some kind of wonderful..

There are alot of things that don’t impress me about the internet. The possibilities to create new ways of sharing isn’t one of them

Music has always been the larger part of my life. A constant companion that has played 10 hours a day for more than 50 years.

To the point. I am now able to share what I am currently listening to. And I’m pretty sure that it isn’t what you’d had in mind. I prefer a life filled with passion, wonder and surprise..

I encourage you to take a listen. There is little harm and much to be gained. Even if it’s just a great big grin.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO Radio-Twelve29 :-)


Raga Lalit for the early morning.

If I were to be asked to listen to only one ‘type’ of music for the rest of my life, Indian Classical Music would certainly be a contender for the top choice.

Not only is this phenomenally beautiful peace of musical praise worthy of the hour it takes to play, but the accompanying pictures do complete justice to the whole production.

Kudos to whoever made this. It rocked my world this morning at daybreak

Missa Papae Marcelli:

The moon changed and brought in the true dampness of winter this week. No longer nourishing showers falling from above. It’s a cold and driving rain that chills you deep. Even when you’re inside.

I like to think that living in a climate like this tends to help in understanding the depth of what it means to be inside. To carve out a separate space and shape it for ourselves. We are not just clothed in nature and the world but deep within us, there rests a place untouched profound and undescribed. And I recognize the yearning in all the faces around me that it would be revealed.

And that’s why when I look for inspiration I look at those who have gone before, who have grappled and wrested something from this experience and have sought to give it voice. Give it shape or words. Something tangible that others can experience as well.

That haunting and vast space contained by the transept of St. Peter’s or Hagia Sophia.

Constructed in Constantinople in 537AD by the order of the Emperor;  Αγία Σοφία becomes the third church of the holy wisdom to occupy the site… the largest building in the world and the largest cathedral for a thousand years. That is until the gold of the new world can fund a larger one in Seville.

A space we do not recognize nor comprehend. As alien as life beyond our stars. It lasts solely to contain the invisible presence and experience of  holy wisdom itself. This vast unknowable wisdom to which we can attach no name and to which we can properly only respond. To live this experience and give it voice. And few are those who manage to succeed in hearing this calling and have it reach our crumpled and distorted world.

Hagia Sophia managed to do it for a thousand, three-hundred and ninety-four years until was made into a museum and fell into disrepair and abuse in 1931. A time my parents lived in.  Today it serves as the destination point for dinner and a selfie. Or a short sit on a bench in this hard and foreign place. To wait for the bus that got you there on time for the tour and back again for lunch.

I don’t think Palestrina ever misunderstood what he was doing and it shows. I can close my eyes and rest.

I let the sound wash over me like a sheet of wind flowing across the landscape. Hear the breath of the heavens above in that wondrous space between earth and sky where we all live together inside. Along with this sacred space reserved for the soul.

Have a good weekend everyone.

“what you learn in art can never be used: if you give in, it’s called imitation.. “

I came across this in one of my recent readings. It went on to state that art is a way of exploring, creation, reflection and searching that continues day in and day out. Most of what we make being unusable.  And a sizeable amount of our efforts ending in failures if we are truly and deeply involved.

“Making a lot of beautiful things that are like a lot of other beautiful things is manufacturing, not art.

Our mind is a wilderness. As artists, we are explorers along the frontier. We run into dead ends, box canyons, sheer walled cliffs. The vein being mined runs out. Sand runs through our fingers  after drilling for water. Hacking at weeds reveals only stone. Abandoned, woozy and sweating under the sun, not even the vultures will circle. We continue to place one foot in front of the other but never relent. Understanding the importance of staying on this path that appears before us; we cross the wasteland and sooner or later enter a paradise that is ours alone.¹


The path of an artist, a warrior, of life – it’s much the same.

Recent work over the past several months has taken me in many directions. Much of it has been spent re-visioning, imagining, and visiting ideas that I had previously left off for reasons of time, focus and other pressing needs. Over time, original impressions have had time to mix with the mulch of daily life. Many of them fermenting and decomposing until ultimately they have provided a rich medium for lush new growth.

Ongoing reading on contemplative enquiry and Goethe’s approach to the world has renewed a long held interest in the history of pigments, the foundations of how we perceive and understand colour and a renewed interest in painting, watercolour and visual comprehension.

Throughout this I have been revisiting work by Ivan Illich on the conceptual nature of the world we live in and it’s relationship to language, body and our human nature. Taking a much harder look at the literate world as we slide into a post-literate future; the nature of ‘stuff‘ and how it enters into our imagination, behaviour and belief and the social structures we use to support it all.

I have taken to shooting pictures almost exclusively with my phone at the moment. It intrigues me how our phones have managed to conquer and command massive parts of our lives and former equipment, devices and tools in an iron fisted grip as strong as that of the Roman Church at the height of it’s power. A catholic tool that mediates, interprets and binds all experience to it. It’s caused me to poke about in pre-history and the period before the end of the 12th century in a very disjointed and inexplicable way.

My current focus is more on apprehension and comprehension than the technical pursuit of ultimate sharpness at the moment, although I still have the gut feeling that a kind of hyper-realism is necessary for our time.  All this underpinned with the sound of Indian Classical and vernacular Brazilian music

A thorough sojourn in the wider social experience of our age has convinced me to return to writing more thoughtfully and trying to comb apart some of these strands over the next couple of months as I return to this blog. Never a dull moment, it’s great to be back.

¹ paraphrased from a reading on art by Deng Ming Dao

sunday – djembe

I’ve been really blessed this past week to make my way through a good portion of Naná Vasconcelos’ discography as I worked on rebuilding one of two djembes I picked up recently.

And while I’d like to share all the details including how I got here from my last post’s probably not worth it and better to just jump in mid-stream.

This is actually the smaller of the two.  Never having skinned a drum before, and certainly not from scratch, I risked being in over my head but at least I could limit how deep.

I want to personally thank Leo at  tree frog percussion  for providing valuable information along with the replacement goatskins and cord I purchased.  His passion and dedication to building high quality percussion instruments is outstanding.

If you want to take a course on building your own drum from scratch, percussion classes or purchase a handmade  instrument, I would highly recommend him.


original condition












bottom of foot – original condition



after sanding



..and oil



top rim – original condition






top rim – original condition



after filling and sanding












tuning weave






finished project





If you’ve never listened to Brazilian musicians, and in particular the genius of Naná Vasoncelos – here are links to one of his concerts with another Brazilian great Yamandu Costa.



fast & furious friday – remington ride

Things still speeding along at a wicked pace with little time for a deep breath let alone pictures.

Danny Gatton is one of my favourite guitarists and sums it up best with this quick little piece.

I owe a personal favour to Roy Buchanon in mentioning him lest he ever again be forgotten. His influence on guitarists like Danny, Vince Gill, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendricks, and Gerry Garcia is legendary and he changed the course music forever. Personally, he was the first musician to shake my world in a way no other did.

There is too much I’d like to say about guitarists at the moment and instead leave you with a little piece from Roy to carry you through the weekend.


on the move – caravan

I’ve been looking for something that would sum up my February and think I may have found it.

I love February almost as much as I love jazz and Jaun Tizol & Ellington’s – Caravan. And that would be a lot.

Then every once and a while a special version that comes along and remakes everything from scratch. That would be this February.

With a little listen, you will understand the type of month that’s going on better than I could ever explain it. And while it’s kinda cool in it’s own way, it looks as if we’re moving into the Oscar and Dizzy version for March. And that’s really something else :)

wednesday listen up

I woke up this morning thinking of songbirds even though there’s not much singing going on these days, outside the house or in. The woods are silent and it seems too cold even for the cheeriness of chickadees.

Bu it’s not just the winter. This urban environment we inhabit is a little short on warblers, meadowlarks, vireos and thrushes. Fortunately this morning though, there was a particular songbird singing in my head. Mama Cass Elliot. And she had me whistling away for the better part of an hour.

Melody is something I grew up in. It was the basis of my world. The wonderful ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ are still very much in my heart. Sounds of freedom, possibility, hopefulness, joy, happiness and fun.  The unabashed innocence of late spring and early summer in the face of a weary world.

The 5th Dimension, Association, BeeGees, Hollies and Supremes. Radios never far away. And they never blasted anything  ..they filled the air. And clear above the rest there were two voices that put sunshine in the bright blue skies of every day. True songbirds that filled my heart with a pleasure and joy that only music can. And they seemed to actually be the spirit of the times in a way no others singer did.