Monday, 20 July 2009

What's tickling my pink?

I strapped on an old pair of walking boots I hadn't worn in long time and strode off into to town with the intention of seeing how my feet responded to an unfamiliar environment. Mrs.K, the kids and myself are soon to be embarking on a 52 mile yomp across the South Downs, so I was on a micro dry run so to speak.

This wasn't really much of a test, a gentle stroll down the road would be a more accurate description, my feet responded well, although I will have to take thin socks as the old dogs did bark a bit. A few strides beyond my front door I stopped and chatted briefly with a friend who was bemoaning an ill wind that had wreaked havoc on the Hollyhocks in her front garden, and knowing my interest in all things musical she asked what I was currently grooving to.

So what is currently tickling my pink? What is merrily floating about in my head space? Well..

First up, from the Jayhawks are Gary Louris and Mark Olson who have teamed up to deliver some beautiful harmonies on their album 'Ready for the Flood', which was released at the begining of the year.

Next up is Neil Halstead, one time member of shoe gazing band Slowdive, and frontman of Mojave 3, has released a couple of solo albums of which this track is taken from his latest offering 'Oh Mighty Engine' on Jack Johnson's Brushfire label. It's a soft British country/folk sound, summery and ponderous. I really like it.

It's a brief dip into the daily whims of my ipod, a mere morsel of what shuffles through my headphones, but it's a start. Last up is Getz/Gilberto, a jazz bossa nova album released on the Verve label in 1964 by American saxophonist Stan Getz and the Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto. Call it easy listening, call it mood music for the cocktail hour, call what you want, but in my opinion it's a lush and timeless classic.

So this is where I leave you wandering the sugar white sands, staring aimlessly across an orange lit bar, twirling a cocktail umbrella between your fingertips and listening to the listless breath of distant waves lapping on the shore.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cycling to Work

Inspired by the hardy bunch of cycle enthusiasts who set out each year on the 'Dunwich Dynamo', a London to Suffolk overnight run that ends up on the beach with a swim, snooze and a greasy breakfast, I decided to slip away from my usual car dodging frenzied route to work and opt for a longer, more winding and pretty approach.

I've been following audio clips of the Dunwich Dynamo, recorded by the iPhone wielding participants of the ride, made possible with a handy little app. downloaded onto the phone called 'audioboo'. Posted online, these little minute and a half audio blogs expose you to the build up, the half way pit stops, the twitterings of birds as dawn breaks on the road, and the sounds of early morning waves lapping on the shore at Dunwich.

The thought of cycling that kind of distance for me is hard to imagine, the longest I have ever ridden is a 26 mile return trip to the Wicken Fen nature reserve north of Cambridge, a trip that I remember for the flat, cold, featureless landscape, and the pain felt in my leg muscles that are more tuned in to brief 10 minuite cycle rides around a small market town.

So today was a heart stopping 20 minute ride that took in the famous 'Backs' of the Cambridge colleges, the quiet path that curls past the University Library and onto a car free cycle motorway that skirts along open fields, crosses a real motorway and ends up at a little village called Coton.

I took the picture above because the air was full of Skylarks, so you will just have to imagine them when looking my photo, which I admit doesn't inspire much. Oh, and there was a herd of cows in the distance which you can't see either, but you can see two trees in the foreground which look at a bit lonely and add an air meloncholy to the view. Okay, you've got me, it's a boring photograph of an empty field, but it beats looking at cars. You can listen to the audioboos of the people who rode the Dunwich Dynamo here and view before dark and after dark photos on Fliker here