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
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
Just in case you are of a mind … here are some of the notes from I, Sybarite … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
Killing Beauties is my latest piece of work and it’s going to be published by Unbound, the crowdfunding publisher … so why not go and have a look, make a pledge … it’s all good!
It’s set in the 1650s, and follows two (real-life) female spies as they work to help restore Charles II to the throne … Continue reading
The sound from the live feed stunned the room into silence, reducing its temperature by a good three degrees. Dave Baker, operative third class, was overwhelmed by a visceral surge of impotence. Even his colleagues comprehended that what they had just witnessed was beyond special, beyond even unique; it was the future. And it didn’t seem to like them that much.
‘What the actual fuck?
The words dripped from Dave’s open mouth.
‘You have got to be kidding me.’ He sat heavily into his seat, utterly defeated. Continue reading