Who Breathes, Wins

C-19. It sounds like a far-right paramilitary group dedicated to expelling foreigners and purifying the race. The kind of people for whom the leap from deporting illegal aliens to euthanazing the disabled is more of a Sunday afternoon stroll. But Covid-19 is already forcing members of the medical profession in Italy to choose who lives and who dies – or, at least, who is given the greater chance of living. Continue reading

An Apple a Day

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and especially since it began to make its mark as the shelves of nation after nation were cleared of toilet paper, there has been one constant: the internet has been a greater spread of dangerous misinformation than any other source. One wonders how the virus managed to achieve such mastery of social media in such a short time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The internet, or more specifically the global network of gps satellites and mobile phones, can do something extremely positive. Continue reading

Close, but no e-cigar

It’s 5.04 am and I’ve been failing to sleep for some time now. I’ve actually been considering how I have managed to reach the grand age of 52 and a half without much in the way of success at all. This is not what has been keeping me awake so much as keeping me company in my insomnia. It seems that if there is one area in my life in which I may legitimately call myself successful it is in failing. I am remarkably consistent in getting so far but no further. There are no laurels of victory for me, no spoils, just the nagging feeling that I have made under-achieving into something of an art form. I write this not out of self-pity or in a plea for sympathy, but more in the sense that perhaps, just perhaps, under-reaching is the default human condition. Continue reading

On Ten Thousand Hours

Like the grand old Duke of York, Malcolm Gladwell had ten thousand hours. Gladwell’s hours were the time you needed to devote to an activity to master it. It was originally applied to violin players, and thence to everyone. And now it’s back. Because someone has said it may not be true. No shit. This morning’s Guardian ran a piece on a new study that apparently contradicts it. It doesn’t, of course, because there’s nothing serious to contradict. That and what the real issue is here, that most thorny of questions: how talented are you? Continue reading

Sybarus in context

This is an edited extract from the prose work that will accompany the release of Dancing with Architects … It concerns ambition, intention and luck. Hopefully it will make some sense as it stands.

The opening to I, Sybarite is how every musician and artist wants their career to begin: to simply explode in the consciousness of the audience. No warning given, no real preparation possible. To just suddenly be. It’s a great contrast from the album’s opening track, Praxis. I’m guessing my rationale for putting Sybarite as track two was to confuse those who knew me and expected me to hit the ground at a full gallop and surprise those who didn’t know me from Adam. Continue reading

Bringing Sexy Back (to cricket)

Just when you thought it was safe, here’s yet another piece about the cricket. You know, the World Cup we actually won. And no, it’s not about the overthrows, DRS or any of that, it’s a piece about one of the plays and misses of the tournament … that’s right, the cricketarists …

It is law that the electric guitar is the sexiest instrument on earth, bar none. As a rule, however, cricket bats fall into the category ‘other’. Cricket just isn’t sexy (though that doesn’t mean that cricketers can’t be). Continue reading

Dancing with Architects – the return of the sybarite

And so, with an almost delicate flash of stick across toms, a track I recorded 24 years ago roars back into life. Since it was recorded in 1995, as part of the set that made up the album Dancing with Architects, it’s been loitering with intent, waiting for its turn to re-occupy its rightful place in the world, scaring the bejesus out of unwary guitarists. While the original album was recorded in a week, this version, complete with real drums and an extra guitar solo, took rather longer to prepare. Continue reading