About Me

Friday, 29 January 2010

A victory for trees, little birds, moths and people and a bit about Brian Eno

The council took on board the fact that people actually care about old trees. Of course, the council did not refer at all to the impact the facebook campaign and Bolton News letters' page correspondence had on their decision Still, it was an excellent result and a beautiful avenue of old limes has been saved.

The facebook page not only allowed people to air their views but to present historical and environmental information about the trees and the area. I'd never heard of the lime moth for example - though I knew trees provided important habitats for insects, or that some of the trees could be at least a 130 years old, or realised the trees had been planted as a magisterial avenue through which the dead could make their final journey to the cemetery at the end of the road.

There was an excellent documentary on BBC4 last week about the musician, philosopher and music producer Brain Eno. Ever a fan, since my teenage obsession with Roxy Music, what really struck me about the man was his amazing ability to appreciate different ways of thinking and being. I don't think there are many people who could share a stage with Richard Dawkins and happily explain how his approach to music reflected evolutionary processes and yet spend years gathering thousands of gospel tracks, describing it as his favourite kind of music because of how it so perfectly embodied the human desire to transcend. I got the impression from watching him that he calmly embodies a range of seemingly contradictory impulses in a way that's impossible for lots of linear thinkers. An enlightened man? Maybe. Whatever. I do think his grasp of ideas, willingness to experiment with so many varied forms and his contribution to music make him a genius.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Save the Trees

My local council is thinking of chopping down these trees in a residential area of the town for no other reason than a) they have scratched some cars and b) blocked some people's Sky TV reception. Can't they just pollard and/or trim the trees? It makes me wonder where the council's heads are at. For the first time in my life, I wrote a letter to the local paper. Unfortunately the paper boy didn't come last night due to the snow and so I haven't seen me in print yet! Seriously though, just look at how lovely the trees look. But it's not just about looks: these trees provide environments and habitats for local birds and insects. If they chop them down so people can watch wild life programmes on Sky, the world really is turning upside down.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Perhaps because I'm still off work due to 'the big chill', I've been looking at lots of blogs and realise how sadly lacking in photographic imagery this one is. So I've added some. Here's a photo of the crypt in the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Boulogne taken in November. It's strange down there. Not only is it very cold but it's full of broken things. According to Wikipedia, the crypt dates back for centuries and the Romanesque columns date back to C11th. The spaces are painted in pastel washes of orange, blue and green and parts of it are shored up with concrete. In places the ceilings are decorated with stars. To get in you have to pay an old gentlemen, who holds up two fingers and then charges three euros. Maybe he thinks the exchange rate is improving?

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Midsummer dreams on a cold and snowy day

So much snow...Ho, ho, ho! Around 20 centimeters. The buses were off and they have officially closed the college, so I've stayed home all day cutting into A Midsummer Night's Dream and realising, not for the first time, that Shakespeare's comic plotting is so divine he could have scripted for Frasier.

What fun to inhabit an Elizabethan fantasy hybrid of Athens and Fairy Land (or should that be Faery Land?) and immerse myself in ill-met lovers, encounter home-spun hempen mechanicals and dance before dawn with Peasblossom, while simultaneously inhabiting a veritable winter wonderland.

The back garden is full of birds: greenfinches, lots of goldfinches - Baz counted twenty, blackbirds, tits, a dunnock, starlings and sparrows. All the usual but it's particularly pleasing to see them feeding on a such a very cold winter's day. The feeders have been constantly busy. I mixed up left over turkey fat with wholemeal bread crumbs and he put it out with the special seed for the ground feeding birds.