For anyone interested in my Spingere music project, there is a new (and mostly empty) Facebook page. This will for updates and information on all things connected with Spingere, including news on what's coming next.


Biscuits back again

 So, after months of ripping things out, cleaning things up and generally making a huge mess we've almost got the kitchen finished. Today we returned to a previous tradition of Sunday biscuit making.


The Astounding Eyes of Rita

Amid a mass of oud references this week I was asked to recommend a good oud album. My current favourite is 'The Astounding Eyes of Rita' by Anouar Brahem. It's not traditional by any means, but it's a corker of an album.



Last night I dreamed that someone placed an oud, face down on the floor in front of me. I picked it up, strummed it once then played a tune. It was one of those dreams where every tiny detail survived waking, even the motes of dust in the air as I picked the instrument up.



This has been one of those wonderful weekends. I have witnessed the boy Jude shuffling into the kitchen and going worryingly quiet only to find him doused in soy sauce. I have seen my other half carrying a flaming wok into the garden. I've seen a good friend help us make our disaster of a garden (with or without flaming woks) start to look really presentable. I've sung twinkle twinkle little star with my daughter with each of us taking a word at a time, singing the song over and over faster and faster, until we couldn't sing for laughing.

Oh, and I've been learning some Arabic musical scales. But more about that later.


Steve Jobs

Many good people have died this week. Bert Jansch, David Bedford and Steve Jobs to name just three. Sad though it may sound, the one I felt the most emotional reaction to was Steve Jobs. I've been an Apple fan since I saw the PowerBook 180. When I bought it (100mb hard drive, floppy drive and greyscale display) I was so excited I sat up all night, finding more and more things I could do with it. And when I say 'all night' I mean, 'fell asleep at seven in the morning.'

Steve Jobs did not believe in giving the people what they wanted. He believed in giving them what he thought they would want. Not everything worked, but when it did it changed everything. The original iMac had a huge impact on design. The iPod and iTunes changed the music industry. The iPad made people realise that, even if they had no use for a tablet computer, they still could find one.

And the Mac. The Apple Macintosh opened up so many good ideas and design evolutions that it literally changed the face of the modern office and home. I once told someone I chose to use Macs because they were sexier than PCs. "Don't be stupid," my friend said, "computers can't be sexy." But they could, they can and the mad with the vision to make them that way was Steve Jobs.


Tree Lady

I've walked through Christchurch Meadows in Oxford countless times. Some times I've walked past a lady who was sketching trees, surrounded by reams of paper and collections of, presumably, more sketches of trees. Only once did I talk to her. She was a very private person but gave some of her time to explain to my family and I what she was doing and why. Everything she didn't say made her intriguing, but nothing more was being given away.

I found out this week that she had died recently. There's an obituary of sorts here.