- Stu Garrard – The Beatitudes Manifesto
- The Neal Morse Interview, Pt. 1: Musicianary Man
- The Neal Morse Interview, pt. 2: Deeper into the Music
- Jasper Fforde, Part 1: Having Fun with Shakespeare, Mel Gibson and Dodos.
- Jasper Fforde, Part 2: Shades of Grey – “a different kind of fun.”
- Broadchurch (Boxed set)
- Ian Anderson Wondrin’ Aloud about Canes, Cathedrals and Questions of Faith
- A Note to Prospective Editors
- Features: Interviews
- Features: Miscellaneous
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Writer Steve Turner must have one of the best jobs in the world.
He gets to be creative every day, writing about things and people that interest him. He has the platform to put out his view of the world in poetry. He has had a film made about him. He gets to work with musicians he holds in high regard (and vice versa – in a Guardian article in 2006, his daughter wrote that Bono once gave her a hug and said, “I’m a big fan of your Dad”).
Arvo Pärt’s music comes in various shades, and for those of us who prefer the most calm-inducing pieces, this release, which features shorter and more recent compositions, is a great find.
No one does Pärt like ECM and these seventeen voices create a collection as peaceful and pure as any I have yet heard.
The biggest musical occurrence of 2016 was arguably a death. David Bowie’s demise was a Shock-and-Awe event: shock that it happened and awe at the way Bowie orchestrated his passing.
Rather than fading away, Bowie created an album that – with hindsight – dropped enormous clues about the cancer that was ravaging his body, but (testament to the respect that he had earned) no collaborators spilled the beans, and neither did anybody guess from the clues given. And with dramatic timing, the album Blackstar was released just two days before he died.
After living with the Neal Morse Band’s The Similitude of a Dream for several weeks, I haven’t been as excited about an album release since… the band’s previous one.
And that’s with some 70 reviews in between.
No wonder that drummer Mike Portnoy posted that this was the best album he has made. Coming from a man with a career in Transatlantic, Dream Theater and Flying Colors, that is saying something.
This beautifully animated work brushes with many questions about life, relationships and the value we place on individuals.
This was one of those gigs that you catch at just the right time and place. As the trans-Atlantic partnership of Bragg and Henry played the show, polls were beginning to close in the US presidential elections, and the setting of Union Chapel – a working church – only highlighted the spiritual references sprinkled liberally throughout the evening’s show.
It was only minutes in when the pair prepared us for what was at the front of their minds. American Joe Henry almost apologised to us for the state that America had got itself into as it teetered “over the abyss.” Bragg noted that, after Brexit, the UK was already falling down it.
In the old joke they told about a man who had thrown himself off a ten-storey
building, as he was falling past the fifth floor, people inside asked how it was going. “Alright so far,” he replied.
(Acorn Video / DRG)
As a dazed world tries to come to terms with what a President Trump might mean for the planet, it may be a comfort to know how underhand and manipulated many previous campaigns have been – where even Presidents with the better reputations either behaved nefariously or got someone to do it for them (yes, we’re looking at you, ‘Honest Abe’, among others).
We have seen some dirty tricks, deceit and scandals in this year’s presidential contest, but Race for the White House (originally a CNN docu-series, narrated by Kevin Spacey) shows that such lust for power is nothing new.
For the first time in its history, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to a musician, leaving its winner, Bob Dylan, “speechless” at the award. However, it took him weeks to acknowledge it, causing a member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel prizes, to describe his silence as “impolite and arrogant”.