Sunday Cycle

The last couple of days have been beautiful.

The sun is shining, the days are starting to get slightly longer and the skies were blue.

I’ve got a week of composing projects coming up and for my day off today, I could not think of anything better than going for a long cycle.

As you can see from the photos below, it is very rewarding to cycle around my home and around the Garth mountain just outside of Cardiff.

There were a lot of people out today and you can’t blame anyone wanting to enjoy the fresh air and weather after a pandemic, lockdown ridden winter.

Spring is with us, and hopefully along with it, some much needed reason to be positive.

Dil Chahta Hai

is Hindi for ‘The Heart Desires’.

My girlfriend told me this was one of her favourite films and after watching it I understood why.

The film has a cult status in India and is loved by many. It is about three young men who have recently graduated and are finding their way in the world. This of course involves their professional vocations but then there are their love lives.

What is amazing about this film though is how it approaches this subject with an extraordinary sense of wisdom. Normally, Hollywood guy romantic comedies are outlandishly tongue in cheek and look to provoke crude laughs. Not to say that this film isn’t funny as it is at many points but it actually approaches the subject of love with a phenomenal sense of delicacy and complexity.

The film explores compassion, parental pressures and expectations, attachment, unconditionality, friendships and how they evolve through adulthood. It is a film with a tone that is understated but incredibly heartwarming and affecting.

I highly recommend it.

It will also make you want to visit Goa.

Creating a catalogue

I don’t really listen to playlists.

I still listen to records chronologically.

That may mean I’m a bit of an oddity in my generation, but I love listening to and appreciating the journey that has endeavoured to make a 40-60 minute musical journey that is sophisticated from start to finish.

When I find an artist I really like, I then start to explore the catalogue, I want to know all of the work they’ve made from their greats, to their goods to their not so good stuff.

The evolution of artists is fascinating and usually the ones I really like have kept on changing direction and exploring creative facets. Peter Gabriel’s career from Genesis to his solo material is fascinating.

I love the idea of creating a catalogue of work that I myself have done it and thus far have five to my name, with many more planned for the future.

To anyone reading this who is creating their body of work in any discipline, you have my respect and admiration.

And if you haven’t started yours yet and want to, today is a good day to start!

Preparation Faffing

Whenever I used to have a gig pre covid era, I was an incredibly good at faffing.

I would be up the stairs, down the stairs about a dozen times, ensuring I had everything I need to perform at said gig.




Guitar Stand


Jack cables

Kettle Plug

Speakon lead


Mic Stand


Mic Clip

Spare Strings

Guitar cleaning cloth

The list goes on and there are all sorts of things you need to ensure the gig can go smoothly. It is worth the time making sure you have all of this equipment to run things smoothly because if you don’t, all chaos breaks loose.

I currently spend my time faffing when preparing to cycle. Helmet, bike, tyres pumped, spare small pump, puncture kit (you do not want to be 20km from home when your tyres go flat!), water, snack.

It is good to make sure you have everything you need.

It is even better to have it all in the same place.

Something I could do with reminding myself occasionally as it would save me twelve trips back upstairs!

P.S. I wrote a song inspired by me and my bandmate’s proclivity for faffing. It is called the Almighty Faff and features a brass trio. I’m releasing a video with the accompanying score for it this week.

The pitfalls of media’s superficial obsession with age.

People lie about their age.

Furthermore, there is an unhealthy obsession with tagging the age of someone with their achievements

Forbes 30 under 30 list is designed to make 30 people feel good about their successes and then make thousands of people feel inadequate.

The music industry’s major labels seem hellbent on plugging and thrusting up careers of younger artists in their teens. No surprise that a lot of the music in the top 50 whilst to some extent, well crafted is also juvenile.

With age comes the virtues of maturity and experience, and more of an understanding of who you are and what kind of creative statement you want to make.

How old you are shouldn’t ever matter when it comes to your journey and what you are doing. It isn’t really anyone’s business to know what exact age you are anyway.

Shun the noise.

Reference points

It’s good to have reference points when you’re creating something beyond your specialisms.

I’m not a pianist or string player but I’ve been composing for both instruments over the last few months. I use my knowledge and expand upon it to get fundamentals right, namely instrument range, harmony, rhythms and idiomatic features.

When I want to take things further, that’s when I do my research.

An abundance scores from previous show the possibilities of extended techniques, engraving and ways to approach writing that you may not have previously considered.

Being creative involves listening and referring to other past works that can inspire you and influence you towards new directions.

To do list into the weekly routine.

I am very good at writing to do lists.

I’m also very good at not achieving half of the things I write down.

That is unless I timetable it in.

I’m lucky to have a few projects going on. Some self led, some collaborative amongst my teaching.

Every Sunday I write down things that are specifically scheduled in for the week.

I then decide how I’m going to use the rest of my time and what I specifically focus on.

The process of scheduling in the things I want to achieve has really helped because it psychologically sets me up for engaging with a certain thing at a certain time.

I’m always at risk of saying I’ll do it later when it comes to a to do list. Scheduling the to do list into my week means that later isn’t available to me anymore.

Corruption in COVID Contracts

When the BBC decides to make the main headline a nothing story about Harry and Meghan, whilst Matt Hancock’s lack of transparency over COVID contracts has been deemed unlawful, we have a problem.

The handling of public money over COVID contracts and test and trace has been appalling. As highlighted by George Monibot, Millions of pounds went to unqualified friends, teenagers were left running distressing calls and lives that could have been saved, ultimately weren’t.

The fact that this has not been properly covered leads to the plain sighted fact that the U.K. has a problem with elite corruption, both within the way news media operates as well as the severe lack of accountability when things have gone devastatingly wrong due to incompetence across central government.

The general public is being done a disservice and we need to create new systems that are more just and have more representative, transparent and active democratic processes.

In the meantime, we are dealing with a dangerous level of corruption, cronyism and inequality.

Things have to change.


I like presets. I tend to use them as a reference point for the kind of things I’m looking for.

The new record I’m making includes new timbres I’ve never worked with before but I’ve spent hours sourcing sounds from plug ins trying to find the right one for the particular passage or song. If I tried building every sound from scratch, I’d release my next record in a decade’s time!

With the amazing technology out there, it’s easy to get a sound you’re after, even close to artists you love. I’m always jumping for joy when I make a synth sound like Boards of Canada.

However, it’s worth reminding myself I’m not them and whilst influences are fine, it’s good to dig deeper, customise, explore and ultimately, find that which can make you unique.

It’s why as a guitarist, I’m ambivalent about digital amp profilers, I know they sound amazing, but I like the unpredictability of microphones and valve amps.

Presets are a good reference point for that which you are after. But good becomes greater when you can tweak, customise and innovate.

Avatar The Last Airbender

This show is a triumph.

I’m of course talking about the Animated TV series from Nickelodeon and not the film adaptation from M Night Shyalaman who took every misstep possible and may have even hindered the series from getting the credit it deserves.

The series came out in 2005 to 2008. I was a teenager at the time who was driven by music and the only TV show I remember watching was Fresh Prince and I was more into movies anyway. The TV series passed me by and I never watched it…until Netflix distributed it last year.

My girlfriend insisted that I must watch it. Being an animated series, I was slightly ambivalent towards it, and didn’t think I might enjoy it as much as Better Call Saul which I had just finished after spending lockdown 1 rewatching Breaking Bad.

A few months later, and I’m not only hooked. I watched it twice and now a fully fledged fan! I would say it’s one of the best TV series ever made.

Where to start with my praise!?

First and foremost, the premise is undeniably intriguing to any family member, a world torn apart by war. And every episode you see the devastating impact that war has laid upon communities, of course in a child friendly way but it’s message is nevertheless profound. There’s also excellent takes on authoritarianism and censorship that are cleverly embedded in the plot.

Secondly, the characters are detailed, rich, and outright adorable. Even the antagonists are likeable! Every character has idiosyncrasies, hang ups and back stories that are well thought out and without giving too much away, there are several character arcs…one of which is just incredible. There’s a celebration of characters who are able to showcase their strengths despite disabilities and there’s a diversity and respect for a variety of Asian cultures.

Thirdly is the sense of humour and adventure tied in with wider themes. This show has proven to be an absolute tonic for me during a long drawn lockdown through winter and if you’ve not yet had the chance to see this show yet…I cannot recommend it enough.

Also you won’t be able to get this bop out of your head.


Through the mountain…

Secret secret secret secret TUNNEL!!!