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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jazz from the heart

"Following the release in October of Tim Lapthorn's third and highly anticipated album, Transport, the trio will be performing a series of UK and European concerts featuring saxophone legend Bobby Wellins, undoubtedly one of the finest if not the finest tenor player to have graced the British jazz scene. The band will play a smart mix of beautiful Lapthorn originals alongside reworkings of more standard material. Expect lyrical, melodic yet explorative and exciting playing from this group of highly experienced and talented musicians"
A "Jazz Steps" quote.
My son Tim, putting his heart and soul into his music

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Remember the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis?

The Cuban missile crisis took place exactly 50 years ago. 

For those of us old enough to remember this time, it was a truly terrifying week. Each morning I went to school unsure if I would return home again before nuclear war broke out. I even recall the chilling words on the BBC radio news, "a need for war may arise".

Later analysis suggests we were even closer than we thought at the time to an all out nuclear exchange and the end of civilisation. It was thanks to the politicians on both the American and Russian sides that eventually tensions were reduced. Thereafter, the Cold War was never quite the same again, and over the following decades we slowly edged towards its end.

What lessons can be learned?
  • Great care is needed in complex international crises, 
  • Never trust the military (they would have bombed Cuba in this case),  
  • Jaw jaw is better than war war, 
  • Think about the people we elect into great offices of state as one day our lives may depend on their judgement in a time of very great stress.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Phlogiston? Petrol from water and air

Becher who postulated Phlogiston
The BBC Business page carried a story this week about a company in NE England that is developing a technique to produce petrol from air and water. This sounds like something too good to be true, like Phlogiston, but if scaled up to production levels could be something remarkable.
"A British firm based on Teesside says it's designed revolutionary new technology that can produce petrol using air and water. Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced five litres of petrol since August, but hopes to be in production by 2015 making synthetic fuel targeted at the motor sports sector. The company believes the technique could help solve energy supply problems and curb global warming."
See .

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Jimmy Savile and sex abuse

In no way do I condone sexual abuse of anyone. However, I'm puzzled by the media frenzy over Jimmy Savile, the UK DJ and TV presenter, over what he might (or might not)  have done to girls backstage in his dressing room.  If his actions were so vile and disgusting then why were these not challenged long ago when he was alive and able to face justice, and defend himself?  Some say he was a powerful person and people would have found it hard to fight him in the courts. Sorry, but I don't buy this: if enough people felt strongly then he would have been brought to justice. He is dead and gone now.

There must be other TV presenters and DJs who behaved in a similar way to Savile and I can imagine some of these people not sleeping at night waiting for the next expose.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The EU and jam jars

There was mention on the BBC TV this morning about a little known EU regulation that prevents the re-use of jam jars, e.g. at church fetes to sell home made jam or chutney. How silly is this!

I understand this is based on real information, although I am not aware anyone has been told about this or anyone has been prosecuted for not obeying the law.  When we should be worrying about the Euro, deficits, debt and job creation what stupid bureaucrats are being paid millions to create such STUPID, idiotic laws? I understand this legislation is about 6 years old. See EC regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006.

Although I had great sympathy with the original ideals of a common trading market, free from barriers to trade, I now think the whole European Union serves little useful purpose.  I am a firm believer in nations working together where a common good is being served, but not when it creates waste, inefficiency and needless stupid rules that add no value.

Let us rule Britannia please, not faceless idiots on inflated salaries in Brussels.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


My son's new CD "Transport" is out on October 22nd from Pathway Records. At his concert in St Hilda's College, Oxford today he played some of the tracks from this and they are amazing.

It includes purely original compositions featuring solo, trios and larger ensembles, including with a string quartet. The music draws from jazz, blues, classical, folk and Brazilian influences and is a very exciting project.

Some quotes about his work:
'Lapthorn's beautiful debut set is a marvellous first statement' **** - Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD on Natural Language

'Impressive...Lapthorn blends witty invention with deep swing and unerring reassuring balance' - **** Mojo Magazine on Seventh Sense

'Brilliant music' – Jazz UK on Seventh Sense

'Pure Class' – Jazz Review on Seventh Sense

'Brilliant young pianist...Natural Language sparkles with originality and colour' – Humphrey Lyttelton, BBC Radio 2

'Superb piano playing', Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2 Rhythm and Blues show

...want to buy his new CD???

Charles Dickens cartoon

A few days ago an old friend of mine, Gale Leach in the USA, put this cartoon on her Facebook page. It amused me, so thought I'd share it here.  I've no idea where it comes from, so tell me if it is copyright and I need to remove it.

Gale is an author and she has written some lovely books for children. Take a look at her website at

Another one of my friends here in the UK is reading all the Charles Dickens books this year. He is thoroughly enjoying them. I have to confess that I read few novels, preferring non-fiction books, and have yet to read a Charles Dickens book.