The Silence of the Stands

No, Not That Bell.

Silence comes in many forms. One of the most delightful is the silence of anticipation. The silence announced by the gentle intoning of the word ‘play’; the silence that builds as the bowler looks at their feet and begins their run-up for the first ball of a match. At the ringing of the pavilion bell, the rattle and hum of the Lord’s crowd falls to a murmur. And then, play. Continue reading

Audito, ego sum

I’m not sure how much of this is due to lockdown, or how much is down to some of the lesser-known and definitely rarely-admitted-to problems with Parkinson’s (I don’t really like the word symptom) such as apathy, depression and the relentless fucking grind of simply existing with this disease that seems to delight in pissing you off (and to which I know, eventually, I will succumb). Continue reading

What Parkinson’s has taught me about C-19

Twelve year ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was forty years old. It was something of a shock to the system. Over the years I have become increasingly aware of what such a diagnosis does to you. Not what the disease itself does (though I have also become increasingly, and uncomfortably, aware of this. That’s what the words progressive, degenerative and incurable mean), but what the act of diagnosis actually means to the diagnosed. I don’t for a minute think that what I am about to describe is unique to Parkinson’s, though I suspect it may, in many ways, be something that is largely confined to chronic ailments such as Parkinson’s. Continue reading

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

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

Crisis? What crisis?

This is piece I wrote just before my (ouch) 50th birthday. I just bumped into it again and thought it was worth a read.

‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child. But when I became a man, I put aside childish things,’ so wrote St Paul in an email to the Corinthians. In a little-known coda, he carried on: ‘and when I reached middle age, I said to myself, what the hell were you thinking? And that’s when I reformed The Apostles.’ Continue reading

I wandered lonely as a crowd

There is a school of thought that suggests that, when in a crowd, we make better decisions than if we think as individuals. It’s an extension of Rousseau’s general will. It received its most recent iteration in 2004, with the publication of James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, and is generally considered to derive from Galton’s observation that a crowd at a country fair guessed (on average) the weight of a bullock more accurately than most of the individual members. It’s an interesting concept, and naturally, it’s flawed. Its flaw is simple: no crowd ever makes a truly collective decision. Crowds are always susceptible to the loudest voice. And those with the loudest voices are often those with the least to say. Crowds simply want to be led. Continue reading