Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Something from the holiday. Lots of Rain but lovely rocks and Food

The Bad Blogger Returns

Hi Blogees,

My conscious has finally got the better of me. Yes, I am still alive and (apart from one mild shaking fit brought on by a little bit of stress a couple of weeks ago) very well.

July and August have been filled with Holidays (just Carol & me) in Cornwall where, despite the rain, we had a hiking good time. Joss has been of his crutches for a while and is now fully back to school and work and he seems happy about it!

I forgot to mention that back in May our heating system started to leak and given its age it was unrepairable (of course) so we had to order a new one. Its seem pretty incredible paying nearly 30 kCHF for a giant storage radiator to feed our underfloor heating. Before going on holiday we had our new heating put in, but the pipes were still hanging waiting for the plumber (Swiss heating engineers are not plumbers so they can't connect the pipes). Hopefully we will get them connected before Winter, I'm expecting a cold one, don't no why, just am.

Back in August 2008 Three Different Kinds of Pain I talked about all these big words and how they would effect me if I didn't go back to work full time (which nobody expected). Well a year on (as predicted by everybody except the official body "the IV Stelle") I got my decision for a full IV pension.

Now you might think a full IV pension would mean you get the maximum allowed, but oh no, that is before you take into consideration the income from my 30% salary and that I didn't pay for the IV while I was working in England (strangely). So be careful ex-pat Swissli's just because there are reciprocal agreements between the UK and Switzerland does not mean they are "fully" reciprocal. What I mean is if you pay everything you should in the UK and then move to Switzerland and continue paying everything you should this will not give you full access to Swiss benefits only the equivalent benefits. This means, for instance, AHV (old age pension) is covered but IV (Invalidity) isn't unless you are not working at all. So make sure you pay up all the stuff you didn't pay when you were elsewhere (well at least IV) .

---------------------------- Enough of my whining
Got lots of new music to play and been playing lots of old stuff too. Play-list update coming soon.
Tons of workshops and meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks so the bad blogger may return.

Been away such a long time, got my next MRI in two weeks

Saturday, 27 June 2009

End of a Tumour

The latest MRI CD arrived yesterday, so I've put together a composite of the side and top views at the same position from each scan set since August 2007 . The first two show the fast early growth during August 2007 and then the stabilization during the combined radio and chemo therapies in February 2008 and the then the almost complete obliteration by May 2008 resulting in almost identical pictures over the last year. All I have now is the leftover scarring (internal and external) which will stay with me until decomposition.

Prof. Nuero and Dr. Chemo were both well pleased at the stability over the last year (as was Carol and, not to mention, me). But they weren't pleased enough to let me work more than my current 30%.

So what happens now? We wait and watch, check it one more time on the 3 month check up cycle and then I''ll allow them to put me on to 6 month cycle if everything looks the same. Sometime of course it is likely to be back but where and how is anybody's guess.

Until then its time to forget about it and celebrate life as much as possible.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Week around the hospital

Started last weekend with a call from Joss at about 5pm on Friday. He asked if we might pick him up from Kantonspital Aarau (my regular home from home) as he had spent the afternoon there having his left kneecap put back in place after a particularly violent game of football at college had knocked it off (very painful I have been told in no uncertain terms) . Since then Joss has clattering around on Crutches and being driven (mostly by Carol) to all of his end of term appointments. He was given an appointment on Wednesday for an operation to have a look around inside the knee to check on the ligaments. The same day as my MRI results appointment.

I spent Monday & Tuesday at some meetings in Paris. Had a great meal at a "Pork" restaurant "Chez Cochon" on tuesday evening after a late meeting. Excellent food with some interesting Basque & French traditional pork meats.

On Wednesday morning, as I was flying back from Paris, Joss was under the Knife and under Anastasie . I arrived for my 2pm appoint just in time to see him post op before going to see my Neurologist & my Oncologist.

His operation was a success in that everything was opened and closed leaving only three scars and only one of those worth showing off. From the point of operative procedures nothing significant was required. Now all that is left is lots of Physio and 7 weeks off work hobbling around on crutches. Poor guy.

Oh, by the way, my tumour is stable and tiny, no change at all, nada. That is great news. I'll put some pictures together once I have the MRI CD.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Very Bad Blogger

Over 2 Months without an entry.
I have no excuses it is not that nothing has been happening, quite the opposite, but nothing to do with my tumour.

I am going to cheat and fill in some things by backdating some new entries concerning events in the past 2 months.

My health is fine (no seizures for 15 weeks!) and I have been doing a lot more exercise recently. Still get a little more tired than I used to but that could be old age creeping on. Had the latest MRI last week but won't get the results until next Wednesday. Look out for the backdated and hopefully some new posts.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Event ends with a crunch

Forgot to post this when it was written.

Spent last weekend at the AGM of the Institute of Engineering & Technology (Switzerland). The meeting and the accompanying lectures were held in Bussigny a small village just outside of Lausanne. Carol and I drove down Saturday morning and stayed over until Sunday afternoon.

Apart from the usual activities of an AGM there was some interesting stuff too :-) including three lectures, two around mobile network activities The first was "Next generation mobile networks" from Dr. P Meisner, Operating Officer of NGMN Alliance and the Second was about a Professional network of Wireless Pro's "Wireless Monday" who are doing some innovative work in their "spare" time from Dr. C Florian. The final lecture was from Prof. Gardiol about the experiments carried out by Marconi in Salvan (CH) and the controversy between Italy and Switzerland over where these early important experiments were carried out.

Hm, perhaps that is the real strategy behind Italy's redrawing of their borders due to the glacier changes. Salvan is only 20km to the Italian border :-)

Had a nice meal in the evening complete with a musical inderlude from a couple of our members. Next morning we took a wander round the lakeside in Lausanne taking in the unexpected weather. Got back late Sunday afternoon and finished the weekend with a bang.

As we came into the turning place for our drive Joss called us on my mobile to ask when we were coming back, I told him, of course, soon and hung up the phone. For some reason I assumed I had already put the car in reverse to make the final maneuver into our drive and discovered I hadn't as we moved forward and into our wall..... One of those especially embarrassing and, no doubt, expensive maneuvers.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Commenting on a text which is used as the basis of the faith of millions of people is always difficult.

Over the past year or so I have (re-) read the Bible, old and new testament, and a number of books recommended to me that attempted to help me to find faith in Christianity. These books were of varying quality of literary achievement but none of them even started to convince me that I should have any kind of religious faith. I think the concept of revealed religion is too difficult for me to get my head around. Why don't we all get revelations? If our god wanted us to hear him why not speak to us all?

Anyway, not having had enough of this by now I have been tackling the Qur'an. I am about a third of the way through and whereas with the Bible I was able to, at least, understand what the authors was trying to achieve even in the context of their own world and how that would apply to us. There is no such consistency in the Qur'an.

What I can feel from the Qur'an is the prattling of a man who preached peace and understanding among all faiths (meccan suras) until he had the power to preach war and the dominance of Islam (medinan suras).

As for it being the Greatest literary masterpiece in Arabic, even allowing for issues in translation (by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem) I find that difficult to believe. The thing isn't even written in chronological order,

I have four words for the Qur'an

This is not a script for life in our times. The voice of god needs to do an update for all mankind, but if he did that in a revealed fashion nobody would believe the messenger and we would have him killed metaphorically or otherwise as we always have.

If anybody can explain all this to me or point me at somewhere I can learn it then feel welcome.
I think I'm off to study Philosophy.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Not so Dumbbells

The Gym
We have a pretty OK home gym, as you may have seen in a number of recent "accident reports". In addiction, I mean addition (Freudian or what) to the dangerous cuplprits of the rower and bench, we have a treadmill, a recumbent exercise bike, a smalll (fixed weight) multi-gym along with a set of adjustable dumbbells, and very little space in our cellar.

Free Weight Limitation
A couple of months ago I started to run out of available weight on my old dumbbells set for some exercises (things like rows, chest ext., tricep ext. squats etc). I.e. I am getting stronger.

I used to have a personal trainer, so that would'nt have been a problem in the past, because he had all the gear on earth. Unfortunately I don't have him any longer for various reasons, most of them being money (sorry Mark).

To get more weight in the free weights area required either getting a higher weight adjuststable set (2-20kg) rather than my current 1-10kg set or going over to a Bar Bell (long bar) and (more) weights. Ideally I would like to have gone for the Bar Bell but unfortunately that space limitation would have been a problem without dumping something else (no option). So the only option was the bigger Dumbbells.

The non-physical pain of using dumbbells
Now if you have ever used adjustable dumbbells you will know what a pain it is to adjust the weight on the bar. You have to either unscrew or unclip a retainer on each side of each dumbbell (for 2 hand exercises) change the old weights for the new ones (which are almost certainly attatched to another dumbbell). When you go to the larger weights it gets even worse moving them around. All this fiddling adds significant time to workouts.

Get Selectored
Nowadays it is possible to get some HI-Tech adjustable dumbbells whose weight are changed mechanically by moving a pin or by turning a dial. This makes it much easier and quicker to change the weights with the slight disadvantage that they a bit long.

Guess what Ian got for his birthday........More weight and faster workouts.
Thank's Carol, you are far too good to me.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Happy Birthday Me

So I've got through two birthdays since GM1 (grand mal 1). Every event seems to mean
more to me now, so every birthday (not just mine), anniversary, christmas, MRI etc. is a time for celebration. Who needs presents when you can just celebrate life.

Having said that, many thanks for all the presents. I can't help thinking that everybody knows me too well or is it just the massive hints from me or answers to questions such as "What do you want for your Birthday Dad?"

: for "the truth" led to a present of the Qur'an from Kayleigh
: for "oddity" led to some David Lynch stuff from my Amber & Joss
: for "fitness" led to some hitech dumbbells (yes, truly hitech) from Carol

I'm sure you will hear more about these well received gifts in the near future

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Enjoyment is short lived

Just two days of enjoying super speed Internet and Cablecom decide to dig up their cables (starting now) with daily interuptions. Oh well, so it goes.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Settop Boxes, Phones, Internet Modems & Firewalls

WARNING : Geeky story with a happy ending and a product recommendation

The past couple of weeks we seem to have changed all of the communication boxes in this house due to one reason or another and finally today (fingers crossed) everything is running as it should.

When we moved to this house back in 2005 we moved all of our communications (Phone, Internet & Television) over to Cablecom, the big cable provider in Switzerland. So we became classic "Triple Play" users. The idea being that we would only need to deal with one provider. Little did we know at that time that it would still be like dealing with three providers with separate helplines for each of the Phone, Internet and TV even when the Internet & Phone are handled by one box (still called a modem even though it doesn't modulate or demodulate anything).

Anyway a few a few weeks ago almost simultaneously the Phone and Digital TV started playing up, The phone sounding like we were being switched on and off rapidly as we were talking and the DTV being switched on and of a little more sedately, but just as annoying.

The Phone

First we (Carol actually) attacked the Telephone helpdesk and after long queues and listening to music that seemed to have been recorded through our telephone and of course accentuated by being played back through our faulty line we convinced them to send us something. A power supply! This seemed to fix the problem for a whole day.

The TV

That was DTV escalation day, no more on and off problems, now it was just OFF complete with slightly charred security card. So we (Carol actually) tackled the TV Helpdesk, analog and digital on one line!! And after after long queues and listening to music that seemed to have been recorded through our telephone and but this time NOT accentuated by being played back through our faulty line we convinced them to send us something. A new DTV box.

The Internet

Meanwhile our phone line had gone back to its flickering state and the Internet seemed to have slowed down to the point the VPN I use for work couldn't manage to hold itself up (not good). A quick measurement (using speedtest.net) confirmed the suspicion of around 2Mb/s on a line I pay for 25Mb/s on (although I wasn't getting ever getting it --- but more of that later)

So Carol took the Telephone helpdesk and I took on the Internet helpdesk simultaneously . This dual pronged attack seemed to have the desired effect they even made the almost unheard of Telephone Internet Helpdesk link-up and decided to send us a new (non modulating) Modem in which to plug both Telephone and Internet connection into.

The Happy Ending (almost)

So within a couple of days with all the new boxes plugged in:
The DTV looked clear and uninterrupted
The Telephone stopped jittering
The Internet speed was up to 5Mp/s

The Product Recommendation

So all was well..... except where is my 25mps
At this time my memory drifted (as it does) back to a conversation with an old friend, even more geeky than I am, that mentioned my Firewall (the trusty old Zyxel Zywall 10) was limited to the WAN Ethernet Performance of 10mps which I just realised that meant a full duplex rate of 5mps. AHA, not Cablecom's performance this time but my aging hardware.

So off to find a good, but low cost, Firewall product.
Starting with the devil I know I looked at the Zyxel Zywall 2 plus with a throughput of 25mps max at CHF269 but I wanted something with some spare capacity and that took me up to at least double the price. So what to do?

As before my memory drifted (as it does) back to a conversation with with the same old geeky friend who mentioned some small computers that you could stick in a 150mm square box (Alix) and run freeware software (m0n0wall, yes they are zeroes) on them to get 100mps throughput.

So last Friday with itchy fingers I ordered an Alix 2D3 System Board, Box (mine is a very nice Red not the Pink shown here, but also available in Black) & PSU (also available for UK) for the total cost of CHF160 (you can do it cheaper with a cheaper board).

They arrived today so I downloaded the m0n0wall image loaded it on to an old CF Card as instructed (it needs just 16MB, mega not giga), plugged it in the system board and stuck the system board in the box. Luckily the default local network was the same as mine so I replaced my old firewall "dragon" with the new "redwall" plugged in the power and et voila.

If it keeps running like this I'll be well chuffed.

The REAL Happy Ending
Maximum Download speed : 25.49Mb/s (2am to Dusseldorf)

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Lights were Off

Sharing darkness with Friends, Mexican/Spanish Food, "Dark" Music and thinking on the World's situation.

The Music:
Mercury Rev - The Dark is Rising
Handel - Messiah, For behold, the darkness shall cover the Earth
Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
A-Ha - Dark is the Night
The Pogues - Dark Streets of London
EchoBelly - Dark Therapy
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Darker with the day
Peter Gabriel - Darkness
Over the Rhine - I will not eat the Darkness
Rare Bird - Her Darkest Hour
Nits - Home before Dark
Jesse Cook - Into the Dark
Meat Loaf - Left in the Dark
Blind Willie Johnson - Keep your lamp trimmed and burning
Blind Willie Johnson - Let your light shine on me
------ Time to turn on the lights
Genesis - Turn it on again
Del Fuegos - Headlights
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Shine on you Crazy Diamond

Alternative for Pete Gabriel: Bjork - Scatterheart (if your wife doesn't loath Bjork)
Kind of Ironic really I always have to listen to Bjork in the dark.

Earth Hour - Turn off the Lights

Thursday, 5 March 2009

MRI News, No Change or may be not

Finally got the results of the MRI from 16th February.
Only seen the report so far so no pictures yet. So how does it look?

Zum Vergleich liegt die letzte Kernspintomographie des Schädels vom 14.11.08 vor.

Looks the same as it did on the last MRI of the skull from November 2008.

Don't you love the German word for Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Kernspintomographie, much more "Nuclear Age" rather than the "Magnets" of MRI don't you think.

In the detail of the report we can see a little more:
No signs of Atrophy or Vascular (vessel) disease around the Biopsie scars. Good start.

At the end of the biopsy canals (from where they stole a bit of brain from me) there are two licorice intensity defects of 8x5mm and 3x7mm (ie. my sharp looking tumour has become a couple of fuzzy blobs). On the larger of these there is an un-sharply bordered, anomalous, discrete enhancement that might indicate a very light tumour growth.

That is not something I wanted to see, but at least they recommend another 3 month before the next check up so that must be good, or may be they want me to have a little bit more fun before the onslaught.

P.S. Anybody interested in looking at a full MRI report (in German), just put in a vote and I will put one up with all the names and stuff to protect the innocent.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Still Waiting & Lunch

Still had no results from MRI... Oncologist on holiday.... Appointment next Monday.
Also noticed that I forgot to publish a whole load of blog entries so you might want to check backwards.

Had a nice Lunch today. Thank you Uwe for allowing me to bore you silly for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Kosher Dream

I do seem to have a more varied set of dreams nowadays than I used to have, As always they are quite surreal, but I have to say none quite so strange as one I had last night. And surprisingly I can still remember much of it.

The Kosher Food Factory

We enter the dream as I am walking across the Pennines with three of the four guys (Mike, Stephen & John) with whom I spent my second year at Salford University. We lived in a big old house in the Monton area of Eccles in Salford but that was not featured in this dream. We were all wearing long coats and Salford scarves.

We were walking through some woodland and on exiting the trees found ourselves looking at the sprawl of of a somewhat smaller and older Manchester than I remember. I would place this as Lowry's Manchester (early 1900's) as evidenced by the many belowing chimney stacks and, once we entered the city, the cobbled streets.

We walked down a steep slope into the city and met up with our fourth comrade (Steve) who was standing on the top of a small hill (slag heap?), he joined us and we continued down into the winding streets of the city. One by one my comrades disappeared down different side streets until I was left alone. By now a fog had crept in and I could see very little, the streets were (or seemed) deserted. Suddenly a man wearing a Bowler hat appeared out of a side street and turned quickly in front of me. Fearing that I had got lost I followed him thinking he might take me to somewhere more familiar. Unfortunately he entered a building.

For some reason I followed him in to the building but he had now disappeared out of sight and I was left in a fairly long hallway leading to a raised circular steel door with a sealing wheel in the centre. I walked to the end of the hall, up a couple of steps and turned the sealing wheel which gave out a gentle hiss.

I heard somebody coming up behind me singing a song, I joined in with him (I wish I could remember what the song was) I pushed open the circular door and stepped in to the room beyond, I don't remember if my singing companion followed me in or not but I turned and shut the door without having seen him.

I found myself in a very large (but finite) compartmentalized hall that I could best describe as a Kosher food processing plant. In each sealed glass compartment some kind of food preparation was being carried out. In one compartment flour was being milled from grain, in another, baking was taking place and in yet another fish was being prepared and in another Cheese was being made. At the end of the main hall animals were being slaughtered and a long drain running from one end of the hall carried the blood from the animals to the other end of the hall from where it disappeared downwards. There were two "uniforms" looking after the hall; one in, typical food processing togs, White Dungarees, Tee Shirt and Flat Cap (operational workers). The other was that of an Orthodox Jew (Inspectors).

I spent a little time wandering around the hall until I was spotted by one of the Inspectors who had been previously busy inspecting the blood drainage system. He raised the alarm and I headed out the way I came in.

As soon as I was through the door I noticed an old lady touting a machine gun and screaming at me in a language I didn't understand (Hebrew?). She opened fire at me but I was able to duck out of the way. Off to the right I was beckoned to leave via an alternate route by the man in the bowler. He led me out of the building and then gave me some instructions towards safety.

I ran through the streets until I thought I was safe and sat down on the steps of a very old church to catch my breath. After a short time the man in the bowler arrived singing the song from earlier (I know knew who was behind me at the factory door). He sat down next next to me looked at me straight in the eyes and asked me if I was gay (wrong word for the early 1900s I think). I replied no. He seemed a little disappointed but stood up shook my hand and disappeared back the way he came.



Anybody want to have a go at the significance of any of that.
I have a few ideas, but you first :-)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Amber's Quarter Century

Today was Amber's 25th Birthday, finally reached half my age (scary). She will have caught up before we know it :-)

Happy Birthday Amber.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Exercise machines can be Dangerous (update)

More solid metal sticking out where it is not wanted, but this time from a bench (see diagram).

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Exercise machines can be Dangerous

Over the past few months I have been trying to build up my exercise regime to get my performance (kCal/hour, Distances, Weights etc) levels that I was doing before my Big Seizure. And I think I have just about managed to do that (focal) seizure free (that wasn't the case a while ago).

Interestingly I seem to be getting the same performance at a slower heart rate than I used to. I wonder if I have mentally trained myself to keep the heart rate down to avoid seizures. Now wouldn't that be cool... but then it might just be the anti seizure pills working like some kind of Beta blocker but this isn't mentioned in the known side effects .

But why are exercise machines dangerous?
When you are not looking where you are going and trip over your Rowing machine.

I have a Concept II rower (a wonderful machine) but like most rowers it is very low and made of solid chunks of metal (see above). The slider is especially well positioned for breaking toes on. Which given the bruising I am currently suffering may well be proof of that pudding.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tooth 3 (Build up for the Build-up)

Dentist tells me my mouth heals astonishingly well. That is very fortunate for somebody who likes to talk so much and pass so much food through it.

Anyway, was in to have my stitches out following getting my very own implant a couple of weeks ago, and was quite excited by the idea of getting a tooth attached soon. Boy was I wrong.

First we have to wait for another Six months of healing (despite my previous statement) and then FIVE appointments of Tooth Build-up each a week apart. Am I glad the insurance is paying for this.

If I am very lucky I might get to show this tooth off at my funeral. One beautiful tooth anybody, hardly used.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Tooth 2 (implant)

Nine months ago my Dentist discovered I had a Cyst under one of my teeth when being checked out for having the tooth replaced by an implant and and additional white piece on top (see) .
Well today they were finally able to start the original work and after being hacked around I'm the proud owner of an Implant (no tooth yet).

I'm just waiting for the pain to start.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Scan Ahoy - More Therapies

It looks as the only time I get (remember) to write blog entries is when I'm coming up to MRI scans. This or next week I'll have to go to the Doctor to get my Blood checked for Platelets as usual, and then the scan is booked for the 17th Feb with the Oncologist / Neurologist check up the week after.

Can you believe its Six months since my last dose of Chemo?
As I've said before its always a bit of a worrying during this time not knowing how the MRI results might pan out, but this time is a special worry because it is in the next 3-6 months that Tumours often/usually reoccur.

I have a dentist appointment on Friday too, not related, the Dentist is checking out the Op I had to scrape out an old tooth. If all goes well I need to decide if I want an implant to replace it. And what is the major deciding factor? Cost, Pain , No (well maybe a bit on Pain). It all depends on the state of my tumour.

Studying a lot treatment news at the moment. A couple of interesting ones:

TTF again
Remember my visit to Dr. Magneto that resulted in my tumour downgrade. Well there is a lot of activity in the area of TTF, including the results of a trial combining TTF (the Electric field machine) & Temozolomid (the Chemo I have been using) with recurrent patients showing a mean time to disease progression of 155 weeks compared to 31 weeks for normal chemo.
Damn this downgrade I want one of these alien defense mechanisms and I promis to take my pills.

Gene Therapy
There is so much going on in Gene Therapy I can't help thinking this is where the cure is coming from. Take a look at this where they are using a 2-pronged gene therepeutic attack to force regression.

Brain Tumour Virus anyone?
Hold on to the end for the twist.

It has been noticed that GBM tumours attack middle aged people that were well-educated and from higher socioeconomic backgrounds (and then there is me). Their "hyper-hygienic" lives have possibly left there immune systems susceptible to more common viruses such as CMV.

Now a neurosurgeon has discovered a relationship between Brain Tumours and the CMV virus, a herpes virus that is normally harmless lying dormant in 80% of the the population. But in tumour samples it seems that CMV is actively replicating. If this turns out to be causal then a vaccine may be on its way (but probably too late for me).

An interesting Postscript: Back in April 2006 Carol was very ill. She had severe bouts of tiredness and fatigue for several weeks. When she had her blood tested they found the culprit, CMV, and that an anti-arthritic drug that she had been taking had reduced her resistance to it. Eventually the problem cleared up on its own.

16 Months later I was diagnosed with a GBM tumour that the nuerologists reckoned had been growing for "one or two years".

Is this just coincidence or did Carol & I pass around the the same virus (via the usual bodily fluids) with astoundingly different results. Back then I worried that Carol's illness was life threatening. This needs investigating, if only to prove or disprove the irony of it.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

A Musical Interlude

So what has been streaming off the Music server over the past few weeks?

The Minimalists:
Carol bought me a boxed set of 10 Philip Glass CDs (Glass Box - cool name but not made of glass) for Christmas. Amazing what a set of well placed hints can achieve :-). Once I played all of Glass Box the experience set me off on a search for my favourite minimalist pieces.   I've been a fan of minimalist music in its widest sense as long as I remember. I guess my earliest minimalist experiences were with some bits of Holst and Kraut rock bands such as Faust, Can and Tangerine Dream. Only later did I discover the "classical" minimalists such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Adams and Philip Glass in the US with Arvo Part, Heinryk Gorecki and Michael Nyman (who coined the phrase minimalism as represented by music) in Europe. Anyway, here are some of my favourites of the moment (listen in peace with an open mind):

Gorecki - Symphony No. 3
Glass - Orange Mountain Music, Symphony No 3, Satyagraha, Tehillim
Part - I am the true vine
Tangerine Dream - Atem
Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Can - Future Days, Bel Air
Faust - Miss Fortune
Riley - In C (Wang Yongji performance)
Nyman - The Piano
Adams - Shaker Loops

Christmas Songs - Carol loves her festive songs (old, modern & ancient) to be playing for weeks before Christmas so I have to hide in the study to hear anything else and given how unfestive that is I don't get to hear much else on the run up to Christmas. Even though we have a random playlist of around 250 "festive favourites" its amazing how quickly they repeat on random play. Each year I try to add some new songs but only few are accepted by the festivities organiser :-)

And the rest: 
Sons & Daughters -  Rough rock folk with a great Scottish (girl) lilt

Small Faces  - Ogden's Nutgone Flake - their finest

The Acorn - Glory hope mountain - Canadian indie folk with honduran beats.

Nitin Sawhney - London Undersound - Yet another wonderful album from this man despite the appearance of Paul McCartney

James - Just re-listening to the band who should have had the success of the Smiths

Iggy Pop - The Best : Lust for Life, The Idiot, American Ceaser

Fotheringay - Sandy Denny's last band (only recently realeased 2nd album, 37 years late). Wonderful English folk album

Jim & his new Liver

In the recent post on our UK trip I mentioned an old friend, Jim who was waiting for a Liver Transplant. Well they finally found a donor on 30th December and he went in for his transplant on New Years Eve. After over 12 hours of extremely complex surgery he was moved into intensive care around 9pm, and into a normal ward yesterday. Christina, he's wife, has been keeping his family and friends up to date with remarkable regularity.

Apparently he is making great progress. I only wish I was close enough to pay a visit. I hope he knows how much me and  the rest of the family are thinking of him.