XOM and the question of music

In Review: XOM’s Rockyoke About 400 years ago, when I was an undergraduate, it was my pleasure to make the acquaintance of John Sloboda, professor of psychology with a particular interest in the psychology of music. For Professor Sloboda, music is “a way of defining community”: My eyes were really opened to this when I […]

XOM and the question of music, part 2

In Review: XOM’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Sing-along Part Two: The Greatest Gift British Oak, Stirchley: 20th December 2018 Christmas comes but once a year, and as Christopher Hitchens remarked, you can’t get away from it then, like a one-party state, with its regulation songs, symbols and, ‘sickly Santa Claus obsequies’. Contrary to popular belief, even […]

It was my birthday yesterday, here in virtual lockdown in the UK. It was weird, but by no means the weirdest birthday I’ve had. I think the weirdest is still the one where I woke up in a rhododendron bush in Staffordshire one birthday morning, with no home and £2 in my pocket. I ended […]

XOM and the question of music, part 3

In Review: XOM’s classic Rockyoke Part Three: Another Overload The Boar’s Head, Kidderminster, 23 March 2019 Kidderminster, described by Pevsner, the art and architecture historian, as “uncommonly devoid of visual pleasure and architectural interest”, can claim some musical heritage as part of the Midlands scene. Robert Plant played some of his early gigs here, while […]

Last week, in my post on walking, I mentioned the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, in which the figure of the flâneur emerged. I first heard Baudelaire’s stuff as a youth, in translation, in this extraordinary recording made in 1968. It was good to hear it again, and I thought it worth sharing.

Sunday Afternoon Radio

I spent the afternoon of the 24th October this year listening to two instructive, entertaining and even illuminating editions of two standards of BBC Radio broadcasting. Desert Island Discs, running continuously on the BBC since 1942, interviews each week a ‘castaway’ entitled to choose eight sound records, a book and a luxury to console them […]