Thursday, 12 May 2016

Cowgirl in the sand

Damien Hirst said of Lucian Freud (I paraphrase), with reference to Francis Bacon, that while Freud was by far the superior painter (in a technical sense) Bacon was in every way a better artist.

I'm not going to compare Neil Young to any other technically superior guitarist (of which there are many) but listening to 'Cowgirl in the sand' made me think of Hirst's view on Freud and Bacon. Young can clearly, at this point is his career, barely play the thing. The technical is horribly clumsy. I sounds like a man with stubby fingers desperately willing his fingers to move quicker. And Young doesn't care. The solos in Cowgirl are driven with such energy and vigour that that sound, and the music, is overwhelmingly powerful.

So, "Everybody knows this is nowhere" is highly recommended. Perhaps not up there with "After the goldrush" and "Harvest" but even so...

Also, presumably everyone has seen Prince go bonkers during a rendition of "While my guitar gently weeps" at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but for anyone who hasn't, it is essential viewing (and obviously listening) for anyone, who (like me) saw Prince primarily as a singer/songwriter/producer/madman and not particularly as a guitarist. And anyone else. It's totally insane.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Stand back!

I'm going to do leadership!

I have spent the last 2 days training. Oddly enough, I have spent the last two days doing useful training. This is quite a novel sensation. I've picked up quite a lot of technical facts in my current role (a deeper understanding of the performance and potential adverse consequences of various types of insulation, for example) and Kate has been doing her best to drum in some basic understanding of humans and the way they relate to one another in society (this is part of an ongoing project she's been working on for the last couple of decades - I haven't seen the Gantt chart but apparently we are some way behind schedule) but I can't remember the last time I was in a formal learning situation where I learned this much. Probably when I was an undergraduate. Before I started skipping lectures. I have a better attention span now.

Anyway, I'm not going to talk about what I learned since this isn't a blog for middle managers. But I had been getting very run down at work. Stuck in a rut. Flat. Hopefully getting out of the office, learning some new tools (mainly old tools I've forgotten about) and just getting a different perspective will help enliven me.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Sign "O" the Times

Prince Rogers Nelson too? 2016 sucks.

Sunday, 28 February 2016


Turns out that avocado has a powerful emetic effect on Jonathan.

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Good morning.

It's a mournful day. I feel all 365.25*40 of my days today. They weigh heavily on my shoulders. I'm sitting here, while Jonathan laughs and bounces about the living room, and thinking why this should be the case.

Life is, in many ways, a series of symbols. Like %. % is a symbol. So perhaps I feel this way because of the symbolic nature of birthdays. Something, something ineffable, has passed. It's not %. % isn't ineffable. Nor is >. Or £. Or ¥. No. It's something more than that. Youth has fled. And taken my sandwiches with it.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't get hung up on symbols. Perhaps there are more effable reasons to feel this way. We live in times. More than that, we live in times. Even TIMES. Maybe. Maybe we live in times. Maybe that's what is bringing me down.

Isis. El Niño. A new financial crash. A failure of the Western liberal democratic model to bring prosperity and stability to North Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world. Unrest in Venezuela. Unrest in Islington. Islington itself. TIMES.

It all adds up to stuff. Can I really expect my sons to grow up? Particularly with Islington literally on the border of our Parish?

So I'm sitting and thinking. Feeling it all. Wondering what the cause of all my unhappiness, and weariness and generally [not-feeling-great]iness is. Sitting here. 40 years old.

On balance, however, I'm not convinced that it is about symbols, or the state of the world, or the futility of the future. Instead I'm going to pin it on the significant volumes of beer I drank last night.

Yes, I think that's probably it. The beer.

Ow. My head.

Monday, 11 January 2016