A cloudless sky, the sun warm on my shoulders – one of the first days when it’s felt as if the long tramp through winter’s cold is over. Gardening this morning, then walking my dog in Sefton Park in the afternoon, seeing all this glory in the natural world, brought to mind the question – What is wrong with … Continue reading Spring: sunshine and glory. But: What is wrong with us?
Yet another gem emerged from the cornucopia of ECM Records last month – The half-finished heaven, the fourth album that Sinikka Langeland, the kantele player, singer and composer from Norway has recorded for Manfred Eicher’s label. It’s a gorgeous record from an artist I first encountered in 2006, when she released her first ECM recording, Starflowers. Like … Continue reading Sinikka Langeland’s mix of Norwegian folk, jazz and poetry
This is the time of year when the morning dog walk in Sefton Park is accompanied by the loud drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It’s a handsome bird when you catch a glimpse of it, either clinging to a tree trunk or flying from tree to tree in a flash of black, white and red. This … Continue reading A woodpecker skirmish in the park
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the release of John Coltrane’s album, A Love Supreme, ‘easily one of the most important records ever made’, in the estimation of Sam Samuelson at AllMusic. A Love Supreme was recorded by John Coltrane’s quartet on 9 December 1964 and is generally considered to be Coltrane’s greatest work. The story … Continue reading Coltrane’s A Love Supreme 50 years on: symbol of black pride
In his memoir If This Is a Man, Primo Levi recalled his first adjustments to the Auschwitz regime with a sort of wry irony, telling how he asked a prisoner already experienced in the ways of the camp whether the guards would give them back their toothbrushes. Contemptuously, the prisoner replies: ‘You are not at home, this is not a … Continue reading Auschwitz: there was no why there
Another walk in one of our favourite places – the Dee shore at Thurstaston. So close to the city, yet walking the river’s edge here felt far from the mad spending frenzy of the year’s busiest shopping day. Wild and windswept today, but with with everything sharply illuminated by shafts of brilliant low winter sun. Clouds raced overhead, … Continue reading Down to the Dee shore once more: what we need is here
Anself Kiefer TS Eliot once said that the meaning of a poem exists somewhere between the poem and the reader. The comment seemed apposite as I sat in the third room of the breathtaking Anself Kiefer retrospective at the Royal Academy surrounded by monumental artworks that spoke to me powerfully, though why they did I knew … Continue reading Anselm Kiefer: Remembering the Future