A Rare Release

Monday saw the launch of a rare release – rare because people are buying the thing. I have put out on to the web a recording of the dawn chorus as it manifested in North Yorkshire on the Sunday beforehand. It was fun to make.



The whole thing was a bit of a mission – I had had a sleepless night the previous Saturday night / Sunday morning so I booked a taxi for 04:30. The first company I phoned, Mainline thought I was winding them up and claimed to be fully booked – well, you would if someone phoned you up at 1am asking to be taken to a nature reserve in three and a half hours.

Thankfully, AirlineTaxis came to the rescue and I was picked up by a good lad who drove me the Boroughbridge way to Stavely Рhowever, I had a crisis of confidence.

I was Staveley bound and had no idea of what it was going to be in the daylight, let alone the pitch black.

So, by the time we got to Boroughbridge I had asked the lad to take me to the farm my dad works at. I was in the woodland for 04:50 and all set up. It proved to be an amazing experience, as you tell from the recording above – it was deafening.

To hear the above recording play out as I sat in silence, still, was really rewarding.

I had hoped for the recording to be a bit longer. However, just after an hour, a Wren perched on my mics and made all of the levels clip (noisy bugger) before trying to steal the microphone fluff to make a nest.

Given that, I packed up and went back to the farmhouse, about half a mile away. I had to phone mum to let them know I was downstairs in the kitchen – I had visions of dad’s heart giving out when he saw someone hovering half way between the biscuit barrel and the kettle – however, he was just confused as to why I had done this.

The rest of the morning was spent washing my dad’s truck and setting up bangers to keep the pigeons off the beans.

Dad later called to say he had listened to the recording after it had been released. It had gone live and the payments received from it have covered the cost of the taxi. Dad said he now saw why I did it.

Earth Day 2018

Today, the twenty-second of April is Earth Day Рsomething I was not that aware of until I went on to Google and saw their video promoting it. Still, it is a good excuse to go tree bathing or paddling whilst raising the global consciousness through local awareness.

What did I do – well, it was written in stone – we headed out to the farm to catch up with Sarah, Mum and Dad – Hannah is at a conference and my brother needed to do some work. So, Grannie & Grandpa were asked to look after munchkin Backhouse.

I had an activity bag packed and was on minimal sleep Рso was Kathryn after a rough night of Summer Cold. We went over and I made a recording and took pictures Рhere are the results:





Living with Ghosts

I have to state that this post is about the event “Living With Ghosts” as opposed to any health implied topic. Nicola, Scooby & I trundled over to York – it was a haul as it was a strike day and the last train was phenomenally early – Scoob nearly missed the train to York and kerfuffle was avoided by being the level-headed gent that I am growing into ;).

The event in question was billed as –

Poets Oz Hardwick and Amina Alyal explore ways in which we are haunted by ghosts of the past and ghosts of ourselves, in a reading accompanied by music. Oz and Amina have collaborated on numerous past projects, including the Saboteur-shortlisted chapbook Close as Second Skins (2015).

Being a massive fan of both Oz and Amina’s work I was there like a shot. Well lubricated after calling into York Tap we found York Theatre Royal, the Keregan Rooms was our destination.

To be honest – I was a bit unsure about what to expect.

I got there and it turned out to be an afternoon of polite verse: Amina opened with some excellent poetry and then Oz followed being his ineffable, charming self. It was worth coming over just for the verse. A break was achieved and we reconvened for some of the best improvised, spoken-word-inspired, semi-acoustic ambient I have had the pleasure to hear for a long while.

Think Tidswell Noise Collective circa their first album Рbut good!

They really knew their chops. Oz & Amina were joined by a gifted guitarist who plucked arpeggios and whose fingers moved lightning quick over the six-string.

Top-notch fun. I wish them every success in the future and I hope that York Festival put them on again Рincluding other acts who blur the boundaries, like A Tiding Of Magpies. Here are some guerrilla photos from the event.

H’Py Birthday Dad

My Dad has a birthday today – he has reached the grand age of sixty four. I went over to the farm to see Mum & Dad and they seemed in good form. I bought Dad a copy of the Dartmoor Edition of the Tolkien Maps – similar to the Yorkshire Dales version I treated myself to the other month. He seems to like it.

Dad has great memories of Dartmoor – he worked there during his time at college and really enjoyed his time whilst over there. There is mention of the place he worked on the map.



When I came home to the flat, Kathryn was there having given it a bit of a Spring Clean – I am a pig most of the time and I don’t really pull my weight around the house. She is amazingly kind to me and I love her to bits. Her parents did quite a cool job packing so much Awesome in to such a small package.

When I go home I set up the MixPre 6 with a JrF Contact mic. I slid the mic between the snow and my metal fire escape and recorded the sound below – it goes on for a while but you can hear the “Crackle” of the melting snow and the plinky plonk goodness of the water droplets condensing and forming drops, dropping down and hitting the Stainless Steel fire escape. I am amazed that the JrF Contact Mic managed to pick up the Blackbird. Maybe the whole fire escape acted as some sort of parabola?


Saying Things I Shouldn’t Say

There are rays of sunshine – I have my methods of dealing with the dark winters – I have a few Whatsapp Chats that are Party Vibes and I have the Worlds Best Wife.™ This post is about a little rise to triumph. A rise to triumph over ill health and to celebrate today.

I went to Home Farm (where my Parentals live) to do Fun. There is a woodland overlooking the farm and I had an activity pack packed Рincluding Parabola Mic and Camera. The Parabola Mic was a right laugh Рhere are some recordings of length and shortness:





The “Dark Walk Woodland Floor In Late February” embed is the one I am most pleased with – It took a bit of editing to get the underlying traffic noise out, plus rattles from a distant gas gun – but that is how I wanted the recording. I have broached the subject of Field Recordists possibly being classist with their editing of the countryside – taking out all mechanisation – but I wanted to portray this woodland as such like the above – it is a tranquil place that needed a bit of polishing for presentation in the twee manner I have done so.

As mentioned I had my camera – here are some awesome* shots of brickwork.







*Maybe/Maybe not (delete as appropriate).

Blackbird @ 4am

I’ve had a bit of a sleepless night – no real issues. Just the usual, on-going health complaints.

I have tried to make the most of the evening: when I took my headphones off around 4am I could, for the first time this year, hear a Blackbird salute dawn. So I wobbled to get my rig and set up on the fire-escape.

Using the Telinga Mics I received for building for an old friend a site, I managed to get the recording below.



Happy Pork Pie

My Mate, Watson Of Arabia, told me that his family have the tradition of wishing each other a “Happy Pork Pie” on days such as these. For today is my birthday. What really startled me was that Watson Of Arabia considered me close enough to say this to me – it was a very warm thing to do and an honour.

So, today I turn 37. I am in the habit of making grand statements so here goes:

For my 37th Year, I resolve to speak nothing but Hip Slang. I received a good recording courtesy of Mrs Backhouse in the form of Del Close & John Brent’s ‘How To Speak Hip.‘ Something I actively strive to do. In the meantime, it will be business as usual – I still have all of my appetites. This includes a desire to succeed¬†in all creative fields – in fact, the desire to be busy creating has almost become synonymous with the desire to be happy. It is as if the two are interlinked.

Kathryn got me a whole heap of other recordings when we came home at night including instructions on how to use the telephone. Although I will try and not get the two mixed up.

I also received a copy of the Complete Recording of the Jazz Epistles – Something I look forward to getting on my Sennheisers.

My birthday started off in a flurry of wrapping paper at midnight – I opened my Parent’s present and was thrilled to see that they had bought a pair of binoculars for me – I have my first trip to the local¬†nature reserve booked in with Shouty on Wednesday. I will try and write that up.



Much of a muchness occurred and I fell into Major Toms for early¬†doors – Foz and Shouty were there and we had a lively time. We went around to Simon’s (whos Birthday was yesterday – he is four years older than me) and he was a bit worse for wear. We watch the rugby but I was too busy piling into the mountain of cheese¬†I had amassed for our adventure; completely oblivious to the game, but I think England had more Touchdowns.

Scrum his face off!

-The cheese fuelled rants of a loon

I had my Harinezumi on me for the day – I am unsure of the quality of the images – but – it proved good company. Here are the photos …

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Well, Technically It’s Tuesday

Well, technically it’s Tuesday and I had better write up a blog post about the weekend. What happened? Stuff, sleep & shizzle! Essentially not much much but then Monday opened a cold brewski and joined me for a good time.

Friday night saw me DJing at Jesus Christ Retro Bar as part of the Reggae Night. Jason organises it. It seemed to be a slow burner so Jason went home but then we stayed open for another three hours and I was left to DJ.

Things were peaceful. Ish.

There was the usual “I’ve just got of prison” party and the drinks were flowing. They seemed to enjoy themselves and the music was appreciated by most of the clientele.

“Can I request a song?”

“Sure, but it is a reggae night”

“Stick Beyonce on!”

Saturday and Sunday were just spent working or pottering around the house. I had hoped to go out and record some wildlife at Stavely reserve but fell asleep for six hours instead. The Water Rail shows well near the little hide at Stavely during the winter months – I have been lucky to see it beforehand, no proof but I have seen it.

Monday was spent redoing a client’s site and then I hot-footed it to Swan On The Stray to meet my friend Stewart. The plan was to record a radio show and I intended to celebrate our new found home in America, Oregon. Stewart & I are both going to get broadcast on a new startup station on the dark coast. Yes, it will not be peak time but the fact that people have the opportunity to tune in to us on the FM dial is something that we both like.



Many pints were consumed and then we tootled off to do the show. The recording of Sound Of Wonder this week, I admit, is a bit of a blur – I managed to get some cans from the second pub we stopped at (I am still nursing one). We’ve reached Episode #98 – not bad.



Then, on the way home, after a bit of admin and Stewart retiring to his manor for a vegan feast, I took this photo. I am very pleased with it. Edited in Lightroom and shot on a Ricoh GR II.