Monthly Archives: December 2016

My goodbye to music greats in 2016!

As the last throws of 2016 comes to an end,it seems appropriate to dwell a little on this past year.As the media have an ability almost amounting to genius for these topics,I realise that I can add little to the events in the world over this year.However,as my posts are comments about music,and life in general,I do feel that I want to write some words on this on New Year’s Eve ,2016.

Having lived in the time of the emergence of Ziggy Stardust,in the heady days of prog Rock with Emerson Lake and Palmer,and feeling the affects as a musician and human being of the death of George Michael,I do have my own thoughts to express.You see,as a teenager who was obsessed with sound and beat,wether in the form of classical music,or any of the genres of my day,these folk became my friends through their music.As we track back to David Bowie and his various incarnations,he was always an artist to me.Granted,The laughing Gonome never really floated my boat,but his sheer output across decades ,and the calibre of musicians who graced his albums would surely have cemented his place in the rock and roll hall of fame.

Writing these paragraphs literally could pour out of me today like a chocolate factory in Bournville,and now I come  unto Greg Lake of Emerson lake and Palmer fame.Greg lake,to me,at least,was one of the most underrated of the progressive rock movement,With his boyish good looks,talent beyond his years,he influenced so many, sold millions of albums.Having taught children for many years,I came to realise the   affect that Greg Lake had onthe listening when once I asked a group of pupils who wrote the piece Fanfare for the common man,only to be told in a ringing unison chorus:”Emerson,Lake and Palmer”.You see,with their release of Aaron Copland’s masterpiece with its title,Fanfare for the common man,they had put this type of music on the map for a whole generation,and they deserve so much credit.I remember the excitement with my friends at the release of their seminal album:”Brain salad surgery”,and my frantic efforts at playing the keyboard parts on the organ at that time.Personally,were th the passing of Greg Lake,I feel that the area of Oakdale in Poole where he grew up should honour their most famous son with a monument ,or renaming a school after him.

Now,the last great icon ,and I am not using that name lightly:George Michael.When I first heard him with Wham,I along with many others who might feel that we have a more sophisticated view of music,thought that their band wasn’t going to be important,When they split as a band,I was totally and utterly wrong about the sheer talent of George.It was a pupil of mine in Cornwall at the time who bought “Listen without prejudice”.She was listening to the album when I called to give her a certificate for passing a piano exam.Although the volume was low,I just got entranced by the sheer quality of the songs,the voice itself spoke to me .Anna,although not a brilliant pianist,had a real ear  for a voice and I had to admit to her that I had completely misjudged George.Now,as many others are finding out about what sort of man George was,I have a lump in my throat,because George Michael would go on to write and perform iconic music that transcended him to the point that us lesser mortals can,and should ,admire.His vocal tone,his vibrato,his relationship with any band that he played wouldshine through.Over the years,I have heard most of the important “unplugged concerts”,however,I can honestly say that the George Michael sets stand out as the most expressive,the most profound,and atmoheric to me.When George wrote “Jesu to a child” this song just touches so many of us in ways that others just don’t.When Geoe donated the proceeds to Childline,he didn’t do this with a massive fanfare,he did it because he cared,and he wanted to act for vulnerable children.Recently,the founder of child line,Esther Rantzen,has puplically stated that George wanted his kind act to be kept secret,and that is the measure of the man.George,along with other great artists of the modern era,was generous and had insight into acting when people really needed it.

So,2016 has been a year that we have said goodbye to so many artists who have graced our stages,our TVs,our lives.Yes,I could have included many others,but these are the ones that have touched me.Personally,I think that we will c it use to hear about these ones in years to come,affected by their music,and just be glad that their humanity touched so many of us.

I would like to thank everyone who read my posts,and all those who are patient with my rather unique take on spelling and grammar too.

I would like to wish you all a very happy forthcoming new year too.


Today,I’m posting a brief but salient quote about music from the great French composer because I know that I have been prone to overthink about music in the past.How about you?Could we feel more about music maybe,and just think in a different way if possible.

Thank you for your interest in my posts.


Broadchurch to the music of Frederic Chopin!

As I thought about this Chopin prelude,I found myself lost between the phrases,

These notes,these textures,these interconnected melodies harness my soul.

Now,today during a walk on in beach at Westbay,the prelude entered into  my mind space,

Chopin has that power,that essence of genius,but also that spiritual dimension.

Will I ever fully grasp what he is saying?Will I ever appreciate it’s soul?

Well,at my age,having played his music since I was in my childhood,I won’t ever give up in trying,

No,my pursuit of my art will be until my dying day,my commune with Frederic will never die.

Walking along the  beach,the harbour,the sounds of Chopin were still there,they were percolating as always,

As the day lost its light,with an hours drive back to my home ,this Chopin Prelude accompanied me ,growing in my head.

If I ever stop loving music,maybe I think I will be a lesser man,a half man,a half human.


As I play my Piano,a restfulness comes over me,

This tuned -drum ,this diatonic strand of tones soothes me.

After an hour or so,I feel better,I am at one with my head sounds,

As these are pushed out into the air,with vibration assured strokes from my fingers.

Now,as the witching hour approaches,I seek to settle into slumber,into rest ,into inactivity,

But prey:I’m not at all sleepy,even after carol and prelude,Moondance and Bond theme.

There is now that residue,that impression,that childhood memory intact in my heart ,

That I am ,after all the words,the tears,the jestures,I am a man of art,and that is me.

Goodnight all.


It’s cold outside!

It’s cold outside:well,at least,it’s cold outside for me that is.This feeling of cold stems from a brief trip into my garden this morning with my dogs.Boy,it felt cold,it felt like early mornings a number of years ago when I worked part time for Tarmac testing the strength of concrete after 23 hours ,and 7  days on up to a month.Anyway,in those days,I would leave my home at around 4:40 in the morning and ,at this time of the year,it would be cold like it is today.

Those days ,along with so many others,were what I did when my children were in their teenage years and I was the sole bread winner .Yes,it was hard,as I would work there for 4 or 5 hours,then go off to school to teach keyboard and Piano,returning to the plant at times to do further testing of an evening.Through that time,my son played in a national orchestra,so it would be off to London once a month for rehearsal,and over to Winchester on the other weeks.When I look back on those years now,I don’t really know how I kept it gong,but I did.Its only now when I realise that my son has the making of being a truly world class opera singer that I realise that the sacrifices that I made were worth it.During this time too,my eldest son got to the University of his choice in London,and is now in research and obtained his doctorate this year.

So,a few days ago,I wrote a post about my aspirations for 2017.Yes,starting a GCSE Maths qualification might not seem much,and running in my first 10k race isn’t exactly Mo Farah,but,to me,they are big steps,and Ines that I’m willing to write about .You see,like a garment,life to me has many facets,and there are many facets to all of us.We are not just someone’s dad or someone’s son or daughter.Our personality has many facets,varying in intensity Yes,but they all make us up.

I’m indulging my goals from r 2017,,but you will have yours too,you will have your unique personality ,and that has as much merit as anyone else.Yes,I enjoy this process of writing my daily muse as I like to call it,but the there might have other things that they like to do.Whatever it is,it’s vital,at least I feel it to be the case,that we have someth no that is us and not a clone of another.

As I consider the cold outside,it does tend to galvanise me into thinking that I should get on and do my exercise for the day.

Thank you for reading my blog,it’s so very much appreciated.


Right now,as I write this 1 million people are using Facebook to talk about George Michael.In my head,it reminds me of the day the world lost Michael Jackson as I remember that time vividly.When Michael died in the early hours of the morning,my son rang me to tell me ,such was the shock that we had lost a special person .Yes,we never met Michael Jackson,just as I have never met George Michael,but they touched me in ways that I must record in my blog post of today.That affect is ,to some,indulgent,but,to me,it’s totally and utterly natural.You see,when an expressive artists passes away,you sense a little of art passing away too.Why,the tributes from the illustrious that are pouring in will say things in a nuanced,articulate way but I will say it in my rather feral way.George Michael just was a soul man.When he sang,I felt something,I felt he was looking into me,my innermost feelings and massaging that side of me,and he did it ,I think,to literally millions of others.

Why yes,so what if he was the other half of Wham,so what if he might have started off singing pop songs,he certainly didn’t finish off like that.When he did his unplugged session,I rate that as one of the most well nderful sets in music ,and even today,there are colours,textures,phrases in his voice that are truly unique,and should be heralded.

Now,people wheel out their mantras of morality and make judgements,their polemics appearing to be given credence by others.Now,I remember what these “so called guardians of morality ” said about Presley,Bill Hailey and so many many others,but they didn’t make my life better.Those critics didn’t add one iota to my life and that is the point,George Michael made our life Better.He feed us with his music,he gave us balm that healed us of our maladies and Sid “it’s alright to cry,to feel,to be different,to be You”.

RIP. George Michael,you will be sadly missed by all whose heart beats with a soulful and human sound.

Counting my blessings!

As this year reaches its end,I’ve taken stock of the good things that exist in life and I’m drawn to feeling that I’ve haven’t felt as healthy for almost ten years as I do now.With this in mind,I want to pause a little,and appreciate just what I have in life.

Although on a personal level ,these health issues might have taken their toll,I honestly feel that I can move forward with my life now without the constant problems that have plagued me these last years.

During this year ,4 members of my family have achieved high honours in their chosen professions,and for 2017,my goals are as follows,I would like to begin working for my Maths GCSE as an adult ,as I wasn’t successful in school .Also,I would like to run my first 10k run and have pencilled in Portsmouth as my goal.

Now,I’m secure enough in my skin not to compare myself with my family as 2 of them achieved their PhD during the year,and the other two have Masters level degrees.

However,non of them can play the Piano,or really have a proven record with teaching over 35 years,so I feel that I have much to build on in 2017.

Also,on this x-mas eve,I feel that my muses on life and music through my blog has given me much enjoyment.As my readership slowly builds,I want to thank all those who have taken time out of their busy lives to read my musings and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and of course,a great new year.


Seasonal Affection!

As the presents seem sparse,and the sprouts few and far between,

What about that lovely smile and hearty embrace that your child gleans.

Don’t be so insecure about what you do for your child,hold them close to your frame,

Give them that bright smile,you know the one they loved as a baby ,you know ,you know,you know.

Because,affection,the love of your child,the breaking of barriers again beats the plastic foam,the I-phone,

Nothing is better than love,nothing ,and it is the thing that they really need more than anything .

So,give it a try,give it a try,give it a try ,and when you can’t buy it,don’t worry,for things that we buy rust and decay,

But love is truly here to stay and never goes away.

Music appreciated !

As I sit in my lounge at mid-day,on this day,December 23rd,2016,I’m dwelling a little to tell you a about an event in my mind that always come to me at this time of year.This event took,as is so often the case with my blog posts,in Cornwall,and in particular,in a small coastal village of Crantock,a few miles from Newquay.

At that time,I would have been about 17 years of age,and I was the organist in the church there.Services came thick and fast over the festive season,and I suppose I just accepted my part in that little village community.Yes,I was young to take on this responsibility,but I relished the time away from their stuff at home that didn’t do me any good,and was fomenting at the time,and would later build up to a crescendo.Wether the event took place in the 23or the 22nd,I can’t remember exactly,but what I remember vividly was that the church at that time had an open door policy,and I was practising for the mid-night mass on Christmas Eve.This time each year brought folk out who would ordinarily not attend church,and I kind of liked that.As I played through the itinerary,I got to realise that I wasn’t alone as coughing ensued from the nave .Well,I must have played for another 30 minutes,and rather go for up the back door of the church as was my usual routine,I ventured down the nave.Upon reaching the back of the church,I heard a lady crying ,she must had been in her 60s.Being a very shy 17 ,I wasn’t going to interrupt her and I felt out of my depth,so I slowly retreated,hoping,to be honest,that she wouldn’t notice.As I turned,I heard a faint entreaty,”Please,dot go,it’s just the music,it has that affect in me”.Tryng not to make a joke about my Playing -and frankly pleased that I hadn’t been playing Tangrerine Dream at the time-I smiled and paused;”You see,”she said,”Christmas is the time that I worry about my family ,who man the lifeboat in Newquay”,as she said this,I wished that I wasn’t so very tongue tied,but as I look back at the event now,maybe she didn’t want me to say words,the fact that she had been comforted by my playing was all that was needed.

Truly,I didn’t know this lady,and I didn’t know about her family,however,as I look back on it now,I realise that Christmas time is truly when we can hold out a helping hand with whatever we can give.With me,it was my playing in that day,in that very small church ,in that very small village.

Thank you for your continued support of my muses ,and I hope that your x-mas brings you ,and your family and friends much joy and happiness.