Just around the corner from the hotel where we stayed in Berlin, in cobbled and tree-lined Fasanenstrasse, I found outside number 42 eight small brass plaques embedded in the pavement. They record the deportation from this town house of eight Jewish Berliners to their deaths in the east. These small brass memorials are called stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) … Continue reading Stumbling over the past in Berlin
Always keep Ithaca in your mind. To arrive there is your final destination. But do not rush the voyage in the least. Better it last for many years; and once you’re old, cast anchor on the isle, rich with all you’ve gained along the way, expecting not that Ithaca will give you wealth. – from ‘Ithaca’ … Continue reading Voyage to Ithaca
Two years ago, at the end of what we were told had been the coldest March for fifty years, I cleared a layer of frozen snow on our allotment and planted fifteen asparagus crowns that we had ordered from the Royal Horticultural Society, but which arrived just as a blizzard moved in. After a week, with the crowns in danger of drying … Continue reading Our first asparagus harvest: worth the wait
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