Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Friday, 25 December 2020
Thursday, 10 December 2020
I call these days the “mulchy” season. The combination of October’s falling leaves, November’s annual trees’ divestment and December’s intermittent cold drizzle floods the ground with a moist, compost-like spread.
This is the perfect time for a walk in Epping Forest, the ancient woodland that lies northeast of Greater London. First, we need to layer up, though. We’ve had a northerly this week and the temperature today feels below zero. However, we have the good fortune of fair weather, albeit still on the icy side.
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Friday, 18 September 2020
By the time Led Zeppelin came off stage at the Chatenay Malabry (Piston 70) in Paris on the 6th December 1969, The Rolling Stones’ free concert in Altamont had yet to start and its sad ‘end of the sixties’ label yet to be coined. In the meantime, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet had already made its debut and the first draft lottery in the US since World War II had also taken place. It is in these circumstances that one of the better Killer Opening Songs of all times must be analysed.
Following their well-received debut album, ‘Led Zeppelin’, released in January 1969, the British band embarked on a series of concerts during the same year promoting material for their sophomore record. From the US to Sweden, from Denmark to Canada, Zep’s bluesy, raw sound seduced thousands of youngsters and enticed a whole generation.
The chemistry between Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played a major role in the band’s ascension to the pinnacle of rock’n’roll. Although, to be fair, it was the group’s ‘fifth’ member, manager Peter Grant, who made the impossible possible: Led Zeppelin remains one of the few bands (K.O.S. cannot think of any other) that never released singles in its entire musical career in the UK, only albums.
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Thursday, 3 September 2020
The world doesn’t need more ego-driven individualism, the consequence of which is uncertainty, both economic and political. The world needs more consistency. The world needs more John Malkovichs (or should that be Malkoviches?).
Consistency has been key to Malkovich’s output. This does not always translate as quality, but the actor is renowned for going where few of his peers dare to.
In a success-focused, happiness-chasing society where we are taught from an early age to try for the summit, it is useful to know that some people are just as content with soul-enriching projects, even if they are less financially remunerative. In Malkovich’s case, this scenario has played out in films where the process of building a character and exploring the depth of it has been more important than the amount of zeroes on the cheque.
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Thursday, 20 August 2020
For the last few months I have been writing for an online publication called Illumination. Here’s my formal introduction to both fellow writers and readers alike. If you have been a member of this parish for a long time, you might remember that I wrote a similar post to celebrate one of my birthdays. Well, the green revolution is here. Recycle and reuse!
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Saturday, 1 August 2020
Third part now.
What writers know
First things first: writers do not have perfect or even superior knowledge about the quality or otherwise of their own work — God knows, most writers are quite deluded about the nature of their own talent. But writers do have a different kind of knowledge than either professors or critics. Occasionally it’s worth listening to. The insight of the practitioner is, for better or worse, unique.
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Thursday, 9 July 2020
Still from the archive. 2nd part.
Thursday, 2 July 2020
From the archive.
The tale of Clive
Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Thursday, 4 June 2020
No sooner had I started re-reading Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison’s classic novel, last week, than news of what had happened in Minneapolis filtered through.
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Thursday, 21 May 2020
Some artists manage just one Killer Opening Song in their whole musical career. Some others get to release just a handful. But there are performers for whom KOSs are part of their DNA. Step forward, Queen.
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Friday, 1 May 2020
The story of two people longing for each other, yet limited by their circumstances. I first posted a draft on this blog many years ago and in 2012 it was published in The Voice.
Friday, 17 April 2020
Sunday, 12 April 2020
Sunday, 5 April 2020
The reporter, staff writer and non-fiction author Deneen L Brown has an invaluable piece of advice for writers. She says “The hardest thing about the beginning is the blank screen. Writing is like scraping off a piece of yourself, people can see beneath your skin.”
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