Sunday, 31 January 2010


Whilst, as usual, today's chat on our run covered many and varied important topics, we found ourselves mainly discussing the wonder that is the Prog Rock of the 70's.

Favourites have always been Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and Frank Zappa (Hot Rats mainly). Mark had been cooking to Tales of Topographic Oceans the previous evening and I had been painting on saturday to a mixture of Hot Rats and The Lamb lies down on Broadway.

I had also been to see Avatar recently and was struck by how similar the images were to Roger Dean's Yes album covers -

Let hope Roger gets some of the proceeds from the largest grossing film ever.

Following Mr Blair's perfomance on friday, we saw some new graffiti that sums up our mood nicely -

All those in agreement say Aye ...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Beautiful plumage.

Mark suffering from a sprained ankle today, after over enthusiastic training in the week , but he made it round the course - he's hard is my friend Mark. We had to briefly stop in Trafalgar Square when we saw a real bird of prey swooping in front of us . Ended up chatting to its owner who is employed to bring one of his Harris Hawks each day for 3 hours to scare off the pigeons. We were priviledged to watch a 20 month old male Harris Hawk at close quarters.

While most raptors are solitary, only coming together for breeding and migration, Harris's Hawks will hunt in cooperative groups (casts) of two to six. In one hunting technique, a small group flies ahead and scouts, then another group member flies ahead and scouts, and this continues until the prey is bagged and shared. In another, all the hawks spread around the prey and one individual flushes it out.

In the wild, Harris Hawks have been seen to indulge in "stacking" - sitting on each others backs, often up to three high, either on the ground or on the top of a cactus. It is not certain why they do this, though it has been suggested that it is a method of still hunting, giving them more height to see in desert areas, which do not have the benefit of trees or poles to sit on.

Continuing last week's music theme, I went to a brilliant gig by Anais Mitchell last night - if you haven't heard of her you should listen to her 2 albums - Hymns for the Exiled and The Brightness - - she is a fantastic story teller and has a brilliant and moving voice.

Below is a video I took last year of one of her perfomances - you can tell from how she moves her feet that the music really is within her.

Feets, don't fail me now ....

Sunday, 17 January 2010

We are the running robots

One recompense for getting up so early on a Sunday morning is the music I listen to in the car on the way in to Smithfield - this morning it was Kraftwerk's 'The Model' , 'Pocket Calculator' and 'The Robots' at full volume - all triggered by listening to an excellent radio 2 programme last night on Kraftwerk's massive influence on other bands.

Would recommend their recent live album - 'Minimum-Maximum' -and also seeing them live - apparently they tour much more these days compared to when they first started, as the original analogue equipment they used to use was too fragile for live gigs.

Crane of the week was spotted outside Drury Lane theatre, moving in big air conditioning units to ensure the Oliver! audience are nice and comfortable

Finally as it's January, lots of diet discussions on the run today - here we see Mark making a good start to his porridge-based programme

We're charging our battery
And now we're full of energy
We are the robots

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Back on the road again.

Its difficult to believe ,I know, but Mark and I actually went running in London today. Still cold and icy in places -

Saw some interesting new public art in Kingsway - we rarely need a reason to stop and take photos

It is by Richard Wilson and is called Square the Block - I like the image of demolished concrete blocks attached to the outside of a new stone clad building.

We have the usual discussion on whether to join the gym - you would have thought we'd have learnt our lesson by now. Anyway, saw a good riposte to this in the Sunday magazines - think of the outdoors as a huge health club without the joining fee.

Finished with porridge for breakfast at Smiths - it wasn't too hot or too cold , it was just right...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Climate change poetry

Went to see an interesting art show at the Royal Academy featuring various artists' take on all things climate change - one of the surprises was the one page letter in the programme from Ian McEwan, the writer ( seems to have been originally written in 2005) -

"The Hot Breath of our Civilization

The pressure of our numbers, the abundance of our inventions, the blind forces of our desires and needs are generating a heat – the hot breath of our civilisation. How can we begin to restrain ourselves? We resemble successful lichen, a ravaging bloom of algae, a mould enveloping a fruit.

We are fouling our nest, and we know we must act decisively, against our immediate inclinations. But can we agree among ourselves?

We are a clever but quarrelsome species – in our public debates we can sound like a rookery in full throat. We are superstitious, hierarchical and self-interested, just when the moment requires us to be rational, even-handed and altruistic.

We are shaped by our history and biology to frame our plans within the short term, within the scale of a single lifetime. Now we are asked to address the well-being of unborn individuals we will never meet and who, contrary to the usual terms of human interaction, will not bereturning the favour.

Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring. On our side we have our rationality, which finds its highest expression and formalisation in good science. And we have a talent for working together – when it suits us.

Are we at the beginning of an unprecedented era of international co-operation, or are we living in an Edwardian summer of reckless denial? Is this the beginning, or the beginning of the end? "

I wish I could write like that.