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!

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

The importance of scarcity

I have an idea for an article which I am going to write. The title is "Being overwhelmed with musical choice - the importance of scarcity" and it will be about the dilemma created by the digital age. Thanks to the internet and digital files, there is more choice than we have ever experienced. This seems like an incredible opportunity. All that music, all those podcasts to listen to, all those audio books, all those text files.

But the down-side of all this is that we reach saturation point where it is no longer possible to take in everything that we collect. Look at the total time-span of all the material loaded onto the mp3 player and ask yourself whether you really do have the time to listen to everything that is on it.

The result of all this is that music and literature become disposable. I remember back in the 70s and 80s buying a vinyl record every so often and making a real commitment to listen to it and absorb it, get to know it. Now there are so many new albums being released every week. This democracy is great, but it does mean that only the truly and incredibly special gets through to my ears.

The resulting feeling reminds me of the feeling I used to get as a teenager late on a Saturday after I had been listening to the radio for a whole day and was just beyond saturation point, jaded and in desperate need of silence.

Monday, 11 September 2006

Standing Stones in Corsica

Here are a couple of pictures taken in Corsica back in July. We visited a site full of standing stones, which was beautiful and filled with a deep presence. It was unusual to see these stones somewhere so hot, rather than in deepest Wales with wind and rain.

Corsica (108)

Corsica (106)

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Space Age Accommodation

I'm away at a two-day conference at the University of Hertfordshire. This is the first time I have spent the night in a university hall of residence room since I was a student 25 years ago!

Things have changed. The campus itself is comprised of a cluster of spectacular statements and feats of architecture. The accommodation itself was in a building shaped like a third of a giant ring doughnut with rooms on four floors looking in to a central courtyard.

This university used to be called Hatfield Polytechnic - a poly with a real history. It also hosted a great venue for music in the 70s and 80s.

Two exhausting days later I find myself home again, easing myself through a day, picking up the actions that came out of the event and clearing the eternal backlog of email.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

imagining possibilities

you see, when I was young and writing for all I could find
I read somewhere that it was wrong to use too many words
that end in –ing, so avoided it, wanting to get it right

how stupid though, how the rules that we get are really all
there to be ignored, to be recreated. When word writing
is like sound making, a kingdom where you can become your own king

and king can sing like the ings that are all waiting to be worshipped
or the swings that I sat on and went as high as I could
kicking my feet to the clouds, and feeling the rush of my stomach

whatever direction you take – no, wait – it’s me I’m writing about
take the you away, drift into the inner world of my mind
imaginations that are special, filled with quiet secrets

surely the inner signals that we fill the landscape with, are no
more than the rich resonance of colours and sounds, the
one meaning that fits with a spectacle of memories

now – the kingfisher, the colour blue, the word ‘just’
little ticks that litter these constructions, and the breath
the inward and outward signs of life, of purpose.

Friday, 1 September 2006

New Blogger Beta

OK, so I'm probably one of a million people (slight exaggeration) to write about the new blogger beta. A lot of changes are promised in this beta phase. I was offered sign up earlier today, so accepted. I haven't made any changes yet. But you can expect a combination of changes and mistakes over the coming weeks as I try to get to grips with what is on offer....

Watch this space .... as they say in all the good periodicals.

Friday, 18 August 2006

The Friday Playlist 2

Here are a few albums which I just can't stop playing at the moment:

1. Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis

I have been looking for this album for years. It is the only solo album to date, by the singer from Talk Talk. The later albums by Talk Talk before they split up took them further into the avant garde and painfully beautiful yet minimal sounds. This album continues that journey. The lyrics are sparse, the arrangements stunningly unusual. The use of guitar and piano fragments is haunting. I can't stop listening to it - and continue to muse over the lyrics and the overall atmosphere which is evoked by this music.

2. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

This new album by the singer from Radiohead could almost be companion album to the Mark Hollis one. Except that, where Hollis has a clear focus on acoustic instruments, Yorke uses electronics and laptop for his pre-occupations. The lyrics are similarly oblique. The voice is beautiful. Great voices in modern music always push forward without any sense of the self-conscious. There are some beatiful melodies on this album. Try the title track or 'And it rained all night' to see what I mean. Love it!

3. Clap your hands say yeah - Clap you hands say yeah

I really like this album, in spite of the first track which sounds like some demented circus act. Sometimes I wonder whether anyone ever says to bands, don't use that as the first track, otherwise people might get no further. This is the case with so many REM records - they begin with a 'difficult' track! Anyway, this album settles down into a great sound, somewhere between Talking Heads and Pere Ubu. They also sound very like The Arcade Fire on some tracks, in the way that they wind up through a track, gathering momentum. At times the singer Alec Ounsworth sounds unnervingly like David Byrne. It's an album well worth a listen, and I particularly like the fact that it is about the length of an old vinyl album. Too many albums go on for too long these days...

Other albums I'm listening to, that I have already written about:

4. The Open - Statues

5. Sigur Ros - Takk

Click here for Friday Playlist 1

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Whenever she says she does

Here is one of the poems which I wrote back in March. I'm about to start writing again. This one stirred me to the page again, and it brought to mind the golden eagles I wrote about in the last post to the blog. The birds in this poem were flying in a massive flock around a railway station as I stood on the platform waiting for a train to arrive:

Whenever she says she does she does
But the light never shines above her head
The way it should – like a veil

I watch the birds, 1028 of them, fly overhead
Like one organism, flexing and changing shape
Creating a mass of darkness in a blue sky surround

The sense of menace is as real as
The sense of plenty that sometimes comes through
Just when I worry about things too much

When the light shines above my own head
I can sometimes pull it down and through
Then the warmth of it all is palpable

Here comes the birds organism again, fifth time around
With each circle of the town, I can feel a little more sense
Understand the way 2056 wings can make a unified sound

Like fingers beating on a microphone as a test –
Pulling patterns together that would be meaningless
Sense, connections, lines between – where the ends meet the means.

Saturday, 5 August 2006

Fly like an eagle

One day on this holiday we went on a trip through the mountains in Corsica. It is an island of great beauty, and real contrasts.

I stopped the car to take some photos of the mountains - one range looked like something out of 'Lord of the Rings' - and as I was taking the photos I noticed four birds soaring over the valley beneath me.

They were golden eagles, and were calling to each other. Their lilting cry was haunting, stirring to the soul. I remember being captivated by golden eagles when I was young, but never thought I would actually see them flying in the wild. It was an amazing experience.

It left me moved for several hours - their cry really pulled at something primeval within me.

A picture would have shown more than I can describe - but the photos show only landscape, not the birds themselves. I guess I need a better camera.

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Yoga - wow!

I have tried all sorts of relaxation approaches - meditation, reiki, tai chi, qi gong. But I have never tried yoga. Well, I am on holiday at the moment. We are in the middle of an activity week. We are learning to sail - something I am not finding easy. Capsizing seems to be the bit which I find particularly easy.

Each morning we have a class of yoga, which is amazing. We are learning Ashtanga Yoga - it is one of the most strenuous hours I have spent. I am gaining remarkable levels of fitness really quickly.

I intend to continue with yoga after the holiday.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Poetry silence - when to start again

I have written hardly any poetry in such a long time now - March was the last time I put anything together which might be called a poem.

I'm inspired by the daily posts on Greg Perry's blog at the moment. He is writing a canto series. Each day sees at least one new poem, and they are well worth a read. Well done Greg - now for some words of my own.....

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Great books - Proust

Step One of the 'Big Reads' challenge. I have borrowed 'Swann's Way' from my local library. The first part of 'In Search of Lost Time'.

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Podcasts backlog

I've not been listening to podcasts for a little while. It's something I have just returned to - thanks to a little gadget which makes it possible for me to listen to them in the car through my iriver mp3 player. Before I got this gadget the only way to listen to podcasts was by burning them to CD-RW discs which was a real pain. Now I can listen to anything on the iriver through the radio in the car. It is brilliant.

I do, however, have a huge backlog to listen to. I'm ploughing through them, and really enjoying what I am hearing. The best of the bunch are Adam Curry's 'Daily Source Code', Rowland Cutler's 'Dark Compass', Podcast Paul and Lynn Parsons' 'Chalet Show'. There are also a bunch of shows which cover self-development which are excellent. These include Steve Pavlina, Robin Sharma, and a collection of weekly shows on Hayhouse Radio. And the other feed which I am really enjoying is a weekly podcast called Zencast which is about all things buddhist and includes some programmes by Thich Nhat Hanh.

All of this makes the commute to and from work a little less tedious.

The world of podcasting has changed a lot since I last posted on the subject. There are now many legal sources of music for podcasters. More on this in a future post.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Big reads

There are three big books which I have not read in my life:

  • Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time
  • Leo Tolstoy - War & Peace
  • Edward Gibbon - Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Like climbing mountains, I need to read them because they are there to conquer. Do any of you have other suggestions for the 'big books' challenge?

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Foundlings Five: Scribbles Underfoot

The cowboys have gone out of business or
Pretend to be self-made commercial heroes,
The fantasy of TV is a bore,
His town and home barely exist in prose.

Scribbles underfoot were rare, too discrete
They left him to his own devices.
He looked for lovers, quiet town, no-one to meet.
Only sources of pleasure were vices.

Salt water on his skin, so the sun burns
Like breaths of healthy old he diverges,
Takes a girl out and watches as she turns
From beauty of which splendour emerges.

His town and home barely exist in prose,
In poetry oft’ times anything goes.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

The Open are no more

I wrote about the second album by Liverpool band ‘The Open’ recently. They have produced two beautiful albums, and I was settling in to wait for great albums to come, but that has fallen away now.

Why? Because I have just read in the official forum that they have decided to split. That’s such a shame. If you are unfamiliar with the band, search out their two albums - The Silent Hours and Statues. To be totally blown away, try the first track of the second album, ‘Forever’, and see what you think. The title seems a bit ironic given the fate of the band, but it is a truly stunning piece of music.

Now we just have to wait and see what the members of the band will do next.

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

BlueWater Books - Series Two - Coming Soon

After nearly two years, I have decided that it is time to begin work on the second series of books from my poetry press. BlueWater Books was launched in 2004 with two books of poems - 'Zen Words' and 'Umbrian Images'.

The second series will be available in the early autumn. More news of the titles that will be available will be posted on the blog soon.

Oh, and if you want copies of the first two booklets I still have a few left, so email me your details and I will send them to you.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Spaces and Gaps

...two months pass. And then... a short posting.

As if nothing had happened!

And the transmissions begin again, from here.

Listening to Robert Fripp, and wondering whether the deep and mysterious messages which are so elusive in Gurdjieff's work are the reason that the 'work' is so resonant, so meaningful and so prolific.

Friday, 7 April 2006

The Friday Playlist 1

The Friday playlist:

The Open – Statues

The Liverpool band’s second album begins with a track recorded in deepest Wales – yearning trumpet and a voice that comes from god knows where. This is a classic track called ‘forever’ which is one of the best album openers I have heard in ages. The second track takes us into more familiar Liverpool music scene. But the rest of the album which was recorded in France, is full of surprises. There’s prog rock, radiohead, jazz and straight-ahead pop. It’s a great album which grows with each play. Their first album “The Silent hours” is one of the best first albums I have heard in years.

Doves – Lost Souls

I’ve spent the last few months working my way backwards through the Doves’ back catalogue. This, their first album from 2000, is fantastic.

Neil Young – Prairie Wind

This is taking a bit of playtime to get to – I have problems with the sound of country, and this album is full of steel guitar. Great songs, as you’d expect. Neil Young reacting to the health scare he experienced in the middle of working on the album. Sometimes the albums that stay on the playlist are the ones that aren’t instant –this could be one of those.

Robert Fripp – Love cannot bear

I love the soundscape albums of Fripp, and this one is the best yet. It gathers tracks from across the years, each a live track from the USA. The result is a journey of immense emotional intensity.

Nitin Sawhney – Philtre

World travelling from the UK – a stunning melding of influences. This is the fourth album by Sawhney that I have bought recently. I find his music fascinating. Sometimes you hear music and think that it sounds like a soundtrack and lacks the visuals of a film. With Sawhney it sounds like a soundtrack that doesn’t need a film.

Also listening to:

The Tears – Here come the tears
Morrissey – Vauxhall and I
Sigur Rós – Takk
The Jam – Snap!
Paul Weller – Stanley Road

Thursday, 6 April 2006

Setting goals

“The greatest danger for most of us
is not that our aim is too high and we miss it,
but that it is too low and we reach it”
- Michelangelo

Monday, 13 March 2006

Monday, 6 March 2006

...another March fragment...

Three are the ways that I have seen you
Gliding across the sky like Jove awakening
Wondering why there are honeyed spaces between
Every field of your vision, every space kept unseen

Remember the secrets you told me, kept separate
Not available for decipher
Un-placed now, re-arranged as though you want
Some bespoke arrangement that only I will understand

Never have I left such distance between as the moments of now
And the time is moving fast and slow all at once
How strange! Take a madman and put him on show
Make him a leader and watch the world glow

Friday, 3 March 2006

RSS Feeds

Just a thought in passing really. It's so easy to assume that everyone knows what an RSS feed is and how to read blogs through a feed aggregator. It sounds mind-boggling. But essentially we are talking about a web-based service which captures updates to a blog and tells you when they are there for you to read. You can then read all of those updates through one browser.

The service I use is which is worth looking at. You can 'subscribe' to a blog by clicking on an RSS button on the page, or use a button in your browser which you can download, or within bloglines itself. It's a great way to keep up to date with your online reading!

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Austrian landscape

... and here is a photo, which is the working image for the cover of the work in progress mentioned in the previous post:

Out of Hibernation

Coming out of winter hibernation, I have begun a project for the month of March. 31 poems in 31 days. I'm also carrying a camera and capturing images as the month progresses which I may use to complement the poems. Here is the second poem - unedited or worked, just in its raw form:

Whenever she says she does she does
But the light never shines above her head
The way it should – like a veil

I watch the birds, 1028 of them, fly overhead
Like one organism, flexing and changing shape
Creating a mass of darkness in a blue sky surround

The sense of menace is as real as
The sense of plenty that sometimes comes through
Just when I worry about things too much

When the light shines above my own head
I can sometimes pull it down and through
Then the warmth of it all is palpable

Here comes the birds organism again, fifth time around
With each circle of the town, I can feel a little more sense
Understand the way 2056 wings can make a unified sound

Like fingers beating on a microphone as a test –
Pulling patterns together that would be meaningless
Sense, connections, lines between – where the ends meet the means.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Thursday, 26 January 2006

Running your own race

Robin's Blog: Blog Archive: "Robin, the most important thing in life is to run your own race." Never forgotten that one. Run your own race. Don't worry about what others are doing. Stick to your values and cling to your dreams.

This is a quote from the latest post on Robin Sharma's weblog. It is a really thought-provoking idea. I remember being really hopeless at sport at school - and I think that was because it was always someone else's race I was a part of, so I was always going to fail. It took a while into adulthood to realise that the way to progress was to compete with myself - to run my own race. Another way of looking at this is to see it as a process of continuing self-improvement.

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

one big race

you’re at that age when
everything’s moving faster,
but you can’t play god.

Monday, 16 January 2006

Sid Smith's Postcards From The Yellow Room: Climate Of Hunter by Scott Walker

Sid Smith's Postcards From The Yellow Room: Climate Of Hunter by Scott Walker

The latest post on Sid Smith's marvellous blog is a review of Scott Walker's album 'Climate of Hunter'. When Sid likes something he has a way of writing about it which draws you into it, and makes you want to go out and buy it. Sid's book about King Crimson ('In the Court of King Crimson') achieves this with each of the albums over the band's 40 year history. It's a great read.

I wrote about the Scott Walker 5-CD set 'In Five Easy Pieces' ages ago, and also posted a link to an informative site about him. Thanks to Sid's review, I'll be diving back into that 5-CD set - as soon as I have finished listening to Robert Fripp's latest album 'Love Cannot Bear' which has been played at least once a day since I bought it just over a week ago. I know I referred to it on the last post, but it deserves another mention. Beautiful and serene soundscapes that touch something deep into the soul and leave the listener breathless. And there's even a track where Fripp 'sings' a poem - well, he does it through a heavily treated piece of electronics. It is very moving and unsettling in the way that Laurie Anderson can be.

Oh, and it's a great CD to play whilst working too!

Monday, 9 January 2006

Happy New Year ... at last

Happy New Year … at last

In spite of all the promises I stayed away from the computer for the whole of the festive season. There are times when it is important to have a break from the gadgets!

Three things preoccupied me over the festive season:

Music – I listened to a fantastic range of music. I now have two albums by Doves which are regularly on my CD player, especially in the car. The latest album ‘Some Cities’ is great, but I am also enjoying listening to ‘The Last Broadcast’ which is heavily influenced by King Crimson.

But the album which has really gripped me over the last couple of days is the latest album by Robert Fripp. Called ‘Love Cannot Bear: Soundscapes – Live in the USA’ it has taken me a few weeks to get hold of this one. I was pleasantly surprise to find that it was on sale in a local record shop (I thought it was internet sale only!). I love Fripp’s soundscape albums. My favourite is ‘A Blessing of Tears’ which I often play when I want a deeper level of concentration for some prolonged writing. This new album is stunningly serene. It draws out elongated emotional expressions, almost symphonic in its deliberations. If you have the chance to get hold of this CD, do so. If you want to hear some extracts you can go to Fripp’s latest site here.

Books – I’m in the middle of reading Robin Sharma’s ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’. It is a really good read – lots of self development ideas. I recognise a few of them from writers like Tony Robbins, but the book has a real inspirational air to it. I like the Dan Millman style of story telling which is used. I recently subscribed to the Sharma podcast which is well worth a listen too.

Reiki – I am consolidating Reiki 2 and have begun to think about doing Reiki Masters. I will make decisions about this in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I am working with the energy and working through a few issues towards the right place to decide. If anyone finds their way to this writing through serendipity and has a useful comment or advice feel free to post something. I welcome your views as I move to the next stage in a spiritual journey.