Lights Out

All quiet here on WordPress as I’m currently engaged in writing an (unsolicited) solo guitar arrangement of the utterly beautiful “Lights Out” by Frost* from the “Falling Satellites” album – written by Jem Godfrey. I’m using Logic to sequence it, Powertab to create the tablature / staff and pen and paper to record some chord and partial chord shapes I’ve employed. As noted elsewhere, my arrangement is in A major using standard guitar tuning (EADGBE) with a cop on the second fret and at 96 bpm. Having to learn to sing it too!

Cover of the Frost* album "Falling Satellites".
Cover of the Frost* album “Falling Satellites”.

occasional UKLG quotes 001

Since I am reading UKLG’s “The Dispossessed” (more leisurely than normal) and am often struck by the power of her words, I thought I’d begin an occasional quote post sequence.

“But why hate? Hate’s not functional; why are we taught it?”

Ursula K Le Guin, “The Dispossessed”, Gollancz SF Masterworks edition, page 39.


Amazon UK    Waterstones    Foyles UK


I’m currently knee deep in supply teaching work and trying to work on the Earth Balm Music material, learning much about the limitless possibilities of music software and my limited abilities on the piano keyboard on the way. I have a day’s break today and just as well because I feel compelled to post about the passing of the great Ursula K Le Guin. The news has finally made up my mind for me – she is my favourite author of all that I have read (and she is in some high calibre company with Rosemary Sutcliff, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Philippa Pearce etc.). Her characters are so well developed, her books explore ideas about social systems and politics so subtly and she handles big plot moments so delicately. I’m about to radically thin out my book collection and I’m keeping all of my UKLG books as I know I’ll only regret losing them if I pass them on. Please, let her be known as more than just a science fiction / fantasy author because she was so much more.

Photograph of author Ursula K Le Guin. Source Wikipedia, credit Gorthian.

Here is a quote from Ursula’s Wikipedia page:

Le Guin exploits the creative flexibility of the science fiction and fantasy genres to undertake thorough explorations of dimensions of both social and psychological identity and of broader cultural and social structures. In doing so, she draws on sociology, anthropology, and psychology leading some critics to categorize her work as soft science fiction. She objected to this classification of her writing, arguing the term is divisive and implies a narrow view of what constitutes valid science fiction. Underlying ideas of anarchism and environmentalism also make repeated appearances throughout Le Guin’s work


I thought that I might start taking my time and make a proper effort with the blog. Perhaps re-organise and give all posts a structure and may be even rename – take out the ‘Music’ from the title as it’s as much about books (and children’s in particular) as is it about Music.



Photograph of meself on the North Yorkshire Moors.
‘Tis I, on the North Yorkshire Moors.

Terry Pratchett

Crivens! It was “Wintersmith” what done it!

Photograph of the cover of Terry Pratchett’s “Wintersmith”. Illustration by Paul Kidby copyright 2006.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m late to the joyous party that is the writings of Terry Pratchett. I’ve just completed reading his third Tiffany Aching novel and he has leapt into  the distinguished company that is my favourite authors. Notably, he is the first male author I have included. He sits with Rosemary Sutcliff, Philipa Pearce, Joan Aiken and Ursula K Le Guin (as I said – ‘distinguished company‘).

Like Le Guin, Pratchett is able to stage epic battles that are fought and won without bloodshed or with very little bloodshed (the way that Tiffany Aching deals with the Wintersmith is a fine example) and he writes about the finiteness of human existence with rare beauty and a certain kind of poetry (the passing of Granny Weatherwax in “The Shepherd’s Crown” is beyond simply moving). And he loves people but hates injustice, that is crystal clear.

Tiffany Aching is a heroine very much in the mould of Joan Aiken’s Dido Twite though far more introspective with her first, second and third thoughts to guide how she acts and reacts. As a Pratchett witch, she constantly puts the welfare of others before her own and strives to learn from each action she takes, often putting aside a response until she has considered alternatives . My kind of protagonist!

Of course, TP spins the narrative with many puns asides and much social commentary. I love the way has footnotes augment the main text.- my particular favourite is *’Werk’… (page 340 of my edition). He has the uncommon ability to create characters that are engaging and complex and this is true equally of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

I’m continually struck by the cinematic and visual quality of Pratchett’s storytelling. He must have imagined these novels as moving pictures, surely!

I have two more Tiffany Aching novels to read – the second and the fourth and then it’s back to the main Discworld novels for me!

But first… I shall treat myself to a reread of “Wee free Men” and “Wintersmith”… you can’t have too much of a good thing.




UKLG notes

Thanks to calmgrove, I’m seriously considering a series of pictures (and perhaps music) inspired by the writings of Ursula K Le Guin. I thought I might share some of the notes I’ve been taking from “A Wizard of Earthsea“. Apologies for the untidiness, handwriting never was my forte.

Picture of vocabulary from “Wizard of Earthsea”. Copyright Ursula K Le Guin.


Also, this from the UKLG website, looks fascinating (though, as always, I’m somewhat late for the party):