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!

Friday, 27 July 2007

Diaries of Robert Fripp

I have been reading Robert Fripp's online diary for a few years now. It is a fascinating source of information about touring, making music, running a music business. Oh, and the obsessions that Fripp has developed over the years - not being photographed, having been ripped off a few years ago by his management. He also talks about the Guitar Craft Workshops which he initiated and which happen around the world.

Fripp's rants are well worth a read. But it is also worth reading his considered thoughts on the process of living and creating. The site also generated frippisms which are good fun to read. For example:

"The question is its answer" and "Just below the surface of our everyday world lie riches"

These frippisms are randomly generated at the bottom of each page.

In recent months the number of photos he posts each day has grown, so that the site is also becoming a visual record of his day to day life.

It's also worth giving a quick mention to Sid Smith who is the webmaster of DGM Live - which hosts the diary, as well being a download site for the work of Robert Fripp, King Crimson and associated projects.

[from the 'Things I found' archive]

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Exercises for creating new poems

I thought it would be useful to set out some of the ideas and techniques I use to produce new poems. When the creative muse is off on holiday, I sometimes draw inspiration from old poems. I am also really interested in techniques from popular music, particularly approaches like remixing, remastering and cut-ups. These ideas can be adapted to the printed word.

So, I am currently using the following techniques:

  • Take a selection of old poems and re-work each one into a new version, using different lay-outs or verse forms.
  • Take old poems and redraft or create new poems as reactions, prequels, sequels and observations on the material in the original poems.
  • Take a number of poems and dismantle them to create new works from the pieces by putting them back together in new ways.
  • Take one poem and use each line from it as the first line or title of a new poem, creating a whole sequence of poems which builds on the original.
  • Take one poem and reconstruct it into a series of remixes - like musical remixes, draw out key lines and phrases for repetition and distortion.

I'm going to experiment with some of these techniques over coming weeks. If you use any of them, feel free to post feedback in the comments.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Time Banks UK

I first came across Time Banks UK a couple of years ago. It builds on an idea I was aware of when I worked in the voluntary sector (now fashionably known as the Third Sector!) in the 1980s.

It's a way to encourage community building by getting people to offer their skills into a bank so that they can trade them for the skills of others. Thus, you could offer an hour's baby-sitting time in return for an hour of painting and decorating. I really like the idea.

From the website:

"Time Banks UK is the national umbrella charity linking and supporting time banks across the country by providing inspiration, guidance and practical help. Time banks link people locally to share their time and skills. Everyone's time is equal: one hour of your time earns you one time credit to spend when you need."

Their patron is Dame Anita Roddick who was the founder of Body Shop in the UK - she brings a lot of credibility.

The mission of the organisation is described as - building community, caring for the marginalised, bringing up healthy children, and fighting social injustice. Great aims.

[from the 'Things I found' archive]

Friday, 20 July 2007

The Open - The Silent Hours, Statues

Last year I posted about the Liverpool band, The Open, several times. I thought their two albums were fantastic. The first, full of catchy pop songs - and the second reaching out into diverse influences like free jazz, reminded me of Talk Talk (another big favourite).

I've just been listening to the two albums again, and decided to do a bit of net searching to see what's going on. I drew a blank everywhere I looked. The band's own site now re-routes to Polydor records, and the fan site has been taken over by a golf site! (Yes, I understand the link!)

I've tried searching for Steven Bayley (singer, writer, guitarist, pianist etc) but can't find anything. Does anyone know what has happened to him and the others in the band. Are they making music? I have this romantic notion that Bayley will reappear to make a solo album. Now, when Mark Hollis made his solo album some years after Talk Talk split up, it was a work of remarkable genius. So, I remain optimistic. If you have any information, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

REM - something for free whilst the new album is being made


When the last REM album (Around the Sun) came out a couple of years ago, I saw the video to the first single, - 'Leaving New York'.

It was nothing startling or different, but then why would REM want to do that when they have a formula that works. As with much of their best work, the lyrics tug at a melancholic feeling that connects us together. After watching the video I visited their official website for the first time. And found that they have a load of remix downloads available which are worth a listen. They can be downloaded for free - just follow the link.

REM have just finished a series of dates in Ireland to test out new material and are now in a studio in that country working on the new album.

[From the 'Things I found' archive - with an update!]

Monday, 16 July 2007

One or Two

A quote from e e cummings:

"One's not half of two, it's two that are halves of one"

Wow. I found that in a book I have just begun to read called 'Man's journey to Simple Abundance' edited by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Global Children's Art Gallery

I first found this website a couple of years ago. Another look today, and I see that it is still thriving. So many websites are ephemeral - they come and go. But ones like the Global Children's Art Gallery deserve to persist as the web grows and evolves.

Put simply, the site is a collection of children's art - totally inspiring. When you consider that many great artists aspire to be able to rediscover the innocence with which they painted when they were young, it makes sense to put together such stunning work.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."- Pablo Picasso

The project belongs to the Natural Child Project - "Our vision is a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion. In such a world, every child can grow into adulthood with a generous capacity for love and trust. Our society has no more urgent task."

The Global Children's Art Gallery now features 1,050 pictures by children from 67 countries. Browse all the pictures, and order prints, posters, greeting cards and clothing to support our work. Take a look.

[From the 'Things I found' archive]

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Buddhism: part 2 – the early spiritual journey

[To read the other parts of this series on Buddhism, click here.]

It was in my middle teenage years that I first became interested in Buddhism. I had grown up in a traditionally Christian family. My parents were both regular attenders of the village church. My older brother and I were both in the choir, and we were also altar boys. In fact, my older brother went on to be ordained into the church and is a practising minister still.

I remember from a young age, sitting in church on Sunday evenings and feeling a sense of spiritual presence, but being in awe and fear of the overwhelmingly paternal perspective of the protestant church. In fact, the ramble of the sermon was usually lost to me as I drifted off in my imagination. I would sit and watch motes of dust as they drifted through the light beams that shone from the stained glass windows, and imagine whole worlds within those specks of dust.

In my teenage years, I drifted away from regular church going and began to explore ideas of philosophy.

Then my reading brought me to an awareness of Buddhism. Schools are more inclined to look at the religions of the world today than they were in the 1970s. There was no mention of other religions in either Religious Studies, History or Geography lessons. It was my explorations in poetry, philosophy, fiction and psychology that opened up the world of Buddhism.

Probably one of the earliest influences would have been ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse. I had read ‘Steppenwolf’ first – curious to follow the link back to the book from the Canadian rock band who produced the hit ‘Born to be Wild’. I enjoyed the novel so much that I went on to read many of his others, and came across ‘Siddhartha’. This allegorical novel tells the spiritual journey of an Indian man called Siddhartha during the time of Buddha. The story follows him as he goes through a series of changes and realizations to achieve his goal of enlightenment. It is a beautifully written novel and charmed me into wanting to find out more about Buddhism.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Tate Gallery, Liverpool - Gallagher & Blake

We went to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool at the weekend. Liverpool's preparations to become European City of Culture next year are going well. There are new buildings appearing all over the city centre, and the roads are slowly improving as a result of much road digging and disruption.

There were two fabulous exhibitions which we saw. The first, on the ground floor, is by Ellen Gallagher. To quote the Tate's site:

"Ellen Gallagher (born 1965) is a leading contemporary painter who also creates drawings, prints, sculptures and films. Her works explore the language of Modernist painting with symbolic or narrative content, often touching on issues of representation. In her recent work she has explored the myth of Drexciya - populated by a marine species descended from captive African slaves thrown overboard for being sick and disruptive cargo during the gruelling journey from Africa to America. Ellen Gallagher's Tate Liverpool exhibition includes a range of work to reflect the breadth of her practice."

The work is very subtle, requiring lots of close attention. I really liked the mythical underpinning to the collection.

The other exhibition was a major retrospective of the work of Peter Blake. Most people will be aware of his paintings in the form of pop culture, particularly the cover to 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles. He also did the cover to 'Stanley Road' by Paul Weller and the recent compilation album by Oasis.

The impressive thing about this exhibition is the sheer range of Blake's work. When an artist becomes famous for a particular style, it is easy not to realise the sheer breadth of work achieved, as is the case with Blake.

There are paintings from his Pop art work in the 60s. But there are also paintings that are more abstract, many pieces which use collage, and a series of illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. This is the largest exhibition of his work since 1983 and contains paintings drawn from a wide range of galleries. The work divides into sections:

  • The 1950s

  • Pop

  • Deja vu

  • Wrestlers and Pin-up girls

  • The Brotherhood of Ruralists

  • Venice Beach

  • The National Gallery Residency

  • Marcel Duchamp's World Tour

  • From this moment on...

The final section contains paintings which are unfinished. It's an inspiring exhibition. Whatever your own art form is, the range of work by Peter Blake and his ability to borrow from others and make things his own, makes me want to experiment myself. I was impressed with Peter Blake's technical ability and his creative range. An exhibition well worth a visit!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Editors - An End Has a Start

Last weekend I bought the second album by Editors, a band from Birmingham in the UK. It is a really accomplished piece of work. I always wonder how bands manage to pull together their second album when they are busy touring and promoting the first one. I guess this problem gets more acute by the time the third album comes along and any material which was ready before the recording contract has been exhausted - hence, the difficult third album!

I saw Editors as a support band last year when Franz Ferdinand played Manchester. It was one of those gigs where the support band have half the PA system and almost no lights, but they still played a blinding set. I thought I had spotted a real gem that evening. They were a marvellous mix of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs and The Cure (all bands I saw in Liverpool in the late 70s and early 80s).

It was great to hear all of those bands from my formative years melded together into something new and shiny. It's a great album and I was positively so surprised to see this new album leap into the charts last week in the UK at number one. The album has slipped to number two this week, being displaced by the new album from reformed Crowded House, but I guess it is still selling well. Go listen - and enjoy...

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Self Publishing

In a recent post, Rik Roots talks about self-publishing using a print-on-demand service called Lulu. This is a really interesting approach to producing perfect-bound books without having a heap of them sitting about on a shelf.

Rik points out that he has a specific need to publish so that he can share his work with friends, family and people who ask to see work. The web, in the form of downloadable pdf files is one way to satisy this demand. But there really is nothing like a real artefact to hold in the hand and turn the pages.

Something well worth investigating further.

I have self-published chapbooks / booklets a couple of years ago under the bluewater books imprint, and am in the middle of preparing a new series of booklets - all produced myself. I like the idea of a service like Lulu where the work is done for you.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Global Ideas Blog

I first wrote about the Global Ideas Bank on my old blog called 'Things I found' back in 2004. It's great to revisit some of these things and still find the energy there. This blog, not a high frequency one, has great links to places like NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) which are well worth exploring.

The blog belongs to the Global Ideas Bank site. The bank is a place where you can find or post your own big ideas. It's a great place to look for inspiration. Meanwhile, the blog is a good read too, and has good links to other blogs with ideas on them.

[From the 'Things I found' archive]