Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Doers, not delayers – what the world needs post COP26

As the dust settles on COP26 it is clearer than ever that the climate crisis is not going to be averted by inter-governmental negotiation. That’s not to ignore the momentum generated by COP26, or the incremental progress made in Glasgow. But the commitments on the table from national governments when the gavel came down fell well short of locking in action to halve global emissions this decade, and that was the ultimate indicator of success or failure. As a result there is an even more urgent need for cities and other non-state actors to lead immediate science-based climate action, and increase the impetus on national leaders.

Green Man Festival 2021

Fontaines DC were the stand-out band at Green Man this year, with one of the most intense sets I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. But they could have run an open-mic session on the main stage and it would still have been a wonderful festival, such was the anticipation for Green Man 2021 in the markontour household. As it was, this was a bumper year, with many great performances from a mostly British and Irish line up, particularly from bands who have yet to get an album under their belts. Here follows markontour’s review of Green Man Festival 2021

Latitude 2021

s focused on enjoying themselves. This isn’t really a blog as much as a list for the memory banks, but herewith the markontour review of Latitude 2021:

A fizzing atom, bombarding the sky

I bought Raptor: A Journey Through Birds by James Macdonald Lockhart because spending a pandemic year in Wales has afforded the privilege of seeing birds of prey on a daily basis, and I wanted to learn my hawks from my falcons. Raptor has certainly helped with that, but much more besides, with Lockhart’s lyrical descriptions of avian behaviour making my own experience of seeing raptors in the wild even more magical.

On the trail of the standing stones

Five thousand years ago the people living in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park, the area of Wales where markontour currently resides, were into megaliths, big time. This much we know because over thirty of them survive to this day, still marking out the valley roads and high passes in this lush, undulating landscape. They are extraordinary things to get out and see in situ, stubbornly remaining on the spot they have inhabited through so many human generations, and in many cases accessible enough to be able to get right up close and touch.

The Ministry for the Future

I approached The Ministry for the Future, eco sci-fi master, Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest book, with some trepidation. I was anticipating a grim imagining of a near future in which human civilisation descends into chaos as a result of failure to respond to the climate crisis, something I am generally trying to escape when I find time to pick up a novel. But while there is plenty that is frighteningly real in Robinson’s narrative – from millions dying in droughts, floods and fires, to the rise of global eco-terrorism as a generation realises that the one-percent really are willing to sacrifice their futures for short-term profit – ultimately ‘The Ministry of the Future’ is a manifesto of hope.

I’m a peach and you’re a plum – Album of the Week

I have become somewhat addicted in recent weeks to Widowspeak’s new album, ‘Plum’. The gateway drug was the Brooklyn duo’s dreamy, hypnotic cover of Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from a recent EP, ‘Honeychurch’. But now I am hooked on their own compositions, particularly the album’s title track.

Sunshine over Goosegog Lane

“To begin at the beginning” – there’s really no other way to start a blog about Laughrne, the small former cockle-fishing town on the Carmarthenshire coast which I visited this week to pay homage to its most famous son, Dylan Thomas.

A Dark Murmuration of Words

Emily Barkers’ mesmerising ‘A Dark Murmuration of Words’ has been the soundtrack to my 2021 lockdown mornings. There’s both beauty and sadness in these songs that describe the natural world and what humanity has done to it, while bridging from nature to mull over human emotions.