Blog Archives

Secret Chiefs 3 / London

I took a trip down to our capital this week to watch the Secret Chiefs 3 during their three night residency at Corsica Studios. The band have multiple “sub-bands” focusing on different styles of music, so each night had a “different” band playing. I could only make two nights, so saw the UR / Xaphan combo plus the final night set of a mixture of various sub-bands / sounds.  It was fantastic.  They have a new (ish) drummer who is an incredible technical death-metal style player which has added a whole different vibe, great in most of the songs, but I did find it a but strange during some others.

Of course I took the opportunity to take some photos.  The venue was packed so it was difficult to get a good position and it took a lot of settings-juggling to even get any photos as i’m new to this style of photography.  It was a great learning experience and i’m a lot quicker with my settings now and understand the ISO/Shutter Speed/metering a lot more now…   Here are a few pics along with some others around London.

Timba Harris

Timba Harris.  He played a number of instruments throughout the night, violin, guitar (an Encore no less!), keyboard, trumpet and an egg shaker


Trey Spurance.  Band Leader.  Had unfortunately injured his foot on the tour so had to sit in a rather comfy looking office chair


The Chiefs in all their glory


Skateboarding next to the Thames


I always try to get a Tate visit squeezed in on a visit to London.  This is part of a set of paintings by Mark Rothko.  I really like The Tate as I can wander round in awe firstly at the fantastic art on display, but secondly in amazement at some of the seemingly childish scribbles, or blank canvas’, or a couple of swirls 0n a piece of canvas (along with  the descriptions of what the swirl represents).  Some of it is utterly arty tat IMHO, but nevertheless it causes a reaction.  I’ll be talking about the black circle on a white piece of paper at the art museum in New York for far longer than the incredibly intricate painting of some historical figure.  I think some art has transcended its very purpose, with artists being almost able to get away with “anything” due to their reputation.


No trip to London is complete without a visit to the London Aquarium.  By far the best I have been to in any country.


The very essence of this blog.  The fantastic creatures lurking in the depths.

Blue Note

Strictly speaking this is a piano lesson piece, but rather than record it pure piano (mainly because I can’t play both hands together yet), I’ve added some sax, drums and bass.  Its taken from Alan Haughton’s “Rhythm and Rag” book.  Its great to play because the basslines are very James Bond.  The picture? It’s a shark….. because ……well …….er ……. they’re a little bit “James Bond” aren’t they? Also, its about time this blog got back to it’s slippery roots.

Blue Note (Alan Haughton)


Planet Earth

Last night I saw “Planet Earth” at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.  This is the musical to the BBC series written and conducted by George Fenton and played by the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Live in the background was a huge screen showing footage from the Planet Earth series.

The whole show was absolutely stunning.  The music was timed perfectly over the events happening on screen and the acoustic grandness of the Symphony hall enhanced the whole experience.  The orchestra did a fine job, but the real highlight for me was the footage itself – captured over five years with 2,000 days in the field there were some absolute gems ranging from hilarious to heart-warming to the very sad.  Highlights for me were the “Snow Leopard” – (some painstaking footage apparently requiring a wait of five months before anyone even saw the leopard) and secondly some incredible slow motion footage during “The Hunter and the Hunted” of a Great White shark leaping completely clear out of the water with an unfortunate seal clasped between his jaws.

The reality is hunting takes place in stony silence, with perhaps only the scuffle of a caribou hoof adding to the drama.  I don’t think the hunter is hearing the same timpani roll we heard last night as they move in for the kill.  But for the humans watching, it added greatly to the tension and drama and shows what music can do to our emotions.

Almost always without music, and certainly not for the benefit of humans, the majesty of life and planet earth is that these scenes have been playing out continuously from millions of years before we were here and will do millions of years afterwards.  Life lumbering on without any higher purpose other than the instinct to exist.  Magnificent.

(You weren’t allowed to take pictures, so completely obeying the rules I took this one)

I’ve also added a few new photos to the gallery and band history pages.