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

Once a town, now a city

Once a town, now a city, Newport is where markontour’s parents were born and bred. They fell in love in the sixth form of Newport Grammar and fifty-six years later the three of us plus Mum’s older brother, my Uncle Malcolm, undertook a pre-Xmas tour of the haunts of their youth. Along the way I learned a thing or two about the Newport Uprising of 1839, how the snow fell so deep in 1947 that schools were closed for three blissful months, how the New Year was celebrated in the 1950s, and what constitutes a dingle.

Sunlight on the Welsh Dragon

Markontour is taking a week away from the office to read, think and plan, stimulated by early morning hikes in the Brecon Beacons, and book-ended by late evening blogging. Today’s inspiration comes from a cracking walk up Hay Bluff to see the red dragon cairn (above) that proudly marks the summit. To the east lies England, to the west is Wales. The dragon watches in all directions.

The Festive Fifteen 2017

Herewith markontour’s annual homage to John Peel – a round-up of the best songs released in the last twelve months, or at least the best that I have manage to hear at gigs, in record shops and, most frequently, on headphones at 35,000 feet. Available on YouTube and Spotify. Enjoy!

The Fabulous Barr Brothers

Markontour had never heard of the Barr Brothers before their extraordinary gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night. Now I’m sitting in La Guardia airport, mapping the intersections of my 2018 travel itinerary and their world tour.

A birthday postcard from Freemans

I was feeling a little homesick the other night. It was my Dad’s 75th birthday and the family were celebrating back home, while I was across the Atlantic in New York. Worse. But then, in Freemans, I met four friendly Australian artists on a gallery tour of the USA. Every night they gather to create beautiful postcards from the day’s ticket stubs, subway maps and restaurant menus to send back home. And so, while it will be arriving closer to Xmas than 30 November, my wonderful father now has a bespoke three-quarter-centenary card winging its way back to beer town. Happy Birthday Dad!

A hat restored

Thanks to the wonderful woman at Worth & Worth hatters, New York City, who restored my favourite pork-pie hat to full glory, after it was defiled by an airport security machine at Heathrow!