20 months ago I felt the need to write about the Middle East ‘conflict’. My focus was aimed at an attempt by the West to bring a settlement to the situation, and peace to the area. Clearly a failed effort we are here once again. Palestinians, sick of being prisoners in the rapidly decreasing land are futilely fighting back. Futile as the current battle is being fought from Gaza, where 1.2m of its1.7m Palestinian residents are refugees, forced from their own land in 1948 to create Israel. Gaza, with a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt which has no army, no air force or navy, whilst Israel has one of the most armed militaries in the world. How do we know? Well, to quote Bill Hicks… we looked at the receipt. Go on, scroll down to Israel… Continue reading
My life in music No.15 – 1982
Marvin Gaye – ‘Anthology’
By early 1982 my love affair with the Top 40 was all but over. I still consider 1979-81 to be a fantastic era for music; blessed with the energy of punk, lyrically influenced by the societal issues of the day and stylistically inspired by 60s, ska and roots – at least the stuff I loved anyway. By ’82 synthesisers and emotionless new romantics with fake plastic sentiment had replaced Dexys, The Jam and The Specials. Fuck that. I was looking elsewhere for inspiration and musical kicks. I was heading back to the 60s. Continue reading
I can hold on no longer. It has to be said. The sentiment, the message, the reason for writing this particular piece has been resting uneasily with me for far too long. It’s a monkey on my back that is at last losing its grip. I must write with honesty about subjects close to me – music, writing, creativity and grammar – for I am passionate about all four. Yes, grammar included. I’m a sucker for punctuation. Having spent nearly six years writing about and promoting music in my former hometown of Bournemouth, the subject is close to my heart. Now having spent the last few years watching and reading from a distance, this never-ending bugbear has to be exorcised. Continue reading
Spring blossom, blue skies, eager eyes and smiling faces. Stunning green rivers and centuries-old stone. From our back garden in Musselburgh, to the stunning Edinburgh architecture and on to our beautiful holiday hamlet near Cotignac in France.
“But now it was spring again, and spring was almost unbearable for sensitive hearts. It drove creation to its utmost limits, it wafted its spice-laden breath even into the nostrils of the innocent.” ― Knut Hamsun, Dreamers Continue reading
So, Rik Mayall died today. Fuck. Such totally unexpected and seriously sad news. Unlike so many who die prematurely, and despite Rik’s penchant for ‘danger’, to read a deluge of tributes to the actor, writer and comedian just seemed so, so horribly wrong. At 56 he’s far too young to die, and well… he was in The Young Ones. No way can Rik be dead. Continue reading
I’ve spent my fair share of working life within the confines of a retail environment. Long hours, seasonal stress, a pressure to deliver sales, appease and motivate staff and converse amicably with the lovely general public. Bloody hard work, even when the product at your fingertips, music and film, is a life’s passion. Straight from school, fumbling into the stockroom then toy department of WH Smiths, spending the vast majority of the following 25 years in a catalogue of shops, until a succession of redundancies forced my career (hmm…) path elsewhere. I know retail, I’ve done it and I’m glad I’m out. Continue reading
At home in heaven
Rivauguier in the middle of May, my love and I, seduced and intoxicated,
teased by the joy of past adventures, tempted by the possibility of serenity in paradise.
Olive orchards gently cascade, Continue reading
I’ve known Mr. Grant Sharkey for about ten years. His Southampton-based band Toupé were regular visitors to venues in coastal neighbours Bournemouth, and over the six or so years I was involved in promoting music I booked them as often as I could, being as they were one of the most spontaneously vivacious bands you’re ever likely to see. Toupé were a three-piece, featuring a twin-bass bombardment from Grant and Karl Evans, their on stage banter being almost as much of the appeal as the music itself. Continue reading
I cannot pretend to be a theatre critic as much as I have no claim to be overly knowledgeable about the life and works of Ivor Cutler, my limited insight into whom comes from some John Peel listening, Beatles reading and various friends talking and performing. But, I know how I felt when I left the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh a few days ago, having just seen The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler – totally charmed, thoroughly elated, and more than a little emotional.