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Previous Journal Entries

"The cords of all link back...strandentwining cable...

"Hello...put me on to Edenville... aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one"


Who knows where it goes?

Time, that is.

A bit of a theme at the moment:  from the standard post-early-departure clichés ('...I don't know how I ever had time to go to work...'), through to rather deeper musings about life stages and where it's all heading ('who's going to mark my time?').

A good further helping - on the cosier side of the equation - last night, with Norma Waterson and daughter Eliza Carthy playing at the Komedia in Brighton, a proud Martin Carthy taking a back seat playing guitar in their band. Some beautiful singing and playing, with some entertaining and very typical family dynamics: Eliza is now 35 to her mother's 71, heavily pregnant with her second child, in her prime - she mostly let her mother lead the set and do the majority of the (extensive) talking, but both her dry quips and the power of her singing and fiddling told a familiar generational story...the torch is handed on.

The set majored on Norma and Eliza's current joint album The Gift, which is beautifully performed, but, full of old family favourites, not always material I naturally go for.  Its medley of 'Ukelele Lady/If Paradise Is Half As Nice' was the best of the bunch. Other highlights for me included two Richard Thompson songs, 'Al Bowlly's In Heaven' and 'Josef Locke'. 

A Christmas Carol is drafted and in rehearsal, so I should now be able to catch up on some things I've said I'll write...if I can just find the time.


Glorious Band of Joy show at Electric Proms

Robert Plant & co were on extraordinary form at the Roundhouse last night, mixing reinventions of old Zeppelin songs with the new classics from the current album.

You can currently listen to the show on the Radio 2 website (here) and it will be on TV next weekend. Not to be missed.

It was a great band performance with Plant taking obvious pleasure in the vocal and instrumental contributions of his colleagues.  He, meanwhile, can wield a mic stand - and of course a vocal cord - like few others...The songs I expected to hear - the killers from the Band of Joy record like 'Harm's Swift Way' (yes!) and 'House of Cards' and the more familiar oldies like 'Gallows Pole' - were all present and more than correct.  But I was knocked out also to hear 'Tangerine' from Led Zep III and 'Rock and Roll' from IV.  

The last song of a 2 hour set, featuring the Oriana Choir, was the old gospel song 'I Bid You Goodnight'.  Lovely - but a safe, traditional choice you might say.  I, on the other hand, feel fairly sure that Robert Plant was revisiting its central role in the Incredible String Band's 'A Very Cellular Song' and really appreciated that resonance.  It's an apposite one, too:  Plant, like the Incredibles, and remarkably for a rock god in his position, remains ready to take risks and go where the music takes him. He uses the voice like the driver of a very powerful car, choosing to cruise and take in the view, but every so often pressing his foot on the pedal and reminding us of what's lurking beneath the bonnet...

I don't think I'll be pursuing a career in photography, but this shot of RP and the excellent Patty Griffin is reasonably atmospheric...

All a distraction, though, I fear, from what I ought to be doing:  helping sort out the script for what promises to be an amazing .dash Christmas show - a dark and different take on Dickens' Christmas Carol.

More on that shortly.


We have lift off...

Elvis has now left the building...and so have I.

I was watching Wunch again first thing this morning and there were some interesting resonances with some of the things that are being said about reducing numbers in the civil service...

But a lovely session in the pub last night with colleagues old and young reminded me why 'building a safe just and tolerant society' was a fine aspiration, and that there are a lot of good people still trying to do just that in their working lives...despite all the corporate bollocks that sends people sliding, like a slew of ball bearings under their feet.  Good luck and bon courage to you all.


One more day...

In the latest astonishing manifestation of my technical wizardry (which is second only to my DIY skills...), I believe new posts here will be fed automatically to facebook and twitter - there's a button to press on the left hand side of the page if you'd like to follow on twitter.

A quick recommendation for the latest Balcony TV London programme featuring Vancouver band Brasstronaut.  I've ordered their album on the strength of it, so more to follow on them...


Two more days...

Time dragging a little but in to a very pleasant run of lunches and drinks with old colleagues.  Tough but someone has to do it...

Robert Wyatt's lovely version of 'What a Wonderful World' from his For The Ghosts Within album with Gilad Atzmon and Ros Stephen feels like a good soundtrack. Vinyl fetishists will want to know that the album comes as a 3-sided set, which sounds superb.  Review to follow.

Haven't yet listened to all of Bob Dylan's Witmark Demos, but the bonus disc of the Brandeis University concert from 1963 is tremendous - amazing confidence and power in a compelling performance from a young man revelling in riding the wave that carried him through the sixties.