Vive la Differentiation -
The original sin was tasting the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve immediately
invented underwear, and perhaps because of their pants God was so disappointed that he chucked
both her and her man out of Eden...
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After marvellous beginnings, the twentieth century witnessed the gradual evisceration of the
Arrogance and Artistry -
Virtuosity is achieved by people of every type. The great Renaissance sculptor
Benvenuto Cellini boasted that he had committed murder...
Arrogance and Artistry
Angst v The Teletubbies -
Caught between. One side, the indecipherable angst that tries to drink or drug itself
to life in death. At the other side, Teletubby art. Painting is dead: so I must paint...
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It’s just not fair and it -
A response to Tracy Emin’s response to the public response to the Brit Art blaze,
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Since 1914 -
In August 1914 cataclysm engulfed Europe. Huge armies fought over the possession
of a strip of mud a few miles wide...
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Some of it’s Thick -
Jackson Pollock, Tate Gallery, 1999... The veneration of Pollock has become
an article of faith. Until seeing this sizeable retrospective, I might
have joined in the adulation...
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Spalding Gray -
A handful of my contemporaries have profoundly inspired me, and Spalding Gray is absolutely one
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Revenge of the Brautigan -
Penniless in Cornwall, the kindly Kiwi who was lending us a room handed me A Confederate
General From Big Sur. It had left him puzzled, but he knew it would delight me...
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Fact v Fiction -
I have several friends who read voraciously, but do not read fiction...
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The John O’Leary Band at The Running Horse -
Not much to add to my earlier review, really. Except to say that they are even better with an
audience. Best quality musicianship, great grooves and good feel....
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The John O’Leary Band at Nottingham University-
In a wonderful scene in The Russian Ark, the camera wheels from a showy theatrical
performance to its audience — Catherine the Great. By gate-crashing an IBM function, Viv and
I managed to see the marvellous John O’Leary Band as if we were royalty at a command
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Dick Heckstall-Smith tribute -
Dick Heckstall-Smith was a significant musician in an era in which music
has had immense significance...
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Heavy ConstruKction -
As the grand old men of Crimson merge fluently with antiquity, it is a wonder to hear that they
refuse to simply fade away...
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In the autumn of 1966 three seasoned musicians came together to form one of the most influential
groups in the history of rock. They were the first band to earn a platinum disc, and over 35
million Cream records have been sold...
Album Reviews: Funkadesi -
My friend Carlos Cornier plays congas with an ensemble in Chicago called Funkadesi...
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Dan’s Disc -
Here is the listing for the compilation CD that celebrates my son Daniel Alexander’s birth,
along with a smattering of commentary...
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This week I have mostly been listening to... -
In any given week I listen to a wide variety of music...
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More Blues -
The Blues came out of the South with a leap and a howl. A wailing music that
bemoans oppression but sets the spirits free...
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Getting the Blues -
If you feel you ought to find out what Blues music is, then you have come
to the right place...
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Jimi Hendrix Biography -
Jimi Hendrix is undoubtedly the most influential electric guitarist the world has ever seen...
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Captain Beefheart -
The Captain has risen from his beginnings in mid-60s bizarre rock to an iconic status that may
well drive his fanatics to chase me with a squirrelling piece...
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David Torn -
It has always been the tradition that a master passes on his teaching to at least one
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Sufi Blues: A Convolute Reflection -
The origin of the Blues is a matter of considerable contention...
Sufi Blues: A Convolute Reflection
The Guitarists -
This piece is a map of the guitar players I’ve enjoyed these many years...
The Significant Hendrix Recordings -
A huge amount of material has been released under Jimi Hendrix’s name...
Significant Hendrix Recordings
Early Music -
My friend Fiona mentioned on the phone that she had bought a ‘really weird CD.’
Being the sort of person I am, I cycled straight over and borrowed it...
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Essential Progressive for Newbies -
Progressive music was born out of the British Blues Rock scene of the late sixties. It is a
complex music, deserving of a complex analysis...
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The Way to Life - A Tao Te Ching -
Below are first lines from the first dozen of the 81 chapters in the Tao Te Ching written
by Jon Atack. You will soon be able to buy 'The Way to Life - A Tao Te Ching' to read all
81 chapters in full...
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Heresy Trials -
The official House of Laity has paved the way for heresy trials in the Church of England,
as reported by the BBC in 10 things that could land your vicar in trouble...
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The Meaning of Love -
At long last, Science has proven that love truly exists. Infatuation transforms body
chemistry in measurable ways...
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Vedic Physics -
Arts & Letters Daily has long been my homepage. Every day it turns up a broad range
of mind-boggling material...
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Uncertain Realities -
A version of this letter appeared in New Scientist, 25 September 2004...
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Power and Belief -
A dear friend once assured me that the fascination of the Hitler cult for occult beliefs is
irrelevant, because Hitler was simply a figure-head.
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Mystical Atheism -
In 1811, the poet Shelley was sent down from Cambridge University for publishing a pamphlet in
which he espoused atheism.
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The Flight of the Wild Gander by Joseph Campbell -
I first encountered Joseph Campbell’s work over a decade ago, through his fine
interviews with Bill Moyers, in The Power of the Myth...
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Waking Up -
The essence of Buddhist doctrine is the notion that humanity is asleep and must awaken to a
higher state of consciousness...
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Joe Campbell and the Dead -
Sidestep anomalies, and proliferate. There is room in this world for more philosophies than
are dreamt of. The patient sage avoided talkies, artlessly. Now he grooves to the Grateful
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The Journey So Far -
My regulation Anglican — Episcopalian — upbringing ended when my mum let me stay
at home instead of going with the family to Church. I was 11 years old. It wasn’t a
religious decision: I just found Church boring...
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Dreams long preceded language in the development of humanity. In dream we burrow down into
the deep prehistory of our species...
The First Step -
It’s true: like anyone else I want stimulation and excitement. I’m driven by
avoidance of pain and monotony...
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The Map is Not the Territory, the Pointing Finger Not the Moon -
Many before you have ventured into themselves. Their maps and travelogues can inspire you,
but the topography they describe cannot and will not be your own...
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Follow Your Own Nose -
I subscribe to no belief system but my own. And I don't see why anyone should pretend to be
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Telling Tales -
Carl Jung lamented the decline of myth in modern society...
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Some say that the power of reasoning separates humans from other animals,
but the main difference might actually be our arrogance...
Heart Sings -
A collection of love poetry by Jon Atack, illustrated with prints of the
author’s watercolours and calligraphed by Vivienne Atack, to whom
the poems are addressed...
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There is always and only you...
Sleep has wrapped you...
Hitting the Small Time -
Yawn. We are all bored limp with popular culture. Aren’t we? The pert silicone-packed,
airbrushed, pure, synthetic gangsta world of commerciality where everyone is pretending full
speed to be somebody else...
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An ice-cube manufacturer received a complaint. His trays gave the ice-cubes a bitter taste...
Depression: Neurogenesis and cognitive therapy -
A few years ago, I was fascinated by the surprising news that Prozac patients
were growing new braincells...
My mentor, Larry, was an angry man...
Do not mess with Mr In Between -
It is sensible to travel with people who are going in the same direction...
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Living in a Spin -
A dark aspect of Freud’s teaching is its application by his nephew,
Edward Bernays, to Public Relations...
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After Aces & Eights -
I am too tired to let this sliver of time splinter my mind. On the far side of the Valley bowl,
Los Angeles beyond the ridge, I see only houses and streets...
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Cat in a Hot Tin Box -
It is too early to be called morning...
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