Saturday, 8 October 2016

This was my morning view toward Chania. The little round table at the bottom is where I had breakfast. A lovely setting.

Staying in a hotel like this, on the beautiful island of Crete, is a blessing. Being able to afford both the holiday itself and to take time away from my business counts as success to me.

Tomorrow night, I'll be heading for the airport and a considerable drop in temperature as we land in Luton. I love autumn, so that'll be all right. As long as I have socks, loafers and a jacket rather than sandals, T-shirt and shorts.

I love my job and I love that it allows me this luxury from time to time.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Shires - My Universe'

That second album is always tricky and I was pleased on Friday morning to discover that 'My Universe' from The Shires improves on 2015's 'Brave'.

I wasn't a fan of Country music until I heard 'Brave. My favourite track was always 'Jekyll and Hyde' but the whole album has sat resolutely on my playlist for 18 months.

Now 'My Universe' looks like it'll perhaps take that place in my headphones. Not that I love every track. But how many albums would that be true of?

If anything, the duo of songs in the middle of the album that tell elements of the stories of Ben and Chrissie's pasts works best for me. Even brought a tear to my eye. 'Daddy's Little Girl' and 'Everything You Never Gave' are emotional outpourings that reflect on the past but nevertheless present a positivity for the future.

This is probably an album that improves with the listening - two days of dipping into it so far and I'm not bored. My favourite so far might be 'Not Even Drunk Right Now'. Who knows what it'll be next week?

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Probably my first album

I was 13. Yes, you can do the maths. Once I'd discovered Stevie Wonder, studying classical music was just a means to an end. I knew I was never going to play clarinet in an orchestra for a living. It took a couple of years for my clarinet teacher to find a sax for me to borrow and that was that.

Songs in the Key of Life is 40 years old today and it just doesn't age. It was my first introduction to the wonder that is Motown Records.

Some tracks are simply outstanding. As features Herbie Hancock on Fender Rhodes. I don't think it gets much better than that.

Oh, and George Benson plays guitar on Another Star.

Sir Duke is still one of my all-time favourite tracks. That made me realise what a horn section was. Before that, I thought it was four french horn players sitting in a row. It really isn't. It's Hank Redd, Trevor Lawrence, Raymond Maldonado and Steve Madaio.

And the lyrics gave me some names to check out to find out what real jazz was about. Amazing that I eventually got to play in a studio Ellington had once used.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Loving the street art around Bankside and the Tate Modern

When I took this, I had no idea who Ethan Bowen was. I just liked the art on the hoardings on Bankside.

Turns out his art can be seen around London and it's great!

I looked at his shop and lots of it is on my Christmas list.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Art with a story to tell

This fascinating and thought-provoking artwork is in the middle of the Thames, opposite Tate Modern.

It's a stunning creation with an interesting story to tell about war about survival.

Kang Ik-joong's Floating Dreams is a symbol of hope for the unification of Korea. 500 drawings are all by refugees from North Korea who fled south during the Korean war. The boy on the top symbolises refugees - many of who were just small children. We can't always be there for every refugee, but maybe we should do more to help those around the world who are forced to flee their homes.

And be grateful for our own homes and communities.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Happy Anniversary Looby - nice hat!

Animal cruelty. It didn't stay on long, but it was a warning if she tried to scratch her poorly eye post-op.

Three years to the day since Looby Loo first agreed to give up life at Wood Green and give us a go.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Check out those drumsticks

Not the best picture in the world, but Rod Youngs' impressive drumming is just visible in the corner.

A great gig, with Lily Dior and a great band on fire.