Sunday, November 20, 2016

.... nothing if not eclectic. Haphazard even?

The Zappa is one of the best concerts issues in decades (Vinnie C on drums, Ed Mann on percussion,   Tommy Mars on keyboards ... an exploratory version of 'Yo Mama', super solos on 'Village of the Sun' & 'Black Napkins' ... you get the idea). His quip about doing a stupid dance will hurt you less than voting acquires an especially painful prescience.

Monday, November 14, 2016


I happened upon this photo of Pound in Venice & recognised the place immediately - we were in that exact spot back in May. These days, there's a bar to Pound's right - where, in fact, I had an argument about not being allowed to take a wine glass outside (something to do with loutish student behaviour & local regulations). On the opposite side is the last warehouse where they repair gondolas. 

E. looks at the picture & then asks how come Daddy is looking back at the man with the scarf & beard? 

& you know ... looking as closely as the resolution of the photo allows ... it is rather uncanny ... 

Friday, November 11, 2016


I can remember with absolute clarity the first time I heard Leonard Cohen's music in a top floor study bedroom in Barton Street London. The combination of that voice, the melodies, the album title 'Songs from a Room', & this particular photograph on the back cover went deep. 

While I've never been a great Cohen listener or collector he stood for much that I love & respect. Watching the DVD of his most recent (& I suppose last) tour I was struck by his dignity, humility & awareness of the wider political context within which he was performing to his devoted followers. There was little of the mega star bravura & conceit. Rather, an astonishment - even wry amusement - that anyone should be listening. 

"There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in".

Much quoted & deceptively simple (for those with ears to hear it is a distillation of cabalistic thought). 

Right now, there seems to be not so much a crack as a bloody great gash through everything. How dearly we need some light to come flooding in. What a bitter irony that at a time like this another voice of weighed & tempered words should disappear. 

A wrist for every watch
releasing doves

(Barbara Guest, 'Türler Losses')



Walking through Turin airport back in September for want of anything better to do I window shopped around the cases of watches on my way to the gate. As a rule I'm not into watches - certainly not the  multi-function deep sea diver/ rocket pilot/ clunky thick metal strap & case/ high end brand kind of thing. Leaves me cold. However, my eye was caught by a very simple thin watch by Daniel Wellington. I hesitated ... duty free? ... but then why would I want to have to stare at the annoyingly 'designer' reversed 'D' every day? Close but no cigar. 

Arriving home, I'm reliably informed that "everyone" has a DW (or covets one) at my daughters' school. Proving, yet again, how out of touch I am. 

Nevertheless I start to look into watches seriously & in doing so happen upon the far less advertised (& to my mind far superior) Larsson & Jennings watches. 

This time last week I was up in London & visited their Monmouth Street store with its impeccable  minimalist chic (succulents in pots on the counter, watches displayed on stands much as Apple presents its iPads & iPhones - you get the idea) & extremely cheerful & helpful sales person. 

I bought a watch for myself (see above) & one for the elder Wafflette as a belated birthday present. (Lugano 40mm red & brown strap models, if you're interested). 

The point is, L&J watches cut the mustard. First, sapphire glass. Second, a silent Swiss movement. Third, that elegant simplicity - XII at the top, no date, no second hand. All you need. The strap is discretely embossed with the L&J lion. So well judged. 

Strange, I know, to be writing such a plug. However, these are beautiful watches which cheer up your day. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

One of those days ...

... when that phrase John Cage loved so much - "every day is a good day" - is tested to the limit.

One of those days ...

... when you apologise to your children for the world.

One of those days ...

... when you redouble your belief in true education (not the current horrible travesty of managerialese & neo-liberal conformity), critical thinking & the radical divinity of the human Imagination that William Blake celebrated.

Yes, these are dark days ...

As Frank Zappa would say: when the lie is so big ...

. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...