Monthly recommendation #2, and a slight departure from the norm: a fantastic resource (that I’ve been using for years) for anyone interested in playing traditional English tunes. Particularly useful if you fancy playing at a folk session like the one we hold in Iffley.

These two books by Nick Barber have nearly 200 tunes in them – many of which will be familiar to sessioners countrywide.

But one little tip: if you do feel like buying them, get them from him directly at the link below, as I’m told he doesn’t actually make any money from sales on other websites.

Or alternatively, you can go to Sidmouth Folk Week and find him in the Radway Inn, and buy them off him in person!

Current Favourite Tune:

Impossible to say. Depends on the day really. Today it’s probably the Gypsy Hornpipe. (I likes a good hornpipe, me.)


Monthly recommendation #3.

In 2011 a group of economics students at The University of Manchester started a revolt. They put forward the claim that the economics that they were being taught – the same economics that underpinned the global financial system before the 2010 crash, and continues to do so in Britain and the US – was, to use an academic term, a heap of fucking bullshit.

They set up the Post-Crash Economics Society. They were written about in the media. That said, the orthodox economists are still preaching the same old gospel. 

One of the very few economics academics rebelling against the orthodoxy is Cambridge University professor Ha-Joon Chang. (more…)

Monthly Recommendation #1.  Rosie is one of those musicians I’ve known for very nearly ever.  She has a voice and a style unlike anyone else I’ve heard, and I was going to recommend this track from her last album, but then ‘The Swell’ came along.  Her songs often flow in a stream of consciousness, and this one really captures that.  At least part of the credit should go to producer Niko O’Brien at Upcycled Sounds, for really getting that weird dreamy oceanic sound down – particularly at 1 min 35 secs when the groove kicks in. (more…)

Monthly Recommendation #2.  Not the sort of song most people would associate with Led Zeppelin.  (And not ‘Food In The Rain’, as I initially typed.)  As I understand it, Robert Plant’s son had recently died, and he since said he just wasn’t emotionally ready to get out there and sing songs about where he wanted to stick his cock.  So, on Zeppelin’s last album, we get this sweet and yet also awesomely funky song. (more…)

Monthly recommendation #3 is a BBC documentary in the Timewatch series called ‘Shadow of the Ripper‘, made in 1988 – 100 years after the infamous murders.  I watched it on a whim a while ago, thinking it might be a trashy and salacious attempt to figure out who the murder is (even though I believe we’ll never know).  Which, to be honest, was what I was in the mood for at the time.  What I got instead was a very sober and, to me at least, fascinating account of why this particular serial killer became so famous.  (I had no idea, for example, that the East End was such a politically charged issue that George Bernard Shaw and William Morris thought there was a possibility that the murders might be part of a propaganda campaign.)  It starts with the premise that yes, we will never know who the real Jack was.  But we know a fair bit about who made the legend.

Current favourite aspect:
Made before you would ever need to look at a moustache and try to work out if it’s an ironic fashion statement.

Jesus but this flammably catchy song by French songsmith Jain has been raging through my brain these last weeks.  Although… I think I want to recommend the video as much as the song, which is smart and stylish and sassy and just puts a smile on my face every time I’m trying to recover from seeing what new shitstorm has just been unleashed on Twitter today. (more…)