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!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

If we can't find Heaven, there are always blue jays

“If we can’t find Heaven, there are always blue jays”
He said, as he opened the car door and walked off into the night.

I looked at his shadow shortening to the street corner
And wondered how I had been so gullible, to listen to this.

I was sitting there now, nothing left. No hope.
Just the memories of something I would not do again.

And like a blue jay, scavenging for food, an acorn or seeds
I looked for traces of hope, anything to put back

The stars that lit my skies, the sunshine and heaven
Before he pushed his way into life, and drained it dry.

The clouds that click, the inner vision, then the ancient burials
Redemption days which I thought I had lived, swept away with reason

And my mouth opens as I speak to the heavens, “Give me back the visionRemember the open flight of a bird that wanted to escape.”

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Nil Recurring

The album I am really enjoying listening to at the moment is the new Porcupine Tree album called ‘Nil Recurring’ – it is more of an EP than a full album with just 4 tracks and a running time of 30 minutes. These are pieces that were worked on at the same time as the last album ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’ – they are marvellous pieces of music – from the first instrumental track to the catchy chorus on the second track. There’s plenty of creative guitar work, really tight work by the whole band and some wonderful soloing on the first track from Robert Fripp. All good stuff. I also have 3 other albums to listen to which feature Steven Wilson – Blackfield, the first Porcupine Tree album and an electronic solo album.

This is in addition to the last couple of albums by the band - 'Fear of a Blank Planet' and 'Deadwing' both of which are geat listens. Give them a go!

I am becoming a big fan of both Porcupine Tree and the work of their guitarist Steven Wilson who is incredibly prolific. I am looking forward to hearing the new album by No-Man which is his collaboration with Tim Bowness. That is due out in the spring. I came to Porcupine Tree because their keyboard player is Richard Barbieri who was in Japan. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been into Japan and David Sylvian since the 70s.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Celestine Prophecy: an experiential guide


This book, written by James Redfield and Carol Adrienne builds on the original book "The Celestine Prophecy" written by Redfield.

Sometimes these add-on books are just an excuse to sustain an idea, keeping sales going by selling second book to those who bought the original book. In this case though, this books adds a lot to the original work with plenty of thought-provoking insight. It is a fascinating read with plenty of useful exercises. Each chapter takes one of the nine insights from the original texts, expands on the ideas behind the insight and then has a series of exercises for individual use and workshop ideas for group work.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Creator or Archivist

Two important channels of creativity - archiving and creating. The act of creating new materials is important to ensure that we continue to generate new material. Then there is the Archivist who is the editor, remastering material, remixing it, producer, director and multi-media artist. Some of this activity will be about looking after the archive of work, ensuring that it is kept in a form that can receive an audience. But some of the activities of the Archivist stray into the creative - just like working with music or the visual arts, words can be shifted into new works. This can be done by expanding on original ideas, reworking, illustrating, creating sequels and prequels. All of this adds to the understanding of the work. It also ensures that the archive of work is not regarded as untouchable. Everything can be reworked, improved and reinterpreted.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Best of 2007 - albums

I know everyone is doing it, but here is my list of favourite albums bought in 2007 in no particular order:

1. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
2. Rush - Snakes and Arrows
3. Joanna Newsom - Ys
4. David Sylvian - When loud weather buffeted Naoshima
5. Robert Wyatt - Comicopera
6. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sands
7. Tracey Thorn - Out of the Woods
8. Sigur Ros - Hvarf / Heim
9. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
10. Robert Fripp - At the End of Time

Friday, 9 November 2007


"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another,
'What, you too? I thought I was the only one.' "
- C S Lewis

Monday, 8 October 2007

Cultivating the Mind of Love - Thich Nhat Hanh


This is a beautiful book about Mahayana Buddhism. Like all of the books I have read by Thich Nhat Hanh, it is written in a stunningly clear and lucid prose. He deals with very complex issues in a deceptively simple way. As a Vietnamese monk living in the South of France, he captures issues of the human condition with great precision. His story about his first love is poignant and thought-provoking.

If you are interested in Buddhism and have not read anything by this author I would urge you to try a book by him. This is a good place to start.

Monday, 10 September 2007

The Folkways Collection

The Folkways Collection

'The Folkways Collection' is a 24 part series available as a freely downloadable podcast. Each episode is an hour long. Here is what the site says:

"This series of 24 one-hour programs explores the remarkable collection of music, spoken word, and sound recordings that make up Folkways Records (now at the Smithsonian as Smithsonian Folkways Recordings). The music of modern day giants like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Ani Difranco is interwoven with original Folkways recordings to demonstrate the lasting legacy that Folkways Records has on popular music. Recent and archival interviews with Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Mickey Hart, Studs Terkel, and others help reveal the remarkable human stories behind this equally remarkable collection. The series was produced by CKUA Radio in Alberta, Canada and originally aired in 1999."

I'm about a third of the way through the series. The sheer diversity of material collected is astounding. Well worth a listen!

Monday, 20 August 2007

The Daily Meme

What is a meme? It is a term borrowed from evolutionary biology. Used in an internet context, the definition (taken from wikipedia) is:

"An Internet meme is a piece of digital content that spreads rapidly, widely, and organically from person to person on the internet. The term is a reference to memes as virus-like self-replicating packets of information."

So, if you are keen to spend time exploring this phenomenon there is a brilliant portal where a new meme is posted each day. It is run by Gary La Pointe, who has his own blog here.

The portal points to many sites where you will find memes. Many of them take the form of '5 questions' or '10 favourites' and spread using internet tag. I've answered this one, now I name 5 other bloggers and ask them to do it too. A bit like a blogging chain letter.

[from the 'Things I found' archive]

Friday, 17 August 2007

Fascinating facts # 1

I like to buy magazines that I wouldn't normally buy every now and then. It is a great way to nurture creativity and to get the brain thinking in ways that are different.

Recently I bought an issue of 'BBC Focus' magazine, which is a science and technology magazine here in the UK, produced by the Public Broadcaster. It is full of fascinating facts.

There is a whole section on atoms, which includes this which I thought was really mind-warping:

"Atoms are 99.9% empty space. If all the space was sucked out of the atoms in your body, you'd shrink to the size of a grain of salt. If you did the same thing to the entire human race then all six billion of us would fit inside a single apple."

I'm doing a series on Buddhism on this blog at the moment. This fact about atoms conjures all sorts of ideas about us being full of emptiness, and the idea that we can all fit inside an apple is a beautiful way of looking at the connectivity of us all.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Spiritual Start-up

[from a new poetry sequence which I am developing]

I watched the little specs of dust as they floated
In shafts of light through the church
A voice was working its way through a sermon
But my mind was engaged in this little world
Where the dust bits fall then spin and whirl
Some micro universe where I can imagine
A whole world flowing out and away

I imagine being a deity myself
A young Buddha watching worlds collide
Wanting to ease suffering, push aside
Left beneath the senses
Once it was all flickered into my inner world
Where the imagination can withstand anything outside
Crash of life-form to the real meaning of all things.

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.