Ship Of Fools (Robert Plant); Don’t Try Recording While The Garden Mowers are Mowing.

Someone said there ought to be a moratorium or exclusion period for mowing lawns, or cutting hedges, or making other, similarly loud garden machinery noises. Today should be such time, or actually anytime when I wish to use my new (lightweight) sound studio.

I am in the process of recording Thirty-Nine Significant Songs; they aren’t though covers, but rather my own poems inspired by songs, often from my youth, though this one came along a little later; but who was to know that this real flamboyant rock and roller would keep going, then again he is a football supporter.

Back to the low drones; how did TheBeatless cope in Abbey Road, with all that passing traffic; were they really just John, Paul, George and Ringo’s lookalikes, crossing on the zebra crossing, to give the sound boys a bit of peace and quiet.


Ship Of Fools (Robert Plant)
No one is here now
No one at all to disarm
The seas they are clear now
And soon, soon there will be calm
But first a raucous adventure
Some way beyond the gales
A theatre for rolling and rocking
And for ably going off the rails

No one was there though
No one to hold, nor to charm
The tide turned ever so slow
As lips without the curing balm
But yes, there was a naughtiness
In so deep; it was a new way to fail
The novelty of such intense haughtiness
For a time it matured, but then too went stale


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Linklater Voice, The Sound Studio, Ring of Brodgar, And Thirty-Nine Significant Songs.

So we are back from Orkney, or should it be The Orkneys, as there are so many islands. Back to complete my miniscule sound studio, such that the work on the Linklater Voice course does not go to waste. Yet already my studio efforts seem as nothing compared to that other Louth man who actually has created a recording studio (The Space) on the Orkneys.

I was reminded of The Ring of Brodgar when a good friend on Tumblr picked up on it, now I hadn’t given any details, so there must be some more magic trickery going on, not that I mind, I have happily told Tumblr to go ahead and save whatever they want to about me, and in turn publish whatever they want to about me. You see I had to act, before that new copyright bill is passed, by those wonderfully wise people in Brussels.

Anyway, I went on the voice course so as to better record the renditions of my own poems. Thirty-Nine Significant Songs is going to be the first collection to go under the hammer so to speak, beginning next week all being well, with a fair wind and a low tide. I have set myself no target for a publishing date, but with the sound studio almost complete I will have little or no excuse; watch this space, watch Amazon and Kindle.

Flower Duet
All of those years
At the opera
In the music collection
Even selected for the funeral service
In every room in this house
Yet, only yesterday
Translated into English

Such that you could be by the river bank
Such that you could be holding hands
Such that you too
Could be there together
Going on forever
Going on and on forever
Hitting the high notes graciously
Not dwelling too long on the low notes

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Trains, And Boats, And Planes; And Skates Approaching​ Sunsets

We stayed in The Gyle, a part of Edinburgh completely new to us, but very conveniently placed, thanks to excellent transport services, to both the airport and the city centre. The city centre where a Full Scottish means a Full English, plus some extra goodies packed with calories. As well as art galleries with fine skaters, to skate off those extra calories.

In the hotel bar, we met a couple of computer software engineers, one of whom had been to watch Sheffield Wednesday the day before, naturally, we joined them; for both a good drink and a whole heap of good conversation.

The Queen, as far as we could make out on our tour of Brittania, slept in a very small single bed, yet had room on the boat for a Rolls Royce. The double bed apparently was installed by Prince Charles, make of that what you will. There is also a conservatory style bar on the upper deck where one may drink champagne or milkshake.

Train-Journey-Like Conversations
The younger man wanted to carry on drinking, the older man was adamant that he had had his last
The couple, they had met them for the first time that evening in the hotel bar
Yet now they said they were going to their room to watch The Bridge
Indeed, quickly, all four of them said they were going to watch The Bridge

How do new acquaintances meet?
This one began with an overheard conversation about soccer, which quickly became a release
The younger man knew nothing of football, him being a literary and computer scholar
The older man loved football and was telling of his visit yesterday to see Sheffield Wednesday

He, and the man of the couple (who had overheard the conversation) quickly engaged
Equally speedily the young man, and the woman of the couple became engrossed
Eventually the foursome bonded into a group; to talk of life, to talk of hopes
And aspirations; to chat about expectations, and dreams; philosophising about the future

With also a Reveille to the past; to all of their pasts, and to all of their predilections
In such a way as to become acquainted, in such a way as to find common ground
In such a way that they did indeed have several good drinks together
In such a way that this vacation had begun in a fine way indeed

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Fuschia Pink, Azure Blue, And Turquoise

I’ve just bought 3 Soumkine notebooks, from those fine people at Cult pens, to bring a bit of colour to my writing. There have been occasions when I did write in a multitude of colours, which I must be honest and say that it brought joy to me, both in the moment by the stream, as well as pleasure on reviewing the completed work.


Will the new notebooks influence the writing significantly? Well, you see they are part of a much bigger plan; which is to create a new filing system for my creative life – yes that’s true, you heard it here first; no IKEA boxes, no A4 paper, no lever-arch files, and no, absolutely, no more Billy bookcases.

But with new categories for everything – strings of connections – perhaps even with Steve Wozniak’s hyperlinks, if they still exist; that is hyperlinks; from recycled shoeboxes, to oddly sized wallets, from biscuit tins to stripped down accordions, from old grandfather clocks to beach balls and hula-hoops, from anything which can hold things, to anything which can’t hold anything at all. The tags for this post might give a clue as to where I’m going.


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Evie, It’s Almost My Mum’s Name

My mum, bless her was called Eva Kaye, a name I suppose not too dissimilar to Elsie, my grandmother’s name; so then to meet a little girl called Edith, at Houton Quoy; well it was the key for more flashback time, which is what photographs are really for isn’t it, even if you weren’t even there!

Puffin Quoy looks out on Scapa Flow, across to Flotta; every day there are oil tankers in the flow, collecting or delivering fuel. The past year has been a record-breaking year for ship movements. Yet the vessels move so slowly as to hardly be discernable, day by day we questioned whether or not there had been any movement.

Which is rather fitting for Orkney; it is a steady sort of place, it is a place to take time to look and see, a place to be in no hurry, whatever your name.

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Sea Frets; And St Ives In Stromness

Car changeover day, so in Kirkwall by eight am, which meant to be up at six to greet the first 8 degrees sea fret of the trip. The new car is brand-spanking new, a real royal blue sort of  SWFC celebration colour; but manual so Kate will mostly drive for my shoulder already says ‘no more’.

Today we will visit Pier Arts Centre, in Stromness, I will rush to the top floor, to take snaps of the St Ives artists for this very blog. Thanks to the generosity of Barbara Gardiner you can see works by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton, Patrick Heron, Naum Gabo, Alfred Wallis, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Eduardo Palozzi, John Wells, and Terry Frost.

Yesterday we had extensive beaches almost to ourselves, first at Brough, then at Evie; but you will have to wait until next week for those photographs, then you too will, I hope, enjoy the isolation which the North of Orkney’s mainland offers.

The Hoy ferry, which unfortunately is fully booked (book well ahead for anything in Orkney is today’s tip), edges through the sea fret, which apparently will be cleared to full sun by ten am, when we will head off to Stromness in our bright and shiny new new hire car.


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A Voice For All Seasons

Linklater voice in the Orkneys provided last weeks educational expose. More body movements than for such a very long time; what doesn’t ache is probably numb. New friends; from Persia, Italy, Australia, Vienna, Oslo and Berlin. We learnt about our voices, we learnt about our selves; there were tears, but there was much more laughter.

Then on to Puffin Quoy, home of the award-winning gardeners Christine and Kevin, who welcomed us with great openness, to look around their plethora of plants, and stone constructions. We have already planned our next visit, to come by car, and to stop off at Holy Island, and Inverness on the way.

I recorded the first poem of a new collection this morning, however, Kate thought I trailed off of the words at the end, and wondered if I had done my Linklater warm-up exercises (I hadn’t).


Poem to my voice

This is my voice poem
A reminder, of a week in Orkney
Where I learnt more about my voice
Where I learnt more about my self

Which began with Pink Floyd, and mountains
Moved on to straight-lines, rising
To spaces with echoes
And controlled symmetry
Then, thankfully, to blur
My picture of three colours; orange, yellow, blue
My picture of six lines; sloping lines – three up, three down
I smiled when I heard what my fellow students thought

I want to record my voice
I want listeners to hear my voice more clearly

My second picture was sine-waves
Lots and lots of them, with many variations
Of amplitude, and frequency modulation
Rich colours; purples, golds, and crimsons
Long waves, short waves, waves crossing, waves blending
An oscilloscope of waveforms; many colours
Sympathetic colours; a real variety, of waves and colours

My gingerbread man has a canker
In the mind, and in the ears
It is what holds back my voice
It is a big problem for me
But, as with most things in my life
It is curable
If only I can get my old bones to resonate


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