February 2021




January certainly lived up to its reputation: here, in the south of England, mostly grey and rain. That means not particularly cold. When I was a child, we would get at least 3 spells of snow in the Winter and they would last for 2 – 3 weeks, but not with climate change. Still, there were some days of cold and snow; here, where I live.






Good for walking out in the forest as well, where everything is asleep. Also, some good sunsets:






Interior work, then….

Some work on a piece I am doing on William Blake. So, here he is, Lucifer, Prince of Light, representing one form of evil; probably best illustrated in the Last Temptation of Christ. The lesson here is that when the devil passes by, he does not come dressed as the devil !!







At the other extreme, I am super happy to receive a new edition of Travail et Travailleurs en Algérie by my friend the French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu. It has been out of print for some 30 years or more. This work from 1963 really shaped his life, both professionally and personally.






I am referring to it in my new book, which is entitled Metanoia. http://www.michaelgrenfell.co.uk/metanoia-and-bourdieu/




Also, been consulting some water colour work by a favourite, Hermann Hesse. I love his innocence and simplicity.







In terms of reading of the month, this has been varied and broad. I watched the film of ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ – which really intrigued me. Apparently, it took Suzanna Clarke 14 years to write it: a kind of mixture of Jane Austin, Harry Potter, and Dr Who. What an intriguing world she creates.







I also read the beautiful prose of Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways – really a book about walking old paths. There is a clearly a tradition or this sort of thing: meditations of walking, life and the environment. One thinks of Edward Thomas, W H Hudson, Richards Jefferies and indeed Bruce Chatwin. Very good:





There are not many piece of classical music, I have more than one recording of. Of those that I do, most are of Bach’s music. So, a new recording of the Cello Suites is a must for me. This one by the young cellist Alisa Weilerstein.






She writes of ‘the intrinsic impossibility of this music is the very source of its freedom’.


So true…


Also, this statement made me think of playing Guitarist Craft Themes:


  • Can you play it/ have the notes?


  • Can you play it in time?


  • Can you play it in time and good tone?


  • Are you counting the rhythm and the bars


  • Are you playing it in accord with the Primaries: alternate picking, etc.?


  • Can you do all this whilst giving some attention to yourself?


  • Can you do all this, give some attention to yourself, and the audience?


  • Do you know the note you are playing in respect to all the other notes in the piece?


  • Can you do this whilst giving attention to the piece within the set list/ repertoire?


  • Can you do all this whilst giving attention to the place of this concert performance within the entire concert calendar?


  • Can you do all this whilst setting the concert calendar within the week?


  • Can you set the week within the month and the month within the year?


  • Can you set the year within your lifetime?


  • Can you set your lifetime within eternity and the universe?


  • Can you be aware of all this when you play a single note?



Well……It is the New Year, so a piece I recorded as a New Year song – Remember: