Medieval bangers and tavern stompers circa 2020

Medieval bangers and tavern stompers circa 2020

Treat thine ears and eyes to a new genre of music - bardcore! Perhaps you're looking for that tavern banger that you enjoyed back in 1365. Or perhaps you want to reminisce on the summer solstice when you gathered with jolly folk at Stonehenge, got wasted on mead and were visited by a strange celestial…

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is the first fantasy novel of acclaimed Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Previously, I have read The Remains of the Day, an incredible book that was turned into a successful film of the same name. Although creating a fantasy novel is a huge departure from his usual setting. In many ways, this book contains the…

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Weatherland by Alexandra Harris is a sweeping panorama and magic carpet ride through the history of England using a quirky weathervane to measure the changing culture - the weather. Author Alexandra Harris’ debut book won The Guardian’s Book of the Year. It’s no surprise either because this is a far-reaching, expansive book written in an…

Film Review: Blinded by the Light

Film Review: Blinded by the Light

Director Gurinder Chadha who is known for the film Bend It Like Beckham, has created another feel-good film.  Blinded by Light is about a Pakistani British teenager Javed who learns how to cope with the ecstacy and heartbreak of life   through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Set in a working class suburb of London in…

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

The last gasp of Victorian spirituality infused cutting-edge science with old-school mysticism. Theosophy was all the rage; Many weird and and wonderful ideas being developed at the turn of the century around death, ghosts, the fourth dimension filled the Victorians with a palpable sense of possibility.

The Most Beautiful Relics From the Industrial Dawn

The Most Beautiful Relics From The Industrial Dawn

It's funny to consider power plants and sewerage plants as beautiful, but these old buildings certainly trump any industrial building built in the last few decades. Relics from the dawn of the industrial age, they were designed with immaculate attention to detail and a timeless aesthetic. Nowadays they either accumulate weeds and cobwebs in obscurity,…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Ambient Album Review: Place Language by Various Artists @RobGMacfarlane

Sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy this one. It's a compilation album inspired by the themes and evocative words in celebrated nature writer Robert MacFarlane's book Landmarks. The book focuses on showcasing poetic landscape words, gathered from the dialects of Britain and Ireland. Ambient Album Review: Place Language by Various Artists The…

A kooky modernist cuckoo clock

Would you buy this kooky modernist cuckoo clock?

Guido Zimmermann is a German graffiti artist who recently created Cuckoo Blocks, a remix on the traditional Germanic wooden cookoo clock of olden times.  Forget about cutesy animals and people popping out of a wooden clock on the hour, this remake of a cuckoo clock takes inspiration from Brutalist architecture of tower blocks build in the…

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

About ten years ago I visited Carmarthenshire, Wales and discovered the ruins of Kidwelly Castle with a friend and fellow couch-surfer. It was a delightful and fascinating day, full of overcast grey weather, souvenirs, bara brith, Welsh rarebit and early medieval history. Perched close to the wind-swept seaside and encircled by beautiful lapwings, ducks and…

Travel: Meandering around the Mynydd Carningli neolithic hillfort

Travel: Poking around the Mynydd Carningli neolithic hillfort

In 2010 I stayed for a while by the Welsh seaside in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales. I loved the wild waves and sea air, dramatic black cliffs and bright green hillside dotted with sleepy sheep. But most of all I loved the hill walks there, particularly Myndd Carningli, a splendid 347 meter tall mountain that holds…

Life on an Edwardian Farm

Life on an Edwardian Farm

In this series by the BBC, a group of historians and archaeologists recreate the running of a farm during the Edwardian era. This is a fascinating series that was originally aired in 2011 and now resides on countless Youtube channels - for better or worse with regards to copyright. Still, these issues aside this is…

An exciting jousting event takes place outside of Linlithgow Palace each year.

Travel: A weekend trip to the medieval town of Linlithgow: History through the mists of time to today

The beautiful burgh of Linlithgow charmed the pants off me when I went there a few years ago. The town sits astride the Forth and Clyde Canal (which I’ve written on extensively) which is around half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow. There’s a train link on Scotrail which goes between cities that takes you there, and…

Mudlarking for treasures on the River Thames

Travel: Mudlarking for treasures on the River Thames

A Mudlark while being a species of Australian bird', is also a curious river-side rambler. Over several millennia of habitation, London's River Thames has collected many layers of mud-addled refuse of varying degrees of value. Although one man's trash is another's treasure and the shores of the Thames are still a magnet to curious folk…

Knitting with Dog’s Wool (1966)

Instead of allowing your pesky pooch to malt all over your sofa, put your pet to work in a novel way. The most luxuriant of dog breeds can be put to practical use as producers of dog wool for your next knitting expedition. Some of the best breeds for yarn include the Collie, Old English…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

The cosmic beauty of Cate Le Bon's music will stick to you like lichen

Music Review: The cosmic beauty of Cate Le Bon’s music will stick to you like lichen

Cate Le Bon is a bit like a remixed, post-post-post modern love child of Bjork and David Byrne. She hails from Carmarthenshire in Wales, a sleepy part of Britain with a lot of fond memories in my heart. There's a gentle tinkling and slow-burn epicness to this LP 'Mug Museum' from 2013, which latches onto you…