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Music

On Leonard Cohen
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Halcyon In Kal… 11 May 2017

"So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear."

You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky. 

'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)

"Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter

On Beltane
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Halcyon In Kal… 1 May 2017

"See Pan the Piper dancing in the greenwood dawn...Earth, Water, Fire, Air, dancing round the Maypole...at Beltane", light a Beltane fire, high on the skyline" - from Ancient Dream, Aeolian Songspell

On "Favourite" Songs Halcyon In Kal… 14 April 2016

Many evenings of my youth were spent listening to Radio Caroline's "Personal Top 30s", from 6-9pm and 9pm-midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. My friends and I would write down, swap, be inspired by and gently criticise each others' choices, but none of us ever got round to posting ours in, and our chance vanished into the North Sea with the Mi Amigo in March 1980.

However, since 2008 I have listened almost constantly to Caroline, which plays "Personal Top 15s" every weekday at 10am CET, but again, I've not summoned the nerve to send mine in.

On Healing

Customer

Remembering victims - across all cultures and all times - can remind us of the healing power of togetherness and shared purpose.

"This is the faith from which we start, men shall know commonwealth again..."

On Echoes Halcyon In Kal… 20 June 2013

Researchers have unearthed what are probably the only surviving recordings of the voices of Virginia Woolf, from 50 years earlier, of Alexander Graham Bell (below) and from a quarter of a century earlier still, perhaps the oldest sound recording of all, French schoolchildren singing Au clair de la lune.

On Led Zeppelin

Customer

In February 2012 I had the pleasure of seeing Letz Zep in concert in Brussels. However, in December 2012, the surviving members of the genuine article - Led Zeppelin - went to Washington to receive laurels at the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones sat watching from the balcony, as a series of performers paid tribute to the band.

On Miserere Mei Halcyon In Kal… 28 December 2012

Has any music ever come as close to lifting the veil as Allegri's Miserere Mei? The sound one hears at time 4:48 (ironically the same number as in a much more modern, and in its own way much sadder work of art) in the video below seems to reach as close to the elusive sublime/divine (take your pick) as one could imagine. Little wonder that legend has Mozart "stealing" this music from the Vatican, after hearing it as a boy in the Sistine Chapel and then writing it down from memory.

On Pink Floyd

Customer
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To Antwerp on 24 October 2012 to see Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd. Classic stuff: from a trippy See Emily Play, through an exuberant Money, a suitably "adult" Great Gig In The Sky, the poignancy of Wish You Were Here/Shine On You Crazy Diamond (with photos of Syd flicking through the kaleidoscopic backdrop), and all building towards the hazy theatre of Comfortably Numb, which of course brought the house down.

On Simon & Garfunkel

Customer

On September 19, 1981, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel played in front of 500,000 people in Central Park, New York City.  I missed this concert by three days, as I had to end my first ever visit to the US to go back home to prepare for starting at Edinburgh University, but I saw them play much the same set live at Wembley Stadium the following June - a highly memorable experience even 30 years on.