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Review: Chick Corea Elektric Band, Barbican Centre

Did I just die in the stalls. If my pores were eyes they would have been crying crystals, and I would have made sacred offering of them for the Gods on stage.


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Sutra of the Rain

The rain is green, a portal to China,
silver sequinned toes on Regent’s Canal.
The rain is serum transforming wrinkled faces
into pure leaves, backcombed hair and skin
succumbing to the climate
of a nightclub.

The rain is a carpet that fetishises
gravity and its contours.
The rain is under-sleeve visitations
wetting our understanding
of wetness. The rain is sand
pouring into the palm, making foie gras
with gutters and bodies and the underground.

The rain is a skewed compass
inverting the seasons. The rain is un-authored
pointillistic painting, artillery, shrapnel,
humanitarian crisis. The rain is the Earth
questioning the blood of her siblings.

The rain is a forehead salute, a search for meaning
on the high street. The rain is pavement suppression.
The rain is footsteps improvising
towards dryness,
nostalgia for the underwings of trees.
The rain is negative harmony,
people compression,
harmonising beings under brollies.

The rain is anonymising

The rain is Iago,
the creature of insides.

Inspired by the incessant London rain and Robert Bringhurst. 

I want to do with you




I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

I want
to do with you what fingers do with sensitive knees.

I want
to do with you what breezes do with the waves.

I want
to do with you what Turner did with the seas.


I want
to do with you what kids do with the ice-cream.

I want
to do with you what their hands do with the runny glue.

I want
to do with you what gold leaf does with painting.

I want
to do with you what the sun does with the moon.


I want
to do with you what fire does with the wax.

I want
to do with you what an oven does with the dough.

I want
to do with you what custard does with the sponge cake.

I want
to do with you what the spoon does with the bowl.


I want
to do with you what we do with the hours.

I want
to do with you what perfume does with a smell.

I want
to do with you what Monet does with his flowers.

I want
to do with you what sand does with the shell.


I want
to do with you what Chopin does with the keys.

I want
to do with you what Shakespeare does with his plays.

I want
to do with you what music does with the hips.

I want
to do with you what potters do with the clays.



I want
to do with you what hands do with the trapeze

what silk does with the skin

what chocolate does with the tongue

what lips do with the lips


Inspired by the last line of Pablo Neruda’s poem Every Day You Play.




Two Pairs of Hands

Two pairs of hands very close to me.

One at my side bursting with ink
Scriptures flowering – bleeding – under the skin.
Half-human, for sure
Out to observe, absorb. Transform the lines
Of all them masters over whom she will be virtuous mistress.

Two – I hold onto them
(but in my eyes)
As metals do to magnets
As waves do to gravity
That leads the dance
bending the bend
stretching the stretch
pulling the push of invisible currents.

These silky feather-brushes lather paint onto the air
Bleeding colours from here – there – harp – snare –
Add water to the strings,
Chuck oil on the bass-
line to thicken the paste,
Burn the wood, the wind, the brass,
Then tame the flames…

These hands.

I held them all –
within me.

Pair No. 1


The hands belong to my friend and artist, Iona Roberts.
See her amazing work here.

Pair No. 2

François Xavier-Roth, Les Siècles
Royal Festival Hall 02.11.16

March was quite grey


I was in a place where the wind cocooned my head, limbs and body like a giant spinning, unforgiving frenzy. Air was charging into my ears and whipping the fabric of the raincoat against my cheeks. It heaved and pushed the water, forward and upward, roaring out platoons of white waves that swamped the length of the shore. It even pierced the thin layer of water on the sand, impregnating it with galaxies and galaxies of bubbles. They obeyed the wind and performed their wild orbital dance, alone, in clusters, slaves to air and gravity.

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I made a mask!

FRIDAYS. Everybody loves Fridays, especially the first-year law bunch. Most of us don’t have classes so we enjoy a three-day weekend! I was looking forward to it so much. My last class on Thursday finished at SEVEN. Seven o’clock, god forbid. Despite the scant attendance (7 people) it was good class on Judicial Review problem-solving with a fab professor. He’s a big name in the Public Law field who wears nice ties and asks scary questions which nobody can answer.

When I returned home I sat by my desk and wrote a to-do list for Friday. Naturally, as tired students do, I slept through my 07:00am alarm and hence failed to follow my own instructions…

I failed at all but one task: making a mask! Why do I need a mask? Well, tomorrow night my university Law Society is hosting a masquerade ball at the Natural History Museum!

Initially I planned to purchase a £3 mask from Amazon or eBay, but as the week progressed I couldn’t bear the thought of becoming any poorer. I had already bought my week’s shopping at Marks & Spencer’s (I know I’m a student, don’t ask. I just wanted a change from Sainsbury’s!) and arranged a violin lesson for this Sunday – ha, ha, the day after the Law Ball. A further three pounds would hurt too much. Also, I quite fancied creating my own mask. It’s been so long since I doodled or attended art classes.

Over the term my room has welcomed a lot of pointless objects. For instance on the floor there’s a cardboard box from about a month ago which previously contained goodies from home. There’s nothing inside. It’s just an empty waste of space on the floor.

But with junk comes creative freedom. I didn’t pay for any materials.

This is how I made my mask.


First, I googled ‘venetian mask template’ to find different shapes and styles.

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I wanted a simple shape. Nothing too ‘flowery’ or ‘fiddly. The task of finding a suitable one took quite a long time. An elegant ‘flicky’ shape seemed ideal at first. But after careful scrutiny of its effect on my face I realised that it made my nose look fat. No thanks.

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Some of the eye-holes were equally unflattering. I had to adjust the angle of the slant to fit my own peepers.

Eventually I chose the template in the top-left photo.

The next step was to cut the shape. I had some hard yellow paper from an unused folder. After tracing and trimming I coloured it in with black pen.



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Most party masks are decorated with beads and jewels and lace. I didn’t have any trinkets! Eventually after searching my supplies I found an old jewellery bag in my drawer lined with silver swirls. I cut the seams and stuck the material over one eye. Asymmetry is cool. photo 93E33549-71C5-42AB-B458-09F2756894B2-2031-000001BA128D6F24_zps47e1f7af.jpg

I had a pencil from last term which I received at a law firm event. I never used it and left it on my desk completely unsharpened. Today I mounted it onto a piece of card and superglued it on the inside of the mask.  photo 7B408665-A6D2-41AA-80D6-892E207A307F-2031-000001BA1B5E7B59_zps4a5b8d7b.jpg

Then the glue had to dry, so I ate a chicken drumstick.

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Ta da! photo 9FBE5EA2-3C8F-4818-ACB1-E13822753C76-2031-000001BA25162548_zps48163762.jpg


Isn’t it cool? photo F8D2D495-1829-4C6C-9EF9-3A2FB380F4E0-2031-000001BA3B63DDAD_zpsd0a32506.jpg


It might clash with my dress and jewellery, both of which are gold and bronze. But I love it! Can’t wait to go to the ball tomorrow!

Also I’m sorry for the gloomy face. I think the mask forces me to try and look more demure.

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Have a good weekend everyone!


A funeral for a digital camera: RIP my dear Nikon

Right, I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been trying to write something substantial and intelligent all day but nothing I wrote was convincing enough, and I deleted everything in the post after only a few paragraphs. Is this writer’s block or have I worsened over the year? I am dissatisfied with my writing, therefore I am not happy with what is there for me to write about, which suggest how bored I am with myself, my surroundings and views on life. Hm, I don’t often use the word ‘bored’ since it suggests that you, the person experiencing boredom, are so idle and unimaginative that you can’t even find another way to enjoy life. Which is absurd because life is bloody brilliant if you make it so.

In fact, I don’t think I am bored. I’m just hormonal. There are still a few years before I am no longer eligible to use this teenager excuse for lack of consistency.

That’s funny; I’ve actually written a paragraph that communicates my thoughts and deviated from what I intended to write for this post.


In the absence of linguistic ability I turned to focus on a skill which I had ignored for the entire year:


Now I shall explain the theme of my two most recent works.

During the summer, my Nikon went into camera retirement. He wouldn’t focus properly which resulted in whole bunch of useless smudged NYO concert photos, nor could he switch on and off without the lens spasming violently as it closed in and opened out.

I decided it was time to have him put down and say farewell. Nikon, it’s been a wonderful two years seeing the world and capturing memories with you. The photos you produced were so beautiful; I especially liked how you smoothed out people’s skin in portrait mode and made us feel better about ourselves.

May you Rest In Peace and drift into paradise with your family, whom I’ve never met.

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Church of Fot – EUCO Budapest Tour Part 4

(NYO have just published my post – have a read here.)

Meanwhile I have one batch of photos left. Don’t fret, this is the final post on Budapest.

On the penultimate day of the tour we performed in Church of Fot, at the unusual time of 11am. The church service concluded at this hour, leaving us barely any time to set up the stage and no time at all to rehearse! Outside the church, the sun shone fully on a very exhausted EUCO, the heat made worse by our black concert wear. We were all exhausted from the previous night’s antics…

But we still managed to pull it off! (Even if the maestro’s shirt was a bit creased.)

The Church of Fot photos are all courtesy of Michael Tang.


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The Weekend – teaching, sun, trombones and all that.

After teaching on Sunday, there’s always a period of fifty minutes before brunch (yum) which I find difficult to use productively, as it were, for homework or practice. Even when my stomach is crying out for food, making a piece of toast isn’t an entirely feasible idea since I’d rather stuff my face with brunch. My brain works better with food so I prefer to work after I’ve eaten. With all these options ruled out I’m now here, writing a blog post.

Teaching is going really, really well. My pupils are so creative! Look what one of them drew for me this week:

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She’s playing a piece called Never Vex a Tyrannosaurus Rex which has lots of different shades and characters. Often I’m astounded by how much sound she can make, especially at the very end with the finishing chord. Using the lowest registers of the piano, she makes a huge – and I mean huge – growl. Crazy stuff.

However in another lesson today, I was the one making grotesque noises with my rumbling tummy and croaky throat. I was trying to sing and then kghuugughckeeu came out instead – very embarrassing. The little girl was laughing at me and I had to hum the tune instead. Lesson learned: always eat something before a 10:30am class.


Yesterday the sunshine brought us outside for our dinner. My friend assembled his hammock underneath two blossom trees and pushed the benches over.

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Then the lads decided to get their trombones and have a little play-through in the sun:

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*blows a big note*

Listen to that echo!

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And then I went inside to do some of my own practice. Starting out efficiently, the quality of my practice receded and I ended up just find cool pieces in the music library to sightread. Ridiculous seeing as I have an audition in Glasgow this afternoon and I still haven’t worked out what to play!


Hope people are still alive and well during exams.

I have French next Wednesday. Should probably learn some words and write some essays.
But before that, it’s time for brunch! Hoorah!