Saturday, 13 February 2021

The Sound Of Distant Ringing

In the days before I learned to concentrate on a full length book, I used to have a Boy’s Own Annual that I flicked through occasionally. Sandwiched between the comic strips and activity pages, it had a 4-page spread of illustrated ghost stories that struck me as being a bit out of place, in the way that ghost stories often do. 


One in particular really disturbed me, about a woman who fell so ill that she was mistaken for dead.The mourners were really shocked when she sat up dramatically in the coffin at her own funeral. As the days went on, she was so shaken by the experience that she arranged in her will to have an electric bell installed in her coffin in case the same thing ever happened again. After her death, the bell kept ringing in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Experts opened the grave and checked the electrics many times but they could never find a reason for the strange malfunction… 

Saturday, 6 February 2021

The Writing in the Mirror – a review of 'Tenet'

“The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.“

Walter Benjamin on ‘The Angel of History’

There's something which happens in the opening minutes of Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet (2020) that in retrospect, now seems utterly extraordinary: We see an audience taking their seats in a packed European opera house, as an orchestra is tuning up for a live performance.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Real stories for fake times

GK Chesterton is said to have famously observed that when people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing, they believe in anything. It's often quoted in order to dismiss whatever conspiracy theories happen to be in popular circulation at any given time and, while it is undeniably a good line, it doesn't honour the sense of betrayal or hunger for 'the truth' that often underpins the appeal of such stories. This month's column looks at three recent* films which prompted me to think again about the relationship between private beliefs and public events.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

The Newsreader (A poem)

"That's all for today,"
the newsman said,
as he closed his eyes
and lowered his head.

He wept for the world,
he wept for the dead,
and his tears stained the words
on the script he had read.

Monday, 25 May 2020

'Blinded by the Light' review

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.”

Extract from Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon

I must confess to feeling a tiny bit anxious whenever I see a musical advertised at the cinema, and not for the reasons you might imagine. While the uncanny appearance of Radius patron, Dame Judi Dench, in a computerised fur suit for the trailer of the forthcoming Cats movie is a sight that is undeniably difficult to put out of anyone’s mind, for me there are often much deeper disturbances at work.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

A Year of Haikus : Work

A haiku is a Japanese poem that aims to capture a surprising or touching moment in words, often connected with nature or the changing seasons. They’re usually 3 lines long, with a strict syllable count for each line, so that composing them is often a bit like solving a crossword puzzle.

I've been keeping a daily haiku diary for almost 5 years that gives me a kind of alternative snapshot for the day, and, over time, the year. Many of them are work related, covering moments of poignancy, risk and humour. This is a selection of haikus from a random year before the lockdown began.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Asklepion Art Galleries

I've created an online art gallery to showcase several decades of my transpersonal artwork, visual depictions of spiritual emergency experience and holotropic breathwork mandalas. 

It's called the Asklepion, named after the temple that the ancient Greeks visited when they wanted to have dreams of healing.

Visit the Asklepion art galleries experience here.