Life

The end of Umefolk 2012

Play the MP3 and imagine this. I recorded it walking through the musicians.

A weekend festival, with a 25 year heritage and massive following, is drawing to a close. Hundreds and hundreds of people must have passed through its doors. Headliners such as Garmana and Hoven Droven have drawn in crowds, impromptu sessions have brought out nyckelharpa players, and a large variety of players from all over north-east Europe have entertained and captivated. The event is winding up, and on the dance floor Anton and about 30 young people are playing for the final dance…

Read more →

Umea and Umefolk

I spent the last week at Umefolk, a folk music festival in Umeå in the north of Sweden. We met Anton Teljebäck, who runs the festival, at a small festival in the UK and he invited us. Umefolk is well established (the first was in 1986), and Anton was keen to spread the word further afield. We are no strangers to Scandanavian music in Oxford. There is a budding session which has found its feet in the last few months, run by Ed Pritchard, who plays a nyckelharpa amongst other things.

Read more →

Agency, empathy and the 0736 service to Manchester Piccadilly

I am sorry to announce that the 0736 service to Manchester Piccadilly is delayed by approximately 40 minutes due to engineering works. I am extremely sorry for the severe disruption to the service. Luckily I wasn’t trying to get to Manchester Piccadilly, but from the reaction on the platform someone was. This well-spoken automatic pre-recorded announcement was clear, and told us everything we immediately needed to know. It was spoken courteously in perfect Recieved Pronunciation.

Read more →

A snowy journey to work

I’m not normally given to taking photos of my commute, but in the case of the snow I made an exception.

Read more →

Old entries from simpler times: Busking

Whilst going over (and deleting) unwanted content on Facebook, I came across a few bits and pieces. I miss busking. Found this old post from 4th August 2007. Day five of ‘my’ Fringe, and the thought police are out in force. It feels like day two to me, but a lot has happened (including a technical rehearsal that finished at midnight, a street urchin and a stand-up routine about health and safety).

Read more →

A polecat comes to visit.

I put my rubbish out on the deck last night. Today I heard a rustling and looked out to see a polecat had come aboard, unbidden, and nicked some pasty packaging. For those unsure what a polecat is, wikipedia defines it thus: A polecat is an animal. Here is a video of the encounter. I can see why they named this animal ‘polecat’. It’s a bit like a pole and a bit like a cat.

Read more →

The Annual Squash Balancing Ritual

There are few events more sought after and exclusive than the annual Balancing of the Squash. This happens in a secret location, late at night, early in November. This ritual has roots in the ancient culture of a secret society known as ‘the Box of the Torch’. Tonight the participants excelled both themselves and in some cases, each other. It’s a legume.

Read more →

Day of the Dead

Today is Day of the Dead. The Hurly-Burly-Bright-And-Early Band was out in force this evening celebrating. Or rather, mourning the passing of the Summer. Exactly six months to the day (give or take) since May Day. My pipe is at a worrying angle.

Read more →

Cooking with Wood

After success with a pizza, I’ve decided to try cooking in my wood burning stove. Little steps. Today I tried melting some cheese over some gnocchi. A good start. If I’m honest, this wasn’t anything more than melting some cheese. Next time I might actually cook something. And that’s pepper not ash in the last photo.

Read more →