Category Archives: Photo Galleries

Greetings from Prague – and from Radio Silence

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At the excellent advice of someone whose excellent advice has never failed me yet, I’m taking a one week vacation from Facebook and Twitter and a couple of other social media sites. This isn’t self-righteousness, I make no apology for loving Facebook and what it affords – but my friend said his recent self-imposed exile was “like having an extra week’s holiday.” Who could resist that?

If you’re interested in how, I installed Stayfocusd on my Macbook, and temporarily deleted the Facebook and Twitter from my phone.  It will be interesting to see how many ways there are to get round that.  I’m already an almost daily user of Freedom for when I’m writing, and after only half an hour, I think I’m going to love Stayfocusd.

Národní street in Prague, with the National Theatre at the end.

Národní street in Prague, with the National Theatre at the end.

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To the altar in Malta

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So that’s it then, Dan & Kei are married at the Xara Palace in Mdina, Malta. And seeing this boat, the Padre Ignazio, Valletta brought back memories of another trip so here it is as a keepsake.

It’s a small world – a few weeks ago I went to see Porn The Musical at the Latchmere in Battersea. It won an award at the Edinburgh Festival and rightly so. The music was so good, I kept looking over to watch the musicians, keyboard player and composer Kris Spiteri in particular.

The band at Dan & Kei’s reception here in Malta were brilliant, and the keyboard player had that kind of touch and inventiveness that makes you turn your head. And when I did, I realised it was none other than Kris Spiteri. I was in awe and very proud of the photo I got to prove it all really happened.

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The Tooting heron

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Heron in Tooting

This wonderful heron visits our end of Tooting now and again. It’s a wonderful sight. The only one I’d ever seen before moving here was a concrete one in the back garden of our house in Dorset. Funnily enough, I’m going to Heron Quays just now…

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Man Holding Ram is 22

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Man Holding Ram (1988) by Mark Folds

I’ve passed this statue hundreds of times in the 20-ish years I’ve lived in Tooting, without ever knowing what it was, or who made it. I’ve watched it decay, and fall to pieces, and now achieve a kind of dignified weather-wornness that’s almost more interesting than how it was when it was new. And finally, I found out what it is: it’s called Man Holding Ram (well, thanks to woodworm, he’s dropped it now) and was done by Mark Folds in 1988. Apparently, it’s made from timber that had fallen in the hurricanes of 1987. So now we know.

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Home sweet home

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The Kabuki-za theatre in Ginza, Tokyo

The Kabuki-za theatre in Ginza, Tokyo

Home again at last, after a week in which I spent 36 hours in the air (Singapore-London-Tokyo-London). I was giving a seminar for ballet pianists at the remarkable Showa University in Tokyo, one of the highlights being the young star violinist who’d agreed to play for the bit of the seminar where I wanted someone to illustrate the effect of violin accompaniment for ballet, just like mother made it.

On Sunday night, on the recommendation of a colleague in Tokyo, I went to the Kabuki-za theatre (ably assisted by my translator Fumiko),  to catch a performance before the theatre closes for renovation (rebuilding) next May.  Extraordinary stuff.

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White noise

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Daisies on Tooting Common, where history is made

Daisies on Tooting Common, where history is made

When my friend Andrew told me that the only way he could study at university was to listen to white noise through headphones, I thought that was the kind of quaint weirdness that you’d expect from a person who spends their life at a mixing desk, but it seems he’s not the only one.

Over at whitenoisemp3s.com, you get exactly what it says on the URL, a bunch of  white noise (and pink/red and brown noise) mp3s to download and play when you need, well…white noise.

As someone with advancing hyperacusis, ADD and a noise-polluted environment wherever I turn (Sainsburys is now an auditory nightmare: the MOR music, 10 barcode scanners beeping asynchronously every few seconds plus four self-service tills shouting  ‘UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA’ – pretty soon, I may give up altogether) the prospect of listening to autumn winds for an hour is growing on me.  Mild amusement and cynicism has turned to awe. What a great site.

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