Thursday, 4 December 2014

But why the tears there?

Remembering Ian McLagan, great player and raconteur, looking back to his inspirational and understated Hammond organ tinkling here...


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Let's race the tube...!

Because it's there?! Because it's fun? All of the above... pointlessly fulfilling?

P (h/t Brian P. Smith)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

These Brethren really know how to party..!

A little historic gem found whilst tidying away some old papers... it is genuine, by the way ;-)


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The greatest of these is more than music...

I so wish the Sermon on the Mount included the phrase "Blessed are the Music Makers...".

All my life I have believed that art and music can change things for the better and I still endorse that thought. However after visiting the West Bank I have been challenged to consider greater callings.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Palestine - a personal perspective...

As mentioned in a previous post I have been honoured to spend time out in the West Bank both taking part in the Bet Lahem Live Festival and visiting local families during the daytime. My head has been buzzing with all that I saw and experienced and decided to collate some of the images from some of the UK team and create this little offering. I candidly admit although there is some very literal moments to match the lyrics it will be only fully understood by those that were there at the time.

For the full story on the house demolition read Justin Butcher's blog post on the Greenbelt Festival website here.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

This is Holy Land...

Having returned from the trip to Bethlehem Monday 23rd I am still trying to formulate responses to all I saw, heard, tasted and experienced. However, as an introduction this video from the Holy Land Trust presented by the wonderful Greenbelt Festival speaker Sami Awad beautifully and creatively captures one of the thoughts that grew within as each day passed...


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Upon this Rock...

Honoured to be taking part in the Bet Lahem Live Festival this week, depping on Keyboards for the Fat Band... very much looking forward to the whole experience and meeting up with the guys in this video.

One day...? Let's hope and pray.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Since Chromebox came into my heart...

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought!

Yes, I now have my head in The Cloud, albeit the Google one, and pretty much all is well. Knowing the support for Windows XP was ending this year (2014) on April 8th I had planned a steady migration from my desktop PC, starting from New Year's Day. Having used Google Chrome as a browser for a few years that was not really a change. Moving from Outlook Express to GMail was the first major change and am still learning how to make the most of GMail's nooks and crannies.

Alongside the mail migration I moved over to using Google Docs. If you are used to using MS Word / Excel or the OpenOffice equivalents then you might find GDocs restrictive. For me I love the simplicity and whilst the loading time of larger spreadsheets can be sedate the benefits of, say, morphing an inbound document into a PDF is as good as instant.

To retain the file repository I had built up on the PC I purchased a 64Gb USB and copied over all the audio, image and document files and made that drive my default location in readiness for the bigger move which was to come later. One slight spanner in the works is that the range of Chrome hardware earlier this year was quite restricted and future products looked much more suitable for my needs. So to further test my cloudbound vision I purchased the HP/Google Chromebook 11 as reviews indicated this had the best screen despite being utilising older technology. It's a lovely bit of kit, enabled me to test that both my Logitech trackball and a cheapo USB keyboard worked properly and pretty much confirmed I was on the right track. ..

Now April 8th was looming large and I was trying, unsuccessfully, to create a bootable USB with Chromium to tide me over until I could get a new Chromebox from Asus or HP when they became available later this year. However, I managed to obtain an older model used Samsung Chromebox at the end of March, perfect timing! So on April 7th I plugged in my devices and logged on. There were a few things that took a bit of getting used to, but overall it is a joy, especially the 8 second boot up, from cold, any time you need it!

So have I needed to switch on the PC since? The answer is 'yes' although not nearly as often as I had imagined. One of the setbacks was when I bought a Cloud Print ready printer which behaved erratically. I then experienced the rudest, most officious response whilst speaking to the Samsung helpdesk who bludgeoned me into setting the printer up for WiFi using their Windows / PC software. That didn't work either and it transpired, as I suspected, that the printer firmware was, indeed, buggy and was going through a revision which Samsung already knew about. Bearing in mind this was specifically relating to the Google Cloud Printer function I found it extraordinary that when they finally released the firmware update it was ONLY available as a Windows executable file?! However, I did figure that out and since then my PC has remained silent and all systems are go...

Would I recommend moving to Chrome? Definitely! There are other options and, particularly if you work in graphics or audio, then you need to save up ~500% more and go the Apple Mac route. At times I have needed to call on my computer knowledgebase to solve quirks therefore I the Chrome path may not be so enticing for the faint hearted. However, it is very well supported and it is a bit like the early days of Apple computers, it has an enthusiastic user base who are keen to share their findings plus improvements are regularly released. At the end of the day I am able to work efficiently and my computing life is definitely less stressful, that has to be better all round ;-)


Friday, 6 June 2014

Coldplay - tearing me apart...

And I don't care... if you think I'm uncool, bah, I simply love this, so there...!

This touches me on so many levels, those who know me well may figure it out, a big clue is one of the tags below... and it is about time I posted again!


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Wide, wide as the ocean...

Come on come on and shake down those shabby bones.
We're tired and torn, creaking and cracked I know.
When did we last make some time?

Spinning with stars, dreams disregarded.
Days are all full, stuffed and congested.
When did we last make the time,
To be scared of the dark,
Where the gods and monsters hide?

Dust ourselves down.

Show me the way to make me a child again.
We'll be amazed by all we can't name and then,
We can at last stop to breathe,
And be scared of the dark,
Where our mind's got space to dream.

Click to download for FREE!


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Springsteen explains Pete Seeger so well...

From Bruce's brilliant introductory speech at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday party:
As Pete and I travelled to Washington for President Obama's Inaugural Celebration, he told me the entire story of "We Shall Overcome". How it moved from a labor movement song and with Pete's inspiration had been adapted by the civil rights movement. That day as we sang "This Land Is Your Land" I looked at Pete, the first black president of the United States was seated to his right, and I thought of the incredible journey that Pete had taken. My own growing up in the sixties in towns scarred by race rioting made that moment nearly unbelievable and Pete had thirty extra years of struggle and real activism on his belt. He was so happy that day, it was like, Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man!...It was so nice. At rehearsals the day before, it was freezing, like fifteen degrees and Pete was there; he had his flannel shirt on. I said, man, you better wear something besides that flannel shirt! He says, yeah, I got my longjohns on under this thing.

And I asked him how he wanted to approach "This Land Is Your Land". It would be near the end of the show and all he said was, "Well, I know I want to sing all the verses, I want to sing all the ones that Woody wrote, especially the two that get left out, about private property and the relief office." I thought, of course, that's what Pete's done his whole life. He sings all the verses all the time, especially the ones that we'd like to leave out of our history as a people. At some point Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history. He'd be a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete's somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant, and nasty optimism. Inside him he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade and it won't let him take a step back from the things he believes in. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country's illusions about itself. Pete Seeger still sings all the verses all the time, and he reminds us of our immense failures as well as shining a light toward our better angels and the horizon where the country we've imagined and hold dear we hope awaits us.

Now on top of it, he never wears it on his sleeve. He has become comfortable and casual in this immense role. He's funny and very eccentric. I'm gonna bring Tommy out, and the song Tommy Morello and I are about to sing I wrote in the mid-nineties and it started as a conversation I was having with myself. It was an attempt to regain my own moorings. Its last verse is the beautiful speech that Tom Joad whispers to his mother at the end of The Grapes of Wrath. "...Wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air Look for me Mom I'll be there."

Well, Pete has always been there.

For me that speech is always aspirational. For Pete, it's simply been a way of life. The singer in my song is in search of the ghost of Tom Joad. The spirit who has the guts and toughness to carry forth, to fight for and live their ideals.

I'm happy to report that spirit, the very ghost of Tom Joad is with us in the flesh tonight. He'll be on this stage momentarily, he's gonna look an awful lot like your granddad who wears flannel shirts and funny hats. He's gonna look like your granddad if your granddad could kick your ass.

This is for Pete...
Watch Bruce's speech right here, big thanks to iamworkingonadream