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, 20 March 2007

Ken Wilber: Welcome

Many months ago I spent an evening in a bookshop, browsing through books and drinking coffee (vanilla latte - my favourite). I spent a while browsing through a book called 'One Taste' which is in the form of a diary. It comprises daily reflections on a wide range of subjects. It was an excellent book to dip into. It sort of reminded me of 'A Year with Swollen Appendices' by Brian Eno which is an absorbing read across a dizzying array of subjects.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

TED Talks

TEDTalks (audio, video)

I was led to 'TED' by David Gurteen who wrote about it in one of his recent newsletters (well worth subscribing to - it is free!) TED stands for 'Technology, Entertainment, Design'. It is an annual event which hosts talks, music etc. But it is much more than that description implies. If I said that speakers over the years have included Tony Robbins, Malcolm Gladwell, Bono, Peter Gabriel, Richard Dawkins, Dan Gilbert, Nicholas Negroponte, Dan Dennett, and Al Gore - would that give some idea of the sheer range and depth of presentations? TED sells out at least a year ahead, and is to an invited audience anyway. So, why should I be talking about this? Well, the link above takes you to a page where you can download videos of over 70 of these speakers. More are added each week - using an RSS feed, they can be downloaded as video podcasts. I've watched a handful of them and am incredibly inspired by what I have seen.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Now it's so easy to use music legally in podcasts

Back in June 2005 I wrote about using music legally in podcasts. That page has become one of the most visited pages on this site, so I thought an update was long overdue.

At the time I wrote that first post, it was difficult and probably near impossible to use music in podcasts without breaking the law. Many early podcasters were playing copyrighted music without permission. One of these early podcasters (who may lay claim to having invented podcasting) Adam Curry, received a 'cease and desist' letter and promptly stopped playing music other than that which he had permission to play.

For many podcasters at that time, the only way to do this was by searching for music from independent artists who had no recording contract and were able to give permission for their music to be used. Artists like Hollow Horse, Chance, Three Blind Mice and Brother Love became widely used.

Alternatives were inevitably going to be needed.

Then along came the podsafe music network. It wasn't the first (labels like Magnatunes were already making mp3 files available) - but they did provide a real leap forward. Established by Adam Curry, the Podsafe Music Network has grown massively since it was set up last year. Alongside a podcaster delivery system, it provides an easy way to find music that can be played legally on a podcast. And there is some excellent music on the network - including some big artists who have put a few tracks on there like James Brown (RIP) and Tom Waits.

Innovations like this have led to an increasing explosion in podcasting. There are heaps of new podcasters appearing daily on the internet, and the medium is being used by an increasingly diverse range of people for an incredibly wide ranging set of uses. In the coming weeks I am going to run a series of posts where I write about the podcasts which I regularly listen to (such delights as Adam Curry's Daily Source Code, Lynn Parsons, Dark Compass, PodcastPaul, the Zencast, Shrink Rap Radio, Ultima Thule, Echoes, Typecast, Steve Pavlina).

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

M Scott Peck - the ideas or the life

I spent a lazy evening recently browsing through my local branch of 'Borders' bookshop. I came across a copy of a new biography about M Scott Peck. Written by Arthur Jones, it is a detailed description of Scott Peck's life.

Regular readers will recall that I wrote about Peck's death a while back, and was particularly unimpressed by obituaries which were around at the time. There was an undue focus on the way in which his life had failed to live up to the promise of 'The Road Less Travelled' and his other books. Now I don't think that an obituary is the place to tackle that kind of thing.

Doubtless, there is the fact that he left his wife of 40 years a few years before he died, remarried again. And he was reported to be estranged from his children.

It just feels to me that those who criticise are failing to understand the key message in Peck's writing. He wasn't putting himself up as a role model or guru. He was just offering advice on how to live a life. I found the advice incredibly useful at the stage I was at in my life when I first read it. For that I am grateful.

As for the biography, I'm as fascinated as anyone to read about the lives of others - that is how we learn. But we shouldn't be disappointed when we find a flawed and deeply human person rather than someone who is perfect.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Paris Transatlantic magazine

'Paris Transatlantic' is an online magazine. I originally found it and posted a link to it a couple of years ago, on an earlier weblog.

If you are interested in new music, contemporary, electronica and jazz it is well worth a visit. It would appeal to anyone who wants to explore sounds and names that they are unlikely to have heard of before. The editing of the magazine is handled by a team of people including Nate Dorward (who also edits an excellent poetry magazine) and Dan Warburton who has written for Wire magazine for a few years now. Dan Warburton has also produced music for the online stasisfield music label, which I love.

The magazine comes out monthly and is worth a surf when you have a few minutes to spare.

(From the 'things i found' archive)

Friday, 2 March 2007

Friday Playlist 3

It's been a while since I did one of these - a list of the albums I am listening to at the moment. (Earlier ones are here and here).

The music which is forming the soundtrack for my life at the moment is:

1. Nine Horses - Money for all

I bought the original album 'Snow Borne Sorrow' a while back when it came out. This new release is a mixture of new tracks (3 of them) and remixes of tracks from the album. David Sylvian works well in the mix with Steve Jansen and Burnt Friedman. It's a CD which slowly burns into your memory banks and demands replays.

2. Tom Waits - Orphans

This had such amazing reviews, that I couldn't wait to get hold of a copy. I got it for Christmas, and have been dipping into it ever since. Three hours of Tom Waits, meandering all over his various muscial styles, voices and topics. The third CD is probably the weirdest (saying something where Waits is concerned!) as it mixes stories, poems and soundtrack outtakes. The whole CD set is a mammoth thing which surprisingly hangs together.

3. Ketil Bjornstad /David Darling - Epigraphs

This is a stunning album of improvisations between piano and cello. It shifts from modern ambient, cool jazz to echoes of Bach and Mozart. Great music for thinking and creating.

4. Joanna Newsom - Ys

It's an epic album, full of stories and threads of ideas. The orchestration by Van Dyke Parks is amazing and the whole thing is a labryinth which reveals new secrets on each listen.

5. Joanna Newsom - The Milk Eyed Mender

Well, the new album took me into the first one. This is a much starker arrangement. Her voice is somewhere between Bjork, Kate Bush and Tori Amos. But it has its own unique territory too! I love the lyrics, and I love the arrangements for each song.

6. Badly Drawn Boy - About a Boy

I know he has a new album out - and no, I haven't heard it yet. But I saw the film of which this is the soundtrack again recently, and was drawn back to this album. Damon Gough carves out his own furrow. But above all else, he writes great melodies. I absolutely love the song 'Silent Sigh', used at a particularly painful moment in the film.

7. Fennesz - Endless Summer

I came to Fennesz's work through a collaboration he did with David Sylvian. He is a guitarist and laptop improviser from Austria. This album is truly beautiful - it rises gently out of a backround of noise and captures you like a stunning sunrise on a crisp morning.

8. John Cale - Black Acetate

An eclectic mix of styles, some killer riffs and a giant bag of seething energy. And the production is stunning. I'm not particularly precious about production values - but this one just reaches out of the speakers and grabs you by the throat.

9. Paul Weller - Stanley Road

I'm not sure how I missed this when it first came out. Last year I bought the anniversary edition and have listened to it so many times since. What a classic album!

10. Sigur Ros - Takk

I know I have chosen this album before on this blog, but it really does tease out new things on each listen. Earlier this week I spent an evening listening really carefully to it through headphones and there is so much going on in the mix that I hadn't heard before.