[Long read…]

I haven’t been feeling well recently. An ongoing fatigue illness. Which, as I mentioned last month, has meant I have had to temporarily stop putting new music on this site (because all my music-making has to be focused on making money, which is not what this site is about).

This led me to spend a lot of time researching what the health problem might be: talking with my GP, reading books, reading scientific papers, watching lectures on YouTube. And after a bit of trial and error, I think I’ve located the problem and have felt back to normal for a couple of weeks now. Continue reading

I’ve been meaning to check out Françoise Hardy’s music for ages, and finally took the Spotify plunge. There is plenty that I like the sound of, but I love this album. It is pop music (released in 1962, the same year as The Beatles’ first single) stripped right down to its barest essentials: catchy melodies, simple lyrics, great riffs and effortless cool. She’s like some super-stylish chanteuse singing over Johnny Cash’s backing band. Continue reading

‘Believe it!’ – Lee Miller’s war photography

“What’s a girl supposed to do when a battle lands in her lap?” proclaimed Lee Miller in a radio interview, when asked about travelling through war-torn Europe and eventually taking a bath in Hitler’s bathtub. All the elements of her image are here, and if there was one thing Lee Miller understood it was the power of image. On the surface, this quip reveals her to still be the quintessential 1920s art celebrity and glamour girl, but underneath it there’s a serious question. What should the former darling of the surrealist movement do when faced with something as terrifyingly real as the Second World War? Continue to make art like her friend Picasso? Teach in a school specialising in camouflage, like her Quaker husband? Or pick up a camera, and go to the front line? Continue reading

In the mid to late 90s I felt that there was a lot of great music being created, but the most innovative and mind-blowing was in the dance music scene (although I got told off for referring to it as ‘dance’ rather than ‘electronic’). And of all the imaginative and influential musicians in that world, there was one who towered above everyone. Cornish-born Richard D. James – better known as Aphex Twin – was the undisputed Daddy of the genre. With every new recording, he always just seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else, and you knew that within a year you’d hear his influence on everyone else’s recordings. Continue reading

Recap: Call For Projects is the part of my website where I call upon the generosity of the reader to develop and complete a project idea that I know in my heart of hearts I’m never actually going to get around to starting, let alone completing. Each CfP will probably be an idea way out of my field of expertise. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to guarantee here that each will definitely be out of my field of expertise. But who knows, it might be in yours. And one of us needs to make it happen. And, y’know, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be me…

A drink, or range of drinks, sold in pubs or bars that contain zero alcohol but aren’t ‘buzz kills’. Continue reading

That is an article title that I defy you to say 10 times quickly.

Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Magic Mike and many more…) put something on his blog in 2014 that I have only just discovered. It is a lesson in moviemaking.

He took a particularly famous film by Steven Spielberg, put it into black and white, and took the sound out, replacing it with music. He basically turned it into a silent film.

And then he invited us to watch it with this simple premise: that you will still know exactly what is going on at any given moment. Sure, there will be the odd detail you might miss, but what is on screen is expressed so clearly, with all of the tricks of cinema, that you really don’t need dialogue or sound. Continue reading