) Can - Future Days

[kraut rock does funk music way ahead of its time. It took until 2005 for the world to catch up with these people...]

10) Brian Eno / Jah Wobble - Spinner

[been looking for this album for years. Deleting stuff is so infuriating. Heard a couple of tracks, love it. Wobble as the William Blake of our century. Restless traveller.]

11) Harold Budd - Avalon Sutra

[what do you mean, it's his last album? Retiring? What a way to go! The perfection of ambient, depth and beauty.]

...and we take the 11 discs (12 if you count Budd as 2xCDs) on a trip through the imaginary day, to a serene place...

Blogger Crashes!

OK, it's a defined law of computing that things go really well for a while, so you stop backing up your posts before sending them to the weblog. Then, just as you put the finishing touches to a great post, and hit the publish button, blogger decides to crash and lose your post. I have posted an entry called "Soundtrack for an imaginary day" earlier today, then it completely disappeared. I have re-written it and posted it again, but it has disappeared again. The second version is saved so I should be able to post it once Blogger recovers. Meanwhile this is a short post that will probably disappear too!

Tuesday, 15 March 2005


I regularly read the weblog of Greg Perry. Today he posted a quote from Henry David Thoreau which drew me across to his weblog where does regular posts of extracts from the journals of Thoreau. Today's quote is great - go and have a look.

This quote resonates with me, because I am just lifting out of the winter blues and trying to get the productivity levels up. Time for some ambitious goals.

Podcast Paul talks about bullying

I recently listened to Paul Nicholls' podcast from last week (I'm getting behind with these things!) He used show 27 to look at the issue of bullying. It is well worth a listen - follow the link and click on show 27 to download the mp3 file.

Paul is a solicitor, so his comments about tackling bullying are really interesting. He reveals how he was bullied at school, and talks about that, and then offers clear advice to parents to support children who are being bullied. This is a serious issue, well worth the time he spends on it. He helps with the real issue of making something happen when parents can often feel powerless to help.

Monday, 14 March 2005

Drama for the soul

Last night I went to a local drama group, to see whether I should join them. I have thought about getting involved with a drama group for a while now. It's one of those quietly written resolutions or ambitions that I never seem to get to. So, last night I went and watched the Riverside Players as they rehearsed a play for performance in a couple of weeks. The play, "The Tuna Fish Eulogy" by Lindsay Price, was a marvellous play. There were just four actors in it - it was performed to an amazing standard. This is a play that uses overlapping voices and overlayered texts to great effect.

I was incredibly impressed. Now I need to think what the next move should be. I'm not convinced that I should join the drama group just yet - I have no experience. I think I need to find a workshop or something where I can gain some skills first. I also have been thinking for a while about getting some time with a voice coach to learn how to breathe properly and project my voice.

Comments are welcome - I'm going to do something - I just need to be clear about the next step.

Meanwhile - I haven't forgotten podcasting. I've just been overwhelmed with other things. I'm still listening to Richard Vobes and Paul Nicholls regularly and gleaning ideas from a host of others too. I'm a few days away from jumping in at the deep end and having a go...

Friday, 11 March 2005

Words drip down like stains

Fresh from the keyboard - words that make the first cut of a poem:

Words drip down like stains


drip down like stains on the side of the soul
when the meaning that you sent was clear as hearts
and all that was spent

Don’t remember everything then – that’s all at sight
and I will regret from the moment my mouth opens
best left aside, underneath and always
that’s the best I can offer

A single rose, a symbol of the shows
the every expression that I ever gave to you
or made for you, then leapt over rushes and bushes
like some kleptomaniac crunch of a shower.


flow out like spit down the chin
the sin I’m in, the skin I’m in
remembered conversations

Everything speaks to me like the
genuflections of reflections in the glass
of my mind, your kind should stop
being sharp to mine

Then the words, the often heard
in each moment that I offered
would be as clear as the hurting
now it’s all forgotten.

Thursday, 10 March 2005

Waiting then when

So when is the podcast going to happen?

... trying out ideas, mulling over different techniques, listening to others for inspiration (positive and negative). No point in repeating or copying what is already there. Need to do something different.

Using sounds, using words, effects, not just an audio blog.

... soon, yes, soon.

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Torrents - Brian Eno & Terje Rypdal

There's this technique for downloading files called bit torrent. Without going into the technicalities, it's a way of moving files around the internet peer-to-peer so that you download and upload at the same time. This way you share out the bandwidth required to download files.

Over the last week I have been looking at a couple of sites that support this. Torrent Spy provides links to a wide range of material including music files, tv, movies, games, software etc. I hunted through a lot of this material. Most of the material on this site is copyrighted and available through official sources. I'm not sure that it should be made available for download.

Another site, Easytree, hosts the sharing of live concerts and officially unavailable material. This is a completely different concept. It's unlikely that one would download a concert and not bother with the studio albums. It's an environmnent to experiment with material before buying CDs, and it's a place for collectors to get material that is difficult to get hold of.

Over the last week, I have managed to get hold of a host of material by Brian Eno, recordings that are not commercially available. They include music from deleted games, and from art installations. I've heard some amazing music.

The other great find was 6 sets of music from Terje Rypdal. I was aware that he had produced quite a body of classical music (see this list), as well as the jazz which he is better known for. But getting hold of it is very difficult. ECM records have released a couple of albums, but most of it is not available. It's brilliant to find a way to hear this music - which is wonderful.

Thanks to the uploader for sharing this music.

The Easytree site claims that it tries to ensure that material is not shared where artists object. If this is achieved, I think that sites like this are a brilliant way to encourage broader listening, and to support the serious music fan.

One word of warning - Easytree has a maximum of 100,000 members. So you may have to keep visiting until membership is available. Inactive accounts do get cancelled, so it shouldn't take too long.

Monday, 7 March 2005

Douglas Barbour - Fragmenting Body etc

I recently finished reading a book of poems by Douglas Barbour called "Fragmenting Body etc". Douglas is from Canada. The book is published by Salt which is a joint UK / Australia press (read an excerpt here) - the output from Salt over the last few years has been impressive.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Douglas used a game to devise the input lines which give the inspiration to the poems in the first section. He chose a set of random lines (with the help of a die) from a book and then used these to start the poems which were written quickly over a month. The poetry in the collection is marvellously challenging. Douglas really tears apart the language and reconstructs it. One is taken one a journey through the roots, parts and segments of words -really getting inside the language which he uses.

This poetry is probably the closest I have seen to e e cummings without descending into pastiche. Douglas takes the experimental approaches of cummings and makes the interpretation totally his own.

One is left with the feeling that every part of the syllable, the word, the line and the spacing is so carefully thought through. This is a poet totally in command of the language he works with.

These are not just poems that play with language though - they also work hard with emotions, and depict events and narrative.

All in all, a read worth making!

The project '50 Books in 2005', is a little behind schedule. But not irretrievable.

Sunday, 6 March 2005

Do one or two things really well - if only!

Advice from Dave Pollard’s weblog (How to save the world): –

Do one or two things really well!!

That focuses right in on one of the things I have real challenge with. Even at the best of times, it is a real effort to sustain focus on one thing for very long. I always have a huge list of other things which I am really keen to do.

Dave admits that he too is not exactly brilliant at this. He sets it out as a "do what I say, not what I do" item. Well, I too can realise that the focus on one or two things really does make a huge difference. People who I know who are really obsessed about a small number of things achieve incredible things.

But then I do admire the polymaths in the world – those people who excel in a wide number of areas, who dabble in all sorts of things out of interest. Look at Leonardo da Vinci.

So, just maybe the world needs a mix of specialists and polymaths.

Thursday, 3 March 2005

Peter Riley Books - bad news

Today I received the latest catalogue from Peter Riley Books, a mail order seller of poetry books, new and second-hand. He is based in Cambridge, England. I've been getting his catalogue for a couple of years or more now. He has an incredibly diverse choice of poetry from a wide range of presses. It's a great way to get hold of poetry that you would never find in a book shop.

Well the bad news is this. Peter says in his latest catalogue that he plans to close down the business later this year. That will leave a big hole in the poetry world in the UK. I will be very sad to see him go - and will miss browsing through his catalogues and picking a handful of books every couple of months.

I'm not ignoring the fact that running a business like his must take an enormous amount of time and effort.

But his efforts will be really missed.

Richard Vobes Show

I listened to another episode of the Richard Vobes Show this morning. Richard has produced 40 podcasts in the last couple of months. They feature a little music, lots of chat and laughs. He's very good at podcasting. I am mentioning him again because he left a comment on an earlier post to this weblog. Thank you, Richard.

I'd encourage any of you who read this blog to listen to Richard's show. I rate his and PodcastPaul as the best shows I have listened to so far.

Richard wants to hear my show to see what he thinks of it! I'll have to get on and record one then.

Wednesday, 2 March 2005


Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to. Let's just say that I'm trying to sort out a few things that are major for my future - my job, what I do with my time - and things are not going according to plan.

It's important at times like these to work on the basis that things happen for a reason, even if it is not clear at the time. So, although the decisions being made around me look like they are sliding away from what I am trying to make happen, just maybe it will all make sense in the long term.

I can but hope.

P.S. Sorry to speak in code. People get sacked for being too specific about their employers in blogs, you know!

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Podcast whatever

As I browse podcasts, and dig around in this relatively new medium, it becomes clear that we are still at the experimental stage of this whole innovation. It's being played with by the Early Adopters. Although the talk around this phenomenon is loud at the moment, so the growth in interest is happening as I write. Those previous sentences are another way of saying that podcasts tend to be a bit amateur and improvised at the moment - but that's part of the charm of the whole thing. It's refreshing to hear podcasts after the bland professionalism of mainstream radio.

Today I downloaded the new version of iPodder (2.0) which seems to have fixed some downloading problems which I was experiencing. I emailed Andrew Grumet from the Development Team of iPodder this morning, and was really impressed to receive a reply within a couple of hours. That's excellent customer service! Problems are fixed, and podcast downloads are happening again.

As I type this I am listening to the latest edition of the Brainwashed Podcast which is a weekly podcast of music associated with brainwashed. Last week's hour long programme comprised music from the UK Industrial Records label - Cabaret Voltaire, Robert Rental & Thomas Leer, Throbbing Gristle etc. Music from the early 80s with an alienated feel to it - in keeping with the times as i remember. This week's programme is based on the theme of 'time' and features a diverse mix of found sound, ambient, electronica and funk.

Well, earlier today I took the experiments a stage further and recorded Test Podcast One - ten seconds of voice and background music. So, I have got that far with this experiment. I'll keep you posted....

Monday, 28 February 2005

Podcasting - first ideas

OK, so I want to make a podcast. I have spent far too much time over the last week looking into the whole issue of podcasting. I have looked at Adam Curry's site (founder of this whole podcasting idea). I have downloaded the ipodder software, and subscribed to a number of feeds so that I can receive shows when they appear. I am now signed up to 22 feeds (look on podcast net and for lists of podcasts) - but something is wrong with the way ipodder is set up, as feeds aren't coming through as they should be. Technologically challenged! I've figured out that I can make a podcast using Audacity and have downloaded that too - I'm in the middle of trying to figure out how to set up an rss feed so that people can subcribe to the podcast and download it. And that's as far as I have got with it. Time is what is needed - oodles of it! I'm carving out what I can. In the meantime, watch this space. Or if you are a few steps ahead of me, post a comment and tell me how to get there...

Yes, there are plenty of sites with guidance but they tend to very quickly drop into geek-speak, which leaves me completely baffled. A little determination and trial and error, and we will get there.