Category Archives: music

147. Eurydice – from this blackened earth

eurydice-by-steve-w-flickrcomSometimes the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls.

Walking from Waterloo Station to the City of London, you can read this entire poem along the underpass.

Eurydice, by Sue Hubbard

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139. Snow patrol – Holmenkollen, Oslo

oslo-winter-morning-2.jpgShut your eyes and think of somewhere
Somewhere cold and caked in snow

Snow Patrol – May 2006

All of winter, and all in one day.

It’s mid-morning on a snowy Thursday, but as troublesome journeys to work might go, I really can’t complain.

Guildford’s white and black night is far behind me, and just a few hours later the snow is screaming past the train as we speed towards Oslo at 200 km/h. No Norwegian dogsled ever made such progress.

oslo-theatre-2.jpgArriving early at my meeting, I’ve a moment to survey the scene.

From the office window, the muffled view stretches out silently into the distance, Oslo peering shyly back at me through the white mist of intermittent wintry showers.

The view down to the railway tracks offers a camera angle perfect for any latterday remake of Anna Karenina, the architecture of this place even more impressive for the white curtain draping all around it.
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137. Otro día más sin verte: a return to Spain

2007_01_almeria-011.jpgIs it possible to fall in love with a whole country, with her people and landscapes and lifestyle, and to do that again every single time you visit?

Yes, it is. Si.

I know that an account of a mere running race can’t possibly begin to explain it. Or even pictures of a city, her mountains, a desert and sky.

But that’s what I’m going to try to do. And I know it’ll take me a while.

So for now, until I’m complete, here it all is, in music. Hasta que puedo volver.

Play: Otro día más sin verte — Jon Secada

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133. Tomorrow – Avril Lavigne and global warming

2006 is over, and it’s more than high time that I penned an update to my articles from 2004 and 2005 on global warming and the energy crisis.

Science content is a key component of this site, and I may yet return to write that article, but in truth I’ve been struggling with it all week.

As I ran today, my iPod was set on shuffle, taking me to places that I rarely go. And finally it struck me that instead of writing, I should just leave you with this simple message, delivered directly and emotionally by one young singer-songwriter.

It sounds like a conversation on the environment, from my daughter’s generation to mine.

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128. October is a summer month

And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care ?

Words and music by U2, October 1981.


A lot can change in just twentyfive years. And this year, the trees aren’t bare, or even brown.

This October is different, because all the trees are green.

independent_31oct2006.jpgWho knows what the world will be like in another twentyfive years ?

But we know that answer already: October will be just another summer month.

As it already is in England, right now. Today.

emissions.jpg temperature.jpg sea-level.jpg

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126. A new England

I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl ?

a-new-england.jpgBilly Bragg, July 1983;
Kirsty MacColl, December 1984

It might seem a stretch to link political activist and singer Billy Bragg with the new leader of the Conservative Party, but both featured in the news this week.

Billy received a write-up in The Observer for his new book on English patriotism – a decidedly risky concept within the social landscape of modern Britain, fitting entirely comfortably neither on the terraces of Upton Park nor on the East London streets of Bragg’s childhood home in nearby Barking.

And David Cameron was everywhere it seemed, following his début at the Tory Party Conference, where he made that speech – a decidedly risky exercise within the political landscape of the right, fitting entirely convincingly neither in the Conservative Party conference hall nor in the white middle-class streets of Bournemouth which surrounded it.
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121. Hot in the city – Billy Idol at Guilfest

billy-idol.jpgIt’s hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet
On a hot summer night
Billy Idol – July 1982

The changes to our weather patterns over the last few years have been gradual, but they really don’t seem that subtle any more. More than anything, there’s a certainty about our summers now which belies all those clichés about the weather in this country.

You only have to look at those once green lawns and fields, all uniformly browned and bleached for weeks now, to realise that southern England has become just another segment of the Mediterranean for a month or two every year.
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