Boyz In The Wood


I was just reading Melissa Harrison on the lifelong benefits of outdoor play and it seemed the appropriate moment to dig out this scruffy old photo. There seems to be a lot of concern about nature defecit disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. The National Trust commissioned a Natural Childhood Report which showed how a generation of children are losing touch with the natural world. It seems we were the lucky ones, this merry band; I’m on the left, alongside Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen and Michael. We would dam streams to make pools for bathing, with wagtails and dippers and once a kingfisher; we knew perfect climbing trees with branches in all the right places, and often puddles of water in the crevices; we’d forage for blackberries and wimberries and sorrel and others too sour to swallow; we found water boatmen, pond skaters, caddisfly cases, tadpoles, newts, eggs in birdsnests, foxgloves, horsetails, sheep skulls, and a blade of grass stretched between thumbs for a birdcall. All without fluorescent yellow tabards.

Frames of reference

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

gashlycrumb tinies

There was a lot of fuss last week about Edward Gorey’s 88th birthday, even though he died at the age of 75. There was a Google doodle and he featured in The Guardian and the Los Angeles Times and at Brain Pickings to mention just three, then Margaret McLellan sent me this catalogue of gruesome infant deaths – Hi Chris, This came today. I thought you might enjoy it. Best wishes, Maggie. Continue reading “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”

Frames of reference

Radio Carbon

When cosmic rays strike the atmosphere they create the radioactive isotope carbon 14, which can be detected in living matter and decays at a fixed rate over many millennia. Radiocarbon dating is the method by which we measure prehistoric time, and with which our own detritus will one day be measured. The filmpoem Radio Carbon takes this transient yet permanent record of time as a personal metaphor, fashioning a hypnotic journey into the human past, from the neolithic to the present moment. It’s a film with eternity at its centre, the vastness of space at its core, and a reverie of images clustering to the lens like the flashing in a stranger’s eye. Continue reading “Radio Carbon”

Frames of reference

Port Meadow


Dear Chris, As mentioned here are a couple or so photos and two sketchbook pages of bird images. I could write for a thousand pages about Port Meadow. I’ve been there ever since I was six years old. It floods in winter, gathers over wintering migrant wild fowl. In the summer it’s a place people swim, sail, walk, make love, do archaeology etc. If you want I can get David to send his poem about the meadow which refers to a drawing of mine. Best wishes to all, love, Andy. Continue reading “Port Meadow”

Frames of reference

Shenandoah & Cape Cod Girls

First there was Rogue’s Gallery in 2006, now followed by Son of Rogue’s Gallery, both compilations of pirate ballads, sea songs & chanteys, from an idea by Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean II. Continue reading “Shenandoah & Cape Cod Girls”

Frames of reference

Hamer Man & The Stalled Ox

Hamer/Hamer Tribe, Omo Valley Ethiopia

Dominic wanted to tell Jelly Green a short story by Saki about the man who painted cows. He couldn’t remember what it was called so, rather than walk to the public library, he searched for it on Google. Somehow “man” + “painted” + “cows” led him to the discovery of the Hamer tribe in Ethiopia. I’m ashamed to say I’d not heard of them before. I had no idea. Could these be my ancestors? Is this why I’m fond of cows? Not so sure about the whipping. Maybe it’s time to visit Ethiopia. Continue reading “Hamer Man & The Stalled Ox”

Frames of reference