Thump thump.

Sunday.16°C white cloud, no wind and dry.
Thumping heart, sore throat and low energy. The first cold of the new academic year has come early this time. Last year, I was clear until after mid-winter.
This means no cycling and probably no more scrumping for apples on the way home.
Today, I hope to cook the fruit for freezing. Or, maybe a crumble.
The coming winter will be that bit more bearable when you can pull out fruit from the freezer to make something warming (to go with custard).
No cycling today then. Shame. The last two weeks have been good with about 170miles average over each week.

Posted from a mobile.

Is it happening again?

8°C, clear

Jupiter and Venus blaze in the evening skies recently. They’re near to conjunction and are still striking to anyone who looks westwards.

I have a sticky throat. I shall be so annoyed of this develops into another cold. I’ve had a heavy cold followed by ‘flu this term already. Could it be early hay-fever? Beech and hazel trees to release spores at this time of year. So it could be…

If you’re ill below the neck- don’t ride!

-4 to +1°C
Every year I am troubled by the same decision- when should I start riding again after a cold. Every year I am hit by a two week common cold and left resenting the lost time.

There are a few sites that discuss this dilemma:


So the conclusion- If you’re ill below the neck- don’t ride!
Does that sound like a good slogan for a tee-shirt?

As ever, that’s not the only criterion, look at the outside temperature; last night -4°C. The air has been extremely dry, so dry that there was barely any frost this morning. There is a 200 yard sheet of black ice on the way to work though. It’s remarkable that no-one has crunched their car on that slope.

Harold Budd/The Necks

10ºC, dry, getting windy

Gig in Stan’s Cafe Birmingham, – both ambient music, in an interesting venue- a metal pressing factory conversion in the Jewelery Quater, Birmingham. There wasn’t a great deal of conversion made to the buliding, it was clean but no effort had been put into decorating the place. We waited in the entry shed with a feeling of anticipation that was different to other performances. The audience was mostly middle-aged men, all wrapped up in thick winter clothes and many beards.

Harold Budd came on first and did a single piece 45 minute set. He began softly playing curious little phrases on the grand piano while the only other musician played a box of tricks that manipulated piano and ambient sounds. The presentation was very soft, distant and unspectacular. There was I, full of head-cold tired from work listening while drifting near to sleep but not loosing contact with the music at any point. Near the end as the sound tailed off, someone coughed and the sound reverberated inside the black box and I wondered how the audience-performer relationship would have changed if they had built on this intruded sound in their own playing.

The Necks had much in common with the first set, though three musicians who didn’t appear to use any electronic manipulation this time. The sound grew to a massive wall of sound just from percussion, double-bass and grand piano. The overlapping patterns each produced created other rhythms within. There was less space in the sound, but the overall structure was clearer. As before, beginning quietly, the crescendo was huge and tailed off at the end. Each instrument sounded  anxious and distant which created tension with the others. This is music, like Budd, that had no melody, not broken into separate pieces but was bound by soft overlapping rhythms that bound it all together. There was none of the harshness that characterised amplified wall-of-sound pieces heard in other venues. You can’t beat live “unplugged” performances.

The show was somehow part of the London Jazz festival. I can’t help feeling that I don’t really have a working definition of “Jazz” though. What makes something “Jazz”?