Hi all

You’ll have noticed a decidedly decreased rate of posting in recent weeks – has been manic – had 10 talks at our All Souls week away (which finished yesterday), 6 of which were new – so it has been nose to the grind- but it went well. Now fairly exhausted and looking forward to an entirely well-deserved holiday (or so I like to think). Will resume full transmission in September – but here are a few things on my mind at the moment:

  • By the time i next write, i hope to have finished Alex Ross’ simply brilliant THE REST IS NOISE – a history of the 20th Century through its music – lots of insights both on the century and on music, and in particular how mainstream and popular music became divorced from the avant garde. The chapter on the welfare of composers in Stalinist Russia (in partic the impact on Shostakovich and Prokofiev) was fascinating.
  • Have picked up William Young’s THE SHACK because everyone else is and they keep asking me what i think. So perhaps there’ll be some thoughts on that.
  • Am also going to write a review for CultureWatch on Bernardine Evaristo’s BLONDE ROOTS at some point. Looks a very intriguing book.

  • Am enjoying a completely new musical discovery for me, the Hispanic American singer, Alejandro Escovedo (thanks to the tipoff from Gavin McGrath). As Gavin said, he is impossible to categorize, with influences like Bruce Springsteen (and in fact, i notice that he’s just signed up The Boss’s manager Jon Landau as his own manager), country & Hispanic music, Elvis Costello and the Kronos Quartet, as well as some great words. Love it!

Well, that’s all for now – the main thing is a holiday and spending time with the family – the kids are a bit fed up of Daddy being stuck in his study so i owe them now!

See you in September!

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