September 2016

Summer waned over August whilst apparently coming into full bloom at the same time. Now moving into September and a distinct feel of autumn in the air.

August was a good month for getting out and about though.

A trip to Denmark and one of the oddest hotels – architecturally – I think I have ever stayed at in Copenhagen, and then a further trip up north for a conference seminar


Another trip to Cornwall as well and more spectacular sunsets on the Penwith coast.


This was mainly to take part in the second – and final ! – Folk Cottage reunion day held down near Mitchell. This was the place in which Ralph McTell pretty much began his rise to popularity in 1966 – in fact, he lived in a caravan there in a field. At the time, the building was no more than a barn but is now incorporated into the splendid home of the owners of the farm. Everyone agreed that facilities – marquee, loos, and sound – were markedly improved on 50 years ago!! The weather was lovely and, not surprisingly, there was a lot of re-acquainting going on. A bit more before my time, and a generation ahead. I did not know everyone, but I kind of knew who they were. A great event!


Current projects in Cornwall include: Sven Berlin, Ithell Colquhoun, and St Hilary.

In between, a couple more Prom concerts: the San Paulo orchestra from Rio, Brazil: two separate concerts in fact – the first with a young pianist, Gabriela Montero, who played Grieg’s great piano concerto. She then came on and demonstrated the remarkable ability to improvise – classically! – on any melody an audience member would whistle at her. Later, she and the orchestra were joined by a samba band and gave us some Brazilian jazz. Good but I am never convinced by classical orchestras playing popular music. It all seems a bit staged and lacking in spontaneity!

Another trip took in Bach’s mighty B Minor Mass. It goes on for some 100 minutes. I had the odd sensation when the whole thing came to a halt after around 45 minutes – or so it seemed to me! So, I don’t know where it took me!!?

Interesting exhibition of the Finnish performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican. One piece had two girls in a 3-hour kiss in a boat in front of the main building there. There were then seven guitarists playing the same dirge in another room, whilst a video of his actress mother played a scene with his actor father in which she says ‘take me now by the washing machine’ played out on the wall. The film repeats before any action begins. In another, different musicians in different rooms in a large house in New York sing and play – all very unhappy. Of course, completely mad but different and certainly, there is still a sense that the work would have a lot in common with popular fine art pieces. I would love to know what a student artist would make of it.

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Published, on this site, my translation of Bourdieu speaking with a group of student artists.

About to post my Introduction to Guitar Craft.

Half of the 100 copies of the limited edition of the Ralph McTell book now sold.

Now working on presentations for Australia.