The end of the year is a time for looking back. Today I'm going back 50 years, almost to the dawn of the Crotchety Man era. It's 1968, a time when experimentation in pop music was the order of the day and a slew of highly original acts flourished. One of the most flamboyant of…Read more Fire
By definition, fluids flow. Steam rises from a boiling kettle, spring water spontaneously cascades down the mountainside. And when you hear a particularly fluid jazz lick you can be sure the band has achieved that indefinable quality of musical 'flow'. It's what all musicians strive for, when the notes spill out without bidding, floating in…Read more Flow
Utopia is a place where everything is good; dystopia is a place where everything is bad; heterotopia is where things are different ... - Walter Russell Mead Heterotopia is a difficult concept to define succinctly. The word comes from the Greek roots, heteros (other) and topos (place). So a heterotopia is an other place, somewhere that…Read more Heterotopia
Sometimes it's good to wind back the tape and listen to an old favourite. Guillemots' first album, Through the Windowpane, has been mentioned, briefly, in these pages already in both Track of the Week and Band of the Year posts, but until now it hasn't featured as an Album of the Month. So let's press the…Read more Through the Windowpane
When you look up into a clear night sky the more distant the star the farther back in time you are seeing it. This is a simple consequence of the finite speed of light but it has profound implications for astronomy. By studying far away galaxies we can look back almost to the dawn of…Read more Far Skies Deep Time
For as long as the human race has existed we have tried to understand our place in the universe. It's a question that goes beyond "where are we?" to the deeper mystery of "who are we?". And scientists have given us some of the answers. We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a…Read more A Humdrum Star
For this Album of the Month I was tempted to say simply, "see last month's post". You see, this is another review of a progressive rock live album by a band that has been around for more than 40 years and has recently found an astonishing new vitality. This time the band in question is…Read more But Wait … There’s More!