Looking down on Sydney from one of its many skyscrapers, what is most striking is the sheer extent of the harbour. It seems to twist and turn forever in an endless melee of coves and bays. Having checked it out on Wikipedia, I note it is indeed “the world’s largest natural harbour”.
There’s nothing better than the right song at the right time and so it was for me flying back home over the Indian Ocean, listening to Frazey Ford’s reflective song of the same name. The lyrics suggest a sleepless night mulling over the enormity of the world, which well-suited markontour’s restless mind as we traversed the globe at 35,000 feet, the Indian Ocean an unknown quantity in the blackness below and Ford’s voice simply a reminder of beauty in the world. Sleep came as the track faded out to a gentle trumpet.
For a Nottingham Forest fan of a certain age it is impossible to watch Jonny Owen’s loving tribute to the Clough-era European conquerors without getting a little misty eyed. The best moment is when Clough faces the media after a disappointing semi-final draw with Cologne. “I hope there isn’t anybody stupid enough to write us off” he drawls, as a smile of supreme self-confidence spread across his face. The Forest players knew at that moment they were going to go on to win. The rest of the world had a few weeks to catch up.
The visionary Mayor of Auckland has taken to describing his domain as “a city in a forest”. It’s a lovely idea and from what markontour saw on a brief work visit it is not far off being realised. So while Auckland has its challenges, particularly constraining the urban sprawl that comes from the New Zealand dream of a single-storey house and half an acre for everyone, the great attraction of this growing city is its proximity to the natural world beyond.
I was intending to use breaks between work on a long flight to New Zeland to have a proper listen to George the Poet, and to read The Interpretation of Dreams as background towards a blog about the Freud Museum. But, after what should have been a day-long journey turned into 40 hours of queueing and cramp thanks to fog over Dubai, my time-zone challenged brain needed a Plan B. Thus as we zoom through an Australian night, markontour is preparing to blog about The Martian, while listening to Taylor Swift.
There are many reasons to admire Manet, but on a recent trip to the Courtauld Gallery in London markontour found a new one: the painter’s celebration of Burton beer.
I thought I’d better do something Welsh for St David’s Day and what could be more Cymreig than an album of rugby songs? Released in 1968 by a presumably long-defunct record label, Sportsdisc, ‘The Welsh Sing Rugby Songs” was a gift from my wonderful cousin. According to Harry Morgan’s sleeve notes, the “intention all along has been to put on record Rugger songs exactly as they are sung by players the world over.”