Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham (Vol. III)

Maugham was a witty fellow. This collection of short stories features the British agent Ashenden – who it is said inspired Ian Fleming’s Bond. { particularly in Ian Fleming’s accounts of James Bond’s dealings with M}

In any case, they revolve around the First World War – and are loosely based on the author’s experience of being an agent for the Intelligence Dept. during this time. As he puts it – ” The work of an agent in the Intelligence Department is on the whole monotonous. A lot of it is uncommonly useless. The material it offers for stories is scrappy and pointless, the author has himself to make it coherent, dramatic and probable’

Apparently some of his stories were juicier and closer to the truth but were axed by Winston Churchill because they violated the Official Secrets Act..

Very readable, witty, highly recommended.

Another work – Ashenden: Or the British Agent which Somerset Maugham published in 1928 and is a complete collection of all the Ashenden short stories.



William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874, his father the solicitor at the British Consulate. He studied literature and philosophy at Heidelberg University, and then medicine at St. Thomas’ in London. It was during this time as a medical student he built on his experiences and published Liza of Lambeth in 1897.

After the 1930s Maugham’s reputation abroad was greater than in England.


Read Full Post »

Steve Salfield: Jazz


Saturday 19th August 2006: Jazz in a summer garden

3-6 pm. Vicarage gardens, Baslow.

Steve with friends Sarah (vocals) Chris (piano) Bennett and Geoff Pearson on double bass will be making things swing at a unique afternoon of Jazz and Song in the lovely Vicarage Gardens, Baslow.

All proceeds will go to Village AiD, a Bakewell charity that works in West Africa with poor marginalised rural communities.

Tickets are £6.00 including a strawberry cream tea & a glass of fizzy wine and can be obtained in advance from Village Aid on 01629 814434 or from their offices at Lumford Mill, Riverside Business Park, Buxton Road, Bakewell.

Sunday 20th August 2006:

Steve plays a wedding gig in Birmingham with singer Alice Harvey and band led by Eugene Portman. This will include a solo sax set by Steve. It’s a private do but I put it here to remind you that bookings like this are easily arranged by contacting me!

Then I’m off to France for a lot more jazz and back to play for a private party on 16th September.

Friday 29th September: The Strand, Dale Road, Matlock

Steve with that old groover Pete Moxley on piano at one of our regular haunts playing cool and hot jazz. Lovely restaurant. Booking recommended. tel: 01629 584444
Hope to see you soon.


via Steve Salfield

Read Full Post »

The Holy Blood – Holy Grail – Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln (1982)

Holy Blood Holy Grail Cover
Written as a follow up to a BBC documentary, this is the book where the authors presented an ‘audacious’ and groundbreaking hypothesis : theories which of course have achieved notoriety in the shape of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It’s funny – on the back cover ( it did cause a fair amount of hoo-ha when it was released) Newsweek said ‘ A brilliant thriller in the making’ – and of course, as we know, some people came along and did just that. Definitely worth a read. Of course for all Templar and Grail enthusiasts but nowadays anyone who wanted to know about where some of the ideas presented in the fictional Da Vinci Code had their roots ( and enough information and bibliography is presented in the text for people to take their own research further and draw their own conclusions about the subject matter) Again – they make it clear that theirs is a startling hypothesis and a set of speculations about historical events.

The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason


Great – I really enjoyed reading this – I admit i’m fascinated with ancient and mediaeval texts and a good mystery at the same time so this was right up my street. It’s focus is the mysterious, lengthy, erudite and anonymous Renaissance text – the Hypneromatochia Poliphili

“A mysterious coded manuscript, a violent Ivy League murder, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide in a labyrinth of betrayal, obsession, and genius..”

Read Full Post »

Love/Death: The Tristan Project


Now showing for free – at two venues: Haunch of Venison Yard and St. Olaf’s College – Tooley St. ( or what used to be the College) [ Adjacent to Tower Bridge Rd, London, SE1 2JR – nearest tube is London Bridge]

The Love/Death: Tristan Project is a twelve piece collaborative project featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The exhibits range from large scale video projections with sound to small, silent flat screen panels.

Considered a pioneer in video art, Viola is represented by the James Cohan Gallery in New York, as well as Haunch of Venison in London.

His video installations at the SF MoMA ( San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) can be still found as online exhibition features here.

“Viola’s work looks at birth and death, time and human experience. He is said to draw elements of religion into his work and has studied mysticism, Sufism, Kabbalah and Zen Buddhism.”

Much of the work in this latest show comes from material produced for a recent production of the Wagner opera Tristan and Isolde.

The Haunch of Venison Group are an international art group representing contemporary art, based in Zurich.

The exhibition is running till the 2nd of September

Read Full Post »

via Daniels Counter – ( Not in the news! Tel Aviv: Anti War protest)

peace demio

This was interesting – Daniel highlights the anti-war protests in Israel on Sunday 16th July – which the mainstream media hardly covered. Also on the 21st of July in Haifa.

“This featured in the Israeli papers Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot, but not on the BBC, Sky or even CNN.

Presumably the existence of a Zionist Peace and Anti War Movement movement in Israel is bad news as it does not fit not the image of ugly Zionism many have, or others who wish Israel to fight Islam for them (U.S.)?

Organizations mentioned :

Gush Shalom Israeli Peace Bloc
New Profile. Movement for the Civilization of Israel
Hadash (Wikipedia on Hadash)
Ta’ayush Israeli / Palestinian Partnership Group
Yesh Gvul (Organization for soldiers refusing to serve in Occupied territories)
The Women’s Coalition for Peace (Palestinian and Israeli)Mossawa, The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

On 21st of July BBC worldservice for the first time reported on an Israeli Peace demonstration in Haifa the same day

View photos and write up on the Gush Shalom site here

Cross-posted to shorno.net and pickled politics 

Read Full Post »

Agitated Images: John Heartfield and German Photomontage 1920 – 1938 is currently exhibiting at the Getty Center. An illustration of the power of images and imagery. Heartfield worked in Germany and Czechoslovakia between the World Wars, using his medium to represent the chaos – social and political instability of the time.

The exhibition is running till June 25th.


Read Full Post »

beautiful bodies – laura shaine cunningham

painfully honest and reflexive. i don't often read too many books that deal honestly with certain aspects of 'female friendship' – the group dynamics, peer pressure, the bully of the group that no-one actually likes but are too kind and diplomatic to do anything about. it reveals the frustration that results from having stressful friends ( who needs enemies when your friends stress you out eh?)

Read Full Post »

Green Tea and Other Tales by Sheridan LeFanu

Irish writer born in 1814 well known for his ghost stories and supernaturalist fiction. M.R. James was a great fan of his work. He published his vampire story Carmilla in 1872 – predating Bram Stoker's Dracula – ( it is theorized that Stoker was possibly influenced by Carmilla).

the wikipedia article on him points out:

"His best-known works, still read today, are the macabre mystery novel Uncle Silas (1864), 'The Rose and the Key' (1871), and the collection In a Glass Darkly (1872), which contains Carmilla as well as 'Green Tea' and 'The Familiar', two famous stories of enigmatic hauntings apparently provoked by obscure guilt "

A lot of his work is available online – the Green Tea e-text is available here.


Read Full Post »

Persian Pictures

Persian Pictures by Gertrude Bell (1892) London: Ernest Benn Ltd.

her first published work : a poetic travelogue full of sensuous imagery. after finishing at Oxford, Gertrude Bell went out to Tehran in May 1892 where her uncle had a posting.

"Here in the dust and the sunshine is an epitome of the living East, and standing unnoticed in a doorway, you will admit that you have not travelled in vain. But as the procession of people files past you, you will realize what a gulf lies between you. The East looks to itself; it knows nothing of the greater world of which you are a citizen, asks nothing of you and your civilization."

persian pictures

Read Full Post »


ah. another outlet. welcome to random thoughts and writings and please prepare to be surprised.


Read Full Post »