Relocating - please follow the link for new content
Tuesday, 28 June 2005
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
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
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
Do you know of any other artists who are influenced by the work of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Bennett?
Thursday, 23 June 2005
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:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
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
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
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 www.edge.org 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
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
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
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
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
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
I cover issues like:
o using a network map
o objective setting
o biography working
o archetypal casting (a concept I developed as part of my PhD thesis)
o energy mapping
o applying creativity
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
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
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
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
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
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...