Category: ageing

 A SINGLE MAN directed by Tom Ford (USA, 2009) based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood.

When I first saw this movie I hadn’t read the book on which it is based.

I have just watched it again after being hugely impressed and deeply moved by Isherwood’s flawless novella.

 Tom Ford’s expert adaptation is faithful to the story yet makes key changes;  some for better, some for worse.

Note that this post contains spoilers.Don't say I didn't warn you!

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THE MARK LANEGAN BAND Live at the Rocca Malastestiana, Cesena, Italy 11th August 2015

Mark Lanegan - not a summery kind of guy.

Mark Lanegan – not a summery kind of guy.

On stage, Mark Lanegan looks and sounds every inch the rock and roll survivor.

This gives added authenticity to his songs about salvation and healing.

For Lanegan’s brand of bleak urban rock, black is the colour, as typified by tunes like The Gravedigger’s Song and Gray Goes Black.

Lanegan stands centre stage like a pugilist, not as someone who is picking a fight but as a man used to standing his ground. Continue reading

DIFFERENT EVERY TIME – The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt – by Marcus O’Dair (Serpent’s Tail, 2014)

a wyatt bookI look for two things in a biography. Firstly, I like to learn something new and/or surprising about the subject; secondly, I want what I already know (or think I know) to be presented in a way that shares my enthusiasm. Marcus O’Dair‘s marvellous book scores top marks on both counts.

Based on extensive interviews with Robert Wyatt and most of the key people he’s worked with over the years, it is meticulously researched but never stuffy or overly academic.

The author (who is also a lecturer, broadcaster and musician) gives well-informed opinions but never seeks to force his point of view on the reader.

Robert’s story comes two parts – divided by the accident in 1973 that confined him to a wheelchair at the age of 28. Continue reading


Same man - different mask. Bob Dylan - then and now.

Same man – different mask. Bob Dylan – then and now.

Why does Bob Dylan still play live and why do people still pay good money to see him?

The second question is easier to answer than the first. It is something of a cliché to refer to an artist as a living legend but Dylan surely merits this label. It’s therefore only natural that many will flock to pay homage (and cash!) to a man whose vast body of work is second to none.

When he exploded onto the folk music scene in the 1960s, an adoring public would sit in rapt silence to hear the words of this poet come visionary. On his Song For Bob Dylan, David Bowie got it about right when he sang: “you sat behind a million pair of eyes and told them how they saw”.

Robert Zimmerman’s ‘protest’ songs articulated the mood of a nation and helped fuel movements opposed to the Vietnam War, institutionalised racism and the dearth of moral /political values that causes like these symbolized. Yet, Dylan has always diligently avoided aligning himself to political or religious movements, stubbornly following his own path. “Don’t follow leaders” he advised in Subterranean Homesick Blues and he has never set himself up as a spokesman for any generation. Think for yourself has always been his message. Continue reading

senecaInspirational quotes and pithy anecdotes plague the social networks but there is nothing new about them.

If the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) were blogging, tweeting and posting today he would have a legion of followers enthusing over words of wisdom ike these:

  • “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult”.

  • “Our lives are either spent on doing nothing at all or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do”.

  • “We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there were no end to them”.

  • “To err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabiolical”

  • “The whole future lies in uncertainty : live immeduately”

  • “Life is amply long for he who lives it properly”.

  • “Postponement is the greatest waste of life”

  • “It is better to have knowledge of the ledger of one’s own life than of the corn market”.

All quotes taken from : On The Shortness Of Life & other life lessons for the 21st Century (translated by John W. Basore, 1932)

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