Tuff life being a Tadpole

The two net magpie solution?

The two net magpie solution?

Here is the tadpole safety net constructed in an attempt to protect the now four-legged tadpoles from the evils of the Phantom Magpie, who has decimated their herd. The Magpie an ingenious Killing machine of a bird has figured out that the previous net was simply a brilliant staging post for his tadpole lunches. If he stood on then net it lowered just enough for his beak to reach our clueless friends. This new version of the net pays homage to the Circus big top….lol , It also includes a lower and upper net, plus distractions poles and a giant god frog in the distance to watch over the whole sorry affair :)

On top of all this the tadpoles are now venturing out and drying out before they can get back to the water. It looks like a scene from Saving Private Ryan. Nature is a cruel mistress and the odds are stacked against these little guys and they still have the lawn mower and Woden ( the dog) to over come in a few weeks. I’ll do my best to keep them alive so they can come back and start the whole process again next year.

Attack !

Attack !

Peter Ulrich collaboration finished ‘Dark Daddy’ video and concert tickets

This is a shameless plug for my very dear friend Peter Ulrich

The Peter Ulrich Collaboration presents the official music video for “Dark Daddy” feat. Erin Hill.
June 20th, NYC concert tickets, Webster Hall: http://tinyurl.com/md5whn6
Buy the single on iTunes – http://tinyurl.com/o9bkrn4

I’d like a Woodland smallholding, garden thingy please .

As I’m looking to move to a small property with 2 to 3 acres in the next few months or years (it will happen when it happens) I am very interested in Forest/woodland farming/gardening which usually comes under the banner Agroforestry. The principle of a small holding in a wood ticks all the boxes for me, as I have had a life long love of trees, not to mention a general desire for over 40 years to live in total peace and quiet.

I do not claim to know much about Agroforestry (at this time)  as I only even discovered it a few weeks ago but in a nutshell it the growing of both trees, plants and food crops on the same piece of land in a far more natural eco system. It seems to me to have two key benefits sustainability and more importantly at my age a less physically demanding way to be partially self sufficient.

While I’m sure many of us dream of owning a place in the country and being self sufficient after many months of research that magic idyllic bubble has already burst. I don’t mean I have been put off I simply mean that finding a affordable property on private land in the UK is far from easy, it will take a great deal of time, this stuff is far from straightforward. As usual the laws of the land have shown themselves to be far more interested in keeping peoples nose to the grind stone, than giving them freedom to enjoy and explore out of the box possibilities

Our dream scenario is maybe far less green than others but hopefully more doable. To pay off all our debt, sell our current property in Essex and find a run down but not totally derelict house off the beaten track on a piece of land of around 2 to 3 acres. While our aim is to grow our own and be as low impact as possible, my wife will still be doing a ‘conventional’ job with all the environmental impact that entails.

While we are aware we can’t be picky about where the property will be or the type of land that will come with it, I would prefer a over grown wooded area or garden than just a empty field. As my Mother was Welsh, Wales would be a natural place to go but once again I am not limiting the possibilities. My main wish is that I finally escape the suffocation of suburbia where summer days are spoilt by the neighbours screaming Kids, radios and worse. Where I don’t have to tell Woden our leonberger to be quiet every time he protests to a crow flying over the house (Leonberger’s seem not to think very much of crows) and I can sing badly at the top of my voice. Basically i want to take my hermit life style to the next level.

So it would be fair to say that over the coming months and years the topics on this blog will become far less digital and airy fairy and far more rooted and green…. So if like me you know very little about plants and trees, but know this is where your future lies not to mention your sanity, this blog may become relevant and interesting to you overtime .
Oh yes Happy belated New Year :)

The Video I found below, may awaken some possibilities or simply hopes and dreams in you.

Find out more about the above at www.agroforestry.co.uk/

Happy Winter Solstice 2014

I would like to wish you all a very 
Merry *Yuletide!
I hope the season will find you full of Joy, humour, forgiveness and most importantly gratitude, if only for the simple chance to experience this amazing thing called life. Life on Earth in all it’s forms is so often taken for granted, yet it is both fragile, short and universally speaking rare.

The image below was created by me in 2007 from photos of a celtic cross, holly and conkers among other things. It was quite simply created to mark this very special time in the pagan calendar which is often called Winter Solstice* or Yule*.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

*Winter Solstice is when the world has reached its darkest time in Europe.
*Yule celebrates the rebirth of the sun god and the coming of the New Year. Yuletide is generally thought to last about twelve days after the actual solstice (which falls around December 21)

Tentacle Tuesday

So it’s Tentacle Tuesday again and here is my latest image to calibrate the fact. Please feel free to use it on your social pages if you like,  just keep my domain name on the image thanks :)

It's Tentacle Tuesday Hip hip hooray

It’s Tentacle Tuesday Hip hip hooray

My favourite Oak Tree in Essex

This is my favourite Oak Tree in Essex England UK , how many things can you discover in it’s bark? Always a talking point at the shows I attended, can you see the angel and the little girl in the bonnet ?

Yawning or Screaming you decide

Yawning or Screaming you decide

I have always call the image Nature’s Scream as it reminds me of the expression in the work by Edvard Munch. That said most people think the tree is yawning :) . This tree is real and was still hanging on to life when I saw it again a few years ago. It lived or did live in the Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum which is well worth a Sunday walk if your in the mood.

Question Everything

Yes I have another  of my images from my Visionary Collection today, as always I ask you to view it with your own eyes. That said, you just know I’m going to give you my own humble view on it, so here goes, re-posted from my Visionary site 2008.

Let’s start with the photos that made up this work. The two main images are both spiritual but from different belief systems. one is of a church steeple taken in St Ives in Cornwall, the other is of a shaped stone which lives in the garden of the chalice well in Glastonbury.

Well almost at the start of working with these two images I saw what I viewed as a figure appear and I new that he was to be the focus of the work. I had been thinking a lot about shaman over the past weeks and I thought this figure looked like he was wearing an outfit along these lines. I was finding many of the shaman ideas fascinating, this was all started by and interview I had seen with Hank Wesselman . At times I can be so taken in by other peoples stories, I forget to question weather this has anything to offer me on my own spiritual path. As my own spiritual patch work has a large section of Buddhism in it, I have always been happy to question beliefs (Buddha encouraged questions) from a position of respect and inquiry, rather than from the attack and discredit mode so many nowadays seem to embrace. I then thought that weather or not this figure was a shaman, a guru or simply a wise man, if I met him in person what would he expect from me? blind faith? I would hope not as I would indeed have many questions to ask him. While the route of persistent questioning can ultimately only ever have you chasing your own tail, life is meant to be enjoyed and what can be better than friendly banter on things of a spiritual nature. A wise man or guru who rejects the need for questions from his pupils is proclaiming he has nothing left to learn, a dangerous assumption indeed.

So I decided to use one of my favourite sayings ‘ Question Everything’ as the title to this picture in the hope that is will get people to think more on this and everything. Below is the direct writing that goes with this image. I hope it will highlight the paradox of questioning everything and how eventual even the most obstinate of us can grow to old for this game ….

‘Question everything’ said the wise man
‘ But why?’ Said the student
‘Very Good’ said the wise man ‘I see I’m no longer needed’

Does a lie told a thousand times become the truth?
What you believe to be true is.  But how do you know what you believe?
A wise man may be a simple fool, who fooled a fool more foolish.

The truth will set you free they say, but what is this truth?
Know that the truth you finally settle for could just be another old lie that you simply like the look of …
But ultimately does it really matter?

If your truth brings you peace, happiness, joy and hurts no one, then that is truth indeed.

‘Dark Daddy’ – Peter Ulrich Collaboration

Those that read my site will know that I hold Peter Ulrich in very high regard, not just as a good friend, but as a musician with integrity. He like me avoids the need to jump on every or any band wagon that rolls by in the hope of making it ‘big’.
I’m very pleased to announce that he has a new single out called ‘Dark Daddy’ which comes under the Peter Ulrich Collaboration banner. Like his last album ‘The Painted Caravan’ this single continues his link ups with musicians from all backgrounds to produce songs which all have there own unique style.

This time Peter has recorded a track with Erin Hill who is a  New York City, harpist, singer, and actress. Below is a Soundcloud version of the song this may slightly differ from the version on itunes or Amazon Music.  I purchased it myself yesterday as a Mp3 on Amazon, I really have grown to prefer the Amazon Music player over the past year for it’s ease of use and multi-platform support.  I’m not going to go into a big review of the song as you can hear it for yourself below.

2015 looks like it’s going to be a big year for peter and friends as not only will we see the release of ‘Tempus Fugitives’ which this single comes from, but also Peter will finally be playing live again, which I know he is really looking forward to. You can find out more about what peter is up to on www.citycanyons.com and his facebook page . Also you can read my Article ‘For The Love of Music – Peter Ulrich on this very site.

2NE1 gives Microsoft some street Cred.

For many in the UK the Microsoft advert for the Surface pro 3 will be the first time they will ever have heard any K-Pop music. While on the outside I may look like a crusty old fart, I have always had my finger on the pulse of contemporary music. I also like lifting the rock on what many would consider fringe music and understanding it. While for many K-pop may seem like the musical version of a visit to Baskin-Robbins, these perfectly manicured artist all have their own fan bases that would put most european and american bands to shame. 

So what is it that I like about K-pop, no it’s not just seeing sexy looking Korean girls jumping up and down lol. As someone who embraced the divinity of trance, the visual splendours of Anime and the talent, not to mention the patients to execute perfect surreal eye candy glamour, K-pop exquisitely mixes all of this by the bucket load.

Sure K-pop could be seen as just a empty money making machine that has no care for true musical talent, or the people that it no doubt uses up and spits out. That in truth is a argument that can be levelled at all Pop music since the beginning of time. Pop music is a genre it is meant to be bubblegum for the brain that you find yourself humming down the street, it’s not rock or Rnb It’S POP!. All I want from pop is a sugar rush that at best will block the harsh realities of life out for 3 minutes. By it’s nature we should avoid getting to precious about Pop, it’s designed to be throw away, but once in a while pop makes it’s way out of the bedrooms of over optimistic teens and onto the the world stage. Soon it begins to drip from every media outlet, the great and the good come to bow at the alter of fads, in the hope some of whatever they have will rub off on them. 2NE1 are on the cusp of that and it is all made possible by an alliance with one of the uncoolest companies in the world Microsoft. 

Sure I have a big place in my heart for Microsoft, I’ve been using their product since the early 90’s but at no point in all these years could they ever be classed as having Street Cred. If a single well honed advert could change a perception of a company at the same time as launch a group into the stratosphere this indeed could be it. Apple for once look completely out of touch and very old skool.

If you want to experience K-pop just Youtube it your be blown away by just how many groups there are, but don’t worry it’s all you can eat, it’s 100% fat free and totally recyclable.

Visionary Art – Oppressed

Below is a repost of a article about the work ‘Oppressed’ that started the creative whirlwind that became my visionary art collection :-

Oppression is described as the act of keeping a person or peoples down through harsh rule. Sadly for many, they do not have to look outward for their oppressors; they have been oppressed by their own negative ego thought processes from birth. This can become so serious that eventually the ego mentally binds them so that they can no longer function as they were intended.

This self oppression can start in a variety of ways, but usually as a small seed of self doubt brought on by the way you interpret the words or actions of others. A classic example of this may be being bullied at school. This may go on for a relatively short time when compared to the span of a life, but it is without doubt these events that become the soil in which the negative ego can grow. Before you know it your mind is full of doubt, anger, separateness and depression. We allow these disempowering emotions to dwell within us often unquestioned.

It has been said by ‘wise men’ that we create our own reality. This is a bitter pill to swallow indeed: to think that our ‘darkest’ moments of life are created solely by us and our own misguided mind.

I realised that I had spent nearly 35 years of my life stopping myself from being so much more.  Sure, I was bullied at school and yes for some time I was a loner. Neither of these things which ended a long time ago has warranted the mental harm I have done to myself since then. I jest not, when I say my ego should receive an Oscar for its mental screen play which it has played in my mind for years. I was convinced, utterly convinced, that this dark oppressed world in my head was the only one that existed.

At the point when I created Oppressed, I was truly lost and at a low ebb. Everything I had tried to do up to that point had failed. I was out of money, out of work and hanging by the thread that my wife’s job was holding us both by. Ok, so we weren’t homeless, but like many we were only a few pay cheques away from being so. I guess that was just one of lifes so what’s, the real problem was we both felt hopeless. 

Oppressed by Aric Voss 2006

Oppressed by Aric Voss 2006 

Oppressed seemed to be echoing my feelings of negativity and lack; just look at this poor abomination being pushed down into a pit by two cage doors. For some reason I wrote the following to describe this image: ‘Fear and Hate will so easily entrap your mind and crush your soul, it’s never too late to break free ’.

How? Thats when the penny dropped, I realised the way I viewed this image was simply one possible perception and in truth I had no clue what the picture meant anymore than i can really understand anything in life, that I label and take for granted. Just as an example I could look at the work from a positive perspective. So this time, I could chose to see a creature breaking free from a pit of despair.  A creature in its pupal stage like a holometabolous insect just before its Metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly

This way of looking at the artwork or indeed life did not come naturally to me, but I had to conclude it was no more right or wrong than my original perceptions, for me this was the key that unlocked a whole world of possibilities. Every thought you have about everything is just a perception place there by parents, society or life experience some of them may be correct for you, but few are actually universal truths. If your life is far from what you want it to be maybe it’s time to challenge your perceptions and seek a more life enhancing view, after all what really do you have to loose ?